Rider to offer online master's in cybersecurity

Critical need exists for 3.5 million cyber jobs worldwide
Rachel Stengel '14, '20

After the success of its bachelor's degree program in cybersecurity, which launched in 2019, Rider University will offer an online master's in cybersecurity.

The 36-credit degree program will allow students the flexibility to design a plan of study that meets their personal and professional needs. With coursework dedicated to both cybersecurity and cyberforensics, students will be prepared to prevent attacks against companies' digital infrastructure and to investigate cybercrimes after they occur.

"Our interdisciplinary master's program in cybersecurity will provide students with the needed skills to immediately begin a lucrative, rewarding career," says Dr. Elizabeth Hawthorne, an adjunct assistant professor of computer science/cybersecurity. "Cybersecurity professionals are needed in all industries and play a critical role in protecting organizations from cyber threats and attacks."

Courses will be offered in a six-week, fully online format. The curriculum includes courses, such as "Cryptography for Cybersecurity," "Mobile Computing and Wireless Security," "Cybercrime and Digital Forensics Analysis," and "Disaster Management and Preparedness," among others. Students will study data and software security, component and connection security, and system and organizational security, as well as human and societal security issues. A 4+1 bachelor’s and master’s degree option is also part of the curriculum for eligible Rider students. The option would allow students to take an accelerated route to obtaining both degrees in just five years.

There is a critical need for cybersecurity experts with 3.5 million unfilled cyber jobs globally, according to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures. Those who work in the field can anticipate a nearly six-figure salary and abundant opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites $99,730 as the median salary for cybersecurity professionals with advanced degrees and projects a faster than average 31% job growth rate through 2029.

Hawthorne brings 25 years of experience in computer science and cybersecurity to Rider. She is heavily involved in the field, authoring more than 100 computing education and cybersecurity-related publications and presentations and serving as a researcher for a number of National Science Foundation grant projects. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in digital forensics and cyber investigations.

Hawthorne is a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. She currently serves as the co-chair of the ACM Education Board, previously holding a number of leadership positions within the organization and other professional associations and receiving ACM's distinguished educator and outstanding service awards. She holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE) professional certifications.

The first cohort of students is set to begin in January 2021. Applications are continually accepted on a rolling basis. To learn more about the program, contact Dr. Elizabeth Hawthorne at [email protected].