Norfolk State University’s graduate cybersecurity degree recently won the award of “50 Best Schools of 2018: Online Master’s Degrees in Cybersecurity,” distinguishing it from hundreds across the nation.

Dr. Aurelia Williams, professor and chair of the computer science department, and Dr. Cheryl Hinds, the program’s coordinator, said this award shows the quality of education provided to students.

“The recognition provides current and prospective students with an assurance that the material covered in the program is comparable to other schools; therefore, students can rest assured that the quality of the degree earned at Norfolk State University satisfies the expectations of employers,” Williams said. evaluated the 130 programs deemed as National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The online organization assessed the CAEs on three key elements: additional designations, focus options and affordability.

Norfolk State University has achieved continuous recognition as a CAE since 2009 — first as a Center of Excellence in information assurance and now as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education with the introduction of the master’s in cybersecurity program received that began in 2015.

“This recognition by DHS and NSA of the quality of our cybersecurity programs will provide more scholarship and internship opportunities for current students,” Hinds said. “Additionally graduates from CAEs will be recognized by employers as having been developed in a quality cybersecurity environment.”

In addition to national designations, Norfolk State University’s master’s in cybersecurity degree provides many more technical elements than other programs, Hinds said. Williams added that students use virtual machines to perform tasks they would in the professional world. That, combined with the program’s diversity, makes it one of the best in the nation, she said.

“The program also welcomes those with nontechnical degrees who are willing to work hard and provide them with a skillset to compete in the cyber job market,” Williams said. “To date, we have had great success with our graduates securing professional positions.”

This recognition is one of many that the program hopes to earn in the coming years as it continues to grow, work with local partners and provide competitive training to students.