This fall, the University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu will offer a Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Information Security and Assurance. This degree program is the first of its kind at a public institution in Hawai’i and the Pacific, and was developed in response to national and state demand for Information Security graduates. UH West O‘ahu, in partnership with Honolulu Community College, will offer an expansive security education program including coursework in digital forensics, modern cyber conflicts, proactive system security and more.

An Associates of Science degree in Computing, Electronics, and Networking Technologies (CENT) at Honolulu CC will lead to both the Bachelor of Applied Science in CENT and the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Security Assurance at UH West O‘ahu.

“The partnership between Honolulu CC and UH West O‘ahu is key to give students the hands-on technical skills and training at the community college level while also providing students a pathway to earn a baccalaureate degree from one of the UH four-year institutions. These stackable degrees provide clear exit points for students to enter the workforce or move on to further their education to advance themselves for productive and satisfying careers in the industry,” explains Erika Lacro, Chancellor for Honolulu Community College.

Honolulu CC and UH West Oahu students in the CENT program.
Honolulu CC and UH West Oahu students in the CENT program.

“We are very excited that UH West O‘ahu is working collaboratively with Honolulu CC to offer this needed and important degree,” said University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Linda Randall. “Our students will gain the critical skills and education in such areas as cyber security and digital forensics that are in demand in many sectors both nationally and in Hawai‘i.”

This highly relevant degree program addresses the need for skilled workers to defend against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks that have become more frequent in the last few years according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Information Security and Assurance (ISA) coursework includes a class in proactive system security that introduces students to how hackers attack computers and networks, and how to protect against these attacks. The course also explores the related legal and ethical implications that are highly relevant today as a result of the recent media coverage on the National Security Association’s wire-tapping surveillance program.

Other program coursework explores modern cyber conflicts and addresses the techniques used in today’s conflicts with an overview of how cyber conflicts are carried out, and how to detect and defend against espionage.

The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have endorsed the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation (IACE) program standards that validates the ISA coursework. Currently the CNSS program is transitioning to a new validation system; however, CNSS verified programs will continue to be recognized that an institution’s curriculum meets national standards.

The ISA curriculum is also based on the National Institute for CyberSecurity Education (NICE) framework that supports the Project Management Professional certificate in the ISA degree and other information and communication technology industry certifications, such as: Cisco Certified Network Associate, Cisco Certified Network Professional, Security +, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Microsoft Certified Professional VMware Certified Professional, and the Certified Ethical Hacker.

Honolulu Community College is a Cisco Academy Support and Instructor Training Center, Microsoft IT Academy and VMware IT Academy. For more information about Honolulu Community College’s Computing, Electronics, and Networking Technology (CENT) program,