Loyola University Chicago

College of Arts & Sciences

Loyola’s Cyber Security BS Program Designated National Center of Excellence

Program meets rigorous NSA and DHS standards for educating security experts

Chicago, IL, Nov. 11, 2020 — The undergraduate Cyber Security program at Loyola University Chicago has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation means that Loyola’s undergraduate Cyber Security program in the department of Computer Science meets rigorous curricular and pedagogical requirements in cyber security set forth by NSA and DHS. 

“This is a significant designation for our undergraduate Cyber Security program, which is less than five years old,” said Peter Schraeder, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It speaks to the high quality and leadership of Loyola’s Computer Science programs across the board and to the growing demand for well-prepared professionals. In our highly networked world, cyber security has become a critical field for governments, commerce, organizations, and individuals.”

Loyola’s BS in Cyber Security, ranked the top program in Illinois by Universities.com, was created in 2017 in response to the increasing need for cyber security professionals and the every-changing field of cyber security. With a mixture of technical theory and hands-on work in collaborative and sometimes competitive teams, students study all aspects of computer systems, computer networks, and cyber security. This includes network security, computer vulnerabilities, forensics, wireless security, and computer security.

Students are taught how to secure systems and how to find vulnerabilities and exploit them. In the process they are guided by current industry practices. Instructors are security practitioners and security researchers, and students are encouraged to participate in cybersecurity competitions with other schools. The Loyola Center for Cyber Security is involved with the Cyber Security program and conducts both cyber security education and research.

Professionals in cyber security are in high demand.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics “indicates high median pay and estimates an 18 percent increase in the demand for information security analysts for the period 2014 to 2024,” according to Eric Chan-Tin, assistant professor in Computer Science and director of the Cybersecurity program. “The demand for cyber security professionals will keep increasing, and it is expected there will be over 1 million unfilled cyber security jobs in a few years. There are many opportunities for students.”

The mission of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security (NCAE) program is to create and manage a collaborative Cyber Security educational program with community colleges, colleges, and universities. Designee schools have established standards for cyber security curriculum and academic excellence, demonstrate community outreach in professional development, and have integrated cyber security practice within the institution across academic disciplines.

CAE institutions commit to producing cyber security professionals who will work with the highest levels of expertise to reduce vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure. The designation promotes higher education and research in cyber defense and helps build the pipeline of qualified cyber security professionals. 

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber security (NCAE-C) program is managed by the National Cryptologic School at the National Security Agency, and its federal partners include the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/National Initiative on Cyber Security Education (NICE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense Office of the Chief Information Officer (DoD-CIO), and US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM).