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.
Choosing a Program
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.
Accredited Online Cybersecurity Programs
|1||Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Based in Salt Lake City, UT, Western Governors University delivers 14 degree options for remote learners, including an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity and information assurance. The university creates its curricula with direct input from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. In addition to a comprehensive education that aligns with industry standards, WGU students also gain the knowledge needed to sit for certification exams from CompTIA and the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.
Totaling 120 credits, the degree plan consists of core classes like IT applications, web development foundations, and information systems security. Students also take on business topics, including project management, technical communication, and managing information security. Distance learners round out their undergraduate training with a written capstone project. Here, students work with faculty mentors to create technical work proposals, including plans for implementation and post-project assessment.
Unlike other online cybersecurity degrees, WGU operates a competency-based education format that allows students to master course materials at their own pace. The university also offers a generous transfer policy, and the average student earns 37 credits for prior learning and work experience. With adequate transfer hours and a dedicated work ethic, distance learners can earn their baccalaureate credentials in 6-18 months.
To apply, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in key IT skills through a relevant associate degree, professional certification, three years of work experience, or completion of upper-level IT coursework. All online students pay one affordable tuition rate.
|2||Colorado State University-Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Powered by Blackboard Learn, Colorado State University delivers 12 online bachelor's degrees. Options include business management, criminal justice, health administration, information technology, and management information systems and business analytics. CSU Global also offers students the option to pursue a cybersecurity specialization. Cybersecurity represents one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States. These professionals evaluate network vulnerabilities, implement security systems, and train a company's employees in information best practices.
To earn their accredited online cybersecurity degree, CSU students accumulate at least 120 credits. On top of general education topics and major classes, candidates take 15 credits in the specialization. Classes include introduction to cybersecurity and digital crime, ethical hacking and penetration testing, and digital forensics and investigations. Students also examine the legal issues surrounding access control, user privacy, and policy enforcement in an organizational context.
CSU Global provides a flexible transfer policy, accepting up to 90 credits. Students can earn 30 credits for prior college-level classes. The remaining 60 come from alternative sources like military training, work experience, and standardized tests. The university also confers transfer credits to students who hold professional certificates from major organizations such as Microsoft and CompTIA.
First-time students apply by submitting academic transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. All undergraduate candidates must boast at least two years of work experience. The university offers nine start dates each year and accelerated eight-week courses. Online students also benefit from an affordable tuition rate that ignores residency status.
|3||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Founded in 1971, Liberty University now enrolls more than 100,000 students annually. The school offers 250 distance education programs through Blackboard, including an online bachelor of science in information technology - data networking and security. The Liberty program synthesizes business strategies, cybersecurity skills, and an ethical worldview. Distance learners train to identify security weaknesses and implement network defenses and measures. Liberty operates eight-week classes, enabling students to earn their credentials in 3.5 years.
As one of the best online cybersecurity degrees, Liberty holds the title of both a National Security Agency and a Department of Homeland Security Center of Academic Excellence for Cyber Defense Education. The 120-credit degree plan consists of core classes like object-oriented programming, web architecture and development, and business data communication systems. Students use 6-15 elective hours to pursue advanced cybersecurity topics or complete a complementary minor.
Undergraduate training ends with an IT capstone experience. Students apply accumulated knowledge and skills in an integrated team project. To solve a real-world cybersecurity challenge, learners design IT solutions that align with unified modeling language standards.
Candidates with a minimum 2.0 GPA apply for program admission in good standing. Prospective students who possess GPAs below the threshold can apply for acceptance with caution. Distance learners benefit from low tuition prices and generous financial aid, including scholarships for first responders, children of deceased public safety officials, and Canadian citizens. Liberty also accepts up to 75 transfer credits for prior learning and military training.
|4||University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Established in 1969 as a state college, the University of Illinois at Springfield now enrolls over 5,400 students in 27 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. The academic catalog includes distance education options like the online bachelor of science in information systems security. The UIS program emphasizes applications of computer science skills to solve business and public sector challenges. Students develop the abilities to communicate best security practices and design secure computer systems.
The degree plan totals 120 credits, 30 of which students must earn at UIS. Core topics include foundations of network security and information assurance, systems programming languages, and windows network administration. Distance learners also take a senior capstone seminar in which they explore network tools that detect and defend against unauthorized access and malicious attacks. This culminating course synthesizes classroom discussion and hands-on practice. Students undergo laboratory training, applying tools like Back Orifice, WinSnort, Ethereal, and Packet Tracker.
UIS boasts one of the best online cybersecurity degrees, recognized by the Committee of National Security Systems and the National Security Agency. Furthermore, the curriculum aligns with the standards published by The Department of Homeland Security. These designations mean that UIS graduates may readily pursue all major IT professional certifications.
To enroll, candidates must complete designated prerequisite coursework at UIS or elsewhere, earning a minimum 2.0 GPA. These classes comprise Java programming, discrete structures, applied statistics, and calculus. Online students pay low tuition based on course type and enrollment status.
|5||Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
Located in New Britain, CT, Charter Oak State College enrolls more than 3,300 students in accelerated distance education programs. The academic catalog includes an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that prepares students for careers in high-demand industries like computer technology, information assurance, and web development. Charter Oak students learn to assess systems vulnerabilities and implement defenses and countermeasures. They also develop the skills to create organizational operating procedures that comply with legal, moral, and ethical standards.
The 120-credit degree plan consists of 40 general education credits and at least 45 credits in the major. Students fill out the remainder of their undergraduate training with electives, which they use to take advanced cybersecurity classes and complete a suitable minor. Charter Oak operates six methods of prior learning assessment, enabling students to earn transfer credits for college-level classes, workplace training, and a professional portfolio.
Core classes include networking and data communications; access control, authentication, and PKI; and security strategies for web applications and social networking. As a comprehensive assessment of program outcomes, students take a senior capstone course. They research pertinent security problems and design solutions for a user organization.
To pursue the Charter Oak online cybersecurity bachelor's degree, students must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA. Distance learners pay low tuition prices based on their residency status. The university offers ample financial aid opportunities, including zero-interest loans and endowed scholarships. The Women in Transition program supports working single mothers through funding, free textbooks, and dedicated counseling services.
|6||Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
As Georgia's third largest higher education institution, Kennesaw State University supports over 35,000 students in 142 countries. In addition to 500 remote courses, the school delivers 70 degrees, certificates, and professional endorsements for distance learners. This selection includes an online bachelor of business administration in information security and assurance. The KSU program meets the National Training Standard for Information Systems Security Professionals as mandated by the Committee on National Security Systems and the National Security Agency. This title means the training students receive directly prepares them for professional certification and employment with national government agencies.
Totaling 126 credits, the degree plan consists of coursework like security script programming, perimeter defense, and information systems management. Students use five guided and open electives to personalize the curriculum. They round out the program with a capstone class in information assurance programming and strategy. Here, learners delve into the role of a chief information security officer, including the tactical planning of departmental operations. Candidates synthesize what they learn throughout the program by writing and presenting research papers.
Admission criteria for first-time students includes a minimum 2.5 GPA. Candidates with high ACT/SAT scores can apply for GPA exemption. Nontraditional learners who graduated from high school five years or more ago do not need to submit standardized test results. Likewise, transfer candidates with at least 30 credits earned at a minimum 2.0 GPA do not need to send in ACT/SAT scores. All online students enjoy low tuition rates and scholarship opportunities.
|7||King University Bristol, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Based in Bristol, TN, King University operates 13 undergraduate programs for distance learners. Options include an online bachelor of science in information technology with a cybersecurity track. Structured as a degree completion pathway, the King program suits working IT professionals with prior college experience. Through entirely asynchronous coursework powered by Canvas, online students can earn their baccalaureate credentials in as few as 16 months.
The 124-credit degree plan consists of core IT classes like systems analysis and internet programming. Students also learn to manage conventional, mobile, and wireless networks. They take advanced coursework in topics such as computer forensics, cybersecurity policy, and defense of mobile devices. The curriculum culminates with a portfolio presentation in which students display and explain the major assignments they completed during the course of the program. The presentation allows candidates to connect academic achievements with professional goals.
To apply, candidates must transfer at least 45 credits toward completion of the online cybersecurity degree. They also need to boast a minimum 2.2 GPA. King accepts up to 76 transfer credits. Students with less than 45 credits may seek conditional admission, working directly with an academic adviser to create a personal plan of study. Active-duty and military veterans benefit from an application process that does not require standardized testing or GPA minimums.
As one of the most affordable online universities, King offers a flat tuition rate for all online students. Active-duty military enjoy a steep discount on the already lowered price.
|8||Bellevue University Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
Through Blackboard, Bellevue University operates more than 50 remote undergraduate degrees. The catalog includes an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that trains students in core information technology concepts and teaches them to apply those skills to detect data vulnerabilities and protect computer systems. BU graduates go on to lucrative careers as network administrators, transportation security specialists, and information analysts.
BU stands apart from other colleges and universities by offering online students two program structures. Learners can choose the course-by-course route, taking classes at their convenience and graduating in 3-4 years. Alternatively, candidates may engage in the accelerated cohort model, which operates nine-week classes and allows students to earn their baccalaureate credentials in about one year.
The online cybersecurity degree plan totals 127 credits. Core classes include securing access control; web, commerce, and application security; and cyber investigations and forensics. Cohort students do not receive options for electives, though learners that individually pace their schedules can pick two advanced classes. They may train in computer programming, taking courses in C# and Linux. Students can also prepare for careers in government agencies with classes like national security and intelligence/counterintelligence.
Bellevue does not require standardized test scores or GPA minimums. However, students can only receive transfer credit for individual classes if they completed the course with at least a C-. Associate and bachelor's degrees transfer in full. Distance learners benefit from one affordable tuition price regardless of where they live.
|9||Excelsior College Albany, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Located in Albany, NY, Excelsior College enrolls approximately 36,500 students in its five schools. The academic catalog includes distance education options like the online bachelor of science in cybersecurity. In the Excelsior program, students learn to apply computer forensic tools and security-focused risk management strategies to identify network vulnerabilities and implement necessary digital defenses. The school operates eight- and 15-week classes, enabling distance learners to create a schedule that accommodates their work and family lives.
The 120-credit degree plan consists of required classes like data communications and networking, operating systems, and network and application security. Students pick from either a generalist track or a cyberoperations concentration. In the former option, learners work with academic advisers to choose technical electives that align with their career goals and overall program outcomes. Students who pick the latter path take advanced classes in topics such as object-oriented programming, secure software development, and large-scale cybercrime and terrorism.
All online cybersecurity degree candidates finish their training with a capstone project. The Excelsior curriculum meets academic standards established by the National Security Agency and The Department of Homeland Security. Graduates access high-demand positions with private organizations and government agencies, including U.S. Cyber Command and the FBI.
Excelsior operates a holistic evaluation process, which does not require standardized testing or GPA minimums. Students earn transfer credit for previous coursework and college-level standardized exams. Distance learners enjoy one low tuition rate, with discounts for active-duty military and veterans.
|10||Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nova Southeastern University delivers 10 distance education programs through the Canvas platform. The selection includes an online bachelor of science in information technology with an information assurance/security minor. Through a comprehensive, 120-credit degree plan, students develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to work as leaders in the IT field. NSU graduates occupy management positions in systems engineering, mobile solutions support, and database administration.
The curriculum includes courses such as networks and data communication, web programming and design, and wireless network infrastructures. Students pursue advanced cybersecurity topics through five electives. They round out undergraduate training by either completing an IT internship or a directed project. The former option allows candidates to gain hands-on training and build professional relationships through a 16-week work experience. By picking the latter option, students under the guidance of a faculty adviser create a substantive research project and presentation.
Prospective students submit high school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, and three recommendation letters. For candidates who know they want to pursue immediate graduate training, Nova offers a dual admission program. Here, learners who demonstrate high academic potential can prepare for direct entry into an accelerated master of science in computer science program.
Online students can pay tuition on a per-credit basis or for a full semester. Nova provides ample financial aid opportunities, including the Dean's Scholarship for transfer candidates. Through the Veterans Resource Center, military students access one-on-one academic advising and financial benefits.
|11||University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 9%||
Established in 1947, the University of Maryland University College stands as the largest online public higher education institution in the United States. The academic catalog contains over 90 remote degrees, certificates, and specializations, including two accredited online cybersecurity degrees. Distance learners take asynchronous classes powered by the LEO platform. UMUC provides 10 start dates each year, enabling learners to start and progress through their programs at their own pace.
The online bachelor of science in computer networks and cybersecurity integrates professional communication skills with technical prowess. Students learn to design, implement, maintain, empower, and defend corporate networks. The 120-credit degree plan consists of core classes like interconnecting Cisco devices and Linux system administration. Students also pursue advanced coursework in one of four focus areas: digital forensics, network security, Cisco, or Microsoft.
Alternatively, students can enroll in the online bachelor of science in software development and security. This 120-credit program trains students through the entire project cycle, including planning, creation, testing, and close-out. Candidates also learn to analyze existing applications for vulnerabilities. The curriculum includes classes like database security, secure software engineering, and current trends in computer science. Students enjoy 46 open elective credits, which they use to obtain advanced skills and take on complementary minors.
UMUC does not require standardized test scores. Students can enroll in the undergraduate school as long as they possess a high school diploma or GED. In addition to low tuition rates, the university provides generous transfer policies that allow students to earn credits for prior learning, workplace training, professional certification, and military experience.
|12||Drexel University Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Located in Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University delivers 17 remote undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor of science in computing and security technology. With a curriculum that builds on work experience, the Drexel program suits active information technology professionals pursuing career advancement or a new occupation. Students learn to design and implement computer-based processes and systems to enhance organizational productivity and secure sensitive information.
The degree plan totals 180 credits, 113 of which students can fulfill through transfer work. Required classes include software project management, web systems and services, and computing and informatics design. Distance learners also pursue a multiterm capstone experience in which they work through an entire IT project cycle. Placed in interdisciplinary teams, students conceive project ideas, establish requirements, design prototypes, and implement functional products. They also test and deploy finished works.
Furthermore, online cybersecurity degree candidates take advanced courses in a concentration, choosing from either computing technology or computing security. The former option prepares students for careers in network administration and software engineering. The latter track enables learners to occupy roles as chief information security officers and forensic computer analysts.
Drexel operates four start dates each year. First-year candidates submit high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. To enroll as a transfer student, applicants need to possess at least 24 baccalaureate credits. All distance learners benefit from one affordable tuition rate. The university provides substantial discounts for alumni, active-duty military, veterans, and employees of industry partners.
|13||Champlain College Burlington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Based in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College offers 11 remote undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity. Champlain delivers a comprehensive and hands-on curriculum that trains students to secure digital assets and intelligence. Graduates prepare for private sector careers in areas like risk analysis, incident response, and vulnerability detection.
The degree plan totals 120 credits and features classes like networking fundamentals, ethical hacking, and cybersecurity policy analysis and implementation. Students also learn how to write security script with Python and develop websites. The program culminates with a senior seminar project where learners address pertinent issues in the information technology field. Degree candidates present their findings before peers, faculty, and cybersecurity practitioners.
As students progress through the online cybersecurity bachelor's degree track, they also earn a certificate in one of four specializations: system administration, Linux administration, computer forensics and digital investigations, or computer networking. Faculty deliver distance courses through the Canvas learning management system. Students earn their credentials entirely online by taking asynchronous seven-week courses.
Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Admission materials include a professional resume and essay responses, but Champlain does not require standardized test scores. The college offers per-credit tuition, with significant discounts for active military and national guard personnel. Students can further reduce program costs by transferring up to 90 credits toward degree completion. Champlain is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
|14||George Mason University Fairfax, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason University now operates independently. The school provides nine undergraduate degrees for distance learners, including an online bachelor of applied science with a cybersecurity concentration. The curriculum of this program aligns with proficiencies established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Students can complete all required coursework online through asynchronous classes facilitated by Blackboard Learn.
The degree plan ranges from 120-126 credits and includes eight classes in the concentration. Students pursue topics like IT architecture fundamentals; computer crime, forensics, and auditing; and security accreditation of information systems. The curriculum also contains five electives, which distance learners use to take advanced cybersecurity classes or complete a minor. The school offers 29 fully and partially online minors, including business, leadership, data analysis, and assistive technology.
Online cybersecurity degree candidates complete their training with an applied sciences capstone. Students integrate accumulated knowledge to investigate an IT workplace problem. Learners collaborate with faculty to create, implement, assess, and present evidence-based plans of action.
The program only accepts applicants who graduated from Lord Fairfax Community College or Northern Virginia Community College with an associate of applied science in information systems or cybersecurity. Candidates must be over 25 years old and possess a minimum 2.5 GPA. The school charges per-credit tuition based on residency status. All students benefit from financial support, including merit-based scholarships for first-time and returning learners. George Mason University maintains regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|15||St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
St. Petersburg College operates over 100 academic programs, with ample options for distance learners. Its catalog includes an online bachelor of applied science in technology development and management with a cybersecurity specialization. In addition to project planning and financial decision-making, this program teaches students the skills needed to oversee information assurance and protect digital assets. Graduates go on to occupy high-demand positions, like information security analyst, network systems administrator, and industrial production manager.
Totaling 120 credits, the curriculum consists of major classes in management information systems, software design methodologies, and business communication for professional effectiveness. Students also take five specialized cybersecurity courses, delving into data mining patterns, classifications, and predictive modeling. Graduates can apply these concepts to create organizational data standards and bolster business intelligence for companies of all sizes.
The online cybersecurity degree culminates with an integrated capstone project. Using a technology management case study, students analyze a problem in detail, applying accumulated knowledge to a simulation. The school operates accelerated eight-week classes, enabling candidates with ample transfer credits to earn their baccalaureate credentials in under two years. Learners may also opt to follow a hybrid course structure, taking flexible classes on the school's campus in Clearwater, Florida.
As a degree completion track, applicants must possess at least 60 transferable credits, 15 of which must be in general education topics. They also need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Online students pay per-credit based on course level and residency status. St. Petersburg College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
|16||Lewis University Romeoville, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Lewis University delivers 19 remote degrees through the Blackboard learning management system. Its offerings include an accelerated online bachelor of science in information security and risk management. This program boasts official recognition from the National Security Organization and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to a fully online track, students may engage in hybrid learning by taking evening and weekend courses at the school's campus in Romeoville, Illinois.
The curriculum synthesizes managerial theory and technical knowledge. Students take 128 credits of classes, including coursework in decision science, business communication in the digital age, and project management principles. Participants also learn how to assess an organization's defense structures, secure vulnerabilities, and conduct cyberforensic investigations. The degree plan contains two electives, which students use to pursue advanced topics. As a capstone experience, students take a comprehensive exam created by Educational Testing Service.
This program stands out from other online cybersecurity degrees because students can access Lewis University's CloudLab. Distance learners benefit from a suite of virtual tools and simulation programs that enable them to complete hands-on hacking and programming activities. The university facilitates internship placements with Chicago-area companies. Graduates also prepare to gain industry credentials, including the Security+ certificate from CompTIA.
Classes start every eight weeks. First-time candidates must submit SAT or ACT scores. Alternatively, to enroll as an "adult undergraduate" student, applicants must possess at least 30 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. They also need to demonstrate substantial military training or career experience. Lewis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
|17||Wilmington University New Castle, DE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Located in Newcastle, Delaware, Wilmington University delivers more than 125 distance education opportunities, including an online bachelor of science in computer and network security. Through a comprehensive 120-credit degree plan, students train to gather and evaluate digital evidence for forensic investigations and project planning. Recognized by the National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity, this program prepares students for various forms of professional certification, including industry standards like Linux+, A+, and Certified Information Systems Security Professional.
The curriculum contains 39 credits in the security core. Students take classes in database foundations, cryptography algorithms and applications, and firewalls and network security. They also train in Linux and Windows administration. On top of foundational training, this accredited online cybersecurity degree gives students personalization options through 18 elective credits. Distance learners can pursue a minor, take advanced courses, or complete a curated digital forensics concentration.
The program also enables students to earn a supervisory control and data acquisition cybersecurity graduate certificate. To qualify, candidates need to maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA. Participants take five graduate classes as part of their electives, earning a certificate and a degree, as well as laying the foundation for graduate study.
Although the school does not list GPA minimums or require standardized test scores, applicants must pass a math and English skills assessment. Prospective students can apply for an exemption by submitting adequate SAT or Smarter Balanced results. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate. Wilmington University holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|18||University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers over 50 remote certificates and degrees through Blackboard Learn. This catalog includes an online bachelor of science in information technology, which provides a broad curriculum with opportunities for students to personalize degree plans through guided and open electives. Distance learners can earn their credentials entirely online or through a hybrid structure that integrates flexible on-campus coursework.
The 120-credit curriculum consists of perfunctory classes, like project-based information systems and introduction to programming W/C. Students pursue advanced IT topics through 10 electives, with options like JAVA programming, shell scripting, and TCP/IP and network architecture. The degree plan also contains focus area electives where students take six classes in the arts and humanities; social sciences; management; or math, science, and engineering. These course options enable students to align their undergraduate education with their career goals.
Students who already hold a bachelor's degree can take advantage of an accelerated program where participants complete 30 credits of coursework to earn an IT degree in one year. The university also uses a generous transfer policy, allowing learners to earn up to 90 credits based on prior learning, work experience, and military training.
UMass Lowell operates a rolling admission process and does not generally require GPA minimums or standardized test scores. However, if an applicant is under the age of 21 and possesses fewer than 12 transfer credits they may need to submit ACT/SAT scores. Distance learners can apply for financial aid, including the Dean's Scholarship for Continuing Studies. UMass Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
|19||Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University provides more than 200 career-relevant programs, many of which can be completed remotely. Options include an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that aligns with industry standards established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency. SNHU uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver distance classes, enabling students to take all required coursework in a convenient asynchronous format.
Totaling 120 credits, the degree plan includes 15 general education classes. Students also take major-related courses like operating system security, legal and human factors of cybersecurity, and incident response and investigation. Participants use 21 elective credits to engage personal interests or complete a secure programming concentration. Candidates who pick the latter option take six courses on advanced topics, like software development lifecycle; operating environments; and software testing, automation, and quality assurance.
Students pursuing this online cybersecurity degree can take advantage of networking opportunities by joining online communities and clubs. Learners can also gain hands-on experience by participating in National Cyber League competitions and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing career fairs and conferences.
SNHU does not require undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores or hold GPA minimums. The university also offers a generous transfer policy, conferring up to 90 credits based on prior learning assessments. All online students pay the same tuition rate. Financial aid includes need-based grants for state residents and merit scholarships for community college graduates. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
|20||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Davenport University offers 13 academic programs through its college of technology, including an online bachelor of science in cyberdefense that prepares students for careers at government agencies, technical organizations, and international companies. The curriculum emphasizes best practices in cybersecurity, training degree candidates to protect digital assets from internal and external threats.
The 120-credit program consists of major course topics, like Perl/Python scripting, UNIX operating systems, and MS implement network infrastructure. Students take additional classes in an information assurance or healthcare information and assurance specialization. They can also use electives to pursue a mathematics minor. Students can complete the program entirely online through courses powered by Blackboard. Alternatively, they can mix in some remote and on-campus classes for a hybrid learning experience.
This online cybersecurity degree plan requires students to complete an information assurance internship or a technology field experience. Distance learners complete their undergraduate training with a capstone project, conducting research and presenting findings before peers and industry experts. Students can also gain industry certification as part of the capstone experience. The university allows students to earn transfer credits for certificates they already possess.
Students at Davenport can pay for their education per credit or on a full-semester basis. The university offers financial aid opportunities, including merit scholarships and transfer grants. Approximately 95% of students receive some form of financial aid. Davenport is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|21||Dakota State University Madison, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Dakota State University provides 50 remote degrees and certificates, including an online bachelor of science in network and security administration. Powered by Blackboard, the program trains students to assess and strengthen organizational security while also teaching them business management and communication skills. Graduates stand ready to pursue high-demand careers in network systems engineering, penetration testing, and homeland security. The program limits class sizes to 25 students to encourage collaboration between learners and instructors.
Totaling 120 credits, the degree plan consists of major-related coursework like routing and switching; web application programming; and hardware, visualization, and data communication. Students use six electives to pursue advanced cybersecurity topics or complete a minor. They can also use these open courses to earn an online certificate in areas such as healthcare coding, software development, or mathematical foundations of cryptography.
As the culminating experience, online cybersecurity degree candidates complete an internship or a research project. The former option allows students to apply accumulated skills in a practical setting; this experience benefits candidates seeking employment directly after graduation. Alternatively, during research projects, distance learners delve into pertinent challenges in the cybersecurity field and prepare for graduate study.
Recent high school graduates must meet one of three admission criteria: a minimum 2.6 GPA, graduating within the top 60% of their class, or adequate standardized test scores (minimum scores of 18 or 950 on the ACT or SAT, respectively). Applicants who are at least 24 years old do not need to meet these requirements. Dakota State University maintains regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
|22||Misericordia University Dallas, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
Located in Dallas, Pennsylvania, Misericordia University delivers 11 remote undergraduate programs. Options include an online bachelor of science in information technology with an IT security specialization. This 121-credit program prepares students to occupy leadership roles in technology departments, establishing data standards and implementing procedures to protect crucial information. Distance learners take asynchronous classes through Blackboard Learn, accessing course materials and engaging with peers and instructors at their convenience.
In addition to a liberal arts foundation, the curriculum contains major classes in computer programming, applied networking design, and operating system architecture. Students then go on to take six advanced courses within the IT security specialization, where they learn how to conduct risk assessments and organize access controls with respect to company goals and government regulations.
The degree plan also includes five electives, which learners use to complete a minor or pursue experiential education. Misericordia facilitates internship placement with diverse industry partners, including Northwestern Mutual and Commonwealth Health Systems.
For students who want to graduate in less than four years, the university delivers an accelerated track. Here, courses span 7.5 weeks, allowing distance learners to earn an accredited online cybersecurity degree in as few as five semesters. In addition to academic tools, Misericordia provides financial aid and career guidance. Additionally, the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women With Children Program offers dedicated services to help single mothers earn their degrees.
First-time students must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and appropriate test scores (i.e., a minimum 930 or 18 on the SAT or ACT, respectively). Transfer candidates need at least five college-level credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Misericordia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|23||Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Established in 1889, Saint Leo University offers more than 80 academic programs for distance learners. This catalog includes an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that combines asynchronous coursework, virtual lab activities, and hands-on training. Students learn to detect network vulnerabilities and secure digital identities and financial information. Graduates can pursue entry-level positions in information technology engineering, database security analysis, and software development.
Totaling 120 credits, this online cybersecurity degree plan comprises 14 university exploration classes. Students also take major-related courses, including decision support systems, penetration testing and countermeasures, and disaster recovery. Additionally, participants develop programming skills in Java, C, and C++. Degree candidates complete their training by conducting penetration tests in simulation scenarios that mimic security challenges faced by government organizations, small business, and multinational corporations.
The school facilitates internships with major organizations, such as Verizon and MacDill Air Force Base. Students can also engage with the school's computing and computer security clubs. The university houses a chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), which operates as the international honor society for computing and information systems. By joining UPE, distance learners gain access to networking events, research opportunities, and scholarships.
The admission process does not require standardized test scores or GPA minimums. Online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Active military and veterans enjoy a substantial discount on tuition. Saint Leo holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|24||Peirce College Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Peirce College enrolls nearly 1,900 students every year and offers undergraduate degrees in five fields of study. Its academic catalog includes an online bachelor of science in information technology with a networking, administration, and information security concentration. This comprehensive program trains students to install and maintain secure computer applications and networks. The curriculum aligns with industry education standards, enabling students to pursue major IT credentials, including Certified Ethical Hacker recognition from the EC-Council.
The 121-credit degree plan contains general education coursework, like speech communication and rhetoric and research. Students also take 22 classes in the major, including database management systems; usability principles and design; and Linux administration, networking, and security. The curriculum also includes four open electives.
Distance learners finish their undergraduate training with a capstone experience. Working in teams, students apply accumulated knowledge to assess a case study and create network security plans. They must also explain their work with a written proposal and oral presentation.
Online cybersecurity degree candidates can complete the entire program through asynchronous classes facilitated by the Canvas learning management system. They can also engage in hybrid learning by taking some classes on the school's Philadelphia campus. Additionally, Peirce delivers competency-based education for working IT professionals. In this format, students complete the program online and at their own pace, applying career experience to help fulfill degree requirements.
All distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate. They can also apply for financial aid, including the W.W. Smith Scholarship for full-time undergraduate students. Peirce is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|25||Norwich University Northfield, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Based in Northfield, Vermont, Norwich University delivers six remote bachelor's degree completion tracks. Options include an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that integrates core IT skills with project-based learning and self-motivated research. The degree plan aligns with practitioner standards established by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, preparing students to pursue major certification. To earn this accredited online cybersecurity degree, students complete 120 credits of general education, foundational, and major classes. Required coursework includes relational database management with SQL, cyberlaw and cybercrime, and Windows server administration. Students take advanced courses in one of two concentrations: information warfare and security management or computer forensics and vulnerability management.
Undergraduate training culminates with a capstone project where learners evaluate an organization's security procedures and network infrastructure. Students present their research and provide recommendations in a detailed analysis paper. As a degree completion option, applicants must be able to transfer in at least 30 applicable credits, although they can bring in as many as 90. Distance learners take asynchronous classes through the Moodle learning management system and graduate in as few as 18 months.
Application materials include a two-page letter of intent and a professional resume or CV. Norwich offers per-credit tuition prices, with discounts for active military personnel. The university also provides financial aid opportunities, including merit scholarships. Norwich maintains regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Interview with Gustavo Hinojosa
Gustavo Hinojosa is the executive director of the National Cybersecurity Student Association. He champions the development of strategic alliances and relationships within academia, governmental institutions, and industry. His primary focus is to energize, expand, and cultivate an ecosystem of next-generation cybersecurity professionals through education, mentoring, and professional development opportunities while aiding in bolstering the knowledge, skills, and abilities of a diverse learning community.
- Why did you choose to earn a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity? Was this a field you were always interested in?
I choose to earn a bachelor’s in cybersecurity because after several layoffs in other fields, it was time for a change. I always loved technology and computers, so I decided to pursue an education in information technology (IT). There were so many routes to take in IT. Which one was best for me? After months of research, I decided to pursue an associate degree as an information system security specialist. During my associate, I decide to get a jump and plan my bachelor's pathway.
I choose UMUC for my bachelor’s degree because of their designations as a National Center of Academic Excellence in information assurance and cyberdefense education from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. They are also designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the U.S. Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center. At the time, no other university in the world had all three prestigious designations.
- What are some of the most crucial skills you gained in your bachelor's degree program that apply to your job on a day-to-day basis?
I earned several crucial skills while attending UMUC. I learned about programing, networks, and how to secure them. To defend an organization from cyberattacks, we must understand the methodologies utilized by attackers in order to thwart threats. This was fun to learn. After a threat has been remediated, the forensics portion of my courses aided my understanding of the anatomy of the attack. This digital dig then allowed me to fix the vulnerabilities in the system(s).
Technical skills are great, but we must also understand the governance, risk management, compliance, and business aspects. Creating the policies and procedures to aid in the mitigation and prevention of attacks is also crucial, which strengthened my writing skills. These practical skills and strategies in cybersecurity management enabled me to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable professional, along with all the real-world team projects that were challenging. I would say that everything I learned at UMUC is crucial to my success on a day-to-day basis.
- What was the job search like after completing your bachelor's degree? Did you feel fully prepared when making the transition from school to the workplace?
My job search upon completing my bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity was hard. During my studies over the years, I was building my personal brand, which is an essential and foundational element for success. I fully immersed myself in the field. I joined the school’s cybersecurity clubs, participated in cyber competitions (NCL, CCDC), joined student government (politics), and connected with several professional local organizations (ISSA, ISACA) to build my professional network. By attending these organizations' monthly meetings, I developed professional relationships with the member base, which made me a desirable candidate; telling your story displays your passion, which alone is attractive.
My job search was hard because I had so many job offers over the years, and by building up my professional network, I was able to choose whom I wanted to work for. It was a hard decision, but this is a good problem to have. My studies allowed me to understand both the technical and business sides of the house, and I feel that many academic institutions miss this essential baseline. The education I received, coupled with my professional branding and outreach, made me feel confident when making the transition from school to the workplace. It is also important know your value.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your work on a day-to-day basis?
I would say that the biggest challenge I face in my work on a day-to-day basis is commuting to work. If you can, find a remote job. But, in the office, things are not always going to run smoothly. You’re going to have to work with others and sometimes teams, which can be challenging in itself. We are not always going to be on the same page. Have patience and be respectful; if you need to, walk away for a breather. The organizational culture, people, and process are essential for innovation and success.
- How do you think the field of cybersecurity will change in the coming years?
Technology is constantly evolving, and as cybersecurity professionals, we understand that the field will always require us to cultivate our knowledge, skills, and abilities. Staying abreast of cybersecurity topics, trends, and attack methodologies is essential for our success. There have been several advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the "internet of things." As these technologies evolve, automated and autonomous attacks will only get worse; mitigating them will be increasingly challenging in this age of cybersecurity professional shortfall. These issues also bring up privacy concerns in a very connected world. We have our job cut out for us.
- What advice would you give to students who are considering a degree in cybersecurity?
My advice for students who are considering a degree in cybersecurity is to do some research on your prospective university and the courses that are being offered, along with the school’s designation(s). Make sure that cybersecurity is the right fit for you before making the big leap. Do research! There are several technical courses, and it can be frustrating and challenging at the same time (not necessarily in that order). Talk with students and/or professionals in the field to understand what cybersecurity entails and the several paths that you can take.
My best recommendation is to look at NIST’s Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, which outlines 33 specialty areas and 52 work roles. Also, CyberSeek.org has interactive tools and data to help you learn about the cybersecurity demand in your area.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Cybersecurity Program?
|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
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
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.
- 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.
Employment Outlook for Online Cybersecurity Graduates
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|
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|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||$36,000||$44,000||$50,000||$53,000|
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.
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.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Program
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Scholarships for Cybersecurity Students
- 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: $10,000View 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: $10,000View 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: $5,000View 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: $4,000View Scholarship
- 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: $2,000View Scholarship
- 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-$3,500View Scholarship
- 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: $30,000View 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: VariesView Scholarship
- Best Online Cybersecurity Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 2 Excelsior College Albany, NY 3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 4 Wilmington University New Castle, DE 5 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 6 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 7 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 8 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 9 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 10 Champlain College Burlington, VT 11 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 12 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT 13 Lewis University Romeoville, IL 14 Dakota State University Madison, SD 15 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 16 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 16 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 18 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK 19 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 20 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA 21 Baker College Flint, MI 22 Norwich University Northfield, VT 23 Franklin University Columbus, OH 24 Roger Williams University Bristol, RI 25 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
- 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