Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences - Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

A student of information sciences draws a diagram

Cybersecurity and information assurance — it's a constant challenge for individuals, businesses, and governments. There is no shortage of publicity surrounding security failures, breaches, and cyberattacks. The increasing dependence on technology to power critical infrastructures across the globe exposes vulnerabilities, and the consequences of a successful cyberattack can be far reaching. In fact, a recent article notes that hackers are pilfering $250 billion a year in intellectual property, including weapons designs and source code, as well as trade secrets from consumer industries.

Information sharing, the way we buy and sell goods and the sheer amount of data shared and exchanged via technology, points to an increasing need for a skilled workforce — individuals who can recognize and anticipate failures and intrusions and those who can ensure network and system security.

Why Information Sciences Online at Penn State?

Pursuing the online Master of Professional Studies in Information Studies (MPS in IS) gives you flexibility combined with a highly relevant course curriculum that incorporates real-world business issues and simulations. The program takes a multidimensional perspective on cyber-domains that is defined by using a socio-technical approach to generate solutions to complex problems.

Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) is a leader among information schools, and the faculty are a diverse group of thought leaders from numerous fields, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and more.

Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

The MPS in IS program consists of foundational courses combined with courses specific to cybersecurity and information assurance. The MPS in IS — cybersecurity and information assurance — focuses on information analysis, cyber security, and information science training. Penn State is a provider in information security and assurance and has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Who Should Apply?

With the growing national focus on information assurance and cyber security, the degree is an excellent choice if you are interested in exploring in depth the nature of information and networks and recognizing the multiple internal and external threats posed to cyberspace.

The MPS in IS is open to individuals who hold a bachelor's degree. Since the degree is multidisciplinary in nature, students from almost any discipline may be accepted into the program. You should have a basic competency in college algebra computer programming, networks, and information technology (related work experience is also acceptable).

Earn a Certificate in Information Systems Security

Along the way to earning your master's degree, you can further enhance your résumé by earning a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Information Systems Security. If you are a mid- to high-level IT professional in any industry sector, who wants to strengthen your knowledge and skills in information security and information security management, the 15-credit certificate can provide you with a solid, graduate-level education. To earn the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Information Systems Security,you must apply for it separately.

Courses include:

  • IST 516 Web and Internet Information Retrieval
  • IST 554 Network Management and Security
  • Select three from the following:
    • IN SC 561 Web Security and Privacy
    • IST 451 Network Security
    • IST 454 Computer and Cyber Forensics
    • IST 456 Information Security Management
    • IST 564 Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management

Career Opportunities for Graduates

As an information science professional with a master's degree, you can enter the marketplace with a distinct advantage; acquiring the degree can also provide you with more opportunities to earn a higher salary than other professionals in the same field.

You can prepare for positions such as:

  • information assurance manager
  • intel analyst
  • information assurance/security engineer
  • network intel analyst
  • enterprise architect
  • cyber network security engineer
  • information assurance analyst
  • catastrophe risk analyst
  • computer system security analyst
  • systems integration analyst
  • IT analyst
  • IT consulting manager

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.