Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between a professional degree and a regular MS degree?
  2. Does the program offer fellowship or financial support opportunities?
  3. Are courses developed for the ISCP degree only for students in the program?
  4. How large will the on campus program be?
  5. Will there be an online version of the program in the future?
  6. What are expected plan of study requirements of ISCP students?
  7. How does the ISCP program differ from the existing Interdisciplinary Master's program in Information Security?
  8. Does the program offer a certificate in information security (eg. CISSP)?

What is the difference between a professional degree and a regular MS degree?

A professional master's degree in computer science is designed for someone seeking a more applied knowledge in the field.  The more traditional, academic master's program is aimed at students wanting more research-based, theoretical education which also positions the student for seeking the PhD degree.  For more information, see the description of a professional degree.

Does the program offer fellowship or financial support opportunities?

Students in this professional program will not be eligible for university or departmentally sponsored financial support.

Are courses developed for the ISCP degree only for students in the program?

Several new courses have been developed by the faculty for the ISCP program.  These courses tend to be more applied in their approach, and less dependent on theoretical foundations of other courses in the computer science graduate curriculum.  In cases where ISCP students take courses from among the traditional, academic core of computer science graduate courses, projects in those courses may be tailored to align with the outcomes of the ISCP program.

How large will the on campus program be?

We plan for cohorts of 20 to 30 students per year.  The minimum cohort size required is 12.

Will there be an online version of the program in the future?

Some professional masters programs have a strong online component.  With the growing presence of online programs or the online components of programs, "online" is starting to become synonymous with the term "professional" degree in usage. The Information Security for Computing Professionals program at Purdue is entirely an on-campus program, however.  While we do not have existing plans to offer the program as an online offering, it is possible that future years will make this a viable option.  Currently, the program design features regular group work within the cohort and access to departmental labs and equipment.  These features would make a transition to an online offering difficult.

What are expected plan of study requirements of ISCP students?

The ISCP plan of study includes 30 credits of computer science graduate courses. Several of the courses are designed solely for the ISCP program. The program is designed to take one calendar year to complete. See the details of Program Description.

How does the ISCP program differ from the existing Interdisciplinary Master's program in Information Security?

The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) has been the home of an interdisciplinary graduate program since 2000.  Their program offers both Masters and PhD degrees.  The Graduate School identifier code for the CERIAS program is INSC.  The Computer Science professional masters degree is ISCP.

CERIAS interdisciplinary students take a number of computer science courses, but all graduate in a department other than Computer Science.  INSC degrees are awarded from the INSC interdisciplinary program via an associated department of record.  Those departments currently affiliated with the CERIAS interdisciplinary degree include the departments in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute (formerly the College of Technology), the Brian Lamb School of Communication, and the departments of Philosophy, and Linguistics.

The ISCP program is hosted only by the Computer Science Department, and affiliated faculty are all in Computer Science.  The program does, however, allow two elective courses from an approved list, which can allow students to take courses outside of Computer Science.

Does the program offer a certificate in information security (eg. CISSP)?

While the ISCP program does not aim specifically to prepare students for industry certifications, it has been commonly found that Masters degree students in Computer Science with an emphasis in information security coursework have been very successful in testing for such certifications.  Some ISCP faculty have contributed testing material for the CISSP exam.

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