The expansion of computational tools and methods has resulted in an acute need for deep mathematical insight within both government and industry. The MS in Mathematics of Information and Security has been developed to fill this need, combining courses in applied mathematics, data science, and information technology for a unique education experience. No other program in the Washington, DC, area encapsulates all three areas of study.
With core courses in topics like Cryptography, Bayesian Statistics, and Numerical Analysis, students are exposed to both the theory behind data problems as well as solutions strategies, computer algorithms, and the cutting-edge research where these methods can be applied.
Students also get the opportunity to take courses in cyber intelligence, national security, or counterterrorism, and can take advantage of our internship component, which allows students to gain job experience while earning graduate credit. After finishing the program, students willl be able to create and test the validity of mathematical models for leading problems in the security field, protecting sensitive data throughout its life cycle.
This program is designated as a STEM degree program.
Tate Altman MS, Mathematics Info/Security
Tate Altman, a first-year MS candidate in Mathematics of Information and Security, is already analyzing data with real-life national security implications.
The data is part of a project for DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, described by the Economist as the organization “that shaped the modern world.” DARPA has played a role in the development of everything from the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, to GPS, weather satellites, stealth technology, voice interfaces, and even the internet.
Tate’s academic advisor, Professor Michael Robinson, is working on DARPA’s Safe Documents (SafeDocs) program, developing new cyber tools to help prevent vulnerabilities in electronic files that can lead to cyberattacks. He shared one of his datasets with Tate, who is using it in a Bayesian statistics class to identify which features are most informative for detecting malicious files.
Tate will be working on an independent study with Professor Robinson next semester, focusing on DARPA SafeDocs. The project is a perfect fit for Tate’s goals. After graduation, she wants to work in the defense/intelligence sector doing cyber security and data analysis.
She says that the AU program is preparing her well. “I’ve had incredible professors who have helped me understand real world applications of my studies. I am very excited about the DARPA project. I am hoping it will lead to more research in the defense field during my time at AU and carry on into my professional career. Dr. Robinson has generously shared his research with me, Dr. Casey has been nothing but encouraging during my studies, and my fellow classmates are always willing to lend a helping hand, both in and out of the classroom.”
Why Pursue an MS in Mathematics Information & Security?
Information Science involves the processing, storage, and communication of information. Information theory answers two fundamental questions in the communication and storage of information: (1) what are the limits on information compression (the entropy) and (2) what is the best rate of information (the channel capacity). The theory, initially developed to answer fundamental questions in communication theory, has now expanded to be an integral component of many other subjects, including computational science, signal processing, and information security.
The field is at a crossroads. Although mathematical theory has been instrumental in catalyzing the advances in collecting and analyzing the quickly-growing, vast amounts of complex data, the practitioners need to be taught both how to directly manipulate data themselves and the underlying theory that is its genesis. Moreover, the data needs to be analyzed rigorously and securely.
Most data science and information technology programs tend to provide only a weak theoretical grounding before presenting the tools of the day. Students in those programs are essentially tracked into a trade, with no path for technical growth beyond what they’ve been taught. Our program remedies this issue: students learn solid theory, cutting-edge research, and how to apply these to actual data problems so they can continue to grow in their career. Graduates of the program are uniquely qualified to for positions including information research scientist, data scientist, data analyst, computer systems analyst, information security analysts, operation research analyst, and more.
World Class Opportunities
Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, is the ideal city for graduates with quantitative skills. With job opportunities in the federal government and the private sector, a master's degree in mathematics will open doors for you in the DC area. AU's relationships with governmental, cultural, scientific, and historical institutions serve as an important resource for research. In this program, you can receive credit for an internship, where you will gain real-world experience in the field, learn first-hand about employment as a mathematician, and get a head start on your career.
Diverse Faculty Dedicated to Your Success
The MA in Mathematics program prides itself on dedicated, individual attention to each student throughout the program. Our experienced faculty members have diverse mathematical backgrounds and are ideally equipped to help cultivate your mathematical interests. From Professors Adler and Lansky's work in representation theory to Professor Chifman's application of dynamical systems to molecular biology, our professors' wide range of interests offers students many research options. Whether your mathematical passion is purely theoretical or highly applied, there is an AU professor willing and able to work with you.
OUR GRADS ARE HIRED AT TOP EMPLOYERS
Our students graduate with the skills needed to be successful in the in-demand and lucrative field of information security, in which analysts earn an average annual salary of $98,000 accoring to the The Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS has also projected that there will be 28,000 new information security jobs in the US by 2026, with the highest concentration of those postitions located in the Washington DC region.
Recent alumni have gone on to work at top employers such as
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Freddie Mac
- US Census Bureau
- US Department of Homeland Security