Best Online Cyber Security Programs

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Cybersecurity professionals use innovative technology to battle everything from online hackers to network outages. A top-tier cyber security degree program equips these digital defenders with the knowledge and skills required to attain a rewarding career in this cutting-edge field.

Students who enroll in cyber security programs are introduced to the fundamentals of cybercrime and computer forensics. They study various strategies for defending networks and information systems, as well as the latest platforms used to track and monitor illicit online activities. Along the way, these students also become proficient in mathematics, computer programming, and information technology.

Below you’ll find the best online cyber security programs for cyber security professionals. These schools offer innovative technical and academic training designed to prepare students for the demanding career ahead. Each program was chosen on the merit of its academic strengths, positive learning outcomes, course offerings and online classroom experience. If you’re considering a career in cyber security and value the flexible format of an online degree program, then this list of the best online cyber security programs should serve as a useful starting point.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Drexel University

 5/567.36%Philadelphia, PA


The B.S. in Computing and Security Technology combines hands-on learning with laboratory experiences in an online environment. This cybersecurity program is designed for students who are currently employed in the IT field and seeking professional advancement; those interested in computing and security technology and looking to change careers; or working adults with a completed associate’s degree or at least two years of college work.

Students select a degree concentration in either computing technology or computing security and complete 58 courses, including all electives and core/concentration requirements. Courses are delivered through the online Blackboard learning platform. Both degrees require students to complete both an independent and team portion of a senior project over the span of two course periods.

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University of Maryland – University College

 2/58.33%Adelphi, MD


University of Maryland-University College offers three different B.S. in Cybersecurity degrees: Cybersecurity Management and Policy, Computer Networks and Cybersecurity, and Software Development and Security. UMUC was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the NSA and DHS in 2015. Military service members are offered discounted tuition rates, as well as scholarships and other benefit options.

Courses are accessed through the college’s new Learning Experience Online (LEO) platform. The UMUC Virtual Security Lab is also used to simulate cybersecurity attacks and develop real-world experience. Students who choose the Computer Networks and Cybersecurity concentration can select a further focus for their major, such as a Digital Forensics or Microsoft emphasis, to complement career goals.

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Kennesaw State University

 2/542.63%Kennesaw, GA


The BBA in Information Security and Assurance from Kennesaw State University (KSU) prepares students to both protect information systems as well as manage an organization. Students can choose from two focus areas: Security Policy Development and Compliance or Systems Security Administration. KSU is recognized by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education.

All online cybersecurity program classes are delivered through KSU’s Dream2Learn (D2L) Brightspace learning management system. In addition to major coursework in this online cybersecurity program, students also take courses in accounting, finance, management, and marketing in order to build a business acumen. Students complete 43 courses covering general education and major requirements; full-time students generally complete the degree in two years for a total of 123 credits.

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Robert Morris University

 4/562.17%Moon Township, PA


Robert Morris University (RMU) offers a BS in Cyber Forensics and Information Security. This online cybersecurity program builds a foundation in technology, business, organizational behavior, and law. RMU Online has received multiple top rankings and recognitions for both affordability and professional value.

Courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Program enrollment has grown over the past few years, but class size is relatively small, with an average of less than 150 students enrolled in the program during a given semester. Students complete 41 courses, including core and major/concentration requirements, to earn their degree. Concentration classes include Digital Evidence Analysis and Mobile Forensics.

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Western Governors University

 2/516.74%Salt Lake City, UT


Western Governors University (WGU) is a fully online university with a competency-based learning structure. The BS in Information Technology - Security prepares students in security management as well as seven industry certifications, including Cisco’s CCNA certification. This online cybersecurity program is designed for IT security managers looking to enhance their career, IT professionals aiming to advance into security and assurance roles, or individuals who have completed some college coursework and want to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements. WGU is accredited by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS).

Courses are delivered through the MyWGU Portal. Students who have an associate’s degree in IT or IT work experience may be able to transfer prior that experience towards the waiver of some degree requirements. All students complete a capstone project, usually focused on finding a solution to an issue encountered in the workplace. Completion of degree requirements is self-paced. The average degree completion time is two to three years, though how quickly an individual finishes is largely dependent on past experience and pace of passing assessments.

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Davenport University

 3/539.57%Grand Rapids, MI

Davenport University (DU) offers a BS in Digital Forensics and a BS in Network Security. Students who pursue the Digital Forensics degree are prepared to find and assess computer-related evidence in support of investigations, while those who opt for the Network Security degree prepares students to oversee network security policies for an organization. DU is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and DHS, and is also a military-friendly school offering tuition discounts and credit for military experience.

Classes for these two online cybersecurity programs are accessed through the Blackboard learning platform. Students complete 40 courses to earn a Digital Forensics degree or 38 courses to earn a Network Security degree. Linux/MAC, Network, and Windows Digital are just some of the forensics courses taken in the Digital Forensics program. Students in the Network Security program will learn core operation systems, including PC and UNIX.

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Wilmington University

 2/535.06%New Castle, DE

The BS in Computer and Network Security from Wilmington University provides students with a strong security background that can be applied across fields in the public and private sectors. In addition to learning technical skills, students complete coursework that prepares them to understand the legal, ethical, and historical aspects of the computer security field. Students will also be qualified to take exams for a number of industry certifications, including CompTIA Network+. Wilmington is recognized by the NSA and DHS as a National Center in Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through 2021.

Wilmington uses the Blackboard platform to deliver the online learning experience. This cybersecurity degree program requires students to complete 40 general and core courses. A completion degree option is also available for students who have already completed a related associate’s degree at an accredited institution. Students have the option of completing six credit hours via a final, individualized co-op assignment through Wilmington’s Community and Academic Partnerships (CAP) program.

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Pennsylvania State University – Berks

 3/556.93%Reading, PA

Penn State Berks’ BS in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA), with an Information and Cyber Security emphasis, prepares professional analysts to handle modern threats to security and respond to emergency situations. Student learning goals include using proactive problem-solving strategies and making informed decisions from multiple perspectives by considering legal and cultural issues. In addition to careers, students are prepared to continue their education at the graduate school level. Penn State is recognized by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense.

This hands-on cybersecurity degree program, available through the Penn State World Campus online, includes problem-based learning, team projects, and a required internship. Students are responsible for finding their own internship, part-time or full-time, in an SRA-related field. Courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management platform.

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Limestone College

 4/528.38%Gaffney, SC

The BS in Computer Science - Computer and Information Systems Security from Limestone College gives students the skills needed to handle high levels of threat within the public or private sectors. Students are also prepared to take at least one certification exam, such as the CISSP, in their area of expertise. Limestone is a military-friendly institution, offering discounted tuition and other benefits to active duty and retired veterans. In addition, Limestone College has a number of corporate partnerships; students who have a participating company are eligible to receive a corporate grant each semester.

Limestone uses the Blackboard learn management platform to deliver its online experience. Courses are structured in an accelerated 8-week format, and students have the option to take up to two courses per semester, with a total of 41 courses required to earn the degree. All students complete a final capstone project that aligns with their career goals, along with comprehensive exams from core and concentration courses rolled into this online cybersecurity degree program.

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Dakota State University

 2/540.7%Madison, SD

Dakota State University (DSU) offers both a BS in Cyber Operations and a BS in Network and Security Administration through its online degree program in most states. Students in the Cyber Operations program are trained to understand the mentality, motivations, and techniques of the hackers behind increasingly common cybersecurity attacks. In 2015, the DSU cybersecurity team ranked top in the nation in the National Cyber League (NCL) competition for the second consecutive year. DSU is an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, one of 13 programs nationwide. The Network and Security Administration cybersecurity program provides a business management background with additional coursework in networking, virtualization, forensics, and cybersecurity.

All online courses are accessed through the Dream2Learn (D2L) learning platform. These classes are often held collaboratively with on-campus classes. DSU also offers virtual labs; cyber operations students learn how reverse engineering works, how to analyze malware, and how to exploit software, while network and security students use enterprise hardware to practice building configurations. Both programs require students to complete 41 courses in mathematics, communication, and major-related topics.

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Mercy College

 3/528.8%Dobbs Ferry, NY

The BS in Cybersecurity degree program offered through Mercy College prepares students to implement the latest security systems and policies, and protect and recover business systems in the event of disaster. Upon graduation, students are also prepared to take the CISSP certification exam. For those looking to advance their skills further and pursue leadership positions, Mercy also offers a B.S./M.S. Cybersecurity program designed to be completed in five years. Mercy College is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and DHS.

Students access classes through the Blackboard learn platform. Coursework includes topics like Linux Administration and Forensic/Electronic Discovery. In addition to the core courses, additional course options include Artificial Intelligence, Web Site Administration, and Computer Architecture, among others. Mercy allows students to transfer up to 75 credits from two-year colleges and up to 90 credits from four-year institution. Degree requirements are usually completed in four years.

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Champlain College

 5/557.12%Burlington, VT

Champlain College offers a BS in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations, a BS in Cybersecurity, or a BS in Economic Crime Investigation, the latter of which combines coursework in accounting, criminal justice, and computer forensics and digital investigation. These online cybersecurity programs are designed for working adults to complement students’ existing careers and experience in the field. The online program offers students the opportunity to earn certificates in their area of expertise while completing their degree. Champlain is recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence by the NSA and DHS, as well as a DC3 National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Champlain uses the Campus management system to deliver coursework. Courses are designed in an accelerated, 7-week format, and students are required to complete 40 courses to earn the degree. Program activities include hands-on learning in the Leahy Center for Digital Investigation, which features a virtual digital forensics and cyber crime laboratory. Students have the option to transfer up to 90 credits of approved previous experience and training.

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Liberty University

 4/550.41%Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University Online offers a BS in Information Technology - Data Networking and Security and a BS in Information Systems - Information Assurance. Both programs include coursework in information security planning, Web architecture, and cybersecurity. Students in the Data Networking and Security program are trained for careers such as Network Security Manager and Security Auditor, and the Information Assurance program prepares students for work as Business Risk Analysts and Systems Administrators. Liberty University is a Christian institution, and courses are taught from a biblical perspective.

Courses for Liberty’s cybersecurity degree programs are structured in an 8-week format and delivered via the Blackboard learning platform. Both programs require 40 courses for degree completion. The Data Networking and Security program requires students to complete an internship. Students in the Information Assurance Program are given the option to transfer up to 40 credits towards the total 120-credit requirement.

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Baker College of Port Huron

 2/514.49%Port Huron, MI

The BS in Information Technology and Security from Baker College of Port Huron provides students the education needed to lead technology teams and manage network infrastructure and security. Students choose a concentration in Cisco Networking, Information Assurance, Internetworking Administration, or Microsoft System Administration. Students are also taught the business fundamentals necessary for working in corporate organizations in the areas of networking administration, systems analysis, and other areas. Baker is recognized for offering one of the best online cybersecurity degree program in the country and as one of the most military-friendly schools by Military Advanced Education (MAE). BC offers discounted tuition structured around military benefits to eliminate out-of-pocket costs.

All programs require students to complete 36 general education and informational technology courses, along with nine additional courses for the Cisco Network concentration and 12 courses for the other three program concentrations. Students access all courses through the Blackboard learning management platform. Students are required to complete an initial three-week course that introduces them to the online learning classroom before taking additional courses.

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Utica College

 1/544.01%Utica, NY

Utica College’s online BS in Cybersecurity degree program was developed in collaboration with the research Center for Identity Management and Information Protection. Students can choose a specialization in Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation, Information Assurance, Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, or Cyber Operations. Utica has multiple recognitions, including as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense by the NSA and DHS, and as an Academic Center of Excellence by the EC-Council, a recognized leader in the field of cybersecurity.

The online Cybersecurity degree requires that students enter with at least 57 credits or an Associate’s degree from a qualifying 4-year institution. Students complete 13 core courses and 7 major courses excepting the Network Forensics concentration, which requires 8 courses; online courses are structured in an accelerated 8-week format. Utica uses the Engage online course management system to deliver coursework. All programs also require completion of an internship or a senior project.

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Online cybersecurity degree programs prepare students for a career in this exciting, relatively young field. Some of the most common career paths in the cybersecurity industry include the following:

Security Analyst: Security analysts are responsible for protecting their digital property and resources; their clients may include government agencies, corporations and private organizations. They analyze external threats while developing internal measures used to prevent cyber attacks. Analysts are responsible for installing protection software, including firewalls and data encryption programs. They also analyze security breaches in order to identify how ― and why ― hackers circumvent security systems, and evaluate ways to recover and rebuild compromised networks.

Computer Engineer: Engineers research, develop and monitor the functionality of various computing components and systems. In positions specifically pertaining to cyber security, engineers create airtight networks and servers designed to ward off cyber threats while still promoting internal communication. Projects for a cybersecurity engineer might include firewalls, communication networks and protected data-sharing software.

Security Architect: Security architects are responsible for designing and creating data networks; these include small-scale systems like local area networks (LANs), as well as cloud-based programs and other wide-scale networking systems that serve users in multiple locations. In addition to promoting cyber security, these architects monitor growth and activity in order to predict how user traffic will impact the networks.

Security Administrator: Security administrators oversee an organization’s security team and resources. Like security analysts, administrators may be responsible for installing specific measures and identifying flaws in current security systems. In small organizations, administrators may oversee an entire security department; in larger entities, they’ll be responsible for managing one area of security administration.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for each of the four positions listed above, as well as projected growth rates for that career path over the next 10 years.

PositionMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate
Security Analyst$86,17037%
Hardware Engineer$100,9207%
Computer Network Architect$91,00015%
Security Administrator$72,56012%

An online cybersecurity degree program will effectively prepare you for a long, impactful career in the field of cyber security. High-quality programs like those listed above offer a comprehensive curriculum designed to provide all of the requisite training and skills for prospective professionals in this industry. Furthermore, the flexible digital format allows students access lecture materials online and complete assignments from the comfort of their own computer.