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Cybersecurity Education - ICA Specialization



The CSE Department was previously designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity education, a program managed by the NSA's National Cryptologic School. The 2024 Institutional Designation is currently pending, althought the Program of Study is already approved. The main goal of this program is to identify CS departments around the country that provide programs suitable for training students for professional careers that address cybersecurity challenges in both government and business. The key requirements for being designated are, first and foremost, a suitable set of courses that will allow students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for such careers. In addition, the department and the university must also meet other criteria such as practicing appropriate cybersecurity procedures in their day-to-day operations.

The complete list of currently approved CAE institutions is available on-line. The NSA requires institutions to go through recertification as CAE-designated institutions every few years. Our Program of Study (POS) for the BS CSE degree with a Specialization in Information and Computation Assurance (ICA) was approved in May 2022. Ohio State is currently in process for the NCAE-CD institutional designation. The related documents are available on-line although access is limited; please contact Dr. Zhiqiang Lin if needed. 

Information Assurance Scholarship Programs (IASP)

Ohio State is one of three universities who make up the Midwest VICEROY Institute (MVI). Students need not be in the CSE program to apply for the MVI Scholars Program. This program provides tuition assitance for completing online (not for credit) training courses

An important benefits of being designated as a CAE-CD institution is that we can nominate students (must be US citizens) for scholarships for the CAE institutions. The scholarships are quite generous, provide internship opportunities with the NSA and some require the student to make a commitment to work for a specified period of time after graduation. Over the last several years, a number of our students have received this scholarship. For information about opportunities with the NSA, please see NSA Student Programs. When the NCAE-CD designation is restored, our students may again apply for these scholarships.

ICA Specialization Program-level Learning Outcomes (PLO)  

Students who pursue the Information and Computation Assurance option of the BS-CSE program will

  • develop an ability to apply principles of computing and networking as well as relevant ideas of mathematics and statistics to address problems related to information assurance.
  • develop an ability to design and conduct experiments on actual systems and analyze the results to draw conclusions about potential vulnerabilities in the system.
  • develop an ability to communicate their findings in oral and written presentations to their peers as well as supervisors.

These are in addition to the core BS CSE program educational objectives and outcomes.


CSE and CIS majors interested in information assurance and computer security should follow the Information and Computation Assurance specialization as it is aligned with the NCAE POS. The courses for this are as follows:

Required courses:
CSE 3241: Introduction to Database Systems (3 cr hrs)
CSE 3461: Computer Network and Internet Technologies (3 cr hrs)
CSE 3901: Project Design, Development, and Documentation of Web Applications (4 cr hrs)
CSE 4471: Information Security (3 cr hrs)
CSE 5473: Network Security (3 cr hrs) (prerequisite is CSE 3461)
CSE 5474: Software Security (3 cr hrs)

Recommended courses:
CSE 5351: Introduction to Cryptography (3 cr hrs)
CSE 5432: Mobile Handset Systems and Networking (3 cr hrs)
CSE 5472: Information Security Projects (3 cr hrs).

Note that CSE 3241 and 3461 also count as "core-choice" courses; CSE 3901 counts as the "junior project" course; the other CSE courses count towards the required number of elective hours; and the non-CSE courses can be counted toward the allowed non-CSE hours among the elective hours. Note also that this option as well as others such as Information Systems under the semester system have been approved by the CSE faculty and are in the process of being approved by the university which is expected to be completed within two months or so; once that approval is complete, students' transcripts will indicate, as under the quarter system, the particular tech elective option that she completed.

Other recommended/interesting courses (courses at the 6000-level and above are meant mainly for grad students; undergrad students will require special permission to take them):

Phil 1338: Introduction to computing ethics (3 cr hrs)

AMIS 4660 Electronic Commerce U
AMIS 4660: Electronic Commerce U
AMIS 7640 Data Mining for Business Intelligence

ECE 5101 Introduction to Wireless Networking
ECE 5200 Introduction to Digital Signal Processing

IWSE 2010 Systems Modeling
IWSE 5760 Visual Analytics and Sensemaking

Econ 1100.03 Economics of the Internet

Law 7804: The Law of Cyberspace
Law 7806: Privacy
Law 7815: Introduction to Intellectual Property L


Dr. Zhiqiang Lin is director of the program and the NCAE CAE Point of Contact (PoC). Faculty with research and teaching interests in computation assurance and, more broadly, in networking include: Drs. Anish Arora, Ten-Hwang Lai, Chunyi Peng, Ness Shroff, Prasun Sinha, Kannan Srinivasan, Neelam Soundarajan, and Dong Xuan. Steve Romig who is a senior member of the network security group of the Ohio State University also regularly teaches security-related courses in the CSE Department and helps with the revision and development of security-related courses in the department. Julia Armstrong is the Alt PoC for NCAE, Managing Dir of ICDT, and may be contacted for questions regarding the administration of the program.

More complete information about the extensive research activities of the networking group are available at this page.


This program is offered with support from the Ohio State Institute for Cybersecurity and Digital Trust (ICDT). 

Click here to see a list of resources for students and faculty including library and OSU security resources and collaborative efforts.

Further Information

Students with questions about the computation and information assurance technical elective/focus area, the IASP etc., should contact one of the advisors in the Advising Office.

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