A recent Ponemon study ranked the iSchool's Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity 10th out of 183 U.S. schools that offer cybersecurity education.
The study evaluated and scored institutions achieving a high level of excellence and the characteristics that set them apart. They asked qualified individuals to identify and rate U.S. colleges and universities they believe are most committed to advancing students’ learning and domain expertise in the
emerging fields of cybersecurity and information assurances. Participants were told to use five criteria:
- Academic excellence
- Practical relevance
- Experience and expertise of program faculty
- Experience and background of students and alumni
- Professional reputation in the cyber security community
A large, national sample composed of experienced practitioners with bona fide credentials in IT and information security provided their candid opinions and impressions of more than 400 institutions of higher learning.
A total of 5,003 individuated ratings of institutions ranging from two-year community colleges to doctoral granting programs were captured in this year’s study. Practitioners were asked to rate up to five institutions that provide an academic program in cybersecurity. Individual responses were gathered over a 12-week period concluding in November 2013 and resulted in a final sample of 1,958 respondents. These ratings were used to construct a meta ranking for schools meeting a minimum threshold. The components of the meta ranking was vetted with a panel of experts.
Characteristics of the top schools
Based on the qualitative review of the best programs in cybersecurity, the following 10 characteristics set them apart:
- Interdisciplinary program that cuts across different, but related fields – especially computer science, engineering and management
- Designated by the NSA and DHS as a center of academic excellence in information assurance education
- Curriculum addresses both technical and theoretical issues in cybersecurity
- Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered
- A diverse student body, offering educational opportunities to women and members of the military
- Faculty composed of leading practitioners and researchers in the field of cybersecurity and information assurance
- Hands-on learning environment where students and faculty work together on projects that address real life cybersecurity threats
- Emphasis on career and professional advancement
- Courses on management, information security policy and other related topics essential to the effective governance of secure information systems
- Graduates of programs are placed in private and public sector positions