Cyber security risks and constant changes in innovation and technology have made cyber security management a vital aspect of all organizational strategies. A degree in cyber security management offers technology professionals the leadership and management expertise as well as the focus on technology and policy challenges that have become vital to organizational strategy.
Finding the right cyber security graduate program takes a great deal of research, time, and energy. While many programs contain similar elements, each has distinctive program offerings that make the program stand out among the rest. Weighing the format and curriculum focus of each program is of great importance because it could impact your learning and your ability to succeed in your chosen career path.
Below we compare six cyber security programs in the Washington, D.C., region to consider. While each of these programs has the same benefit of a great location near Washington, D.C., there are many other features that make each stand out from one another.
Here’s a short break down of each:
George Mason University
Cost: $49,600 ($1,378 per credit)
Credits: 36 credits
George Mason University School of Management offers a 16 month MS in Management of Secure Information Systems. This unique program includes a cohort structure, global residency, and weekend-only classes. This program serves technology professionals who are looking to add a management foundation to move into a leadership role within their organization. This executive degree program has all-inclusive tuition including text books and study materials, parking, lunch on class days, and global residency travel and accommodations. Unlike other cyber security program which are purely technical in nature, Mason’s program is a cross-disciplinary cyber security degree program drawing on the expertise of faculty members within the School of Management, School of Public Policy, and Volgenau School of Engineering.
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated George Mason University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research.
George Mason’s cyber security program director, along with several faculty who teach in the program, recently received National Science Foundation grant to establish CISO core competencies and incorporate them into learning objectives for cyber security education.
Cost: $28,380 ($946/credit)
The Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management program at Georgetown University offers a 30 credit program with a concentration in information security. This program is designed for CIOs, IT managers and others who wish to become grounded in enterprise security, privacy, information security assessment and management, and cyber security. Beginning in 2013, classes will be held in downtown DC. Most students complete the program in 18 months.
George Washington University
Cost: $25,920 ($720/credit)
George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies offers a 16 month, online Master of Professional Studies in Security and Safety Leadership. This 36 credit program offers cohort structure and offers concentrations in Strategic Security and Cyber Security and a capstone. Technology-focused curriculum examines counter-terrorism, intelligence analysis, emerging security threats, and relevant legislation, enhancing the implementation of security practices in both public and private sectors. Evening classes are held in Arlington, VA, Newport News, VA and are available online.
Cost: $43,200 ($1,440/credit)
George Washington University also offers a 30 credit MS in cyber security in the Department of Computer Science. Classes are offered in the evening in order to accommodate working professionals. This technology-focused program provides students with up-to-date knowledge and skills in cyber security.
Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering Information Security Institute in North Baltimore, MD offers a full-time MS in Security Informatics. This is the first program nationally to cover information security issues in healthcare systems. Courses include topics on technology, policy, health and management. The program takes 3 semesters to complete, includes a capstone, and offers electives at multiple locations including Washington, D.C. Multiple dual degree opportunities are available, including a Dual Master’s Program of MSSI/MSECS - Engineering in Computer Science, a DMP of MSSI/Masters in Applied Math & Statistics (Master of Public Policy), a DMP of MSSI/MHS - Master of Health Sciences or a MSSI/Certificate in National Security Studies.
Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering – Engineering for Professionals also offers an MS in Cybersecurity (formerly Information Assurance) on evenings and Saturdays in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, with many courses offered online. This 10-course graduate program balances theory with practice, providing students the knowledge and skills needed to protect and defend information systems from attacks. Students can concentrate in networks, systems, or analysis.
Not only is it important to consider items such as location and price when researching programs, but it is very important to consider other distinctive elements such as international residency programs that offer you an unique first-hand global experience, or a diverse student body that allows you to learn business practices and customs from your peers. Even program length is a great item to consider as the sooner you complete your program, the quicker you can be out using your new skills in your current job or a new job. The format of the program you choose will make the difference in your learning and future career success.