UMass Center at Springfield Offers New Cyber Security Certificate

UMass Center at Springfield

AMHERST, Mass. – Beginning on April 26, the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) is offering the first in a new series of evening courses at the UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square that will award a certificate in information management and cyber security to those who complete the four courses and a capstone project.

Tracy Mitrano, academic dean of UMass Amherst cyber security programs and an instructor in the program, says graduates of the Trust Assurance and Cybersecurity (TAC) certificate program will obtain a comprehensive understanding of current legal, technical and security needs, information management, physical controls and other skills to protect a business or other entity’s information. Details of the TAC certificate program are online at http://tacc.cics.umass.edu/

She will teach the first class, “Internet Law and Policy,” from 6-10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning April 26 and continuing for eight weeks. This course acts as an overview of the certificate program with an emphasis on the legal, compliance, international Internet governance, national and institutional information privacy and security policy perspectives on cyber security. More information is at 413/545-2744.

The TAC certificate program encourages students with diverse academic or practical experience backgrounds to apply. It has no official prerequisites and students may choose to take any but the capstone course individually through the Continuing & Professional Education program. The capstone course requires completion of the three other courses in the curriculum. The UMass Amherst Faculty Senate is in the process of approving the certificate.

As Mitrano explains, the program is not just about technical tools, but work and business process and procedures, intellectual property, guidelines and best practices. She says, “Most programs offered elsewhere now are narrowly focused on technology, but that’s not all that makes up cyber security. Our well-rounded certificate program will allow graduates to become proficient in the law, risk management and how to secure and manage data and information.”

Other courses in the 15-credit program include CICS 460, “Introduction to Security,” offering the technical component of the curriculum, to be conducted in the computer-equipped classrooms at Tower Square. CICS 267, “Information Risk Management,” will incorporate both computational risk modeling studies with compliance strategies to managing information assets and communications technologies using the case method. CICS 269, the capstone course, will ask students to integrate content from the three foundational courses into an on-site practicum. Additional course work will concentrate on professional development skills and team-work dynamics.  

It is possible but not necessary to complete the accelerated certificate program in one calendar year. Course work will be compressed into eight-week cycles of two evening classes per week, with the exception of the TAC capstone course which will meet in class once a week allowing for the applied portion of the course to take place on site for the student. Four-credit courses will meet for four hours per class; the three-credit course will meet for three hours.

Mitrano, a leading national expert in information and institutional information security, says, “This kind of program is genuinely needed in this country. There are not enough programs to address problems such as nation-state attacks, cybercrime and information security in what is now a truly global information environment. We intend this program to be peerless in its comprehensive scope and academic rigor. It is intended as a bridge between the academic study of cyber security with corporate, government and consumer needs.”