The University of Albany (UAlbany) has launched a new degree program in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity after receiving approval from the New York State Education Department.
The program will begin this fall at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year and will allow students to pursue an undergraduate degree focusing on enhancing the safety and security of the nation.
UAlbany President Robert J. Jones said the program will allow students to earn a degree that prepares them for the critical roles needed to protect the nation against risks and threats.
“This new major in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity is a key component of UAlbany’s academic expansion, and supports Governor Cuomo’s vision for New York to be a global leader in security and preparedness,” Jones said.
UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity was established in May 2015 with $15 million in funds from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget. UAlbany is the first standalone security college in the country.
“This is a crucial next step in building the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity as a global leader in the promotion of security and preparedness,” Cuomo said.
The university aims to provide students with real-world training and experience through partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, private companies and public agencies. The college has partnered with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany to give students the opportunity to research, intern and train while gaining hands-on experience.
In May 2015, the college established a minor in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity, after the college’s creation was announced. The University of Albany graduated its first class of seven students who completed the minor in May 2016.
“The minor program has already exceeded enrollment and programmatic expectations, demonstrating that students are eager to engage with some of the most important issues that face our nation today,” Cuomo said.
The minor launched ahead of schedule and exceeded enrollment expectations by enrolling over 275 students, making it the seventh most popular minor at the University.
The newly-announced major program requires students to enroll in courses while simultaneously completing 100 hours of non-credit training in emergency preparedness, homeland security and cybersecurity.
UAlbany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Interim Dean David Rousseau said the diverse elements of the program will allow students to apply their classroom studies in real-world settings.
"All of our majors will be required to complete a small research seminar, an internship, a senior capstone project with an external client, and training with public, private and nonprofit partners,” Rousseau said. “We believe the combination of theory and practice will allow our student to identify careers and enter the workforce ready to contribute.”
In addition to expanding its academic programs, the college will soon have a physical campus. The university is currently redeveloping 12 acres of the existing UAlbany Harriman Campus to construct a new Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex, which will house the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity in late 2020.