Northeastern University is launching an online graduate degree program in information assurance (IA). The program, which will train students to tackle identity theft and information security breaches, also addresses the growing demand for professionals equipped with the skills necessary to keep data safe. Online courses will begin in January 2010.
Offered by Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science, the four-semester master of science in information assurance degree program will follow an interdisciplinary approach, combining technology training with relevant classes in other fields, including the social sciences, law, criminology, and management. Northeastern has been designated by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in both information assurance education and research.
The online component enables the IA program to reach around the world to prepare professionals for successful information-security careers. At the same time, Boston-area students will be able to complete the program online, take classes on campus, or create a mix of the two formats.
"There is a high demand for skilled professionals who can keep data as safe as possible, and this program will allow more students the opportunity to pursue this degree," says Themis Papageorge, head of the program at Northeastern. "The industry needs will change, and our program will continue to evolve to address those needs."
Designed for students with both technical and non-technical backgrounds, the program will attract experienced information technology professionals as well as recent graduates interested in entering a growing field. Students take courses in both technical and contextual tracks, and can tailor their education to meet their needs.
"IA professionals must possess not only the technical knowledge, but also the skills to make the most strategic decisions when dealing with security issues," adds Papageorge. "Our students graduate knowing how information security risks are assessed and managed, and are able to successfully present their case to management."
In addition to the Center of Academic Excellence recognition, Northeastern also has been awarded a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation to fund scholarships for students interested in information assurance careers.
More information about the program is available from Bryan Lackaye, assistant director of Graduate Student Services.
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