Rider implements online Master of Science program in cybersecurity

By Tatyanna Carman

Rider has implemented a new online Master of Science program in cybersecurity, which will start in spring 2021, according to the program director and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Cybersecurity Elizabeth Hawthorne.

“Before joining the Rider faculty this January, I was contacted in 2019 as a curriculum consultant to help [Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Physics] John Bochanski develop the online M.S. in Cybersecurity degree,” Hawthorne said. “The degree is online to attract both working professionals and students.”

Bochanski said that the cybersecurity program joins “a small group of masters degrees that are already offered here at Rider.”

Hawthorne said that some of the six-week courses that will be offered online include “CYBR 500 Beyond Code: Cybersecurity in Context and CYBR 501 Cryptography for Cybersecurity.” There will be 10 students during the initial launch of the new online program, but Hawthorne projects “tremendous growth each semester thereafter.”

“I believe the [online Master of Science program in cybersecurity] will have a long-term positive impact on the Rider community for both existing undergraduate and prospective graduate students. Rider is planning a new facility near the science building to house both the new computer science undergraduate program and Masters in cybersecurity program.”

Bochanski said that cybersecurity is one of the most “in-demand fields in all job opportunities” right now.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that cybersecurity is going to play a huge role in everyone’s lives in the coming decades. This program is designed to meet the demand of today and the challenges of tomorrow and offers our students a diverse set of courses that include hands-on and theory-based courses.”

Rider alumna Anastasia Kolovani ‘15 is one of the 10 students in the online program. She said that the program being online is “very flexible” and liked how the classes are for six weeks, which allows her to finish quicker.

“I think this program will help me gain more skills that complement the skills I gained from my undergrad degree. Based on what I read about the courses Rider is offering here, I’m excited to learn about so many different aspects of this field from cryptography to digital forensic analysis.”

She also said that the flexibility offered in the program can attract many people looking to further their knowledge in this field.

Junior computer science major Koby Laurent said that this program is a great option because it is online.

“It would build a lot of great reputation for Rider, you know, to expand our profile because if we have more master’s programs like cybersecurity or even robotics, it would really put us on the map even more,” Laurent said. “To say that, ‘Oh have you heard of Rider. Oh yeah, they have a really good master’s program in cybersecurity or robotics or whatever.’ Overall, it’s just a really good move to add that [program] even if it’s online.”

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