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;
- provide technical leadership for the organization's efforts to adopt new technologies, implement security strategies, and protect organizational assets against attack.
Courses in the MSIA program may be offered using the following delivery methods:
- Face-to-face site in Madison, SD in a traditional classroom setting;
- Interactive video-conferencing via the Dakota Digital Network, may be offered at multiple sites in South Dakota depending on class availability (sites arranged to meet student need, must be requested by student);
- 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.
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:
- Bachelor's degree in networking, network administration, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, computer security, information technology, and information assurance from an institution of higher education with full regional accreditation for that degree. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree that is the equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S.
- Minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- 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.
Kyle Cronin, Steve Graham, Josh Pauli, Wayne Pauli, Ashley Podhradsky, Kevin Streff, Yong Wang
The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:
- 10 core courses (30 credit hours)
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 networking, network administration, computer engineering, computer science, software engineering, computer security, information technology, and information assurance may be required to take an additional knowledge course. Actual coursework required will depend upon previous academic coursework.