The NSA has run this “cyber operations” program since 2012, working with Northeastern University, Dakota State, the University of Tulsa and the Naval Postgraduate School to design curricula that match the agency’s intelligence and infrastructure needs. (CMU, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Auburn and Mississippi State joined last week.) The purpose, says Carnegie Mellon’s Dena Haritos Tsamitis, is to shift capabilities from “cyber defense” to “cyber offense.” It’s also to funnel the next generation of analysts and hackers directly to the NSA, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies and contractors.

That mirrors the cyber ops program at Northeastern, which, unlike the Carnegie Mellon program, is open to undergraduates. Computer science majors there study theory, programming languages and other basics before five cyber ops-required classes: one on network architecture, three on network and software security, and one on the fundamentals of radio, wireless and cellular networks.