Friday, August 21, 2020
  Around Campus

By Amanda Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV will offer a new Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity starting Sept. 1, 2020 to teach students about a range of topics, such as information assurance, network and computer security, digital forensics and operating systems security. 

Students in the 120-hour program will study the security aspects of computing and cyberspace, which is central to the rapidly expanding security concerns in an ever-changing technological world. The program requires 50 advanced hours of instruction for core, technical electives and support courses.

The program, organized under the UTRGV Department of Computer Science, will integrate the technical topics of intrusion detection and incident response, distributed and cloud computing security, and wireless and mobile security.

Students also will learn about how to secure cyber devices, the principles of science, engineering and mathematics, and how this field of study has a profound impact on societal confidence.

Dr. Mahmoud Quweider, professor of computer science and associate dean of the UTRGV Department of Computer Science, said the new degree plan leverages the social, business and risk analysis aspects of courses offered by other disciplines.

“This innovative degree is a collaborative interdisciplinary degree which follows a holistic approach that integrates technical, legal, business and policy skills by using existing computer science courses – but with support courses from Business, Information Security and Criminal Justice,” Quweider said.

“The Cybersecurity program prepares students for a career in cybersecurity as a computer and information technology professional,” he said.

The program will be available in person, with face-to-face, in-class formatting through educational technology such as the Learning Management System (LMS) and Interactive TV (ITV) to accommodate students from all UTRGV distributed campuses.

Quweider said there are plans in the future to make this program available online as the program grows.

Dr. Janna Arney, deputy president and interim provost, said development of this program is further proof of UTRGV’s commitment to expanding education opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley.

“In the past, we lost some of our best and brightest students from this region because they were forced to go outside the Valley to find a program they were interested in,” she said. “We don’t want that to be the case anymore. We want to offer new and popular programs right here in the Valley, so our students no longer have to leave home.” 

According to Quweider, the demand for jobs within cybersecurity specialties are on the rise, making this program a necessary and timely addition to the Computer Science fields of study.

“Job titles for technical cybersecurity professionals include information security analyst, cybersecurity engineer, network engineer/architect, vulnerability analyst/penetration tester, and software developer/engineer,” he said. “These are technical positions in high demand in public and private sectors, with great paying salaries and benefits.”

Quweider said the need for these kinds of professionals are especially important to the workforce in the Rio Grande Valley, as the cybersecurity field alone has a projected growth rate of more than 12 percent from 2018 to 2028. The program is designed to help fill the staggering need for local, state, and national cybersecurity professionals.

“We believe that this program will bring national recognition to UTRGV as a leading institution in cybersecurity education and research, especially that we aim to become a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited program over the coming years,” Quweider said. “Our students should enjoy a much sought-after jobs, especially in the government sector, where the median annual wage is $98,000.”   

For more information on the program, visit the UTRGV Department of Computer Science’s webpage here. For advising or more specific inquiries, students are encouraged to contact Quweider via email:


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.