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    Dakota State University
   
 
  Sep 26, 2017
 
 
    
Graduate Catalog 2013-2014 ARCHIVED [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Information Assurance and Computer Security, M.S.


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Program Description

According to the National Security Agency definition, information assurance involves protecting and defending information and information systems by “ensuring their availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and nonrepudiation.” As the world’s dependence upon computers and networks continues to grow, its vulnerability to cyber-attacks increases. Yet, there is an acute shortage of properly prepared security professionals who can meet the needs of organizations and governments to understand, prepare for, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks at all levels. The federal government has reported that thousands of jobs in the computer/network security area go unfilled every year and the unmet demand continues to grow.

The Masters of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security (MSIA) degree is designed to prepare professionals who will have the skills to:

  • develop and implement security strategies to improve the security poster of organizations;
                                                          and
  • provide technical leadership for the organization’s efforts to adopt new technologies, implement security strategies, and protect organizational assets against attack.

Program Delivery

Courses in the MSIA program are offered using a variety of instructional delivery methods:

  1. Face-to-face site in Madison, SD in a traditional classroom setting;
  2. Using interactive video-conferencing via the Dakota Digital Network offered at multiple sites in South Dakota (sites arranged to meet student need);
  3. At a distance via Internet, using a combination of live and/or encoded streaming videos of classes, interactive course web boards, course web sites, and e-mail. All courses are web-enhanced.

Program Completion

The program can be completed on a full or part-time basis. Full-time students will complete the program in two years. On a part-time basis, the time to complete will depend upon the number of credit hours taken per semester. Students must complete the program within 5 years of the semester of their admission.

Admission Requirements Specific to the MSIA

The Dakota State University Masters of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security program seeks highly motivated and ethical individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful graduate students and security professionals. Admission to the program is based upon a combination of the following requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or software engineering from an institution of higher education with full regional accreditation for that degree. Students who have a degree in a related information science/technology or engineering degree may be required to complete specific computer science courses as a condition for admission. The courses to be taken will depend upon previous academic coursework. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree in computer science, computer engineering or software engineering that is the equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S.
  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. A satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The test must have been taken within the last five years. The test can be waived if one of the following conditions is met:
    • a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.;
    • official admission into and demonstrated success in a regionally accredited graduate program in the U.S. Demonstrated success is defined as grades of A or B in at least 9 hours of graduate work;
                                                               OR
    • graduation from a regionally accredited college/university in the U.S. at least 15 years ago or more.
  4. Essay in response to a security problem scenario. The scenario is on the additional information required of MSIA student’s sheet which is included in the application packet.
  5. Other factors (such as proven appropriate computer science/security experience) may be used to determine potential for success in the program.

Specific Application Information

  • Entry semester: Students may enter the MSIA program in the summer, fall, and spring semesters. Applications must be received by June 15th for the fall semester; November 15th for the spring semester; April 15th for the summer semester. Assistantship forms should also be sent with the application packet when applying for an assistantship.
  • Enrollment as either a full or part-time student will be permitted.
  • Full-time students will complete the program in two years. On a part-time basis, the time to complete will depend upon the number of credit hours taken per semester.

Program Faculty

Richard Avery, Omar El-Gayar, Pat Engebretson, Steve Graham, Tom Halverson, Jeff Palmer, Josh Pauli, Wayne Pauli, Ashley Podhradsky Kevin Streff

Program Requirements

Coursework

The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:

  • Seven core courses (21 credit hours),
  • A three-course sequence (9 credit hours) in a specialization. Specializations include:
    • Banking and Financial Security
    • General

Certain courses will have mandated lab components and lab assignments. Lab assignments may require specialized hardware and/or software.

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering may be required to take an additional knowledge course. Actual coursework required will depend upon previous academic coursework.

Courses supporting the MSIA program


Knowledge Courses


Students are expected to have a strong background in computer science or information technology. Those who do not have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering may have to take an additional knowledge course. The DSU equivalent of this course is:

Required Core


All students must take the required core courses (21 cr. hrs.) and a specialization courses (9 cr. hrs.). Students without the required undergraduate coursework may have to take specific knowledge courses before entering the program.

Specializations


The two specializations include: Banking and Financial Security and General Specializations are a three-course (9 credit hours) sequence.

General Specialization


 Select courses 600-level or above from INFA, INFS and CSC prefixes.

Assessment/Evaluation Activities


All candidates for graduation must participate in an assessment activity. The Graduate Office will provide specific information to MSIA students during their final semester. Currently, the MSIA students complete a comprehensive examination. The exam must be successfully passed prior to graduation.

Course Grades


Course Grades are used as an indirect measure of student attainment of specific program goals and objectives. DSU Policy requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program, receive no grades below a C, and have no more than 2 grades of a C. If you do not maintain the required “B” average you will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to raise your GPA to 3.0 within the next nine credit hours. If you do not raise your GPA to 3.0 you will be suspended from the program. If you receive more than 6 credits of “C” or any grade lower than a “C” you will be suspended from the program. You may appeal the suspension. If you have questions regarding either these goals or objectives or grading, you should review the Satisfactory Progression Policy (DSU Policy 05-34-00) or speak with your advisor.

MSIA Course Summary


Summary subject to change.

Knowledge Support Courses (0-6 Credits)


Required only of students who do not meet specific admission knowledge requirements.

Specializations: Select one


 (Required of all students)

Banking and Financial Security Specialization (9 Credits)


General Specialization (9 Credits)


 Select courses 600-level or above from INFA, INFS and CSC prefixes.

MSIA Course Rotation


The MSIA Course Rotation can be found on the website.

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