DSc Information Assurance program at Capital College

Earlier this week I heard an advertisement on Federal News Radio for the DSc in Information Security at Capital College.  The website looked interesting, so I attended a virtual open house they held tonight.

Frequent readers may be aware that a Doctorate is one itch that just won’t go away.   I’ve looked at a few  programs since getting my Masters degree.   The main issues I’ve seen with other programs are 1) infosec is a bolt-on to a IS/CS degree 2) feeling that the student is just another cog or 3)lack of accreditation.   Those concerns were immediately alleviated with Capitol.  

I checked the Department of Education’s website for searching University Accreditation.  Capitol is accredited by the correct bodies.   This is a big deal.   It’s what gives value to degree.   Without it, you might as well be spending your time and money on a diploma mill.  Of course the second part of that is how the degree is seen in the community.   It will be my terminal degree, so I want it to be a name of which I can be proud.  

What is a DSc?
A DSc stands for Doctor of Science.   Most people are familiar the PhD, which stands for Doctor of Philosophy.   As I understand it the DSc tends to be a bit more practically focuses.   Both degrees are research degrees.

Why would you want a Doctorate?
 Many people get it because they want to teach at the University level.   Others like me live in the DC area where everyone is degreed out the ying yang.   I suspect many pursue it to avoid all human contact.   Why climb Everest?   The challenge, the success,  the experience.   Creating something unique and potentially solving problems.   I am still in the exploratory phase right now.  

Looks like the program typically runs 21 credits  per year.   (Two semesters with two classes and a third semester that has two classes plus a three credit “residence seminar”).    That is one class more than what work will reimburse.  Not the end of the world.  

Capitol uses Blackboard which I’ve used before, and a presentation software that I’m not familiar with (a webex for schools sort of thing).   Classes are largely synchronous.  It sounds like professors may use asynchronous instruction as they feel it appropriate.   I like asynchronous a lot better myself.   Racing home to watch a class on the computer monitor is just as bad as racing to GMU to sit in a class.  

This looks like an interesting program.  I’m not yet convinced that a DSc is for me, but I’ll be thinking about it the next couple of months.


  1. Hey Roger,
    What would you do with this degree? Are you thinking about teaching? I know it would be cool to have a doctorate level degree (I’ve considered it myself – but not after getting my MSCS from JMU), but it’s a big investment in time (and likely money). Hit me back on email if you’d like.

    One other thing – what did you think of the CEH? Was it worth it? Did you learn anything that you didn’t already know? Given that you were our course’s best hacker, I’m interested in knowing if it was just a refresher or not.

    Take care,


    • I commented on the CEH here (http://www.infosecblog.org/2009/01/step-back-im-certified/).
      I’m not in the job market. Mangement isn’t encouraging me to get certified. But it gives me a certain satisfaction. You do learn while studying for these things. As I recall the CEH exam required learning the man page of a few tools a bit better. Its funny how much the CEH impresses the people that walk into my office. I probably wouldn’t have renewed it if not for that.

      With even a masters we could aleady teach at a certain level (community college, strayer, phoenix) And to get to a higher level of teaching, we’d probably need that resume of earlier teaching. (did you notice JMU has a position open). I dont know that I can articulate it any better than I did in the post. It is an itch that wont go away. As far as I want to go publically.

      • A few months ago when I was looking for a job, I considered teaching. I think I might like it, but I don’t really know what is required enough to say for sure. Anyway, most of the positions that I looked at had additional requirements. The biggest of which was teaching experience. 🙁 One or two of them basically held auditions. You had to show up and give a one hour class (on a subject that they would provide to you – if you made it past the initial screening). Hopefully it would have been an IT/CS subject. 😉 I still think it’d be something I would consider taking a shot at. The pay isn’t that good though.

        Be good,


  2. I like their choice of title for the program “Information Assurance” versus “Information Security”.
    assurance: freedom from doubt
    security: being free from danger or injury
    I think assurance says what we try to say as part of the CIA triad i.e. “integrity”. I always have trouble explaining to people why integrity is part of security but if you use “assurance” then it seems to fit better.
    However the course seems to spend a lot of time on other then information assurance; of the first 12 courses listed only one mentions the subject.

  3. Did you decide to go with Capitol College? I have applied to Dakota State University’s Doctor of Science Program, but just learned of the DrSc at Capitol College and I am trying to get some student feedback.

  4. I am in the program and here is my take. The program is extremely weak – Dr. Barker, the dean, has a PhD from U of Phoenix in Education, Dr. Andrews, another main faculty has a pHD from University of Phoenix in Education. Other professors, have DSc from Capitol college (just received). One course was taught by a non-phd. Not recommended. There are adjunct folks who are great but they are very busy with their full time jobs. If you want to learn something – Nah.

  5. I have to disagree with Student Smith. I am a second-year doctoral student at Capitol College, and I think the program is great. Dr. Barker busts her butt to make sure the doctoral students remain on track, and unlike some colleges I have attended, the professors at Capitol actually care. I would also add Student Smith failed to mention Dr. Barker also holds a second doctorate in management…d’oh!

  6. Student Bill and/or Student Smith,

    How technical is the DSc at Capitol? From the class list it seems like a lot of policy/leadership/management focus. Is there much programming, scripting, etc.?

  7. I’ve just been accepted into the D.Sc. in Information Assurance Program and I am looking forward to the challenge. I am also a Capitol College graduate (M.S. Network Security) so I already know that the program will be rigorous but rewarding at the same time.


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