Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance

Program Director: Rosemarie Pelletier
Associate Program Director of Academics: George Silowash

Please note: The Norwich Board of Trustees has authorized the renaming of the Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program (MSISA). In March 2020 it will become the Master of Science in Cybersecurity program.  Current students enrolled in the Masters of Science in Information Security and Assurance may continue their studies and receive their MS in Information Security and Assurance, or they may petition the Registrar to change their program of study to the the MS in Cybersecurity program. 

The Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program delivers state-of-the-art, high-quality, and convenient education to busy professionals committed to furthering their careers in information security and assurance. In particular, the Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program appeals to chief information, technology, and information security officers of business and governmental organizations and is designed for security administrators, network administrators, information technology specialists, professionals in the information technology field, including military personnel. Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance graduates are leaders and innovators in information security and assurance, bringing sound interdisciplinary perspectives to the field.

The program balances academic rigor with convenience. This combination maintains and respects Norwich University’s long educational heritage while it meets the needs of today’s working students. The program hires instructors who are academically and professionally qualified in their respective fields of expertise. Please note that a case study is a required part of the Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program.

Throughout the program, students:

  • Study various aspects of information security and assurance
  • Analyze the situation at their workplace or case study site
  • Complete written assignments
  • Use research findings to prepare a report with recommendations

Depending upon the concentration chosen, students are able to

  • Perform penetration tests,
  • Analyze cyber law, cybercrime and critical infrastructure protection
  •  Understand international perspectives on cyber space
  • Manage Computer Incident Response Teams
  • Apply best practices in digital forensics

Curriculum Map/Plan of Study

Term 1
Foundations and Historical Underpinnings of Information Assurance6
Term 2
Information Assurance Technology6
Term 3
Human Factors and Managing Risk6
Term 4
Information Assurance Management and Analytics6
Term 5
One concentration course
Term 6
One concentration course
Residency 10
Total Cr.36

Curriculum Requirements

Four of the six seminars in the 36 credit hour program are core requirements and two courses comprise an elective concentration. All courses are focused on providing an opportunity for students to acquire and exercise the knowledge and skill expected of top-level managers of information security and assurance in today’s demanding security environment.

Required Core Courses (24 credits)

GI 512Foundations and Historical Underpinnings of Information Assurance6
GI 522Information Assurance Technology6
GI 532Human Factors and Managing Risk6
GI 542Information Assurance Management and Analytics6
Culminating Academic Requirement
GI 595Residency0
Total Cr.24

Concentrations (12 credits)

One of the following two-seminar, 12-credit concentrations is required to complete the 36 credit hour program: Project Management, Forensics, Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime, Vulnerability Management, Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyber Space.

Project Management Concentration

The Project Management concentration offered to the MSISA students uses a sequential approach to provide a thorough understanding of all aspects of project-management theory and practice. Academic objectives of this program are mapped to A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). MSISA students enrolled in this concentration will be taking advantage of the experience of the Project Management faculty in conjunction with MSISA faculty members who specialize in cyber security and information assurance. More importantly, the Project Management students establish a firm foundation in project management tools, techniques and practices. MSISA students are required to take two of the three Project Management concentration courses. The courses offer in-depth study, specifically addressing each project management process area from a project leadership perspective.

Project Management Seminars
GB 544Project Management Techniques, Tools and Practices6
GB 554Project Management Leadership, Communications and Teams6
or GB 564 Strategic Management in Project Management
Total Cr.12

Computer Forensic Investigation/Incident Response Team Management Concentration 

In this concentration, students learn to analyze and apply the key points in creating and managing a computer security incident response team (CSIRT) also known as a computer incident response team (CIRT) or a computer emergency response team (CERT). Students use the case study developed in the four required core courses to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and prepare recommendations for the establishment of a new CSIRT or improvement of their existing CSIRT. This concentration also provides the broad understanding that information assurance professionals must have of the management, investigation, and analysis of digital incidents. 

Computer Forensic Investigation/Incident Response Team Management Seminars
GI 551Computer Forensic Investigations6
GI 554Computer Security Incident Response Team Management6
Total Cr.12

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime Concentration

This concentration explores the nature of conflict in cyber space focusing on two major Internet-based threats to the U.S. national security: cyber terrorism and cyber crime, and the security of information in computer and communications networks within infrastructure sectors critical to national security. These include the sectors of banking, securities and commodities markets, industrial supply chain, electrical/smart grid, energy, transportation, communications, water supply, and health. The seminars in this concentration provide a risk management framework to help information leaders leverage the benefits of internet technologies while minimizing the risks that such technologies pose to their organizations. Special attention is paid to the risk management of information in critical infrastructure environments through an analysis & synthesis of assets, threats, vulnerabilities, impacts, and countermeasures. Critical consideration is given to the role of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems in the flow of resources such as electricity, water, and fuel.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime Seminars
GI 556Cyber Crime6
GI 566Critical Infra. Protection6
Total Cr.12

Vulnerability Management Concentration

The basics of penetration testing constitute the core of this concentration. Students utilize a virtual lab to gain experience through hands-on lab exercises. Students learn to use the well-known open-source Metasploit computer security project to understand security vulnerabilities, study to use this tool for penetration testing, testing the control tools, and learn to conduct monitoring of an enterprise. Students are introduced to: system security and vulnerability analysis, the most common system exploits and vulnerabilities, system “pivoting” and client-side exploits. Students learn how to assess enterprise security controls and system vulnerability, and to document their findings. Students study the rules of engagement, and how to conduct legal and ethical security tests and vulnerability assessments using known open-source tools (Metasploit , John the Ripper, Wireshark) to understand security vulnerabilities as well as to use this tool for penetration testing, testing the control tools, and how to conduct monitoring of an enterprise. This concentration is designed for penetration testers, system security, and network administrators

Vulnerability Management
GI 562Vulnerability Management and Penetration Testing I6
GI 563Vulnerability Management II6
Total Cr.12

Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyber Space Concentration

This concentration presents a comprehensive overview of ethical issues, legal resources and resources, and public policy implications inherent in the evolving online society. Complex and dynamic state of the law as it applies to behavior in cyberspace is introduced, and the pitfalls and dangers of governing in an interconnected world are explored. Ethical, legal, and policy frameworks for information assurance are addressed. Various organizations and materials that can provide assistance to operate ethically and legally in cyberspace are examined. Topics include intellectual property protection, electronic contracting and payments, notice to consent from e-message receipts, non-repudiation and cyber crime, and the impact of ethical, moral, legal, and policy issues on privacy, fair information practices, equity, content control, and freedom of electronic speech using information systems. It also provides an overview of the issues surrounding transnational cyberspace policies, international investment strategies and implementation of communication and information technologies that affect the global economy and transforms the flow of information across cultural and geographic boundaries. The concentration examines various global governance frameworks, and organizations that shape and transform cyberspace such as the International Telecommunications Union, the World Bank Information and Communications Technology Sector, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission

Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyber Space Seminars
GI 557Cyber Law6
GI 567International Perspectives on Cyberspace6
Total Cr.12

Procurement and Government Contract Management

After completing this concentration, students will have the ability to analyze data and craft plans to conduct and actively engage public procurement, contracting, and contract management processes from a functional and management vantage.

Procurement and Government Contract Management Courses
AD 568Government Procurement and Contract Management6
AD 578Government Contract Management6
Total Cr.12

One-Week Residency

All degree candidates of the Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance are required to attend a one-week Residency Conference on the Norwich University campus, during which they may attend professional presentations, participate in roundtable discussions with faculty, and present papers. The one-week residency is a degree requirement.

Faculty Member Institution at which highest degree was earned
Donald Holden, MBA, CISSP-ISSMP University of Pennsylvania
Christopher King, MS Carnegie Mellon University
John Mason, MBA, CISA, CISM, CFE, CFSSP, CFS University of Phoenix
Matthias Plass, MS University of Maryland, University College
George Silowash, MSIA, CISSP Norwich University
Brent Kennedy, MS Carnegie Mellon University
Bill Powers, PhD Bellevue University
Peter Sullivan, MISA Norwich University
Jimmie Flores, DMgt, PhD University of Phoenix
Jerry Dixon, MISA Norwich University
Tom Hyslip, DS Capitol College
Michael Albrethsen, MS University of Pittsburgh
Charles Lorbeer, PhD Walden University
Stuart McCubbrey, MIS University of Michigan