Admissions: Master's Degree Program


We welcome your interest in the master's programs of the SANS Technology Institute. This page presents the same admissions process information as you will find in our in our downloadable Application Overview and Instructions document. The master's program admissions process is designed to allow us to evaluate your many talents and to determine if they are well matched to the rigors and requirements of our programs. Prior to downloading this document, we encourage you to explore our website and learn more about our programs leading to Master of Science degrees in Information Security Engineering, and Information Security Management.

If you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to send an email to

The Admissions Process - Summary

To apply for admission to the SANS Master's Degree program, the applicant must do the following:

  1. Determine that you meet the requirements for admission.
  2. Fill out the Personal Information Form.
  3. Update and submit your resume.
  4. Write the Outcomes Statement and Leadership essay.
  5. Create and upload your sample video presentation to Vimeo, providing a link to the presentation.
  6. Acquire and have submitted a letter of recommendation or have someone fill out the Employer Recommendation of Candidate Form, either to be sent directly to us.
  7. Request that your undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) institution(s) forward an official sealed transcript directly to SANS Technology Institute. Schools may also submit transcripts electronically to
  8. (Optional) If you will be applying for one or more waivers, include a description of the waivers you anticipate after reading the "Admissions Process - Guide to Waivers" form.
  9. (Optional) Submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, if English is not your native language (see below).
  10. (Optional) If you do not have a SANS portal account, please create one at
  11. Submit $100.00 as a non-refundable Application Fee. Applicants should call (301) 654-7267 to pay by credit card.

Applicants can submit their material via email to, or as appropriate send them to:

SANS Technology Institute
Attn: Graduate Admissions
PO Box 124575
San Diego, CA 92112

(If submitting a transcript using FedEx or UPS, please contact to request the alternate mailing address)

If you receive an invitation to matriculate:

  1. Work with an appointed student advisor to complete a Course of Study Plan and Funding Discussion.
  2. Submit a signed Offer of Admission & Course of Study Plan.
  3. Register and pay for at least three credit hours within the first sixty days of enrollment.
Assess Qualifications and Required Credentials for Admissions

All Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 12 months of professional work experience in information technology, security or audit.
  • Upon completion of the Master's Degree Program it is expected you will have three years of significant work experience in information technology, security or audit.
  • Be employed or have current access to an organizational environment that allows you to apply the concepts and hands-on technical skills learned in the Master's Program.
  • Have earned a baccalaureate degree from a recognized college or university, or equivalent international education, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.80.

If you meet the requirements, please follow the steps below to apply for admission..

Complete Your Application Package
  1. Fill Out the Personal Information Form.
  2. Submit a current resume
  3. Write and submit a Goals and Outcomes Statement
    • Provide an organized and thoughtful Outcome Statement in two pages detailing your expectations for a return on your investment in earning a master's degree in information security. Why are you choosing to do this? Your goals should be specific, realistic, time-related, and if possible, measurable. Integrate how your professional and/or personal background and experiences led to this choice, and how they relate to your desired outcomes.
  4. Write and submit a Leadership Essay
    • We aspire to develop engineers and managers who can be leaders in our industry. To help ground so broad a term, the Past President of the SANS Technology Institute, Stephen Northcutt, wrote a Leadership Essay to help characterize and expand upon our definition of leadership. Please read his essay and explore some of the resources he suggests. Then, write two to three single-spaced pages in your own words about your own preferred definition(s) of leadership, some competencies where you believe you have strengths, and also the competencies you would most like to develop. Relate each competency to personal and/or professional experience, or discuss how you intend to use the master's program and your work experience over the next three years to further your leadership goals. Include a discussion of why 'leadership', rather than just 'engineering' or 'management', is particularly important in the information security field at this time.
  5. Create and Upload Your Short, Example Video Presentation
    • Overview: An important part of developing leaders to strengthen enterprise and global information security is ensuring the ability to communicate. The STI Master's programs are designed to improve both written and oral presentation communication skills while providing a strong, hands-on technical base to candidates. Your leadership essay and outcome statement provide us with a baseline on your written communications skills, and this 3-5 minute video presentation will baseline your oral presentation skills.

    • Requirements: Please prepare and record a 3-5 minute video on any subject of your choosing. You can make a video presentation of your outcome statement or leadership essay, create a how-to video, describe a belief or opinion you hold, or tell us about something of interest to you. The subject of the video and its quality is less important than the video's role in enabling the admissions committee to sample your current oral presentation and speaking skills in a professional environment. Please feel free to use a phone or even your computer's webcam to execute the video. Slide presentations are neither required nor encouraged.

    • When complete, please upload the video into Vimeo and submit the appropriate URL and password for viewing. Please see the Vimeo website for acceptable video recording parameters.
  6. Have your official undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) transcript(s) sent to us.
    • Please have your college/university submit official transcripts directly to:

    • SANS Technology Institute
      Attn: Graduate Admissions
      PO Box 124575
      San Diego, CA 92112

    • (If submitting a transcript using FedEx or UPS, please contact to request the alternate mailing address)

    • For prospective students applying from outside of the United States: When presenting a non-US transcript for admissions, candidates must first have their transcripts evaluated by World Education Services before completing their application package.
  7. Submit a Letter of Recommendation, or a completed Employer Recommendation Request Form.
    • Overview: The letter of recommendation is required to provide a candid viewpoint of an applicant's personal characteristics, performance and experience, strengths, capabilities, and professional promise. The optimal recommendation is written by someone who has supervised your work, served as a mentor, or worked closely with you, and has been in a position to observe your performance.

    • Requirements: The writer should explain his or her relationship with you, and in particular should highlight whether that relationship was managerial or academic or other and describe the amount of time they were able to observe your performance. The recommendation would optimally include commentary not just on your technical skills but important personal characteristics such as integrity, initiative, and judgment. It should also address specific areas of strength or special experiences/projects on which the candidate has worked, and how well you work with other people on teams. In lieu of writing a separate letter of recommendation, the person recommending you may submit our Employer Recommendation Form. In either case, the recommendation should be submitted directly to the SANS Technology Institute by mail to the above address or to (referencing your name in the subject line).

  8. (Optional) Evaluate whether you qualify for any Waivers.
    • If you will be applying for one or more waivers due to having previously taken SANS Institute classes or GIAC certifications, include a description of the waivers you anticipate after reading the "Admissions Process - Guide to Waivers" form.
  9. (Optional) If English is not your native language, submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.
    • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL Web Site) is required for Applicants whose native language is not English. We require a minimum score requirement of 100 (Internet-based test) over-all with each of the sub-categories (Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing) preferred to be at a minimum of 25 each. The test scores must be sent to us directly by the testing agency. The TOEFL Bulletin of Information and registration form can be obtained at American embassies and consulates, offices of the United States Information Service (USIS) and U.S. education commissions.

    • IELTS can be used as a substitute for TOEFL. We require a minimum score requirement of 7.5 over-all with each of the sub-categories in IELTS preferred to be at a minimum of 7.5 each. IELTS scores must be sent to us directly by the testing agency.
  10. (Optional) Create a SANS Portal Account
  11. Submit the non-refundable application fee of $100.
    • A check or money order, payable to the ESCAL Institute of Advanced Technologies, may be submitted to PO Box 419108, Boston, MA, 02241-9108, or you may call 301.654.7267 to arrange for credit card payment.
Complete Your Application Package

We will notify you within five business days of receiving your complete application package.

Admissions Committee Review & Final Acceptance

Application Packages will be reviewed by SANS Technology Institute's Admissions Committee, which is typically able to make a decision within 30-60 days of receipt of a completed application.

  • All information and materials furnished may be verified to preserve the integrity of the Institute
  • Each Applicant may be scheduled for a pre-qualification telephone/online (or in-person if convenient) interview.
Invitation to Matriculate

If the Admissions Committee votes to approve your application, you will receive a formal "Offer of Admission," requiring your signature and return. The "Offer of Admission" letter will be contingent, however, on the scheduling and completion of a discussion with the Provost or another student advisor. This discussion has two purposes:

  • Create the plan you will follow during your first year. During this discussion, you will create a detailed Course of Study Plan for the your first twelve months in the program, noting where and when you intend to take courses, including how any waivers might apply or affect the timing of required activities. This Course of Study Plan, together with your outcomes statement, will be used to review your progress during and after the first year of your enrollment.
  • Confirm you are able to invest the time and resources required to engage in the program. Your discussion with the Provost or another student advisor will review your ability engage in your Course of Study Plan, given the time and funding required to complete the program.

Once the applicant and Provost (or another student advisor) agree and mutually approve your Course of Study Plan, the applicant will return the signed Offer of Admission letter and the signed Course of Study Plan to, at which point you will be formally matriculated into the master's program.

Upon matriculation, you will have 60 days to begin registering for courses, and must register and pay for at least three credit hours in order to confirm your matriculation.