Barely a week goes by without a major retailer or government institution announcing a data breach that put customers’ personal information in the hands of hackers.

With the growing need for workers who know their way around network security, the University of Central Florida has launched a new graduate certificate program for fall 2015 aimed at providing students with the expertise they need in the behavioral aspects of cybersecurity.

The Graduate Certificate in Modeling and Simulation of Behavioral Cybersecurity is a 13-credit hour certificate program that provides critical knowledge and training without committing to a full Master’s degree program. It’s designed for part‐time enrollment to accommodate students and professionals working full‐time, and it also meets the needs of those who work in cybersecurity, modeling, simulation and training without academic degrees in those disciplines.

“It has a lot of practical examples – it is very much a hands-on program,” said Professor Peter Kincaid, director of the Modeling and Simulation Graduate Program. “It’s for someone who wants to get in the field as a practitioner.”

The program is run through the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training, an internationally recognized research institute. Central Florida is the worldwide epicenter for modeling and simulation, and the new graduate certificate adopts that approach by including behavioral elements that impact cybersecurity.

Five courses are included in the program: Cybersecurity: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Cyber Operations Lab, Behavioral Aspects of Cybersecurity, Emerging Cyber Issues and Simulation Research Methods and Practicum.

Graduates will have deeper knowledge and training level, and better insight into behavioral aspects of cybersecurity, as well as increased marketability and career mobility.

“Cybersecurity is a very highly paid specialty now,” Kincaid said. “It’s a new subfield and it’s growing rapidly.”