Information Security - Technical Concentration Master of Science


The Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) program provides students with background and insights into the key management and technical issues of information security. It is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Management Information Systems Department in the College of Business and the Mathematics and Computer Science Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The management concentration focuses on the identification and mitigation of information security risks and threats faced by organizations, as well as strategies for securing the data, processes, and systems of organizations. It discusses identification and prevention of cybercrime, computer forensics, ethical hacking, database security, risk management, and information security governance and compliance. The technical concentration examines the tools, techniques, and concepts by which information systems can be made secure. It examines the details of how information processing systems of all shapes and sizes perform their various functions, teaching students how operating systems, software applications, database and file systems, and data networks can be made secure through cryptography, security protocols, secure coding practices, vulnerability testing, and forensics.

The management concentration has hands-on courses that provide skills required for managing the information security infrastructure of organizations. This option is appropriate for information technology (IT) leaders, information security managers, and directors who are responsible for designing, recommending, and maintaining the IT infrastructure and information security controls and for developing strategic technology plans. The technical concentration is a hands-on option that is attractive to IT professionals who desire a deep understanding of how to design and implement defenses against today's and tomorrow's cyber threats, identify and investigate security breaches, and resolve security problems when and where they arise.

To accommodate the needs of working professionals, the program is structured for part-time students with courses offered in the evenings. All courses are offered in an eight-week format. Additionally, the program is fully offered online.

Full Admission

To be accepted for admission into the program, a student must present the following credentials:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. An application for graduate admission, including a $40 application fee.
  4. Professional resumé.
  5. Official transcripts from all educational institutions attended.
  6. Two-page statement of purpose.
  7. Two recommendation forms or letters.
  8. International students are required to have a TOEFL test score greater than 550 (computer based 213; internet based 79).

Conditional Admission

Under certain circumstances, students who do not meet one or more of the requirements for full admission may be admitted to the program with conditional status. Conditional admission is most commonly offered to applicants who earned an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0. Students admitted with conditional status will be considered for full admission only after they have attempted nine credit hours in the program and earned a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0. Conditionally admitted students who have not attained the minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 after attempting nine credit hours of MSIS coursework will be dismissed from the MSIS program.

Foundation Coursework

Students who lack prior coursework in computer science or management information systems from an accredited collegiate institution are required to take up to two foundation courses in the major to gain background in computer programming and computer organization. The determination of whether a student is required to take one or both Foundation Courses will be made during the application review process by the Program Director. The Program Director will evaluate the applicant's prior academic transcripts, looking for courses in computer programming and computer organization. If the transcripts provide evidence of academic credit in Computer Programming and / or Computer Organization from an accredited collegiate institution, the student will not be required to take the corresponding Foundation Course. The Foundation Courses are designed to provide students who lack prior academic coursework in the fundamentals of Computer Science the concepts they need to appreciate fully the technical aspects of information security.

Student-At-Large Status

A student with a baccalaureate degree who wants to take certain graduate courses with the intention of becoming a degree candidate may be admitted as a student-at-large by meeting the following requirements:

  1. Submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education; and
  2. Complete an application form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

Should a student-at-large seek full admission status, he or she must have attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in his/her at-large coursework. Nine semester hours completed as a student-at-large is the maximum credit toward an advanced degree that can be granted.

A student with a baccalaureate degree who wants to take certain courses but does not seek a full degree endorsement may likewise be admitted as a student-at-large and is subject to the same admission requirements.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

A student entering the MSIS program with appropriate prior graduate coursework in information security may have a maximum of nine credit hours beyond the Foundation Courses applied to MSIS degree requirements.

Course credits eligible for transfer consideration must meet the following criteria:

  1. All transfer credit must have been earned prior to matriculation in the MSIS program.
  2. The coursework must have been completed at an accredited graduate school.
  3. A minimum grade of B must have been earned for the course.
  4. The coursework must have an equivalent in the MSIS curriculum.

Time Limitation for Completing the Program

A student must complete all requirements within seven years from the completion of his or her first graduate course at Lewis University.

Grade Point Requirement

A 3.0 cumulative GPA is required for graduation. Only grades attained in Lewis University graduate courses will be used to determine the GPA. A grade of will not count toward degree requirements. Any student admitted to the MSIS program whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation, as described below. 

Academic Probation

A student in the MSIS program whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. While on academic probation, the student must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better during each 8-week session. If a student does not meet this minimum session GPA requirement during any session on academic probation, he or she will be dismissed from the program.  After a one-semester hiatus, the student may petition the Program Director in writing to resume studies. The Program Director, in consultation with the appropriate Graduate Council, will make the final decision on whether to allow the student to resume studies. If consent is granted to resume studies in the MSIS program, the student will resume studies on academic probation. Once a student's cumulative GPA meets or exceeds 3.0, the student will be released from academic probation.

Graduation Requirements

To complete the MSIS degree, a student must earn between 35 and 41 credit hours, depending on whether the student was required to take the Foundation Courses. Students must complete at least 35 graduate credits in the program beyond the two Foundation Courses. These 35 credit hours consist of eighteen credit hours of core coursework, twelve hours of elective coursework, two hours of seminar coursework, and a three-credit hour capstone course. For their electives, students must choose one of two concentrations:  the Management Concentration or the Technical Concentration. The student will take at least nine hours of coursework from the chosen concentration. The remaining three hours may be taken from either concentration.

Degree Offered: Master of Science

Total Credit Hours: 35-41

Curriculum for the MSIS Technical Concentration

I. Foundation Courses (6)

68-500Computer Organization


68-501Principles of Programming


II. Core Courses (18)

68-505Introduction to Information Security


68-510Data Networking


68-515Operating Systems and Distributed Systems


68-520Intrusion Detection, Response and Recovery


68-525Encryption and Authentication Systems


68-530Legal and Ethical Issues in Information Security


III. Technical Concentration (9 - 12)

A minimum of three courses from the following:

68-523Computer Forensics


68-560Securing Windows


68-561Securing Linux


68-563Database Management and Security


68-564Wireless Security


68-565Software Vulnerabilities and Defenses


68-570Cloud and Virtualization Security


68-580Industrial and Critical Infrastructure Network Security


IV. Elective (0-3)

Choose an additional elective from either Management or Technical Concentration to earn a total of 12 credit hours of elective coursework.

V. Seminar Courses (2)

Two credit hours of seminar coursework.

68-596Information Security Certification Prep I


68-597Information Security Certification Prep II


VI. Capstone (3)

68-590Information Security Capstone: Technical Concentration


Policy on Incomplete Grades

Credit for the capstone experience (68-590) will be deferred until the project has been completed to the satisfaction of both the student and the mentor. Until the project has been completed, a grade of I (Incomplete) will appear on the student’s record for that course. For all other courses in which the student receives a grade of I, he or she has until the sixth week of the following semester to complete the requirements for the course. If the student fails to complete the requirements of the course before the six-week cutoff, the incomplete grade will be converted to a grade of “IF”, which is equivalent to a failing grade.