Information assurance is quickly becoming one of the most vital fields in modern times, and a Master’s in Information Assurance is a key to success in this fast-changing field. With information at an all time premium there is a constant struggle between those looking to preserve information and those seeking to compromise information. Companies are seeking people with experience and education to preserve sensitive data.
This is a look at the top ten Master of Information Assurance degree programs. This is the premier degree for those looking to specialize in network security, many of these programs are recognized by the CNSS, a joint effort by the DoD, NSA and DHS to designate top programs in the field as they recognize the necessity of people with this expertise.
Ranking The Top 10 Master’s in Information Assurance Degree Programs
Recognition by CNSS as well as the reputation of the institutions, cost of tuition and flexibility of the programs were all taken into account for the rankings.
1. Georgia Institute of Technology: MS in Information Security
Georgia Tech is the only university of its class to offer an online distance learning Masters of Science in Information Security. This degree is essentially the computer science focused equivalent of the Master’s in Information Assurance degree. This program is a perfect choice for those with a background in computer science looking to break into the field of information security and assurance. The entry requirements are higher than most other online programs requiring the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in computer science. The minimum gpa is 3.0 though the site states most applicants have scored higher. The site also suggests that the applicant have a strong background in C programming and discrete math. If you meet these requirements, this program should definitely be considered; programs offered online by institutions of this caliber are rare. The Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Georgia Tech has been selected by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.
2. Capella University: MS in Information Technology, Information Assurance and Security Specialization
Capella offers a fantastic program for the IT professional looking to break into the field of IT security. The program is highly recognized as one of the top online programs available. Students looking to work in the top industries in the field of Information Assurance such as heath care, government or military should consider this degree. Those looking to work in the top echelon of the field in the private sector as consultants or for major corporations should consider this program as well. Capella has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Capella is also accredited by ABET, making it the top choice among online programs in the IT security field. More info on this program…
The WGU program is recognized by CNSS and is a very strong online program for the working professional. The program is specifically designed for flexibility, allowing somebody working full time in the field to pursue the degree at a reasonable rate. Another matter in favor of this institution is the extremely low tuition, which should not be taken as a slight against the quality of the program. The tuition from WGU is half of many other programs that are considered affordable, it compares to in state tuition from State Universities. Another cost saving benefit of this degree is that if you take the 18 month track, the tuition is cut by almost $3000 from $11,560 to $8670. That cost is tuition for the entire degree. Between the high level of quality and the low tuition, this degree is one of the best available online. In addition to the degree itself, you will earn the CCENT, EC0-350, EC0-349 and GIAC G2700 certificates. A strong program from a reputable institution. The program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities Distance Education and Training Council. More info on this program…
4. Iowa State University: MS in Information Assurance
This is one of the oldest information assurance programs in the country. Iowa State was one of the first seven institutions to be recognized as a NSA-Certified Center of Academic Excellence. The entry requirements are standard for the field. Two distinct programs are offered, either Master of Engineering Science in Information Assurance or a Master of Science in Information Assurance. This is an especially good option for residents of Iowa as in state tuition cuts the cost in half but it remains a viable option for anybody considering this degree. Iowa State University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
5. Dakota State University MS in Information Assurance
Yet another state university offering this degree online. One of the primary benefits of state schools is that they are recognizable, well regarded, and trusted institutions. Dakota State University is another school recognized by both the National Security Agency and The Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education. This makes it another strong choice especially considering its low tuition when compared with many institutions of similar quality. Accredited by Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
6. Capitol College: MS in Information Assurance
This program includes all ten bodies of information associated with CISSP as well as the six federal training standards. The program also offers preparation for the official CISSP exam. Capitol College is also designated by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. Admissions requirements and tuition are standard in comparison to other programs. Capitol College is another strong choice for somebody with a strong IT background seeking a Masters in the Information Assurance field. Capitol College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Norwich is also designated by The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. The admissions requirements are less stringent, depending on the applicant’s GPA the GRE may or may not be requested. The program also requires two years of work experience and is geared toward those with professional experience in the field. There is no specified GPA requirement which implies that they may not have a very high requirement, however those with a lower than average GPA may be required to submit GRE scores or other materials to help with evaluation. Tuition is higher than most other programs, probably a result of the school’s long history and reputation as The United States’ first private military college. Norwich is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. More info on this program…
Regis University offers a strong program and affordable tuition as well as some versatility with two different career concentrations. The program is tailored for working professionals with an eye for convenience and flexibility, making it a strong choice for those who wish to earn a degree while remaining full time in the field. The program site also contains a very helpful tuition comparison guide so prospective students can compare the price to other similar programs. First accredited in 1922, Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. More info on this program…
9. Northeastern University: MS in Information Assurance
Northeastern offers a quality program with less stringent admissions requirements than many other schools. The GRE is recommended but not required. They will accept any accredited undergraduate degree so long as the applicant has experience with IT systems and familiarity with discrete math. This is a strong program and Northeastern is regionally accredited New England Association of Schools and Colleges
10. Fort Hayes State University: MS in Information Assurance
This program is a Master of Liberal Studies in Information Assurance, which is a distinctive approach considering most other programs are Master of Science. The training from this degree encompasses the technical side addressed by others but also approaches information from a theoretical point of view. Tuition is affordable and the perspective is unique. This is a strong choice for those looking for a different approach to information assurance. Fort Hayes State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Now that you’ve reviewed our top 10, check out our full list of Information Assurance programs by clicking here.
Notes on Master’s in Information Assurance Degree Programs
Individuals seeking more general education in Information Technology Management will often pursue a Master’s in IT Management. These degrees cover broader IT concepts of application development, network design, entrepreneurship, and more. In many larger corporations, a Master’s in some branch of Information Technology is typically required for higher level management positions, such as those of CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and CIO (Chief Information Officer).
Managers in information assurance are charged with managing risks surrounding the use, storage, and processing of data and information within a corporation or enterprise. The field of information assurance has grown from the field of information security.
Master’s in Information Assurance degree programs teach one or more information assurance models, which include the CIA Triad (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability) and the Five Pillars of IA model which was developed by the U.S Department of Defense (DoD).
Courses commonly found in Masters in Information Assurance programs include the following.
- Introduction to the Law in Cyberspace
- Introduction to NetOps
- Applied GIG Operations to NetOps
- NetOps Training Course
- Computer Network Design and Infrastructure
- Risk Management and System Auditing
- Intrusion Detection and Control