George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Volgenau School of Engineering Ranked Seventh Among Top U.S. Cyber Security Schools

March 4, 2014

The Volgenau School of Engineering (VSE) at George Mason University ranked as one of the nation's top ten schools for cyber security courses and degree programs according to a Hewlett-Packard-sponsored survey of 1,958 certified Information Technology security professionals. Within the survey Mason also received the second greatest number of first choice rankings from the respondents. VSE programs received high marks for academic excellence and practical relevance.

An accompanying report about the survey recognized the contributions of the school's Center for Secure Information Systems (CSIS). Established in 1990, the CSIS has the distinction of being the first academic center in security in an American university. The center conducts broad spectrum research and development programs on various aspects of information systems security; serves as a knowledge resource in the area of information system security; develops courses dealing with information systems security, and provides technical support to industry and government in the information systems security area.

CSIS is one of the National Security Agency's (NSA's) original Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, a designation it continues to hold.  In 2008, NSA established a new designation – The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-Research).  CSIS has earned this new classification, and is designated for both CAEIAE and CAE-Research through 2014.

In addition to the research and doctoral studies within the CSIS, the school offers master's and doctoral programs in Information Security and Assurance and aims to develop additional programs in cyber security. In the last year VSE proposed a new BS in Cyber Security Engineering that has been approved by the university's Board of Visitor's and is awaiting approval from the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia. This degree is the first of its kind in Virginia and focuses on the physical systems that require embedded cyber security design. 

About the Survey 
Most of the top institutions, including Mason, are NSA- and DHS - certified centers of academic excellence in information security. Their undergraduate and graduate level programs address both technical and theoretical issues in cyber security.
The Ponemon Institute, which administered the survey for HP, compiled the list of top universities based on responses from 1,958 security practitioners, of whom, 65 percent identified themselves as being at a supervisory level. From a list of 403 educational institutions, survey participants selected and ranked up to five institutions in descending order of preference. Respondents rated each school's program based on their perception of the school's academic rigor, faculty quality, and other measures.