Earn your master's degree in information technology with a specialization in information assurance while building skills to stand out in the fast-growing fields of information assurance and cyber security.

The Master of Science in information technology with a specialization in information assurance at University of Maryland Global Campus will provide you with a practical understanding of the principles of data protection, cyber security, and computer forensics. Perfect for midcareer professionals or career changers, the information assurance specialization offers sought-after skills in network and internet security, intrusion detection and prevention, and cryptology, while also strengthening your core IT knowledge and project management abilities.

These program requirements are for students who enroll in the 2019–2020 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit the catalog archive in the Current Students section.

About the Information Technology Master's Degree with Information Assurance Specialization

The information assurance curriculum can help you gain valuable experience through laboratory exercises that mimic the requirements of a real-world environment. You'll learn job-relevant skills from case studies of real information assurance crises.

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Secure information using knowledge of symmetric and asymmetric keys, protocols for exchanging secure data (including the Data Encryption Standard and the Advanced Encryption Standard), and other cryptographic methods and cryptanalysis tools
  • Protect networks using risk analysis, defense models, security policy development, authentication and authorization controls, firewalls, packet filtering, virtual private networks (VPNs), and wireless network security
  • Respond to attacks with damage assessments, data forensics, attack tracing, and system recovery processes for continuity of operation
  • Identify system vulnerabilities and attack patterns and solve problems with intrusion detection tactics
  • Navigate ethics, relevant laws, regulations, policies, and standards
  • Lead successful teams with advanced project management skills

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Study and experiment with real-world tools and techniques to perform
    • Information risk analysis
    • Network packet analysis
    • Forensics evidence collection and preservation
    • Protocol analysis
    • Intrusion detection and prevention
    • Encryption/decryption of files and messages
    • Vulnerability assessments

Industry Certification

This program can help prepare you for the following certification exam(s):

Information Technology Master's Degree with Information Assurance Specialization Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Master's - specialization Courses

Introductory Course

  • UCSP 615
    (to be taken within the first 6 credits of study)

Core Courses

  • ITEC 610
  • ITEC 625
  • ITEC 626
  • ITEC 630
  • ITEC 640

Core Rules & Recommendations

  • ITEC 610 must be taken in the first term of coursework.

Specialization Courses

  • INFA 610
  • INFA 620
  • INFA 630
  • INFA 640
  • INFA 650
  • INFA 660

Specialization Rules & Recommendations

  • INFA 610 must be taken as the first specialization course.

Capstone Course

  • INFA 670

Capstone Rules & Recommendations

  • You must complete all other specialization coursework before taking INFA 670. (You may take one 3-credit course concurrently.)

Other Requirements

  • You must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher at all times.
  • All degree requirements must be fulfilled within five consecutive years.
  • Any transfer credits must have been earned within the five-year time frame to be applied toward a graduate degree.

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help prepare you for a career in the cyber security and information assurance field in the areas of network and Internet security, intrusion detection and prevention, cryptology, cyber law, and software assurance.

Experience Recommended for Success in the Program

We recommend a background in information technology. If you lack programming experience, we suggest you take UCSP 635 and UCSP 636 to gain the appropriate foundation. We recommend UCSP 605 if you'd like to improve your graduate writing skills.

Student Clubs and Organizations

    Type: Student organization
    Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

    The Computing Club aims to create a dynamic environment where members can work collaboratively, share innovative ideas, enhance their career-readiness, and gain marketable experience in their respective fields.

    Type: Student organization
    Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

    The Cyber Competition Team represents UMGC at various cybersecurity events and highly competitive tournaments nationwide. Being a member of the team allows students to develop their cybersecurity skills and to network with other students with similar interests.

Special Designations

PSM LogoThis program has received a special designation as a Professional Science Master's Degree by the Council of Graduate Schools.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Program

What is the difference between information assurance and cyber security? +

Information assurance focuses on the confidentiality, integrity, availability, authentication, and validation of data. These are all accepted, well-understood, and mostly technical issues. Cyber security focuses on securing the safety of computers and computer systems in a networked environment—security issues typically are approached from a broader background, including socio-economic, political, and psychological contexts.