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Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has launched a cybersecurity-focused master’s degree program. 

The new program centers on building expertise in risk management, information security, and data privacy and aims to develop key skills in operations, strategy, and analysis. 

To earn their master’s degree, student teams will have to solve real security problems for a national capital area–based organization or government agency.

Instead of being created as a standalone course, the new program will exist as a security-focused track within CMU’s established Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, taught at Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy in Washington, DC.

The MSIT: Information Security and Assurance (Cybersecurity-DC) program will be taught by leading security practitioners and researchers and experts from the CERT Division of CMU’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). 

Among the instructors already lined up for the program is retired Brigadier General Gregory J. Touhill, appointed by President Barack Obama as the first federal CISO of the United States government and currently serving as AppGate Federal Group’s president.

“Cybersecurity-DC will create a robust pipeline of highly skilled mission-ready security professionals where it’s needed most—in the heart of the National Capital area region,” said Touhill. “Federal agencies and private companies need creative leaders with the blend of skills we teach to better manage risk while defending their organizations and stakeholders against emerging threats.”

The program will be delivered in a hybrid format that will see students complete the majority of coursework online. However, some in-person group sessions, seminars, and exams will take place at Heinz College’s DC campus. 

“During these sessions, cohort members will have the opportunity to develop a tight-knit community and create lasting peer networks,” said a spokesperson for CMU.

“We’re excited to offer this program, which is unique in the field,” said Andy Wasser, associate dean at Heinz College. 

“Cybersecurity-DC brings together professionals to collaborate and form close bonds with their cohort. It effectively combines the convenience of online learning with our ethos of experiential learning and practical experience, which is crucial to success in the security context.”

The new program will commence in August 2020.

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