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American Public University Launches Three Year Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity

As part of the "College in 3 Exchange," the American Public University System (APUS), which caters primarily to the military and public service communities, has announced an online accelerated Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in cybersecurity.

Instead of the traditional four-year, 120-credit B.S. degree, students can obtain the degree in three years with 90 credits, eliminating 30 credits of electives, the university said. The new degree, approved by APUS's accrediting bodies, will be offered starting Spring 2024.

APUS has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) by the National Security Agency (NSA). It is one of only 13 higher education institutions participating in the College in 3 Exchange, led by Robert Zemsky of the University of Pennsylvania and Lori Carrell of the University of Minnesota Rochester.

The College in 3 Exchange is "a national effort which encourages universities to reimagine the traditional four-year bachelor's curriculum," the university said in a release. It was conceived partly as an answer to students failing to complete degree programs because of rising tuition costs and lack of time to devote to their studies.

APUS Provost Elizabeth Johnson said the accelerated degree program will reduce both barriers by 25%. In the new program, students will take the same required cybersecurity courses as in the traditional four-year program.

The university noted in its release that the cybersecurity degree program prepares students with courses in "cybercrime, intrusion and incident handling, cyber defense of critical infrastructure, IT security, and digital forensics…," integrating "multiple disciplines to ensure students gain the critical skills and management practices often needed to help them effectively lead missions in both government and businesses."

The traditional four-year program, as outlined in the university catalog, specifies the following:

  • 30 semester hours in general education;
  • 45 semester hours in the major;
  • 15 semester hours in one of five concentrations; and
  • 27 semester hours in electives.

The catalog notes that electives consist of "any courses not already taken to fulfill the requirements…. Credits applied toward a minor or certificate in an unrelated field may be used to fulfill elective credit for the major."

Eliminating electives will still ensure students have a quality B.S. degree in cybersecurity, said Daniel Welsch, APUS STEM school dean, but streamline the process.

"We are rethinking and redesigning this curriculum to fit the needs of our students and of the world," he said. "Cybersecurity is a dynamic field with an unmet demand. This accelerated program can help graduates begin working in the field sooner, or begin their master's, while earning the same high-quality degree received as part of a traditional bachelor's program."

Visit this page to request more information on the cybersecurity accelerated B.S. degree.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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