B.S. in Security and Risk Analysis

B.S. in Security and Risk Analysis

The Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) responds to the expanding need for a highly trained analytic workforce to address a wide range of security and risk domains including national/homeland security, emergency and disaster management, law and crime, as well as enterprise risk management. The SRA program positions our students to be future leaders to address the current and emerging security and risk challenges that face individuals, organizations and our nation.

Degree Overview

Security and Risk Analysis is a field that explores the integrated processes conducted to provide decision-makers with the information needed to understand factors that can negatively influence operations and outcomes, and make informed judgments concerning the extent of actions needed to reduce vulnerabilities, protect resources, and optimize investments.

The SRA program prepares students with core competence in four knowledge areas:

  • understanding the fundamentals of security, risk, analytic methods and decision support for the purpose of recognizing, articulating, and addressing analytic needs;
  • understanding the roles of data and analytics in various security domains and organizational contexts;
  • applying data analytics, methods, and tools (structured analytics; data gathering and manipulation; visual analytics; analytic judgements and presentation) to derive and communicate insights and actionable knowledge;
  • the legal, ethical, and professional issues within which analytics of security and risk are conducted.

SRA majors will choose one of the following options:

Intelligence Analysis and Modeling Option (offered at University Park)

This option focuses on developing a more thorough knowledge of the strategic and tactical levels of intelligence collection, analysis, and decision-making. This includes examining the foundations of decision analysis, economic theory, statistics, data mining, and knowledge management, as well as the security-specific contexts in which such knowledge is applied.

Information and Cyber Security Option (offered at Penn State Berks)

This option includes a set of courses that provides an understanding of the theories, skills, and technologies associated with network security, cyber threat defense, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection across multiple venues.

Complementary Minors and Certificates

The following academic minors are suggested for SRA majors to complement their degree:

  • Information Sciences and Technology
  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Penn State and the College of IST are designated as a national Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and Cyber-Defense Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Graduating SRA majors who complete the required courses receive a Certificate of Achievement stating that they earned their degree from an institution and program recognized as a CAE by the NSA and DHS.

Internships, Research, and Application

All Security and Risk Analysis students are required to complete an internship in an SRA-related field. Internships can be part-time or full-time and paid or unpaid. Internships enable students to apply what was learned in the classroom to a dynamic, real-world technical situation. Internships enable students to apply what was learned in the classroom to a dynamic, real-world technical situation. To receive credit for the internship, students complete the 1-credit IST 495 course and must complete at least 300 hours of supervised employment.

In the senior capstone course students work collaboratively in teams. Each team is given a significant real-world problem or issue in which information technology is part of the solution. Teams will be expected to manage the project effectively and to communicate its results clearly to a variety of audiences within an organization.

SRA students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty members. Working one-on-one with a faculty member or as part of a supervised research team, students investigate important issues related to their academic interests. Students gain valuable experience to include on their resumes or graduate school applications, make professional contacts, and have even earned co-authorship on scholarly publications and conference presentations.

After Graduation

SRA graduates are in high demand by top companies and government agencies. Their technical expertise combined with interpersonal skills and business savvy means they have the versatility employers want. Many jobs in the security sector have higher than average growth and salary rates, with flexibility and high levels of job satisfaction.

SRA graduates may also continue their education in graduate programs that further enhance their knowledge and skills. Some programs that students have continued their study in include Cybersecurity and, Information Assurance.