The purpose of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) program is to:

  • Promote higher education in Cyber Defense (CD), Cyber Operations (CAE-CO), and Research (CAE-R)
  • Pprepare a growing number of cybersecurity professionals, and
  • Reduce vulnerabilities in the Nation’s networks

Why CAE?

Schools aspiring to gain the CAE designation will strengthen their program while also strengthening their graduates. The CAE designation also serves as a capacity-builder and powerful motivator for the growth of Information Security programs in higher education, while at the same time strengthening the Nation’s infrastructure.

The CAE designation brings internal and external recognition along with opportunities for collaboration and funding. Internally, the designation captures the attention of the school’s senior administration, thus improving opportunities to increase the number of faculty positions, expand classroom/office space, and hire additional support staff. In addition, faculty across campus gain awareness of cybersecurity and its importance. Externally, the awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, and the excellence of the program recognized through the CAE designation is increased significantly among local politicians, Chamber of Commerce, local employers, and the K-12 community. In addition, opportunities for collaboration and funding increase significantly.



:: CAE Community Portal

:: A Guide for Mapping Courses to Knowledge Units (KU)s v2, provides information on mapping the CAE-CD required KUs to courses within an institution’s programs

:: Guide and Workbook for Completing CAE Criteria: Associate Level, provides suggestions and tools to assist in the preparation of the Criteria section of the CAE application

:: Email: askCAEIAE@nsa.gov


Applicants are encouraged to submit a CAE-CD Applicant Checklist. Based on the outcome of the review, applicants will be referred to one of two assistance paths:

  1. Institutions needing further development of programs and/or curriculum, or those with programs that have not reached maturity, will be referred to a CAE Regional Resource Center for assistance, or
  2. Institutions assessed to be within six months of meeting curriculum and programmatic criteria will be referred to the Application Assistance path for mentorship


Applications are submitted through the CAE application website:

  1. Open an Account: Request an account by completing the New Registration option on the Login/Join page