Master of Science Programs in Cybersecurity
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between information assurance and cybersecurity?

Information assurance focuses on the confidentiality, integrity, availability, authentication and validation of data. These are all accepted, well-understood and mostly technical issues. Cybersecurity focuses on securing the safety of computers and computer systems in a networked environment—security issues typically are approached from a broader background (socio-economic, political, psychological etc.).

What is the difference between the MS in Information Technology with Information Assurance specialization and the MS programs in cybersecurity?

The two disciplines are interrelated, but differ in the approaches adopted, the methodologies used and the areas of emphasis.

The information assurance program focuses on individual solutions, such as access control, encryption or compliance, while the cybersecurity programs focus on coherent solutions comprising the effectiveness of integrated and coordinated security measures, as well as multi-level and multi-aspect controls. For this reason, cybersecurity requires an interdisciplinary approach to consolidate cyber defense efforts, break down barriers to collaboration, develop new security technologies and facilitate increased national public awareness of cybersecurity issues.

Who should consider a degree in cybersecurity?

The graduate cybersecurity programs are designed for mid-career professionals who wish to help meet the challenges posed by increasing cyber-threats. With a degree in cybersecurity, you may qualify for the following career paths:

  • Chief security officer
  • Cyber policy analyst
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Cybersecurity engineer
  • Cybersecurity operator
  • Cybersecurity software engineer
  • Digital forensics expert
  • Information systems security administrator
  • Senior systems manager

Can I complete the graduate program online, or will I be required to attend on-site classes?

All of the MS in cybersecurity programs are available online only.

Will I be able to successfully complete the graduate degree program without prior computer science or cybersecurity experience?

Yes, it's possible. The graduate cybersecurity program covers many technical topics, but assumes no previous experience in cybersecurity or computer science. You may also want to consider the MS in Cybersecurity Policy program, which is less technical in nature and, therefore, does not require prior technical expertise.

I'm receiving financial aid. Will the cybersecurity courses be 3 or 6 credits?

All courses in the MS programs are worth 6 credits.

Can I earn a dual master's degree?

Yes. These dual degrees are one-directional. The MBA must be earned second. Degree requirements for both programs must be completed within seven years.

Will I be required to purchase a new computer or equipment?

Because most of our courses are completely online, you will need a computer that meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for applications, such as Microsoft Office products, and internet browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Although these requirements vary as products are updated, the minimum requirements currently fall within the following specifications:

  • Computer Processor: Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon 64, running at least 1 GHz or higher
  • Computer Memory: 2 GB RAM or higher
  • Operating System: Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.6, or higher (Linux operating systems can also be used, but require more technical knowledge of Linux from the student.)
  • Hard Drive: At least 5 GB free hard drive space
  • Accessories: Microphone, speakers, headset with speakers, or equivalent device(s)
  • Internet Connection: High-speed internet connection, either wireless or wired

Please note that the higher your computer's processor speed (e.g. 2.4–3.4 GHz) is, the larger the amount of memory (e.g. 4–12 GB) and hard drive space (e.g. 5–20 GB) you will have available. Your computer will perform better and your experience with course delivery will be smoother as well.

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