The Johns Hopkins Gazette: June 23, 2003
June 23, 2003
VOL. 32, NO. 38


NSF Funds Info Security Scholarships

Aid to support grad students planning to enter federal employment

By Phil Sneiderman

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The National Science Foundation has awarded the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute a $2.92 million grant to fund graduate education in information security. Over a four-year period, the funding from the Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service program will pay tuition, fees, housing and a stipend for full-time information security students planning to enter federal employment.

In its application for the grant, the Information Security Institute emphasized the need for security expertise in the health and medical sectors. Under new federal law, health care organizations are required to secure electronic medical systems in order to protect privacy. Johns Hopkins has developed an innovative master's degree program that stresses the technical demands of information security and applications in the medical field.

The institute's program, which awards a master of science degree in security informatics, capitalizes on the expertise of faculty in engineering, arts and sciences, business, international affairs, medicine and public health. Johns Hopkins is one of the first research-oriented universities to offer such a program and the only one to emphasize the role of information security in the health field. The courses emphasize medical privacy, quality of care, compliance with federal rules regarding patient information, public health surveillance and response, biodefense and critical infrastructure protection.

Students who are accepted into the institute's master's program will be eligible to apply for this scholarship.

In addition to receiving the NSF grant, Johns Hopkins recently was recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. This designation reflects the strength of the university's interdisciplinary programs in education and research.

The NSA recognition, for the academic years 2003 to 2006, enables Johns Hopkins to apply for a wide range of grants for research and programs in information security.

"It's more than just an award. It's a requirement that carries significant weight regarding opportunities for funding for both educational programs and research programs," said Gerald M. Masson, a computer science professor in the Whiting School of Engineering who serves as director of the Information Security Institute. "For government agencies in the Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia area, this is highly important."

After reviewing the course offerings for the new Johns Hopkins master of science degree in security informatics, the NSA also certified that several programs meet national training standards for several employment areas: information systems security professionals, designated approving authority, system administrators, information systems security officers and system security certifiers.

"We are pleased that NSF and NSA have recognized the work taking place at Hopkins in the information security field," Masson said. "We take a comprehensive approach and pay attention to applications."

Related Web site:
Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute: