School of information to offer masters in identity management

Jameson Pitts

The University of Texas will offer a new master’s degree in identity management and security in spring 2016. The two-year program, accepting applications now, is a joint venture of the University’s School of Information and Center for Identity.

Andrew Dillon, dean of the School of Information, said businesses and organizations that collect massive amounts of personal information need to be responsible with their data.

“If you recognize that more and more of our world’s activities involve the exchange and processing of digital information, then concerns with privacy, security and authenticity become important for all of us,” Dillon said.

Dillon said the program goes beyond information technology to focus on how people have different expectations of privacy for different information.

“Rather than just teaching people the technical components of security, we will be educating people to understand human nature and its impact on identity management practices,” Dillon said.

Classes in the program will be taught one weekend per month so they are accessible to professionals. Lance Hayden, adjunct assistant professor in the school of information sciences, said the program is relevant to many types of students and professions.

“The identity master’s program is going to take a holistic approach,” Hayden said. “They’re looking for all different types of students to come in and explore this concept of identity.”

Hayden said recent incidents such as the Ashley Madison leak — where personal and credit card information of website users was released — reveal the need for management of identity across levels.

“Understanding [Digital information and identity] as a consumer is one thing, but understanding it as a professional opens up a lot of different avenues for career growth,” Hayden said.

Electrical engineering sophomore James Park said he was interested in identity graduate programs because of the rise in online security news stories.

“Every tech company I’ve talked to has specific areas and employees for security testing,” Park said.

Hayden said the increasingly digital world has created demand for identity professionals.

“The security industry lacks good, skilled people,” Hayden said. “This is a huge career opportunity.”