WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Baylor University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD).

The university says this is a program addressng the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills, and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace.

With this designation, Baylor joins a growing community of institutions developing the critical workforce and research needed to secure U.S. industrial and military infrastructure. Faculty in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) have robust cybersecurity educational, research and industry experience – providing students with access to a diverse set of cybersecurity-related facilities and capabilities as part of Baylor’s Cybersecurity Research and Education Initiative. This initiative includes faculty from ECS, as well as the Hankamer School of Business and College of Arts & Sciences.

According to Baylor’s official website, the goals of the CAE-CD program are:

  • Reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense
  • Produce a growing number of professionals with expertise in cyber defense disciplines
  • Proactively increase understanding of robust cyber defense technology, policy and practices that will enable the nation to prevent and respond effectively to a catastrophic cyber event
  • Contribute significantly to the advancement of state-of-the-art cyber defense knowledge and practice

The designation required Baylor to go through an in-depth application process and assessment of cybersecurity educational programs and institutional resources/commitment by fellow CAE academic institutions, NSA, DHS and other government and industry partners. CAE designation provides critical recognition for Baylor graduates in cybersecurity, enhances recruiting of future students and creates opportunities for funding from grants like the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship program and National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Scholarship for Service program.

Baylor says it offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees in information technology and cybersecurity through the School of Engineering and Computer Science and Hankamer School of Business, including:

  • B.S. in Computer Science with a Cybersecurity Concentration
  • B.B.A. in Management of Information Systems
  • M.S. in Information Systems with Cybersecurity Concentration
  • MBA with Cybersecurity Concentration and Online MBA with Cybersecurity Concentration
  • Master of Accountancy with Cybersecurity Concentration
  • M.S. in Computer Science
  • Ph.D. in Computer Science

In addition, Baylor cybersecurity students apply their skills at national competitions offering realistic interactive offensive and defensive scenarios. Mostly recently, Baylor students competing in National Cyber League (NCL) competitions ranked 18th in the nation and fifth in the central region for fall 2022 – out of nearly 500 colleges and universities across the U.S. which participate in the NCL competitions.