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Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Information Systems Security Overview

Majors Overview July 12, 2015

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Information Systems Security and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Information Systems Security

Students enrolled in Master of Science (M.S.) programs in Information Systems Security or Information Security are trained in assessing and solving security threats to information systems and networks. Schools offer this degree program online to facilitate working professionals. The focus of many programs is on new laws, research and advanced technology. Many schools require a thesis, and internships may be included to give students hands-on experience. Two years of study are a requirement in many programs, but this can vary by the workload that the course places on students.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a technology-based major. In many schools, applicants for admission have to meet grade point average (GPA) standards and are expected to have completed a certain number of hours of study in specific courses. Students must be proficient in English, and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores may have to be submitted by international students. They may also have to submit a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.


The focus of program coursework is on project management, theory, and research, and not on engineering principles. Students would benefit from having knowledge of programming with the need to write security programs in certain courses. Apart from courses, a thesis may typically have to be completed. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Internet security
•Telecommunications management
•Secure information system assessment
•Information system security administration
•Cyberspace policy, ethics, and law
•Security risk analysis
•Cryptology and information system security
•Defensive hacking

Career Choices

Program graduates can gain the practical skills and knowledge to seek careers in technology firms, consulting firms, financial service firms or government agencies. They can choose from various possible job options such as:

•Systems administrator
•Computer security specialist
•Database administrator
•Data communications analyst
•Network administrator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of 12% has been predicted for network systems and data communications analysts (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2014, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $76,560 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates seeking continuing education may volunteer for professional certification in vendor-specific areas as required by some employers. Certification can help professionals stay abreast of changes in technology in the dynamic field. Alternatively, students may also opt for a doctorate in information security and assurance.

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