NSF Scholarship For Service

“Defending Cyberspace through Active Learning” to support top-tier cybersecurity students and bolster professional development opportunities.

NSF Scholarship for Service

This prestigious award offers generous stipend, allowance, and full tuition for two years to eligible US citizens and US permanent residents.

About   |  Eligibility    |   Commitments   |   Internships   |   Activities   |   Application

Scholarship for Service Logo

About the Scholarship

The UDare Cyber Scholarships For Service (SFS) program at the University of Delaware aims to enhance cybersecurity education and develop a proficient workforce by preparing highly capable professionals for vital roles in government security sectors. By offering opportunities to 20 undergraduate and Master’s students in cybersecurity programs, the program will provide a comprehensive approach to professional growth through academic training, research, enrichment activities, and internships. Through active recruitment of underrepresented groups, the UDare program will help build a diverse and globally competitive STEM workforce. This initiative addresses the urgent need for skilled cybersecurity professionals and promotes public awareness of cybersecurity issues, ultimately contributing to national security and societal well-being.

The program focuses on both the theoretical and practical aspects of cybersecurity and is recognized by the NSA’s Center of Academic Excellence. It offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students in cybersecurity, who are supported by faculty advisors. The curriculum covers various concentrations within cybersecurity and includes research opportunities and participation in conferences and workshops. Enrichment activities and a specialized course prepare students for internships and job placements in the federal government. The program is continuously evaluated to ensure its effectiveness and contribute to the field of cybersecurity education and national security.

SFS Awards

The UDare SFS program involves students participating in advanced research, presenting their findings through thesis or senior projects, and attending cybersecurity events. Students also take part in additional activities like the Distinguished Lecture series, and Capture The Flag competitions to improve their practical skills and readiness for the industry. Additionally, students receive specialized training in Professional Development to help them secure internships and jobs in the federal government.

Eligible Programs

  • Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Engineering (Juniors)
  • Master’s in Cybersecurity (thesis path)
  • Computer Engineering (Seniors) enrolled in MSc Cybersecurity 4+1 program

Selection Criteria

  • Enrollment in an eligible cybersecurity degree at UD
  • US citizenship or US permanent residency
  • GPA/transcripts + cyber experience evidence
  • Personal statement and recommendation letters
Center for Cybersecurity, Assurance & Privacy Logo
NSF Cybercorps logo
UD Cybersecurity

Funding & Benefits

  • Stipend support for two years: $37k for graduate students (per year), or $27k for undergraduate students (per year)
  • Full tuition coverage for the duration of the scholarship (two years)
  • Allowance: $6k per academic year to support attending the SFS Job Fair and other related travel, conferences, research materials, books, and required supplies including a one-time laptop purchase, as well as professional cybersecurity training and certifications.
  • Professional development guidance

Program Commitments

  • Upon graduation, agree to work in the government sector in an approved position related to Cybersecurity for a period equal to at least the length of your scholarship (an academic year, i.e., the fall and spring semesters, is equivalent to a calendar year of employment).
  • Agree to seek an internship and work in the government sector during the summers of your award.
  • Agree to provide verifiable documentation of post­ scholarship employment data to UD and the SFS Program Office and updated contact information to program administrators on an annual basis.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a US citizen/LPR, 18 years or older.
  • Enrolled full time in one of the eligible on-campus programs at UD (BSc in Cybersecurity Engineering, or BCpE Computer Engineering/MSc Cybersecurity “4+1”, or MSc Cybersecurity).
  • Qualification for the SFS program requires that the SFS scholarship recipient meets criteria for employment in the government sector and be able to obtain a security clearance.
  • Agree to submit to such Federal employment security screening as part of this SFS scholarship.

Internship & Placement

We work with UD’s Career Center to coordinate with SFS client employers and OPM and lead internship and permanent job placements for the UDare program. UD’s Career Center has a strong record of placing students into internships, along high conversion rates into full–time employees with their respective internship employers. This support will complement the portfolio of existing Cybersecurity programs with strong enrollments and placements.

There will be a one–credit, SFS required, UDare Professional Development course designed to facilitate and ensure internships and job placements for SFS students. Students will focus on their professional development in preparation for an internship (first year of their scholarship) and their job placement (second year of their scholarship) in the Federal government’s executive branch.


In addition to challenging academic courses, students are required to participate in a variety of Cybersecurity-focused activities outside of the classroom, such as the Cybersecurity Scholars Program, conferences, competitions, boot camps, and VIP Teams. These activities aim to engage students and foster a strong cyber-focused community among SFS students.

SFS students participate in a UDare Professional Development course that prepares them for, and they participate in, meaningful internship experiences followed by job placements in the federal government. Internships enable UDare students to apply their highly transferable skills to the work environment and better prepare them for successful Cybersecurity careers in the federal government. Finally, an independent evaluator will provide ongoing feedback for quality improvement and document the overall effectiveness/impact of the UDare program for accountability and lessons learned.

Scholars Program

The UD Cybersecurity Scholars Program is a four-year program that prepares scholars to become leaders in the field of cybersecurity. Scholars work together to address important questions in cyber defense and develop solutions. They have the opportunity to connect with professionals in government and finance and participate in internships and mentoring. Scholars also live and learn with other like-minded individuals who are part of the UDare program.

Distinguished Lecture Speakers & Conferences

The Cybersecurity portfolio at UD includes hosting conferences and workshops, as well as a lecture series featuring notable speakers. Students and Scholars in the field have the chance to interact with these speakers in small group settings.

Cybersecurity Competitions

Students in the UD Cybersecurity program are actively participating in competitions, with their teams being recognized globally and leading competitions that attract participants from all over the world.

Capture the Flag (CTF): UD’s CTF team meets weekly and is regularly ranked in the set of top 15 teams. The UD CTF team has trained over 200 students in the past three years. In the fall of 2022, the UD CTF team hosted its first international UDCTF competition with student–written problems and drew over 3,000 participants.

The students organized the competition infrastructure: (1) to expose vulnerable applications to a large audience of ethical pen–testers, (2) designed problems that showcased cutting–edge vulnerabilities behind many of the zero–day exploits of recent years, and (3) were successful in creating an inclusive problem set that encouraged first–time CTF participants to engage by (4) having the first–ever “Minecraft” video-game challenge category that taught security concepts to a younger audience.

IoT & Embedded Security Competitions: UD CCAP faculty and students have lead the international Embedded Cybersecurity Challenge (ESC) competition for over three years. First introduced in 2008, ESC is one of the oldest hardware–oriented Cybersecurity events in the world. The current ESC competition includes IoT devices, cyber–physical, and embedded systems. For example, in 2019 UD’s Cybersecurity student developed a custom embedded system hosting 19 ESC challenges. Likewise, ESC 2022 comprised machine learning based attacks in both edge devices and cloud computing.

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)

UD is a member of the VIP Consortium, which is a global alliance of universities advancing Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) programs. Through VIP, undergraduate and graduate students participate in ambitious, long–term projects led by faculty. UD VIP teams particularly synergistic to the UDare SFS program include: Cloud Crypto, DRONE (FLIE —Flying Labs employing Intelligent Engineering), Embedded System Design, High Performance Computing, IoT (Internet of Threats), Cyber, Data, Science, Autonomous Driving, Algorithms: Programming Contest and Research, and TRIC Robotics.

State–of–the–Art Cybersecurity Educational & Research Facilities

UD’s Cybersecurity education and research efforts are supported by state–of–the–art facilities. Notable facilities that will support the UDare SFS program are the innovation Suite (iSuite) and new UD FinTech building. 

ECE innovation Suite (iSuite)

UD’s iSuite laboratories were dedicated in May 2017 as part of the ECE Department’s 125th Anniversary celebration. This $2M facilities investment, including $1M in State of Delaware support for Cybersecurity education, yielded 4,500 ft.2 state–of–the–art laboratories comprising three unique spaces:

  • Cyber Range: A core discipline lab with a full suite of computer and 10GE “copper” networking capabilities able to hold “live-fire” cyber–defense and warfare training, combined with electronic test and measurement instruments to allow integration of exercises with physical devices (e.g., Internet of Things (IoT), FPGAs, etc.).
  • Collaboration Hub: A casual, multi–use environment to foster team creativity, brainstorm and presentation of ideas and projects to on–site as well as remote collaborators.
  • Maker Space: An imagination space laboratory equipped with electronic parts, measurement and testing equipment, 3D printing and prototyping capabilities, etc., where students conceive, design, prototype and quickly test their ideas and systems.
UD FinTech

UD’s newest facility, $38M, 100,000 ft.2, six–story building was completed in 2022. Located on UD’s STAR Campus, FinTech focuses on financial analytics and services, Cybersecurity, block chain, machine learning, data analytics, and small business development.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Information Sciences Departments occupy 11,000 ft.2 in FinTech adding significant capabilities in Cybersecurity (including a new and expanded Cyber Range), Machine Learning, AI, and High Performance Computing — areas instrumental and synergistic with the UDare SFS program.

FAQs and Other Resources

Check out the SFS Google Drive for FAQs and program document.

“As a UD engineering alumnus, I am proud of the University’s continued commitment to innovation and preparing students with the knowledge and practical experience needed to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. DTI is thrilled to partner with UD scholars on this cybersecurity internship program. Cybercrime is growing exponentially, and Delaware — like other states — needs a pipeline of these specially trained professionals to address emerging threats to protect our critical infrastructure, sensitive data, and public services. These experts are on the frontline of maintaining the State’s cybersecurity posture and safeguarding our networks. Like those who entered the IT field a few decades ago, these students will find themselves on the cutting edge as the next generation of leaders in the cybersecurity space.”

Greg Lane

Delaware Chief Information Officer

“As Delaware’s former Secretary of Labor and the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Future of Work Caucus in Congress, preparing people in Delaware and across the country to take on in-demand jobs has long been a top priority of mine. Our country is currently facing a significant cybersecurity workforce shortage with more than 500,000 open cyber roles nationwide and more than 2,000 openings in Delaware alone. I’m excited by today’s announcement which will bring over $3 million in federal funding to support cybersecurity students at the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering through this innovative new program as they prepare to take on critical cybersecurity roles, helping strengthen our cybersecurity workforce, grow our economy, and protect our personal data and national security.”

Lisa Blunt Rochester

US House Representative

“As Cybersecurity plays an ever-increasing role in our digital landscape, and more and more of life moves online, it is more important than ever that we have a contingent of trained professionals ready to address virtual threats of any kind. To see the NSF investing significant resources in Dr. Ken Barner’s team and the University of Delaware reinforces for me what I already knew: Delaware is at the forefront of technological advancement, and UD is leading the way in preparing our country to be as safe and prepared as possible in the digital age.”

Chris Coons

U.S. Senator

Cybersecurity Scholarships

UD’s new “Defending cyberspace through active learning” SFS program, which includes $3.4 million over five years, is led by PI Kenneth Barner (far left) and co-PIs (from second left to far right) Stephan Bohacek, Andrew Novocin and Nektarios Tsoutsos.

Still have questions about the Scholarship for Service?

Email the SFS directors with any questions you have.

Get Started

Use the link below and apply to UD’s Scholarship for Service program today! Application review starts April 30, 2024.