Boise State gets grant for cybersecurity certificate

Sharon Fisher//November 22, 2019

Boise State gets grant for cybersecurity certificate

Sharon Fisher//November 22, 2019

photo of transmission lines
The cybersecurity of physical devices, such as the electrical grid, is increasingly a concern. File photo.

Boise State University has received more than $800,000 from the Idaho Workforce Development Council to help jump-start its cybersecurity certificate.

The university first started talking about the 12-credit certificate – a two-semester online program that does not require a computer science or engineering degree – about a year ago. The standard tuition rate is $350 per credit.

photo of sin ming loo
Sin Ming Loo

Idaho doesn’t have any other schools that offer a similar program, said Sin Ming Loo, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Boise State’s College of Engineering. It includes both hands-on training and theory, he said.

“Unlike a four-year degree program, this is truly training to get the skillset for the job,” he said.

Graduates of the program would receive a CompTIA Security+ certificate, “a basic certification that will get them a lot of jobs,” Loo said.

The grant is for the 36-month startup period for the certificate, and amounts to $833,958. Over the course of the funding period, 200 students are projected to participate, Boise State said in a statement.

photo of peter risse
Peter Risse

Starting out, Boise State expects to see about 35 students per seven-week course, said Peter Risse, associate dean of extended studies.

Partnering with Boise State on the certificate program is the Idaho National Laboratory, the Idaho Air National Guard and Simplot. Because the program is online, students can do class work at any time, and it is suitable for students in rural Idaho as well, Loo said.

“Boise State’s approach to online is highly interactive,” Risse said. “It’s asynchronous, so it’s available anytime. That’s critical for our military audience and companies that run around the clock where they have shift work.”

Students can interact by emailing the teacher, asking questions on the class forum or setting up a videoconferencing call during the teacher’s “virtual office hours,” he said.

Program graduates can continue on to Boise State’s Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering Plus pathways, with the credits earned for the certificate applied toward the degree, Risse said.