UW Tacoma to offer cybersecurity degree program

University of Washington Tacoma officials announced Friday they are launching a new master’s degree program that will provide opportunities for professionals to become leaders in the field of cybersecurity.

The Master in Cybersecurity and Leadership, offered jointly by UW Tacoma’s Institute of Technology and Milgard School of Business, provides graduates with practical knowledge in cybersecurity systems and management skills necessary for leading technology professionals and organizations. Applications for the program are being accepted now; classes will begin in June.

“Cybersecurity is a hot topic right now that spans a broad spectrum of interest,” said Bryan Goda, the Institute of Technology professor who heads up the program. “You see cyber attacks on businesses or computer infrastructure in the news all the time.” The threat to the U.S. cyber infrastructure is growing rapidly. President Barack Obama calls it “one of the most serious economic and national security issues we face as a nation.” Because of this, professionals who both understand cybersecurity and have leadership skills are in demand, according to Goda.

The degree was developed in collaboration with the Washington National Guard cybersecurity unit at Camp Murray, where there is demand for such a program from servicemembers. Many graduates of the program are expected to work in the military and government agencies in addition to the private sector. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland devoted a 2012 quarterly “Tacoma Means Business” event to Cyber Security Technology in Tacoma emphasizing the strong support UW Tacoma, the military and business are providing to grow this essential service sector for the local, regional and national economy.

The Master in Cybersecurity and Leadership is a non-thesis, 40 credit-hour program, with classes offered in the evenings. Studies will be balanced between a technically oriented curriculum focused on understanding the basic operations and functionality of cybersecurity systems and a more behavior-oriented curriculum focused on the management of technical professionals and organizational leadership. Students will leave the program well-versed in advanced information assurance knowledge and the leadership skills needed to manage people and contribute to organizational effectiveness.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Experience in cybersecurity or information technology is not a requirement for admission to the program, Goda said. Applicants without an IT background will have an opportunity to take online courses to prepare.

Interested students can learn more about the Master in Cybersecurity and Leadership at an information session on Weds., March 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in GWP 320 on the UW Tacoma campus or online at tacoma.uw.edu/mcl. The application deadline for the program is April 30.