New cybersecurity master’s degree aims at protecting digital information

The research-oriented program aims to equip graduates with knowledge of cyberdefense strategies, including incident response, strategic planning and crisis management. Credit: © Adobe Stock / Maksim KabakouAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The risks and costs associated with cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare continue to increase rapidly around the world. These challenges become more complex when placed in the context of international issues that threaten economic, political and physical welfare.

A new residential master of science degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology is designed to help meet the growing demand for professionals who can address and protect against these threats.

“There is an accelerating shortage of professionals with the skills needed to ensure the security of our most critical digital assets and systems,” said Ed Glantz, interim director of master’s programs for IST. “As our global society becomes more connected and information driven, it is imperative that cybersecurity professionals have the technical knowledge and analytical skills to fill these roles.” 

The interdisciplinary, research-orientedprogram aims to prepare the next generationof cyber professionals with knowledge of cyberdefense strategies, including incident response, strategic planning and crisis management.  

With a foundation in mathematics and computer programming, students will be prepared to recognize, analyze, defend against and manage risks related to a wide range of threats to online information, data stores and networks. 

The 30-credit degree can be completed in one or two years and culminates with either a thesis, scholarly paper, or real-world cyber range hands-on simulation. The curriculum consists of core courses in cybersecurity analytics and security principles for software, networks, information and the web. Students will choose remaining credits in areas such as cyberforensics, information processing architecture and data mining. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 32% increase in cybersecurity jobs through 2028 – nearly five times the national average. Because cybersecurity career opportunities exist in many disciplines, Dave Fusco, IST’s interim associate dean for graduate and undergraduate studies, notes that students with a wide range of educational backgrounds may be accepted into the program.

“The program uniquely provides sufficient technical foundations to allow students with noncomputer-related degrees to transition into the field,” said Fusco. “These diverse perspectives are beneficial, as the curriculum emphasizes the larger context and influences of organizations and countries, as well as the business reasoning needed for communication, analysis and management of detected cyber risks.”

Upon earning their degrees, graduates will be positioned to lead in emerging careers as cybersecurity analysts, penetration testers and cyberthreat advisors, among others.

“This program connects emerging professionals looking to strengthen and advance their cybersecurity careers with leading faculty who have industry experience,” said Glantz. “This effort strengthens the college’s academic offerings, enhances the University’s reputation for security education, and keeps us in alignment with global strategic needs.”

This degree now completes the College of IST’s strong commitment to cyber education by offering undergraduate and graduate degrees both online and in residence. The undergraduate online cyber degree is also scheduled to launch this fall.

 Visit the College of Information Sciences and Technology website for more information about the cybersecurity analytics and operations master’s degree program.


Last Updated June 10, 2020