Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Available in Maryland

Maryland is home to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, the United States Cyber Command and Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade, as well as 13 additional military installations. Private companies in Maryland that contract with government agencies to provide cybersecurity services and solutions include Lockheed Martin in Bethesda and Light Point Security in Baltimore. In fact, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, as of 2015 Maryland housed 14 of the top 500 cybersecurity companies in the world, including KEYW Corporation in Hanover; RedOwl in Baltimore; Arxan in Bethesda; Patriot in Frederick; and Tenable Network Security in Columbia.

In May 2016, Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersburger proposed a bill to expand the Cyber Command Unit at Fort Meade, to protect American military networks from cyber attacks. If passed, this bill would place Maryland at the vanguard of the country’s war on cyber terrorism. According to Ruppersburger, Maryland is already known internationally as the cyber security capital of the world. If Fort Meade’s Cyber Command Unit is expanded, even more cyber security jobs would come to the state.

According to a 2015 report by job market analytics company Burning Glass Technologies, the leading states per capita in hiring for cybersecurity jobs are, in order, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. The company also noted that 84 percent of cybersecurity jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, and 83 percent require a minimum of three years of experience. This emphasizes the importance of both education and experience in the cybersecurity realm, and makes it clear that a graduate degree or certificate in cybersecurity is a valuable tool for professionals.

Earning a Master’s Degree or Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity in Maryland

Maryland’s university system has contributed to making the area a hub of cyber defense innovation. There are no shortage of graduate programs here that meet the standards necessary to receive recognition from the nation’s preeminent defense and intelligence agencies.

The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security offer designations specific to two classifications of schools that offer graduate programs in information security:

  • CAE-CDE – National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (qualifying colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates)
  • CAE-R – National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (schools that participate in research initiatives and that integrate a strong research component into the curriculum of bachelor’s and graduate programs)

Designated master’s degree programs usually consists of approximately 18 core credits and 18 elective credits. Graduate certificate programs usually consist of 15 credits of courses, with two elective credits.

Admissions Requirements

Most graduate level cybersecurity programs require applicants to meet prerequisites and other requirements prior to enrollment that include:

  • Possessing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, engineering, or a related field
  • Maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Passing an entrance exam such as the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Providing three letters of recommendation
  • Writing an essay detailing why an applicant is applying to the cybersecurity graduate program
  • Completing these prerequisite courses:
    • One year of calculus
    • One mathematics course beyond calculus (such as differential equations, discrete mathematics or linear algebra)
    • One course in discrete structures
    • One course in computer programming (usually C++ or Java)
    • One course in computer organization or structure
    • One course in computer law and ethics
    • One course in operating systems

Sometimes, graduate schools will give applicants the opportunity to fulfill computer science and math prerequisites through undergraduate-level bridge courses.

Core Courses and Electives Found in Cybersecurity Master’s Programs

Foundational coursework in most graduate cybersecurity programs will carry titles such as:

  • Networks and protocols
  • Secure operating systems
  • Risk management
  • Network security
  • Information assurance
  • Security tools for information security

Some examples of electives that a graduate cybersecurity program may offer include:

  • Software engineering
  • Software design and implementation
  • Systems concepts, issues and processes
  • Theory and practice of o-intrusion detection
  • Digital forensics and incidence response

NSA and Homeland Security Designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Maryland

As of 2016, the following schools have met the rigorous criteria required to earn the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) designation for their master’s and post-bachelor’s certificate programs:

Bowie State University, Center for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies

  • Master of Science in Management Information Systems with a concentration in Information Assurance

Capitol Technology University

  • Master of Science in Cyber and Information Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigations
  • Graduate Certificate in Cyber Network Operations
  • Graduate Certificate in Secure Cloud Computing
  • Graduate Certificate in Secure Software Development
  • Graduate Certificate in Secure Mobile Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in Secure Access and Identity Management

The John Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering

  • Master of Science in Security Informatics – national security track
  • Master of Science in Security Informatics – technology and research track
  • Master of Science in Security Informatics – policy and management track
  • Master of Science in Security Informatics/Master of Science in Engineering and Computer Science (dual degree)
  • Master of Science in Security Informatics/Master of Health Sciences (dual degree)
  • Master of Science in Security Informatics/Master of Science in Applied Math and Statistics (dual degree)

Morgan State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security

Towson University, Department of Computer and Information Sciences

  • Master of Science in Computer Science – Computer Security track
  • Master of Science in Applied Information Technology – concentration in Information Assurance
  • Information Security & Assurance Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

United States Naval Academy, Center for Cybersecurity Studies

  • Master of Science in Computer Science

University of Maryland University College, Cybersecurity

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology
  • Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy
  • Master of Science in Information Technology – specialization in Information Assurance
  • Master of Science in Information Technology – specialization in Homeland Security Management

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Cybersecurity

  • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity

Additionally, University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies Cybersecurity Center (MC2) holds the esteemed NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation and offers:

  • Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity
  • Graduate Certificate in Engineering – Cybersecurity

Opportunities Available to Master’s-Prepared Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists in Maryland

With its proximity to our nation’s capital, Maryland is home to many cybersecurity opportunities for graduate-educated professionals. According to the job market analytics company Burning Glass Technologies, as of 2015, job growth in the cybersecurity field has tripled when compared to job growth for other information technology professions. This company notes that of the over 200,000 cybersecurity jobs across the country, about 10,000 of them are in Maryland.

The following job listings (circa May 2016) reflect current job opportunities and offer insight into the numerous types of professional opportunities available to master’s-prepared cybersecurity graduates in Maryland, but are not intended to imply any guarantee of employment:

Cyber Counterintelligence Officer/Analyst, Information Innovators, Inc. – Baltimore, MD

Responsibilities:

  • Serve as focal point for all cyber counterintelligence support to research, development and acquisition issues
  • Conduct cyber counterintelligence research, analysis, production and reporting
  • Operational coordination between department, other government agencies and the Department of Defense for cyber counterintelligence matters
  • Provide cyber counterintelligence related guidance, advice and recommendations to customers

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, cyber security or related field required; master’s degree preferred
  • Five years of experience in the intelligence/counterintelligence community
  • Certification as a CISM, CISSP, CCIP or CCII
  • Able to obtain Department of Defense Secret or Top Secret clearance

Cyber Security Engineer, Barrow Wise Consulting, LLC- Rockville, MD

Responsibilities:

  • Advise system owner regarding security considerations in applications
  • Assist in determining appropriate security level
  • Assist in developing and maintaining system security plans
  • Notify government of any suspected incidents in a timely manner

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in cyber security or related field, master’s degree preferred
  • Five years of related experience
  • S. citizenship
  • Ability to obtain a secret security clearance

Information Security Engineer, Rivera Group- Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Responsibilities:

  • Design, develop, implement and integrate Department of Defense architecture, system or system components in a network environment
  • Ensure that information assurance related information systems will be functional and secure within the network and systems environment
  • Work with risk management framework

Requirements:

  • Graduate degree in computer science or other engineering/technical field with an information security or cyber security concentration
  • Information Assurance trained and certified per the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement
  • Five years of related experience
  • Ability to obtain secret security clearance

Mid-Level Cyber Insider Threat Detection Analyst, Firebird Analytical Solutions & Technologies – Landover, MD

Responsibilities:

  • Provide insider threat detection and mitigation analytic support to the Threat Mitigation Cell of the Department of Defense
  • Serve on the Threat Mitigation Cell and provide expertise to identify anomalous behavior
  • Assist in detecting behavior indicative of a potential threat
  • Interact with and assist security entities in support of formal investigations of threat related matters

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in cyber security or related field required, master’s degree preferred
  • Four to eight years of intelligence analysis experience
  • Ability to obtain a Top Secret security clearance
  • Willingness to travel worldwide

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