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Apr 05, 2014 05:52 AM EDT

Dakota State University, well-known for its cyber security-related programs, is adding another program to its already strong cyber curriculum.

The new Doctor of Science in Cyber Security degree, beginning fall, is aimed to ready students for cyber security careers in government agencies and the private sector or they can even teach the subject further down the line.  The university officials said that undergraduate and graduate students studying computer science and information assurance will be interested in the new doctoral degree program. Initially, they are expecting to enrol about 20 students.

Although the South Dakota Board of Regents has certified the degree, the program must receive final approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

The new program is just the second doctoral degree offered at the University besides Doctorate in Information Systems. Roy Lindsay, Madison Mayor, said that the new doctoral degree will strengthen the Cyber Security program at the university, which attracts students from around the world, Rapid City Journalreports.

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In 2012, the National Security Agency (NSA) named Dakota State University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) along with the Naval Postgraduate School, Calif.; Northeastern University, Mass.; and University of Tulsa, Okla for the 2012-2013 academic year.

 "This CAE-CO designation signals that the National Security Agency believes in the mission and nature of the security curriculum at Dakota State University," Dr. Josh Pauli, Associate Professor of Information Assurance at DSU, said in a statement. "Being part of this program will provide direct opportunities for our DSU students to work for the premiere security agency in the world and on projects in the most exclusive areas of security.

"We are honored to be part of the program and believe this is an unbelievable opportunity for our students to apply what they learn at DSU to protect the nation."

DSU and South Dakota State University are also planning to jointly introduce master's degrees in analytics and data science to allow students at both institutions to benefit from DSU's assets in information systems, computer science, and information technology and SDSU's resources in statistics and computational science. Regents' officials said that both the programs will have similar curriculum structure.

According to the DSU website, Data Science and Analytics are fastest growing sectors in the economy with numerous employment opportunities predicted in the future.

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