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So, you want a Masters Degree in cybersecurity?

A sampling of cybersecurity Masters Degree programs at Universities in the U.S.

In last week's Cybersecurity Business Report, we suggested you might want to send your kid to cybersecurity school (college).

This week, we take a cursory glance at some Cybersecurity Masters Degree Programs in the U.S.  The list is intended as a starting point, and not an endorsement of any particular school.  Each of the schools presented have their own unique courses, and some get in to security niches not covered by others.

The 10 (hyperlinks go the Masters program at each school):

  • American Military University in West Virginia offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Cybersecurity studies.   Students learn to analyze the national cyber threat landscape and cybersecurity challenges from both external entities and domestic sources.  They also learn to examine the legal, social, regulatory, ethical, and technical issues related to securing information systems and national critical infrastructures.
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania offers the Master of Science in Information Security.  In 16 or 20 months, the program enhances a technical education in computer systems and security with research/development opportunities and the option to take additional courses in areas complementary to security. Graduates may pursue doctoral degrees or positions as security experts equipped to manage the growing complexities associated with securing data, networks and systems. This graduate degree program meets the criteria for the NSF-funded CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program (SFS). U.S. citizens who are accepted may be eligible for a full scholarship and stipend from the federal government.
  • Fordham University's School of Professional and Continuing Studies in New York offers a 10-course 30-credit Masters in Cybersecurity with specialty courses including Wireless Security, Forensic Computing, Intrusion Detection and Network Forensics, Malware Analytics and Software Security, Incidence Response and Risk Management, and others.
  • George Washington University in Washington DC offers the 30-credit Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Courses include Applied Cryptography, Network Security, Software Security, Information Policy, Wireless and Mobile Security, E-Commerce Security, Internet and Online Law for Security Managers, and others.
  • Indiana University in Bloomington offers the 36-credit Masters of Science in Security Informatics, which is an interdisciplinary focus that combines coursework in mathematics, protocol analysis, and system and network security, with business and economics, social engineering, human-computer interaction, and other disciplines. In addition, MSSI students choose a concentration in financial risk, computer science, criminal justice, or security education.
  • Northeastern University in Boston offers a Master of Science in Information Assurance.  Northeastern University has been recognized for academic excellence in information assurance education, research, and cyber operations by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Students gain the broad knowledge needed to make strategic decisions to combat information security threats, including identity theft, computer malware, electronic fraud, and cyber attacks.
  • The University of Maryland offers a Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity, offered in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, which recommends six core courses and four technical electives.  The core courses are Secure Programming in C, Network Security, Networks and Protocols, Secure Operating Systems, Security Tools for Information Security, and Information Assurance.
  • The University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering.  The degree focuses on the fundamentals of developing, engineering and operating secure information systems. Students will be well versed in the challenges and problems of secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography and key management. They will understand how to develop a security policy and how policy drives technology decisions.
  • The University of South Florida (USF) offers a fully Online Masters Degree in Cybersecurity.  The program concentrates on cyber intelligence, digital forensics, and information assurance.  If an online program concerns you, we should point out that USF has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity (CAE IA/Cybersecurity) by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
  • The University of Washington (Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma) offers the The Master of Science degree in Cyber Security Engineering.  Curriculum within the program focuses on three primary facets of cybersecurity: protection, detection and correction.  Graduates with the MS in Cyber Security Engineering will have the skills and knowledge to protect pre-existing infrastructures, detect intrusions or abuses andrespond to attacks in such a way that minimizes the losses and facilitates re-engineering information infrastructures to eliminate vulnerabilities.

Does a Masters Degree in the cybersecurity field pay?

Last week, we looked at some Cybersecurity salary figures in the six-figures.  Considering the pay, the other consideration for students thinking about a Masters in the field would be job market conditions and forecasts.

The University of Southern Florida says the demand for cybersecurity jobs is growing at 12 times the overall job market - and that 40% percent of junior-level security jobs are vacant. At the senior and manager level, there are vacancy rates of more than 50%.

More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and postings are up 74 percent over the past five years, according to a Peninsula Press (a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program) analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for information security professionals is expected to grow by 53% through 2018.

Northeastern University states that in recent years their MS in Information Assurance graduates have a record of 100% employment in their chosen field.

U.S. News and World Report ranked a career in information security analysis eighth on its list of the 100 best jobs for 2015. They state the profession is growing at a rate of 36.5 percent through 2022.

For students who graduate with a Masters Degree in Cybersecurity, they are well on their way to a rewarding, stable, and well paying career.

More Programs

For those interested in a Masters in Cybersecurity, here's a roundup of some more programs across the U.S.:

Kerry Morgan, a sophomore studying forensic accounting at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, assisted with research on the compilation of schools listed.

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