The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cybersecurity at Houston Christian University (HCU) was developed in response to the increasing need for cybersecurity professionals in the industry in the Houston area and beyond. Curriculum for the degree program was developed by Dr. Steve Lyford, Dr. Justin Joshuva, and Dr. Marian Zaki, with classes slated* to begin in the Fall 2023 semester.
“I’m pleased to see the launch of this new cybersecurity degree that will help us supply and upskill the workforce desperately needed to meet the spectrum of cyber threats facing our world today,” said Dr. Katie Evans, Dean of HCU’s College of Science and Engineering.
Cybersecurity degrees are crucial in today’s world where people are plugged in and connected and becoming more so every day. With the world being connected in almost every way, the presence of cybersecurity threats and attacks is always increasing and inevitable.
“Having professionals that know how to protect and defend against these attacks and threats is needed now more than ever,” said Dr. William Harbour, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Chair of the Department of Engineering.
Graduates earning a BS in Cybersecurity degree will gain a broad spectrum of knowledge in many areas of cybersecurity, including topics such as system administration, cloud computing and security, ethical hacking, computer networking and network security, cryptography, reverse engineering, risk management, security operations, and more.
“Even though HCU offers a BS degree in Cyber Engineering, we felt there was a large enough difference between this degree and the Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity degree to warrant this new degree,” said Dr. Harbour.
According to the (ISC)2 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there is a global cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.4 million professionals. Every small, medium and large business is dealing with cybersecurity issues, with many of these issues in computer networks, databases, software and computer programs, data storage systems (cloud computing) and individual workstations that are classified as Information Technology (IT). But many cybersecurity issues also exist around Operational Technology (OT), where valves, pumps, meters, sensors, turbines, motors, generators, and other electro-mechanical devices are connected to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to form industrial control systems. Many of the cybersecurity problems in OT occur when these systems are connected to the security operations center (SOC) at the corporate office, creating an intersection between IT and OT.
HCU’s Cyber Engineering degree focuses directly on this intersection between IT and OT, while the BS in Cybersecurity degree will focus on the IT issues of cybersecurity and not deal with any OT issues at all.
Undergraduate students pursuing HCU’s BS in Cybersecurity will be equipped with the tools to combat a broad range of cyber threats. Christian ethics and forethought will also be integrated into the curriculum to provide an understanding of the cybersecurity industry from a Christian Worldview.
“Because of our Christian mission, HCU is well-positioned to graduate cyber professionals who have been taught and challenged to confront the ethical considerations of their profession from the time they enter our programs,” said Dr. Evans.
Students will be prepared for careers in areas such as network defense, ethical hacking, cryptography and cloud security. This degree is designed for individuals who would prefer to work in security operation centers or other cybersecurity-related positions within the confines of an office or lab environment.
*The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree at HCU is pending final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.