Back to School: Three New Programs Launched for Fall Semester

New Programs at VSTC
September 12, 2016

The fall 2016 semester kicked off with the launch of three new programs in cybersecurity, data science and translational health sciences. These programs are reflective of changing student interests and industry workforce needs and GW’s dedication to innovative program offerings.

The first program, a Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, prepares students for the growing cybersecurity job market and teaches them the skills necessary to protect our digital infrastructure. It is intended for working adults with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees seeking entry-level positions and advancement in technology and security fields. All courses are offered during evening and weekend hours by the College of Professional Studies.

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of almost 650,000 cybersecurity jobs by 2022, it is clear the workforce demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is growing strongly.

“We are excited to launch the new Cybersecurity BPS program with 35 enrolled students. There has been tremendous interest in the program from students and local businesses that are recognizing the workforce demand for Cybersecurity professionals with specialized education and training. We look forward to growing the program and all of the GW Cyber Academy’s activities,” said Scott White, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the cybersecurity program.

The second program, the Master of Science in Data Science, offered by GW’s Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, is a new interdisciplinary program created to help meet the need for specialists with the skills to process, interpret and extract actionable insights from the vast amounts of data being produced in the world. The curriculum draws on techniques and theories from statistics, computer science and mathematics, then focuses these techniques on the skills necessary for effective analysis and use of large data.

The master’s degree program (30 credits), and the shorter graduate certificate (12 credits), both require a bachelor’s degree and a strong academic record with prerequisites in calculus and statistics.

The first group of 20 Data Science students is starting off their program with courses like “Data Warehousing” and “Intro to Data Mining.” The full curriculum features a multi-disciplinary approach to preparing the new generation of data scientists. In addition to core courses students choose electives to apply data science technology to their choice of areas such as economics, astrophysics, political science, bioinformatics and geographical information systems.
The third program is a Ph.D. in Translational Health Sciences from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). The program will prepare health professionals to be agents of change as they generate and teach new knowledge about the processes and outcomes of translating, disseminating and implementing evidence-based practice.

“We are thrilled that we are able to provide this specialized education to address a major need in our health and educational systems. Right now, new discoveries are made, however, it takes too long to reach the public and affect complex health conditions that require a sustained and widespread response. Our goal is to create a field of experts and educators who understand how to expedite the process and integrate science from the bench to the bedside,” said Joe Bocchino, Ed.D., M.B.A., senior associate dean for health sciences at the SMHS.

The program, targeted primarily towards licensed health practitioners, educators, health care administrators, and public health professionals, requires 54 credits beyond a master’s degree, successful completion of four comprehensive examination questions, a proposal defense, and a defended dissertation.

The program offers three “change agent” pathways – educator, health care leader and translational researcher. Graduates will successfully compete for leadership positions in public and private organizations, as well as conduct health-related research.

The first cohort group of 15 students begins this semester. The curriculum is low residency, with facilitated learning activities delivered online and on campus at VSTC two weekends per semester.

The Campus continues to evolve program offerings in response to student and industry workforce needs and additional offerings in biotechnology and cybersecurity are planned for the near future.