Norwich University - BS in Cyber Security --> MS ISA Comparison

LSageeLSagee CISSP, GCIH, CASP+,CySA+, Sec+Posts: 46Member ■■■□□□□□□□
I am opening this thread to give a comparison of the two programs and a running update of the MSISA as I am about to start the MSISA program in December. I suspect there will be some overlap between the two programs, with the MSISA diving much deeper into the subject areas.

Background: I currently work in the cybersecurity field and completed the BS CS program about a year ago, concentration was in Computer Forensics and Vulnerability Management. I started in 2016 and throughout that time, I was able to get all the certs you see in my profile on my first attempt as well as the Virtual Hacking Lab certificate of completion. Norwich does not provide certs but I found the instruction to be overall, excellent. This allowed me to the opportunity to invest very little additional time in preparing for my certification exams. I did not put any serious study time in for CySA+ and CISSP, except to thumb through a few books for a few hours each. CASP and Sec+ were a bit different though as those were my first certs. Although prior technical experience came into play, I feel the BSCS program played a large role in my success as I was intimately familiar with most of the topics through classwork.

The BS CS program has a good mix of technical classes but the overall slant is more on the managerial/policy side than the technical side from where I started. I transferred in a lot of credits from my CC so I did not have to take programming courses at Norwich to include the ASM course. On the technical side, the Malware Forensics course was very challenging and the instructor was one of the best I ever had. The pentest classes use material that is a bit outdated regarding the MSF and other tools, but was still very relevant for beginners. Those classes stressed being able to properly author vulnerability assessment reports to various target audiences as you progress. The digital forensics courses are much the same, you will get a solid beginning foundation and be able to effectively convey your findings to target audiences.

At $250-$375 cr hr. for the BS CS, Norwich is very competitive in terms of pricing. You will not be able to breeze through the program in a year like WGU and come out with a bunch of certifications, but you will come out with a solid understanding of "cybersecurity" and how to implement it in an organization. You will also have a solid foundation of high and low-level topic understanding for any security-related certifications you pursue.  The staff and instructors are extremely responsive and knowledgable in the material. I also had a chance to go to the graduation in VT and it instilled a lot of pride in becoming an alumnus. I can't say enough about how getting my undergrad degree from Norwich catapulted my career forward into the career field I wanted to get into.

Concerning the MSISA, I originally was about to apply for the GA Tech MS in Cyber Security because it is cheap at a bit over $10k. However, I recently attended a webinar and although it is a good program with a solid brand-name reputation, the class load was not for me. GA Tech expects 15-25 hrs a week of study a week. The class load is 10 classes with 3 semesters a year, 16wk,16wk,11wk and is group project heavy. That means it would take at least 3 years for me to complete. Also, my job has me traveling a lot and I may not have the time to deal with constant group work.

The Norwich MSISA is a bit more pricy at $32k'ish but alumnus are currently offered a $1500 per class scholarship (total $9k). This being combined with educational assistance from my job dropped the price to an affordable level for me. The MSISA is 4 semesters a year, 11 wks each. This means it will take 1.5 years to complete. The MSISA also have a very good reputation in the career field. The main educational difference between GA Tech and Norwich is that the Norwich MSISA is policy/ managerial heavy and is geared for high-level positions such as CIO / CISOs. The GA Tech masters degree seems to be a lot more technical, even in choosing the policy track. I also considered many other schools to include WGU, but they were not for me for one reason or another.


The admissions process so far is very smooth. It is just as easy as when I applied for the BS program but even easier since they already have all my info on file and I did not need to send them any transcripts. Also, it seems that a few classes will be using the same books as the undergrad classes so I might be saving a ton of money there.

Comments

  • FSF150FSF150 Senior Member Posts: 118Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good luck with your journey. I saw you posted in the MSISA thread back when it was still alive. Look forward to reading about your experiences. 
    First we drink the coffee. Then we do the things. :neutral:
  • LSageeLSagee CISSP, GCIH, CASP+,CySA+, Sec+ Posts: 46Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks! I am really excited to start this and go back to Norwich again.

    Unfortunately, that sweet alumnus scholarship was a typo and I just happened to catch it on one of the few days it was on the page before it was fixed. The alumnus scholarship is $425 a semester. A bit of a bummer. Class starts Dec 2.

    Looking at the books for all six classes, there is some overlap in the material. Mainly the 2 vulnerability assessment classes. I expect those two classes to be extremely similar to the undergrad classes. The other 4 core classes use different book. Two of them require Cengage books so that is a pretty penny depending on if the class uses the Cengage labs. If they don't use the labs, the price to rent a book is fairly cheap. Overall, I would guess that required books is less that $500-$600 for the program.
  • nevermorenevermore Posts: 27Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I am a current Norwich MSISA student.  Just completed my fifth class (Vulnerability Management I) last weekend and start Vulnerability Management II in a couple of weeks.  Coursework will conclude in February and will be attending residency on June.  I really enjoyed the program and while challenging it has been very rewarding.
    Obtained: CISSP-ISSMP, CISM, GISP, CEH, B.S. Cybersecurity UMUC
    In Progress: M.S. ISA Norwich University
    In Queue: CCSP, ISSAP
  • LSageeLSagee CISSP, GCIH, CASP+,CySA+, Sec+ Posts: 46Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    nevermore said:
    I am a current Norwich MSISA student.  Just completed my fifth class (Vulnerability Management I) last weekend and start Vulnerability Management II in a couple of weeks.  Coursework will conclude in February and will be attending residency on June.  I really enjoyed the program and while challenging it has been very rewarding.
    Does GI512 and GI542 use the Cengage labs for quizzes? Can I get by with just renting the Cengage book and not have to purchase one for the lab access code (or do the online subscription)?

    Did you all do anything else besides basic MSF exploits and going over the basic tools besides WireShark and John?
  • nevermorenevermore Posts: 27Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    edited November 22
    There were no labs for me for GI512 - GI542. The first four classes focused on discussion thread posting/responses, quizzes, and writing papers/presentations. That being said, if the format has not changed over the last 12 months, you should not need the lab access subscriptions. The quizzes were based on content contained within the books. For Vuln Mgmt. primary focus on Metasploit and utilizing a few others such as Wireshark, JTR, and Nessus. The Metasploit book was a decent reference but I ended up referencing free resources posted on the Offensive Security website to support some of the labs as the book is a bit dated.
    Obtained: CISSP-ISSMP, CISM, GISP, CEH, B.S. Cybersecurity UMUC
    In Progress: M.S. ISA Norwich University
    In Queue: CCSP, ISSAP
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