MOSCOW — Cybersecurity job openings in Idaho have increased 160% since 2015, according to a recent Idaho Department of Labor report, and the University of Idaho is adding to its degree offerings to meet state and national demand.

The U of I College of Engineering is offering a new master’s degree program in cybersecurity after approval by the Idaho State Board of Education today. One of the few graduate cybersecurity programs in the region, the program will open to students this fall. The new master’s degree follows U of I’s bachelor’s program that began last year.

“Every day, we hear of cybersecurity breaches in the news. Most recently, problems have turned from stealing customer data from global companies to shutting down major industrial infrastructure and demanding ransom payments,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. “There are hundreds of lower-profile attacks every day. We owe it to our businesses and communities to provide the highly educated cybersecurity professionals needed in Idaho and our nation.”

Enrollment in U of I’s cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program has grown exponentially since its launch in fall 2020. The university is also on track to launch a doctorate program, allowing master’s graduates to continue their education.

As one of the National Security Agency’s first seven National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, U of I has led advanced cybersecurity education and research for more than three decades.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, labs and resources, students in the technically-based cybersecurity programs at U of I train to become cybersecurity professionals with the most current knowledge and skills aimed at strengthening cybersecurity protocols and developing inherently cyber-secure industrial control systems.

U of I is one of a few universities nationwide participating in the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, offering cybersecurity training and direct career placement in positions at federal executive agencies.

Funded through the National Science Foundation, the program covers tuition and fees, and offers stipends of up to $25,000 for an undergraduate and $34,000 for a graduate student. Since 2002, more than $9 million in tuition stipends have awarded to U of I undergraduates.

Students have access to the College of Engineering’s global network of leading industry partners, including Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Power, POWER Engineers and Avista Utilities.

Global power systems protection leader SEL and the College of Engineering began a $2.5 million partnership last year. The five-year agreement will support the cybersecurity program through ongoing research projects and faculty and graduate student assistance.

With support from the State of Idaho and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the College of Engineering has developed a distributed testbed to develop cyberattack response procedures, connecting research infrastructure across U of I campuses in Moscow, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

Work is underway to build a network between U of I’s Reconfigurable Attack-Defend Instructional Computing Laboratories in Idaho Falls and Moscow to allow students to simulate cyberattack and defense protocols within isolated labs.

Learn more about degree offerings and the College of Engineering at uidaho.edu/engr.

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