Starting this fall, a Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity will be offered at the University of Maine System.
It took two years of groundwork across multiple University of Maine System (UMS) campuses in combining resources and the means to put together a Cybersecurity major, according to Raymond Albert. Albert is a professor of Computer Science at the University of Maine Fort Kent and the project leader of the initiative behind the degree.
As reported by the Free Press, the National Security Agency (NSA), along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) helped in giving the degree its credibility, before it was approved by the academic governance body at every participating UMS campus. Finally, it was the board of trustees at the UMS who approved the degree.
Albert noted that meeting the standards set by the NSA and DHS were “more challenging to a certain degree,” more-so than any other step in the process to set up the degree. According to NSA and DHS requirements for learning outcomes, lab facilities, collaborations with other agencies & universities and other resources, specific courses had to be identified to set up the curriculum of the degree.
The curriculum will include courses in networking, computer programming, IT, philosophy and ethics among other courses.
In the fall of 2014, the UMS was already certificated by the NSA/DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. Subsequently, the degree was approved by UMS officials in time for the Fall 2015 semester.
Currently, the major will be offered at UMA, UMFK, and USM. Online courses will be set up to help integrate students from all participating UMS campuses. Albert hopes to expand the major to other UMS campuses over time.
There will be others we’re expecting down the road. Perhaps the University of Maine [Orono] and Farmington,” said Albert.
The Maine Cyber Security Cluster (MCSC) houses a lab on the USM campus which will be used as a significant asset to the degree program. Lab experience will prove to be key.
“We are, if you will, a center of research; a point of external activity,” said Sihler. “We act in support of the [Bachelor of Science] in Cyber Security.”