The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Georgia State University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through 2025.

These two designations place Georgia State among an elite group of universities that meet the federal government’s criteria for demonstrating a commitment to both cybersecurity research and training. The National Centers of Academic Excellence program was established by the NSA in 1999 to reduce vulnerability in the nation’s information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense. With the designation, colleges and universities are formally recognized by the U.S. government for their robust cybersecurity-related programs.

Students and faculty at these institutions are eligible for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program, as well as funding opportunities from other sources such as the National Science Foundation.

Nationwide, there are just 45 universities that have received designations in both cyber defense research and education. Georgia State is the only institution in Georgia to be awarded both designations.

The university’s application process for the Cyber Defense Research designation was led by the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts & Sciences and the INformation Security and Privacy: Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) center. The Department of Computer Information Systems in the J. Mack Robinson of College Business led the application process for Cyber Defense Education designation. The award was given based on the evaluation of the department’s M.S. in Information Systems program, which has a concentration in cybersecurity.

“The designation provides assurance to employers that the curriculum meets rigorous national standards for cyber defense education. It is another major recognition for the nationally ranked M.S. in Information Systems program and will open up grant and scholarship opportunities for our students,” said Balasubramaniam Ramesh, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems.

“These prestigious designations indicate that Georgia State’s cybersecurity programs and expertise are among the best in the U.S.,” said Daniel Takabi, director of INSPIRE and associate professor of computer science. “The university was evaluated on the strength of our multidisciplinary research initiatives, publications and funding, and our ability to train the next generation of professionals in a field that’s critical to national security.”