SANS Technology Institute - Has anyone gone here or seriously considered it?

InfoSecChicaInfoSecChica Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
I currently work in infosec, and have been in this field for the last 5 years. I'm also currently finishing up my bachelor of science in IT, information systems security concentration at University of Phoenix (already have my AAIT from them). After graduation I want to take a solid year to a year and a half to obtain my CISSP and CISA, then begin a masters program. Like many of you here, I was absolutely sure it's going to be through WGU in their MSISA program. But a recent discovery has given me pause...

I was poking around the SANS website this morning and found that they have a regionally accredited university called the SANS Technology Institute which offers two Master of Science degrees, one in Information Security Engineering and the other in Information Security Management. As we all know, SANS is one of the most highly respected information systems security organizations out there. But... a university degree through them? Have any of you obtained your MS through them or seriously considered them for your MS degree? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • mataimatai Member Posts: 232 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm interested in hearing about them as well. I'm trying to decide on an online security program between:

    SANS Technology Institute
    Western Governors University
    Johns Hopkins University
    University of Maryland University College
    University of Southern California
    Current: ​CISM, CISA, CISSP, SSCP, GCIH, GCWN, C|EH, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, CCNA Sec, CCNA R&S, CCENT, NPP, CASP, CSA+, Security+, Linux+, Network+, Project+, A+, ITIL v3 F, MCSA Server 2012 (70-410, 70-411, 74-409), 98-349, 98-361, 1D0-610, 1D0-541, 1D0-520
    In Progress: ​Not sure...
  • colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,568 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Additionally I believe they obtained their regional accreditation recently, which makes them eligible for vets to use GI Bill funding (if that applies to you.) You might also consider the cost, especially of other programs, compared to WGU... WGU hands-down is the most affordable school out there for InfoSec (in my opinion.)
    Working on: CCSP, definitely, maybe. On the twitters: @mcole1008
  • InfoSecChicaInfoSecChica Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    colemic wrote: »
    Additionally I believe they obtained their regional accreditation recently, which makes them eligible for vets to use GI Bill funding (if that applies to you.) You might also consider the cost, especially of other programs, compared to WGU... WGU hands-down is the most affordable school out there for InfoSec (in my opinion.)

    colemic:

    Definitely, WGU is!! I looked up the cost for SANS Tech. Inst. and it's $45k (Ouch!)!! I'd have to take out more fed loans for that, versus paying cash for WGU. I'm already (thankfully) paying a very reduced tuition for UOP, because my husband is active duty Army, but he's ending his military career at the end of next year, so no more reduced tuition for me! icon_sad.gif
  • TomkoTechTomkoTech Member Posts: 438
    colemic:

    Definitely, WGU is!! I looked up the cost for SANS Tech. Inst. and it's $45k (Ouch!)!! I'd have to take out more fed loans for that, versus paying cash for WGU. I'm already (thankfully) paying a very reduced tuition for UOP, because my husband is active duty Army, but he's ending his military career at the end of next year, so no more reduced tuition for me! icon_sad.gif

    I believe you can use his GI Bill if he doesn't want to. They made some changes to it I remember reading about.
  • InfoSecChicaInfoSecChica Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    TomkoTech:

    He's already using his GI Bill for school, himself (which I'm ecstatic about).
  • mataimatai Member Posts: 232 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wouldn't SANS be much more respected than WGU?
    Current: ​CISM, CISA, CISSP, SSCP, GCIH, GCWN, C|EH, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, CCNA Sec, CCNA R&S, CCENT, NPP, CASP, CSA+, Security+, Linux+, Network+, Project+, A+, ITIL v3 F, MCSA Server 2012 (70-410, 70-411, 74-409), 98-349, 98-361, 1D0-610, 1D0-541, 1D0-520
    In Progress: ​Not sure...
  • TybTyb Member Posts: 207 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It looks good but is it 50k good for a Masters from there?
    WGU BS:IT Security (March 2015)
    WGU MS:ISA (February 2016 )
  • colemiccolemic Member Posts: 1,568 ■■■■■■■□□□
    matai wrote: »
    Wouldn't SANS be much more respected than WGU?
    To a degree, but I don't know about 4-6x more respected, which is what the cost differential is.
    Working on: CCSP, definitely, maybe. On the twitters: @mcole1008
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You shouldn't forget that you are basically getting every major cert SANS has. If you added up the cost of training for each of the certs you're less then $45k yes, but you'd be fairly close. So think of it as paying for all the certs and the extra is for the Masters. You'd finish with the following certifications:

    GSEC
    GCIH
    GCIA
    GCPM
    GWAPT
    GPEN
    GXPN
    or
    GCFA
    GREM

    Thus a Masters degree and 6 or 7 highly valued certifications. Each of those courses run about $4000 if you attend the training (not including hotel), so $24 to $28k without the Masters degree. I've considered doing it though I don't like the idea of a video essay.
    WIP:
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  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    matai wrote: »
    I'm interested in hearing about them as well. I'm trying to decide on an online security program between:

    SANS Technology Institute
    Western Governors University
    Johns Hopkins University
    University of Maryland University College
    University of Southern California

    Not to make the decision even harder, but VT has a good program too.
    Virginia Tech - Master's (M.S.?) Information Technology
  • bherbiebherbie Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I was looking way ahead myself. But when I looked, I was considering either WGU for Masters or Georgia Tech. So something to consider.

    MS in Information Security Online | School of Computer Science
    MS InfoSec Online
    http://www.bursar.gatech.edu/student/tuition/Summer_2014/Summer14-all_fees.pdf
    Tell me if I am wrong but this might fall under the Master of Sciences in Computer Sciences and only cost $134/ch with semester fees of $301.
    2014 Finished Associate in Science in Database Application Development
    2015 Goal
    A+, Network+, and Security+
  • mataimatai Member Posts: 232 ■■■□□□□□□□
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    You shouldn't forget that you are basically getting every major cert SANS has. If you added up the cost of training for each of the certs you're less then $45k yes, but you'd be fairly close. So think of it as paying for all the certs and the extra is for the Masters. You'd finish with the following certifications:

    GSEC
    GCIH
    GCIA
    GCPM
    GWAPT
    GPEN
    GXPN
    or
    GCFA
    GREM

    Thus a Masters degree and 6 or 7 highly valued certifications. Each of those courses run about $4000 if you attend the training (not including hotel), so $24 to $28k without the Masters degree. I've considered doing it though I don't like the idea of a video essay.

    I recently emailed them asking about how the oral presentations work since I live out of state. The guy said; "we have an event in Seattle once a year, so I am optimistic we can make it work."

    That turns me off of their program. I want an online option so it will fit into my life.
    Current: ​CISM, CISA, CISSP, SSCP, GCIH, GCWN, C|EH, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, CCNA Sec, CCNA R&S, CCENT, NPP, CASP, CSA+, Security+, Linux+, Network+, Project+, A+, ITIL v3 F, MCSA Server 2012 (70-410, 70-411, 74-409), 98-349, 98-361, 1D0-610, 1D0-541, 1D0-520
    In Progress: ​Not sure...
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,309 ■■■■■■■■□□
    bherbie wrote: »
    I was looking way ahead myself. But when I looked, I was considering either WGU for Masters or Georgia Tech. So something to consider.

    MS in Information Security Online | School of Computer Science
    MS InfoSec Online
    http://www.bursar.gatech.edu/student/tuition/Summer_2014/Summer14-all_fees.pdf
    Tell me if I am wrong but this might fall under the Master of Sciences in Computer Sciences and only cost $134/ch with semester fees of $301.

    That would be really interesting, I didn't realize GT was offering anything other than the MS in CS.
  • Malita215Malita215 Member Posts: 20 ■■■□□□□□□□
    matai wrote: »
    I recently emailed them asking about how the oral presentations work since I live out of state. The guy said; "we have an event in Seattle once a year, so I am optimistic we can make it work."

    That turns me off of their program. I want an online option so it will fit into my life.

    I said the same thing about Utica. When I was researching schools, I spoke with an enrollment representative, and I asked about this "Residency" that she mentioned in a email and it speaks of it online. A requirement of the program is to spend 3 days (Thurs - Sat) on campus for "hands on" experience and to meet people in the industry. That's requiring requesting time off from work and sorting family life out as well. They charge a $500 fee and room and board is still payed out of pocket. So basically, book a nearby hotel and take out food. That was talked within 10 mins of the phone call and I was already no longer interested. But we spoke for at least 40 mins.
    Master's in Cyber & Information Security | B.S. Information Technology: Information Security
  • DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have a friend in the InfoSec field with over 10 years experience that is greatly considering that school and was waiting on their regional accreditation. However, they told me they could reduce the tuition cost of $45,000 by self studying the certs for those classes and then waiver in those classes as credit. Since most classes are 4 credits ($1250 per credit) at $5000. The cert exam costs a little over $1000 (study materials can be "acquired") and for the cert the waiver fee is under $200 (and the remainder cost for the course are about $1500) so around $3000 total instead of $5000. Depending on the degree path of management or engineering, you can do that with 5 or 7 courses. You get more cert classes in engineering as elective course than you would with management. More info on their certification waivers is found here.

    Personally, I do believe that the cost is quite high for a graduate degree, however, their name recognition and the certifications could possibly boost your career with the big fortune companies. Their required residency, that includes meeting people, could be quite helpful if the instructors recommend you. But being realistic here, from their website, they take about 100 people a year but their cohort completion rate is low. I am quite sure attending there is not such an "easy ride" since they would cover advanced concepts which I am sure one of the requirement requires at least 5 years of experience in the field. Then their time frame is 5 years. I would still choose WGU for an online graduate degree.
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
    Future Goals: WGU MSISA or Capital Technology Univerisity MSCIS Degree Program
    Click here to connect with me on LinkedIn! Just mention your are from Techexams.net.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,926 Mod
    That Georgia tech things looks good but just the thought of having to take the GRE made me close the browser. I keep toying with the idea of a masters other than WGU but cost being a big factor, I keep coming back to WGU.
  • mataimatai Member Posts: 232 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My only concerns about WGU is that the CEH certs aren't well respected by the DOD and even frowned upon unless you're doing those jobs. Also I think any other university will be more respected. I would think a degree from Johns Hopkins or USC could open doors otherwise closed, but that's pure speculation.
    Current: ​CISM, CISA, CISSP, SSCP, GCIH, GCWN, C|EH, VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, CCNA Sec, CCNA R&S, CCENT, NPP, CASP, CSA+, Security+, Linux+, Network+, Project+, A+, ITIL v3 F, MCSA Server 2012 (70-410, 70-411, 74-409), 98-349, 98-361, 1D0-610, 1D0-541, 1D0-520
    In Progress: ​Not sure...
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Mod Posts: 6,926 Mod
    You want to see something funny? Google "affordable infosec masters" and tell me what is the first result you get.
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    That Georgia tech things looks good but just the thought of having to take the GRE made me close the browser. I keep toying with the idea of a masters other than WGU but cost being a big factor, I keep coming back to WGU.

    Okay, it's not a direct security degree, but the Virginia Tech M.S. in IT (Security emphasis) I mentioned earlier is 30 credits, it doesn't require any standardized tests scores, residency bullshi*t, capstone/thesis, and is ~$30,000. All of those factors combined, and my mind is made up.
  • DoyenDoyen Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    matai wrote: »
    My only concerns about WGU is that the CEH certs aren't well respected by the DOD and even frowned upon unless you're doing those jobs...

    What do you mean it isn't respected by the DOD? There website shows the CEH for each CNDSP incident category: analysts, responders, auditors, and managers.
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    You want to see something funny? Google "affordable infosec masters" and tell me what is the first result you get.

    How is that even possible?! Affordable how? Are you using a browser on some rich man's computericon_lol.gif I also noticed that SANS Technology Institute does not participate in student loans. They are still applying to accept G.I. bills. The only way to pay for them is out of pocket or through some aid with your employer. That makes it rather restrictive to casual person's budget.
    MSP-IT wrote: »
    Okay, it's not a direct security degree, but the Virginia Tech M.S. in IT (Security emphasis) I mentioned earlier is 30 credits, it doesn't require any standardized tests scores, residency bullshi*t, capstone/thesis, and is ~$30,000. All of those factors combined, and my mind is made up.

    I think degrees that have a capstone/thesis strengthens the degree. It shows that your school's classes weren't a "show to class and get a grade" type. Having a capstone shows the culmination of what you learned in a real-world project that you can show to prospective employers. A thesis shows how the school encouraged you to derive a real-world theory/solution from what you have been taught. Then again, others don't see it that way because they mainly want to complete assignments, finish the course, get their credits, and then graduate. Schools that operate in that way just have degrees that aren't worth anything but expensive toilet paper.

    I agree with the GRE and GMAT test score requirements are a waste of time EXCEPT if it has been 10 years since you earned your undergrad. I can see the other side of the argument on what they are for. Not all schools are weighed the same, especially in GPA scoring. A 3.5 GPA from MIT would easily have more educational weight than say a 3.8 from UoF. Not all schools educational weights are obviously apparent (aside from US News college magazine ratings), so a standardized knowledge test should be able to measure the applicant. So X university and Y college applicants' could mean more to one another in comparison with a standardized test.

    I don't agree that all online degree programs should have residencies except if your degree program needs them. Okay...say what? A residency can provide on hand teaching with material that could not be easily taught online. Maybe a residency weekend course for engineering, hacking/implementation, business (public) applications, and some logic/design comes to mind. It can also be used as a way to meet your professors and others in the field. It is hard to recommend someone you only deal with online. The argument of residency can also be taken either way. Some programs just don't need it and can be taught (entirely) online (live sessions, discussions, recorded lectures, etc.). Really the only time you would need to go to the school would be for your graduation, that is, if the ceremony would mean anything to you.

    However, cost does matter and it does mean something. Not the expense you are paying, but the return on investment. Is your degree worth that expense? For example, the cost of an MBA between public ($25,000+), private ($100,000+), and varied online schools. You'll have a name recognition with a private school, but will you eventually be able to make that money back during your career? Cost can also affect the quality of the degree. WGU can be inexpensive for an MBA, but it lacks AACSB or ACBSP accreditation. In the end, you will still have a valid MBA, but certain company's will require that accreditation and will pay quite well for it.

    Since I agree with some of what you are saying, I did not intend to target your response directly in a negative way. I just wanted to interpret a few points towards your reasoning of the college of your choice. After I finish my undergrad in network security, this would be my reasoning for my educational choice. I do plan to attend WGU for a graduate degree in Information Security and Assurance. No residency is required and my class time can be completed with my own motivation. The cost is inexpensive to similar programs offered at Northeastern University, Capella University, and Dokata State University. The name recognition may not be as renown and the quality of education may not be of any comparison, yet in the end I will get a regionally accredited graduate degree in information security and assurance. For me, the cost offset that as well as motivating me to gain certifications (with school's inexpensive vouchers) during my undergrad in order to make WGU even more inexpensive (especially if I can tackle that degree within a year). My career ambitions is geared toward security and auditing (ISSA members are great mentors) so I also strive to gain CISSP, CISA, and an MBA. While the WGU MBA in Information Technology Management was appealing, I do aspire to work for fortune 500 companies in my area so an ACBSP MBA will be more valuable to me since it is THAT valued to them. I plan to attend NCU for my MBA with a concentration in Computer and Information Security. The cost would be around $23,000, no residency, and online with 8 week terms that have due dates each Sunday. That also keeps me in a security track and a business track combination. This is my meager ambition that I am striving for if any of this off-topic "blob datatype" post amounts to anything...
    Goals for 2016: [] VCP 5.5: ICM (recertifying) , [ ] VMware VCA-NV, [ ] 640-911 DCICN, [ ] 640-916 DCICT, [ ] CCNA: Data Center, [ ] CISSP (Associate), [ ] 300-101 ROUTE, [ ] 300-115 SWITCH, [ ] 300-135 TSHOOT, [ ] CCNP: Route & Switch, [ ] CEHv8, [ ] LX0-103, [ ] LX0-104
    Future Goals: WGU MSISA or Capital Technology Univerisity MSCIS Degree Program
    Click here to connect with me on LinkedIn! Just mention your are from Techexams.net.
  • MSP-ITMSP-IT Member Posts: 752 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You make some valid points. My main intent on attending VT is to diversify my resume from WGU. Although I think their M.S. program is indeed a quality program, I think that having both an undergraduate and graduate degree would be to my disadvantage.
  • curtisc83curtisc83 Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    colemic:

    Definitely, WGU is!! I looked up the cost for SANS Tech. Inst. and it's $45k (Ouch!)!! I'd have to take out more fed loans for that, versus paying cash for WGU. I'm already (thankfully) paying a very reduced tuition for UOP, because my husband is active duty Army, but he's ending his military career at the end of next year, so no more reduced tuition for me! icon_sad.gif



    Why don't you look into Liberty University (LU)? They have an MS in Cyber Security. They also give huge discounts for Active Duty Military and their wives. This discount continues even after they have separated from the military. All credit hours (UG and Grad Level) are $250 per with this discount.

    If you don't know much about LU it's a ranked B&M school in Lynchburg, VA. LU has around 14k residential students on a 7200-acre campus loaded with academic and athletic facilities better or on par with nearly all G5 schools. LU will also start pumping out medical doctors starting this year from the almost finished medical school. They currently compete on the NCAA D1 level in the Big South Conference for sports.

    I'm a strong believer in schools that play sports. I think it makes the school more legitimate than strictly online/for-profit ones. And it's a great way to network. Just recently I ran into a ODU grad while I was wearing a LU shirt. Never met the guy but he started talking about when LU played ODU in football last year. It was a very close game. Things like that happen pretty often. Just an aspect of B&M schools strictly online/for-profit ones won't have. You are building yourself into a brand, might as well stack the odds in your favor.

    Master of Science in Cyber Security | Liberty University Online
    Liberty University - Overton Graduate School of Business -Class of 2013-
    U.S. Army Paratrooper & OIF Veteran


    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/curtisc83
  • Danielm7Danielm7 Member Posts: 2,309 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Doyen wrote: »

    How is that even possible?! Affordable how? Are you using a browser on some rich man's computericon_lol.gif I also noticed that SANS Technology Institute does not participate in student loans. They are still applying to accept G.I. bills. The only way to pay for them is out of pocket or through some aid with your employer. That makes it rather restrictive to casual person's budget.

    Better SEO, I have a few friends that do search engine work, sadly Google ranking has nothing to do with reality, hah.
  • BillHooBillHoo Member Posts: 207 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The problem I have with the SANS Master program is there is no follow up with people from SANS.

    2014 I was corresponding with some guy about the application process and then he stopped responding. the website was also kinda sketchy with the application process.

    Nov 2015 I was corresponding with a lady from the masters program and she offered more info and I got my application and transcripts ready and submitted them. After a month or so I heard nothing back. I sent her A note in January and did not hear anything back.

    February 2016 I looked at the app process and they changed it again - it looks like they changed it a bit adding a more stringent undergrad GPA requirement among other things.

    Shouldn't they at least send a rejection letter?

    I get the feeling they have not yet gotten their act together on the Masters programs.
  • dmoore44dmoore44 Member Posts: 646
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    That Georgia tech things looks good but just the thought of having to take the GRE made me close the browser. I keep toying with the idea of a masters other than WGU but cost being a big factor, I keep coming back to WGU.

    I felt the same way for a very long time, but eventually I took the plunge and did it. It's not so bad... Just use the Manhattan Prep materials and you'll do fine.
    Graduated Carnegie Mellon University MSIT: Information Security & Assurance Currently Reading Books on TensorFlow
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