Can a recipient of the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholar Program (CySP) or the National Science Foundation (NSF) CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) scholarship apply for and participate in the DCLDP?
Yes, the DCLDP is open to DoD CySP and NSF CyberCorps SFS scholars.
I am not currently enrolled in the Cybersecurity minor. How do I enroll in one of the three tracks of the Cybersecurity minor?
An overview of the Cybersecurity minor can be found here. The application for the Cybersecurity minor is available here. Once you apply, please contact the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center (email@example.com or 979-845-7398) to inform the staff of your application to the minor and that you intend to apply for the DCLDP.
I am currently a student worker with an on campus IT team (TAMU IT, Engineering IT, TAMUS SOC). Can my continued support in such a role be counted toward my experiential learning in the DCLDP?
If I am graduating in December 2023, may I still apply?
Yes. We encourage any juniors who meet the program eligibility requirements to apply to the DCLDP. A student whose degree plan will span at least one summer (allowing for a cyber-related internship) will be able to achieve maximum benefit from the program. The Selection Committee will review all applications submitted during the application period, and all aspects of the applications will be considered.
I am a sophomore enrolled in one of the three tracks of the Cybersecurity minor. May I apply and be considered for the DCLDP?
Yes. The Selection Committee will consider sophomore applicants who are U.S. citizens, able to obtain a U.S. Government security clearance, and enrolled in the Cybersecurity minor. These considerations will be made on a case-by-case basis, and applications from juniors will be primarily considered before expanding consideration to sophomores and then seniors.
If my GPA is less than a 3.0 should I still consider applying?
Students in the DCLDP are competitively selected based on meeting the eligibility requirements and the strength of their overall application. If a prospective applicant does not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement, and they are close to achieving it (i.e., 2.8 or 2.9 GPA), they are encouraged to apply, so that they can be considered.
If I am a rising senior, may I still apply and be considered for the program?
In most cases, no. Exceptions, though rare, may be made on a case-by-case basis. Check with Dr. Walter or Major Juarez for more information.
How can the competition requirement be fulfilled? Would TAMUctf for example work?
The DCLDP staff will provide a list of competitions that students in the program can participate in. TAMUctf is one of the competitions that will be on the list.
Will this program be going on throughout the school year or just semester?
This is designed as a 2-year program, so it will run from the Fall semester of one’s junior year through the Spring semester of their senior year. Summers will typically include internships or other experiential learning opportunities, in which case the DCLDP can fund travel to-and-from the internship and can provide a housing stipend.
What industry certifications are available or required?
The Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center maintains relationships with several cybersecurity certification entities, including CompTIA, Red Hat, Offensive Security and EC-Council. Currently, the Cybersecurity Center offers courses for the CompTIA Security+, Network+ and Pentest+ certifications. There are also several offensive cybersecurity certifications available (e.g. OSCP and Certified Ethical Hacker, among others). Since there is no requirement on the specific certification one is to obtain each year in the program, the DCLDP team will help students identify and select an appropriate certification to pursue based on their career goals and cybersecurity interests.
Will certifications be funded for program participants?
Yes; the DCLDP will provide funding or access to the preparation course as well as funding for one attempt to pass the certification exam.
How many hours out of the week are we expected to dedicate to activities in this program?
For planning purposes, each student should anticipate the following breakdown of their time each week:
- From a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 15 hours/week in experiential learning (e.g., working in the TAMUS Security Operations Center, in which case a stipend is provided so students are compensated). The hours spent obtaining hands-on learning experience is flexible and can be adapted to accommodate one’s class schedule
- Approximately 2-5 hours/week for:
- Mentoring activities (group or individual); or
- Competitions, to include preparing for upcoming events.
- Club Activities, for example participating in the Cybersecurity Club or the Cyber Special Unit in the Corps of Cadets.
Will students in the program be granted a security clearance prior to their completion of the program?
Students obtain a security clearance when required as part of their summer internship experience.
How competitive should we expect the application process to be?
The number of applications varies from year to year. In general the DCLDP is a highly-competitive program, which provides the Department of Defense with highly-capable cybersecurity professionals, who are ready to support DoD cyber missions on Day 1.
What kind of experiential components and opportunities will sophomores have to learn more about the program before joining?
As part of the Pathways program, sophomores will have the opportunity to study for and pass a certification exam without cost (DCLDP bears the cost for students in Pathways). Additionally, there are generally summer programs available for sophomores who seek a cyber-related summer experience. Such programs are developed during the school year and Pathways participants will be notified when the opportunities become available. Addiionally, Pathways members are encouraged to participate in competitions and outside club experience to broaden their cyber experience and make themselves highly competitive for application to DCLDP before their junior year.
How many applicants will be accepted?
We expect to select about 20 students for the 2022 cohort of the program. This is mostly driven by the level of funding available by the Department of Defense sponsors.
Are there any specific PC requirements we would need for this program?
As a Cybersecurity Minor, students should anticipate that computing devices will be needed to complete one’s academic program. Students should engage their professors for the specific computing requirements for any particular course.
In addition, students may use their own devices in most competitions; however, the DCLDP is also able to obtain computing devices for use during competitions, but they must be returned upon completion of the competition (i.e., they cannot be loaned or borrowed for use in academic courses).