Georgia Board of Regents Approves State's First Master's In Information Security at Georgia Tech

February 20, 2002

The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia has approved a new Master of Science degree program in Information Security (InfoSec) that will be housed in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech starting in the Fall.

The degree, approved at the Board’s most recent meeting, is the only graduate program of its kind in Georgia, according to Mike McCracken, master’s program coordinator and principal research scientist in the College of Computing. The 32-hour interdisciplinary program will be housed in the College of Computing and will be offered in coordination with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the Dupree College of Management and the Georgia State University Management Information Systems program.

The objective of the program is to provide students with practical skills and a theoretical understanding of information security. Students can focus on either the technical aspects of InfoSec or on the policy issues. Technically, students will examine ways to provide secure information processing systems, including secure operating systems and applications, network security, cryptography and security protocols. Approximately 25 students are expected to enter the program in the Fall.

"There is a high demand for individuals with advanced knowledge of information security," said McCracken, "and we anticipate that graduates of the program will be highly recruited by both the corporate and government sector." The recent tragedies of September 11, 2001 only serve to heighten the awareness for the increased need for information security, McCracken said, although the program was in the planning stages well before September 11.

Georgia Tech already has received positive feedback from the corporate sector for the program, including companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Internet Security Systems, SecureWorks and the United States Department of Justice, said Dr. Peter A. Freeman, dean of the College of Computing and acting director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center, (GTISC) a center that will be heavily involved with the master’s program. "Our corporate partners have expressed great interest in hiring employees who have the level of education in information security that this degree will offer graduates and are delighted that the Board has granted approval for the College to offer this very much needed program," he said.

GTISC, a National Security Agency Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education, recently developed a broad and comprehensive curriculum for the information security area, noted Mustaque Ahamad, co-director of GTISC for technology and professor of computing. "Our significant number of knowledgeable faculty and research emphasis in information security allow us to offer this unique program in this important area," he said.

The BOR approval follows on the heels of an announcement by the College of Computing Continuing Education Program to offer a new continuing education certificate titled "Managing Information Security" begininng March 1st at the Georgia Tech Computer Training Facility at Colony Square in Midtown Atlanta. The 15-day program is offered on a recurring two-month cycle and is designed for managers at all levels who are charged with protecting digital data.