Security and risk analysis degree trains students in cyber security

September 04, 2007

Penn State Berks' new bachelor of science degree in security and risk analysis (SRA), which began in the fall semester, will help put student on the front line in confronting threats to security, responding to emergencies, protecting vital information, and helping to create laws and policies that ensure personal privacy. The degree program will prepare students to work in fields such as cyber forensics, financial crime investigation, emergency and crisis management, and contingency planning.

"With the penetration of the Internet in our everyday lives, we have an open environment; like the Wild West, it's lawless," explained Paul Esqueda, associate director for academic affairs at Penn State Berks. "While you want to maintain an open environment, you also want it to be safe. There are risks involved and security issues that need to be addressed. The SRA degree has the task of making networks a safer place."

Offered through Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), this interdisciplinary major includes a base in information technologies. The SRA degree is offered at Penn State Berks with the Information and Cyber Security Option, which focuses on theories, skills and technologies associated with network security, cyber threat defense, information warfare and critical infrastructure protection across multiple venues.

Like the IST degree, the SRA major includes problem-based learning, a required internship, team projects and an emphasis on communication and presentation skills. Courses engage students in the challenges associated with assuring information confidentiality and integrity. They also include an overview of the information technology that plays a critical role in identifying, preventing and responding to security-related crimes.

Unlike many other universities with security-and-risk-analysis programs, Penn State has chosen to develop the SRA major for undergraduate students. Its interdisciplinary nature also makes it different.

Today’s security challenges have no simple answers, so Penn State drew expertise from many fields to build this major. The program spans the fields of business, foreign cultures, information sciences and technology, languages, psychology, science and statistics to cover every aspect students may need to succeed in their future careers.

Graduates of the degree program could quality for such positions as counter-terrorism analyst, cyber intelligence analyst, intelligence consultant, intelligence operations specialist, international crime officer and security specialist, just to name a few.

For information about Penn State Berks' security and risk analysis degree, contact M. Susanne Samson, senior lecturer and program coordinator for Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State Berks, at (610) 396-6133 or mss21@psu.edu via e-mail.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009