New Mississippi State University Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity degree opens pathways into cybersecurity field

May 24, 2024

MSU Cyber Security lab, located in Butler Hall. (photo by Grace Cockrell / © Mississippi State University)

A new Bachelor of Applied Science degree gives students new options to advance in cybersecurity.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity is a comprehensive degree program designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and expertise required to become proficient cybersecurity analysts. The BAS has a different focus than traditional BS degrees, with less emphasis on theoretical math requirements and intensive programming courses. It focuses more on applied computer information systems. The program delves deep into the world of cybersecurity, offering a blend of core knowledge and hands-on experience to address the ever-evolving challenges in the digital realm.

Dean of the Bagley College of Engineering Jason Keith said that when college administration first began developing the program, they were mindful of those Mississippians who might already have an associate degree but needed a four-year degree to advance further in their career field. He said the degree allows community college students who earned an AAS in cybersecurity to transfer those technical credits and use them towards their BAS, completing their 4-year degree. It also has a different focus than traditional BS degrees, with less emphasis on theoretical math requirements and higher-level programming classes. It focuses more on applied computer systems management.

“The Bachelor of Applied Science degree was developed primarily to provide educational training to adult learners to support the needs of an ever-changing workforce,” he said. “The BAS in Cybersecurity will allow our Department of Computer Science and Engineering to train cohorts of students in this critically important field, adding value to all companies and industries for our national security.”

Shahram Rahimi, department head of computer science and engineering, echoed Keith, further explaining that the 120-hour program enhances not only the mission of Mississippi State University but also the state of Mississippi.

“This program will significantly enhance cybersecurity education in Mississippi and the surrounding region. The Computer Science and Engineering department is thrilled to support Mississippi State University's initiatives to expand our Bachelor of Applied Science programs,” he said.

The Starkville campus will offer the BAS through the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Housed at the Bagley College of Engineering, the department offers bachelor’s programs in computer science, software engineering, cybersecurity and computer engineering as well as master’s and doctoral programs in cybersecurity and computer science. The department’s primary research areas are artificial intelligence, computer security and forensics, human computing interaction, high-performance computing, software engineering, visualization, and computer graphics.

Designed with the working adult in mind, this program offers a flexible and comprehensive curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with practical skills. This program ensures that graduates are well-versed in the theoretical aspects of cybersecurity and possess the practical skills required to defend organizations against cyber threats.

With a strong emphasis on real-world applications, hands-on training, and ethical considerations, this program is the ideal choice for those looking to impact cybersecurity significantly.

While also open to incoming freshmen, the new degree program does require students transferring into it from a community college to possess an accredited associate of applied science in cybersecurity, cyber defense, information systems security, network security, or other computer science-related fields.

For more information about the program and admission requirements, contact George Trawick, cyber program coordinator and associate clinical professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, at

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering is online at and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Bagley College of Engineering is online at and can be found on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube at @msuengineering.

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By Camille Carskadon