MS Information Security and Assurance Areas of Study

The WGU Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program content is based on industry best practices and governmental standards. In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Security Agency created the guidelines and curricula for institutes of higher education that were used to develop the domains and areas of competency that are required to complete this degree. In addition to the governmental focus, this degree also includes domains that are relevant to nonpublic organizations. This degree incorporates competencies related to managing specific security threats, conducting comprehensive business continuity planning, and understanding and incorporating current laws/regulations into the development and management of a comprehensive Information assurance management system.

Current and Emerging Technology

This course focuses on the tools and skills to evaluate the acceptance and adoption of technology within various types of organizational cultures. The course will address topics such as diffusion, innovation, hype theory, needs analysis, change agents, implementation planning, and adoption models. Students will demonstrate the ability to make sound judgments regarding the selection, adoption, implementation, and evaluation of technologies as they related to organizational culture, strategy, and objective.

Cyberlaw, Regulations and Compliance

The Cyberlaw, Regulations and Compliance area of study prepares students to participate in legal analysis of relevant cyberlaws and address governance, standards, policies, and legislation. Students will conduct a security risk analysis for an enterprise system. In addition, students will determine cyber requirements for third‐party vendor agreements. Students will also evaluate provisions of both the 2001 and 2006 USA PATRIOT Acts.

Hacking

This area of study focuses on the practices of ethical and illegal hacking and on the techniques that are required to protect information assets from unwanted access and/or cyber attacks.

Cryptography

This area of study focuses on cryptographic methods for establishing and maintaining network security, and applies cryptography to secure email, web-based communications, electronic transactions and financial systems.

Vulnerability Assessment

This area of study prepares the students to conduct internal threat assessments and to analyze their risks and impact on an organization.

Forensics and Network Intrusion

This area of study focuses on identifying vulnerabilities and neutralizing threats from outside entities and on investigating and preventing lose in the cyber-domain.

Security Policy and Standards

This area of study focuses on the practices of planning and implementing organization-wide security and assurance initiatives as well as auditing assurance processes.

Risk Management

Content focuses on categorizing levels of risk and understanding how risk can impact the operations of the business through a scenario involving the creation of a risk management program and business continuity program for a company and a business situation reacting to a crisis/disaster situation affecting the company.

Disaster Recovery Planning, Prevention and Response

This course prepares students to plan and execute industry best practices related to conducting organization-wide information assurance initiatives and to preparing an organization for implementing a comprehensive Information Assurance Management program.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s WGU degree program. It requires the student to demonstrate the integration and synthesis of competencies in all domains required for the degree, particularly in the area of emphasis. It includes a work product specified in consultation with and with the approval of the mentor. It may be a project, a set of policy recommendations, a business plan, a marketing plan, action research, a strategic plan, a product, or a service.

Students will be able to choose from three areas of emphasis, depending on personal and professional interests. Students will complete a capstone project that deals with a significant real-world business problem that further integrates the components of the degree. Capstone projects will require an oral defense before a committee of WGU faculty.