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UAlbany Launches New Undergraduate Major in Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity

Combination of Research, Academics and Training Opportunities Sets Program Apart

The program will provide the next generation of security and preparedness professionals with a solid liberal arts foundation that emphasizes critical thinking, ethics, problem solving, cultural literacy, and leadership skills. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 6, 2016) -- Students interested in gaining knowledge, skills, and experience to enhance the safety and security of the nation can now pursue a major degree of study in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity.

The University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity has received approval from the New York State Education Department to establish the bachelor’s degree program in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.

"This new major in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity is a key component of UAlbany’s academic expansion, and supports Governor Cuomo’s vision for New York to be a global leader in security and preparedness," said UAlbany President Robert J. Jones. “UAlbany students can now earn a degree that prepares them for critical roles that protect our society against a growing array of risks and threats.”

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo named the University to build and lead this important college because of its range of expertise, programs, facilities, and personnel dedicated to research, education and training in this area.

"This is a crucial next step in building the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity as a global leader in the promotion of security and preparedness,” said Governor Cuomo. “The minor program has already exceeded enrollment and programmatic expectations, demonstrating that students are eager to engage with some of the most important issues that face our nation today."

Academic Offerings
The College's academic offerings now include the undergraduate major and minor in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity, and graduate certificate programs in security and preparedness. In addition, the College, now the very first standalone academic institution of its kind in the nation, has brought in leading scholars and professionals across disciplines to provide a rich and broad scope of program offerings.

"We are delighted that we can now open the major to our students on campus and recruit outstanding high school seniors and transfer students to this unique and innovative program,” said College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Interim Dean David Rousseau.

To provide relevant real-world experiences to students, and to directly support existing efforts in these fields, the College is partnering with public agencies, private companies and non-profit organizations, including New York's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, among others. These partnerships will provide research, internship and training opportunities to its students, including opportunities at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany where students are applying high-level concepts learned in the classroom to complex, simulated real-life threats.

The program will provide the next generation of security and preparedness professionals with a solid liberal arts foundation that emphasizes critical thinking, ethics, oral and written communication, creativity and innovation, problem solving, cultural literacy, leadership, and interpersonal and teamwork skills.

In addition, students will have the option to choose from a rich interdisciplinary list of courses, including such topics as public administration and policy, risk analysis, strategic communications, computer security, digital forensics, health preparedness, extreme weather, disaster response, terrorism, counterterrorism, and much more. One of the central elements of the major is the focus on experiential learning. Students will also complete 100 hours of non-credit training in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity.

"One of the central elements of the program is our desire for student to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting. All of our majors will be required to complete a small research seminar, an internship, a senior capstone project with an external client, and training with public, private and nonprofit partners,” said Rousseau. “We believe the combination of theory and practice will allow our student to identify careers and enter the workforce ready to contribute.”

College Growth
The College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity was established in May 2015, and is expected to grow over the next five years as it continues to establish both undergraduate and graduate academic programs.

In May 2016, the College's first seven graduates received the undergraduate minor in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity. The minor was launched ahead of schedule in May 2015, and the six course minor drew an initial enrollment of over 275 students, exceeding enrollment targets and making it the seventh most popular minor at the University (of 63 minors at the University), surpassed only by business, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, communications, and English.

Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced that the University at Albany will redevelop 12 acres in the southwest corner of the Harriman Campus to construct a new Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex which will house the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, as well as headquarters for the New York State Mesonet, a state-of-the-art weather observation system developed to support better planning for extreme and dangerous weather events.

Students and perspective students wishing to learn more about the College should visit the University’s website.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.