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top-10-most-affordable-2017Information Systems Assurance and Computer Security is becoming more and more important in an ever-expanding global and technologically based world. In particular, federal security organizations, such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA), rely on experts in the field of Information Assurance and Security to aide in protecting the United States from foreign and domestic threats. For this reason, both the DHS and the NSA promote institutions they deem as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in these fields and the national CAE designation program supports higher education in information assurance and cyber defense.

All of the colleges included in this list offer Master’s degrees in Information Systems Assurance and Security (MISA), and are supported by the CAE. Additionally, these programs can prepare students for a lifelong career in Information Systems Assurance and Computer Security in government or private agencies nationwide.

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Dakota State University

Dakota State University is a public university with a technology centric focus with programs in computer and information science, business, and education.
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The acclaimed Master of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security degree at Dakota State University is one of the best in the nation teaching students how to develop and implement security strategies that improve companies security nation and worldwide. The program can be finished in just 2 years though students are given five years to finish. Though some students are new to the field, others are professionals already working in the world of Information Assurance and Security, such as individuals working in administrative or desk manager positions, and hope to advance in their careers by obtaining a masters degree. Career advancement is another important consideration for those seeking a master’s degree. Whether you’re currently working as an admin, help desk manager, incident reporter, or systems administratorAdditionally Dakota State University boasts an MISA that uses cutting-edge research and equipment and offers “affordable Midwestern-based costs,” with a holistic approach to learning.

Cost per credit: $442

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Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, non-sectarian university that offers both undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs.
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As a private, non-profit research facility, Wilmington University‘s 36-credit-hour Master of Science in Information Systems Technologies is one of the best in the nation. The degree offers a concentration in Information Assurance and includes a Field Experience or Internship opportunity for all students studying within the program. Though the classes are not self-paced, they are asynchronous offering some flexibility for busy students. Still, students participate in assignments online and discussion boards 3 times a week at the least. Degree recipients are capable of handing and managing complex projects from inception to completion because of the managerial nature of the program at Wilmington University, which is closely aligned with the university’s business department, making WU’s Information Systems alumni some of the most desirable in the nation.

Cost per credit: $455

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Iowa State University

Iowa State University is the nation's most student-centered public research university offering over 100 majors.
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A space grant and land grant research university, Iowa State University is one of the best known research colleges in the nation. Offering a number of online graduate degrees, their online Master of Science in Information Assurance is one of the most celebrated and the entire program can be completed online. Courses can be taken in any order and students can enroll at the beginning of any semester. Since students work at their own pace, the asynchronous format is one of the programs best assets, allowing students to decide when they want to observe lectures or simply sign in to review the materials. One additional perk, if a student is not sure if the MS in Information Assurance degree is the right choice, she may take up to nine credit hours of courses before enrolling in the program as a non-degree-seeking student.

Cost per credit: $471

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Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University is a for-profit university offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, primarily in business, management, and technology.
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Colorado Technical University offers a top-notch Master of Science in Management (MSIM) degree with a concentration in Information Systems Security online. The 48-credit-hour program as a whole reviews network security principles and security management in the industry today. Students can access the online portal 24-hours a day and can even complete the program and earn their degree in just 18 months. In addition the school is accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs, adding an additional and desirable credential to students completing their masters at Colorado Tech, which also further prepares students for a career in management.

Cost per credit: $585

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University of Alabama, Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education.
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The celebrated 30-credit-hour Master of Science in Management (MSIM) in Information Systems at the University of Alabama, Birmingham can be completed in full online and offers three advanced specializations: Information Security, Web and Mobile Development, IT Management. A 6-credit-hour bridge program is offered for students without an undergraduate degree in information technology but who are still interested in the MSIM in Information Systems. Priding itself in offering a flexible and inclusive program, University of Alabama Birmingham online accepts transfer credits and allows students to complete their degree 100% online and at their own pacing. Additionally, scholarships are available for qualified individuals as well as traditional financial aid options.

Cost per credit: $626

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Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University is a nonprofit, independent research university with a main campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida offering undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.
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As one of the largest non-profit universities in the country, Nova Southeastern University offers a comprehensive list of graduate programs including their 36-credit-hour Master of Science in Information Security. The program competitively prepares students for designing, developing and programming cyber security technologies. And, real-time electronic classrooms are a way to enjoy the college classroom experience from afar. As a major benefit for those interested in the degree, Nova Southeastern is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and therefore federal agencies occasionally sponsor civilian and military personnel to take the school’s graduate courses.

Cost per credit: $745

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Norwich University

Norwich University is a private university located in Northfield, Vermont and is the oldest private military college in the United States.
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As a small, private college, Norwich University is still a leader in offering top-notch online graduate programs to students worldwide. Among those leading programs is the Master of Science degree in Information and Assurance, which teaches best practices in information security technology. The rigorous curriculum explores the leading methods and theories behind information security technology, regulatory environment and compliance, organizational structure and policy development, management strategies, and information assurance. Additionally the program examines technical theory and methodologies pertaining to information assurance. Students learn organization structure techniques, development and management strategies and even explore regulatory environment and compliance principles.

Cost per credit: $791

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DePaul University

DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the U.S. and private institution in Chicago, serving nearly 24000 students.
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As one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation,  DePaul University enrolls up to 24,000 students annually and offers a variety of online degrees, including their Master of Science in Computer, Information, and Network Security. The degree offers three concentrations including Network Security and Governance, Risk Management and Compliance, and Computer Security. This specialized graduate degree covers the theory of information security in addition to teaching hands on, practical applications. Some applications include work and study with a equipment such as household electronics to aircraft technologies. Students also learn how to design, implement and manage various secured IT systems and how to apply these same stills to infrastructure and risk in companies.

Cost per credit: $815

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Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus or "Penn State Online" is the online campus of The Pennsylvania State University, which grew out of the University's long and distinguished history in distance education.
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Penn State World Campus is the online campus for Penn State University and the campus has been offering programs since 1998. The College of Information Sciences offers the Masters of Science in Cyber-security and Information Assurance. The 33-credit-hour program focuses primarily on information analysis, information science training, and cyber security. Penn State also boasts a diverse faculty with backgrounds in engineering, chemistry, artificial intelligence and computer science to name a few, which spearheads the university’s place as a leader among information schools in the United States. As a unique perk, Penn State also offers a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity, allowing it’s MISA students the chance to take their careers and education to the next level.

Cost per credit: $854

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Northeastern University

Northeastern is a global, experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world, creating a distinctive approach to education.
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Located in Boston, Massachusetts, and a private, non-profit research institution, Northeastern University offers a top-notch online MS Degree in Information Assurance, which teaches students how to navigate, evaluate and manage information security risks. The entirety of the 32-credit-hour program is offered online and students log in at their convenience to review materials and view instructors’ information that is posted on a weekly basis. Graduates from the MSIA program at Northeastern University have gone on to obtain careers with government organizations and companies such as IBM, MITRE Corporation, U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, U.S. National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, to name a few.

Cost per credit: $1450