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New M.S. in Cybersecurity Wins State Approval

The White House’s Samara Moore. Photo by Tom Stoelker

The White House’s Samara Moore.
Photo by Tom Stoelker

By tapping into one of the University’s known specialties, the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) has been awarded New York state approval for its first master’s program: a Master of Science in Cybersecurity.

PCS Dean Isabelle Frank, Ph.D., made the announcement at a March 11 White House-sponsored event focused on President Obama’s Critical Infrastructure Framework, the presidential initiative addressing the nation’s cyberrisk. At the event, Samara Moore, the White House director for cybersecurity critical infrastructure protection, said that cyberthreats are one of the greatest national security dangers facing the United States.

“Were seeing a lot of new programs in academia, like this one, to address these threats,” said Moore, who visited Fordham to publicize the president’s new framework.

In light of Fordham’s high-profile International Conference on Cyber Security, PCS began offering a review seminar of security best practices for information systems. The certificate course, titled Information Systems Security, was prepared by (ISC)², a nonprofit certification consortium, and its popularity led Frank to pursue offering a master’s.

cyber-3“Cybersecurity affects all types of organizations,” said Frank. “And as we begin to understand the risks, we’ll need to think about the human side, because behind every attack there is a person.”

PCS will collaborate with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and its Computer and Information Sciences Department in particular. Frank said that the goal is to further develop the programming to be industry specific, eventually folding in law, business, and public policy.

“The intent is to build on other tracks geared to other types of employees or staff, so that graduates are able to translate cyberrisks as they relate to particular fields,” she said.

The program will be run primarily through the Lincoln Center campus; however, students will be able to attend other campuses as well. Online classes and intensive weekend sessions will also be part of the coursework.

The degree program was created with member support from the faculty of the Computer and Information Sciences Department—in particular Bob Moniot, Ph.D., associate professor and chair, and Frank Hsu, Ph.D., the Clavius Distinguished Professor of Science. Associate Professor Xiao Xu Han, Ph.D., will coordinate the program. Anthony J. Ferrante, FCRH ’01, GSAS ’04, an adjunct who offers a course on extreme hacking, will teach in the program. (See Ferrante’s interview here)

Frank said that while other universities offer similar programming, Fordham’s blended learning approach of online and classroom courses, coupled with the convenience offered for career professionals, makes the new master’s unique.

“We’re taking the best of both worlds,” she said. “This is one incredibly fast-growing sector—meaning that there will be jobs at the end of this degree.”

An information session will be held on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Lincoln Center’s South Lounge.


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