Introduction

Still accepting applications for spring 2022.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $4.4 million grant from the 
National Science Foundation (NSF) to renew the CyberCorps(r) Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. NSF's CyberCorps(r) program supports the educational and professional development of students who will help the nation address cybersecurity-based threats to national security. Upon graduation, students must join Executive-branch government agencies (at full pay and benefits) working in cybersecurity. These agencies are innumerable and include the FBI/Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Dept of Treasury, Dept of State, CIA, civilian positions in the armed forces (no need to enlist!) and their research labs such as the Naval Research Lab, and the NSA. A government position in an executive branch agency, in a role  focused on cybersecurity, likely fulfills the service requirement.  (Note that it is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that decides which jobs fulfill the scholarship, not UMass, and they can vary in their strictness over time.)

Students in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, and the departments of Mathematics & Statistics and Electrical & Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst are eligible to apply. This page provides information about the program, contacts, and the application form.

After reading this page, you may be interested in the official list of frequently asked questions from NSF and Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Requirements

As part of this program, admitted students will join a multidisciplinary cohort of students studying security at UMass. Students will have an SFS faculty advisor and receive additional mentoring from the faculty involved. Students will join research projects in security & privacy, and take part in professional development to ensure their future success. Students will be required to complete summer internships related to security with government agencies at the federal level. After graduation, students will be required to take positions related to cybersecurity at full pay.

Eligibility

  • A current undergraduate or graduate student at UMass whose studies are focused on security; additional instructions for prospective students are below. Students must be enrolled in the Computer Science degree program (not Informatics), the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, or the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Students must expect to graduate and enter the work force within two years (four semesters) of the semester they expect to start the SFS program. As such, the program is not open to first years and sophomores. Continuing your education for another degree is not expected.
  • Applicants are required by federal law to be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • We strongly encourage applications from women and other underrepresented groups.

Students will be evaluated based on criteria that includes academic qualifications, a demonstrated interest in cybersecurity and public service, and eligibility for a US security clearance, which is required for post-scholarship employment. Interest in cybersecurity can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including security related coursework, student organization membership, and the like.

Students that aren't yet at UMass can apply for SFS, but they must have already submitted an application to attend UMass for the following semester. Acceptance to a program at UMass is required for consideration for SFS, but applications can be submitted in parallel. Please be aware that each department listed above has a variety of requirements and deadlines separate from the SFS program.

Obligations

UMass SFS students incur the following obligations:

  • They must complete a degree in one of the participating departments with a significant focus on security.
  • They must search for and complete security-related government internships during the summers while funded under the program. We will assist in this search.
  • They must search for and complete employment with a federal government agency in a cybersecurity position immediately upon graduation. The period of employment must equal the duration of the scholarship. We will assist in this search, but the student leads t.
  • They must participate in conferences, job fairs, and other off-campus meetings related to the SFS program. The main fair is in early January each year in D.C. and attendance is absolutely required.
  • They must participate in on-campus meetings related to SFS, including invited speakers, social events, and professional development opportunities.
  • Students must maintain a high GPA and be in good standing.
  • Students must participate in additional informal training in security and professionalism.

We don't offer an on-line version of the program. Similarly, students cannot study abroad during the time they have the scholarship. Students cannot have other jobs or tasks while taking the scholarship.

College-specific obligations

  • All graduate students must pursue research projects related to aspects of security appropriate for their home department.
  • Computer Science graduate students must complete the Master's of Science Concentration in Security. Undergraduates must complete a sequence of undergraduate courses in security (E.g., CS365 Digital Forensics, CS460 Computer & Network Security, etc.)
  • Computer Engineering graduate students must take electives towards their degree related to security. Undergraduates must complete a capstone related to security and complete courses related to security (e.g., ECE 697XX: Introduction to Cryptography or courses in CS)
  • Math/Stats undergraduate students must complete a CS minor that includes CS460 Computer and Network Security, though there is a small amount of flexibility. 
    In addition to their department's own courses and research in security, Math/Stats graduate students must complete at least two classes from among the core graduate classes in security and cryptography offered by CS and ECE (e.g., CS660); if they lack sufficient undergraduate background in security, Math/Stats students must also complete appropriate classes to obtain the background.

Scholarship

During their time at UMass, graduate students admitted to SFS will receive each year: stipends, tuition, education-related fees, and a profesional allowance. Scholarships are not based on student financial need. Academic-year stipends are $25,000 per year for undergraduate students and $34,000 per year for graduate students. Tuition includes education related fees but it does not include items such as meal plans, housing, or parking. The professional allowance is $6,000 per academic year and is restricted to pre-approved expenses that include travel and registration for the SFS Job Fair, travel to academic conferences, research materials and supplies, a laptop, books, professional training and certifications; the categories are limited. Some of these funds as taxable.

Questions?

Ahead of your application, you may have questions. If so, please contact us via sfs-info [at] cs.umass.edu and address your questions to one of the following people depending on your area.

  • Computer Science and Math/Stats: Prof. Brian Levine
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering: Prof. Wayne Burleson

Applications

The application period for scholarships that start in Spring 2022 has begun.

If you are graduating at the end of the Fall 2023 semester, then you can apply for a scholarship now that begins Spring 2022. If you are graduating at the end of Spring 2024 semester, please apply in Spring 2022 to start the scholarship in Fall 2022.

To apply, please complete the following application. To submit, send your responses as five PDF files (one for each part below) to sfs-info [at] cs.umass.edu (). Applications received by October 11, 2021 will receive full consideration. Our plan is to notify students by end of October or early November. In between, we will conduct in person (or zoom) interviews of a short list of candidates. These scholarships would start Spring 2022 though students would attend a job fair in DC in early January 2022. 

2021 Application