doctoral degree, phd, online phd, computer information systems securityInformation technology, information systems, computer science, and information systems security are all closely related areas, each with their nuances. Careers in this field hinge on the fact that computer technology is vital in the professional world. There is also the fact that more information is produced every second and that needs to be managed, data needs to be protected, and this industry is growing as a result. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 12% growth over the next ten years. Any time that a field is growing at that fast of a pace, it is undoubtedly going to become more competitive. That is why getting a good education is paramount to your success, it keeps you competitive in the job market and ensures that you will have all of the skills you need to do your job.

Is Computer and Information Systems Security / Information Assurance the right major for you?

online phd degree, systems security, information securityThe core of the program is to teach students how to assess the security needs of computers or network systems and then solve those problems. You would be responsible for recommending effective solutions, implementing security measures and devices, making sure that those devices were maintained, and more. There are a lot of topics you would cover over the course of your study in this sort of program. At the doctorate level, you have probably decided that this is the best field for you and you are ready to take your career to the next level with this level of education.

Obtaining your doctorate degree in this field would prepare you to take your career in different directions than you may have thought about. You can approach it from an academic standpoint and teach classes at the college level in CIS. You could also pursue a career researching to expand the knowledge in the field as a whole. It will also prepare you to take on leadership roles and high-level roles because you will have the most education in the area that you can receive. You may also decide to work on your own as a consultant or pursue starting your own company. Specializing in business would be a great choice if you want to own a business one day.

Earning a Computer and Information Systems Security PhD Online

online phd systems and information security degreeYou have invested so much into your education and your career by now, and you want to make sure that you don’t waste that by making the wrong decision when it comes time to select what school you’re going to go to. Colleges and universities all over the country are implementing distance education programs for students like you. Being able to study online, so you don’t have to relocate gives you the opportunity to truly shop around for the school that offers exactly what you need.

A PhD in Computer and Information Systems Security that is earned online is going to be taught by the same faculty that teaches in the classroom at most universities. What’s more, choosing to study online may give you access to better research opportunities and practical experience through the virtual labs that some schools have begun operating. You will be able to find a flexible, affordable, and interesting degree program without sacrificing your obligations as they are now. You will also still receive a rigorous and reputable education; some of the best universities in America offer online degrees.

For those of you interested in an online CIS degree, we created our ranking of the Top Online PhD Programs in Computer & Information Systems Security. All of the schools were ranked according to the following:

Methodology

Computer Information Systems Security PhD programs and the related doctorate programs seem like they would be easily accessible online due to the nature of the field but they are actually very few and far between. We researched over a hundred institutions to find the ones that offered this type of degree program. Once we narrowed our list down against our ranking criteria, there were only ten left. All of the schools on this list are based in the United States, are accredited by a DOE-recognized accrediting body, and do not operate as for-profit institutions.

We ranked them according to these three factors:

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ of final score),
  • Graduation Rate (⅓ of final score), and
  • Affordability (⅓ of final score)

Once each score was calculated, the schools were placed in order accordingly. The data that was used to score each school and talk about the programs presented throughout this article was collected from the schools’ websites whenever it was available. In the event that it wasn’t, we also used the databases of the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com, and CollegeData.

Cost information is represented by the residential cost of attendance as determined by CollegeData. Please bear in mind that this is an estimate and it is not likely that you’ll pay that amount. We include it to help portray the schools as accurately as possible.

OnlineCollegePlan prides itself on transparency and providing you with the most accurate and helpful information and resources. In light of that, we want to point out that no institution is ever given preferential treatment for any reason. However, some schools that would otherwise be present have been omitted either due to insufficient data or per their own request.

  1. MERIT: 237
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,418

    Towson University Logo bachlor degree and master degree
    Towson University offers a Doctor of Science in Information Technology which you can choose to take a general track or specialize in Computer Science. Towson’s graduate-level courses are offered online so you will be able to complete this program primarily at a distance. Due to incomplete information, it appears that some classes would have you come to campus. There are full-time and part-time tracks available, so you can choose what fits your schedule better and earn your degree at your own pace.

    The program includes research areas like computer science, information systems and information technology. This degree requires 18 credits worth of coursework and 24 credits of dissertation. The program is designed to help you have a comprehensive understanding of at least four of these seven areas: data structures and algorithms, operating systems, computer networks, database systems, project management, software engineering, and human-computer interaction.

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  2. MERIT: 196
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,112

    Christian Counseling
    Liberty University offers an online Doctor of Business Administration in Information Systems. While there is a significant business component to this program, it could still be an excellent option for those of you who want to work in information security in the business industry. This is also a great option for any student that wants to go on to own their own business. You will learn strong management skills and the inner workings of business while expanding your knowledge of Information Systems.

    The online information systems doctorate at Liberty consists of 60 credit hours and students finish in an average of three years; however, you may finish faster. The time it takes you to complete the program depends heavily on how many transfer credits you’re bringing with you, your previous academic experience, and how aggressively you can pursue your degree. You can transfer in up to 15 credits and have the choice of studying full- or part-time.

    There are multiple start dates in this program through the year. The program is 100% online, but you can choose to attend on-campus intensives if you’re interested in doing so. Some of the courses you’ll take relating to information systems include IT Infrastructure and Systems Analysis Modeling & Design, among others.

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  3. MERIT: 193
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,407

    18 DSU-logo
    Dakota State University is home to a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems with a specialization in Information assurance and computer security. This is one of the most flexible PhD programs offered because you can choose to study in a fully-online or blended format according to your needs and you are also able to pursue the degree part-time. This online PhD in Information Systems was designed not to disrupt your life while giving you a rigorous education.

    The program is open to students holding a bachelor’s degree; you would just be responsible for completing 27 additional credit hours of masters courses. Outside of those requirements, the program is made up of 61 credits. This includes nine hours of research methods, 27 hours in the specialization of computer security, and 25 hours of dissertation. You will also have to present a portfolio and take an exam in order to graduate.

    There are start dates in each semester, so you don’t have to wait. Those of you who hold a masters-level degree in information systems and study at a full-time pace can graduate in just three years. The curriculum includes classes in managing security risks, information assurance research, and more. You will be able to take several electives to further delve into the topics that you want.

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  4. MERIT: 192
    View Profile Average Cost: $46,860

    9 Marymount-logo
    Marymount University has an online Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity. Marymount University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. You can enter the program with either a bachelors degree or a masters degree. You would have to complete 72 or 36 credits, respectively, in order to graduate.

    Marymount offers classes in online and hybrid formats. The university strives to make its programs accessible to everyone who is interested and qualified. The program goes beyond just network security or systems security; this online doctorate in cybersecurity recognizes the intersectionality of data science, technology, ethics, policy, management, and more in this field.

    The flexible and relevant coursework is just one component of the program. Marymount champions this doctorate degree online program as being exceptionally focused on research. You will be actively researching based on real-world scenarios and the ever-evolving nature of threats and security. You will receive a cutting edge education, explore the interdisciplinary nature of security, and be prepared for the next step in your career.

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  5. MERIT: 186
    View Profile Average Cost: $50,333


    The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University is presented in what the university calls a cluster format. Nova says that this format combines online and traditional educational experiences. On-campus sessions occur quarterly and last for just one long weekend in Florida. The rest of the program, and all of your coursework can be completed online.

    The faculty of the program all hold PhDs and are considered to be experts in their field. You have the benefit of close-knit instruction with them because all of the courses are taught by the same professors whether online or on-campus. You will need to complete a minimum of 64 credit hours in order to graduate. This program includes eight courses, two research courses, and a dissertation.

    The core curriculum includes Analytics and Business Intelligence; Human-Computer Interaction; Social Perspectives of Information Systems; Knowledge Management; Database Systems and; Research Methods. You then get to choose one elective that is aligned with your research. The offered electives are Information Security Management, Information Security Risk Management, or Information Privacy.

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What is Computer Information Systems?

Computer Information Systems is a major that is also known as Information Systems, Business Information Systems, or Management Information Systems. It is very similar to the field of Information Technology or IT. In fact, there is a lot of overlap in the degree programs that you’ll encounter for either field. However, CIS has more of a business focus. CIS programs will teach you how technology works and the best way to apply it to a business problem in order to come to a solution.

You may encounter classes in management, accounting, project management, or business leadership as part of your studies. This is because you are likely to be part of many systems throughout your career and you will need to know how to solve problems in a business. Having these broader skills in business will definitely help you to do so. So, Computer Information Systems is applying technology to business. You might find yourself working as a database engineer, IS management, business application developer, or one of many other careers.

What is Information Security and Information Assurance?

Information Security is an umbrella term for the processes, programs, tools, and so on that have been designed to protect sensitive information. Sensitive information could be client data, financial data, usernames and passwords for a business system, and any other data that it is important for a business, and no one else, to have access to. Information security protects this data from getting viewed, changed, distributed, or destroyed. There are three principles of information security, and those are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. Sometimes this is shortened to be called InfoSec, and it is often confused with cybersecurity. It is part of it, but it is inherently different from cybersecurity.

systems and information security degree, phdInformation Assurance is a term that refers to the different parts of maintaining information security. IA is a field on its own but it is also part of information security and it is the process of maintaining the principles of information security:

  • Integrity
  • Availability
  • Authentication
  • Confidentiality
  • Nonrepudiation

Each of these principles involves several steps on its own. Integrity is ensuring that the information system isn’t manipulated or tampered with by someone who isn’t authorized to do so. Availability seems a little bit backward since the information is meant to be protected, but this means making sure that the people who are supposed to access it can do so without difficulty. This includes making sure the system is clean and efficient, but it could also include blocking out hackers or malware that could block access to the system.

Authentication is another protection against hackers because it finds a way to make sure that people are who they say that they are. Confidentiality is a given in the information assurance process. The information that is being protected must be kept confidential, and the way that the system functions itself must be kept confidential to ensure that no one can get in and do things that they don’t need to be doing. Nonrepudiation is for that because that is ensuring that no one can do anything without it going on record, so there is always proof who did what within the system.

Can you be a software engineer with a CIS degree?

Yes, you can. This may not be the most traditional path that most students take on their journey to becoming a software engineer, but you gain a lot of the necessary skills along the way to become a software engineer. The biggest thing to remember about an information systems degree is that you will be learning a lot of the basic concepts of information technology, which is a great preparation for aspiring software engineers. An Information Systems degree is just going to include more concepts from business as part of the core curriculum. You will still also have the opportunity to tailor your studies by choosing the right electives.

There are a lot of job options for CIS graduates and software engineer is definitely one of them. With an Information Systems degree, you will have a deep understanding of how technology works and what technology is going to serve a particular purpose in the field of business best. You can use that understanding to create those programs.

What is the difference between Information Systems and Computer Science?

There are a lot of very different facets of the Information Technology field, and it can get overwhelming when you’re trying to expand your academic horizons. The main difference in CIS and Computer Science is simple: what question do they answer?

Computer Science is a field that focuses on programming and computing. It is meant to be a foundational education that you can continue to build upon. It provides you with all the basic knowledge that you need to work towards a career in coding; it also provides a deep look at different operating systems and the way that they function. Computer science is very tailored to programming. Because of that, the basis of computer science is that it explains why technology works the way that it does so you can go on and improve and create more with that knowledge.

Information systems is different in that it doesn’t include a lot of heavy programming knowledge. In fact, it is more in line with what you would learn in an IT degree program than a computer science one. Information systems seeks to find what technology is going to be the best fit to solve a particular problem. There are also a lot of business courses in these programs because IS or CIS is, at its core, you learning how technology can be applied to improve or manage a business.

What is Cybersecurity?

By definition, Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. There are three main components to how that is done and those are people, processes, and technology. People within a business need to be compliant, there needs to be a process in place if anything goes wrong, and technology plays a vital role in promoting security.

The technology aspect of cybersecurity is information security. Information security is the technological approach to keeping data safe. Cybersecurity is a growing field, and it is an incredibly important job because more and more data is created every day. The internet is just as vast as the real world that we live in and there are people that seek to commit crimes through the internet. Protecting vital information with cybersecurity is crucial to making sure that doesn’t happen and that the three principles of information security are upheld: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.