What Is the Curriculum of a Master's Degree in Computer Security?

Going beyond the nuts and bolts of firewalls, intrusion detection and routers, a master's degree curriculum in computer security addresses a variety of social and management issues affecting data integrity. Students at the master's level will often take courses that blend business skills with technical knowledge. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Master's Degree in Computer Security?

Most information security analysts and network security professionals are only required to have a bachelor's degree in information security, and master's degrees in the field are generally designed for students and professionals who aspire to attain management roles. Thus, these graduate-level programs often blend practical, hands-on security skills with business and financial knowledge. They teach students how to control a budget and implement complicated security policies. These programs also often include courses in non-security-related topics, such as the principles of finance, accounting, statistics, legal issues and more. Some of these courses are detailed below.

Important Facts About These Programs

Online Availability Full programs are available online.
Possible Careers Test engineer, IT service desk manager, systems support specialist, software engineer
Prerequisites A bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or something similar, a minimum GPA and GRE scores, three letters of recommendation
Specializations Information assurance, intelligence, computer forensics
Median Salary (2018) $98,350 (for information security analysts)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 28% growth (for information security analysts)

Network Security

This course covers the physical components that make up a network security strategy, including firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), biometric systems, intrusion detection devices and more. This part of the curriculum also deals with some of the appropriate application of various encryption and security protocols, including PGP, IPSec and SSL.

Information Security

These courses deal predominantly with the administration and enforcement of security policies. Master's degree-seeking students learn to make decisions when the needs of many different departments are on the table. Students also study security policy implementation, security auditing, vulnerability assessment, risk management and industry legal requirements.

Applied Cryptography

Covering the various means of encryption, this course studies how organizations keep data secure as it passes from one location to the next. Students learn the theory and mathematics behind various cryptographic security systems, as well as the methods of attack used to circumvent these systems. Discussions revolve around block ciphers, stream ciphers, public keys, signature schemes and discrete logarithms.

Information Security Policy and Management

Addressing the impact of computers and networks in society is one of the ways that a master's degree-holder in security develops a critical view of security policy implementation. Topics include the impact computers have on morals, law, public policy, communities, workplaces and privacy.

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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