C-GCC adds cybersecurity and digital forensics program

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A new degree program has taken shape at Columbia-Greene Community College, specifically designed to prepare students for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity, computer security, digital forensics, and related fields.

The new program awards an Associate of Science degree (A.S.), and was approved by the New York State Education Department in February. It will launch for the Fall 2018 semester, blending courses from three major academic areas – computer science, criminal justice, and accounting – with liberal arts courses.

Carol Doerfer, Acting Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, explained that while students who graduate with two-year computer security degrees are presented with limited job opportunities, those with bachelor’s degrees in the field find themselves qualified for a wide range of positions in the areas of cyber-crime, compliance, data recovery, information security, and beyond.

“Every day, we hear about serious security breaches in the news, within all types of organizations,” she said. “There is a huge demand for professionals who know how to address these issues, and as technology advances, there are constantly new challenges to be met.”

Doerfer added that the new Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics degree at C-GCC grew from an existing program, which awarded an associate’s degree of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer Security and Forensics.

“The AAS degree contained many of the liberal arts, computer science, and criminal justice courses that are vital to cybersecurity, but the new program substitutes required transfer classes for electives,” she said, citing courses in Network Security, Criminology, and Forensic Science as examples. “In addition, articulation agreements with four-year institutions are being developed to ensure maximum transferability of course credits.”

Currently, transfer opportunities include an agreement in place with the University at Albany, SUNY, which accepts successful transfer students into its Bachelor of Science degree program in Digital Forensics, and Excelsior College, which offers a bachelor’s of science degrees in Cybersecurity. Doerfer said several other agreements are in process with colleges across New York state.

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