North­eastern will launch a first-​​of-​​its-​​kind, inter­dis­ci­pli­nary grad­uate pro­gram this fall to train the next gen­er­a­tion of secu­rity pro­fes­sionals to face the new and evolving chal­lenges of the 21st cen­tury. Through this pro­gram, stu­dents will be equipped with skills in tra­di­tional secu­rity studies as well as training in tech­nical fields such as cyber­se­cu­rity policy, busi­ness sus­tain­ability, and urban coastal resilience.

The master of sci­ence in secu­rity and resilience studies will be offered through the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties in coor­di­na­tion with the Col­lege of Engi­neering and Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. Stephen Flynn, co-​​director of Northeastern’s George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity and director of the Center for Resilience Studies, designed the program.

Flynn, who is a pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence, said the country’s national secu­rity shouldn’t merely focus on iden­ti­fying and engaging poten­tial threats or enemies. Security efforts, strate­gies, and poli­cies must also rec­og­nize the wide range of haz­ards and vulnerabilities—from cybert­er­rorism to nat­ural disasters—that place the U.S. pop­u­la­tion and infra­struc­ture at risk, and they must make those sys­tems more secure and resilient. These sys­tems include the energy and trans­porta­tion sec­tors, supply chains, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions networks.

A good national defense involves more than going after our adver­saries over­seas,” Flynn said. “Stu­dents will learn how to assess and manage the many risks to our com­mu­ni­ties, crit­ical infra­struc­ture, and the global net­works we depend on for our way of life and quality of life.”

The pro­gram aligns with Northeastern’s national lead­er­ship in research ini­tia­tives built around secu­rity, which is one of the university’s core research themes along with health and sustainability.

The pro­gram is geared toward both recent under­grad­u­ates and mid-​​career pro­fes­sionals, including vet­erans. Stu­dents can choose between a year­long full-​​time track or a part-​​time track, both of which will be offered through the university’s hybrid format of class­room and online learning. They can spe­cialize in one of three areas: cyber­space policy; admin­is­tra­tion, man­age­ment, and policy; or coun­tert­er­rorism. The pro­gram will include a cap­stone project in which stu­dents work in the field or con­duct super­vised research on improving secu­rity and resilience.

Flynn said his three decades of expe­ri­ence in the secu­rity field informed the program’s design. His expe­ri­ence includes serving in the White House, advising the 9/​11 Com­mis­sion, and con­sulting with industry. “The secu­rity field is dynamic and is rapidly growing out­side its tra­di­tional base,” Flynn said. “This pro­gram is designed to meet what gov­ern­ment offi­cials and industry leaders have told me are their work­force needs.

We are prob­ably going to end up writing the text­books for this emerging field because there aren’t any right now,” he added. “I’ve been working on this issue for most of my pro­fes­sional career, and I drew on my expe­ri­ences and numerous resources to make this cur­riculum cut­ting edge.”