Western Governor's University - MS Information Security and Assurance

veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna IuvatGreenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
I know WGU has come up on multiple occasions in the forums but I had to bring it back up... icon_wink.gif

I am very interested in WGU's MS in Information Security and Assurance. I am still 2 years away from having my Bachelors but I want to research the possibilities that are out there. Is anyone out there taking Masters course?

Another thought if I may impose on you, how has getting a degree from WGU helped your job searches?
Currently working on: Linux and Python
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Comments

  • ZbacoZbaco Posts: 15Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am also interested in learning more about this degree. I am currently kicking around the idea of going for a Master's (have a BS already) and although I hadn't heard about WGU before yesterday, I've been doing some research and have to say that the courselist for the MS looks fairly interesting, especially when you consider the certifications they throw in.

    I'd be interested in hearing more about the training they provide for the certifications - whether they're just a glorified bootcamp (sans in-person instruction) or if they have some sort of virtual lab setup so you can get some hands-on with the tools.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,128Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I can't speak for WGU, but I do have a suggestion. Look for a school that has been branded a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. At least then you know the education is held to a standard and that you will get your monies worth. Such as Capitol Colleges program, which I believe can be completed online....

    Information Assurance | Capitol College
    WIP:
    Python
    Java
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    I can't speak for WGU, but I do have a suggestion. Look for a school that has been branded a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. At least then you know the education is held to a standard and that you will get your monies worth. Such as Capitol Colleges program, which I believe can be completed online....

    Information Assurance | Capitol College

    Is there a list of schools that have been branded by the NSA? I tried a Google search and found nothing. icon_confused.gif:

    Update: Found it... Centers of Academic Excellence - Institutions - NSA/CSS

    Thanks Grinch :) That helps allot. I will sift through these, I am hoping to find an online school.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • ssiphone@sbcglobal.net[email protected] Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am a graduate of WGU in the BS IT Security program and am currently enrolled in their Masters of Information Security and Assurance. This has been a great experience especially for someone like me that just hates to waste time and has worked in the industry for many years.

    The MSISA program just started last February and I am about to finish my first 6 month term completing 5 of the 18 assessments already. If you are a self starter then this is the program for you for sure. Whether you are looking for a Bachelors or Masters, you will get several industry recognized certifications as well as relevant education that has been reviewed and approved by all four accreditation bodies. Additionally, industry has been involved in setting curriculum that is relevant to what you will do in a real job...no theory here.

    For the Masters, they are seeking NSA certification. They had to wait until students were actually enrolled and going through the program. They hope to have the certification by the end of 2009 which is just about when I will graduate at the pace I set for myself. (I did a BS in 2 years and 1 month and 4 days with a few transferred units from community college).
    Scott
    ==================:thumbup:
    [FONT=&quot] “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas Edison
    [/FONT]
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    Thats good to know. Im currently at WGU working on my BS IT Network Administration program and hope to finish during my2nd term that actually starts on August 1st. If im able to complete this I'd like to continue on to my masters and them having the NSA certification is a definitely plus in my book.
  • ZbacoZbaco Posts: 15Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    The MSISA program just started last February and I am about to finish my first 6 month term completing 5 of the 18 assessments already. If you are a self starter then this is the program for you for sure. Whether you are looking for a Bachelors or Masters, you will get several industry recognized certifications as well as relevant education that has been reviewed and approved by all four accreditation bodies. Additionally, industry has been involved in setting curriculum that is relevant to what you will do in a real job...no theory here.

    Can you give us any information about what the courses and assessments are like? For example, say I'm working on the courses in preparation for the Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures certification. Will they just say, "here's the books, study them and let us know when you want to test", or will there be hands-on in addition to that?

    Also, can you give us your opinion on how well the courses are set up, generally? For example, when you start a given course, are the requirements for passing the course laid out clearly? I've been researching this school over the past few days, and many of the negative comments I've seen are from people who complained that the requirements weren't clear, or that they changed midway through the course. Granted, most of these negative reviews came from people who were in non-IT-related degrees - the reviews I read from the people studying IT degrees were mostly positive. Has this been your experience as well?
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Yeah, please tell us about your experience so far.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    I'd also like to know
  • ats3ats3 Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I would also like to know.
  • ssiphone@sbcglobal.net[email protected] Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hello everyone...sorry, I would have responded earlier, but I was studying for an assessment for Certified Wireless Security Professional...and yes I passed...only 13 assessment until I finish the Master's program.

    Let me answer some questions from the trenches.

    The assessments that relate to certifications use the official study guides and practice tests from the test maker. For example, the CWSP exam I just completed used the courseware directly from CWNP (CWNP Wireless Certification & Wireless Training - Home). I had the study book and access to online tests. The same is true for the EC Council and SANS tests. Some of these actually inclue free simulations, in some cases you might have to setup your own little network to attack. If you ask me, if you are into security or networking, you want to do this anyway.

    I would disagree with anyone that says requirements or courses change in the middle of taking them. That is totally bogus and as a graduate from the BS IT program, that never happened to me and has not happened to me in the Master's program either. Now, requirements during your program might change. For example, if you have to take the Network+ exam as a requirement and you have not taken it yet, and then CompTIA decides to update the assessment, then they will change to the most current version. Now if you have already taken the assessment and it is updated, you do not have to take it again. That would just be stupid!

    Every course has a Course of Study which outlines the compentencies that you are to learn, the learning resources (books, online simulations, practice tests, whatever is available to help you learn), a Guided Learning Tool which provides you the pacing for the assessment (what you should be doing every week over to learn the material). The advantage to WGU is that you are not locked into a certain number of weeks like Phoenix or other programs. If the Guided Learning Tool says 11 weeks...that is the maximum time, but there is nothing stopping you from completing it in 2 days if you already have the knowledge, skills and abilities. That is the whole point, you can accelerate your completion based on your own dedication, knowledge, and skills. Pretty cool if you ask me; considering I did an entire BS program in 2 years, 1 month and 4 days!

    Now some of the general business stuff seemed a little kluge, but that is because most of that stuff isn't as exciting to me as the techie stuff. But hey, I have been able to get through all them just fine...and so if I can, anyone can...really!

    Keep posting questions or send me a note, I am happy to answer any questions. I think WGU is great for those of us that have experience, are self-starters, don't want to do the group thing (think Phoenix), can think on their own and learn on their own. If you have all of those traits, then online education is for you!

    Oh yeah, if you take the acceleration seriously, this is a whole lot less costs than the competition. Here is a good article from Time magazine: http://www.wgu.edu/about_WGU/time_eprint.pdf

    And here is another from CB2 in Chicago: http://cbs2chicago.com/consumer/western.governors.university.2.895343.html

    Also, there is going to be an NBC Nightly News report with Tom Costello in the next few weeks spotlighting the school and me. The story is about lowered costs, the compentency approach, and accelerating education for the reasons I listed above.

    Finally, here is a link to the graduation ceremony from January 2009 where I am one of the student speakers, the only male. If you want some really interesting stories, watch Joanna's speech - she did her entire business BA in one term of 6 months, like 100 units and she has kids too. Now that is dedication. http://www.wgu.edu/wgu/graduation_jan09.asp

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    Scott
    ==================:thumbup:
    [FONT=&quot] “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas Edison
    [/FONT]
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    There not planning on persuing the NSA certification.

    "[FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial] Our goal was initially to pursue this certification. However, at present, we are not planning on acquiring the certification.

    Let me know if that’s what you were looking for!

    Have a great rest of your week,

    Gwen :)[/FONT]"
  • gothicreadergothicreader Posts: 2Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm in my 2nd term with WGU and I'm loving it. I'm a self-starter and don't have the time to go to a brick/mortar, not to mention the outrageous cost.

    WGU is great for those of you considering your BS or MA degree in IT and they will give you credit if you already have certifications - so long it's within 5 years (at least when I signed up back in 09/0icon_cool.gif. Once I complete my BS in IT I plan on going forward with my Masters. It's a no brainer for me.

    The cost is affordable, in fact everyone pays a set amount depending upon the degree program and you must schedule at least 12 credit units, which is normally 3-4 classes to be completed within a 6 month term. Also, during your term if you have completed your classes, and you still have time you can add another class or classes without costing you more money! I did this for this term and more than likely will do it thereafter for each subsequent terms. Also, this allows you not to commit to something that you can't control if something happens during your 6 month term.

    Although you have the option to buy the books, they do provide you with workbooks, plus online training instruction.

    Good luck!
    JW
  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    doesn't WGU not even use a GPA system

    I don't see how you'll be able to go anywhere else aside there after getting a BS/MS from there...if you don't have time for night school I recommend a B&M school with a distance education program.
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    shednik wrote: »
    doesn't WGU not even use a GPA system

    I don't see how you'll be able to go anywhere else aside there after getting a BS/MS from there...if you don't have time for night school I recommend a B&M school with a distance education program.

    They dont use the GPA system but the way its setup, you have to maintain a "B" Average which is a 3.0
  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    qwertyiop wrote: »
    They dont use the GPA system but the way its setup, you have to maintain a "B" Average which is a 3.0

    So how are you supposed to get your transcripts sent to a tradition school if you so chose to? When i go for my PhD I'll need a 3.3+ to get into the program, if I went to WGU for my MS that wouldn't work to well.

    I'm just not a fan of how they setup their programs at all...I don't think you should be able to have a shortcut through a degree because of your experience. It in a sense degrades the value of a degree, a degree shouldn't be something that is "easy" to obtain.
  • jryantechjryantech Posts: 623Member
    shednik wrote: »
    So how are you supposed to get your transcripts sent to a tradition school if you so chose to? When i go for my PhD I'll need a 3.3+ to get into the program, if I went to WGU for my MS that wouldn't work to well.

    I'm just not a fan of how they setup their programs at all...I don't think you should be able to have a shortcut through a degree because of your experience. It in a sense degrades the value of a degree, a degree shouldn't be something that is "easy" to obtain.

    ^^^ this
    "It's Microsoft versus mankind with Microsoft having only a slight lead."
    -Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle

    Studying: SCJA
    Occupation: Information Systems Technician
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,128Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I'd try very hard not to do my Masters in Information Assurance online. If you have experience it is one thing, but if you have none it is always more fun to use school labs to mess with things. Why pay all that money and shell out for equipment?
    WIP:
    Python
    Java
  • skrpuneskrpune Posts: 1,409Member
    shednik wrote: »
    So how are you supposed to get your transcripts sent to a tradition school if you so chose to? When i go for my PhD I'll need a 3.3+ to get into the program, if I went to WGU for my MS that wouldn't work to well.

    I'm just not a fan of how they setup their programs at all...I don't think you should be able to have a shortcut through a degree because of your experience. It in a sense degrades the value of a degree, a degree shouldn't be something that is "easy" to obtain.
    There are brick & mortar schools without GPA systems, so it's not unheard of. And it's not just fly by night schools with no GPA - Brown University hasn't used GPAs for decades.

    I almost ended up going to WGU but upon doing some further investigation, it just wasn't for me. Maybe it works for others, but it's not my cup of tea. I had a BIG problem with how they count transfer credits. I know that most people are disappointed when trying to transfer previous studies to another university, but I was really confused by and concerned with how WGU worked their transcript review. They used my Vista cert to count towards programming (?!) and told me that I'd have to take a ton of humanities/english/etc classes even though I have a full BS degree already and have completed those with my previous shot at college. I was told that the application fee was put towards an indepth review of my transcripts, but I ended up having to do the review myself - I sent them links to course descriptions & had them remove the checkmark on the programming requirement & had them reevaluate my transcripts. By comparison, my local university saw that I had completed a bachelors already and is only requiring CS-related courses & one state-required constitutional exam. The whole process just didn't sit right with me.

    I think WGU is more geared towards those who are already experienced and just need the degree to go along with that experience. For someone like me who's new to IT and who is looking for a different educational experience, it's not quite right. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that some people can whiz through their programs. But I know I can't absorb that much in such a short time and expect to retain it in the long term. And I'd venture to say that others out there who cram to pass instead of learning to master topics will suffer in the long run.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    skrpune wrote: »
    There are brick & mortar schools without GPA systems, so it's not unheard of. And it's not just fly by night schools with no GPA - Brown University hasn't used GPAs for decades.

    I almost ended up going to WGU but upon doing some further investigation, it just wasn't for me. Maybe it works for others, but it's not my cup of tea. I had a BIG problem with how they count transfer credits. I know that most people are disappointed when trying to transfer previous studies to another university, but I was really confused by and concerned with how WGU worked their transcript review. They used my Vista cert to count towards programming (?!) and told me that I'd have to take a ton of humanities/english/etc classes even though I have a full BS degree already and have completed those with my previous shot at college. I was told that the application fee was put towards an indepth review of my transcripts, but I ended up having to do the review myself - I sent them links to course descriptions & had them remove the checkmark on the programming requirement & had them reevaluate my transcripts. By comparison, my local university saw that I had completed a bachelors already and is only requiring CS-related courses & one state-required constitutional exam. The whole process just didn't sit right with me.

    I think WGU is more geared towards those who are already experienced and just need the degree to go along with that experience. For someone like me who's new to IT and who is looking for a different educational experience, it's not quite right. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that some people can whiz through their programs. But I know I can't absorb that much in such a short time and expect to retain it in the long term. And I'd venture to say that others out there who cram to pass instead of learning to master topics will suffer in the long run.

    Nothing personal skrprune but I really can't see WGU and Brown being compared, I did not know they didn't use a GPA system there...I just don't like the a school that is an online school and fairly new that doesn't keep a GPA system and allows working adults to earn credits by expereince. In all honesty and I alot of people would agree that making it easier to get a degree isn't helping in the long run. It's just going diminish the overall value of getting a BS or MS. I think anyone who is seeking a degree should but the time and effort in regardless if its through a traditional route, online, or at night. I've tried all 3 routes in my academic career each has their pros and cons, but keep it a challenege is all I'm saying. I don't link to other posts very often but I think MS has given the best advice anyone can give with regards to education and should definitley be made into a sticky!

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/jobs-degrees/44013-looking-accredited-online-universities-2.html#post324114
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    qwertyiop wrote: »
    There not planning on persuing the NSA certification.

    "[FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial] Our goal was initially to pursue this certification. However, at present, we are not planning on acquiring the certification.

    Let me know if that’s what you were looking for!

    Have a great rest of your week,

    Gwen :)[/FONT]"

    My adviser told me that they have put it on hold until this fall. They are in the midst of evaluating the classes for the MS as a whole for NSA approval. According to the NSA web site its a lot work. I am sure they will keep on pursuing it. Capella has it, and I am sure WGU will have it.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,200Admin Admin
    Capella has it, and I am sure WGU will have it.
    Capella received the NSA's CAE/IAE accreditation in 2007--barely before I graduated. They actually put it off for a year to reorganize their IT programs and course syllabi. I'm not sure of the reorg was necessary for the accreditation to go through, but possibly.

    Criteria for Measurement CAE/IAE- NSA/CSS

    Centers of Academic Excellence - Institutions - NSA/CSS
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    JDMurray wrote: »
    Capella received the NSA's CAE/IAE accreditation in 2007--barely before I graduated. They actually put it off for a year to reorganize their IT programs and course syllabi. I'm not sure of the reorg was necessary for the accreditation to go through, but possibly.

    Criteria for Measurement CAE/IAE- NSA/CSS

    Centers of Academic Excellence - Institutions - NSA/CSS

    Yeah, I that is what is going on at WGU.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    I hope they get it cause that would be a big plus for me
  • skrpuneskrpune Posts: 1,409Member
    shednik wrote: »
    Nothing personal skrprune but I really can't see WGU and Brown being compared, I did not know they didn't use a GPA system there...I just don't like the a school that is an online school and fairly new that doesn't keep a GPA system and allows working adults to earn credits by expereince. In all honesty and I alot of people would agree that making it easier to get a degree isn't helping in the long run. It's just going diminish the overall value of getting a BS or MS. I think anyone who is seeking a degree should but the time and effort in regardless if its through a traditional route, online, or at night. I've tried all 3 routes in my academic career each has their pros and cons, but keep it a challenege is all I'm saying. I don't link to other posts very often but I think MS has given the best advice anyone can give with regards to education and should definitley be made into a sticky!

    http://www.techexams.net/forums/jobs-degrees/44013-looking-accredited-online-universities-2.html#post324114
    oh no, I wasn't trying to make a direct comparison between the two schools (there IS no comparison in my opinion) - I was just trying to make the point that a lack of a GPA system isn't indicative of anything much besides being out of the ordinary. I agree that it shouldn't be TOOOO easy to get a degree, as it would decrease the value of degrees - we've seen the value of a high school degree plummet over the years, and I'd hate to see the same thing happen to bachelors degrees too. And WGU may be a great place offering great programs, but it just didn't feel right to me. Not to diminish the accomplishments of those in accelerated programs, but I am a bit of an educational purist and I enjoy learning for the sake of learning, not trying to get a degree as fast as I can. It's just my personal choice and the path I've chosen for myself and after looking into online programs, I just can't see paying someone else to give me a degree for a program that's entirely self-study.
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • skrpuneskrpune Posts: 1,409Member
    qwertyiop wrote: »
    I hope they get it cause that would be a big plus for me
    I don't have the link handy, but I'm pretty sure WGU has opted to not go the NSA route...somewhere on here I saw a post with a quote from a WGU rep saying they've decided not to go for it, I'll post back if I find it...
    Currently Studying For: Nothing (cert-wise, anyway)
    Next Up: Security+, 291?

    Enrolled in Masters program: CS 2011 expected completion
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Audentis Fortuna Iuvat Greenville, SC USAPosts: 5,735Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    Not according to my advisor. Read my post.
    Currently working on: Linux and Python
  • theICEtheICE Posts: 84Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    You do not get credit for experience, but only for some classes if you have certain certs, please get the facts straight before you put down WGU.
  • ssiphone@sbcglobal.net[email protected] Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    This is a new change. I just talked to Gwen earlier today as she had not told me that they changed course. We are going to connect next week and pursue the justification to the powers that be about why WGU has to get this designation.
    Scott
    ==================:thumbup:
    [FONT=&quot] “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas Edison
    [/FONT]
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Posts: 725Member
    This is a new change. I just talked to Gwen earlier today as she had not told me that they changed course. We are going to connect next week and pursue the justification to the powers that be about why WGU has to get this designation.


    That sounds great, if you need anything from me or any other WGU students just let us know
  • ssiphone@sbcglobal.net[email protected] Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    WGU does not give you "life experience" credits at all! The purpose of WGU is to provide those of us that have years and years of practical on the job experience the ability to prove ourselves without having to sit in a classroom and listen to lectures where really we could be teaching the class. That is the accelerated part of WGU that is most appealing. You have to take proctored exams at WGU along with real industry related IT exams at testing centers. The proctored approach is much different than the paper approach of programs like Phoenix. No sending in your smart buddy to sit for the exam.

    If you are not an already experienced IT person, then WGU is really going to be a challenge for you. You will find yourself having to spend more time putting things together because you are going to have to use many learning resources to bring up your knowledge to pass the assessments.

    Along the same line, I would say that WGU is not a school for someone that needs lots of encouragement, attention and direction. This program is for people like me that have been working as a professional in the field of study and is not interested in bringing along some dude/dudette submitting group projects, but would rather prove what I know in my own mind and do my own work.

    Moreover, the curriculum is actually based on the competencies that you need to know in order to be successful. To make sure of this, WGU has relationships with many names you may have heard of from time-to-time, Microsoft, SUN Microsystems, Google, etc.

    Then when talking about degrading the relevancy of a degree, WGU is nothing like the papermills of University of Phoenix with its group activities and purely paper education. The only thing that they have going for them is that they have a huge marketing program and budget. I have not met a Phoenix program yet that compares to programs offered by WGU.
    Scott
    ==================:thumbup:
    [FONT=&quot] “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas Edison
    [/FONT]
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