Valencia College has announced a new partnership with the University of Maine at Augusta that will enable Valencia grads from the college’s network engineering technology program to earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity from the University of Maine at Augusta.
The announcement, made on March 30, gives students in Valencia’s network engineering technology program a path to a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity — at a price similar to what students would pay to continue their education at the University of Central Florida.
The University of Maine at Augusta currently offers a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity, which UCF does not offer. Under the agreement, Valencia students could complete their associate of science degree at Valencia, followed by general education coursework at Valencia, and then could complete the University of Maine program online.
The University of Maine program in cybersecurity is recognized by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program.
“Our graduates with an associate in science degree in network engineering technology have been facing the challenge of applying for cybersecurity jobs that prefer applicants with bachelor’s degrees. The articulation agreement with UMA will help them overcome this hurdle,” said Dr. Wael Yousif, chair of Valencia College’s network engineering technology program.
The UMA cybersecurity program offers four focus areas for students: information assurance; network security analyst; cyber forensics; and general. Students in the online program will participate in a virtual lab environment on the University of Maine’s advanced computing group’s supercomputer.
The agreement calls for Valencia students to take 11 to 14 courses online through the University of Maine. Valencia students participating in this transfer articulation program would be eligible for a discounted tuition rate of $285 per credit hour — which is significantly less than out-of-state tuition for non-Maine residents. UMA is also waiving the $40 application fee for Valencia students — and will offer the orientation online.
In addition, students in the program can complete their cybersecurity internships in the Orlando area. Those already employed in the field can complete a cybersecurity research project instead of an internship.
“The whole goal of the program is to provide a lot of hands-on experience, so that when you graduate, you can find a job,” says Henry Felch, assistant professor of computer information systems and cybersecurity at the University of Maine at Augusta.
For Valencia students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, the new partnership creates an affordable option, said some students who attended a recent information session on the degree.
“My goal is to get more into digital forensics, but when I began exploring, I discovered that most colleges and universities offer only a master’s degree in digital forensics,” said Jeremy French, who graduated from Valencia in December 2017 with an associate of science degree in network engineering technology. “I don’t want to do programming, so I began looking around for other options. I was actually applying to the University of Maine in December and they advised me to hold off because this agreement was being negotiated.”
French is glad he waited six months because the University of Maine at Augusta has heavily discounted the out-of-state tuition rate for Valencia transfers.
Even students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field can take advantage of the program — and earn a second bachelor’s degree by taking the core courses, with no general education requirements.
Geraldine Riley has a bachelor’s degree in business, but when she turned 50, she began thinking about going back to school. A master’s degree would take too long, she thought, but Valencia’s network engineering technology program — which could lead to a short path to a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity — could be the start of a new career. “My goal is to get my bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and become a government contractor,” said Riley.
For more information about the B.S. in cybersecurity and the transfer agreement between Valencia and University of Maine at Augusta, please contact Dr. Wael Yousif at email@example.com or Henry Felch at firstname.lastname@example.org