The Bachelor of Science portion of the program is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and skill set necessary for future computing and cybersecurity professionals to build, maintain and protect networks and computer systems in both government and industry.
The program has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) as the Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance (IA) and Cyber Defense (CD) education (DHS/NSA CAE-IA/CD).
The Master of Science portion of the program establishes well-informed and practically grounded graduates in cybersecurity to meet the needs of cybersecurity professionals in public and private sectors to contribute effectively in protecting local, regional, and national security. In addition, the program will equip cybersecurity professionals to serve as leaders and computer and information assurance research scientists. The program is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of research-oriented students and professionals by offering two tracks with thesis and project options.
The Information Assurance and Cyber Defense program emphasizes design, integration, administration, hardening, and protection of all types of computer information systems and network infrastructures in modern cyber environments. Students are immersed in solid theories as well as intensive hands-on practical experiences to enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities applied to all elements in modern computing disciplines. The curriculum covers:
- Computing and networking theories/practices
- System architecture and administration, integration and troubleshooting
- Cybersecurity threat/risk evaluation
- Incident response analysis and practice
- Network/digital forensics and investigation
- Penetration testing and system auditing
- Cyber laws, legislation, policy/compliance, and project management & Cyber Defense
The Cybersecurity program will be able to analyze complex cybersecurity problems and apply security principles of cybersecurity to identify solutions; analyze and evaluate systems with respect to maintaining operations in the presence of risks and threats; design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of cybersecurity requirements; develop and implement cryptography for information systems; understand and implement advanced security to networks and software; recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in cybersecurity practice based on legal and ethical principles, and be active in state-of-the-art research activities and scholarly funded research activities.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor 2018 handbook, computer and information technology occupations are projected to grow 32% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for computer and Information Security Analysts’ occupations was $98,350 in 2018, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $38,640. Graduates are in demand to work in private, public, and government agencies. Recent graduates have held positions at Amazon, Dell SecureWorks, Duo Security, Google, Snapchat, General Electric, Ford, and Dominos Corporate.
This is a STEM-designated program (see OPT Extension).