In order to obtain a master's degree (MS) in computer security, you will need to complete a course of study that generally takes two years. Before you can qualify for entrance into a master's program though, you must meet a number of prerequisites. Each educational institution has its own unique set of requirements to enter an MS in computer security program, though at a minimum you will need to have a four-year degree in information technology (IT), computer science or another related field. You may also need to surpass a minimum score on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), complete specific lower-level courses, or even have a certain amount of work experience in the field.
An MS in computer security is a degree that can help IT professionals advance in their careers. Some businesses require a bachelor of science (BS) or MS in computer security to advance beyond a certain point, or offer higher salaries based on these degrees. A number of subjects are covered throughout the two-year program, including network security, cryptography, ethics and computer forensics. Knowledge of these subjects can be very helpful to those who work in the information security field.
If you want to eventually earn an MS in computer security, but have not yet started your education, you may want to consider taking a specific track. You can begin as early as high school by taking science and math courses, including computer science or programming classes if they are available. In college, you will want to focus on obtaining a BS degree in one of the computer science fields, such as information technology. It is also possible to identify a master's degree program at this time so you can take specific prerequisite courses while you earn your BS.
Some master's programs require you to have work experience as a condition of admission, while others will give preference to prospective students who have worked in the field. Another common requirement for entrance into an MS in computer security program is a satisfactory score on the GRE. The precise score requirements differ from one program to another, and some schools will accept test results that are up to five years old.
After you have met all the prerequisites and been accepted into a program, the final step to obtain an MS in computer security is to complete the course of study. A typical master's program takes about two years, and many universities offer online and night school options aimed specifically at working professionals. You will typically need to complete a core set of classes in addition to a number of electives that relate in some way to computer security.