Cybersecurity, also known as computer security or information technology security, is the study of the tools and systems used to monitor, mitigate, and prevent online threats. Cybersecurity professionals use innovative technology to combat hackers, cyberterrorists, network outages, and other technical problems that could compromise network security. Due to the growing reliance on web technology in homes and workplaces, this fast-paced profession has enjoyed increasing demand over the past two decades. Today, the U.S. government maintains the National Cybersecurity Division under the Department of Homeland Security. Moreover, the Internet Crime Complaint Center comprises personnel from the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Most cybersecurity careers require only a bachelor's degree. Some schools offer standalone cybersecurity programs, but most offer cybersecurity as a specialization or concentration of a broader major, such as criminal justice, information technology, or network administration. Often, cybersecurity programs facilitate internship opportunities for their students, allowing learners to spend time at practical worksites where they receive supervised training from experienced professionals.

Today, many students choose to earn their bachelor's in cybersecurity online. The best online cybersecurity programs equip students with the knowledge and skills to launch their careers. Most web-based education programs operate on an asynchronous format, which works particularly well for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, or other commitments that make it difficult to attend on-campus classes.

Read on to learn more about cybersecurity as an academic discipline, and to discover what professional opportunities you can pursue with a degree in the field.

Will an Online Cybersecurity Bachelor's Program Provide Me with the Skills I Need to Advance My Career?

Distance learners who enroll in online cybersecurity programs learn the fundamentals of cybercrime and digital forensics. They learn about best practice methods and strategies for defending networks and information systems, along with the latest platforms used to track and monitor illicit online activities. Students also become proficient in subjects like math, computer programming, and information technology.

Will an Online Cybersecurity Bachelor's Program Work with My Schedule?

Online bachelor's in cybersecurity programs offer flexible alternatives to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Students can access course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with professors on their own schedule. Current technology enables to study from anywhere, and for additional convenience, online students often coordinate internships at sites near their residence.

What Jobs Can I Get with My Cybersecurity Bachelor's Degree?

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity qualify for most entry-level positions in the field, plus some managerial roles normally reserved for candidates who have completed a four-year education. Common careers for cybersecurity degree holders include data analyst, software developer, network administrator, and digital forensics professional.

What are the Best Online Cybersecurity Bachelor's Programs?

The following school ranking should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online cybersecurity programs in the United States. If you want to pursue a degree in cybersecurity, and you value the opportunity to study online, read on to learn more about the top online cybersecurity programs in the country.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

WGU was established in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors seeking to redesign traditional higher education. WGU's BS in information technology -- security is an online security program consisting of five areas of study: systems and services, networking and security, data management, scripting and programming, and the IT business. Students pursuing the security emphasis must also demonstrate competencies by passing certification exams, including the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification and the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification. At the end of this cybersecurity online degree, students complete a capstone project and develop a portfolio.

Among the online resources for students at WGU are e-textbooks, web-based tutorials, simulations, and learning communities. The school is also known for its affordability, noting that tuition is about half that of other online institutions.

2 Excelsior College Albany, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Excelsior College, located in Albany, New York, has a student body of approximately 39,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs ranging from healthcare and business administration to criminal justice and cybersecurity. The institution provides educational opportunity to adult learners, especially those underrepresented in higher education.

The school's BS in cybersecurity has three options -- a general cybersecurity track; a cyber operations concentration, in which students acquire the knowledge needed to solve cyber incidents; and a healthcare concentration, in which students acquire specialized cybersecurity skills to address the regulatory needs of the industry. In all three, students receive training in areas such as cyberattacks and defenses, computer forensics, cryptography, and risk management. Students engage in hands-on applications via simulations, exercises, and labs in cybersecurity. Excelsior's cybersecurity degree is rigorous with input from industry leaders, has affordable tuition and low student fees, and is flexible with online classes that accommodate students' schedules.

This cybersecurity degree online meets the academic requirements for cybersecurity set by the National Security Agency.

3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

A world-class education with a solid Christian foundation awaits students attending LU. The school's catalog of degree programs is extensive and includes 120 bachelor's and 97 master's degrees, many of which are delivered 100% online. LU's BS in information technology -- data networking and security online program prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the field of data security.

Taught from a biblical worldview, this online cybersecurity degree covers topics such as cybersecurity, network security, and Web architecture and security. Industry leaders teach courses that provide students with hands-on experience via projects with real-world applications. Online academic support is available for distance learners, including an online library, interlibrary loan, access to databases, study aids, and writing resources. LU notes that it offers low tuition rates in addition to flexible payment plans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid.

4 Wilmington University New Castle, DE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Wilmington University, located in Delaware, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 18,000 students. The school has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security; its bachelor of science (BS) in computer and network security (CNS) meets both agencies' rigorous standards.

Students in this online cybersecurity degree program specialize in digital information security, information assurance, and computer forensics. The coursework includes study in cyberlaw, networks and communications, and web and data security. Graduates are prepared for positions as security technicians, security analysts, and security auditors. CNS students will be qualified to sit for industry certifications such as CISA and CISSP. The school has a degree completion program in which students who have completed an associate degree at an accredited institution can transfer credits toward the BS.

5 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

UIS enrolls about 5,000 students each year at four colleges that offer 31 bachelor's and 20 master's degree programs. The school's top bachelor's programs are computer science, business administration, psychology, accountancy, biology, and criminology and criminal justice. UIS's BS in information systems security prepares students in the design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics.

In this online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, students learn cutting-edge technologies and use labs to hone their skills. Having completed the degree program, students are expected to know the critical aspects of information systems security; demonstrate best practices; and develop secure systems. Among the entry requirements for this program are a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and two semesters of Java programming. UIS notes its affordability, with about 70% of students receiving financial aid and a scholarship program with approximately 100 scholarships.

6 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 13%

Established in 1966, Bellevue University holds regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 80 academic programs, including distance education options like its online bachelor of science in cybersecurity. This program trains students in the fundamentals of computer programming and information technology, preparing them for graduate studies or careers in this rapidly growing field. The 127-credit degree plan consists of topics like secure access control and cryptography. Students complete 55 elective credits, allowing them to tailor their education to match their career goals.

All major requirements can be completed remotely through asynchronous courses. Students can choose from a traditional, course-by-course structure or an accelerated cohort format with nine-week classes. All distance learners pay the same tuition; this, combined with ample scholarship opportunities, makes Bellevue one of the best online cybersecurity degree programs in terms of its affordability.

7 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Founded by the Keiser family in 1977, Keiser University serves approximately 20,000 students at campuses in 18 Florida metropolitan areas, campuses in China and Nicaragua, and through its e-campus headquartered in Fort Lauderdale. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral degrees in more than 100 fields. Keiser's BS in cyber forensics/information security is a completion program for students who have graduated with an associate degree in computer-related fields.

In this online degree in cybersecurity program, students acquire the technical and investigative skills needed to detect cyber crimes and provide solutions to thwart attacks. Students take coursework in areas such as IT planning, disaster preparedness, network forensics, cyber crimes, and defense and countermeasures.

Keiser touts small class sizes, hands-on learning, and students take one class at a time for four weeks, eliminating coursework overload. Through its foundation, Keiser offers scholarships to academic and needs-based students.

8 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

WGU was established in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors seeking to redesign traditional higher education. WGU's BS in information technology -- security is an online security program consisting of five areas of study: systems and services, networking and security, data management, scripting and programming, and the IT business. Students pursuing the security emphasis must also demonstrate competencies by passing certification exams, including the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification and the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification. At the end of this cybersecurity online degree, students complete a capstone project and develop a portfolio.

Among the online resources for students at WGU are e-textbooks, web-based tutorials, simulations, and learning communities. The school is also known for its affordability, noting that tuition is about half that of other online institutions.

9 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 10%

UMUC provides students with a career-relevant and affordable education whether they take classes at any one of the sites across the Maryland region, online or via a combination thereof. Most of the institution's students are working professionals, and thus flexible scheduling is a hallmark of the institution's programming. Among the school's offerings are three online cybersecurity programs.

The BS in computer networks and cybersecurity program teaches students the procedures and technologies "to design, implement, administer, secure, and troubleshoot corporate networks." The BS in cybersecurity management and policy program prepares professionals with the skills necessary to protect organizations' cyber infrastructure and assets. Students in the BS in software development and security acquire the technical and leadership skills to be well-versed in programming languages and successful in software development and security settings.

Students have access to flexible transfer credit policies and fast track earning credentials at the University of Maryland University College.

10 Champlain College Burlington, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

A small private college overlooking Lake Champlain and Burlington in Vermont, Champlain College offers 30 bachelor's and 24 graduate degrees to students via campuses in Burlington, Montreal, Canada, Dublin, Ireland, and online. The school delivers degree programs in an accelerated seven- and eight-week online course format, facilitating quicker completion of degrees. Transferring into an online bachelor's program at Champlain is easy, with up to 90 credits transferrable.

Champlain's BS in cybersecurity prepares graduates highly skilled in protecting organizations' digital assets from security breaches. This online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity incorporates experiential learning as students study areas such as digital forensics investigation techniques, security scripting with python, cloud computing security, and ethical hacking. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to earn certificates in any of five areas of specialization: computer forensics & digital investigations, cybersecurity, computer networking, system administration, or Linux administration. Champlain notes that its online programs are rigorous, interactive, offer 24/7 access, and students have the support of an academic advisor, a career advisor, and guidance or tutoring to help them succeed.

11 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Southern New Hampshire University enrolls more than 80,000 distance learners every year in its degree programs, such as its online bachelor of science in information technologies - cyber security. Totaling 120 credits, the curriculum highlights human contributions in information protection and trains students about the best practices needed to create and manage security defense networks. This cybersecurity online degree plan includes courses like database design, computer platform technologies, and cyberlaw and ethics. SNHU graduates possess the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to join this growing field and pursue positions as software engineers, policy analysts, and more.

SNHU boasts one of the lowest online tuition rates in the U.S. Additionally, students may transfer in up to 90 credits toward degree completion, further reducing costs. The university offers six entry dates every year and makes admission decisions on a rolling basis.

12 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Located in New Britain, Connecticut, Charter Oak State College is Connecticut's public online college offering "degrees with no boundaries." Through the institution, adults can complete their bachelor's, master's, and associate degrees in fields such as business, public safety, healthcare, and information systems. Students can do so exclusively by taking affordable and accelerated online courses at Charter Oak, or by combining courses and credits from Charter Oak with those earned at other institutions.

The school's BS in cybersecurity is designed for those with a background in computer technology and have an aptitude for information technology. This online cybersecurity degree program prepares students with the skills and training in IT security, information assurance, cybersecurity, and information security systems. A three-credit Cornerstone Seminar is required and is usually taken during students' first term. A cybersecurity capstone project is also required of students preparing to graduate from this program, and they must earn a grade of "C" or higher; both the seminar and capstone require an academic residency.

13 Lewis University Romeoville, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

An institution with a Catholic and Lasallian heritage, Lewis University has 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 80 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs. Located in Illinois, Lewis has a diverse student body, small interactive classes, accommodates working professionals, and is affordable, with 97% of students receiving some form of financial aid.

The school's accelerated bachelor's in computer science (offered as BA and BS degrees) prepares students with skills in programming, networking, and cybersecurity. The online BS program includes a cybersecurity operations concentration in which students learn how to protect computers, networks, and data stores. This online cybersecurity degree concentration includes study in database systems, cloud computing, computer security and encryption, and digital forensics. Among program requirements is a software systems capstone project or computer infrastructure capstone project. In order to be admitted to this accelerated program, adult students must have a minimum of 30 semester hours of transferable credit with a minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA.

14 Dakota State University Madison, SD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

An academically rigorous four-year institution located in South Dakota, DSU has more than 35 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students for work in various fields. DSU's virtual classroom is powered by the Desire2Learn course management system. Among the institution's distance learning offerings is the 100% online bachelor of science in network and security administration.

The curriculum focuses on cybersecurity, forensics, virtualization, networking, and business management. This online cybersecurity degree's virtual and physical labs make the program unique. The labs can be used by students to practice network set-ups; use routers, switches, VoIP phones, etc., to practice configurations; and safely practice defensive hacking and network forensics. The school also offers an online BS in cyber operations in which students learn programming and networking, reverse engineering, how to analyze malware and exploit software, and use the unique "hacking lab" to learn how hackers think and how to thwart their missions.

15 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

A comprehensive global research university, Drexel serves approximately 25,000 students through its three Philadelphia campuses, regional sites, and Drexel Online. Drexel's bachelor's and master's degree programs are rigorous, technology-infused, and incorporate experiential learning. The school's BS in computing and security technology is designed for professionals already employed in information technology, working adults with an associate degree, or those who have completed approximately two years of college. Emphasizing hands-on education, this cybersecurity degree online offers a concentration in computing security or computing technology.

The computing security concentration includes study in computer forensics, network security, access control and intrusion detection technology, and security defense countermeasures. The program is divided into four 10-week quarters per year, making time for students to take more courses. Among the resources that online students have access to are an enrollment counselor, academic advisor, 24/7 tech support, online access to Drexel University's W.W. Hagerty Library, and the school's Steinbright Career Center.

16 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, DU serves undergraduate and graduate students with more than 50 programs in fields such as business, healthcare, technology, and arts and sciences.

DU's BS in cyber defense focuses on developing students' knowledge and skills in protecting organizations' data from internal and external threats. There are three areas of specialization in this online degree in cybersecurity: healthcare information and assurance, in which students study health regulations and standards, including data governance compliance; information assurance, in which students are trained in disaster recovery of electronic data, cryptography, and wireless networking and security; and an optional speciality of math modelling, with courses such as Calculus I and II and in which students learn applied modeling applications. DU is a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

16 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

A dynamic New York City area college with a diverse student population, Mercy College offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs within its five schools. The BS in cybersecurity at Mercy prepares cybersecurity professionals to implement security software and technologies to fortify organizations' information systems from cyber attacks, recover data after disasters, and conduct regular compliance audits. They will also be prepared to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification exam.

This degree program is one of the online cybersecurity degree programs in which students can earn a dual degree. Students may apply for the BS and master of science dual degree during their junior or senior year, culminating in the earning of both credentials in five years.

18 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 32%

OSUIT is a leader in applied technology education with state-of-the-art teaching facilities, partnerships with businesses, and a career placement rate for students of almost 100%. Students in the bachelor of technology in information technologies -- cybersecurity and digital forensicsoption, learn how to maintain a secure network through technical controls and policies, assess computer and network security weaknesses, implement appropriate measures for those vulnerabilities, and investigate cyber activities. This workforce-oriented, industry-driven cybersecurity degree is available both face-to- face and online. Students engage in hands-on learning in this technology-intensive and application-focused program. Admittance requires students to have completed an AAS degree or higher at OSUIT or any accredited institution.

In order to earn this degree, students need to have a minimum cumulative graduation/retention GPA of 2.5 and a earn a grade of "C" or higher in each technical course.

19 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

Saint Leo University is a top-ranked liberal arts school in Florida with education centers in seven states scattered across the U.S. and regionally accredited online programs. The Catholic institution serves about 16,000 students and is a leading provider of higher education to those serving in the U.S. military. Saint Leo has been serving online learners since 1990 and now has a full catalog of undergraduate and graduate degree programs delivered online.

Among them is a BS in cybersecurity program in which students study cybersecurity, computer and network protection controls, and how to implement and maintain security devices, systems. They also learn security tools and technologies used by cybersecurity professionals. In addition, students who enroll in this online degree in cybersecurity have access to two fully equipped computer labs in which they can hone computer programming skills and a computer networks and information assurance lab.

20 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Located near Pittsburgh, RMU offers a number of degree programs online, including a BS in cyber forensics and information security that is taught by faculty with real-world experience and combines business, technology, organizational behavior, and law. The cybersecurity degree online is at the forefront of educational programs teaching students the techniques used in the field to detect, provide solutions for, and prevent network intrusions. The program provides students with study in concentration areas such as cyberlaw, digital evidence analysis, IT security, and network forensics.

Students in RMU's online programs have access to a financial aid counselor, student counselor, career advisor, wellness counselor, and 24-hour technology support. RMU offers low tuition rates, flexible payment plans, and comprehensive financial aid. Military veterans are eligible for generous college benefits.

21 Baker College Flint, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 15%

Michigan-based Baker College prepares its students with the education and training coveted by today's employers in fields as diverse as auto diesel and agricultural technologies to business management and computer technologies. The institution also offers degree programs that are 100% online and accessible 24/7. The school's BS in cyber defense develops students' education and training in information technology and security, with a concentration in cyber defense. In this online degree in cybersecurity, students learn how to protect hardware, software, networking, and operating systems. Study areas include security design, security policies and auditing, legal and ethical issues, and an internship in a business or technical environment.

All online students are required to become oriented to the Baker classroom via a three-week online class that outlines expectations and requirements. One of Baker's notables is that graduates are eligible for Lifetime Employment Services, in which they are assisted with finding job postings, honing job searching techniques, and writing cover letter and resumes.

22 Norwich University Northfield, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Located in Northfield, Vermont, and established as the first private military college in the U.S., Norwich University combines liberal arts studies with hands-on learning experiences to create career-relevant academic programs, many of which can be accessed remotely. This includes its online bachelor of science in cybersecurity, which emphasizes project-based assignments to help students create defenses and countermeasures against cyber crime. Course topics include Linux administration, management of organizations, and a capstone seminar and project. Students customize their degree plans by choosing from guided electives and specializing in either information warfare and security management or computer forensics and vulnerability management.

As a degree-completion track, Norwich’s cybersecurity online degree program requires students to transfer in at least 30 credits. Those who transfer 90 credits (the maximum number allowed) can earn their BS in just two years. Distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of where they live, and active military students receive a further discount.

23 Franklin University Columbus, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 12%

Since 1902, Franklin University has worked to help students pursue their educational objectives while maintaining professional and personal lives. All of Franklin's degree programs are available online, including the bachelor of science in cybersecurity, which prepares students for careers protecting the data of businesses, organizations, and government agencies from security threats and hackers. Core areas of study in this online cybersecurity degree program include security architecture, risk management compliance, disaster recovery, and an information security capstone project. Courses are designed and taught by professionals from the field.

Among the benefits of Franklin are flexible scheduling, a transfer option of up to 94 semester hours to the program, competitive rates and tuition assistance, and services and resources -- including tutoring and workshops -- provided by the Student Learning Center to both on-campus and online students.

24 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Roger Williams University is a Rhode Island-based institution working to develop students who are community- and globally-minded via learning that is project-based and experiential. The School of Continuing Studies offers online degree programs in a wide range of areas, including a BS in cybersecurity and networking. The degree provides students with the education and training businesses needed to combat hacking and internal threats to their data systems. The cybersecurity online degree delves into the study of computing and technology related to TCP/IP networking, telecommunication, and computer security.

At the completion of the program graduates will have the hands-on mastery of computers, switches, routers, and other technologies and be able to recover digital assets from hardware and network sources. Students may transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited two-year or four-year college. The school notes its affordability with 97% of new students receiving financial aid.

25 Limestone College Gaffney, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Established in 1845, Limestone College is a liberal arts institution located in Gaffney, South Carolina. Courses are offered in eight-week terms, six terms per year, during which students can take two courses each term to accelerate completion of a degree.

Limestone's BS in computer science with a concentration in computer and information systems security includes study in network security, security architecture and design, information security and risk management, and a capstone project in which students plan and develop a project in conjunction with the concentration. During this cybersecurity degree online, students are prepared to take industry certification exams such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Check Point Certified Security Administrator. The school offers affordable tuition in addition to flexible transfer of college credit from accredited institutions.

Timeline 2-4 years
Program Costs $8,000-$25,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study Information technology, network administration, digital forensics, homeland security, computer science, software/hardware engineering, criminal justice, law enforcement
Accreditation There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional or national accreditation of their four-year college or university.
Additional Considerations Most colleges and universities offer cybersecurity as a specialization or concentration for bachelor's degree programs in broader fields, such as information technology, computer science, or law enforcement.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity

Cyberoperations

A cyberoperations concentration prepares students for work in a security operations center, gathering evidence against cyberthreats. Cybersecurity training online may also prepare students for security engineering specialist positions, such as cybersecurity system operations consulting. The concentration includes coursework on topics such as threat analysis and cyberoperational planning.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Operations research analyst, operations research, information security analyst

Healthcare

Some colleges offer a healthcare concentration within their cybersecurity degree; the concentration encompasses specific network security needs in a healthcare setting. Industry-specific online cybersecurity coursework addresses topics such as applying and enforcing the rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) when transmitting and processing electronic medical records.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Information security analyst, computer security specialist

Digital Forensics

A digital forensics concentration serves students interested in this growing field. Students gain the skills to specialize in digital incident investigation. Coursework investigates digital evidence extraction and analysis techniques, plus the theory, system design, and communication strategies underlying these techniques.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Criminal justice and saw enforcement postsecondary teacher, operations analyst, operations research analyst, computer security specialist

Information Assurance

An information assurance management concentration encompasses the skills and techniques for ensuring the protection, integrity, and availability of information in a system. Students leave this concentration prepared to work in information assurance in IT or cybersecurity. Coursework may address topics such as information technology, operations management, and risk assessment.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Information security analyst, computer programmer, criminal justice and law enforcement postsecondary teacher

Cybersecurity Management and Policy

Many colleges offer cybersecurity management and policy as a concentration within a cybersecurity degree. The concentration tailors to students who want to hold security operations management positions within business or law-related environments. Coursework may address topics such as operations management, organizational psychology, and ethics in information technology.

Careers This Concentration Prepares For: Computer security specialist, information security specialist, computer and information system manager

Sample Courses for an Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Program

Online cybersecurity degree courses vary by college, as do concentration offerings. However, most programs include certain common foundational courses. The following list represents a typical roster of cybersecurity courses online.

Sample Courses for an Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Program

Online cybersecurity degree courses vary by college, as do concentration offerings. However, most programs include certain common foundational courses. The following list represents a typical roster of cybersecurity courses online.

  • Introduction to Digital Forensics: Most cybersecurity programs offer an introductory course on digital forensics, covering techniques for extracting and analyzing evidence for cybercrime on computers and mobile devices. Students also study modern forensic theory and ethics, and how they apply to digital incident investigation.
  • Firewalls and Network Security: A course in firewalls and network security teaches students about network security devices that protect computer networks from cybersecurity threats. Topics may include penetration testing and cryptography. Some courses require students to perform a penetration test on a network security device of the teacher's choice.
  • Principles and Practice of Information Security: In this course, students learn the system design theory and practice underlying information assurance services. The course prepares learners for work in IT, with cybersecurity training online addressing access control, protocols, cryptography, and secure software development. The course also covers ethical and legal concerns in information assurance.
  • Networks and Telecommunications: Most cybersecurity degrees incorporate an in-depth course in networks and telecommunications. Course topics encompass broad disciplines such as networking, internetworking, voice communications, and industry standards. The course also discusses how to maintain the integrity, reliability, and confidentiality of information sent over various networks and communication channels.
  • Python: Your cybersecurity online courses may cover common programming languages such as Python. Students learn how to represent and store data using Python, and use conditionals and loops to control applications. Some courses may welcome entry-level learners to programming, while others require prerequisite coursework or experience with other programming languages.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity?

The length of your online bachelor's in cybersecurity can vary according to several factors. Part-time students typically take longer to complete their degrees. Degrees following a cohort model may guarantee you complete your degree within an accelerated time frame, provided you maintain satisfactory progress. Since you must work alongside your classmates together, culminating with a group project, you can expect to complete a cohort-model program within the school's prescribed time period. However, these programs allow only limited flexibility. Individually paced programs allow you to take as many or as few courses as you want each semester. Finally, accelerated programs take less time than conventional, full-time programs do. An online bachelor's in cybersecurity generally comprises about 30 credits, and takes approximately two years to complete.

Skills and Competencies Gained in an Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Program

The skills you gain in your online cybersecurity degree may vary, depending on your school. Each online cybersecurity program creates its own areas of emphasis in coursework. However, the following list of skills represents core competencies you should gain from any accredited online bachelor's in cybersecurity.

Network Security
Students learn about network security as part of a cybersecurity degree. This encompasses skills such as setting up firewalls and determining their efficacy with penetration testing.
Digital Forensics
In the field of digital forensics, students learn to use special software and engineering skills to extract and analyze digital evidence of cybercrime. They may also learn how to properly present it to a court of law.
Software Development
A cybersecurity degree imparts skills in secure software development and deployment. Students may receive the opportunity to develop their own cybersecurity software as a culminating project.
Information Assurance
A cybersecurity degree may emphasize expertise in the protection, integrity, and availability of information in computer systems. Students gain skills in monitoring and maintaining the system architecture safeguarding this information.
Python
Your cybersecurity training online often encompasses one or more common programming or scripting languages, such as Python. You may also gain skills in effectively writing and manipulating code.

Additional Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Network Security

Your online bachelor's in cybersecurity may entail a culminating capstone or thesis. Theses tend to focus on research-oriented work, while capstone projects may feature a more open-ended format. Programs following a cohort model often culminate in a capstone rather than a thesis. A thesis could mandate that you to write a research paper on a contemporary topic in cybersecurity, while a capstone may require you to design, test, and report on a specific network security device. Some programs may call for an internship or practicum in a cybersecurity, information assurance, or cyberoperations-related position.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Prepares For

  • CompTIA Security+: CompTIA's Security+ certification addresses topics such as threat analysis, risk mitigation, and knowledge of IT-related policy and law. The exam comprises 90 multiple-choice, performance-based questions, administered in 90 minutes. It costs $339, and certification remains valid for three years. Holders renew their certification by obtaining 50 credits of continuing education.
  • CompTIA CySA+: CompTIA's cybersecurity analyst certification measures competency in advanced cybersecurity topics, such as data analysis and threat detection tool configuration. The exam costs $349 and comprises 85 multiple-choice, performance-based questions, administered in 165 minutes. The certification remains valid for three years. Holders renew their certification through 60 credits of continuing education.
  • Certified Information Security Manager: The Information Systems Audit and Control Association offers several certification options to information security and cybersecurity professionals. The four-hour CISM exam consists of 200 questions. Applicants must hold five years of information security professional experience as a prerequisite. Holders renew their certificate every three years with 120 hours of continuing education.

Job Placement

Cybersecurity is projected to grow significantly over the next decade, giving professionals in the field a relatively strong employment outlook. Growth projections vary markedly between positions, as demonstrated by the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Using BLS data, the following table lists industry growth expectations from 2016 through 2026.

Occupation Projected Industry Growth (2014-24) Projected Change in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 6% 24,000
Computer Systems Analysts 9% 54,400
Operations Research Analysts 27% 31,300
Information Security Analysts 28% 28,500
Software Developers 24% 302,500

As the table indicates, all five cybersecurity-related occupations listed above are expected to grow substantially between 2016 and 2026. By comparison, the BLS notes the projected growth rate across all industries as 13%.

Occupation Median Salary for Entry-Level Median Salary for Mid-Career Median Salary for Experienced Median Salary for Late-Career
Computer Security Specialist $61,000 $91,000 $92,000 $101,000
Information Security Analyst $63,000 $82,000 $89,000 $91,000
Computer Programmer $52,000 $68,000 $78,000 $89,000
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary $36,000 $44,000 $50,000 $53,000
Operations Analyst $51,000 $57,000 $60,000 $64,000

Source: PayScale

In all five of the occupations listed above, employees can expect their salaries to grow by more than 25% over the course of their career. Computer programmers see the highest growth rate, at 71% between the entry-level and late-career marks. Computer security specialists, however, earn the highest late-career salaries.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who successfully complete an online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity qualify for dozens of entry-level and mid-level jobs. Below, we've covered four of the most common professional pathways for graduates with a cybersecurity degree.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators: These professionals oversee network activities, operations, and traffic. They install different types of networks, including local area networks and wide area networks. They also install upgrades and conduct required maintenance tasks on existing systems.

Computer Systems Analysts: Computer systems analysts create computing systems on behalf of their client or organization. They must research the organization's day-to-day operations to create efficient and sustainable systems. They also design systems using different techniques, including data modeling.

Operations Research Analysts: These professionals employ various mathematical and analytical methods to determine the most efficient, cost-effective operations for a company or organization. Many of these analysts specialize in a specific area of operations, such as finance, marketing, recruitment, or logistics.

Information Security Analysts: Information security analysts create the software programs and tools used to safeguard organizational networks and computer systems from ongoing outside threats. They also investigate security breaches, and perform system upgrades to deter future attacks. According to the BLS, roughly 25% of current information security analysts work more than 40 hours per week.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $81,100
Computer Systems Analysts $88,270
Operations Research Analysts $81,390
Information Security Analysts $95,510

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity often go on to pursue their master's. For more information about graduate opportunities, please visit our Guide to Online Emergency Management Master's Programs.

Professional Organizations

Making connections and learning as much as you can about cybersecurity is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for cybersecurity professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but plenty of overlooked financing options can help you reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA marks a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown of the process, including answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, plus the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs provide a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning their degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Sourcefire Snort Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High school seniors and undergraduates pursuing or planning to pursue a major related to computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity may apply for this scholarship. Students with relatives employed by Cisco may not apply. Applicants must possess a high school diploma at the time of Cisco's receipt of their application.

Amount: $10,000

View Scholarship
Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Women majoring in a computer science- or technology-related major may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit a resume with references, and complete a series of short essay questions on topics such as their interest in a STEM degree and their plans upon graduation.

Amount: $10,000

View Scholarship
Center for Cyber Safety and Education Undergraduate Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The CCSE offers this scholarship to undergraduate students in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year of pursuing a cybersecurity-related major. Applicants must hold a minimum GPA of 3.3, and attend a U.S. college or university. They do not need to have U.S. citizenship.

Amount: $5,000

View Scholarship
The Peter Jasin Association of Former Intelligence Officers Endowment

Who Can Apply: Undergraduates and graduates in intelligence-related disciplines, such as cyberoperations, may apply for this scholarship. Students must plan to pursue a career in the U.S. intelligence community, and present proof of attending courses in topics such as intelligence, foreign affairs, and national security studies. Students with knowledge of in-demand languages receive preference.

Amount: $4,000

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The Colonel Sully H. De Fontaine Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: Undergraduates in and graduates of intelligence-related majors, such as cyberoperations, may apply for this scholarship, which honors Col. de Fontaine's lifetime of service. Applicants must demonstrate interest in a career with the U.S. intelligence community. The scholarship gives preference to students with knowledge of in-demand languages.

Amount: $2,000

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Information Systems Security Association Education Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The ISSA offers scholarships to undergraduates and graduates pursuing careers in information assurance and cybersecurity. Applicants must present a minimum GPA of 2.5, full-time enrollment at an accredited U.S. college or university, and a cover letter describing their interests and career plans. Candidates must complete a phone interview with a scholarship committee member.

Amount: $500-$3,500

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Stokes Educational Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Applicants must intend to attend computer or electrical engineering-related majors such as cybersecurity. Successful participation results in full employment by the NSA for three months every summer. Upon completion of their degree, the awardee must remain employed with the NSA for a set period of time, 1.5 times the length of their sponsored studies.

Amount: $30,000

View Scholarship
Navy Information Assurance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The U.S. Navy offers full tuition scholarships for undergraduates interested in an information assurance career. Post-graduation, awardees receive a stipend, and must complete at least one year of civil or military service for each sponsored year. Service members need not complete more than four years of service.

Amount: Varies

View Scholarship

Rankings Archive

Best Online Cybersecurity Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
2 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
3 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME
4 Dakota State University Madison, SD
5 Franklin University Columbus, OH
6 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
7 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
8 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
9 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
10 Excelsior College Albany, NY
11 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
12 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
13 Champlain College Burlington, VT
14 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
15 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI
16 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
17 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
18 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK
19 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
20 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
21 Baker College Flint, MI
22 Utica College Utica, NY
23 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
24 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD
25 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT
Best Online Cybersecurity Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
2 University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD
3 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
4 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
5 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
7 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
8 Pennsylvania State University - Berks Reading, PA
9 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
10 Dakota State University Madison, SD
11 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
12 Champlain College Burlington, VT
13 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
14 Baker College of Port Huron Port Huron, MI
15 Utica College Utica, NY