Information security master's launched

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photo of President Potter and Mark Schmidt

President Earl H. Potter III and Associate Professor Mark Schmidt, CIAS interim director, on the occasion of the university's recognition for information assurance education excellence by the Department of Homeland Security.


ST. CLOUD, Minn. – St. Cloud State University is launching this fall an information assurance – i.e., computer and information security – master’s degree program.

The program is coordinated by the Center for Information Assurance Studies (CIAS), an interdisciplinary effort between the G. R. Herberger College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering.

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency designated St. Cloud State a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, making it one of only 106 institutions charged with reducing vulnerability in the national cyber infrastructure.

The center of excellence designation means St. Cloud State computer security students are eligible for scholarships that cover tuition, select books and fees, carry a stipend, and provide hands-on internships in information security. Recipients are guaranteed a job with the Department of Defense.

The designation also allows St. Cloud State to apply for millions in grants to build programs focused on computer and information security, including the design and maintenance of computer networks, digital forensics and detection and prevention of cyber intrusions. 

The university has already received $92,000 in grants to fund a full-ride scholarship and provide new equipment that includes a forensic station that can examine cell phones.

Mark Schmidt, founder and interim director of CIAS at St. Cloud State, stresses that CIAS provides a supportive learning environment in which students are challenged to develop in-depth knowledge in various domains of information assurance.  

The mission of CIAS is to facilitate cyber security research, education and practice.

For more information, visit or call Professor Schmidt at 320-308-4988.

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