As cyberattacks increase in frequency and scope, so does the demand for information systems security specialists. With a job growth rate of 18%, the field of cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing occupational sectors in the nation. If you're an innovative thinker who loves being at the forefront of technology, a career in information systems security might be in your future! Earning a bachelor's degree is the first step to finding a job in this exciting and lucrative field.
- WHAT IS AN INFORMATION ASSURANCE DEGREE?
An information systems security degree teaches students how to protect sensitive information for organizations. Learners are taught how to use the latest technology to prevent cyberattacks. Read more here..
- SHOULD I GET A DEGREE IN INFORMATION INSURANCE?
Students with a strong background in technology will do well in an information security program. Learners without a technology background me be required to complete prerequisite courses. Read more here..
- WHAT IS INFORMATION ASSURANCE?
Information assurance refers to the processes involved with protecting information systems, such as computer systems and networks. Read more here..
- IS INFORMATION ASSURANCE A GOOD CAREER?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects many technology-related careers to grow, and graduates of information assurance programs are qualified for many lucrative careers. Read more here..
- WHAT DOES AN INFORMATION ASSURANCE ANALYST DO?
Information assurance analysts identify risks within software and hardware systems. They protect company, employee, and customer information from unauthorized access. Read more here..
Choosing a Program
The best online degree in information systems security is one that equips you for success in this rapidly growing and lucrative field. Whether you're aiming for a career in digital forensics or fascinated by ethical hacking, an online information security degree program can give you the knowledge and skills most sought after by employers. Covering topics from network architecture to cryptography, core courses address concepts integral to the field of information security. Through these courses, students will develop a set of skills that can be applied to numerous aspects of information technology. Some programs also offer concentrated learning tracks for those interested in one of information security's many subfields.
The online format is ideal for information technology coursework, offering hands-on experience in security application development, modeling, and other concepts, through virtual labs and interactive exercises. Many programs culminate in a capstone course that allows students to demonstrate their acquired skills and knowledge.
Accredited Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Degrees
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
A private, nonprofit university based in Salt Lake City, Utah specializing in online education, Western Governors University offers an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity and information assurance ideal for aspiring internet security experts and IT professionals. The program meets the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) guidelines and includes several industry-recognized certifications built into the curriculum. Graduates in cybersecurity and information assurance typically pursue careers as cybersecurity response specialists, security operations specialists, information analysts, and cyber threat analysts.
This online information assurance degree requires 34 classes, and takes 6-18 months to complete. The core curriculum includes courses in IT fundamentals, secure systems analysis and design, business of IT, web development, network and security, scripting and programming, web and cloud security, data management, technical communication, and ethics and cyber law. The program culminates in the completion of a capstone project consisting of a technical work proposal, the proposal’s implementation, and a post-implementation report on the project experience.
Certifications are embedded into coursework with no added time or cost for the student, including Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP), Certified Encryption Specialist (EC-Council ECES), and several others.
To qualify for admission, applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent and have demonstrated experience in IT. Western Governors University accepts transfer credits from previous associates degrees, certifications, and other college credit. Tuition is charged per six-month term rather than per credit to encourage timely and affordable completion.
Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
|Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
A private nonprofit university located in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University provides an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that prepares students for careers in information and network security. The NSA and DHS have declared Bellevue University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through the year 2021. Graduates become database and security administrators, network architects, information security analysts, or transportation security screeners.
Bellevue University’s online degree in cybersecurity requires 127 credits, 36 of which are major specific, and takes four years to complete. Courses are offered completely online in either a traditional course-by-course format or an accelerated cohort structure where students progress through the curriculum with a set of peers. Major-specific courses include introduction to cyber threats, network security, securing access control, assessments and audits, operational security, operating systems and mobile device security, web commerce and application security, database security, cyber investigations, and advanced cyber security concepts. Bellevue’s cybersecurity program also offers a number of elective courses for students to choose from, such as cryptography, IT project management, foundations in intelligence and counterintelligence, penetration testing and incident response, and others on related subjects.
Applicants to the program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Transfer credits are accepted with associate and bachelor’s degrees transferred in full. Transfer students must complete at least 30 hours of coursework at Bellevue to receive a diploma from the institution. Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Albany, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
A private, nonprofit college based in Albany, New York, Excelsior College offers an online bachelor of science in information technology with a concentration in cybersecurity technology that develops skills and foundational knowledge in software and development, computer systems, database management, cybersecurity, human-computer interaction, and systems administration. Graduates with an information technology degree obtain positions like incident responder, IT security coordinator, network architect, or security analyst.
The Excelsior College online information technology degree requires 120 credits, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include object-oriented programming, data communications and networking, computer systems architecture, operating systems, and human-computer interactive design. These courses culminate in a capstone integrated technology assessment course in which students write a research paper and take an online final exam. The cybersecurity concentration emphasizes topics in computer forensics, cyber attacks and defenses, network and application security, and organizational information security.
To gain admission to the program, applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Transfer students should submit course descriptions and syllabi along with official transcripts. Excelsior allows up to 117 credits to be transferred into the program, with an average of 43 credits accepted. Excelsior also accepts credits by exam from military, educational, and certification agencies.
Excelsior College’s online information technology degree is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Charter Oak State College
|New Britain, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
A public liberal arts college in New Britain, Connecticut, Charter Oak State College offers an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity designed for aspiring professionals in IT security, cybersecurity, information assurance and information systems security. Graduates with a degree in cybersecurity are eligible to work as forensic analysts, information security analysts, network security specialists, and web application developers.
The Charter Oak State College online cybersecurity degree requires 45 credits of major-specific coursework and takes two years after the completion of general education credits to complete. Core courses cover topics such as management information systems, networking and data communications, fundamentals of information systems security, managing risk in information systems, security policies and implementation, access controls and authentication, hacker techniques, and security strategies.
The major curriculum culminates in a capstone course. Students who graduate with a degree in cybersecurity will have a comprehensive understanding of information systems security, digital forensics and cyber policy analysis, risk management principles, and the fundamental architectures of networks and the Internet.
Applicants to the program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Charter Oak State College accepts transfer credits from previous institutions as well as credits for prior learning, exams, training, credentials, and portfolios. Charter Oak has agreements and partnerships with several community colleges and accepts up to 87 credits from any accredited community college.
Charter Oak State College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
University of Illinois at Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
The University of Illinois at Springfield is the newest campus in the University of Illinois System, and offers an online bachelor of science in information systems security that provides students with a strong foundational knowledge in the design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics.Graduates are equipped to pursue careers in network and computer administration, system analysis, and computer support, or continue on to computer science-related graduate programs.The UIS Computer Science Department has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and the DHS.
The UIS online information systems security bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits, 36 of which are major-specific, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include introduction to networks, foundations of network security and information assurance, network security and computer ethics, systems programming languages, windows network administration, and a capstone. All UIS students in the Department of Computer Science are required to take entrance and exit assessments, which the department uses to determine if they are meeting learning objectives.
To qualify for the program, students must have completed all math and Java Programming prerequisite courses. Transfer student entrance requirements include courses in computer programming concepts, discrete structures or discrete math, applied statistics, and business calculus or calculus I.
The University of Illinois at Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Maryland - University College
|Adelphi, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 9%||
The University of Maryland-University College offers an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity management and policy that provides students with foundational knowledge of cybersecurity concepts and best practices to protect cyber infrastructure and assets. This program was designed in conjunction with leading industry experts to train students in the highest level of information assurance. UMUC was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the NSA and DHS.
The UMUC cybersecurity management and policy degree requires a total of 120 credits, 33 credits of which consist of major-specific courses, and takes four years to complete. Core courses cover cybersecurity for leaders and managers, ethics in information technology, fundamentals of networking, network security, cyber security processes and technologies, cybersecurity policy and programs, evaluating emerging technologies, and related topics.
In addition to the formal curriculum, UMUC has a cyber competition team open to undergraduate and graduate participants. The team represents UMUC at national tournaments and cyber security events. Participating grants students more opportunities to develop their cybersecurity skills and network with faculty and peers.
To gain admission to the program, applicants must have graduated from a state-approved or accredited high school, or passed a high school equivalency exam like the GED. Standard tests such as the SAT and ACT are not required. UMUC accepts transfer students, and up to 90 credits can be transferred to the cybersecurity management and policy degree.
The University of Maryland-University College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Kennesaw State University
|Kennesaw, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
A public university based in Kennesaw, Georgia, Kennesaw State University offers an online bachelor of business administration in information security and assurance designed to train the next generation of information security professionals. This program has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance as recognized by the NSA and the DHS.
The KSU information security and assurance bachelor degree requires a total of 123 credits, including 30 credits of major-specific coursework, and takes four years to complete. Major specific courses cover principles of information security, security script programming, network security, client systems security, management or information security in a global environment, perimeter defense, server systems security, and cyber defense. To progress in the program, students must meet the sophomore GPA requirement, which involves completing the seven lower-division business core courses plus a calculus course with an adjusted GPA of 3.00 or higher. Business majors must earn a “C” or higher on all business courses counting toward their degree.
Admission requires a high school diploma or equivalent, satisfactory SAT or ACT scores, and a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. KSU accepts both the SAT taken prior to 2016 and the current SAT.
Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
A private research university based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University offers an online bachelor of science in computing and security technology that prepares students to manage and securely operate IT infrastructure and information assets. This program has been designated a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. Graduates are qualified to become computer security technicians, information security analysts, IT auditors, and network security analysts.
The Drexel University computing and security technology degree requires a total of 188 credits, and takes 4-5 years to complete. The online version of this degree is offered part time only. Major-specific courses cover topics such as network administration, information technology security, servers and open servers, data science, systems analysis, data management systems, social aspects of information systems, human-centered design, data administration, and related subjects.
For elective courses, students can choose topics from one of two concentrations: computing technology or computing security. Drexel University’s college of computing and informatics (CCI) also provides a number of minors for students to further customize their degree, including computer science, data science, human–centered computing, information systems, and software engineering.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or have passed an equivalency exam, such as the GED, and submit standardized test scores on the SAT or ACT. Transfer student applications are accepted in all semesters for this degree. Transfer applicants are expected to have completed college level prerequisites in calculus I. AP exams are accepted as a substitute if the scores are less than five years old.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|Burlington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
A private college located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College provides an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that prepares students for careers in protecting information assets and digital intelligence from security breaches on behalf of public and private entities and corporations. Graduates find employment in the areas of cyber incident response, cyber risk and strategic analysis, and vulnerability detection and assessment.
The Champlain College cybersecurity bachelor’s degree requires a total of 120 credits, 72 credits of which include major-specific and cybersecurity elective courses, and takes four years to complete. Courses are delivered entirely online in an accelerated seven-week format, with select, intensive courses lasting 15 weeks.
Core courses cover topics such as network fundamentals, operating systems, foundations of cybersecurity, digital forensic investigation techniques, security scripting with python, cloud computing security, ethical hacking, intrusion analysis and response, and emerging threats and defenses. Students can earn a certificate in one of the following areas of specialization as they obtain their degree: computer forensics and digital investigations, computer networking, linux administration, or system administration.
Applicants to the program must have graduated from high school with a minimum 2.5 GPA, or passed an equivalency exam like the GED. Exceptions to this minimum GPA requirement are made on a case-by-case basis for prospective students who demonstrate potential. Transfer students are eligible to transfer up to 90 credits toward their bachelor’s degree.
Champlain College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
|New Castle, DE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
A private, nonprofit research institution located in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington University offers an online bachelor of science in computer and network security that provides aspiring cybersecurity professionals with foundational concepts and practices in the field. Graduates will be prepared to take exams for industry-recognized certifications, including CISA, CISSP, ACE, A+, Linux+, Security + and Network+.Wilmington’s computer and network security program was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense through the 2021 school year by the NSA and DHS.
Wilmington’s online information security degree requires 120 credits, 39 credits of which are major-specific courses, and takes four years to complete. Core courses in computer and network security include database foundations, computer hardware and operation, principles and practice of information security, introduction to linux, networks and telecommunications, operating system and computer systems security, programming with python, cryptography, and linux for systems administrators.
Electives can be chosen along specific areas of interest and concentration. Students have the option of earning up to 6 credits through a co-op assignment or internship. To be eligible for the co-op experience, students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and have completed at least 60 credits.
To gain admission to the program, students must have graduated from an accredited high school or have successfully completed a GED program. SAT or ACT exams serve as substitutes for Wilmington’s English and math skills assessments.
Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
|Omaha, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online bachelor of science in management information systems ideal for students aspiring to careers in business data management, management information systems, systems analysis, systems design, decision support, information security, and electronic commerce. Through this program, students learn to leverage computing technologies to produce information that facilitates the daily operations of an organization's decision-making.
The program requires 120 credit hours, 42 of which are major-specific, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include managing the database environment, information technology infrastructure, managing in a digital world, web application development, introduction to project management, information systems analysis, and system design and implementation.
Students may also specialize in one of the following concentrations: internet technologies, global IT leadership and management, i-Business application development and management, information assurance, and IT audit and control. The information assurance concentration covers topics such as information technology ethics, information technology infrastructure, security administration, information security policy and awareness, foundations of cybersecurity, and computer security management.
Applicants to the program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and satisfactory scores on the SAT or ACT. In addition, students must have completed prerequisite coursework in English, math, social sciences, natural sciences, and foreign language. Applicants can gain assured admission by ranking in the top half of their high school class, or scoring a 20 or higher on the ACT.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Romeoville, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
A private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University provides an online bachelor of science in information security and risk management designed for working professionals and adult learners. Graduates of this program obtain jobs as information security analysts, computer forensics investigators, IT assessment and compliance auditors, information security engineers, or network administrators.
This program has been recognized as a Center for Academic Excellence for Information Assurance education and prepares students for industry-recognized certifications, such as security+, certified information systems security professional (CISSP), certified ethical hacker (CEH), certified information systems auditor (CISA), certified information security manager (CISM), and AccessData certified forensics examiner (ACE).
The Lewis University online information security degree requires 128 credits, including 64 credits of major-specific coursework, and takes four years to complete. Major area courses cover topics such as principles of project management, database management systems, information security, computer forensics, data networks, security assessment and risk management, and cybercrime, law and ethics. Students can choose electives according to their specific interests within the field from courses like hacker tools and techniques, and cell phone and mobile device forensics.
To gain admission to the program, applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent and satisfactory SAT or ACT scores. Adult students should have earned a minimum of 30 credits from an accredited, post-secondary institution including College Writing, possess a minimum 2.0 GPA, and have a history of significant work or military experience.
Lewis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
A private, nonprofit university with its main campus located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Davenport University offers an online bachelor of science in cyberdefense that teaches students to protect data and information assets from cyber threats.
This online information security degree requires 120 credits, 45 of which are major-specific, and takes four years to complete. Major courses include Perl/Python scripting, Windows digital forensics, information security and assurance, legal and ethical issues in information assurance, MS client and server OS, Cisco networking fundamentals, UNIX operating systems, UNIX/linux server administration, and MS implement network infrastructure. Students can further customize their degree by choosing from two specialties: healthcare information and assurance, and information assurance. The information assurance concentration covers disaster recovery, authentication and audits, cryptography, and wireless networking and security.
As a part of the curriculum, students have the opportunity to earn course credit for hands-on work experience through an internship or experiential learning course. To enroll in these courses, students must have achieved senior status and have maintained a minimum 2.3 GPA in all major-related coursework.
To gain admission, applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and have earned satisfactory scores on the SAT or ACT. Davenport University accepts transfer students and allows up to 90 credits to be transferred to a bachelor's program. Students may also receive credit for licenses and certifications, military experience, or a portfolio of prior learning experiences.
Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Saint Leo University
|Saint Leo, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
A private, nonprofit, Roman Catholic liberal arts university located in Saint Leo, Florida, Saint Leo University provides an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that teaches students to defend cybersystems, information assets, and critical infrastructure. The program takes a holistic approach, combining computer science fundamentals with cybersecurity skills of network defense, digital forensics, penetration testing, and systems security. Graduates typically pursue careers as cyber analysts, information security engineers, IT auditors, and security administrators.
Saint Leo's online information security degree requires 120 credit hours of coursework, 72 of which are major-specific, and takes four years to complete. Courses are delivered entirely online in an asynchronous, self-paced format. Major core courses include programming in Java, principles of networking, fundamentals of cybersecurity, penetration testing and countermeasures, network theory and design, operating systems, disaster recovery, computer forensics, and more. Saint Leo also offers the option of participating in co-curricular clubs like the Computing Club or Computer Security Club, which can be a great way to interact with peers and faculty outside of class.
Admissions to online programs are conducted on a rolling basis, allowing students to apply at any time. Accepted students may choose from one of six start dates throughout the year. Applicants to the program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Students can submit AP, CLEP, DANTES, ECE, and other applicable standardized examinations for transfer credits. Documentation of training or certification may also be eligible for transfer as academic credit.
Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dakota State University
|Madison, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
A public university based in Madison, South Dakota, Dakota State University offers an online bachelor of science in network and security administration that provides students with a solid foundation in networking, business management, cybersecurity, virtualization, and forensics. Graduates of the program typically pursue careers as systems administrators, network systems engineers, or penetration testers for a variety of private and public organizations.
This program requires a total of 120 hours, 30 of which are major specific requirements, and takes four years to complete. Core courses cover topics such as networking, routing and switching, Windows administration, network security, web software security, Linux/unix administration, defensive network security, and scripting for network administration. As a part of the curriculum, students may earn course credit with an internship in the field.
Classes sizes are small, typically with 25 students or less per course. Outside of coursework, students can join Computing Club, Gaming Club, or participate in programming competitions like the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. DSU also offers virtual labs that provide students with a safe environment to experiment and gain hands-on experience in network setups and exploits.
Applicants to the program must have graduated from high school or earned an equivalent certificate, ranked in the upper 60% of their high school class, earned a minimum GPA of 2.6, and scored at least an 18 on the ACT or a 950 on the SAT critical reading and math sections. Students who do not meet these requirements may still gain admission on a probationary basis.
Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Flint, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 13%||
A private, nonprofit college located in Flint, Michigan, Baker College offers an online bachelor of science in information technology and security with a concentration in information assurance that provides students with foundational knowledge in analyzing and responding to computer infrastructure problems, and identifying internal and external threats. This program prepares students for careers in network and computer systems administration, information assurance and risk management, computer user support, and cyber defense. Graduates will also be prepared to pursue a master's in information systems, computer science, or related advanced degree.
The Baker College information technology and security degree requires a total of 120 credits, 75 of which are major requirements, and takes four years to complete. Major core courses cover topics such as computer applications, computer operating systems and maintenance, database management and design, programming, network security, VPN firewall, Linux, security policies and auditing, access control authentication, computer forensics, and related subjects. The information assurance concentration include courses on information systems threat assessment, internet and web security, disaster recovery, fraud risk assessment tools, and fraud prevention and deterrence.
Applicants to the program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED certificate. Baker College does not require ACT or SAT scores for admission but these scores can be used to determine minimum assessment verification. Baker College accepts transfer students and participates in the Michigan Transfer Agreement, allowing students to transfer most, if not all, general education requirements from any other college in the state.
Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
|Okmulgee, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
A public institute of technology located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology offers an online bachelor of technology in information technology with a specialization in cybersecurity and digital forensics that provides students with a foundational understanding of computer hardware, database, networking, programming, web development, operating systems, scripting and IT security. Graduates will be prepared to enter the field of information technology as cybersecurity professionals, or continue pursuing advanced academic degrees and certificates.
The OSUIT online information security degree requires 121 credits, 37 of which are major requirements, and takes four years to complete. Core courses include employment orientation, information systems and architecture, IT project management, applied research and development, and nine hours of internship credit. The cybersecurity and digital forensics concentration requires courses in digital forensics, network security, applied cryptography, and secure system administration. Students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in order to graduate.
Applicants must have graduated from an accredited high school or equivalent, and earned satisfactory test scores on the SAT or ACT. Students must also have completed all high school curricular prerequisites in english, math, laboratory science, history and citizenship, and foreign language or computer science. OSUIT also admits high school students for concurrent enrollment, where they can earn college credit while finishing high school. The school has transfer agreements with Tulsa Community College, Rogers State University, Carl Albert State College, Conners State College, and Richland College in Dallas, Texas for easy transfer into one of OSUIT's information technology programs.
OSUIT's information technology program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET, and the university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Dobbs Ferry, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
A private, nonsectarian research university located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy College houses an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that prepares students to provide protection and disaster recovery to organizations' security systems. Graduates will be able to identify risks of cyber threats and implement cyber defense mechanisms. The program prepares students to take the CISSP certification exam or pursue further studies in the field. Mercy College also offers a BS/MS dual degree in cybersecurity where students can complete both a bachelor's and master's in five years.
The Mercy College online cybersecurity degree requires 120 credits, 39 of which consist of major specific courses, and takes four years to complete. Major courses include disaster recovery, computer network, database management systems, penetration testing and ethical hacking, cryptography, network security, forensic discovery, secure and intelligent planning, and system security.
Students choose from electives on topics such as artificial intelligence, web site administration, systems analysis and design, wireless network and security, and healthcare analytics and apps. Undergraduate students may take up to two graduate level courses as electives if they choose.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. SAT or ACT scores are optional. Mercy College accepts up to 75 transfer credits from a two-year institution, and 90 credits from a four-year institution. Students may only transfer two upper-division courses in business to the cybersecurity degree.
Mercy College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Maine at Augusta
|Augusta, ME||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
A regional, state university representing the University of Maine System, the University of Maine at Augusta provides an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that incorporates a multidisciplinary perspective through a combination of computer science, technology, humanities, social sciences and ethics courses. UMA's cybersecurity program has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
UMA's cybersecurity degree requires 39 credits in major-specific courses beyond general education requirements and takes four years to complete. Core courses cover topics such as programming, data structures, networking concepts, Linux server administration, systems analysis, network security, information systems security, cyber forensics, database and database security, and other related subjects.
Students can choose from a wide range of elective courses like cyberlaw, cloud security, Internet of Things, digital evidence analysis, or cyber investigations. Tailoring the degree to particular career goals, students may select electives in the focus areas of information assurance, network security analyst, or cyber forensics.
UMA offers students a variety of activities and resources aside from coursework. The school's cybersecurity resource center allows students to gain experience in combating simulated cyber attacks, and other applicable skills.
To gain admission to the program, applicants must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Transfer credits are accepted from regionally accredited institutions of higher education. Students must have scored a "C" or higher in coursework for it to be eligible for transfer. UMA has transfer agreements with schools in the Maine Community College System, and the University of Maine system..
The University of Maine at Augusta is accredited by New England Commission of Higher Education.
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 6%||
A private university headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University offers an online bachelor of science in cybersecurity that trains students to respond to security breaches with cyber defense tactics and countermeasures. The program covers key knowledge concepts as designated by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)².
Students gain skills and foundational knowledge in security architecture, web application security, risk management, disaster recovery, and security law and compliance. Graduates typically pursue careers as application security testers, computer security specialists, cybersecurity engineers, identity management specialists, and security architects.
Franklin University's online cyber security degree requires 124 credits, 36 of which are major area requirements, and takes four years to complete. Courses are delivered entirely online, designed to grant flexibility to adult learners and working professionals. Core courses cover topics such as information assurance, security risk management, digital forensics, software development security, security engineering and assessment, Windows administration, and information systems architecture and technology. These courses culminate in a capstone experience where students work in small teams on a problem-based information security project. Students must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 2.0 and a 2.25 in major area courses to graduate.
Applicants to the program must have graduated from an accredited high school or earned an equivalent certification like the GED. Franklin University accepts up to 94 transfer credits from previous institutions, exams, or other prior learning experiences. At least 30 credits must be completed at Franklin University to be awarded a bachelor's degree from the institution.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Information Security Degree Program?
Every online information security degree program is different, but many allow students to develop specializations in the field through program concentrations. While available concentrations can vary widely between schools, some are more commonly offered than others. You may encounter the following tracks while researching online degree in information systems security programs:
CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY
|Concentration||Description||Careers This Concentration Prepares For|
|Computer Forensics||Students on a computer forensics track develop competence in investigative procedures and digital evidence collection, as well as laws and practices associated with court-admissible evidence. Techniques studied may include live and cross-drive analysis, file carving, and steganography. Some programs offer additional certification along with a bachelor's degree.||Computer forensic investigator|
|Information Assurance||Coursework for this concentration emphasizes the role of strategic risk management in information systems security. While learning to assess programs and networks for security problems, students develop a broad foundation in the five pillars of information assurance: integrity, availability, authentication, confidentiality, and nonrepudiation.||Information security analyst, Computer systems administrator|
|Network Management||A network management concentration offers even more broadly applicable skills to an online network security degree curriculum. In addition to cryptography and other topics in cybersecurity, this track addresses basic concepts in network architecture, LAN technology, and C programming. Some careers associated with this concentration require further certification.||Network administrator, IT director, and Tech support specialist|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY
Just like concentrations, every school has different requirements for earning an online information security degree. Curricula can vary widely, depending on the pace, duration, and focus of a program. Some topics, however, are integral to any online network security degree curriculum. Most programs typically offer some form of the following courses:
- Computer forensics: This course offers a broad overview of the methods and tools used to investigate computer-related crimes. Students learn how to obtain digital evidence for use in court as they perform basic investigations on numerous operating systems. Coursework emphasizes the importance of good practice guidelines in collecting court-admissible information.
- Information and security planning: Addressing crucial topics such as network security, encryption, and acceptable use, this course examines methods of constructing guidelines for maintaining digital security. Students may earn hands-on experience by constructing and implementing their own information security program as they become acquainted with common standards in digital risk management.
- Ethical hacking: Students assigned to this course will gain a skillset in high demands as they learn popular techniques in penetration testing for security assessment. Coursework demonstrates how intruders exploit vulnerabilities to infiltrate a system, and how this can be prevented. Topics covered include network scanning, enumeration, and issues in cryptography.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY?
The average online information security degree program consists of around 120 credit hours, but there are several factors that affect the length of a degree. While most students complete their information assurance degree online in two to four years, completion time depends heavily on whether a program is individually paced or taught in a cohort-based format.
Designed for busy people balancing education with professional and personal obligations, asynchronous, or self-paced programs let students complete coursework when and where it's most convenient. Broadly-defined deadlines and accelerated courses allow organized, focused students to finish their degrees quickly. Conversely, cohort learning requires students to be online at specified times, as lectures and discussions are delivered to a group of online “classmates.” Cohort-based programs emphasize cooperative learning, and may involve participation in group projects or forums. Although they take longer to complete, many students prefer the more structured format of cohort learning degree programs.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Degrees
If you've been researching online degree programs, you've undoubtedly noticed the term accredited on many college websites. Accredited institutions are those that meet quality standards defined by an external accrediting organization. Depending on the assessing organization, schools can be regionally or nationally accredited. While these designations may not seem important, they can have a profound influence on your academic career.
Nonprofit, academically-focused schools such as state universities are most often regionally accredited, while for-profit vocational schools typically receive national accreditation. Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions transfer easily to other regionally and nationally accredited schools, but this is rarely the case for those earned through nationally accredited programs. If transferring schools might be in your future, selecting a regionally accredited institution should be a priority. Additionally, most corporate tuition reimbursement plans extend exclusively to regionally accredited programs.
Through the accreditation process, the U.S. Department of Education determines which institutions are eligible to receive federal funding. While this branch of the government doesn't accredit schools itself, it does rely on information collected from organizations like the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Consisting of representatives from universities around the country, CHEA ensures that regional and national accrediting bodies are adhering to standards. Along with a wealth of resources on the accreditation process, CHEA offers an extensive database of accredited institutions around the country.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Graduates
Does having a bachelor's degree really lead to a better salary? There are numerous factors that influence annual median pay, including location, company policies, and professional experience, but few variables impact earnings as much as level of education. Even among industry veterans, higher salaries are strongly correlated with higher education. Using data gleaned from PayScale, the table below demonstrates just how much having a bachelor's degree can affect earnings.
|Years of Experience||Median Salary: Associate Degree in Information Technology||Median Salary: Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology|
BACHELOR's IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY SALARY
While salaries depend heavily on individual employers as well as professional experience, even entry-level jobs in the field of information systems security can be highly lucrative. Using data from PayScale, the following table features several careers and specialized positions attainable with an online network security degree, as well as the average salary for each.
|Position/Specialty||Average Median Salary|
|Security Policies and Procedures||$84,000|
|IT Security and Infrastructure||$84,000|
|Microsoft Active Directory||$94,000|
BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY CAREERS
The best online degree in information systems security programs provide graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in the workforce. Ideal for detail-oriented individuals with a knack for problem-solving, the field of network security offers graduates a variety of careers that allow them to use their talents to the fullest. A bachelor's in information systems security prepares candidates for occupations such as:
- Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts design and implement plans that protect companies and organizations from hackers. The changing nature and frequency of cyberattacks has given this occupation one of the highest job growth rates in the country, and the demand for experts in the field has increased exponentially.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager: Often known as IT managers, these experts ensure the security of a business or organization's network while directing all computer-related activities. IT managers assess hardware and software to determine any necessary upgrades, and implement new technologies as required.
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator: Tasked with the day-to-day maintenance of computer networks, these administrators provide organizations with crucial technical support. Network administrators must be familiar with a range of network types and the technical and security problems commonly encountered with each one. Some assist network architects in program design.
- Computer Systems Analyst: Combining aspects of business and information technology, computer systems analysts assess an organization's computer infrastructure to determine the most beneficial and secure hardware and software upgrades. Through data modelling and flowcharts, they identify an organization's technological needs and perform cost-benefit analyses to determine the most cost-efficient way of meeting them.
- Database Administrator: Database administrators are charged with maintaining the security and accessibility of organizational data through the use of specialized software. Some specialize in systems architecture and program writing, while others focus on the maintenance of particular applications.
|Position||Average Median Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Information Security Analyst||$92,600||18%|
|Computer and Information Systems Manager||$135,800||15%|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrator||$79,700||8%|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$87,220||21%|
Whether you're still working on your online information security degree or a recent graduate, joining a professional organization can open up a whole world of opportunities within your field. Offering resources ranging from certification programs to career services, these organizations assist students and professionals alike in a variety of ways. Promoting networking opportunities through chapter meetings and conferences, many groups also offer job search assistance, educational resources, and scholarships. A few that look great on any resume include:
- Information Systems Security Association: This nonprofit organization is committed to advancing cybersecurity professionals through education and leadership opportunities. Members may join local special interest groups, attend international conferences, or enroll in educational courses.
- International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium: Offering 10 different certification programs, this organization also maintains a large virtual library of materials pertaining to information security. Students enrolled in participating college programs may be able to earn credit for attending events and webinars.
- Association of Information Technology Professionals: The premier organization for IT professionals worldwide, this society extends numerous benefits to student members, including scholarships and career fairs.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Program
Paying for an online information security degree might seem overwhelming at first but, fortunately, help is available. Filling out a FAFSA form can help to determine if you're eligible for federal grants, student loans, or scholarships. An increasing demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals has prompted many businesses and professional organizations to offer scholarships for students pursuing degrees in information security. Many of these scholarships are available to distance learners as well as their traditional counterparts.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and 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, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a 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.
- Best Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 2 Excelsior College Albany, NY 3 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 5 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE 6 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 7 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT 8 Champlain College Burlington, VT 9 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 10 Wilmington University New Castle, DE 11 Dakota State University Madison, SD 12 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 13 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 14 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 15 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
- Best Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Excelsior College Albany, NY 2 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 3 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT 4 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 5 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 6 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 7 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 8 Champlain College Burlington, VT 9 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 10 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 11 Dakota State University Madison, SD 12 Wilmington University New Castle, DE 13 Lewis University Romeoville, IL 14 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 15 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY