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Master's Degree Programs in Cyber Security

by Jen Saunders, studioD

Just as we need police patrolling the streets to keep society safe, cyber security specialists are needed to safeguard and protect computers and networks from menacing activities. Cyber criminals have been responsible for causing damage to various organizations. For example, the Wikileaks fiasco caused government systems to be hacked and their secrets published online, and other hackers infiltrate home computers to steal personal information. A master's degree in cyber security will enable you to help keep cyberspace crime-free.

Cyber Security Requirements

You will be hard pressed to find a master's program that doesn't require a student to have a bachelor's degree under his academic belt. Most colleges also require students to take the Graduate Record Examination before being considered for admission. School GRE requirements vary, and some do not require the GRE at all. For example, The University of Maryland University College does not require its students to take the GRE but instead values a student's past education and workplace experiences.

Courses in Cyber Security

Various colleges have different course and academic requirements for earning the M.S. degree in cyber security. For example, George Washington University requires their students to take 30 graduate credit hours by completing a number of courses in Computer Security, Information Policy, Computer Network Defense, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Computer Architectures, Advanced Software Paradigms, Internet and On-Line Law for Security Managers and Information Operations. Most graduate-level courses are designed to teach students how to secure and monitor modern cyberspace.

Schools with Cyber Security Programs

Several types of schools offer a master's degree in cyber security, including tech schools, four-year universities and online schools. Earning a graduate degree may not be the right choice for every student, but for some, it is the only way they can receive a higher education. Some students work full-time jobs while others might be single parents. Other students don't have time to attend school during the day, and online graduate programs like the M.S. in cyber security offered at NYU Poly present students with a 30-credit program they can complete from home on their own time. Named one of the best schools in cyber security by "U.S. News World and Report," George Mason's M.S. in cyber security stems from a diverse university curriculum for on-campus learning.

Career Outlook

Your master's degree in cyber security will keep you employed in a field that will continue to grow with a plethora of employment opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber security careers are projected to grow by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020 -- significantly higher than normal industry growth. Cyber security analysts also earn a very comfortable salary, with a median pay of $75,660. In addition to a favorable salary and a bright employment outlook, cyber security professionals can work in a number of sectors that include government, health care, education, corporate, non-profits and any field that relies on professional cyber cops.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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