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How should I go about determining the quality of an undergraduate program that is just starting given that the field in general is relatively young?

To be more specific, I am considering a new cyber security program at the University of Tampa. It starts Fall 2015. There aren't many other programs i can compare to, or accreditations to look for.

How can I measure the quality of a program that hasn't even started?

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My best advice would be to look at the faculty who are signed up to teach the program. A program is likely to be good if:

  1. The faculty are of scientific high quality in their field, and
  2. The faculty are also generally well-regarded in their student evaluations

The first years of any new educational venture are likely to have a lot of glitches, but also have some compensating advantages: it is also the time when a program is likely to be most flexible and when the faculty are likely to be investing especially hard in their students as they try to get the program off the ground.

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In addition to the previous answer, I would suggest looking at what other programs share the same courses. Usually a new degree program will share a fair number of required courses, especially the introductory subjects, with existing majors. If it turns out that 70% or so of the course requirements are shared with a reputable CS degree (for example), then you will probably get a good grounding at least.

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