In response to the global, rapidly growing demand for skilled information security professionals across industries—from government to private sector and non-profit—Fairfield University is now offering a flexible 30-credit Master of Science in Cybersecurity program, which will leverage Pulse Secure, a zero trust secure access technology, in its new state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab. 

Fairfield University, established in 1942 and located in Fairfield Connecticut, has over 5,000 diverse and international undergraduate and graduate students engaged in studies within its five schools and colleges, including its college of arts and sciences, schools of business, engineering and nursing and health studies, and its graduate school of education. The University was ranked 2nd overall for "most innovative" among Northern regional universities by U.S. News and World Report's 2021 Best Colleges ranking.

Launched this fall semester, Fairfield’s MS in Cybersecurity program is designed to offer students a hands-on learning experience using real-world applications in its cybersecurity lab, as well as to promote the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed as information and computer technologies continue to advance. The University’s cybersecurity lab is an integral teaching and research facility, designed to enhance the complexity of coursework, challenge students to collaboratively solve sophisticated problems, and ultimately equip graduates with the critical thinking and technological skills needed to monitor, mitigate, and prevent online security threats.

“Security threats thrive off distraction and working through stressful situations is an important part of the job. As such, our new lab prepares the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by providing them a realistic simulation of the many challenges they will encounter in the real world,” said Justin Hickey, Fairfield University CISO. “This lab is a critical step forward for the cybersecurity industry and we are thrilled to partner with Pulse Secure to teach the importance of secure access and Zero Trust principals.”

In the past, the University has used Pulse Secure products for a variety of purposes. For the University’s cybersecurity lab, Pulse has supplied its secure access solutions, including virtual private network (VPN) and network access control (NAC), to support its hands-on cyber curriculum, as well as to ensure a protected and observable class environment that will prepare students to address information and security challenges businesses face today.

Curricular enhancements in conjunction with the new lab include the formal creation of a cybersecurity certificate program, a minor in the subject, and core engineering courses in cybersecurity, which is a required area for ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation of the Computer Science program. The lab provides a dedicated facility for the data science graduate program and the professional certificate in software engineering with a concentration in cybersecurity. It also offers Fairfield the capability host SOE (State Owned Enterprise) courses and demonstrations for industry leaders throughout the Northeast.