Students: Advising



The goal of the advising selector is to provide you as a student with a simple, streamlined method to determine the specific type of advising you may need.

Advising options for STI students:

  1. New Student Orientation; General Questions
  2. Required Courses MSISM
  3. Required Courses MSISE
  4. Gold Papers
  5. Faculty Advising / Mentoring

New Student Orientation; General Questions

If you have a question you would like to discuss with the Informal Student Mentor (rather than with STI Staff), provide with your email address and we will ask the Informal Student Mentor, who is a STI Student, to contact you.

Have you read STI's Mission Statement below?

The SANS Technology Institute develops leaders to strengthen enterprise and global information security. STI educates managers and engineers in information security practices and techniques, attracts top scholar-practitioners as faculty, and engages both students and faculty in real-world applied research.

Have you read Stephen Northcutt's leadership essay?

Have you read STI's Consistent Leadership Policy below?

Leaders accomplish their goals despite problems they encounter. They do what it takes, within reason and the law, to make sure a task gets completed. The SANS Technology Institute offers outstanding instruction and individual student support, but neither our faculty nor our administrative staff will solve a student's problems for them. For example, if a student tries to put the responsibility for finding a proctor, or paying for the course on the College, they will be reminded we have a "Consistent Leadership Policy."

Have you read it?

Acceptable methods of taking courses are described at

Have you read the following information about exams and tips?

A lot of study and preparation time is needed to be successful on exams. See It contains tips for how to be successful.

Required Courses - MSISM


For the MSISM curriculum, see

Required Courses - MSISE


For the MSISM curriculum, see

Gold Papers

Please visit the GIAC website to get a detailed description of the process:

When you submit your proposed topic, you will be assigned a GIAC Gold Adviser. If you have questions that your GIAC Gold Adviser cannot answer, or if you have other concerns, you can email us at or call 214.613.1640.

Faculty Advising / Mentoring

Contact us so we can make arrangements for you to talk with a Faculty Advisor / Mentor.

Are you looking for a trusted friend, counselor, teacher or simply a more experienced person at STI? STI does not have a formal mentoring program. However, if you are a new student, having difficulties or simply want to talk, STI will, on request, pair you with a more experienced person, who will advise as you advance in your career.

Look at the options below:

  • Faculty Advisors:
    Faculty Advisors include Toby Gouker, Stephen Northcutt, David Hoelzer, and others. Contact if you wish to set up a time for discussion with a Faculty Advisor.

  • Course Advisor:
    After finishing a course through SANS live training or SANS SelfStudy, a Course Advisor will ask if you are encountering any problem areas, provide guidance/suggestions, and may ask questions to see if you understand the subject area. You may not need or want assistance; but we encourage you to consider using this extra resource. Please let if you want a Course Advisor assigned after you finish a course through SANS live training or SANS SelfStudy.

  • Virtual OnDemand (on-line) Mentor:
    SANS OnDemand classes have an Online Subject Matter Expert who the student will have email access to during the course.

  • STI-edu Mailing List:
    This is a good way of communicating with other STI master's students who have chosen to be part of the mailing list (most of them have). Senior staff, including Stephen Northcutt, Toby Gouker, Eric Cole, Johannes Ullrich, Matthew Scott, also are part of the list.

  • STI Contact List of Students & Alumni:
    We have an STI Contact List that lists STI students' and STI graduates' names and email addresses, if the student/graduate chooses to be listed, which STI periodically updates and provides to students and graduates.

  • Informal Student Mentor:
    If you have general "getting acquainted" types of questions that you would like to discuss with a student rather than with the STI staff, contact and we will put you in touch with the Informal Student Mentor who is a STI Student.

  • STI Student on the STI Board of Directors:
    An STI student serves on the STI Board of Directors as a director-in-training. Though the director-in-training is non-voting, the director has a very important and broad role in STI's governance. Experience as a student, knowledge of other students' concerns, and the director's other qualifications are extremely valuable assets that the student brings to the board.