Georgia Tech Graduates First Master's in Information Security

Helping to Fill Nation's Demand for Security Expertise

This month Georgia Tech graduates its first student with a Master of Science in Information Security. A June 1999 Department of Commerce Report, "The Digital Workforce," estimates that the U.S. will require more than 1.3 million new highly skilled information technology workers between 1996 and 2006. Michael E. Torrey, of Winter Springs, Fla., started graduate school working towards an M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in information security, but once the new Information Security program was approved he decided to pursue the new degree. The importance of information security has become increasingly urgent with recent Home Land Security efforts.

"We are very proud of Mike's accomplishment and gratified that he was able to take advantage of our new graduate degree in Information Security so quickly," said Rich DeMillo, John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of Computing, Distinguished Professor of Computing and Director, Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC). "We are working to build one of the best information security programs in the country."

Torrey completed his undergraduate degree in computer science from the Catholic University of America in May 2001, where his interest in information security began. Torrey considered graduate school at Duke University, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins, and University of Central Florida but felt Tech was leading the way in the InfoSec field. His first semester Torrey greatly enjoyed the introductory courses in information security and cryptography and knew he wanted to concentrate in that area. When the new degree was approved in February, Torrey had already completed many of the required courses.

"What has impressed me most about the program has been the faculty," said Torrey "It is a difficult task simply to keep up with all of the new developments or in fact being responsible for new developments in the InfoSec field, let alone teach it. In my opinion the faculty have done an amazing job in both cases."

Torrey is considering a conditional job offer from the National Security Agency and an offer from Anteon Corporation.

The first graduate program of its kind in Georgia, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the new Master of Science degree in February. The degree is designed to help fill the high demand for individuals with both the practical skills and theoretical understanding of information security. Students can focus on either technical or policy issues of information security. The 32-hour interdisciplinary program is housed in the College of Computing with coordination with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, the DuPree College of Management, and the Georgia State University Management Information Systems program. The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), a National Security Agency Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education, developed the comprehensive curriculum and brings together faculty and resources in information security from across campus.