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New Carnegie Mellon Program Developing Next-Gen Chief Security Officers

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh has begun taking applications for a new program designed to turn experienced IT people into super-security experts and C-level IT executives. Offered by CMU's Information Networking Institute, the Executive Master of Science in Information Assurance (ExecMSIA) is a five-semester, 20-month, $63,000 offering that will train students in dealing with major cyber threats.

Although the university describes the ExecMSIA as flexible enough "to easily fit with a career," students will take a not-inconsiderable 24 units each semester. It combines online classes with 11 multi-day on-campus sessions. Students will take two core courses during the first semester and one core course and one concentration course in subsequent semesters. On top of that, students will participate in "online recitations," consisting of four Saturday online sessions in each semester with activities such as laboratory exercises, mock hearings, group meetings, case study discussions, presentations, and problem-driven scenarios.

The ExecMSIA will offer two concentrations, one in cyber forensics and incident response and the other in resilience management. Both will be taught by instructors in CMU's CERT program of the Software Engineering Institute. CERT researches Internet security vulnerabilities and develops security training. The university is also offering an option for non-degree students to pursue certificates in the areas of concentration.

"This is an interdisciplinary program designed to meet the needs of today's fast-paced global business environment combining online sessions with periodic, short sessions on the Carnegie Mellon campus," said Dena Haritos Tsamitis, a director in the Information Networking Institute as well as in CyLab, Carnegie Mellon's cybersecurity education and research center.

The first cohort is expected to have about 20 students and will begin in August. Applications for that cohort are due April 30.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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