The 25 Best Online Master’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs

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An online Master’s in Information Assurance and Security degree prepares students for leadership roles in the vital information assurance and security field. Students learn to take a proactive approach in protecting the confidentiality and integrity of a very valuable asset: data.

Companies in every industry rely heavily upon computer networks and the Internet; this makes them vulnerable to attacks from hackers, spyware, and malicious code. Companies and organizations throughout the world seek to leverage their data without exposure to risk. Information assurance goes beyond traditional information security because information assurance professionals create safe environments for accessing information.

The explosion of cyber threats and computer hackers has significantly increased the demand for information assurance and security professionals among companies and government agencies. Witness the 2013 cyber–attack on Target’s point–of–sale system, in which hackers plundered 40 million credit and debit card numbers. Target’s stock and profitability took a severe beating because of this cyber attack.

With an online Master in Information Assurance and Security degree, graduates can earn the education and qualifications they need to play crucial roles in information assurance for corporations and government agencies, all while studying on their own schedule. This article ranks the 25 best online Master in Information Assurance and Security degree programs available today.

Online Master’s in Information Assurance and Security Program Ranking Methodology:

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We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

The Best Online Master’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs

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4

Northeastern University 

Boston, MA

About this school

With nearly 1,500 students enrolled, the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University serves a population through undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse areas of study. Through online program options, internship and scholarship options, numerous labs, and student organizations, the college provides students with plenty of developmental opportunities. Additionally, the college engages in advancing the field through research in the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, the Institute of Information Assurance, and the Network Science Institute.

The College of Computer and Information Science offers an online master of science in information assurance and cyber security degree program with a Technical track option, and a Contextual track option. The Technical track focuses on the development of key technical skills and knowledge, while the Contextual track focuses on a large, contextual understanding of the field and the role of professionals in information assurance. Regardless of the path students choose, the program develops a strong foundation of knowledge, focusing on fundamental aspects of information assurance.

The curriculum utilizes a flexible model, with plenty of electives, including coursework in database security architecture, network security strategies and implementation, and risk management and incident recovery, as well as hands–on research projects and independent study options. Students prepare to advance or pursue a variety of careers in the field, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cyber Security program requires 32 credit hours for completion. The Technical track includes a selection of the following courses:

  • Applied Cryptography
  • Computer System Security
  • Network Security Practices
  • Software Security Practices

The Contextual track includes a selection of the following courses:

  • Cyberlaw: Privacy, Ethics, and Digital Rights
  • Decision Making in Critical Infrastructure
  • Information System Forensics
  • Security Risk Management and Assessment

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Northeastern University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Research and Information Assurance Education.

5

Iowa State University 

Ames, IA

About this school

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate program options in diverse areas of study. Housed in the College of Engineering, the department serves traditional and nontraditional students through online program options, student organizations, internship and scholarship opportunities, and affiliation with a variety of labs and centers, including the Information Assurance Center.

In collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers an online master of science in information assurance degree program for individuals seeking to advance in the information assurance field. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach, with a blend of in–depth coursework and hands–on research and projects.

The program develops a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to information assurance professions. Students engage in courses covering key aspects of information assurance, including computer security strategies and implementation, ethical and legal issues in the field, digital forensics, and information warfare. Students emerge prepared to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance program requires 30 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Advanced Computer Networking
  • Computer Security
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Computer Security
  • Information Warfare

Students in the online Master of Science in Information Assurance program must complete a thesis project or capstone course.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Iowa State University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Research and Information Assurance Education.

6

Lewis University 

Romeoville , IL

About this school

Lewis University’ College of Arts and Sciences provides students with a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields like counseling, criminal justice, data science, public safety administration, and computer science. With its online program options, internship and scholarship options, student organizations, and a variety of other resources, the college serves career–minded students from all backgrounds.

The College of Arts and Sciences offers an online master of science in computer science with a cyber security concentration. With six courses dedicated to the concentration, students develop a strong foundation of computer science knowledge alongside niche cybersecurity skills. Students engage with key field aspects, such as:

  • Encryption and Authentication
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Including Cyber Security Theory and Practice

Graduates emerge prepared to combat both public and private sector cybersecurity threats.

This online master’s in cyber security requires 33 credits and includes the following online college courses:

  • Advanced Cyber Security
  • Advanced Network Security
  • Application Security
  • Cyber Security Essentials
  • Encryption and Authentication
  • Network Security Essentials
  • Research in Computer Science

Students in the online master’s in cyber security program must complete a thesis project. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution that was earned with a 3.0 GPA.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Lewis University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

7

University of Denver - University College 

Denver, CO

About this school

University College at the University of Denver provides a variety of flexible online, part–time, and evening programs to serve the academic and professional needs of nontraditional students. With undergraduate and graduate programs in a diverse array of fields, as well as numerous academic and professional resources, University College meets the unique needs of nontraditional students seeking professional advancement through higher education.

University College offers an online master of science in information and communications technology degree program with a concentration in information systems security. The curriculum utilized by the program aligns with the Common Body of Knowledge for CISSP certification developed by the International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium.

Moreover, the Information Security Systems Association collaborated on the development of the courses, and they have been mapped to the Committee on National Security Systems Standards. With all this formal prestige, the program engages students with a thorough study in advanced aspects of the field. Students prepare to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance consultant.

The online Master of Science in Information and Communications Technology program requires 48 credit hours and includes the following Information Systems Security concentration courses:

  • Computer and Physical Security
  • Network Security with Lab
  • Principles of Information Security
  • Web Enabled Information Systems

Students in the online Master of Science in Information and Communications Technology program must complete a capstone project.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate the University of Denver as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education.

8

Regis University 

Denver , CO

About this school

The College of Computer and Information Science at Regis University provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional program options across diverse fields of study. Building on the Jesuit values of the university, the college promotes excellence and service leadership through comprehensive programs, online degree options, internship and scholarship options, professional partnerships with government agencies and industry leaders, and other valuable resources.

The College of Computer and Information Science offers both ground–based and online master of science in information assurance degree program with two specialization options, in Cybersecurity, or IA Policy Management, as well as a general, no–specialization option. The program features a curriculum modeled on guidelines from several major professional organizations, including the Committee on National Security Systems, and the National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education.

The program emphasizes practical and theoretical approaches to the field, covering key topics such as information assurance strategy, managing information security, risk management, and secure enterprise architecture. Students prepare to advance or pursue a variety of careers in the field, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The Master of Science in Information Assurance program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following core/required courses:

  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Information Technology Concepts
  • Information Technology Research Methods
  • Managing a Secure Enterprise
  • Risk Management

Students in the Master of Science in Information Assurance program must choose from one of the following three degree completion options: a capstone project, a thesis, or an information assurance practicum.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Regis University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

9

Liberty University Online 

Lynchburg, VA

About this school

The School of Business at Liberty University provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional program options across a diverse array of fields in business. In keeping with the mission of the university, the School of Business integrates Christian teachings and principles into the core of its programs. The school serves traditional and nontraditional students alike through resources that include online program options, student organizations, and internship and scholarship opportunities.

Through the Liberty University Online platform, the School of Business offers an online master of science in information systems degree program with an Information Assurance cognate. The program develops a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to the information assurance field.

Students engage in a blend of in–depth information assurance coursework, core business information systems coursework, and hands–on projects and research. The curriculum covers fundamentals, such as information forensics, risk management, and secure enterprise design. Students prepare to pursue a variety of careers in information assurance, including network security analyst, information assurance manager, and chief technology officer.

The online Master of Science in Information Systems program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following Information Assurance Cognate courses:

  • Information Forensics, Compliance, and Risk Management
  • Information Operations and Security
  • Secure Enterprise Design and Development
  • Telecommunications and Network Security

Students in the online Master of Science in Information Systems program must complete a capstone.

10

Western Governors University 

Salt Lake City , UT

About this school

The College of Information Technology provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate program options across a diverse array of information technology fields. In keeping with the mission of Western Governors University, the college serves the unique academic and professional needs of nontraditional students through flexible, comprehensive online programs, professional development services, and a variety of online learning resources.

The College of Information Technology offers an online master of science in cybersecurity and information assurance degree program for individuals seeking to pursue or advance information assurance careers. The program develops a balance of advanced knowledge and skills necessary to information assurance professions.

The curriculum covers fundamental aspects of the field, including cyber law and regulations, ethical hacking, network forensics, and security network design. Through completing the program, students may earn certifications as EC–Council Certified Ethical Hacker, and EC–Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator. Students emerge prepared to pursue a variety of careers in the field, including cybersecurity analyst, systems administrator, and cybersecurity consultant.

The online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program consists of 30 competency units and the following ten courses:

  • Cyberlaw, Regulations, and Compliance
  • Cyberwarfare
  • Disaster Recovery Planning, Prevention, and Response
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Forensics and Network Intrusion
  • Information Security and Assurance Capstone Project
  • Risk Management
  • Secure Network Design
  • Secure Software Design
  • Security Policies and Standards – Best Practices

Students in the online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program must complete a capstone project. The program typically takes two years to complete, but it may be completed in one year of continuous study.

11

Nova Southeastern University 

Fort Lauderdale, FL

About this school

The College of Engineering at Nova Southeastern University provides undergraduate and graduate students with a wide variety of program options across several departments representing diverse fields of study, including the Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity. The college serves students through numerous valuable resources, including online program options, internship and scholarship opportunities, and professional development services.

The Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity offers an online master of science in management information systems degree program with a concentration in information assurance and cybersecurity management. The program utilizes practical and theoretical approaches to develop a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to information assurance professions.

The curriculum blends management information systems courses and information assurance courses to develop students as well–rounded professionals. Students engage with key concepts in the field, including planning and implementing cybersecurity strategies, network forensics, applied cryptography, and software engineering. Students prepare to advance or pursue careers in the field, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The online Master of Science in Management Information Systems program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Advanced Network Security
  • Applied Cryptography
  • Computer and Network Forensics
  • Computer Networks
  • Database Security
  • Database Systems
  • Information Security Governance
  • Operating Systems
  • Secure Computer Systems
  • Software Engineering

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Nova Southeastern University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

12

Sam Houston State University 

Houston, TX

About this school

The College of Science and Engineering at Sam Houston State University provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs across several departments, including the Department of Computer Science. The college serves students through online program options, student organizations, internship and scholarship opportunities, and research centers, such as the Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics.

The Department of Computer Science offers an online master of science in information assurance and security degree program that prepares students to pursue a variety of careers in the field. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully practice information assurance in commercial, industrial, and governmental settings.

The program covers key concepts, including implementing security measures and preventing network damage, risk management and incident recovery, and information assurance policy. Students emerge ready to enter careers such as chief technology officer, information assurance specialist, and network analyst.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program requires 30–36 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Business Continuity Management
  • Database Security
  • Operating System Security
  • Organization System Security
  • Principles and Policy – Information Assurance

Students in the online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program must complete a Directed Management and Development Project.

13

Norwich University 

Northfield, VT

About this school

The College of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Norwich University provides a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate program options for busy nontraditional students. With online and evening program options, professional development services, internship and scholarship opportunities, and a variety of other resources, the college serves the unique needs of nontraditional students seeking professional advancement.

Through the Norwich University Online platform, the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies offers an online master of science in information security and assurance degree program with four concentration options, in Project Management, Computer Forensic Investigation/Incident Response Team Management, Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime, and Vulnerability Management. The Project Management concentration features accreditation by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.

With so many options for specialization, students may pursue a variety of niche areas of study and professional practice. Regardless of specialization, the program develops a strong foundation of knowledge and skills, focusing on information assurance fundamentals. Students emerge ready to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance consultant.

The online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Foundations and Historical Underpinnings of Information Assurance
  • Information Assurance and Analytics
  • Information Assurance Technology
  • Human Factors and Managing Risk

Students must attend a one–week residency course on campus.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Norwich University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

14

DePaul University 

Chicago, IL

About this school

The School of Computing at DePaul University provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate program options in computing science fields. Housed in the College of Computing and Digital Media, the School offers online program options, internship and scholarship opportunities, student organizations, and access to a variety of labs and research centers, including the Database Optimization and Forensic Analysis Lab.

The School of Computing offers an online master of science in computer, information, and network security degree program with three concentration options, in Network Infrastructure, Computer Security, and Compliance. The program utilizes theoretical and practical approaches to general and niche aspects of the field.

The curriculum develops key knowledge and skills, including digital forensics investigation, network security strategies and implementation, information security management, and information security policy. Students engage with the field through a blend of in–depth coursework and hands–on research. Students prepare to pursue or advance a variety of careers, including computer security specialist, information assurance analyst, and security compliance manager.

The online Master of Science in Computer, Information, and Network Security program requires 52 credit hours and includes the following required courses:

  • Computer Networks and Data Systems
  • Digital Forensics Techniques
  • Governance Policies in Information Assurance
  • Information Security Management
  • Network Security

Students in the online Master of Science in Computer, Information, and Network Security program must complete a capstone course, an Information Security Governance course, a master’s research project, or a master’s thesis.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate DePaul University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and CyberDefense Education.

15

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide 

Daytona Beach, FL

About this school

The College of Business at Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate program options across diverse fields represented by several departments, including the Department of Technology Management. In keeping with the Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide campus mission, the College of Business provides plenty of resources and opportunities for nontraditional students, including 100% online program options, scholarship and field experience options, and professional development services.

The Department of Technology Management offers an online master of science in information security and assurance degree program with three specialization options, in Protecting Business Intelligence, Information Systems Security, or Information Assurance in a Global Context. Each specialization option prepares students for lucrative, niche careers in the field. Regardless of their chosen path, students gain a strong foundation of knowledge and skills in information assurance.

The program utilizes a core curriculum that covers key aspects of the field, including information security strategy, incident and risk management, analysis of cybersecurity systems, and information security architecture. Students prepare to pursue a diverse array of careers, including chief information assurance officer, chief risk manager, information assurance analyst, and network security analyst.

The online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program requires 30 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Assurance Business Systems: Managing and Protecting Information Systems Enterprise
  • Cyber Law, Cyber Compliance, and Information Assurance
  • Enterprise Systems Architectures for Information Assurance
  • Incident Management and Information Forensics
  • Informatics: Security Implications of Cross–Disciplinary Computing
  • Quality Management for Information Assurance
  • Risk Management and Business Continuity

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education.

16

Florida Institute of Technology - Florida Tech University Online 

Melbourne, FL

About this school

The College of Engineering and Computing at the Florida Institute of Technology serves over 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students. With a diverse array of schools and departments, including the School of Computing, as well as online programs, student organizations, internship and scholarship options, and other resources, the college provides students with plenty of paths for academic and professional success. Additionally, the college houses several research centers and institutes, including the Harris Institute for Assured Information.

The School of Computing offers an online master of science in information assurance and cybersecurity degree program for individuals seeking to advance in the information assurance field. The curriculum features a blend of in–depth core courses, a large selection of electives for niche study, and hands–on research in the form of a capstone or thesis project.

Students develop key skills in the field, including information security planning and implementation, risk management strategies, incident management, and database security architecture. Students prepare to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, chief security officer, information assurance manager, and cybersecurity analyst.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program requires 33 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Biometric Authentication Technologies
  • Computer and Information Security
  • Cryptography and Information Hiding
  • Host and Application Security
  • Secure Data Communications and Networks
  • Secure Operating Systems

Students in the online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program must complete a thesis or a capstone project.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate the Florida Institute of Technology as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Research.

17

Davenport University 

Grand Rapids , MI

About this school

The College of Technology at Davenport University provides students with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree and non–degree program options for studying technology fields. One of five colleges at Davenport University, the College of Technology dedicates itself to preparing students for professional success in technological careers, offering online program options, professional development services, internship and scholarship options, and a variety of other useful resources and benefits.

The College of Technology offers an online master of science in information assurance and cybersecurity degree program for students seeking to advance in the field. The program develops a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to cybersecurity professions.

The program features a curriculum developed to standards set by the National Security Agency and Committee on National Security Systems, meeting the requirements of Training Standard for Information Systems Security Professionals, and Training Standard for Security System Manager. Students graduate from the program prepared to pursue or advance a variety of careers in the field, including cybersecurity analyst, security compliance manager, and cybersecurity consultant.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program requires 34 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Advanced Computer Forensics
  • Analytical Statistics for Management
  • Application Security
  • Applied Cryptography
  • Information Security Planning
  • Legal and Ethical Security Topics
  • Network Security
  • Project Management and Risk Mitigation
  • Research Techniques for Information Assurance

Students in the online Maser of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program must complete a thesis project.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Davenport University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

18

Robert Morris University - RMU Online 

Moon Township, PA

About this school

The Department of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional program options in information systems fields. Housed in the School of Communications and Information Systems, the department maintains a dedication to professional preparation and career readiness through offering resources including flexible online program options, and internship and scholarship opportunities.

Through the RMU Online platform, the Department of Computer and Information Systems offers an online master of science in information security and assurance degree program for individuals seeking to advance in the information security field. The program utilizes a blend of practical and theoretical approaches to information assurance, developing a strong foundation of knowledge and skills.

The curriculum covers fundamental aspects of information assurance professions, including network security, database management, secure programming, and IT security. Students prepare to pursue or advance a variety of careers, including information assurance analyst, network security analyst, and security compliance manager.

The online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program requires 30 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Computer Network Security
  • Database Management Systems
  • Hardware and Operating Systems
  • Information Technology Governance
  • Information Technology Security, Control and Assurance
  • Network Technology and Management
  • Secure Programming
19

University of the Cumberlands 

Williamsburg, KY

About this school

The School of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of the Cumberlands provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate program options for students seeking to enter a variety of technological fields. With online program options, internship and scholarship opportunities, professional development services, and a variety of other resources, the School serves traditional and nontraditional students alike.

The School of Computer and Information Sciences offers an online master of science in information systems security degree program for students seeking to advance professionally in the field. The program develops a balanced foundation of knowledge and skills in information assurance and security.

The curriculum includes a comprehensive blend of coursework that covers key topics, including network security, risk management, regulations and compliance, security architecture and design, and disaster recovery. Students emerge prepared to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The online Master of Science in Information Systems Security program requires 31 credit hours and consists of the following required courses:

  • Access Control
  • Application Security
  • Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Cryptography
  • Information Security and Risk Management
  • Information Security Project
  • Legal Regulations, Compliance, and Investigation
  • Operations Security
  • Physical Security
  • Security Architecture and Design
  • Special Topics
  • Telecommunications and Network Security

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate the University of the Cumberlands as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education.

20

Dakota State University 

Madison, SD

About this school

The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences at Dakota State University provides undergraduate and graduate students with a variety of program options for pursuing education and careers in technological fields. With online program options, scholarship and internship opportunities, student organizations, and other resources, the college serves traditional and nontraditional students in pursuit of professional success through higher education.

Through the Online@DSU platform, the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences offers an online master of science in information assurance and computer security degree program that prepares students to meet the current need for qualified information assurance professionals. The program utilizes a comprehensive curriculum to develop a strong foundation of knowledge necessary to professional success.

The curriculum emphasizes key skills, including computer security strategy, managing cyber–attacks, technical leadership in matters of information security, and protecting organization assets. Students prepare to pursue a variety of careers in the field, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance consultant.

The online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security program requires 30 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Compliance and Audit
  • Computer Forensics
  • Cryptography
  • Data Privacy
  • Ethics and Information Technology
  • Incident Response
  • Managing Security Risks
  • Network Security/Intrusion Detection
  • Offensive Security
  • Principles of Information Assurance

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Dakota State University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance Education.

21

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus 

University Park, PA

About this school

Penn State World Campus, the distance education wing of Pennsylvania State University, provides online undergraduate and graduate program options across a diverse array of fields. Maintaining the same quality of education as Pennsylvania State University, Penn State World Campus serves the unique needs of nontraditional students through flexible, 100% online programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, professional development services, and a variety of other resources.

Penn State World Campus offers an online master of professional studies in information sciences—cybersecurity and information assurance degree program for students seeking to advance in the information assurance field. The program incorporates theoretical and practical approaches to develop a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to success in the field.

The curriculum blends in–depth coursework in key areas with hands–on research. Students engage with fundamental concepts of information assurance, including information security management, network security strategies and implementation, risk management, and digital forensics. Students prepare to pursue a variety of careers, including chief technology officer, IT analyst, information assurance manager, and enterprise architect.

The online Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences program requires 33 credit hours and includes the following required courses:

  • Foundations of Information Security and Assurance
  • Information Security Management
  • Intelligent Agents and Distributed Decision Making
  • Introduction to Multisensor Data Fusion
  • Knowledge Management
  • Network Management and Security
  • Web Fundamentals

Students in the online Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences program must complete a research paper or final project. Students may also choose to earn a Postbachelor’s Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity, for additional coursework.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Pennsylvania State University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education.

22

Wilmington University 

New Castle, DE

About this school

The College of Technology at Wilmington University provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse technology fields. With online program options, internship and scholarship opportunities, student organizations, and other useful resources, the College of Technology develops students of all backgrounds as qualified, career–ready technology professionals.

The College of Technology offers an online master of science and information systems technologies degree program with a concentration in information assurance. Students develop a strong foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to information assurance careers. The program draws on a blend of information systems core courses, information assurance specialization courses, in–depth research, and hands–on field experience.

The program emphasizes key subjects, such as the contemporary state of the field, information assurance strategies and incident response, web security, and network security architecture. Students prepare to advance or pursue a variety of careers in the field, including chief technology officer, network security analyst, and information assurance manager.

The online Master of Science and Information Systems Technologies program requires 36 credit hours and includes a selection of the following Information Assurance concentration courses:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Contemporary Issues in Homeland Security
  • Incident Handling and Response
  • Planning for Information Security
  • SCADA Architecture
  • SCADA Security Awareness and Standards
  • Topics in Information Assurance
  • Web and Data Security

Students in the online Master of Science and Information Systems Technologies program must complete an internship and a capstone project. The program utilizes an asynchronous model of delivery, but not a self–paced schedule, with students being expected to participate in weekly discussion boards.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Wilmington University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Education.

23

University of Maryland - University College 

Upper Marlboro, MD

About this school

The Graduate School at the University of Maryland, University College handles the graduate and professional programs of the university. Covering a diverse array of fields, The Graduate School prepares students with the education necessary for advanced careers. Through numerous online programs, online resources, and other benefits, the Graduate School serves the unique educational and professional needs of advanced, nontraditional students.

The Graduate School offers an online master of science in information technology degree program with a specialization in information assurance. Through a blend of specialization courses in the field and core coursework in information technology, students develop a balanced foundation of knowledge and skills.

The curriculum includes in–depth coursework in information assurance fundamentals, such as network and Internet security, computer forensics, and ethics, as well as a hands–on capstone. Students emerge prepared to pursue a variety of careers in the field, including chief security officer, information assurance analyst, and cybersecurity consultant.

The online Master of Science in Information Technology program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following Information Assurance specialization courses:

  • Computer Forensics
  • Cryptology and Data Protection
  • Foundations of Information Security and Assurance
  • Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention
  • Network and Internet Security
  • The Law, Regulation, and Ethics of Information Assurance

Students in the online Master of Science in Information Technology program must complete a capstone.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate the University of Maryland, University College as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education.

24

Our Lady of the Lake University 

San Antonio, TX

About this school

The School of Business and Leadership at Our Lady of the Lake University provides undergraduate and graduate program options in a variety of fields represented by several departments, including the Computer Information Systems and Security Department. To advance the mission of professional development, the school offers online programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, student organizations, and access to research programs, such as the Center for Information Assurance Management and Leadership.

The Computer Information Systems and Security Department offers an online master of science in information systems and security degree program, which is certified by the National Security Agency. The program prepares students for executive positions in information assurance through developing a strong foundation of theoretical and practical approaches to the field.

The curriculum incorporates key aspects of the field, including in–depth knowledge of information systems and databases, networking security strategies, security analysis, and Internet security architectures. Students emerge ready to enter careers in a variety of professional settings, in jobs such as chief information officer, chief technology officer, or chief security officer.

The online Master of Science in Information Systems and Security program requires 30 credit hours and consists of the following required courses:

  • Database Management Systems
  • Information Assurance Assessment
  • Information Assurance Planning and Management
  • Information Systems Development
  • Information Systems Hardware and Software Platforms
  • Internet Security Architectures
  • Principles of Information Assurance and Security
  • Special Topics in Information Systems
  • Special Topics in Information’s Systems and Security
  • Telecommunications and Networking

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designate Our Lady of the Lake University as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education.

25

Colorado Technical University 

Colorado Springs, CO

About this school

With a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, the College of Business and Management at Colorado Technical University serves students of all levels of experience. In addition to its on–campus programs, the college provides flexible online program options, professional development services, and other resources to aid students in achieving professional success.

The College of Business and Management offers an online master of science in management degree program with a concentration in Information Systems Security. The program blends core coursework in management with specialized coursework in information systems security to develop students as well–rounded professionals in the field.

The curriculum covers key topics, such as network security, security management, and information assurance strategies. Students develop leadership skills alongside in–depth knowledge of network security and information assurance principles. Students emerge prepared to pursue or advance a variety of careers, including chief information security officer, IT security manager, network security analyst, and computer security specialist.

The online Master of Science in Management program requires 48 credit hours and includes the following Information Systems Security concentration courses:

  • Computer Systems Security Foundations
  • Network Security
  • Security Management
  • Software Information Assurance
  • System Security Certification and Accreditation
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What is a Master of Information Assurance and Security Degree?

A Master of Information Assurance and Security degree prepares graduate students to pursue or advance a variety of careers in the information assurance field. Some programs provide advanced specialization in areas such as cybersecurity for those interested in niche study and professional practice. Regardless, all Master of Information Assurance and Security degree programs incorporate fundamental elements of information assurance professions. Many of the best programs boast approval by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). Some programs utilize curricula designed to professional certification standards.

How Long Does it Take to Complete and Online Master of Information Assurance and Security Degree?

Like most master’s degrees, an online Master of Information Assurance and Security degree program typically takes two years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in 18 months, and sometimes as quickly as 12, while others offer part–time programs that can be completed in three to five years.

What is Information Assurance?

Information assurance includes the protection of both digital and non–digital information, data, and records. Because of this broad focus, the field has been around much longer than the related (and sometimes confused) field of cybersecurity. Information assurance involves anticipating and managing information risks, protecting sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and being exploited for malicious purposes. Information assurance professionals work with organizations to assess their security needs and risks, to head off any issues, and, in case of a breach, managing any problems that may arise.

What is the Differences Between Information Assurance and Cybersecurity?

Though closely related, information assurance and cybersecurity professionals occupy different roles. Both fields base their practices on the value of data and its security, and both include physical security components in their scope. However, the field of information assurance takes a broader approach to protecting information. While cybersecurity focuses primarily on practical aspects of data protection, such as installing secure database architecture, information assurance extends to a theoretical level. Information assurance professionals work on developing large–scale strategies and contingency plans, researching and understanding why data breaches happen, and stopping problems at the source, rather than treating just the symptoms.

Information Assurance and Security Salary Information

Salary.com reports that information security managers with a master’s degree make a median annual salary of $113,226–$119,630, a significant increase from those with only a bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $92,600 in 2016, with the lowest 10% of earners making less than $53,760, and the highest 10% making more than $147,290. The BLS also reports median salaries for the top industries of employment, listed below:

Career Median Salary
Finance and Insurance $94,050
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $93,490
Information $92,940
Administrative and Support Services $92,890
Management of Companies and Enterprises $87,510

Information Assurance Careers

Individuals holding a Master of Information Assurance and Security degree may pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Chief Information Assurance Officer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Chief Risk Manager
  • Chief Security Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Computer Security Specialist
  • Computer System Security Analyst
  • Information Assurance Analyst
  • Information Assurance Manager
  • Information Assurance Officer
  • IT Security Manager
  • Network Security Analyst
  • Security Compliance Manager
  • Security Liaison

Professional Organizations

A variety of professional organizations exist to support individuals in the information assurance field, including the following:

Information Systems Security Association International (ISSAI):
ISSAI boasts a membership of over 10,000 information security professionals worldwide. Membership includes access to numerous professional resources and publications, access to conferences and chapter meetings, a large professional network, and a variety of award and funding opportunities.
EC–Council:
Formed in response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, the International Council of E–Commerce Consultants dedicates itself to preventing terror attacks by supporting the battle on the cyber front. The EC–Council offers a variety of training and certification programs, including the Certified Ethical Hacker, Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator, and Certified Security Analyst programs, having certified over 200,000 individuals in 145 countries. In addition to its certification programs, the EC–Council offers a variety of benefits including professional resources, consulting services, and conferences.

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