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Guide to the top college and university cyber security degree programs

Bob Violino | July 10, 2017
Business and technology higher education institutions are offering cyber security degrees and programs to help meet the job demand.

Placement: The two-year MSISPM program has a required internship. A career services team works with students to find leads, negotiate offers, perform mock interviews and write cover letters or resumes.

Johns Hopkins University, Information Security Institute 

The Johns Hopkins Master of Science in Security Informatics (MSSI) makes numerous security-management and core management courses available to students. “The MSSI program provides a holistic approach to information security education, including courses on privacy, ethics and policy, and it has a specialization dual degree option in healthcare security,” says Tony Dahbura, executive director of the institute.

It gives students a means to perform original research in the cyber security field. “Students are required to complete a capstone project under the supervision of faculty and external mentors,” Dahbura says. “These projects often lead to conference publications and other recognition.”

A policy and management track is designed for students who plan to go into consulting, policy-making or technical management, he says.

More than 25 companies and government organizations each year participate in a seminar series for students, in which they discuss cyber-related technical topics, provide information on their organizations, and make contact with interested students for career opportunities.

The organization partners with multiple companies and government agencies in a variety of ways: mentoring and co-mentoring on student capstone projects, participation in the institute’s Career Services seminar series and job opportunity announcements; membership in the institute’s advisory board to discuss emerging cyber security topics, and providing instructors to bring the latest cyber security practices to students. 

Degrees: A Master of Science in Security Informatics (MSSI) degree program. The institute offers a policy and management degree track in addition to its technology and research track.

Curriculum: Technical courses include modern cryptography, network security, ethical hacking, software vulnerability analysis and cloud security. Management-related courses include financial issues in managing a secure operation and implementing effective information and security programs. Foundational management courses include writing articles and technical reports, presentation skills for scientists and engineers, managing people and resolving conflict, project management, leading change and fundamentals of management.

Placement: A cyber security-focused career services function helps MSSI students more readily obtain full-time jobs and internships. 


University of Maryland 

The university provides cyber security education through a program called Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES). The ACES curriculum consists of two linked, four-year academic programs: the Living-Learning Program (LLP) for freshmen and sophomores leading to an Honors College Citation in Cybersecurity; and the ACES minor, for juniors and seniors.

In the LLP, freshmen and sophomores live and work together both in and out of the classroom, says Michel Cukier, director of ACES. The curriculum introduces a group of honors college students who have an interest in cyber security to the hands-on technical and non-technical aspects of the field.


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