WashU Engineering launches master’s in cybersecurity engineering degree

High-profile cyberattacks and data breaches have made cybersecurity engineering one of the fastest-growing careers in the world yet demand for highly-qualified leaders exceeds supply: Experts predict a shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2021. To meet that demand, the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis is launching a master of science degree in cybersecurity engineering to train new experts for this high-profile field

Beth Miller 

The full-time master's program, which begins in Fall 2018, is specifically crafted to provide students with the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to secure jobs in designing and engineering cybersecurity technology. Core principles throughout the curriculum, taught by computer science faculty and experienced industry professionals, include developing secure technical environments and defending against the spectrum of cybersecurity threats.

"To work in security jobs that are considered interesting and typically have a higher pay scale, a master's degree in cybersecurity is critical," said Roch Guerin, chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and the Harold B. & Adelaide G. Welge Professor of Computer Science. "This unique graduate degree shows employers that the individual has the knowledge and experience required to be successful and to excel in the cybersecurity market."

"Cybersecurity engineers, who are technically proficient candidates with strong academic credentials, can contribute to critical research in this field and embark on careers that pay more upon graduation," said Joseph Scherrer, director of the Cybersecurity Strategic Initiative, and program director, Graduate Studies in Information Systems Management and Cybersecurity Management.

"These engineers make a direct impact on digital security in private industry, government and nonprofits as well as for people in their daily lives."

Students will learn in a robust technical environment in which they will evaluate cyberattack vectors, assess cyberdefense methods, conduct research, and design and develop new methods, protocols and techniques. In addition, they will learn the theory and advanced technical aspects involved in the design, construction and evaluation of secure computing and networking systems, software, hardware and applications required to protect and defend private and public information, as well as internetworked computing and communications infrastructures. Students also will work with area industry and government clients to study real-world cybersecurity threats.

"Graduates will have the expertise to design, engineer and assess cybersecurity software, applications and technology, in addition to the theoretical and hands-on engineering expertise to solve complex cybersecurity problems affecting diverse enterprises," said Scherrer, also a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and an expert in cybersecurity.

The 30-unit degree program includes 15 units of core requirements, nine units of electives and a six-unit thesis or capstone project. Eligible candidates must have an undergraduate degree or minor in computer science or a related STEM field and proven proficiency in at least one computer programming language.

The School of Engineering & Applied Science also offers a master's in cybersecurity management, a 36-unit, part-time program designed for working professionals. This program educates professionals on how to manage the people and resources who perform these tasks and to lead the cybersecurity function in organizations. For information about the part-time master's in cybersecurity management program or graduate certificate, visit sever.wustl.edu.

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