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A Ph.D. or Master's degree in cryptography?

I am interested in pursuing cryptography and already have a B.A. in mathematics. I am undecided as to whether to apply to a doctorate program or a Master's, and would like some input concerning this decision. Is a Master's degree sufficient, or would a doctorate be a better track? Also do you have any additions to the list of schools you had in a previous post, or are these schools still the best in your opinion?

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While the list of schools I provided earlier represents the programs that offer Master's degrees specifically in information security, your options are much broader if you go for a doctorate. That would add any of the top 30 computer science programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

If you can afford to go for a doctorate, by all means do so; it remains a much more valuable credential than the Master's. (But, of course a doctorate involves considerable time, effort and expense to obtain -- six years is typical for a doctorate as opposed to two to three years for a Master's degree.)

For more info on this topic, visit these resources:
  • Best Web Links: Infosec training, careers and events
  • Ask the Expert: Learning more about online infosec degrees
  • On-demand webcast: Certifications: Who, what, why?

    This was first published in July 2003

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