Information security and assurance is the process of protecting sensitive information from unauthorized users. Organizations of all types and sizes employ the help of information security professionals to safeguard data against cyber threats, theft, computer malfunctions, and other critical issues. The online doctorate degree is the highest attainable degree in this subject. It is designed for students and professionals who possess advanced knowledge of information security concepts and applications. Doctoral students will take upper-level courses and spend years conducting rigorous research in hopes of making a lasting difference in this field.

Why a Doctorate Degree?

A PhD is the pinnacle of academic achievement in the field of information security and assurance. It attracts students and professionals who want to become experts in information security and make important contributions to the field. Graduates of this program will have the technical knowledge and skills needed to do a variety of jobs, including information security manager, information technology consultant, and college professor.

Getting Into a Doctorate Degree Program

To enroll in the doctorate degree program, all applicants must first meet their school’s educational requirements. Although admissions criteria vary from program to program, most doctoral candidates need to have the following requirements to be considered:

  • Bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in a relevant field
  • Desired score on the GRE or GMAT
  • Relevant academic course work
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of interest in the field of study

Inside an Information Security and Assurance Doctorate Degree Program

Doctoral programs vary in length, course work, and residency requirements, but the information security and assurance PhD usually takes anywhere from four to five years to complete. Students enrolled in this program may take classes in information technology research and practice, advancing research in information technology management, quantitative research techniques, survey research methodology, design science research methods, and more. In addition to the core courses, students may also be required to take specialization courses, electives, and complete a comprehension exam and dissertation course work.

Most online PhD programs also have in-person residency requirements, in which students and faculty can interact and share information about their field of study. Residency sessions are usually a few days long and are held a few times annually. These sessions are also a good time to network and meet professionals who work in your area of interest.

What’s Next for Information Security and Assurance Doctorate Degree Holders?

Graduates of the online PhD in information security are qualified to do many different jobs in both academia and industry. Many PhDs go on to become college professors who teach undergraduate and occasionally graduate courses in their relevant field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary teachers are expected to grow 17% by 2020 because of the increase in college enrollment. The average annual salary for postsecondary teachers was $77,500 in 2012. Those who choose the industry route might work as computer and information systems managers. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers are projected to grow 18% by 2020 because more organizations are updating their IT systems and increasing their security measures. In addition to having excellent job prospects, computer and information systems managers also have favorable earnings. In 2012, these professionals made an average annual salary of $129,130.