SIA and IST launch new integrated degree program focused on global security

IST Extreme Events Lab
Students in the Security and Risk Analysis major use high-tech equipment to simulate threats and analyze information in the Extreme Events Lab in the Westgate Building. IMAGE: Michelle Bixby

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The School of International Affairs (SIA) and the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) are excited to announce a new integrated undergraduate/graduate (IUG) degree program that provides a unique and interdisciplinary opportunity for students interested in international cybersecurity and related fields.

The IUG program will allow students to earn both a bachelor of science in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) and a Master of International Affairs (MIA) degree in just five years.

IUG programs also help make a master’s degree more affordable by allowing up to 12 credits to be double-counted toward both the undergraduate and graduate degree requirements. Students in this program may also be eligible to continue paying undergraduate tuition rates for at least some of their master’s credits.

Interested students are invited to attend an information session about the IUG program at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, in W219 Westgate Building. Please RSVP online.

“This IUG program with Security and Risk Analysis demonstrates SIA’s commitment to partnering with units across Penn State to provide students with outstanding educational opportunities,” said SIA Director Scott Gartner. “This program will help students develop the skills and knowledge that are especially vital for meeting some of today’s most important challenges.”

Penn State’s School of International Affairs offers an interdisciplinary graduate program drawing extensively from the intellectual resources of the school’s world-renowned faculty of globally-focused scholars and practitioners as well as from faculty across the University. Offering a professional master’s degree in international affairs with several specialty areas of study, its mission is to prepare exceptional students for careers and leadership positions in both the private and public sectors of an increasingly interdependent world.

The College of IST’s bachelor of science degree in Security and Risk Analysis prepares students to be future leaders who can address the current and emerging security and risk challenges facing individuals, organizations and our nation. In the program, students explore the role of technology, data, and analytics in various security domains, and the contexts in which analytics of security and risk are conducted.

Together, these two degrees will help prepare students for success in cutting-edge careers responding to transnational and global threats emerging in our complex digital age.

“Today’s world is truly global as technology has changed the concept of geographic borders,” said Peter Forster, associate teaching professor of information sciences and technology and one of the pioneers of the IUG program. “This integrated program offers a unique opportunity for Security and Risk Analysis majors to increase their understanding of global security issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.”

Both SIA and IST expect this partnership to facilitate increased engagement between the academic units, particularly between SRA students and SIA faculty.

“We are pleased to partner with SIA to offer this exciting new opportunity for SRA majors,” said Andrew Sears, dean of IST. “Students gain a solid foundation through the SRA program, including an understanding of how to analyze and mitigate risks, and this new IUG program will build on these insights and provide more in-depth knowledge of the global and international issues that are increasingly important in this area.”

Admission into the program is limited and based on competitive criteria set by the School of International Affairs. To be considered for the program, students must be currently enrolled in the Security and Risk Analysis major at Penn State’s University Park campus and must apply separately to the MIA program through The Graduate School. Typically, SRA students should apply to the IUG program when in junior standing; however, students may be eligible at varying times. For more information on eligibility, students should contact their academic adviser in the SRA program.