Grand Canyon University has been designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD).

This designation is awarded to universities and colleges that actively try to reduce vulnerability in our National Information Infrastructure (NII) through higher education and by producing qualified cyber defense professionals. GCU’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with an emphasis in Cybersecurity has been designated through the 2024 academic year.

“This is a big deal. This is essentially the NSA and DHS’s stamp of approval on our cybersecurity program,” said GCU Associate Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Dr. Heather Monthie. “They approve of everything that’s in our program and the fact that we have cybersecurity integrated into other programs.”

GCU students have access to the university’s state-of-the-art Cyber Center of Excellence – a hands-on laboratory operated by GCU and its partner, the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance. The Cyber Center of Excellence provides training opportunities to experience real-world prevention of hacking exercises in an ethical environment.

According to the National Cyber Strategy, there are more cybersecurity jobs available than qualified people to fill them. This shortage is a main cause of rising security incidents. GCU is trying to combat that by offering campus and online cyber programs and ensuring these in-demand programs don’t have a waiting list to get into. GCU also offers many options to help students graduate early. This allows the university to graduate more qualified professionals and get them working in the field sooner.

“Oftentimes, the government sector will recruit from schools that have this designation because they know they have been vetted by the NSA and DHS as an approved program,” Monthie said. “This opens up opportunities within the government sector, like the Department of Defense, NSA, DHS and organizations like the CIA to our students.”

GCU students will now be able to participate in virtual career fairs, such as the CAE Cybersecurity Virtual Career Fair, an event that is only available to students who attend a school that has the CAE-CD designation. Employers such as the NSA, IBM, Air Force Civilian Service and the National Institute of Standards and Technology recruit from these exclusive fairs.

The IT with an emphasis in cybersecurity program is offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. The college also has degrees in Computer Science, Computer Programing, Electrical Engineering, Biochemistry and many more.

Learn more about earning a STEM degree at GCU.