Businesses of all types and sizes are facing threats to their internal IT systems like never before. Thieves have turned their attention towards breaching databases. They are infiltrating IT infrastructures to gain access to sensitive data they can use for their own gain. They often succeed due to the lack of law enforcement and the ease of attacking vulnerable IT systems from other countries.
Running an internal IT network with access to the internet means vulnerabilities to a malicious attack from hackers. It is a necessity for private businesses and governments to remedy this. When an organization fails to engage in good cybersecurity practices, they lose billions of dollars. These organizations have decided to fight back with the help of cybersecurity experts.
A Call for Cybersecurity Experts
There are many online master programs that make going back to school to get a master’s in cybersecurity painless. Many students have already earned a bachelor’s in cybersecurity or a related subject. There are a variety of classes and specializations you can choose on this academic journey that will allow you to customize your experience to meet your academic and professional goals.
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How We Ranked the Best Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Programs
To rank the Best Online Cybersecurity Master’s, the editors at College Consensus thought about the present and future. As tuition costs continues to rise, and students feel a lack of motivation to go to college, Consensus wants students to know the real value of a degree program. That’s why we ranked programs based on four factors, using data from IPEDS:
- Total Cost
- Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid
- Graduation Rate
- Percent Increase in Cost
University of the Cumberlands offers an MS in Information Security as an online program for students who are already working in the information technology field and want to continue their education in the area of cybersecurity. Students learn how to develop and implement security policies, implement physical security measures, create disaster prevention and recovery plans, and more. The program was created in alignment with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) cybersecurity educational standards, making it one of the best online cybersecurity master’s.
University of the Cumberlands is a private Christian university located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. It enrolls around 17,000 students each academic year, and offers 40 different majors and minors in the arts, education, health and wellness, information technology, natural sciences, and more. The school also offers pre-professional programs to prepare students for their degree in engineering, pharmacy, optometry, law, and more.
Western Governors University offers a fully online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance that’s closely aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. Classes in the curriculum include forensics and network intrusion, secure network design, strategic cybersecurity management, and more. Students also earn 3rd party certifications that include EC – Council Certified Ethical Hacker and Hacking Forensic Investigator. The program meets the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) guidelines.
Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, non-profit, online-only university and is based in Millcreek, Utah. It enrolls around 120,000 students from around the country every academic year. The university offers 55 bachelor’s and master’s degrees through its four colleges. The colleges include business, teachers, information technology, and health professions, and each has multiple degree options at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Georgia Tech offers a fully-online Master of Science in Cybersecurity that provides the same education that’s offered on campus and is designed for working professionals who want to gain more skills while maintaining their employment. The curriculum includes classes such as applied cryptography, network security, computer networks, and information security laboratory. Students are required to take a course from the cyber-physical or information security track as part of their MS in Cybersecurity degree program.
Georgia Tech, also known as the Georgia Institute of Technology or Tech, is a public research university and is part of the University System of Georgia. It’s also an institute of technology and features a space-grant affiliation. The school’s campus is located in the Midtown area of Atlanta and consists of four campuses, each of which has its own function and purpose. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I FBS – ACC conference.
The School of Arts and Sciences at La Salle University offers a 100% online MS in Cybersecurity that’s designed for IT professionals who have a background in business management, criminal justice, IT, or computer science. The curriculum includes classes that teach skills in information security policies and procedures, corporate ethics and compliance, investigative practices and procedures, and more. Classes are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and consist of two 8-week terms. The program’s flexibility makes it one of the best online cybersecurity master’s for working professionals.
La Salle University is a private Catholic university and is a member of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The school offers degree programs that include environmental science, finance, art history, business administration, economics, criminal justice, social work, and more. It also features a public, educational, and governmental cable television station and a streaming internet radio station. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division 1 – Atlantic 10 conference.
Southern Arkansas University offers an MS in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Cyber Security & Privacy through its College of Science & Engineering. The security and privacy track covers security analytics, privacy compliance, and cyber defense. Applicants to the program should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but those who are coming from other disciplines can apply after completing certain prerequisite classes. Upon graduation, students are eligible to work in IT security architecture, forensic specialist, or pursue doctoral studies.
Southern Arkansas University (SAU) is a public university and is part of the state university system. The school enrolls around 4,400 students each academic year who are seeking their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The school may be small, but it has produced a number of famous athletes, artists, and politicians. SAUs sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II – Great American Conference.
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Arizona State University offers an online Master of Computer Science with a concentration in cybersecurity. The program is designed for graduate students who are looking to enter the field of cybersecurity via the use of algorithms and knowledge of computer systems. Students learn how to protect and defend organization’s information systems by making sure a system is available to users with the right credentials, engage in the detection of malicious attacks, how to react to such attacks, and maintain information confidentiality. Graduates are qualified to work in roles such as security analyst, cybersecurity risk analyst, security engineer, and more, making the program one of the best online cybersecurity master’s for job prospects.
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university and features a space-grant affiliation. It has a Carnegie classification of “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. About 150,000 students attend ASU every academic year with almost a third of that number attending classes online. It features five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout the state of Arizona. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I FBS – PAC-12 conference.
Liberty University offers an MS in Cyber Security that’s 100% online. The course requires 36 credit hours and takes about 1.5 years to complete. Students learn how to maintain computer and network defenses, how to detect threats, prevent attacks, and how to recover when a vulnerability is exploited. The program also teaches students how to maintain cybersecurity industry standards and engage in best practices.
Liberty University (LU) is a private Evangelical university with its main campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. It enrolls around 95,000 students each academic year with 80,000 students enrolled in online courses and the remaining 15,000 attending the physical campus in Virginia. The school offers undergraduate and post-graduate degrees through its 17 colleges that include Aeronautics, Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication and the Arts, Engineering, Law, and more. LU’s athletics teams participate in the NCAA Division I – ASUN Conference.
Stevenson University features a 100% online MS in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics degree program that prepares students for a role as ethical and effective cybersecurity personnel. The curriculum focuses on cybersecurity forensics and the collection of digital evidence for use in legal proceedings and internal security purposes. Students learn their skills on state-of-the-art digital forensic technology and engage in exercises that are based on real-life cyber attacks and related crimes.
Stevenson University is a private university located in Maryland. It features two campuses, one in Owings Mills and the other in Stevenson. The school enrolls around 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking one of the 90 majors and concentrations available through its seven schools. Some of the degree programs include Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Marketing and offers minors in Real Estate, Software Design and Coding, and Small Business Development.
Columbus State University offers a Master of Science in Applied Computer Science with a Cybersecurity concentration. Students learn how to think independently, use their analytical skills to solve problems, and solve problems that are associated with maintaining a secure IT network. Some of the classes in the curriculum include digital forensics, human aspects of cybersecurity, applied cryptography, and cybersecurity risk management. Graduates of the program are qualified to work in the public and private sectors for almost any type of organization or agency.
Columbus State University is a public university and is part of the University System of Georgia. It enrolls around 6,700 students each academic year, making it one of the smaller universities in the system. The school offers over 90 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in disciplines that include art, music, theater, business, and history and geography. The sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II – Peach Belt Conference.
Eastern Illinois University offers an MS in Cybersecurity degree program in a hybrid format with minimal campus attendance required. Students develop skills that enable them to assess an enterprise-level IT cybersecurity system, build IT systems with cybersecurity in mind, conduct network penetration tests, implement attack countermeasures, and how to employ continuous network monitoring. Upon graduation, students are eligible to work in positions that include IT security manager, web security engineer, cybersecurity consultant, and more.
Eastern Illinois University (EIU) is a public university and is part of the University of Illinois system. The school offers 51 undergraduate degrees, 32 graduate degrees, and 10 post-baccalaureate certificates. It has four colleges that include Arts and Sciences, Business and Technology, Education, and Health and Human Services. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division 1 FCS – Ohio Valley Conference.
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Depaul University offers an MS in Cybersecurity degree program that’s delivered online or on campus. It has three concentrations that include Networking and Infrastructure, Computer Security, and Governance, Risk Management and Compliance. Students learn how to handle a variety of security threats, how to prevent them, design structures to prevent intrusion, and how to engage in digital forensics. DePaul University has been designated by the DHS and NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence.
DePaul University is a private Catholic university that’s operated by the Vincentians and located in Chicago, Illinois. It features a space-grant affiliation and has a Carnegie classification of “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity”. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through its schools that include Liberal Arts and Sciences, Communication, Computing and Digital Media, School of Public Service, College of Law, and the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. DePaul’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I – Big East Conference.
The MS Cybersecurity program at Northern Kentucky University is a 100% online program that requires 30 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 12 months. The curriculum teaches students how to apply security principles and practices when a network is under attack, how to secure the information infrastructure of an organization, design cyberinfrastructure and deploy it, and find evidence as part of an investigation to determine who’s behind an attack. Some of the classes include ethical hacking, risk management, cloud security, security architecture, and more.
Northern Kentucky University is a public university and is part of the Kentucky state university system. It enrolls over 14,000 students each academic year and primarily offers undergraduate degrees. The school features colleges that include Arts and Sciences, Arts, Business, Health Professions, Informatics, Law, and more. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I Horizon League.
The Department of Computing and Information Sciences at Valparaiso University offers an MS in Cyber Security that’s offered online and on-campus. It’s designed to prepare students to work in cyber operations and security to detect unwanted intrusions, prevent attacks, and plan and deploy security measures. Some of the classes in the curriculum cover topics such as IT risk management, information assurance and security, IT auditing, monitoring, and testing, and cyber warefare.
Valparaiso University (Valpo) is a private Lutheran university located in Valparaiso, Indiana. It enrolls around 5,400 students each academic year who are seeking to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degrees from one of its five colleges. The school’s colleges include Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing and Health Professions, and an honors college.
Kennesaw State University offers a Master’s in Cybersecurity in an online format that can be completed in 12 months. Students learn how to create and employ strategies against cybersecurity threats, identify and respond to an attack in progress, and use tools to prevent attacks in the future. The program is designed for students from all educational backgrounds and does not require a student to have a background in computer technology. It’s one of the best online cybersecurity master’s for students looking to get into the field of cybersecurity, but don’t have an extensive IT background.
Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a public research university and is part of the University System of Georgia. It features a space-grant affiliation and has a Carnegie classification of “R2: Doctoral universities – High research activity”. Around 42,000 students enroll each academic semester to earn a degree in disciplines that include nursing, education, business, information technology, criminal justice, and more. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I FCS – ASUN – Big South conference.
Jacksonville State University offers an MS in Computer Systems/Software Design with a concentration in Information Security and Assurance. The program is offered completely online and is intended for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering, or information systems or a degree and work experience in systems and software design. Students learn how to design and deploy secure computer systems, detect and stop malicious attacks, and maintain information systems security on an ongoing basis. Graduates are qualified to work in the public and private sectors and in any type of field or industry.
Jacksonville State University (JSU) is a public university and is part of the Alabama state university system. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, education, and doctoral degrees along with professional certificates. Around 9,500 students attend the school each academic year. The school is home to six academic colleges and has units that support the school with online education, graduate studies, continuing education, and an honors program.
Dakota State University offers an MS in Cyber Defense that teaches students how to deal with all aspects of cybersecurity. The curriculum includes classes that impart skills such as forensic imaging, intrusion detection, data privacy, and protection from attacks. The school looks to accept students who are highly motivated and have strong ethics that enable them to become successful security professionals. The degree program can be completed on a full or part-time basis and accepts students who don’t have an undergraduate degree in IT as long as they can show competency by completing knowledge courses prior to applying.
Dakota State University (DSU) is a public university and is part of the state university system. It was originally founded as a school to train teachers in 1881, but the school added a mission to specialize in the management of computers and their programs in 1984. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, and features a 4+1 baccalaureate to master’s degree program. It also offers CyberCorps Scholarships that cover 100% of tuition and fees.
Regis University offers a MS in Information Assurance in a hybrid format with 8-week terms and six opportunities to start courses during the year. Students learn skills that include computer forensics, malware analysis and response, offensive cybersecurity, and more. The curriculum also prepares students for industry exams that include (ISC)2, Cisco, CISSP, and ISACA. The program has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA and DHS. This is one of the best online cybersecurity master’s for students who wish to get industry certifications on top of their master’s.
Regis University is a private Jesuit university located in Denver, Colorado, and is part of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The university houses five colleges that include programs in art, education, biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences, business, health professions and more. The school’s sports team participate in the NCAA II – Rocky Mountain division.
The California University of Pennsylvania offers a 100% online Professional Science Master’s degree in Cybersecurity graduate program that can be completed in 13 months with full-time study. The program was developed with industry specialists and advisers to ensure that the education is in line with the needs of employers. It also received affiliation approval from the PSM National Office. Some of the classes in the curriculum include wireless network and security, applied cryptography, computer and networking, operating systems, and more.
California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) is a public university located in California, Pennsylvania, and is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. About 7,500 students enroll each academic year in pursuit of a bachelor’s, master’s, and one of three available doctorates. The school also offers certifications, certificates, and licensure programs. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II – PSAC conference.
The University of South Florida offers a Master’s in Cybersecurity Intelligence and Information Security with a curriculum that uses a foundation of technical classes that teach students how to use a variety of skills in identifying cybersecurity issues for an organization. Students learn how to identify, assess, and manage threats to the security of an organization, how to use cryptography to protect against outside threats, and how to defend against future attacks. The program is oriented toward students who have a technical foundation in computing including knowledge of computer hardware and modern operating systems.
The University of South Florida (USF) is a public university and belongs to the State University System of Florida. It’s also a research university that has sea-grant and space-grant affiliations along with a Carnegie classification of “R1: Doctoral Universities: Very high research activity”. The school has 14 colleges located across four campuses in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I – FBS – The American conference.
Lewis University offers an MS in Computer Science with Cyber Security concentration program that’s 100% online. It’s designed for students who have education or experience in computer science or managing IT systems, but accepts students who have completed four foundation courses before applying to the program. Classes are offered in the evening to help working professionals maintain their careers as they work towards an advanced degree. Upon graduation, students will have learned skills that include how to make managerial decisions based on an organization’s current cybersecurity standards, find and repair vulnerabilities in an IT network, and write documentation regarding the current security status of an organization’s IT infrastructure.
Lewis University is a private Roman Catholic university located in Romeoville, Illinois, and is affiliated with the Christian Brothers. The school enrolls around 6,500 students during each academic year who are seeking an education in the fields of aviation, business, humanities, fine arts, communications, nursing and health sciences, and more. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II GLVC and MIVA conferences.
The Department of Computer Science & Information Security at Southern Utah University offers a program in MS in Cyber Security and Information Assurance (CSIA). It’s a 100% online program that requires 33 credit hours for completion and offers two areas of emphasis, including Cyber Operations or Information Assurance. The program is open to students who don’t have a cybersecurity-related education, but they may need to take a foundation course prior to starting the program. Southern Utah University is designated as an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education for its undergraduate cybersecurity emphasis, and the graduate degree program draws from that designation.
Southern Utah University (SUU) is a public university and is part of the Utah System of Higher Education. The university offers over 140 bachelor’s degrees and 19 master’s degree programs. The annual Utah Shakespeare Festival is held every year at SUU in the Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theater, a reproduction of the Globe Theater. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I FCS – Big Sky Conference.
Missouri State University offers a 100% online Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity through its Missouri State Online school. The program is a 30-hour graduate degree program that includes hands-on labs and exercises to teach students how to secure information systems from attacks and create an ongoing defense. Upon graduation, students are eligible for employment in roles that include Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Chief Security Officer (CSO) among other cybersecurity roles. The program is one of the best online cybersecurity master’s for students who want to enter the management level in the cybersecurity field.
Missouri State University (MSU or MO State) is a public university and part of the state university system. It’s the second-largest school in the state in terms of enrollment with almost 23,000 students attending. MSU offers over 150 undergraduate majors and more than 45 graduate programs provided through one of nine schools. The school’s sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I – MVC conference.
Champlain College offers a 100% online Master of Information Security program that’s designed for working professionals who are involved in daily system and network operations at mid-to-large-sized enterprises. It offers two educational tracks that include an operations track for students who want to engage in hands-on response to security threats and for students who want to enter into leadership roles in the field of cybersecurity.
Champlain College is a private college offering on-campus and online undergraduate programs in Burlington, Vermont. Its main campus consists of 42 buildings and combines a quality academic learning environment with plenty of recreational activities for students in their off-hours. The school has international campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland, as well as global partnerships with schools around the world, and students can take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.
Maryville University’s John E. Simon School of Business offers a MS in Cyber Security in a 100% online format. The program is designed to act as a simultaneous course delivery system and a virtual training ground. Students engage in their education and get to test and refine their skills in a safe environment. Students also prepare to earn certifications that include ECES, ECSA, Splunk, CISA, CCSP, and CISSP during the course. Most of the faculty are real-world professionals who teach students the skills that are in demand from employers and how to find success working in the field of cybersecurity.
Maryville University is a private university located in Town and Country, Missouri, and is associated with the Society of the Sacred Heart. It enrolls around 11,000 students each academic year who study undergraduate programs in one of the six colleges and schools in the university. They include arts and sciences, education, nursing, health professions, business, and a school of adult and online education.
Saint Leo University offers a MS in Cybersecurity through a blended program that consists of in-person classes, online options, and video conferences. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to work in a variety of information security roles for multiple types of organizations. Students build their core competencies in networks and operating systems and learn about the technical aspects of information security. The curriculum for the degree is aligned with the core curriculum for graduate information assurance degrees set by the National Security Agency (NSA) and covers multiple professional certifications such as CISSP, SSCP, CISM, and more.
Saint Leo University is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts university that was established in 1889 and is part of the Association of Benedectine Colleges and Universities. It was one of the first universities in the U.S. to offer distance learning in the 1970s and offers over 40 degrees at the associate, bachelor, and master’s levels. It also offers professional certificate programs. Its sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II – Sunshine State Conference.
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Who Should Get an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity?
There are no smoke screens about the job potential for those interested in going into the field of cybersecurity. First off, one in every four Americans has been a victim of some form of cyber crime. That is no small number. As a result of the huge spike in a variety of cyber crimes, we are counting on such professionals to keep us safe as individuals and within our businesses and organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs in this field are growing at a much more rapid rate than in other professions. It is projected that by 2029, there will be a 31 percent increase in cybersecurity jobs. That comes out to roughly an addition of $40,900 new jobs.
If you are looking for a way to be promoted within the field of cybersecurity you may want to consider an online cyber security master’s degree. Obtaining a master’s in cyber security online is not a small feat. Even though most online advanced degrees are created with working professionals in mind. One of the benefits of choosing a cyber security master’s online program is having the freedom to choose where you learn when you learn, and how often. The field of cyber security is continuously growing and changing, as we see businesses in need of more knowledgeable and skilled professionals. This creates an opportunity for veterans of the field to advance within their company or to another company with a higher salary.
An ms cyber security online can refresh the skillsets used to be successful in this field, it can also introduce a specialization, and reignite a deeper interest in cybersecurity. A master’s degree shows organizations you are dedicated to the field. A master’s degree can open the door to supervisor roles, management positions, and leadership opportunities in federal agencies. There are so many different applications for a graduate degree in cyber security.
The role of the IT cybersecurity specialist is on the rise in response to the constant attacks on IT infrastructure. Many universities have responded to the demand by offering cybersecurity master’s degree programs that are aimed toward working IT professionals and those who are interested in entering the field and are willing to shift their career focus and education to information security.
The best online cyber security masters curriculum focuses on teaching students how to identify malicious attacks, repel them, and prevent them from gaining access in the future. It’s a great field for those who are inquisitive, have a strong sense of justice and ethics, and enjoy the challenges that come from working in the IT field and preventing bad actors from getting their hands on sensitive data. Earning a master’s degree in cybersecurity can add at least $15,000 to the average IT administrator’s salary and open up new avenues of employment as cybersecurity matures into a field of its own.
Will Employers Trust an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity?
To impress potential employers and to instill confidence in your skills and your cyber security master’s program, make sure the school is accredited. Online programs can at times gardener a bit of disrespect in comparison to on-campus institutions. There are key things to look for in an online program, the best universities for masters in cyber security have been nationally recognized. The National Security Agency along with the Department of Homeland Security recognizes programs as CAE in three categories, cyber defense education, cyber operations, and cyber research. A cyber security master’s program with CAE designation says a lot to an employer. Cyber security master’s programs are held to a higher standard with these designations. Another way to determine if your program is reputable is by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology this non-profit organization is like the FDA for colleges. They assure that university programs are meeting the standards required to properly prepare graduates for the profession of which they are studying. Cyber security master’s programs are abundant, make sure the one you choose is the best.
How Much Can I Make with a Cybersecurity Master’s?
How much you can make with a master in cybersecurity depends on some factor, one of which is location. From city to city the salary differs due to the cost of living and the type of organizations that are prevalent in that area. With a master’s in cyber security salary is very important, after you graduate you will have student loan debt to pay back. The good news is with the growing shortage of cybersecurity professionals you won’t be unemployed for long. Yet, the job title will also determine how much you can make. Cybersecurity Management and policy salary are similar to that of an information security manager, which is $118,938 according to payscale. Answering how much you can make is simple, a lot! cyber security jobs are showing a 200k shortage in the USA alone. Employees have all the leverage, so the starting offer will be higher. So if you are still trying to figure out if a master in cyber security is worth it, a resounding yes would be the answer. For more information, we have compiled an ultimate guide to cybersecurity degrees, with more information programs, salary, and careers.