A Doctoral Student's Journey through the National Award Winning Cybersecurity Program

March 10, 2020

After Capitol Technology University was announced as the national winner of the prestigious SC Media Award for Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program on February 25, the university sought students' opinions on why Capitol's cybersecurity program was declared the "best."

Dr. Jeffrey Pettingill, a December 2019 graduate of Capitol's Doctorate (DSc) in Cybersecurity, provided several reasons he personally benefited from the doctoral program, which he describes as a "culturally revered and recognized...achievement."

Dr. Pettingill's thoughts on his experience in the program are below: 

First, my very best writing days were the ones I had were during the doctoral weekend residencies. The structured residencies allowed me to interact with other doctoral students and interact with very knowledgeable professors which was super productive. When I returned home, I would replicate the experience by working in a peaceful and secluded environment and then go on a hike afterwards.

Second, a doctoral degree will offer you a lot of freedom in the topics you wish to pursue and learn about. You are the boss! It is an intense experience of rapid academic growth.  In the early phase, my professors steered me in selecting a very granular research topic that was reachable, focused which allowed me to leverage more than 300 references. Ultimately, the research that you produce will be yours as an individual.

Third, the doctoral program is an opportunity in life to become academically immersed into a topic and become a recognized leading expert in the world regarding your dissertation research. I was part of the first Doctoral program, and failed at least twice in developing my methodology. Yet, each failure was the opportunity to re-immerse myself with a better approach due to the excellent academic feedback I received.

After being a cybersecurity practitioner for more than 20 years, I am looking forward to being a professor again. I was fortunate of knowing in my early 30s that I really wanted a doctor of science degree. In that, I have always liked school and learning things and wanted to learn as much as possible about cybersecurity.  I am currently conversing with several top-rated universities to potentially teach their graduate cybersecurity curriculum remotely."

Capitol offers multiple cybersecurity degrees at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. Prospective students ranging from those who have just graduated high school to professionals in the middle of their careers have the opportunity to enroll in a B.S., M.S., and DSc in cybersecurity as well as an M.S. in Aviation Cybersecurity, an M.S. in Construction Cybersecurity, and a Technical Master of Business Administration in Cybersecurity.

In addition to the SC Award, Capitol is designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) by the NSA and DoD, was selected to train NSA new-hires in master’s-level courses, and has been selected as a Military Friendly® School for the 2020-2021 academic year and multiple years prior.

Capitol strives to offer hands-on courses led by cybersecurity field experts, in addition to the university's multiple degree paths and support systems to ensure all students succeed.