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I am currently in undergraduate studies, and currently participating in computer related studies (mainly security focused). I wish to (as an end goal) pursue a MS and PhD.

I am not sure exactly the experience in graduate level programs as far as focus. Is there a possible focus on Network Security/Infrastructure built into graduate programs or would curriculum be more of a wide range (albeit focused in the realm of computer science)?

If not is there a path which would end at a doctoral level involving information security?

  • ''end goal'' PhD? – 299792458 Aug 27 '14 at 5:09
  • @New_new_newbie Yes PhD in Computer Science if I cannot find a degree (PhD) that is more focused in Network Security. – No Time Aug 27 '14 at 5:40
  • No, I meant it is taboo to call PhD, ''the end'', in academia (even if it is the end). – 299792458 Aug 27 '14 at 6:18
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    Yes, there are plenty of MSc in Computer/Information Security (e.g., ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/degree/…, royalholloway.ac.uk/isg/prospectivestudents/…), and it's perfectly possible to do a PhD in Security. Talk to a professor at your current university, he or she might help you find a cursus relevant to you. – user102 Aug 27 '14 at 8:10
  • @New_new_newbie would it be better to say end degree? I don't plan on being like "Ok I got my degree, I will never open a book again." Impossible for this field to even float let alone swim without researching, and it would honestly be boring to just stop. At least I didn't say terminal. – No Time Aug 28 '14 at 1:38
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This is a bit of a snarky answer to your question but... did you try Googling "PhD in Computer Science Security"? Perhaps even more useful have you looked at the offerings of your own university to see what a Masters or PhD entails?

To be a bit less snarky in PhD programs, at least, it's less about what the degree is called and more about the research and lab you become involved with. If you are interested in focusing on security, which is a broad field, in Computer Science you will often get a degree in 'Computer Science' but you will work in a lab focused on security.

With that in mind my first recommendation to you is to do some research. Find out what folks are researching at your current institution, see if you find it interesting. If you can, get involved! This is probably the best way to find out what programs exist out there for your interests.

Even beyond your local school - do some digging. I was about to do a quick Google search and find that there are a couple of schools that are considered to have the 'best'(subjectively of course) Security Information programs. You should be able to find this out as well! Start looking into other schools, see what they offer and also what their researchers are researching. See if anything seems interesting. Start reading papers. Do some research into what you want to do.

So, in short, do:

  1. Figure out what research is happening at your school. Try to get involved.
  2. Figure out what are the 'best' programs for the topics you are interested in. Who is the 'big name' in the field? Read those papers!
  3. Find 1 person who you want to be when you 'grow up'. In other words find one person whose job you want to have one day. Research how they got there! See if you can build a road map to your own success based on how they got to where they are.
  • I like this answer. I have only really been looking local programs (and course descriptions) for each of the programs, currently I have seen more "generalized" courses (as in including InfoSec, but not as a focus). I thought perhaps I was not searching for the right degree path. I have found "Network Security" up to the masters level locally (after using the correct keywords), and I am assuming if I wish to pursue a doctoral level degree I may have to focus on CS as a whole, but specialize/work in security. It would be hard to pursue too far out of state, but this helped a lot. – No Time Aug 28 '14 at 1:29
  • PhD programs are different, fundamentally, that undergraduate and almost all Master's programs. Sure you take some course work for a PhD program but the focus is on your research. It's not about 'focusing' on CS as a whole, it's just the way PhDs work. A good CS PhD program will have a very few core classes for you to take and the rest will be decided by you/your advisor to better support your research work. Additionally instead of looking at undergrad>masters>PhD, consider going directly into a PhD program. You can almost always quit with a terminal Masters. – Nahkki Aug 28 '14 at 3:40

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