James Madison University is one of the original 7 National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense, designated by NSA and DHS.

Our Master's in Computer Science with a concentration in Information Security is one of the best graduate programs in the nation and is offered 100% online - making it especially suitable for working professionals. Our program provides students the flexibility to learn, interact with each other and faculty experts, and complete assignments - all while conveniently in your home or office, during the day, evenings, and weekends. Information Security is covered in every class as it relates to the course subject matter.

We provide professional development and research opportunities for those currently employed or interested in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense positions in both the government and private industry.

The program is highly technical, highly interactive, and one of the nation's most comprehensive master's programs. Since 1997, we have accepted a new cohort of students to the program each year. We currently have over 250 highly successful graduates from our program – many of whom hold visible positions in government and industry. There is no residency requirement for this program.

Typically, candidates have prior degrees in Computer Science or ample work experience in the field. Although programming is not used extensively, students are required to write programs in some courses. To succeed in the program, candidates must have skills in the following areas:

  • C++
  • Computer Organization
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics

Depending on your background, you may be required to take one or more online preparatory courses. Courses may be taken, with prior approval, at a local college or university.


We are committed to providing a premier education that equips graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement, and maintain secure modern information infrastructures and systems.


Our graduate program is associated with security initiatives both within and outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Many of the initiatives were founded at JMU.

Program History

Our program was established in January 1997 and is one of the first computer science graduate programs with a concentration in information security in the nation. 34 students graduated in 1999. Nineteen of those students were Department of Defense employees educated under a contract with the National Security Agency.

In 1999, the program moved to online, asynchronous interactive classrooms. Our classes are available worldwide at any time. Students are required to participate in weekly class discussions, log in to our virtual lab environment and complete hands-on exercises, submit their homework, tests, and projects on-time. We currently have over 250 highly successful graduates.

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