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The Argonaut – Cybersecurity master’s program launches in fall to meet demand

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The University of Idaho’s cybersecurity program will be offering a new master’s degree, the first of it’s kind in the state.  

The College of Engineering will now offer a new master’s program in cybersecurity after approval from the Idaho State Board of Education. The college will offer the program in the fall of 2021.  

The introduction of the new master program comes as Idaho has seen an increase of 160% in cybersecurity jobs since 2015.  

“We’ve had a certificate program for a while, like a graduate certificate, so you could get a master’s in computer science and then a certificate in cybersecurity,” said Terence Soule. “We wanted to turn it into a full master’s for a couple of reasons. It will be a bigger focus on cybersecurity than a certificate.”  

Soule is the department chair and professor in computer science.  

“The other big hope is because it is titled cybersecurity, we are going to attract students who are interested; in the past, students could get a master’s in computer science with a certificate,” said Soule. “This allows us to attract students who are searching for cybersecurity for their degree but also builds a better connection with employers.”  

Jim Alves-Foss, a professor within the computer science department, spoke about the new master’s program stating that he’s excited by the news.  

“Our hope is our students go into Microsoft or small businesses to help stop breaches and have more secure software,” said Alves-Foss.   

Last fall, the UI launched Idaho’s first bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. 

“The bachelor’s program started in the fall and currently, there are 16 students enrolled in it,” said Soule. “Another 16 freshmen are registered, so once fall starts, there should be 32 students in the program.”  

UI is also making progress in launching a doctorate program for cybersecurity. Alves-Foss said that there is a tremendous need to hire more teachers in this field, a benefit of this potential degree. 

Daniel V. Ramirez can be reached at [email protected] or Twitter @DVR_Tweets 

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