Creating a Multifarious Cyber Science Major

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SIGCSE '21: Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Existing approaches to computing-based cyber undergraduate majors typically take one of two forms: a broad exploration of both technical and human aspects, or a deep technical exploration of a single discipline relevant to cybersecurity. This paper describes the creation of a third approach--a multifarious major, consistent with Cybersecurity Curricula 2017, the ABET Cybersecurity Program Criteria, and the National Security Agency Center for Academic Excellence--Cyber Operations criteria. Our novel curriculum relies on a 10-course common foundation extended by one of five possible concentrations, each of which is delivered through a disciplinary lens and specialized into a highly relevant computing interest area serving society's diverse cyber needs. The journey began years ago when we infused cybersecurity education throughout our programs, seeking to keep offerings and extracurricular activities relevant in society's increasingly complex relationship with cyberspace. This paper details the overarching design principles, decision-making process, benchmarking, and feedback elicitation activities. A surprising key step was merging several curricula proposals into a single hybrid option. The new major attracted a strong initial cohort, meeting our enrollment goals and exceeding our diversity goals. We provide several recommendations for any institution embarking on a process of designing a new cyber-named major.
Applied computing, Education
Raymond W. Blaine, Jean R. S. Blair, Christa M. Chewar, Rob Harrison, James J. Raftery, and Edward Sobiesk. 2021. Creating a Multifarious Cyber Science Major. In Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1205–1211.