MSU adds master’s program in cyber security and operations


Newswise — STARKVILLE, Miss.—Building on its robust cyber security research and education programs, Mississippi State University is launching a master’s program in cyber security and operations.

The new master of science degree was recently approved by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees. The program will be administered by the Bagley College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and will be open for enrollment this fall or earlier, administrators said. It will be one of the only degree programs in the Southeast to offer a cyber defense and a cyber operations concentration.

“Mississippi State University is well known for its cyber security research abilities,” Bagley College of Engineering Dean Jason M. Keith said. “This new degree will attract students from a variety of undergraduate disciplines including computer science, software engineering, computer engineering and electrical engineering.”

Surveys in 2014 and 2016 ranked MSU among the top five in the nation for providing cyber trained personnel. The proposal submitted to the IHL notes that master’s degree holders with credentials in cyber security are regularly offered salaries in Mississippi of approximately $65,000 starting immediately after graduation.

 “I get inquiries regularly from employers for students with these skill sets,” Computer Science and Engineering Department Head Donna Reese said. “I believe this option for students will be very good for MSU and the department.”

David Dampier, director of MSU’s Distributed Analytics and Security Institute and Mary Lyn and Niles Moseley Endowed Chair of Cyber Security, said there is no shortage of jobs for cyber security professionals.

“With the cyber defense option, graduates can go to work in any private corporation or government organization interested in securing their systems against outside aggression,” Dampier said. “With the cyber operations concentration, most opportunities are going to be in government, but some cyber operations types can go to work for penetration testing firms, and those businesses are growing as the need for their services grows.”

For approximately 20 years, MSU has worked to grow its leading cyber security research and education programs. The university is certified as a Center of Academic Excellence in both Information Assurance Education and Research, as well as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. MSU is the only university in the state with all three designations.

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