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HARRISBURG, PA – Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has received its official designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) from the National Security Agency (NSA) and US Cyber Command.

The NSA maintains stringent requirements for institutions seeking validation under the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program. The CAE-CD designation identifies institutions committed to producing world-class cybersecurity professionals with the knowledge to reduce risks to national digital infrastructure. This designation signifies an institution has grounded its academic programs in interdisciplinary, hands-on cybersecurity instruction.

Schools seeking to become NSA-approved CAE institutions undergo an extensive program validation process; prove relevant courses map to NSA requirements, objectives, and priorities; and meet high academic standards. Few institutions petition for this NSA cyber designation and fewer achieve it.

Remarking on this achievement, Harrisburg University President, Eric Darr, PhD, said, “It’s clear the cybersecurity field plays a critical role in keeping our country safe. Being designated as a Center of Academic Excellence will put Harrisburg University on the map for a gold-star, world-class education in cybersecurity. HU has an established Security Center of Excellence that bridges academia and industry, and it’s always our intention to lead by example in critical areas where learning, technology, and policy intersect.”

The CAE-C program seeks to:

  • Bolster national defense through a more cohesive cybersecurity strategy.
  • Address critical shortages of cybersecurity professionals.
  • Highlight the importance of higher education in solving national cybersecurity challenges.
  • Build a strong talent pipeline between high schools and postsecondary education.

Harrisburg University’s Master of Science in Computer Information Sciences is a validated program of study by the NSA. The benefits of securing CAE-CD status include:

  • Ability to compete for Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship program grants.
  • Eligibility for National Science Foundation Scholarship for Service program.
  • Unlocking professional-development resources for faculty along with grants, scholarships, and internship opportunities for students.

Moreover, federal employers often prioritize – or consider exclusively – students studying computer science, systems engineering, and cybersecurity at NSA-vetted CAE-C Community institutions. This partnership with the NSA ensures Harrisburg University continues supporting its students with world-class academic, research, and career-building experiences.

Producing industry-ready graduates for STEM-focused fields, through highly tailored and relevant degree and research programs, has been Harrisburg University’s founding mission since 2001. HU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Operations and Management as well as a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Operations and Control Management. Receiving this designation is just the beginning of HU’s journey as an NSA partner.

This is a considerable achievement and a welcome milestone for Harrisburg University’s Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. HU extends its gratitude to its Cybersecurity Advisory Board, Professional Development Information Technology Board of Advisors, and the corporate sponsors who make the Center’s industry-impacting work possible, including Accenture, Appalachia Technologies, Cisco, CrowdStrike, Deloitte, ePlus, Infoblox, KPMG, PCN, Unisys, VMware, and Zscaler.


Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717.901.5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.

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