Doctorate Degree Programs in Information Assurance

Learn about what you'd study as an information assurance doctoral student and find out if this program is available online. Review the prerequisites for this degree program, course options, and get info on job options for graduates with a Ph.D. related to information assurance. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Ph.D. in Information Assurance?

A doctorate degree in information assurance, sometimes called information security, is an information and technology degree specializing in protecting digital information from human error, malfunction and malicious attacks. You can find this program in computer science, engineering and even designated Internet technology (IT) colleges.

The general goals of information assurance are to ensure the authentication, integrity, availability, non-repudiation and confidentiality of digital information. You'll learn skills fundamental to information security, such as cryptography, network security, computer forensics, data security and software security. You'll also learn how to restore compromised systems by implementing reaction, protection and detection capabilities.

Field OverviewEnsures authentication, availability, non-repudiation, integrity and confidentiality of digital information
Online OptionsPrograms available online, but short on-campus residencies may be required
Admission Requirements Master's degree in a related field, recommendation letters, GRE, personal statement; skills assessment exam may be required
Common CoursesOperating systems, theoretical computer science, computer organization, software engineering
Career OptionsUniversity teaching and research; IT management or consulting
Median Salary (2018) $98,350 (for all information security analysts
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 28% growth (for all information security analysts

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Yes, you can earn this degree online; however, distance learners may be required to purchase relevant information assurance software and obtain computer hardware upgrades. You may also be required to attend a residency week or weekend during the course of a program. Online or on-campus, this degree can take 3-5 years to complete and typically culminates in a dissertation involving a substantial work of original research overseen by an faculty adviser or program advisory committee.

What are the Educational Prerequisites?

Requirement for admission into a Ph.D. program typically consists of a master's degree, preferably in an Internet technology field, scores from a Graduate Records Exam (GRE), a personal statement and letters of recommendation. Some programs will also require passage of an Internet technology skills assessment exam, which tests your ability in various software programs, as well as operating or network systems.

What Type of Classes Will I Take?

Coursework takes place both in the classroom and in the computer lab, which is often used to learn new software and run simulations of information security crisis situations. Here are a few classes that might appear in the program curriculum:

  • Computer organization
  • Assembly language programming
  • Principles of programming languages
  • Theoretical computer science
  • Software engineering
  • Operating systems

What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get?

Many information assurance Ph.D. graduates work as high-level supervisors, managers or consultants at IT firms or for corporations. Alternatively, you could work in academia doing research on information security and teaching classes.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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