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Building An Undergraduate Security Curriculum

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

IS and IT Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.273.1 - 9.273.10

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Paper Authors

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Taz Daughtrey

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Edgar Sibley

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Anne Marchant

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session Number: 2558

Building an Undergraduate Security Curriculum

Anne Marchant, Edgar H Sibley, Hugh Tazewell (Taz) Daughtrey Jr.

George Mason University/ James Madison University


Faculty at George Mason University (GMU) and James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia are collaborating on a project to develop a model for an undergraduate Information Security curriculum to be implemented beginning in the fall of 2004 at both institutions. The curriculum will include coursework in programming, operating systems, and networking as a basis for the major courses in security. Security coursework will include topics such as security technologies, forensics and auditing, network security and intrusion detection, risk management, security policy, modeling and authentication. Throughout the curriculum, modules in ethics and social responsibility will be woven into the coursework. A capstone course including cyberdefense exercises, such as those performed at the US Military Academy at West Point and the George Washington University in DC will be employed to challenge and motivate students. The cyberdefense exercises will also serve as a tool to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum. GMU is currently developing the curriculum as part of its BS in IT degree and JMU is integrating it into their BS in CS program. The goal of these joint endeavors is to develop a set of courses that will produce students qualified to perform security engineering roles and to prepare them for graduate coursework in Information Security Assurance. By combining the assets of faculty and students at two state institutions in parallel efforts, resources can be used to best advantage. Not only is duplication of effort avoided, but also the final curriculum will benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas and best practices. By starting with graduate level prototypes for teaching Security and then implementing these prototypes into both traditional CS and interdisciplinary IT undergraduate streams, we abstract a curriculum that can be replicated to meet the needs of programs nationwide as one strategy to help improve our nation’s overall information security defense.

A joint MS/PhD class was used during the fall 2003 semester at GMU to test possible exercises for the capstone course as well as provide a pool of teaching assistants and mentors for the undergraduate program. The curriculum was also expanded in the spring 2004 semester jointly by JMU and GMU. The capstone course, which will be taught in a closed laboratory setting, will be piloted by faculty from both institutions in the summer semester of 2004 at GMU.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Daughtrey, T., & Sibley, E., & Marchant, A. (2004, June), Building An Undergraduate Security Curriculum Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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