University of Fairfax
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University of Fairfax
University of Fairfax
IndustryHigher Education
FounderPotomac Educational Foundation
OwnerThe University of Fairfax, Inc[1]

The University of Fairfax is an institution of higher education headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. It offers online cybersecurity graduate degrees (Master of Science, Doctor of Science, and Doctor of Information Assurance), as well as graduate certificates in Information Systems.[2] The entire program is provided via instructor led conference calls and online instruction.

The Certification Training Center for Continuing Professional Education was established to support the continuing professional education needs of students and alumni. Through this center, the University provides support by co-sponsoring information security certification training and provides complimentary online tools to aid in preparing for the CISSP and CISM certification exam.[] Partnership with Cyber Security Forum Initiative[3] in 2014 enabled professionals to receive graduate credit towards a Master of Science in Information Assurance or doctoral degree in cybersecurity.

University of Fairfax is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), an accrediting commission recognized by the United States Department of Education.[4]


The University of Fairfax was founded by the non-profit Potomac Education Foundation in 2002.[5] The institution received approval from Virginia authorities in 2002 and started classes in 2003. Virginia regulations allow new institutions to operate for up to 10 years while seeking accreditation with an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.[6] Before attaining full accreditation in 2012, it had approval to operate from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia as a non-accredited university.[7]

Along with the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Professional Services Council, the University cosponsored a conference on the shortage of cleared information security professionals in January 2003, highlighting the national need. This conference generated support for the University from employers including Accenture, Northrop Grumman, Ernst & Young, and SAIC.[]

The University enrolled its first cohort of graduate students from the Washington metropolitan area in July 2003, and initiated online instructional delivery via the eCollege platform in April 2004.[]

The first graduates of the University of Fairfax earned their Master of Science degrees in October 2004; the University awarded its first doctoral degrees in February 2007.[]

In November 2007 Fairfax announced that beginning in January 2008 it would collaborate with Jones International University's School of Business to offer a dual degree program leading to both a master's or doctoral degree from Fairfax and a Master of Business Administration in Information Security Management from Jones International.[8]

Its first president was Dr. Victor Berlin, an educator who earlier had operated or established three other post-secondary educational institutions.[9] The university was established for the purpose of assuring a supply of qualified information security personnel; consistent with that purpose, its motto is "Secure Your Future" (Latin: Munite Futurum).[2] It operates as a non-profit entity.[5][failed verification] David Oxenhandler was elected President of the University in 2010.[10] The current Chief Academic Officer is Dr. Scott E. Mensch.[11]

In 2010, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) listed the school as an applicant for accreditation[12] and in January 2012, the DEAC approved it for full accreditation.[13][14]

The Foundation had previously founded Potomac College in 1989, which subsequently received accreditation under ACICS in 1994, also under the tenure of Dr. Berlin as president. Later in 1994, Maryland state officials determined that it would only be able to operate if Dr. Berlin and his wife had neither an ownership stake in, nor decision-making powers over, that institution.[9] In addition, the Foundation has had several different presidents and deans in recent years.[clarification needed]


  1. ^ University of Fairfax, retrieved
  2. ^ a b About the University page, University of Fairfax website (accessed February 15, 2017)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Report from the Accrediting Commission" (PDF), DETC Bulletin, Distance Education and Training Council (Number 3): 2, February 9, 2012
  5. ^ a b About Us, University of Fairfax, retrieved 2012
  6. ^ Regulations Governing The Approval of Certain Institutions to Confer Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (accessed September 5, 2007) Archived February 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Private & Out-of-State Colleges & Universities Certified to Operate in Virginia Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) website, accessed September 10, 2010
  8. ^ Jones International University to Expand Online Information Security MBA Degree in Collaboration With the University of Fairfax, press release, November 21, 2007
  9. ^ a b To Berlin, College Is Big Business By Ellen McCarthy, The Washington Post, Monday, December 8, 2003; Page E01 Archived March 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "University of Fairfax announces new president" (PDF). University of Fairfax. 17 September 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ "Leadership & Staff | University of Fairfax".
  12. ^ DETC Bulletin Number 3, February 2, 2010, page 8
  13. ^ "Report from the Accrediting Commission" (PDF), DEAC Bulletin, Distance Education and Training Council (Number 3): 2, February 9, 2012
  14. ^ University of Fairfax press release (PDF), February 10, 2012

External links

Coordinates: 37°17?34?N 79°59?29?W / 37.29278°N 79.99139°W / 37.29278; -79.99139

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