Online PhD in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity

Online doctoral programs in information assurance and cybersecurity are offered at a select few schools across the country. Read on for more information on courseloads, admissions requirements, and career outcomes for these programs. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Coursework for Online Ph.D. Programs in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity

Online Ph.D. programs in information assurance and cybersecurity are rare, but a few schools do offer doctoral degree programs with titles such as Doctorate of Information Assurance (DIA) and Doctorate in Cybersecurity (D.Sc.) Regardless of their respective names, these programs focus on similar topics, such as network security, risk management, and research methods.

Cybersecurity Research

This course provides students with an introduction to the qualitative and quantitative research methods used in the field of cybersecurity. Students can learn how to select quantitative instruments, evaluate a research method's reliability and validity, develop research questions and associated hypotheses, develop ethical sampling approaches, and devise data collection plans. Candidates also explore contemporary research and how to understand and critically analyze cybersecurity literature.

Security Ethics

In this course, candidates take a step back from acquiring technical knowledge and focus on the moral and ethical implications of information security. The class examines the legal and political factors that impact cybersecurity, along with the compliance issues that come with the collection of data. Students explore real-world examples, such as case studies and political documents, as they gain an understanding of the ethical component of the field.

Information Security

This offering serves as an introduction to the core information security principles needed to protect sensitive information. The course shows students how to plan, design, and manage security systems for organizations. The course also explores the role of a modern information security professional and the challenges faced by those working in security roles.

Network Security

Building off of topics covered in information security courses, this class focuses specifically on the measures and techniques used to keep networks secure. Candidates learn information assurance techniques like predicting, examining, and estimating protection mechanisms. The course also concentrates on the various means that hackers use to infiltrate networks, such as password cracking, key loggers, and buffer overflow attacks.

Risk Management

In this class, candidates learn about the main concerns of the cybersecurity field and how to devise the best course of action to prevent the theft or loss of information. Course topics include risk modeling, management, and assessment. The course also covers the legal and technological challenges that affect risk management, such as understaffed defense teams and a lack of defense funding.

How to Apply to an Online Doctoral Program in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity

In order to be eligible to apply to an online doctoral program, prospective students must have at least an undergraduate degree, and many schools also require a master's degree.

In addition to transcripts, schools commonly ask for an updated resume in order to check a candidate's work history for relevant experience. Some schools also require GRE scores or an interview with the admissions committee. Students who earned their previous degrees outside of the United States may also need to take an English proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL.

Career Paths for Online Ph.D. in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity Graduates

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers oversee an organization's IT activities via the development and management of computer systems. They plan the installation of software, devise security practices, and look for ways to improve efficiency in a company's IT infrastructure. A systems manager's day-to-day responsibilities rely heavily on the cybersecurity and information assurance skills that are taught in an online doctoral program, which means that graduates from these programs who also have several years of related experience are especially qualified to fill these roles.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists conduct research in an effort to develop new technologies and find improvements for existing systems. This role is a natural fit for candidates with a doctoral degree in information assurance and cybersecurity because it involves extensive research and an advanced understanding of information security concepts.

Postsecondary Computer Science Teacher

Program graduates looking for opportunities to help others enter cybersecurity roles can pursue careers as postsecondary computer science teachers, where they can design instructional lessons and provide students with feedback on their work. Candidates for these roles need to have excellent computer skills in addition to interpersonal skills. Students with a doctoral degree in information assurance and cybersecurity can take on tenure-track positions at 4-year colleges and universities.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Computer and Information Systems Managers $142,530 11% (Much faster than average)
Computer and Information Research Scientists $118,370 16% (Much faster than average)
Postsecondary Computer Science Teacher $82,220 4% (As fast as average)

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online doctoral programs in information assurance and cybersecurity are rare but can be found at a few schools across the country. These programs provide instruction in critical risk management and information security concepts and prepare graduates for work in a number of upper-level IT professions.

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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