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RMU Ranks 6 in Online B.S. in Cyber Forensics & Information Security

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Pittsburgh, Pa -- Robert Morris University’s online bachelor’s degree in cyber forensics and information security ranked No. 6 in the nationwide ranking of “The 12 Best Online Bachelor in Information Assurance & Security Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org. This is the second year in a row the university has landed in the top 10 for this ranking.

The RMU School of Communications and Information Systems first offered online courses in cyber forensics in 2010, and then launched a full degree program in 2013, which is now available both online or on-ground. Its inaugural year as a fully online program only saw two students per class, now the courses need to be capped at 18 to ensure that professors can give students adequate personal attention.

Industry growth is driving the popularity of RMU’s cyber security program. According to Paullet, 33 percent of cyber security jobs went unfilled last year owing to a lack of adequately trained professionals. Robert Morris offers a convenient way for prospective students to earn a degree in cyber forensics.

“Getting an online degree allows you to work a full time job and still complete courses on your own time,” says Karen Paullet, assistant professor of computer and information systems. “Students can be located in another state or work at night and still fulfill all the requirements of the degree.

Online students can fully access all the computer software programs that on-ground students use. These include Exiftool, which scans metadata from a picture and calculates the photographer’s location; Wireshark, which allows the user to capture information from other devices that are logged onto the same Wi-Fi network; and Splunk, which turns a machine’s data into a record of all transactions, such as customer behavior, security threats, and fraudulent activity.

Senior Megan Shull is an intern with the cyber security squad at the FBI and says learning these programs in school helped prepare her for her internship.

“Being able to work with the tools hands-on in school was great because when I started my internship I already understood the basics of what programs they were using and could adapt easily,” she says.

Students also gain professional experience by attending the National Security Academic Seminar in Washington D.C. Hosted by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the two-week conference gives students real-world insights into the field of cyber security and intelligence.

The Washington Center has a longstanding tradition of providing college students from all backgrounds and income levels with an opportunity to take their classroom learning into an internship setting and network with industry professionals.

“The seminar is a great networking opportunity for us to get real world experience,” says senior Brandon Adams, who is attending the conference for the third time this year. “We get to meet with high-powered individuals in the area of national security and the information and knowledge we extract from them is great.”

Pittsburgh is becoming a hub for cyber security, especially since the U.S. government filed criminal charges of cyber espionage against Chinese officials for allegedly hacking six Pittsburgh-area businesses in 2014, including US Steel, Alcoa, and Westinghouse.

“We met with Congressmen Tim Murphy and he was really impressed with what Robert Morris is doing with its cyber program,” says Adams. “We have a niche for cyber forensics that no other school in the region has.”