Beginning in the fall 2020 semester, The University of Scranton will offer a new major in cybercrime and homeland security to address the growing needs to investigate and protect information in the realm of cyberspace for both government and private sectors.

The proposed curriculum would allow students to gain skills required for a career in cybersecurity, and, at the same time, allow students to join a homeland security workforce that already employs more than 240,000 professionals.

According to James Roberts, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University, cybercrime is an increasing problem in everyday life of people and business, yet cybersecurity/intelligence analyst is a relatively new profession in the criminal justice system and private sector.

“Over the past two decades, the expansion of the Internet and the availability of technological devices have resulted in an increase in computer crimes or cyber-related offenses. Numerous largescale attacks targeted Home Depot, Target, and, most recently, Equifax,” said Dr. Roberts. “Responses to breaches in cybersecurity are increasingly reliant on criminal justice practitioners. In real-world, cyber threats influence homeland security, private business and individual security, all of which increases the need for trained law enforcement, prosecutors or judges with the skills to understand and investigate cybercrime.”

In addition, Dr. Roberts said that cyberattacks of both individuals and corporations require the cybercrime unit in law enforcement agencies, or the division of information technology in the private sector, to conduct cybercrime investigations related to fraud and theft perpetrated electronically. He noted the courses in the new major will cover legal, investigative, technical parts of cybercrime in addition to homeland security.

“As cybercrime is a borderless crime, our students also need to understand the broader national security implications, and how the technology relates to each component of the homeland security,” said Dr. Roberts. “The cybercrime and homeland security major will help students develop analytical skills to understand and analyze cybercrime in order to inform practitioners, policymakers, or public.”

The program includes courses criminal justices, mathematics, information systems and computer programming. Required courses include Cybercrime, Cyber Law and Policy, Cyber Intelligence, Ethical Hacking, Foundation of Cybersecurity, Introduction to Network Security, Digital Forensic Investigation, Introduction to Homeland Security, Terrorism and Homeland Security and Emergency Management, among other courses.

“With the skills developed through this curriculum, a graduate in this major will be able to apply to federal, state or local criminal justice agencies, or, based on the interests of the graduate, apply to other government or private sector jobs that are related to cybercrime or pursue advance graduate study in the field,” said Dr. Roberts. “That said, the main goal of the proposed program is to form the cybercrime investigators or digital forensic examiners or information security analysts and advocates of national security of tomorrow.”

The Bachelor of Science in Cybercrime and Homeland Security program will be housed in the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Criminology within the College of Arts and Sciences. Students pursing this major will also have access to hands-on programming and research opportunities offered through the University’s Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Crime.