UAlbany Launches Master’s in Digital Forensics, Cybersecurity

UAlbany Launches Master’s in Digital Forensics, Cybersecurity

Victoria Kisekka, an assistant professor of information security and digital forensics, trains students in a cyber lab at the School of Business. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer announced at the University at Albany earlier this month his plan to secure federal grant funding that would support cybersecurity-related programs in higher education.

As construction continues on the ETEC complex, a facility slated to house the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) among other academic units, the University is increasing its cybersecurity offerings.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the University at Albany will offer an interdisciplinary master’s program in digital forensics and cybersecurity. The program is a joint effort between the faculties of the School of Business and CEHC.

Initially, the 36-credit program will offer tracks in digital forensics, cyber operations and cybersecurity from the School of Business, with courses specializing in security data analytics as well as information security and digital forensics. Additional tracks in cybersecurity governance risk and compliance and health security and privacy from CEHC are planned for future semesters.

The interdisciplinary program will directly help address the “ever growing and global need” for highly-trained cyber experts within government, law enforcement and business, said Nilanjan Sen, dean of the School of Business.

“Expanding our digital forensics and cybersecurity ‘footprint’ in partnership with CEHC is a natural extension of the University’s efforts to equip students with the advanced technical skills, knowledge and experience they need to adapt to a rapidly changing industry,” Sen said, citing the school’s existing portfolio of undergraduate degree programs and certificates available in digital forensics and cybersecurity.

The MS in digital forensics and cybersecurity shifts the focus from security education towards analytics and practical application, said Sanjay Goel, a business professor and chair of the Department of Information Security and Digital Forensics.

“With a focus on analytics, students will be able to work in our specialized labs on projects and cases to learn to analyze cyber incidents, conduct forensics examinations and carry out intelligence operations,” said Goel, who led the development of the program’s initial tracks.

The School of Business was recognized by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and the University was recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research last year. The designations will remain through 2023.


Capstone Project

A six-credit internship option will allow participants to choose a project on a topic germane to their career goals, such as intelligence, corporate or public sector cybersecurity, law enforcement and higher education, according to Robert Griffin, founding dean of CEHC.

“Whether students are interested in investigating cyber incidents, the collection and analysis of data, or cybersecurity defense, this program will get students working on real problems and issues with faculty and practitioners who are at the top of their field,” Griffin said.

CEHC’s cyber offerings include an undergraduate degree in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity as well as a concentration in cybersecurity for the college’s undergraduate degree in informatics.

The master’s in digital forensics and cybersecurity is the first interdisciplinary program to be offered through The Graduate School, the University’s administrative body responsible for graduate education. The program is expected to attract at least 30 students for the fall 2020 semester, according to Kevin Williams, dean of The Graduate School. He said participants are expected to have a basic knowledge in programming, networking and information security to be considered for the program.

Graduates of the program will be well-suited for jobs in intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and the private sector as analysts, consultants, investigators and security analysts.


Learn more about the program.