A master’s in cybersecurity is ideal for those looking to gain the technical expertise to detect and manage threats to sensitive and valuable data, networks, and computer systems. Read on to learn more about this degree, including admissions and curriculum requirements, as well as the kinds of jobs degree-holders may pursue. Additionally, this guide reviews what you can expect to learn in this program and highlights some of the best available cybersecurity degrees.

What Are the Best Cybersecurity Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

  1. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
  2. University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA
  3. University of San Diego - San Diego, CA
  4. University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley, CA
  5. New York University - New York, NY
  6. Mississippi College - Clinton, MS
  7. University of Dallas - Irving, TX
  8. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach, FL
  9. Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY
  10. University of Delaware - Newark, DE

A master’s in cybersecurity qualifies graduates for well-paying, in-demand IT careers such as information security analyst. While many computer science jobs require only a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can help you acquire new skills in this rapidly changing field or position you to take on more responsibility.

Computer scientists with expertise in cybersecurity can earn six-figure salaries. Demand for the skills learners accrue in a cybersecurity master’s program remains high, as companies and government agencies face ongoing threats such as hacking and data breaches. Additionally, graduates can expect a robust job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of information security analysts to increase 32% between 2018 and 2028 — well above the average for all other occupations.

How We Rank Schools

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2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Cybersecurity Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

One of the most prestigious private colleges in the country, Johns Hopkins offers top computing resources for cybersecurity students on campus and online. The school's online master's in cybersecurity includes three focus options in analysis, networks, and systems.

Candidates explore best practices for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital data, learning to preserve and restore digital systems. The program also features a strong focus on cryptology, and students further explore areas such as encryption, authentication, signature schemes, and hash functions.

The curriculum includes a total of 10 courses: three foundation courses, five security courses, and two elective courses. Students may also complete independent study courses. Candidates have up to five years to complete all course requirements.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Analysis; networks; systems
Tuition: $5,535/course
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-5 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (410) 516-9907
Email: maranda2@jhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

USC's fully online master of science in cybersecurity engineering program prepares graduates for advanced positions in the cybersecurity field or for doctoral studies in information security. Candidates explore the role cybersecurity plays in driving technology decisions and learn to develop security policies for organizations of all types.

Online courses incorporate synchronous and asynchronous elements. This allows distance and campus-based students to interact through virtual conferencing, live chats, and threaded discussions. Online learners frequently participate in live course sessions, and students complete the same learning experiences regardless of their delivery format.

Degree candidates complete a minimum of 28 credits, including 16 credits of required courses and 12 credits of electives. The program typically takes 1.5-3.5 years to complete, depending on enrollment status.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering
School Status: Private
Tuition: $2,075/credit
Credit Requirements: 28 credits
Program Length: 1.5-3.5 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (213) 740-4488
Email: den@viterbi.usc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

USD's master of science in cybersecurity operations and leadership stresses management and collaboration in the information security field. The program is available entirely online, and students typically earn their degree in 20 months. Enrollees can begin taking classes in the fall, spring, or summer.

This master's in cybersecurity track approaches the field from three main perspectives: strategy, business services, and management. The program also emphasizes lifelong learning skills, preparing graduates to stay abreast of developments in the cybersecurity field long after they leave the classroom.

USD's 31-credit program is comprised of 10 courses and a culminating capstone project. Typical courses include cyberintelligence, secure systems architecture, and applied cryptography. The capstone emphasizes security operations and leadership, requiring students to compile a portfolio of coursework and reflect on their overall program learning.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Operations and Leadership
School Status: Private
Tuition: $925/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 20 months

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE, GMAT, MAT, or LSAT

Contact

Phone: (619) 260-4524
Email: grads@sandiego.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 91%

One of the country's top colleges for information technology, learners at Berkeley can pursue a master of information and cybersecurity. Focused on leadership and security skills, the program explores the legal, political, and business dimensions of cybersecurity.

Berkeley's online master's in cybersecurity degree totals nine courses and 27 credits. Courses cover topics including operating system security, privacy engineering, cryptography, and national security. Candidates can complete the program in 20 months of full-time study.

Online courses feature live and self-paced components, combining the flexibility of distance learning with the structure of weekly, synchronous class meetings. While most of the program is offered online, students must complete one in-person immersion session on the Berkeley campus or in a relevant professional setting.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Information and Cybersecurity
School Status: Public
Tuition: $2,592/credit
Credit Requirements: 27 credits
Program Length: 20 months

Delivery

Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact

Phone: (855) 860-5259
Email: admissions@cybersecurity.berkeley.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

New York University

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

Recognized as a Center of Excellence in Information Assurance, Research, and Cyber Operations by the National Security Agency, NYU hosts one of the country's top online master's in cybersecurity programs. The school also boasts a 95% job placement rate among recent graduate students.

This 30-credit program includes nine credits of computer science courses, 12 credits of security courses, and up to nine credits of electives. Candidates planning to pursue doctoral work or research-oriented career paths can also complete an optional research project and/or master's thesis, which takes the place of elective credits.

NYU offers extensive professional resources for cybersecurity students, including internship and career opportunities. U.S. residents can also apply for the NYU Cyber Fellows Scholarship, which covers 75% of tuition expenses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Cyberoperations
Tuition: $1,869/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (646) 997-3623
Email: tandon.online@nyu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

A Christian college based in Clinton, MC offers a fully online master of science in cybersecurity and information assurance. Courses last 16 weeks, and full-time students can complete the program in five semesters.

Candidates complete a minimum of 30 credits, including 24 credits of core courses and six credits of additional graduate computer science courses. Courses cover topics such as computer and network forensics; ethics and law in information security; and wireless, mobile, and cloud computing.

MC's online master's in cybersecurity serves professionals in the field, and the program typically admits applicants who hold an undergraduate degree in information technology and/or significant professional experience. Students who lack an IT background may be admitted to the program after completing up to 26 credits of prerequisite courses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
School Status: Private
Tuition: $625/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1.5-4 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact

Phone: (601) 925-3874
Email: mwiggins@mc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

University of Dallas

Irving, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

Recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for its academic quality, UD's master of science in cybersecurity offers fully online and hybrid enrollment options. This 30-credit program typically takes 1-2 years to complete.

UD offers highly flexible enrollment options for working students, such as multiple start dates throughout the year and six- or 12-week course formats. For candidates interested in hybrid learning options, the school offers accelerated intermester courses, which last 3-4 weeks and feature evening and weekend class sessions.

UD's cybersecurity program offers immediate value to students in the form of microcredentials: digital badges that represent mastery of in-demand skills earned through coursework. Students can display these credentials on their LinkedIn profile, CV, or resume.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,250/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (972) 721-5004
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 19%

With a focus on technical and professional education, ERAU operates main campuses in Florida and Arizona, along with a distance education branch that serves students around the world. The school's online master of science in information security and assurance approaches cybersecurity from the perspectives of enterprise management, knowledge management, and quality management.

This 30-credit degree includes 21 core credits and nine elective credits. The program core covers topics such as risk management, informatics, and cyberlaw. Electives enable students to pursue three optional specializations: protecting business intelligence, information systems security, and information assurance in a global context.

ERAU offers significant flexibility to online learners, with 10 annual start terms for graduate students. Candidates interested in attending on-campus courses can also take advantage of satellite campuses located around the country.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Protecting business intelligence; information systems security; information assurance in a global context
Tuition: $714/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact

Phone: (386) 226-6176
Email: graduate.admissions@erau.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Based in New York, Syracuse hosts one of the country's top online master's in cybersecurity programs. The program offers four annual start dates, and degree candidates can graduate in 15 months of full-time study.

The 30-credit program is divided evenly between core courses and electives. Core courses cover topics such as assurance foundations, principles of operating systems, and design and analysis of algorithms. All students must complete at least nine credits of technical electives, including biometrics and introduction to cryptography.

The cybersecurity program typically enrolls students with a strong background in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. More than 80% of Syracuse graduate students report that this program enhanced their career opportunities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,620/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 15-24 months

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (844) 797-4364
Email: admissions@engineeringonline.syr.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Delaware

Newark, DE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

Located in Newark, UD is known as a hub of cybersecurity education and research in the Northeast. The university's master of science in cybersecurity uses a fully online format and offers several start dates throughout the year.

This 30-credit degree typically takes about two years to complete, and coursework covers topics such as system hardening and protection, digital forensics, and search and data mining.

UD's cybersecurity program requires students to hold an academic background in an information technology-related field. Applicants typically possess an undergraduate degree in areas such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, or physics. Students should also have familiarity with programming languages, operating systems, and networking protocols.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Public
Tuition: $1,237/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (302) 831-2129
Email: gradadmissions@udel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

DeSales University

Center Valley, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Based in Pennsylvania, the master of criminal justice: digital forensics track at DeSales explores criminological theory and practice in the context of information technology. Graduates are prepared to investigate cybercrime, and current criminal justice professionals receive a 20% discount on tuition.

The 30-credit program includes six criminal justice courses and four digital forensics specialization courses. The criminal justice core covers topics including advanced criminology, ethics in criminal justice, and policing in America. Specialization courses focus on digital investigations, forensic acquisition, and network and cloud forensics.

Unlike many programs, this master's in cybersecurity track does not require applicants to possess an academic or professional background in information technology. Students only need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Criminal Justice: Digital Forensics
School Status: Private
Tuition: $775/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (610) 282-1100 ext. 1466
Email: mcj@desales.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

One of the only schools in Kentucky recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, Cumberlands offers a fully online master of science in digital forensics. The program emphasizes major theories and tactics in the cybersecurity field, preparing graduates to investigate digital crimes and recover stolen data.

The 31-credit curriculum is divided among a digital forensics core, applied electives, specialization courses, and an applied learning practicum. The program core explores topics including investigation and triage, wireless security, and web browser forensics. Students can also select from specializations in criminal justice or cybersecurity.

All students complete a one-credit digital forensics capstone course; by applying program concepts to simulated professional practice, learners typically design a response to a hypothetical cybersecurity problem.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Digital Forensics
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Criminal justice; cybersecurity
Tuition: $315/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (606) 539-4390
Email: gradadm@ucumberlands.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Maryville University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

A professionally focused university based in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville offers a fully online master's in cybersecurity that students can earn in 12 months.

Degree candidates complete 30 credits through 10 courses that cover topics such as advanced pen testing, cryptography and network security, and designing and implementing cloud security. Maryville uses a holistic curriculum model that also incorporates topics in relevant fields, such as computer engineering and business.

Distance students complete coursework using the Maryville Virtual Lab — a unique online platform that doubles as a professional simulation environment. Accessible from any computer and most mobile devices, the Virtual Lab enables students to interact with peers and faculty while developing practical cybersecurity skills in a secure environment.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $816/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12+ months

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (888) 266-0574
Email: admissions@online.maryville.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

WGU offers a fully online master of science in cybersecurity and information assurance. The school's focus on practical education yields strong professional outcomes, with 97% of employers surveyed reporting that WGU grads exceed expectations in the workplace.

WGU distinguishes itself through its competency-based education model, which enables students to bypass course content they already know by completing subject assessments. Students work through course material at their own pace and pay the same flat tuition rate each semester.

The program curriculum consists of nine courses that cover topics like security, hacking, forensics, and network design. As part of the curriculum, students can earn professional credentials — including certified ethical hacker and computer hacking forensic investigator credentials — with exam costs covered as part of WGU's tuition.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
School Status: Private
Tuition: $4,190/six-month term
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: Applicants must possess experience in at least two CISSP CBK domains

Contact

Phone: (866) 225-5948
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Offered in conjunction between Arizona's College of Management and College of Engineering, the school's fully online master of science in cybersecurity explores the intersection of information security and management practices. This 33-credit program offers accelerated, eight-week courses and six start dates per year.

The curriculum includes a 12-credit common core and 21 credits of specialization courses. The core covers major topics such as data mining, computer networks, and security in public and private sectors. All students also choose a specialization in information systems or physical systems.

Program applicants must hold professional or academic experience in the information technology field. Students need to possess three years of IT work experience; relevant professional certification in the field; or an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, such as computer science or systems engineering.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Information systems; physical systems
Tuition: $1,332/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 3 years technical experience or relevant industry certification

Contact

Phone: (520) 621-0193
Email: cybersecurity@email.arizona.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Based in Charleston, EIU offers a primarily online master of science in cybersecurity that is available in traditional and cohort formats. The 32-credit program prepares graduates to sit for professional certification exams, including those offered by CompTIA and Cisco Systems.

While most coursework takes place online, students must complete two short campus residency requirements, the first of which occurs during the final weeks of their first spring semester. This two-day residency includes hands-on lab components for multiple courses.

A four-day capstone course represents the program's second and final residential requirement. Taking place during their second summer semester, the capstone experience divides students into teams to develop security systems for a computer network. Given the degree's professional focus, the capstone experience takes the place of a thesis.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Public
Tuition: $307/credit in-state; $736/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (217) 581-8534
Email: rchinchilla@eiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Lewis University

Romeoville, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

A private school located in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis offers a fully online master of science in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity. This 33-credit program trains candidates to identify, analyze, and investigate cyberthreats. Students also learn to devise security and response strategies for different types of organizations.

The curriculum includes cybersecurity concentration courses, nine credits of elective courses, a three-credit research course, and a three-credit capstone course. Concentration courses include advanced network security, encryption and authentication, network security essentials, and application security.

All candidates have the option to complete a three-credit thesis as part of their concentration requirements. Performed under the close supervision of a faculty advisor, the thesis requires students to conduct research in an approved area of cybersecurity and produce a publication-ready research document.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Computer Science With a Concentration in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $800/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (866) 967-7046
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

As a top public university in the Northeast, Penn State produces well-rounded, well-prepared graduates. The school offers a fully online master's in cybersecurity through its World Campus. This program takes two years of part-time study to complete.

The 33-credit program curriculum includes nine credits of core courses, 12 credits of cybersecurity specialization courses, nine credits of electives, and a three-credit capstone experience. The capstone takes place over the program's final two semesters and requires candidates to complete an in-depth research paper or project.

As a multidisciplinary program, this master's track accepts students of all backgrounds. However, applicants with a scientific or technical background — such as in computer science, applied mathematics, engineering, or statistics — are often the most successful.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences - Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
School Status: Public
Tuition: $924/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (814) 863-5386
Email: mps@ist.psu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Robert Morris University

Moon Township, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

RMU's fully online master of science in cybersecurity and information assurance emphasizes administration, management, and technology tools. Program applicants must possess some experience with an object-oriented computer language. Graduates are prepared to design and develop reliable security systems.

This 30-credit program covers topics such as secure programming, information technology security, and information technology governance. RMU also offers an optional concentration in enterprise systems, which includes a general cybersecurity core along with specialized electives in Cobol programming and enterprise transaction processing systems.

All degree candidates complete a cybersecurity capstone near the end of the program. RMU offers several options to fulfill the capstone; students can complete an in-depth research project, compile a portfolio of relevant work, pursue an approved professional certification, or participate in an approved cybersecurity conference.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Enterprise systems
Tuition: $940/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (412) 397-5200
Email: graduateadmissions@rmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, Drexel hosts one of the country's top master's in cybersecurity programs. This Philadelphia-based school organizes each academic year into four 10-week quarters.

The 45-credit degree includes 12 core credits, 24 concentration credits, and nine technical elective credits. Candidates choose from three concentration options: computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and information science.

Drexel's cybersecurity program only admits students with relevant professional and academic backgrounds, such as experience in computer science, computer engineering, and/or electrical engineering. For applicants who lack appropriate technical knowledge, Drexel offers an online post-baccalaureate certificate in computer science, which prepares graduates to enter the master's in cybersecurity program.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Computer science; electrical and computer engineering; information science
Tuition: $1,303/credit
Credit Requirements: 45 credits

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (877) 215-0009
Email: duonline@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

University of Charleston

Charleston, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

A private school based in Charleston, West Virginia, UC offers a master of science in cybersecurity that emphasizes technical, organizational, and legal perspectives in the field. The program uses a fully online format and typically takes less than three years to complete.

This 30-credit program covers topics such as cyberpsychology, offensive and defensive strategies, enterprise infrastructure planning, and cybersecurity policy implementation. The program ends with a capstone project that requires candidates to create a strategic proposal for security and information management.

Program applicants should hold an undergraduate degree in information technology, business, information sciences, or a similar relevant field. While all coursework is available online, UC encourages prospective students to visit campus to meet with program faculty.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (800) 995-4682
Email: admissions@ucwv.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 15%

Standing as the largest online public university in the country, UMGC hosts a fully online master of science in cybersecurity management and policy program that is designed for working students. Serving learners around the country, UMGC offers multiple annual start dates and does not have GRE requirements for graduate applicants.

Candidates complete coursework in cybersecurity governance, risk management, and program development. The curriculum prepares graduates for several professional certifications, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CompTIA Security+, and Project Management Professional.

UMGC accepts students of all backgrounds, and applicants need not hold professional or academic experience in information technology. However, students without an IT background may need to take several foundation courses to prepare themselves for the program, including basic information technology and essentials of computer programming.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
School Status: Public
Tuition: $694/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (800) 888-8682
Email: grad.advisor@umuc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Stevenson University

Stevenson, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 56%

Located just outside of Baltimore, Maryland, Stevenson offers an online master of science in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Training students about the acquisition, preservation, analysis, and documentation of digital evidence, this program explores the intersection of information technology, law, and criminal justice.

The curriculum includes courses such as incident response and evidence collection, Windows forensic examinations, network penetration testing, and mock intrusion and response. Online learners can take advantage of Stevenson's virtual lab environment, which provides hands-on learning opportunities and in-depth simulations.

For students who live and work in the region, Stevenson offers reduced tuition rates through partnerships with several employers and colleges in the community. Employees at organizations such as the Baltimore City Police Department and the DC Consolidated Forensic Laboratory can receive a 20% discount on graduate tuition.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics
School Status: Private
Tuition: $695/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (877) 531-7118
Email: suo-inquiry@stevenson.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Champlain College

Burlington, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Champlain offers one of the country's top online master's in cybersecurity degrees. Graduates of the master of science in digital forensic science program are prepared to collect digital evidence and investigate cybercrimes.

The general program curriculum includes 30 credits (10 courses) and covers topics like operating system analysis and mobile device analysis. Candidates who lack an information technology background may be required to complete an introductory course in digital forensic science, increasing the required credit total to 33.

The program ends with a three-credit capstone research thesis that synthesizes major program concepts. Students select a relevant cybersecurity/digital forensics issue and devise a methodology to develop existing knowledge of the subject and improve forensic investigation practices.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Digital Forensic Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $795/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-33 credits

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (866) 637-6292
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

An evangelical Christian school based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty ranks among the largest providers of online education in the world. The school's fully online, fully asynchronous master's in cybersecurity offers eight annual start dates, making it attractive to working students.

Examining the cybersecurity field within a Christian ethical framework, this 36-credit program includes courses such as digital forensics, applied cryptography, ethical hacking, and security engineering. The curriculum also includes a cybersecurity capstone project.

Applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, such as computer science, computer programming, or information systems. Students who lack an acceptable degree may need to complete additional coursework in algebra, statistics, programming, and networks.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Cybersecurity
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0

Contact

Phone: (800) 424-9595
Email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Cybersecurity Program Overview

Students enrolled in a master’s in cybersecurity program learn to manage computer networks and oversee information security. They acquire the skills to retrieve network information, design algorithms, and maintain data security. Additional coursework topics include distributed decision-making, cryptography, biometrics, machine learning, and multisensor data fusion.

A master’s in cybersecurity is ideal for those seeking a job in computer network operations or information security. Most programs train students to address the challenges of maintaining secure operating systems, applications, and networks. Students learn to develop and implement a security policy in line with threat mitigation strategies and their organization’s mission.

Most programs include opportunities for hands-on experience managing security challenges. They also emphasize technical skills and professional soft skills such as critical thinking and decision-making. Degree-holders are prepared for a career in cybersecurity immediately upon graduation, or they may continue their studies at the doctoral level.

Common Master's in Cybersecurity Degree Courses

Introduction to Computer Security

This course introduces the fundamentals of computer, network, and data security, as well as the role of the cybersecurity professionals. Students explore common vulnerabilities, learn techniques for protecting host computers and networks, and discuss methods for detecting intrusions.

Cryptology

This course explores the principles and techniques of modern cryptology, which enables cybersecurity professionals to maintain the privacy and security of digital data. Topics include digital signatures, public key infrastructure, symmetric block ciphers, and authentication protocols. Students also examine classical cryptographic techniques, cryptographic protocols, complexity theory, and computational number theory.

Network Security

Students in this course learn techniques for achieving and maintaining network security in multi-user computer systems, including cryptography, authentication, and intrusion detection. Topics include viruses, internet security, software protection, secure operating systems, secure email, secure e-commerce, and risk assessment.

Digital Forensics

This course focuses on the identification, extraction, analysis, and preservation of digital evidence stored on a computer or network. Students learn digital forensics techniques, including data recovery, pattern detection, and file system analysis. Learners also gain familiarity with forensic reporting.

Biometrics

This course introduces the use of unique physical characteristics to identify individuals and maintain data security and privacy. Topics include alternatives to passwords, recognition rates, and security strength. Students learn to apply current biometrics techniques and applications to computer and data security.

Related Master's in Cybersecurity Degree Concentrations

Network Security

This concentration prepares graduates for careers as network security specialists. Students learn techniques to keep computer networks and digital data safe from cyber attacks and intrusions. Course topics include secure e-commerce, cryptology, internal personnel policies and management, systems analysis, and network management.

Digital Forensics

Students specialize in the recovery and investigation of digital information stored on computers and other devices, often in connection with criminal investigations, court cases, or corporate investigations. Cybersecurity professionals with expertise in digital forensics qualify for government, corporate, or criminal justice jobs as digital forensic scientists.

Cybercrime

Students learn to investigate cyberattacks, data breaches, hacks, and other cybercrimes. Course topics include digital forensics, risk assessment, and cyber intelligence gathering. This specialization is ideal for those wishing to work in criminal justice, homeland security, or counterterrorism.

Information Systems

Students in this track use their cybersecurity expertise to ensure that computer systems operate efficiently without interruption and that data remains secure. As experts in information systems risk management, graduates qualify for careers as information systems security officers.

Cyber Intelligence

Students learn to assess security risks to computer hardware, software, and data; identify possible threats; and gather information on potential adversaries. Graduates work for private companies and government agencies to gather intelligence, mitigate risks, and protect computer systems and sensitive information.

Online Master's in Cybersecurity Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree

    Master’s degree programs in cybersecurity require applicants to submit official transcripts demonstrating completion of a bachelor’s degree, often in computer science, electrical engineering, or a related field. Some programs accept relevant work experience in place of a computer science major. Some schools also require a specific minimum undergraduate GPA, typically 3.0.

  • Prerequisite Coursework

    Many cybersecurity programs expect applicants to show some competency in computer programming, computer networks, and information technology, as well as discrete mathematics or algebra. Some programs require prior coursework in these areas, while others accept relevant work experience.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Some schools require two or three letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors familiar with the applicant’s professional or academic work.

  • Work Experience

    Some cybersecurity programs require several years of work experience related to information technology, computer programming, or cybersecurity. Some may accept a relevant industry certificate — such as CISSP, CRISC, or CISM — or a recent undergraduate degree in computer science in place of work experience.

  • Test Scores

    Some programs require applicants to submit GRE scores, while others waive this requirement for those with relevant work experience or other qualifications.


Online Master's in Cybersecurity Career Paths

Cybersecurity jobs — such as information security analyst — are not entry-level positions. While cybersecurity positions do not typically require a graduate degree, employers hiring for positions with a high level of responsibility for sensitive data or valuable computer systems may prefer candidates with graduate degrees or extensive relevant work experience.

Cybersecurity professionals can rise to the top of their field with a master’s degree. A doctorate remains unnecessary for upward mobility, although you may wish to earn a doctorate to qualify for research or senior-level positions.

Cybersecurity jobs do not require licensure, although many cybersecurity professionals obtain professional certifications to demonstrate mastery of specific technical skills, and employers often value these credentials.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What jobs can you get with a master's in cybersecurity?

A master’s in cybersecurity may qualify you to work as a risk, IT, intelligence, network security, or information security analyst; information assurance manager or engineer; or digital forensic scientist.

Do you need a master's in cybersecurity?

No, you do not need a master’s degree in cybersecurity to work in the field. You may be able to get a cybersecurity job with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity, or a related field, especially if your undergraduate degree includes internships or other opportunities for hands-on experience. However, a master’s degree can help you advance your career, learn valuable new skills, or change jobs.

How much can you make with a master's in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity remains a lucrative field, and many degree-holders earn $100,000 or more. For instance, information security analysts earn average salaries of $98,350, while computer and information systems managers earn $142,530 per year (2018 median pay).

How long does it take to get a master's in cybersecurity?

You can earn a master’s in cybersecurity in two years of full-time study, in many cases. Some programs can take as little as 15 or 18 months, although two years is a more typical degree plan, especially for working professionals.

How many credits are required for a master's degree in cybersecurity?

Most cybersecurity master’s degree programs require 30-36 credits of core and elective courses. Students without a background in computer science or math may need to take some prerequisite courses before beginning their 30-credit degree program.

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Additional Reading and Resources

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