North Carolina university adds maritime specialization to cyber program

The University of North Carolina Wilmington will expand its cyber program to include a maritime specialization thanks to a $625,000 federal investment.
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The University of North Carolina Wilmington announced on Thursday that it will expand its cybersecurity program to offer a maritime specialization thanks to a $625,000 investment from the federal government’s budget for fiscal year 2024.

The funding is allocated in the budget for maritime cybersecurity workforce development and research. The university said that Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., helped to secure the funding. 

“The United States must work to ensure we have the tools necessary to deter hostile actors from targeting our maritime sector,” Rouzer said in a press release. “As cyber threats increase, UNCW will continue to lead the way in training the highly skilled workforce defending our nation’s maritime industry against cyberattacks threatening our supply chains.” 

In addition to advancing workforce development and research, the university said it plans to use the money to develop national maritime cybersecurity standards to help government develop practices to reduce cyber risks in the maritime industry. 


The university established the Center for Cyber Defense Education in 2018 and offers majors and minors across a variety of cybersecurity concentrations. Adding a maritime specialization builds on the university’s “robust” cybersecurity curriculum and expands it into an industry that contributes more than $5 trillion to the national economy, UNCW said in the release. 

“UNCW cultivates a vibrant, collaborative cybersecurity ecosystem,” said Ulku Clark, director of the university’s cyber center. “As North Carolina’s coastal university, we resolutely support the blue economy, which includes major efforts to address the need for a high-skilled maritime cybersecurity workforce.”

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