This year, NJIT’s College of Science and Liberal Arts has announced it will offer students a unique baccalaureate degree option in the emerging field of cyberpsychology. The new program — exploring the dynamics between modern technology and human psychology — is the first of its kind in New Jersey, and is the first academic program in the behavioral sciences to be offered at NJIT.
The 120-credit degree option, now available for enrollment through the college’s Science, Technology and Society B.S. degree program, involves a combination of traditional coursework in psychology, and study of basic concepts in computer science and information systems. The program also features specialized cyberpsychology course electives that address modern psychological issues of today’s technology-driven world, ranging from the psychology of social networking and online gaming to issues of cybercrime and cyberbullying.
“The iPhone, Uber, Facebook, smart homes, the internet of things, automation … these are all commonplace and have a profound impact on society and individual psychology today, yet they were largely unheard of when the current generation of college students was born,” said Kevin Belfield, dean of NJIT’s College of Science and Liberal Arts. “Given our contemporary dependence on technology, it is crucial to provide focused study of new psychological phenomena arising from our digital world, and to understand how it is shaping our society. With many new careers rapidly emerging from this new and exciting field, the time is right for NJIT to introduce our cyberpsychology option.”
Along with preparation for graduate studies in the cognitive sciences, the program promises to offer aspiring psychologists in-depth study of topics such as “the significance of living a predominantly online life for our social lives, the psychological impact of the internet of things, therapeutic uses of technology, tools for countering malicious social engineering and other cybersecurity issues, gaming and its impact, and digital and electronic research methods.”
The new option is also geared toward students training in a range of growing career fields with increasing demand for expertise in human-computer interaction — from cybersecurity and law enforcement professionals, to app and game developers, to computer and information research scientists, to marketing research analysts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for market research analysts from 2016 to 2026 is projected to grow 23 percent, much faster than average. Similarly, employment of computer and information research scientists is expected to increase 18 percent from 2014 to 2024.
“We have considered launching a program in the behavioral sciences at NJIT for several years in order to better meet the needs of our growing student body,” said Belfield. “As the first program of its kind in New Jersey, and one of the first in higher education in the United States, we believe graduates of this exciting and innovative program will be in high demand in just about every market sector and will help define many jobs and careers of the future.”
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