SANS Will Start College for IT Security

The school will be based in Maryland and offer online programs in security engineering and management.

The SANS Institute has been granted approval by the State of Maryland to create a college and plans to begin accepting candidates for Masters of Science degrees in information security, according to a SANS statement.

SANS will offer MS degrees in two subjects: Information Security Engineering and Information Security Management. Students will have to prove technical mastery of technologies and processes used by security experts, as well as management skills like communications and project management, according to a SANS statement.

The new college will be based in Maryland but serve students around the country and the World through online courses.

SANS hopes to train the next generation of IT security managers, who will be needed to oversee information workers at companies and government agencies, according to an e-mail statement by Alan Paller, director of research at SANS.

The Master of Science in Information Security Engineering degree is intended for those who will oversee security and network specialists as technical directors or networking and systems specialists. The Information Security Management degree is designed for those who wish to become chief information security officers, SANS said.

The new college will be no degree mill, SANS said. Students will have to have strong grade point averages from accredited colleges and strong recommendations from employers.

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Students will have to attend three week-long sessions at SANS Residential Institutes, in addition to online coursework to complete the degree, SANS said.

SANS staff, including IT security experts from the private sector and the government, will teach the classes.

Unlike other IT security coursework, the new SANS degree program will combine technical study with "real world" problem solving. Upon graduating, students will be expected to be able to manage security and network specialists, and teach IT security concepts to others, SANS said.

Many IT security projects fail because managers lack the technical expertise to make the right decisions, or the management and communications skills to confer their knowledge and ideas to subordinates, Paller said.

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