News & Events

UMPI to offer new Cybersecurity Bachelor’s degree starting Fall 2019

As part of a multi-campus collaborative effort within the University of Maine System, the University of Maine at Presque Isle will begin offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity starting in Fall 2019—one of only 5 programs in New England dedicated to Cybersecurity.

“We are so pleased to be partnering with four other UMS campuses to offer this new program and help to meet an important workforce development need in the region and the state,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field and one of the fastest growing professions in demand around the country and in the northeast region. There are literally thousands of job openings in New England and hundreds in Maine this coming year, so it’s a high need program and UMPI is well positioned to assist in meeting that need.”

The new Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program focuses on the protection and defense of systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks and includes courses in computer science, technology, and crisis communication. The program provides students with hands-on applications in analysis, prevention, deterrence, and countermeasures of information security and integrity in a global arena, and prepares students for careers ranging from forensic computer analysts and IT security engineers to security systems administrators and vulnerability assessors. UMPI officials also have established a Cybersecurity minor for students who want to enhance the work they’re doing in other majors.

In offering this new degree program, UMPI has become part of the Maine Cybersecurity Center (MCC) that the University of Maine System established in 2018. The MCC provides support and oversight for the multi-campus Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity core academic program that the System established in 2015 and that all campuses are welcome to adopt. Dr. Henry Felch, Associate Professor of Cybersecurity and Computer Information Systems at the University of Maine at Augusta, serves as the Director of the MCC.

In order to establish the new program at UMPI, officials worked closely with Dr. Felch on curriculum, partnered with the University of Maine at Augusta this spring to hire a jointly appointed faculty member, and ensured that all courses required within the curriculum could be offered live, or through online or compressed video offerings.

“While it’s part of a multi-campus effort, this new degree is conferred by UMPI and all classes can be taken at UMPI, which will be a great help, especially to place-bound and nontraditional students,” Dr. Jason Johnston, UMPI Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said.

Through the MCC, UMPI is able to leverage program resources at other campuses. Students will have access to the Cyberbit Range security and simulation platform that the MCC oversees. This platform provides a virtual environment for teaching and learning in cyberwarfare training and cyber technology development. UMPI’s program can seek designation by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education once its first cohort of students graduates.

With its new faculty member on board, the new academic program is ready to get underway in September.

“We’re very pleased to have hired Dr. Fred Strickland as our new Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity,” Dr. Johnston said. “He brings extensive experience in various aspects of computer science and cybersecurity to help grow our fledgling program and we look forward to welcoming him to the area from Alabama in August.”

For more information about UMPI’s new Cybersecurity program, contact Dr. Jason Johnston at 207-768-9652 or email jason.johnston@maine.edu.