A new undergraduate degree program at Boston College is designed to respond to surging industry demand in one of the world's fastest-growing fields.
Enrolling now for fall 2022, the Bachelor of Arts in Cybersecurity program at the Woods College of Advancing Studies will equip its graduates to protect public and private organizations from today’s urgent threats through a comprehensive focus on all aspects of cybersecurity fundamentals, from programming and analysis to policies and recovery.
With Cybersecurity Ventures research showing some 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs around the world, the new program is launching at a critical time. Industry surveys show some 600,000 cyber positions are unfilled in the U.S. alone, the Wall Street Journal reported in July, and as more companies seek to mitigate the risks posed by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, this need is likely to grow.
“Not only will this program address a demand for cybersecurity professionals that is already sky high,” said Woods College Dean Karen Muncaster, "it also is a perfect fit for Woods, given the great success of our master’s program in cybersecurity policy and governance. With the addition of this more technically-oriented undergraduate program, we can now offer students a fully comprehensive educational experience that can prepare them for positions at all levels in this rapidly expanding area.”
“Research has shown that one of the greatest obstacles in recruiting cybersecurity professionals is finding candidates with the requisite skills or experience,” added Michelle Elias Bloomer, Woods College associate dean for undergraduate programs. “Likewise, there is a gap in this area within higher education; very few cybersecurity programs exist at the undergraduate level, and many of those that do are taught as an extension of computer science and programming.
“This program is designed specifically for graduates to enter the workforce with required skills and competencies within cybersecurity," she said.
Students will be grounded in the concepts of risk management, risk tolerance, and risk mitigation, as well as in their practical applications in various fields. They also will learn to navigate changes to threat environments in business and technology through understanding cyber risks, attacks, security, defenses and penetration testing, related software and services and their life cycles, and system and network architecture.
Graduates of the program will be able to demonstrate and communicate security concepts and the value of a modern cybersecurity program to diverse stakeholders; to detect, analyze, identify, prioritize, and resolve security vulnerabilities, threats, risks, and breaches using appropriate tools; to develop cybersecurity programs, policies, and procedures to manage enterprise security risks; to apply security principles and practices to maintain operations in the presence of risks; and to make decisions, judgments, and recommendations based on legal and ethical principles.
“While every organization’s cybersecurity program is different, as a whole they are no longer solely a function of information technology, but are now integrated with institutional risk management. Our program was developed with this understanding; each course and the content within was selected to dovetail modern cybersecurity and risk management principles.”
Taught by industry experts, courses will range from computer networks to ethical hacking. Focus areas include cybersecurity fundamentals, security and networks, programming and technical writing, incident response and disaster recovery, systems analysis and design, and automation and cloud security. In addition, project-based work will be designed to reflect contemporary, real-world scenarios.
"While every organization’s cybersecurity program is different, as a whole they are no longer solely a function of information technology, but are now integrated with institutional risk management," Bloomer said. "Our program was developed with this understanding; each course and the content within was selected to dovetail modern cybersecurity and risk management principles."
The program is designed to appeal to a wide range of potential students, including high school graduates, first generation students, those already in the workforce looking to change careers, or even those already employed in information technology and looking to specialize in cybersecurity.
Full-and part-time students will be able to complete the hybrid program fully online, fully on-campus, or in any mix of the two.
For more information, visit the Woods College B.A. in Cybersecurity website.
Patricia Delaney | University Communications | August 2022