Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity has been ranked eighth in the nation for affordability by Cybersecurity Guide.

To qualify for the ranking, editors also required programs to provide quality career preparation and hold a Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity designation.

IUP is one of the first institutions in the nation to receive the Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense designation by the National Security Agency. IUP has held that designation since 2002 and is one of only 16 universities in Pennsylvania with this designation.

Waleed Farag, professor of computer science, is the director of IUP’s Institute for Cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Guide is an independent resource for cybersecurity professionals and academics.

IUP began offering its bachelor of science in computer science/cybersecurity track (originally information assurance) and a minor in cybersecurity in 2002. This program combined core computer science and cybersecurity classes with a minor in criminology, creating a novel curriculum that helped students gain a broad understanding of the field and be work-ready.

The IUP cybersecurity program has about 100 students enrolled, and about 20 students annually complete the program and receive their bachelor’s degree in the computer science/cybersecurity track. IUP’s program also focuses on cybercrime detection, loss prevention, and how to collect the evidence to prosecute cybersecurity offenders as part of the cybersecurity degree

Over the last six years, Farag has secured nearly $3 million through a Department of Defense program that has provided 50 full scholarships to students in IUP’s cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program. Part of the scholarship opportunity is a guaranteed position with the Department of Defense after graduation.

“I am glad that IUP is recognized for not only offering a high-quality and nationally recognized cybersecurity program but also ranking eighth in affordability across the nation,” Farag said. “This ranking adds another feather to the IUP cybersecurity program besides the unique opportunities and scholarships we provide to IUP cybersecurity students and members of the local community,” Farag said.

In 2023, Farag secured $996,350 from the Department of Defense to establish a pilot summer immersion program for cybersecurity students to develop language foundations and proficiency in Chinese; IUP is the only school in the nation chosen to develop the program. Farag is the project director.

With the 2023 Chinese Language Pilot Summer Program, IUP’s Institute for Cybersecurity, founded in 2005 to further encourage and promote cybersecurity at IUP and the surrounding community, has secured more than $16 million in federal funding for IUP-sponsored initiatives and programs since 2016.

This $16 million in funding includes $4.98 million from the Department of Defense for the first three years of a novel project to enhance cybersecurity and STEM education in Pennsylvania (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), received in September 2022, the largest single grant that has ever been awarded to IUP. The project period of performance is expected to be six years with a total funding of about $11 million.

This $16 million in funding also includes more than $1 million in federal funding for IUP to enhance cybersecurity training for middle school students and teachers through the GenCyber program. More than 500 middle school students and teachers have completed GenCyber camps since 2016.

In October 2022, IUP received $203,130 from the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program that is managed by the National Security Agency to support a qualified student seeking a doctoral degree (PhD) in cybersecurity.

The initiative, spanning September 2022 through September 2024, is designed to address the national shortage of qualified cybersecurity instructors at National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity colleges and universities, “to bridge the gap of qualified cybersecurity instructors at NCAE-C institutions,” Farag said.

In 2017, a team of faculty at IUP led by Farag received a grant of $212,000 from the National Security Agency to enhance cybersecurity education in western Pennsylvania. The team included faculty from Computer Science, English, Professional Studies in Education, and Political Science and students at IUP.

The project, completed in 2018, resulted in the development of a cohesive set of services to innovatively address known challenges facing cybersecurity education, incorporating an interdisciplinary approach in designing and implementing these services that will appeal to diverse cyber talent—including women and minorities—and serve a geographical area that is predominantly rural. This project was part of the Cybersecurity National Action Plan: Investment in Expansion of CAE-C (Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity) Education Program.

The IUP Institute for Cybersecurity also continues to organize and present an annual Cybersecurity Day and conducted a research study during 2020–22 on improving IoT (Internet of Things) systems security, funded through a $250,000 grant from the NCAE-C Cyber Curriculum and Research 2020 Program.

IUP is routinely recognized nationally for excellence by independent publications, including as a College of Distinction for the 2023–24 academic year; U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Best Colleges Ranking; the Wall Street Journal and College Pulse’s America’s Best Colleges 2024; The Princeton Review’s “2024 Best Colleges” guidebook, College Magazine’s top 10 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania;  Washington Monthlys national ranking of universities based on contributions to society; Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges,” and as the number two most affordable college in Pennsylvania by Academic Influence.

IUP’s overall online undergraduate and graduate programs were recently honored as “best in the nation” by

In November, IUP opened its $90-million, state-of-the-art science and mathematics classroom building, John and Char Kopchick Hall, designed to serve as the hub of activity for all things science and mathematics at IUP.

IUP is committed to being a fully student-centered university, launching its Student Success Infrastructure in fall 2023, which includes a navigator for every student and data-driven proactive intervention.

IUP offers almost 160 academic degree programs, including more than 50 graduate programs. In addition, students can complete more than 65 minors—including a unique teamwork minor—and scores of specialized tracks and certificate programs, including certificates in athletic coaching, preschool education, geospatial intelligence, unmanned aerial systems (drones), photography and digital imaging, popular music, and public history.