Marymount Named a Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

Marymount University has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The designation comes from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

“It’s pretty selective and it’s a fairly rigorous process,” said Dr. Diane Murphy, chair of MU’s Department of Information Technology and Management Science. “Less than 200 universities in the country have this designation.”

James Ryerson, dean of the School of Business Administration, credited the success of the university’s master’s degree program in cybersecurity to the team Murphy has assembled.

“Having great people, a great location and a timely, state-of-the-art program makes for a very winning combination,” Ryerson said.

Arlington has become the center of the cybersecurity universe, he noted, which is why President Barack Obama recently gave a talk on the topic at a federal cybersecurity facility in Ballston. Marymount’s location has paid off for its cybersecurity students.

“Most of them get positions either with the government or government contractors,” Murphy said.

The two-year-old program has had 100 percent job placement for graduates. It currently has 35 students, with 12 graduating in the spring.

Murphy said the field has rapidly evolved in recent years.

“It used to be very technical and you had to be a network engineer,” she said. “Now there are more positions in administration, policy development and cyber intelligence.”

Murphy is particularly proud of the number of women in Marymount’s program.

“This has traditionally been a very male-dominated field, with only about 11 percent of the workforce being female,” she said. “Thirty-five percent of our program’s students are female. We’re very successful at working to diversify the cybersecurity workforce.”

The new designation covers the academic years 2014 through 2020.

In January, the cybersecurity program was named one of the Best Online Programs in the category of “Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)” by U.S. News & World Report.