MS in Cybersecurity from UMUC vs MS in Information Assurance from DSU

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by chris2010, Oct 25, 2010.


Which program?

  1. MS in Cybersecurity from UMUC

  2. MS in Information Technology: IA Specialization from UMUC

  3. MS in Information Assurance from DSU

  4. Other

  1. chris2010

    chris2010 New Member

    Which one would you choose? Anyone do any of these programs? I know UMUC is twice as much as DSU. I know UMUC has the Center of Academic Excellence stamp of approval as does DSU. I don't know if that particular program at UMUC has it or if its just their Masters in IT: Info Assurance specialization. The cybersecurity program doesn't have as much filler when compared to their IA program. Theres like 5 courses in the IA program that seem a little dull. DSU's program looks great and more directed towards the CISSP but someone told me I would be able to start this upcoming semester that I would have to wait a year because they stopped taking admissions for it. That would be a deal breaker. I will also be using the MGIB to pay...

    Master of Science in Cybersecurity - Graduate School of Management and Technology - UMUC
    Master of Science in Information Technology - Graduate School of Management & Technology - UMUC
    MSIA - Master of Science in Information Assurance - Dakota State University
  2. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    Dakota State University IA program is of more value compared to UMUC's bloated costs and questionable 6 course IA program. Charging high tuition for a 6 course program in a field such as IA will do you not much good. In my opinion, Capitol College Information Assurance program is a much better deal than the two schools you listed in terms of program rigor and the IA domain coverage. Also, Lewis University and Nova Southeastern University information security programs offer better domain coverage than the 6-course UMUC Cybersecurity program (their MS in IT with IA specialization is much better in terms of topic coverage, if you must attend UMUC). I think they created their 6 course program targeting federal government employees who are looking for programs that are short, or those that want to add a second masters with very limited time commitment.

    If you want to learn information assurance, pick a program that maps to all 10 domains of (ISC)2 - a requirement for passing CISSP, as well as map to the 6 CNSS domain specified by National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It will be very hard to cover the technical side of these domains with just 6 courses, except you are looking for the management/discussion only slant of the program. A good place to start in sorting through IA programs that are certified by the NSA and DHS (the best programs) is to visit the NSA's page that shows all programs certified by them (again, the very best of IA programs).
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2010
  3. chris2010

    chris2010 New Member


    UMUC is one of the centers of academic excellence. I don't know how much it meets the CNSS/ISC2 comptencies as it doesn't go into much detail on the programs website. I will probably do Capitol College as its also cheaper. I liked Capitol College as it looked more technical but after looking at Capitol again it looks like it could be as well.
  4. William. V

    William. V New Member

    Yup, I have heard a lot about them. If you are seeking a good MS degree then I think University of Maryland should be your first choice. I know for a fact that they have a good faculty and learning environment.
  5. jadenton

    jadenton New Member

    The UMUC cyber security program is a pure diploma mill which provides virtual no value to the student. I am embarrassed to have have been an adjunct instructor for this program; and I have other diploma mills on my resume. Course content is very thin, and most of the investment appears to be on the administrative side rather than in the quality and quantity of instruction. "Instruction" takes the form of a large, mostly repetitive reading list, online learning modules, and group discussion online. The online learning modules contain only the most basic material, and often that is poorly presented. In some cases the learning modules are flat wrong or misleading. 90% of the material from the reading can be had from reading any one of the three standard text books for the course. Material in the fourth custom textbook is likely to go over students heads and is not relevant to the work students are asked to do in the course. Group discussions add little to students understanding, and mostly consist of students meeting course requirements by spitting out the same route answers and summaries from the reading. Unfortunately, the course content is so thin it is hard to imagine what more students could be asked to provide. Students completing the program have gained only the most basic understand of the subject, and few if any practical skills. This program has obtain NSA endorsements, but this should be viewed with suspicion; it is likely that the programs physical location in the DC area and political connections more than its content explain this. People interested in this topic should seek out other programs. I recommend finding a program which requires students already have a CS/CIS degree or that they undertake extensive leveling before admission to the actual program. Such programs are able to set a much higher bar for content.
  6. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    UMUC is a Regionally Accredited Public B&M School & certainly not a Diploma Mill.
    I have taken a class with UMUC and like it.
    Aspen/NCU(yes Northcentral) and many other .com/.edu schools require you to read a book/answer a few questions and complete a class (atleast when i took classes). UMUC class was of a far more superior quality compared these .com/.edu and certainly not a Diploma Mill.


    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I would vote for DSU's MSIA simply because the program is more realistic in term of technical. The program at UMUC is more into policy and administration side.
  8. Sauron

    Sauron New Member

  9. novadar

    novadar Member

    UMUC. As always go with the best name. The material you will learn will be obsolete within a few years (possibly even less). No one outside IT distance learning circles has any idea what or where Dakota State is. My 2 cents.
  10. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    UMUC best name?
  11. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2012
  12. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    Interesting post.

    I have a friend in Maryland that is four classes away from completing his BS in Cybersecurity at UMUC. I wonder how things will go for him after he is done. He's talking about pursuing a MS in information assurance or web security next at a more prestigious school.
  13. novadar

    novadar Member

    Name notoriety aka Best name.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  14. novadar

    novadar Member

    Let me add a bit of background. When I was on Active Duty in the Army stationed in Seoul, Korea (Yongsan), I had two master degree options (way before the multitude of online options now available -- this was when the internet was still a baby): an MEd from Troy State University and an MPA from The University of Oklahoma. At the time my thought was that I would move into Higher Education later in life since I had worked as an RA as an Undergrad and was heavily involved in Student Activities. I thought it was a more natural fit. I was advised by a good friend, the former VP of Student Affairs at my undergrad school, to go with best name even if the major was not quite a perfect fit with my goals. Here I am nearly 20 years later working for a major International software company as a Technical Director. I can say the Name "The University of Oklahoma" has helped me more as I have moved through consulting and software development ranks. Ironically the MPA - being a Management degree - has probably been quite helpful as well. But outside of work no one understands any of that, they just know what The University of Oklahoma is. The vast majority would have no idea what Troy State (or now Troy University) is. That is why I always push the "best name". In IT you make a brand of yourself, the brand grows by what you bring and your previous employers and current employer bring to the table. Make your brand strong and it will help you more. To me, and maybe me alone, University of Maryland - University College is a much stronger brand overall. Disclaimer - I did teach a semester of US Government for UMUC while I was stationed in Korea. But that factors in no way in my statement or opinion. Good luck.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  15. jadenton

    jadenton New Member

    Liking a course doesn't make it good.

    Liking the course has no bearing on wether or not the program is a diploma mill. That UMUC has obtain regional accreditation is a mark against the accreditation agency.

    All college courses require reading, but requiring a lot of reading does not make a program good. Good program provide students with critical thinking and meaningful exercises that go beyond the text books. UMUC does neither of these things. It relies very heavily on student discussion to provide content beyond the text. Think about that for a minute. The bulk of the course is people how have read the same text, have little or no prior experience in the field, talking to each other. This is not a formula for academic excellence.

    The reading itself is not at a graduate level, or even an upper division (3/400) level. If this is not readily apparent to students, it is because UMUC admits anyone with a pulse and few students are likely to have the education and professional background to understand that the material they are being presented with is very shallow. This is the real danger to the program; students leave it believing they have an expertise that in fact they do not.

    Adjuncts for the program operate under a number of restrictions about changing or adding to the course, and about how they interact with students. It is apparent that these rules are meant to make students feel good about the course while presenting appearance of a quality program. But it's a sham; like a new coat of paint on a rusted our car.
  16. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    No matter what you say, there will always be hordes of people here who will shout down the very notion that a regionally accredited school or program can be total crap.

    RA can do no wrong, is infallible, bullet-proof and with perfect quality at all times. Sure, I'll believe that... right after Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny get married this fall.
  17. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    You'll have to excuse me because I'm calling you out.

    1. There is nothing more unprofessional than a former employee bashing an employer anonymously online. You're not there anymore and it's disrespectful to those who either outlasted you or called you a peer respectfully.

    2. Every adjunct operates under the same policy restrictions, just about everywhere. You're an adjunct. That means you're right up there with outsourced, off-shore labor. You're supposed to not like it and be annoyed until you get a full-time gig where you can sort of like it and be annoyed.

    3. I have worked for crap institutions as an adjunct. Guess what? Their students work to get their educations, jump through the hoops (mostly) and at the end of the day get employed regardless of their skill sets at roughly the same rates every other mid range to low end school graduate gets employed. I might not want to work there, but I'm not going to disrespect the kids either.

    UMUC is a University of Maryland brand. It doesn't matter what you say, you're not going to get credibility because it's RA and the University of Maryland. Nothing makes you special enough as an adjunct to bitch and be taken seriously. Now if you were talking about a school everyone is already on about or a real mill, then you'd get some cred simply due to group squawk.
  18. jadenton

    jadenton New Member

    I'm not anonymous

    1. I'm not anonymous. This isn't a random handle, UMUC students and faculty should have no trouble figuring out who I am. I napalmed the bridges on the way out, and said most this to the other faculty and various administators on way out; albiet in a more specific and constructive form for the program content and a less polite one for the conduct of the administration.

    2. I've worked for lots of schools, at various levels over the years, and I've never seen a program so admittedly opposed to feedback about the way the course runs even as they invest in making things easier for the adminstrators. I've also never seen administrors so clueless about the capabilities of their online system. Then again, I've also never seen a graduate program with a secret grading policy that flatly contradicts the graduate handbook. The handbook lays out rather specific A/B/C objective lines, but the administration of the cybersecurity program has threatened to terminate any faculty giving out more than 50% A grades. This threat came with the explict requirement that the policy be kept confidential and not disclosed to students. Now, there are plently of programs which grade on a curve and institute various competive grading schemes. But these schemes generally have mechanisms to control for difference between sections, and admit only students who of roughly the same educational background. They are also honest and upfront about who grading is actually done. By contrast, once faculty have been told to reach a pre-determined outcome in their grading they can not honestly say that the grades are objective. On the countrary, there must always be some doubt that they skewed the grading in favor of some students over others to reach this pre-determined outcome. The only reason for such a policy is so to make the program appear more rigourous than it is to acreditors. And the only reason to keep it secret is to avoid having to answer to students who may have been harmed by it.

    Authortarians like you disgust me. You're standing up for an employeers ability to mistreat their employees. There was a time not so very long ago when workers felt they where entitled to dignity, respect, and a say in how a business was carried out. People like you are the reason this time is now only a memory. Your a blight on the rest of us.But at least someone disagrees with you. UMUC is currently embroiled in some kind of scandal surrounding overseas faculty who had to paid off. It's going to be interesting to see what comes out and what happend to UMUC Asia that 20+ adjunct there where paid off.

    3. UMUC has the contract to teach soliders when they are deployed overseas; many of their students represent a captive audience with little or no choice in their education. These men and women have earned a better education that UMUC provides. And, in the specific fields of cyber security, failing to properly educate miltary personal isn't just a problem for the student, it has implications for the nation as a whole.

    4. The squawking has to start somewhere.
  19. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    My wife finished her B.A through UMUC while we were stationed in Europe. Zero complaints.

    A few of my NCOs are finishing up their degrees through UMUC. Again, zero complaints.
  20. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    So I think the best way to answer the nonsense in the quoted post below is via one of my standard "reply less cause more is dumb" posts.

    1. Never would have guessed that you would have cut your nose off going out the door. Well done. I'm sure that no one working there will ever chat with anyone else in academia ever. You will have a stellar career.

    2. Then you've either never worked at a career school before (which tends to be very open about such things with their instructors) or never worked at a high level in academia (where such things are very common place just not talked about openly.) Confidentiality is an assumed part of being a professional when laws are not being broken. If laws are being broken, feel free to whistle away.

    3. Uniformed military working in cyber security don't need a college to tell them how to handle cyber warfare. Your argument here is absolutely ridiculous. You learn more hands on in theatre on one tour than you'll learn in 10 degree programs. The paper is for civilian transition reasons only for employers that don't get it.

    I'm going to pass on the whole "authoritarian" bs you spouted cause it's obvious to me exactly what kind of person you are and I'm not lowering myself.

    4. Not from you. Educated opinions, eloquently stated and mindful to respect others get my attention.


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