Cybersecurity Program Receives National Accreditation

Cybersecurity Program Receives National Accreditation
The NSA and DHS approved accreditation for Webster’s Bachelor of Science Computer Science with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity Program

ST. LOUIS - Webster University was named as the first private non-profit university in Missouri to receive accreditation from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Webster's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity program. The accreditation was awarded through the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD), which is jointly sponsored by the DHS and NSA.

Webster is one of three universities in Missouri and one of 13 out of the five-state region of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas, to have received the CAE-CD accreditation. The accreditation is valid through 2024.

“The great work of Webster University’s faculty and staff who oversee this program is validated by two of the highest security agencies in our nation,” said Webster University President Julian Z. Schuster. “Without their dedication, expertise and professionalism, we would not have earned this prestigious honor.”

According to Simone Cummings, dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University, “As the number of cybersecurity degree programs have proliferated, it has become increasingly difficult for the typical student to determine the level of quality associated with any particular program. This accreditation; however, provides a clear and direct signal of the high-quality teaching and learning environment found in the Walker School.”

Seal for the Department of Homeland SecurityWebster was notified by the CAE-CD of the accreditation on Oct. 1. According to the NSA, “The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.” A letter from the NSA informing Webster of the accreditation also cited a nationwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the United States. Previous studies have identified cybersecurity as one of the fastest-growing professions in the world.

The accreditation is awarded after a university meets “stringent criteria and may elect to specialize in several possible focus areas,” an NSA webpage says. Those criteria include:

  • Have curricula that are mapped to specified Knowledge Units, which align with the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, a cybersecurity language employed nationwide by educators, industry workers, and government organizations.
  • Have degree programs that are a top choice for students who want to learn the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the cybersecurity workforce.
  • Assist federal agencies by providing academic insight into cyber-related programs at DHS, NSA, and other federal agencies.
  • Serve as a potential source and facilitator for government-academic researcher exchanges.
  • Facilitate the development of faculty and research leaders.
  • Participate in a large network of cybersecurity professionals, educators, researchers, and advocates to grow the cyber field.
  • Are privy to opportunities for student scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Webster was recognized for its undergraduate programs, which have a technical focus, said Jim Curtis, the Cybersecurity and Management Information Systems Program Lead in Webster University’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology. Currently, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity degrees are offered at Webster’s St. Louis, Irvine, and Geneva locations.

Webster University also offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity; the program focuses on how to lead cybersecurity teams and manage and operate cybersecurity programs, Curtis said.

Martha Smith, chair of the Math and Computer Science Department, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, will receive the official CAE-CD designation award at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education conference in November 2019. 

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