The Graduate Certificate in Security certificate program is intended primarily for individuals with B.S. degrees in Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and business or technical areas who are interested in learning state of the art technologies in Security. This rapidly growing technology will have far-reaching impacts on society.
Students should apply as a non-candidate for a degree in the Graduate Programs Office. Students in this certificate program are not eligible for federal financial aid.
The CSC/CIS programs are developing a set of post-baccalaureate certificates to address critical technologies that have emerged in the past few years in the industry. These three are:
- Data Sciences,
- Intelligent Systems,
These areas of technology are rapidly changing and are having far-reaching impacts on society. This is the proposal for the Security certificate. When originally researching the possibility of an MS in Data Sciences with Mathematics and SOM, the department contacted a number of employers to discuss interest in the program. These included GM, Ford, Auto-Owners, Pioneer Insurance, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. All of the employers mentioned that they prefer to pay only for specific courses and not entire degrees. The idea of a smaller credential emerged that focused only on the key courses for that area and would be reimbursable by industry. The program decided these certificates would dovetail nicely with the existing BS CSC/CIS and the MS-CSIS programs and serve a possible bridge between the two as students begin graduate studies in a focused area and then branch out to obtain a full MS degree. As these certificates are based on existing MS-CSIS courses, they require no additional resources and can be quickly offered. The program would be taught in the CSEP Cyber-classrooms so it can be completed in-class or fully online, or any mix of the two based on the students’ interests and time availabilities.
This is one of a set of graduate certificates that the CSEP department is proposing to supplement its MS-CSIS program. This has been a very successful program, but there has been interest in providing some credential that does not entail the coursework of a complete MS degree. When researching the possibility of an MS in Data Sciences with Mathematics and SOM, the department contacted a number of employers to discuss interest in the program. These included GM, Ford, Auto-Owners, Pioneer Insurance, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. All of the employers mentioned that they prefer to pay only for specific courses and not entire degrees. The idea of a smaller credential that focused on key technology courses, and would be reimbursable by industry emerged. This industry interest in certificates coupled with the explosive demand for Computer Science people with expertise in security led the program to propose this certificate. The idea is that students may then be interested in staying on for the full MS-CSIS degree since they would be out-of-pocket only the remaining six (6) courses. Thus, the program provides key knowledge the students want and provides a marketing opportunity to increase the MS-CSIS program enrollments as well.
The overall goal of the certificate is to provide students with a highly concentrated set of classes focusing on Security. The program can be completed part-time in a year or even full time in fifteen months if the program offers one of the required courses in a spring or summer semester. This is very attractive to students.
The program would be taught in the CSEP Cyber-classrooms so it can be completed in-class or fully online, or any mix of the two based on the students’ interests and time availabilities.
The target population is working Computer Science and Computer Information Systems professionals that are in a Security support role and want to improve their skills. A subset of the MS-CSIS Fast Track courses will also be available to serve as prerequisites for students that come from other backgrounds.
The department in cooperation with Mathematics and SOM initiated an Education Advisory Board (EAB) study into the feasibility of an MS-CSIS in Data Sciences and they found that there were many MS programs related to Data Sciences. This was also true for security. In this field, however, there are significant credentialing opportunities at the Community College level, and we feel there is a niche between the A.S. and B.S. degrees and a full M.S. degree for additional more advanced security training.
As mentioned earlier, two years ago the department in cooperation with Mathematics and SOM initiated an EAB study. The EAB, however, noted very few Certificate programs in the state in advanced areas. This coupled with clear employer interest based on job advertisements on sites such as LinkedIn suggested a post-B.S. security certificate was an attractive option. Every employer we interviewed mentioned they are definitely interested in specific sets of focused courses for their employees.
The EAB recommended the following approaches to supplement enrollment that we have been doing for years with our Fast Track courses as part of our MS-CSIS program:
- Accommodate applications from liberal arts graduates through alternative admissions and onboarding processes.
- Attract current or aspiring citizen data scientists via short-form credentials and analytics tracks embedded in existing masters’ programs.
Relevance to Mission and Planning Efforts
The program is clearly aligned with the missions of the University, school, and department. The mission of the University finishes with the sentence: “Through personal attention and dedicated faculty and staff, our students become leaders and best in their fields, professions, and communities.” Clearly, our program helps people move up the career ladders and even cross ladders to achieve their career goals. The CAS mission has a sentence: “transforms lives through the power of a comprehensive education rooted in theory and practice.” Likewise, our program is taught by faculty that are actively performing research in the disciplines related to Security and the courses are often taught with hands-on projects to allow the students to understand not only the theory but also the practice of the field they are studying. At the department level, the mission of the graduate program states its mission is to: “provide a solid understanding of the principles of computers and computing, not only in the context of problem-solving, but also in technical support, education and training, and software/hardware management.” The certificate program highlighted clearly meets these mission objectives.
Traditional CS students are well-prepared to begin the program immediately. Non-CS trained students can take additional Fast Track courses that allow either more Information Systems personnel or students with more of a business background to gather the needed background expertise.
Students pursuing the certificates in Computer Science are admitted to the program using the same criteria as those currently existing for the MS in Computer Science and Information Systems (MS-CSIS) program. Admission to these Post-Bachelor’s Certificate requires a B.S. or equivalent degree. Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in their bachelor’s degree. The applicants must also have completed college-level mathematics, statistics, or quantitative course and be familiar with at least one programming language to be eligible for the program. Students who lack these can take one of the pre-requisite courses defined in the program description. Applications for admission are available from the Office of Graduate Programs. Admission to the program is not granted until the application materials are submitted and reviewed.
Priority application deadlines are:
- August 1 for fall entry
- November 15 for winter entry
- March 15 for spring entry
- May 15 for summer entry
International applications are due:
- May 1 for fall entry
- September 1 for winter entry
About the School
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