PhD in Computer Security

As a doctoral student in this field, you might research information phishing, botnets or computer forensics. Read on to find out more about Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in computer security. Explore what classes you'll take, how online learning options work and typical prerequisites. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Courses Will I Take in a Computer Security Ph.D. Program?

You'll often find computer security as a concentration within an on-campus or online doctoral program in computer science or computer and information sciences. Your curriculum likely will be made up of core computer security courses, research and a dissertation. Most programs also include study of cyber-terrorism and computer forensics within their security concentrations.

As a Ph.D. student, you can gain advanced knowledge and a deeper understanding of the computer security field through core courses such as the following:

  • Network security
  • Database systems
  • Privacy issues
  • Telecommunications
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Risk management
  • Information security management
  • Research methodology

Common CoursesDatabase systems, telecommunications, risk management, research methodology, privacy issues
Online Learning MethodsChatrooms, discussion boards, multimedia presentations and white boards are used for learning and interacting
Admission RequirementsMay require computer science exams, GRE or GMAT scores, relevant master's degree, programming knowledge, letters of recommendation

How Do Online Courses Work?

As an online student, you'll probably have Web access to your course materials. You'll typically correspond with instructors and dissertation advisers through e-mail, and you may connect with peers and faculty through interactive learning tools, such as threaded discussion boards, chat rooms, white boards and multimedia presentations. Online program coursework, research and dissertation requirements generally are the same as for on-campus programs.

What are the Prerequisites?

Most on-campus and online programs require you to pass several qualifying examinations prior to acceptance as a doctoral candidate. These exams typically cover topics such as the following:

  • Information security
  • Operating systems
  • Software construction
  • Compilers and languages
  • Algorithms
  • Networks
  • Database systems

In addition to qualifying exams, most programs require minimum scores on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination), letters of recommendation and a master's degree in a related field. You may be required to know programming languages, such as Java, C or C++, that are appropriate for the courses you choose, in addition to demonstrating a strong knowledge of math, including differential equations and linear and matrix algebra.

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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