Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Systems Security Programs

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Excelsior College 74.43 3/5 40% Albany, NY

Founded in 1971, Albany, New York's Excelsior College serves working adult learners -- its programming is tailored to meet the needs of working adults and 75% of its students are employed full-time. With the ever-increasing need for information assurance in today's digital world, Excelsior offers an online BS in information technology (IT) with an information security concentration. Students learn to apply best practices in IT, execute project plans, and solve IT and security issues. Courses are taught asynchronously and range in topics from operating systems to human-computer interaction. Excelsior is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

This 120-credit program requires 60 credits in arts and sciences, 48 in technology, and 12 in free electives. Credit is available for completed IT corporate training courses and for a portfolio assessment program. Students have access to scholarships and financial aid, along with discounts for veterans and active military and their families. Payment plans, including monthly payments, are another option to assist students with managing tuition costs.

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2 University of Illinois at Springfield 72.95 3/5 47% Springfield, IL

Students seeking careers in system analysis, information systems security, or network administration are well-prepared for their field after completing the University of Illinois at Springfield's online BS in information systems security program. The program's curriculum is certified by the Committee on National Security Systems and the National Security Agency, and its Computer Science Department is a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Student outcomes include the ability to design and implement secure computer systems, conduct security assessments, and understand and adhere to computer security ethics. Topics studied include intrusion detection and systems programming languages, and the course features a capstone requirement.

Applicants -- including transfer students -- must complete a statement of purpose form, and must have completed the equivalent of two semesters of Java programming and one semester of calculus, discrete or finite mathematics, and statistics. If students plan to continue on to graduate school or begin a career in a scientific field, the university recommends taking an additional semester of calculus.

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3 Charter Oak State College 70.34 2/5 40% New Britain, CT

New Britain, Connecticut is home to Charter Oak State College. The school offers a wide variety of online degree programs and Charter Oak describes itself as "Connecticut's public online college." One of these programs is an online BS in cybersecurity for students with computer backgrounds seeking careers in information assurance. Coursework covers risk management, network architectures, digital forensics, and cyber policies. Electives are unique, with courses such as security strategies for web applications and social networking. This 120 credit program accepts applications throughout the year. Charter Oak offers a prior learning assessment, which provides degree credits for portfolios, training, exams, professional licenses, and credentials. For example, students receive credit hours for holding a Certified Information Systems Security Professional designation.

Payment plans and financial aid are available. Charter Oak is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and by the CT Board of Governors for Higher Education.

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4 Western Governors University 68.30 3/5 27% Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University is the first university in the U.S. to employ competency standards allowing students to use existing skills to earn credits. An information assurance degree online is available through WGU, which delivers the latest security management skills and provides students with the opportunity to earn eight industry certifications (including Cisco Certified Network Associate). The school's BS in information technology with a security concentration is asynchronous and takes an average of two to three years to complete. Some of its subject areas are network and security, scripting and programming, and the business of IT.

WGU's program includes 123 competency units and 12 to 13 of these may be reasonably fulfilled each six-month term. Credits for associate degrees, undergraduate courses, and IT certifications can be transferred. Grades are assigned as pass or not pass (pass is equivalent to a "B" or better). Applicants must hold an associate degree in IT, transferable IT certifications (within the last five years), and three years IT work experience. Remarkably, tuition at WGU hasn't increased since 2008.

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5 Drexel University 66.93 5/5 65% Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its academic programs include an information assurance degree online. Designed for individuals already working in the IT field or those with an associate degree or equivalent coursework, the BS in computing and security technology - computing security concentration is asynchronous. Completion of this program often advances careers and salaries, and coursework prepares learners for additional certifications.

Students with existing IT certifications -- including A+, Oracle 9i DBA, Windows 2008+, and Cisco Certified Network Associate -- can receive transferrable credits. Grades of "C" or higher may also be transferred, up to 113 quarter credits (one semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits at DU, with four 10-week quarters per year). This program requires 188 credits, and costs $489 per credit, a 40% discount for new online students. Special rates are available for DU alumni, military, and partner organizations. Online students are eligible for financial aid. Degree applicants must have a minimum of 24 previous college credits less than 10 years old and an overall minimum GPA of 2.5.

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6 University of Maryland-University College 66.36 3/5 4% Adelphi, MD

The University of Maryland - University College offers an online BS in information systems management designed for individuals seeking management positions. These information assurance positions can range from information systems supervisor, systems analyst, or functional liaison, to information assurance manager or IT project manager. The program instructs students in best practices for protecting the critical information of organizations, integrating security and risk management methods, and securing information systems. It also helps prepare students for certification exams such as certified associate in project management, project management professional, and PMI agile certified practitioner. Program faculty includes a chief information officer, the owner of a successful private company in the industry, and a head of systems engineering.

This 120-credit degree is available asynchronously online or in a hybrid format. Maryland residents pay $284 per credit, while out-of-state residents pay $499 per credit. Up to 90 credits may be transferred, significantly reducing the cost of the degree. Interest-free, monthly payment plans are available, as are financial aid, scholarships, and military and veteran benefits.

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7 Bellevue University 65.00 3/5 31% Bellevue, NE

Nebraska's Bellevue University offers an excellent internet security degree, its online BS in cybersecurity. Students learn technical theories and their applications in a variety of cyber security environments. The program is asynchronous and designed with consistent interaction between online student peers and faculty, and students select between a traditional online format and a cohort model. Courses focus on topics such as operating systems, mobile device security, and operational security. This 127-credit program includes 36 major, 46 electives, and 36 general education credits. All students must complete three courses in the school's unique Kirkpatrick Signature Series. Learners also enjoy access to the Bellevue Writing Center, tutoring, and Study Skills Center.

Classes start throughout the year and, in turn, applications are continuously accepted. Bellevue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

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8 Champlain College 64.89 5/5 64% Burlington, VT

Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont was founded in 1878 and started offering online degree programs in the mid-1990s. Its online BS in cybersecurity is an experiential learning program offering simulations through a virtual laboratory. Unlike many of its peers, this program focuses on problem-solving rather than student testing. Learners can also earn a certificate prior to graduation, which may be in subjects such as computer forensics and digital investigations, computer networking, cybersecurity, Linux administration, or system administration.

This asynchronous internet security degree requires 120 credits, and up to 90 may be transferred. Credit for professional experience and training is available. This program costs $641 per credit hour, and courses are typically seven weeks long (some are 15 weeks). A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required for admission. The school requires no application fee and provides students with six start dates per year. Champlain is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and is designated a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The school is also recognized as a DC3 National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

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9 Kennesaw State University 64.09 3/5 42% Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State University's information assurance degree online is administered by the Cole College of Business. This BBA degree -- a bachelor of business administration in information security and assurance -- requires business electives (such as finance and marketing), general education credits, and information security courses. Courses focus on topics including server systems security to perimeter defense, and aim to provide students with real-world experience to analyze and secure information systems.

Online and on-site courses employ the same faculty. Online courses are reviewed every three years to keep content current. Some online courses require synchronous sessions, which are generally held during evenings, and KSU charges an e-tuition rate by the credit hour. Grants and scholarships are available, and online students enjoy priority registration. KSU is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

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10 Saint Leo University 62.50 3/5 43% Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo, Florida is home to Saint Leo University. Founded in 1889 as the first Catholic college in the state, today the school's online study body consists of nearly 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Saint Leo's BS in computer science with an information assurance specialization provides students with skills such as computer forensics; internet, intranet, and network security; and penetration testing.

This information assurance degree online is administered asynchronously, and students can join online clubs and organizations like the school's Computing Club and Computer Gamers Club. Peer mentoring, an assigned student advisor, and free tutoring are also provided. There are six eight-week terms per year, and the school employs a rolling admissions system. High achieving students may be invited to the Saint Leo's Omnicron Chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international honor society for computing and information systems scholars.

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11 Dakota State University 61.25 3/5 42% Madison, SD

Located in Madison, Dakota State University's BS in network and security administration is available fully online. Some courses are taught synchronously, however. Collaboration between online and on-campus students is encouraged with the assignment of shared projects. Classes are small, and typically number under 25 participants. Students within this network security program learn skills and best practices within networking, cyber security, virtualization, and forensics. A virtual laboratory allows students to practice defensive hacking and network forensics.

The program requires 120 credit hours and DSU uses a "self-support rate," so students pay by the hour rather than a flat semester rate. The program also requires a few administrative fees. Financial aid and scholarships are available to online students registered for a minimum of six credit hours. DSU uses the Desire2Learn online learning platform and offers spring, summer, and fall start dates.

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12 Wilmington University 57.16 3/5 34% New Castle, DE

Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware offers 90 fully online degrees, concentrations, and certifications. Courses within its online BS in computer and network security are delivered in semester (15 weeks) or block (seven weeks) format. The program includes general education requirements, a support core, and security core. If students earn lower than a "C-" in a required course, it must be retaken. This network security program instructs students on the ethical standards of data, best practices and methods, and the application of technical knowledge. It provides credentials in digital information security and qualifies students for these certifications: Certified Information System Auditor, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Security+, and CompTIA Network+.

Students have the option to complete six credit hours as part of a co-op assignment. The school allows learners to transfer up to 90 credits and credit for prior learning is available. WilmU is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

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13 Lewis University 56.82 3/5 59% Romeoville, IL

A Catholic institution located in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University offers its students an online BS in information security and risk management. This accelerated, asynchronous information systems security program imparts management theory and technical knowledge to students in the areas of ethical hacking, computer forensics, IT operations, and security incidents. It prepares students for industry certifications such as security+, certified information systems security professional, certified ethical hacker, certified information systems auditor, certified information security manager, and access data certified forensics examiner. Students enjoy 24/7 online access to Lewis's CloudLab, where learners use virtual machines to experiment with database management, hacking, forensics, programming, and more.

Students can choose to pursue a fast-track master's in information security by adding 26 credit hours to their program (which also increases their studies by approximately 18 months). Lewis is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

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14 Davenport University 56.70 3/5 40% Grand Rapids, MI

In 1866, Davenport University was established as a business school in Grand Rapids, Michigan by a former Union Army officer. Today, the school offers 50 degrees fully online, and online students comprise 42% of DU's student body. DU offers an online BS in cyber defense degree program to teach students how to protect data from threats, prevent hacking, and secure cyber networks and activity. Students can choose to add a healthcare information and assurance or information assurance specialty to their internet security degree. A math modeling program may also be combined with a selected specialty. This 120 credit program includes 45 major credits, and courses focus on topics including Perl/Python scripting, the Unix operating system, and Windows digital forensics. Course credit for some professional certifications is available, along with financial aid and scholarships.

DU is one of 13 schools in the United States designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Defense Cyber Crime Center Academic Cyber Curriculum Alliance. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security also recognize DU as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

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15 Mercy College 54.20 3/5 34% Dobbs Ferry, NY

Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York is a Christian college that offers learners around 40 internet-based programs, including its information assurance degree online. The school's BS in cybersecurity is part of the college's School of Liberal Arts and requires the completion of 120 credits. These include 60 credits in general education, 48 in the cybersecurity core, and 12 in electives. The program includes courses on topics such as penetration testing and ethical hacking, forensic and electronic discovery, and cryptography and computer security. Students who have completed the program are equipped to identify risks; design, develop, and implement secure systems; and understand information encryption and decryption.

A dual degree program with a BS and MS is also available, and takes five years to complete (the BS alone generally requires four years). Students may transfer up to 90 credits. Mercy's online students enjoy access to financial aid, an online learning center, advising, and career services.

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