Whatcom offers choices

Lower division degrees and certificates

Whatcom’s students can choose from two lower division degree paths. The associate of science (AS) degree in computer information systems (CIS) prepares students for careers in the fields of technical support, networking, or information security. The associate of applied science transfer (AAS-T) degree in cybersecurity prepares students to enter the workforce in a variety of high-demand security-related fields. Both options also prepare students to apply to continue in Whatcom’s new bachelor of apply science (BAS) degree in IT networking; the AAS-T degree in cybersecurity offers students the additional option to apply to transfer to four-year degree programs at certain colleges and universities.

CIS certificate options in network administration and technical support allow for students to acquire employable credentials while working toward degree completion. An information security professional certificate of proficiency is also available. All of these certificates are fully embedded in the AS degree in CIS and partially in the AAS-T degree in cybersecurity.

Upper division degree and certificates

Beginning fall 2017, accepted students can enroll in Whatcom’s new bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree in IT networking. The BAS degree includes courses infused with security topics and embedded certificates of proficiency in cloud computing, industrial control systems (SCADA) and mobile technologies. The curriculum aligns with specific focus areas defined by the National Security Agency / Department of Homeland Security as part of their Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. Additionally, curriculum builds off of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Cybersecurity Competency Model. As such the program will help meet the national shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

Industry-recognized credentials and partnerships

Whatcom Community College is a Cisco Networking Academy and offers networking courses that prepare students for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) industry certification. The certificate in CIS network administration prepares students for the CCNA exam and the certificate in CIS technical support prepares students to take the CompTIA A+ certification exam.

Students earning these certifications can demonstrate to employers that they have completed courses that meet national standards established by the National Security Agency (NSA).

WCC is also a member of CyberWatch and the lead institution of CyberWatch West, consortia that are focused on building a stronger information security/assurance workforce.

Transfer options

Meet with an advisor to discuss and maximize your transfer options.

Some of the courses for the CIS program may transfer to baccalaureate (four-year) institutions. As many as 35 credits from the AS degree in CIS may be applied toward an AAS-Transfer degree or directly to most universities.


Some four-year institutions will accept all 90 credits from Whatcom's CIS degree. These include:

The AAS-T degree in cybersecurity fully transfers into Western Washington University’s (WWU) Computer and Information Systems Security (CISS) program. To be eligible, students must first earn the AAS-T degree in cybersecurity with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and then apply to be accepted into WWU and WWU’s CISS program.

westernlogo_hires online_38 percent original sizeImportant steps:

  1. To apply for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  2. Apply to WWU online.
  3. Apply to the CISS program.

See the CISS application process instructions for details. Also visit www.wwu.edu/ee/degrees/ciss/index.shtml.

For assistance and/or to receive future updates about Western's CISS program contact Jenny Hebert, WWU Special Projects Manager, (360) 650-7780 or jenny.hebert@wwu.edu.

Multiple student activities extend learning beyond the classroom and enhance professional development

Students hone their defense tactics through participation in regional and national cyber defense competitions in which network attacks are simulated under increasingly stressful circumstances. Click here to view a short film of the first Pacific Rim Cyber Defense Competition held in 2008. The winning team of this annual competition goes on to participate in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

The student-run IT Professional’s help desk is a popular service available to anyone on Whatcom’s campus. Under the direction of CIS faculty, students diagnose, troubleshoot and problem-solve a wide variety of desktop and laptop issues, while also developing effective customer service and communication skills.

For students interested in the field of information technology, the IT Professionals of Tomorrow student club meets regularly throughout the quarter.

CIS and cybersecurity students gain access to a variety of technology resources, including: