Information and Security Track

The expansion of computational tools and methods has resulted in an acute need for deep mathematical insight within both government and industry. With its strong basis in mathematical and statistical theory, the Information and Security track has been developed to fill this need.

The 30-credit track, within the MA mathematics degree, combines courses in theoretical and applied mathematics, data science, and information technology to provide students with a unique education in theoretical understanding, coupled with practical experience. No other program in the DC area encapsulates all three areas of study.

Students get the opportunity to take courses in cyber intelligence, national security, and counterterrorism, and can also take advantage of internships to gain real-world experience while getting graduate credit.

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 course in cyber intelligence, national security, or counterterrorism, and can also take advantage of our internship component, which allows students to gain real world work experiences while also getting graduate credit. After finishing the program, students will be well-versed in quantitative social science with the mathematical theoretical understanding to facilitate technical growth in their future careers.

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: student’s 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 mediate between theoretical domain experts, data providers, and analytic practitioners, making our students attractive to both government and industry employers.

See course requirements for the program.