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Ph.D. in Information Assurance (DIA)

  • Program Overview
  • Program Format
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Admissions

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Information Assurance (DIA) at Nova Southeastern University’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS) requires a minimum of 64 credits. Its cluster format combines traditional and online instruction to provide professionals the opportunity to pursue graduate study while continuing to work in their current positions. The information assurance graduate program is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, research program that prepares graduates for key positions in academia, in federal, state and local government agencies, and in business and industry. The curriculum combines both technically intensive and management- focused security courses to provide a comprehensive approach to the study of information assurance/information security. Each student must complete eight core courses, two research courses, and a dissertation.

The information assurance degree program is recognized by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Program Sheet (pdf)

Since its inception, the school has run an executive Ph.D. format called the “cluster format" that blends weekend meetings with online interaction. Students taking courses toward a Ph.D. in Information Assurance attend four cluster sessions per year, held quarterly over an extended weekend (Friday and Saturday) at the university. These sessions bring together students and faculty for participation in classes, seminars, and dissertation counseling, and provide ample opportunity for student-faculty and student-student interaction. Between sessions, students work on course assignments and research, and participate in online activities that facilitate frequent interaction with the faculty and with other students.

A graduate with a Ph.D. in Information Assurance will have the ability to: (1) acquire advanced knowledge and deeper understanding of the field of information assurance; (2) communicate professionally and ethically about information assurance research issues; (3) identify, analyze, and synthesize scholarly literature related to information assurance; and (4) generate new knowledge through research/scholarship and disseminate that knowledge to others by demonstrating the necessary technical and intellectual skills to produce a written document that makes an original contribution to the field of information assurance/information security.
The Ph.D. in Information Assurance is designed for individuals with experience in information assurance/information security. Successful applicants will have a master's degree in information assurance (or closely associated degree) from a current CAE or master’s in computer science, information technology, or information systems with some coursework in information security fundamentals. Additionally, students should have professional experience in information security and have a strong research potential in the areas of information security. Alternatively, GSCIS master’s students in information security may apply for early admission into the Ph.D. in Information Assurance.

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The information assurance degree program requires at least 64 credit hours, of which 32 are for courses and at least 32 are for research and dissertation. Courses, research, and dissertation registrations are as follows:

Required Core Courses  (four credits each) (Select four or five.)

Elective Core Courses  (four credits each) (Select three or four to total eight core courses.)

Research Registrations
:  Each student will be required to complete two directed research courses, ISEC 898. (Students beginning fall 2014 or later will instead take two or more sections of ISEC 885, Doctoral Research.) These courses will be taken at the end of the student’s coursework. These directed study courses will enable the student, with the support of a faculty advisor, to identify a viable research topic and conduct preliminary research that will lead to formal candidacy for the student.

Dissertation Registrations
: Students must complete 24 credits of dissertation registrations, three registrations of ISEC 901. Students who do not complete the dissertation within 24 credits will register for ISEC 920 Continuing Dissertation until the dissertation is complete.

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Current DIA Students

School Overview

Since the introduction of the graduate computer science program in 1975, the school has been a pioneer in computing research and education. The school began offering online programs in 1983 and created the first electronic classroom in 1985. In 1989 the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS) was formed.

Today, NSU is a not-for-profit, independent university that is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.