St. Leo University or American Public University for Information Security Systems degree?

Hello, I am trying to decide on which school I want to attend for Information Systems degree. Which school would you recommend?

If you are in the IT or CIS field, what classes do you think should be taken in a classroom setting?

Has anyone taken classes outside of APU and transferred them in?

Please do not respond bashing online schools, I work full-time and need to take classes that are convenient. Any feedback other than that would be great. Thanks!

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 1st, 2010 at 2:51 pm and is filed under University security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “St. Leo University or American Public University for Information Security Systems degree?”

  1. John Scott Says:

    APUS is (much) cheaper and is well known in the government and military. It’s regionally accredited but doesn’t have an on-ground presence. It’s a proprietary college – some people have an issue with that. They aren’t ranked by USNews but are listed. They have a lot of course offerings and many on an 8-week schedule. They are known to be generous with transfer credit.

    St. Leo is a private (Roman Catholic) ranked in Tier 3 (Master’s South) by USNews (for many people a huge advantage). It can be a bit expensive and their offerings aren’t very extensive. They have an on-ground presence and aren’t as widely known in distance learning circles.

    St Leo is probably the “better” college by reputation (depending on who you ask) but both will have essentially equal utility out in “the world”. In IT you’re going to need industry certifications so you’ll want to pick the program that has the best shot at passing IT certs.

    I don’t know about academic demands at St Leo but can say that many AMU (APUS) courses are taught by professors with very high level experience in government/military and they won’t accept any BS and don’t mind failing people.

    If you’re just getting started on a bachelor’s degree – you might want to look at one of the very inexpensive community colleges and collect all of the general education courses you’re going to need.

    These include Cero Coso CC, Barton CC, Central Tx CC, Darton College, San Juan College, Scott County CC (Iowa), Arizona Western, Metropolitan CC, and Rio Salado CC. Clovis CC (New Mexico) probably is the single best-buy for 6 semester hours in the US.

  2. John Scott Says:

    You say you don’t want responses bashing online schools. Well, then you’re cutting yourself from the advice of many IT professionals and teachers who have found that computer “lab work” needs to be done, well, in a “lab”, with instructors nearby to immediately counsel on the inevitable problems that show up. Note for instance, East Carolina’s degree program which emphasizes *hands-on* practice with CISCO routers and switches.

    IT/CIS online teaching works best when you are already an IT professional, for instance in the series of courses given for the program in cybersecurity below.

    Neither St Leo nor APU are known for their IT/CIS degrees. (ie they would not have any credibility). You need to find a school and degree that is either TAC/ABET- or ATMAE/(NAIT)-accredited, hopefully in your case with both hands-on and online contact.

  3. John Scott Says:

    American Public University, like any online university requires a significant amount of self-motivation and drive in order to be successful. While there is a curriculum, you are responsible for making the most of every assignment, paper, and interaction with fellow students. I am currently enrolled in the IT Management degree program, but I have taken a few classes that are a part of the Information Systems Security program. I took Risk Assessment, based on the extremely informative book “Network Security Assessment” by Cris McNab, and Computer Security, while is based on an excellent book written by Donald Pipkin called “Halting the Hacker”. Both classes were some of the most challenging I have experienced in my college career. Thus, if you put in the effort you will learn the material.

    American Public University undergraduate students also benefit from the book grant, whereby books are sent via mail or available online at no cost to the student. Additionally, each course is only 750.00, with the exception of four credit science courses. This makes APU wallet-friendly.

    Now, regarding what classes should be taken in an online setting; it is going to be hard to become proficient with security tools, like nMap, Nessus, or John the Ripper simply by reading books and taking tests. This is understandable to someone who may also want to learn by going “hands-on.” Fortunately, the curriculum describes tools and the curriculum assists you in finding resources for how to utilize the tools and in what capacity. Please bear in mind that you must take it upon yourself to be resourceful to find such information, as is the case in ANY online college settings. More importantly, APU is a regionally accredited school, which is the highest level of accreditation. Please don’t listen to people when they say a degree from AMU or APU is not recognized. They are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, who is the authority over ALL college accreditation. THIS fact is what is important to an employer. Should an employer question the viability of APU’s accreditation, you can merely direct them to the main page where they keep a link to Higher Learning Commission pages so that they can verify that APU is in fact regionally accredited.

    I’m sorry, I have not taken any classes outside of APU, and I cannot answer that question. I also work full-time, and I go to school full-time. I am also in my senior year. The professors are phenomenal, and they will understand situations where you may require some flexibility in your course work.

    Please let me know if I can help in any other way. I promise I can find you an answer or at least direct you to someone who can help. I would choose APU over St. Leo.

    Take care,

  4. John Scott Says:

    Ryan- were you already working in the IT field before you started taking classes? And also do you think a person with no experience such as myself will be able to succeed at AMU/APU? I really like the courses they have there a lot more than at any other school. Just a little intimidated by the completely online thing. Thanks


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