Over the past 20 years, the internet has become an increasingly prevalent part of our lives. As more companies discover how to use data, the demand for internet security professionals continues to skyrocket. Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 28% growth in the internet security field between 2016 and 2026. Earning an online master's in internet security will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in almost any industry. Several online master's in internet security programs allow you to obtain a degree from the comfort of your own home.

Do I Need Previous Work Experience to Get In?

No. While work experience in IT or cybersecurity will appeal to employers, it is not an admission requirement for most online master's in internet security programs. However, most programs will expect you to have a programming background in addition to certain undergraduate coursework, specifically in areas such as calculus, programming, computer science, and computer organization. There may be additional undergraduate coursework required based on your chosen concentration.

How Do I Find the Right Online Program For Me?

Several factors can help you to find the best master's degree in internet security that fits into your life. When searching through potential programs, you should consider whether you prefer to study in a program that offers coursework synchronously or asynchronously. You will also want to determine which concentration to pursue, such as cybersecurity, networks, or analysis. You might also consider what type of capstone experience you would prefer, as some programs include a thesis requirement.

Can I Work While I Complete My Online Master's in Internet Security?

Yes. Most of the best online master's in internet security programs offer both full- and part-time options with the option of asynchronous learning, which allows students to work through coursework at their own pace throughout the week. Coursework for these programs is usually available 24/7 through an online platform, including recorded lectures and other materials. Therefore, working professionals can pursue a part-time master's in network security online and complete coursework when their schedule permits.

What Are The Advantages to Earning My Master's in Internet Security Online?

The main advantage to earning an online master's in internet security is convenience. Many programs are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. As a result, students can work full time and earn an online master's in internet security concurrently. Internet security students are likely the best suited for distance learning, as their work involves regular use of computers, the internet, and programming languages.
Rank School Cost Enrolled Online Description Toggle
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 47%

Students can earn an online master's in cybersecurity at Johns Hopkins. The private university, best known for its medical school, is located in Baltimore, Maryland. The master's of science in cybersecurity is offered completely online or in a hybrid format. Students must meet a set of computer program and mathematics requirements for admittance. Johns Hopkins looks at professional experience as part of the application process. Courses include network security, managing e-security, and protocol design and simulation. JHU also offers a post-master's degree certificate option. The online cybersecurity master's degree program includes three track options: analysis, networks, and systems. Students can take part in an info session remotely through JHU's website and can access numerous JHU resources when enrolled. The completion date of the program is flexible and employment statistics are available on the program web page. The program takes about three-years to complete.

2 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 6%

Founded in 1868, the University of California - Berkeley is part of one of the largest state school systems in the United States, offering 170 academic programs and enrolling over 41,000 students annually. Distance learners have access to many of these degree opportunities, including a comprehensive online master of information and cybersecurity that emphasizes the leadership skills required to strategically manage teams and assess cyber risk. Graduates can work as security engineers, consultants, and directors. The curriculum totals 27 units, and most students earn their degree in 20 months. Coursework covers topics like secure coding and operating systems security as well as electives and a capstone project. Unlike other online master's programs in cybersecurity, MICS students at Berkeley have the resources of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at their disposal.

The university accepts applications on a rolling basis. Distance learners pay a flat per-credit tuition, regardless of where they live, and financial assistance is available.

3 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

USC is a large, private university located in Los Angeles. Students can earn a master's of science in cyber security engineering from USC's Viterbi School of Engineering's completely online. The school's online master's in cybersecurity has a unique delivery approach, which uses a proprietary electronic delivery system to bring online learners into the physical classroom with their on-campus peers. Remote learners can attend lectures online with their Los Angeles peers or take an on-demand lecture. USC offers dozens of courses to prepare students for careers in intelligence analysis, network administration, information security, and homeland security. The program can be completed between 1.5 to 3.5 years based on full, or part-time enrollment. Students can begin taking USC cybersecurity classes for credit before officially enrolling through the limited state enrollment program. The program also prepares students for doctoral studies.

4 New York University New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 8%

NYU is located in Manhattan, New York. The school prepares students for the evolving world of information security. The master's of science in cybersecurity is designed for career-oriented computer security learning and can be earned completely online. Students must have a strong foundation in computer science and mathematics. Courses include network security, privacy, applied cryptography, and application security. Students have the opportunity to take electives, complete a research project, and write a thesis. The 30-credit program is open to students who have taken the required courses but do not have a degree in computer science. NYU is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The program can be completed in two-years. The school offers preparatory courses for students who don't have the needed cyber-security knowledge.

5 University of Delaware Newark, DE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 13%

As one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States, the University of Delaware boasts a rich history. Today, UD enrolls nearly 24,000 students every year through traditional and remote programs, including its online master of science degree in cybersecurity. Officially recognized by The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for the quality of its curriculum, this program integrates best practices in problem solving and bridge theory to prepare students for the complex challenges of contemporary cyber defense. Students take 10 classes in areas that include digital forensics, secure software design, and penetration test and reverse engineering.

Online courses follow an accelerated format with seven-week sessions, and students can begin their degree work at three points during the year. Admission requirements include a minimum combined score of 300 on the GRE, with at least 150 on the quantitative section.

6 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

WGU, founded in Utah in the late 1990s, was designed by the governors of several Western U.S. states to offer education online through competency-based learning.Distance learners can earn a master's of science in cybersecurity and information assurance from Western Governors.

WGU's online master's in cyber-security program is for current professionals in the information technology sector. The 30-unit program prepares students for leadership roles, ethical hacking, forensic work, and even government cyber-security work. Students must have a foundational education in computer science. Learners will complete a capstone project as part of the master's program. WGU's program is designed to take about 20-hours of work per week. Classes are delivered in six-month terms, and students are not charged for taking extra classes. All WGU students have the opportunity to work with a designated mentor to establish their education plan. Tuition is paid on a time-basis, not per credit.

7 University of Dallas Irving, TX Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

Dallas is a small, private, Catholic university located in Irving, Texas. The school offers a master's of science in cybersecurity completely online. Students are required to earn at least 30-credits to complete the online cybersecurity master's program. Graduates are prepared for jobs in network defense, cyber threat analysis, digital forensics, and more. Dallas is designated as one of the few National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Students take courses in digital forensics and network security along with business and leadership courses. UD also offers a 42-credit online MBA program with a concentration in cybersecurity and an 18-credit cybersecurity certificate. Students have access to class materials, study aids, and resources to help prepare them for the CISSP certification exam. There are multiple starting points each term, and students choose either a 12 or six-week course format.

8 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 7%

The University of Colorado Boulder boasts a retention rate of 87%, and 91% of its graduates obtain jobs or go on to pursue additional schooling within six months of graduation. In addition to traditional degree options, CU Boulder also offers remote programming, including an online professional master’s program in cybersecurity. This degree provides a comprehensive, management-focused education and skill training, enabling students to pursue work in information technology and network administration without having prior engineering or related technical experience. Totaling 30 credits, the curriculum includes courses such as cyber-economics, applied network security, and large-scale network analysis.

Admissions criteria include a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE scores. Students interested in earning their master of science in cybersecurity online at CU Boulder should know that the program does not offer remote classes during the second summer term and there is a residency requirement for lab work during a student’s final last semester.

9 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

Syracuse University has offered student-centered academic opportunities for over 150 years. Today, Syracuse teaches approximately 5,000 graduate students through traditional and remote programming, the latter of which includes an online master of science degree in cybersecurity. This 30-credit program centers on five major objectives, including analysis of and detection of malware, data mining and anomaly detection, and the design and maintenance of secure systems. The degree plan also contains technical and non-technical electives. Students typically complete the program in 15 months, and distance learners may transfer up to nine credits into the program.

Online learning at Syracuse combines asynchronous coursework with live classes and "immersions," where students work collaboratively with peers, instructors, and industry experts. Distance learners enjoy personalized academic advising and career development support. Individuals with an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 can apply to be exempted from the GRE requirement.

10 Excelsior College Albany, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

Excelsior shares its name with the state motto of New York. The private, nonprofit school is located in Albany and focuses on online learning. One of Excelsior's online programs is the dual-degree online master's in cybersecurity. The dual-degree combines a bachelor's and master's degree into one program, allowing students to earn a graduate degree at an accelerated pace. The program requires students to earn 151 credits, 27 of which are graduate credits. Because the program includes a complete undergraduate degree, the application requirements are less than most master's programs. Students can enroll with no to little experience in computer science. Students are taught cyber security issues including law, ethics, information management, IT risk, communication, and information assurance. Excelsior's program allows for a maximum transfer of credits and is regionally accredited. Students have the option to earn an undergraduate cybersecurity certificate and graduate cybersecurity management certificate.

11 University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 17%

Detroit Mercy's master of science in information assurance with a major in cybersecurity helps students learn about every aspect of cybersecurity. Students at UDM learn the necessary skills to protect against cyber threats and basic principles of cyber defense, cyber law, and new technology, including government, business, and industry ethics. The program can be taken completely online. Graduates are prepared for careers in the financial sector, IT management, the military, and law enforcement positions. UDM has been declared a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the NSA, DOD, and DHS. The 30-credit program was created for quick completion with most students finishing in one-year. Courses include ethical hacking, information audit, access technologies, and homeland security studies. UDM's online master's in cybersecurity is taught by faculty with connections to government security agencies.

12 National University La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 82%

National, located in La Jolla, California, allows amateur coders and professional information technology experts to earn a master's of science in cybersecurity and information assurance online. The 58.5-credit online cybersecurity master's program includes courses in cyber threats, network defense, and the ethical concerns surrounding cybersecurity. Students pursue one of two specializations: ethical hacking and pen testing or information assurance and security policy; a specialization must be chosen, and both require students to take four-courses. The ethical hacking specialization has students develop rules of engagement, prepare tool kits, prepare penetration test documentation, and more. The information assurance specialization has students assess the demands of internet-openness, legislation and law enforcement, and individual right-to-privacy. The program is open to students from different educational and professional backgrounds. Students may pursue a career in traditional IT security or focus more on the management and ethical considerations of cybercrimes.

13 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 96%

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is the largest higher education institution in the state and provides 289 distance education programs, including a master of science in cybersecurity online degree program. Through a 36-credit degree plan, students learn the analytical framework necessary to guard sensitive information. Classes include ethical hacking; applied network security; and issues in security, privacy, and anonymity. Degree candidates also complete a capstone project, which tasks them with synthesizing their newfound knowledge to tackle a pertinent issue in cyber defense. Liberty graduates can pursue work as information security specialists, digital forensic analysts, and penetration testers.

All required classes can be taken online in the form of asynchronous, eight-week sessions. Liberty also boasts a generous transfer policy, allowing students to fulfil up to half of their degree requirements from credits earned through prior college work, examinations, military training, and professional experience. All distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of where they live.

14 Lewis University Romeoville, IL Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 48%

Founded in 1932 as a small technical school in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University now offers a variety of academic programs, including distance education options like its online master of science in computer science with a cybersecurity concentration. Students in this program learn to investigate and resolve organizational cyber threats. The curriculum consists of 30 credits and features courses like programming for penetration testing, large-scale data storage systems, and cloud and virtualization security. All courses can be completed online in an asynchronous format.

Applicants interested in earning this online master of science degree in cybersecurity must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit two letters of recommendation. All distance learners pay the same tuition and financial aid is available. Distance learners enjoy the same institutional support as their on-campus peers, including professional development opportunities and individual support from a student services coordinator.

15 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 46%

Drexel's cybersecurity master's degree online is for IT professional and computer science enthusiasts. The program focuses on threats facing modern technology. The Philadelphia-based institution offers its master's in cybersecurity through its College of Engineering and College of Computing and Informatics. The program is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence by the NSA and DHS. All courses can be completed online. The application process requires a bachelor's degree, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay; providing GRE scores is recommended. Students are free to pursue specializations through electives, with core classes focusing on information security and threats. Students must take at least 18 credits of technical electives. Courses include principles of cybersecurity, information policy, data structures and algorithms, and computer networks. Graduates are prepared for work in e-commerce, government, and finance. It's recommended that students pursuing a Ph.D. or research-intensive career participate in the master's thesis.

16 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 54%

Mercy, named as one of the few National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security, offers an online cybersecurity master's program for IT professionals. Students at Mercy can earn an online master's in cybersecurity two ways: the 18-month MS program and the five-Year combined BS/MS program. There is an accelerated option available for associate degree holders as well. These options allow students at any level to earn a degree in network and information security. The 18-month MS program requires 30 credits and features courses such as wireless network security and IT audit and compliance. Admittance requires prerequisites in courses including statistics and local area networks; GRE scores aren't required. Students have the opportunity to participate in academic study, a master's thesis, a research project, and a capstone project. Cybersecurity master's online learners receive services like student advising.

17 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 100%

A leader in distance education, Pennsylvania State University launched its World Campus in 1998. Today, it offers more than 150 certificate and degree programs online. This catalog includes an online master of professional studies in information sciences with a focus on cybersecurity and information assurance. This online master of science degree in cybersecurity utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, allowing students of all academic and professional backgrounds to develop skills through simulations and the analysis of practical business issues. The 33-credit degree plan consists of courses that include enterprise modeling, information security management, and multisensor data fusion. Degree candidates also undertake a capstone experience, choosing to complete either a project or research paper related to a pertinent issue/challenge in the field.

Distance learners enroll in flexible, asynchronous classes, while discussion boards, chats, and video conferencing enable them to collaborate with their peers and faculty. Part-time students pay tuition on a per-credit basis, while full-time students (12+ credits) pay a flat rate.

18 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 76%

Founded in 1872 as a private school for women and underprivileged youths, Maryville University of Saint Louis is dedicated to accessible and student-centered education. This includes opportunities for distance learners, such as the school’s online master of science in cybersecurity, which integrates advanced business concepts with information technology skills to prepares students for work as enterprise architects, systems integration analysts, and IT consulting managers. The degree plan totals 33 credits in courses like advanced penetration testing, designing and implementing cloud security, and legal aspects of privacy and compliance.

This master of science in cybersecurity online program can be completed without ever visiting campus. Coursework is hosted by the Maryville Virtual Lab, and students can earn their degree in as few as 18 months. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate. Students can also transfer some credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities.

19 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 93%

Bellevue is a private, nonprofit university located in Nebraska. The school's online master's degree in cybersecurity is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA. Bellevue's master of science in cybersecurity prepares students to thrive in government or private business computer and network security work. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree, a GPA above 2.5 for the past 60 undergraduate credits, and some supplemental materials. Students can complete the program online. The 36-credit program has a traditional and accelerated cohort track available for experienced IT students who hold security certifications. Courses include information security management, ethical hacking, and human aspects of cyber security. Bellevue will work with students to achieve certain certification or professional development goals. Graduates will be able to recommend control strategies for risks to the IT assets and effectively respond to security breaches.

20 La Salle University Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 29%

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, La Salle University enrolls approximately 6,000 students every year in a range of academic programs, including distance education options like its online master of science in cybersecurity. This program is well-suited for professionals with some experience in the information security field who want to advance in their careers by gaining additional theoretical knowledge and developing practical skills. Students pursuing this master of science in cybersecurity online take 30 credits of classes by engaging in asynchronous coursework. The curriculum includes topics like network theory; computer digital forensics; and cybercrime, cyber warfare, and cyber espionage. Students take one eight-week course at a time, allowing them to earn their degree in two years while still working and/or attending to other personal responsibilities.

Online tuition is priced on a per-credit rate. Financial aid is also available. Additionally, as a designated military-friendly school, La Salle provides active personnel and veterans exclusive discounts and funding support. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for admission.

21 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 25%

Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona was the state’s first institution of higher education. Today, UA provides a comprehensive catalog of academic programs for distance learners, including an online master of science degree in cybersecurity

. Ideal for working professionals, this program helps students assess and resolve complex challenges encountered in the information security field. The 33-credit degree plan contains core topics like data mining for business intelligence and systems cyber security engineering. Students can also select an information systems or physical systems specialization.

Faculty deliver online classes through the Desire2Learn platform, and courses consist of accelerated, eight-week sessions. Although these classes feature asynchronous components, students need to complete weekly assignments and interact with faculty and peers. The program offers six start dates every year, and applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. All distance learners pay the same tuition.

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22 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 11%

Located in the city of Kingston, the University of Rhode Island offers 70 graduate degree programs; distance learners can access many of these degree tracks. This includes the school’s online professional science master's degree in cybersecurity. This 36-credit program is suited for professionals seeking to advance in their careers while maintaining the flexibility to keep working. Students take required coursework in areas like incident response, penetration testing, and intrusion detection and defense. Unlike many other master of science in cybersecurity online programs, URI’s option does not require students to complete a capstone project. Instead, distance learners round out their education by completing an internship, which may be completed at their current workplace.

URI offers three degree schedules, enabling students to earn their diploma at their own pace; one of the options allows students to finish in as few as 12 months. Distance learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live.

23 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 52%

Robert Morris, a small, private university near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offers its master's of science in cybersecurity and information assurance to students all around the U.S. through online instruction. As one of the school's data technology programs, the online cybersecurity master's is designed to teach students how to recognize, defend, and avoid the cyber threats that have become common in the business and political world. The program features faculty with real-world cybersecurity experience. Robert Morris has several related programs including data analytics, internet information technology, and information technology project management. The university offers dozens of graduate and undergraduate degrees online through its two-team management system. Online students work with the Online Student Services Team for everything from class selection to advising while the Instructional Design Team helps faculty translate their lesson plans into the optimal online product.

24 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 92%

The University College is located in Adelphi, Maryland, and teaches nearly 100,000 online students around the world. The school has embraced distance learning with a number of campuses in the District of Columbia, Europe, and the Middle East. The school has an open acceptance policy for qualified students. The master of science in cybersecurity technology is a fully online program with an interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity. Online master's degree cyber security students take courses where they ethically hack and use cutting edge tools to test network and password security. Students must earn a "B" or higher in their core classes and complete a capstone project at the end of the program. University College also offers related courses for inexperienced computer science and coding students. The 36-credit program is popular with active-military personnel and veterans. Up to 6-credits can be transferred into UMUC's program.

25 University of Charleston Charleston, WV Cost: $$$$$ Enrolled Online: 40%

The University of Charleston enrolls over 2,400 students annually in traditional and distance education programs. Among its distance offerings is an online master of science degree in cybersecurity. Due to the rapidly expanding nature of information technology, cyber defense professionals, tasked with protecting the digital privacy of individuals and organizations, are in high-demand. UCWV’s cybersecurity program consists of 30 credits and helps students develop leadership and technology skills. Coursework covers topics such as cyberpsychology, security and information data analytics, and enterprise infrastructure planning and safeguarding. Degree candidates also complete a practical applications in security capstone experience.

Courses follow an asynchronous format, and most students earn a degree in five terms. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in business or an information sciences field from a regionally accredited institution. UCWV boasts one of the most affordable online graduate tuition rates in the U.S, with an even lower price for military students.

An online master's in cybersecurity will equip you with cutting-edge tools for protecting digital assets, in addition to fostering a thorough knowledge base that you can continue to upgrade as technology expands throughout your career. Concentrations and course offerings will vary from program to program, but the sections below introduce you to common specializations and core course requirements in the field.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master's Degree in Cybersecurity

Concentration Description Careers this concentration prepares for
Network Security Network security teaches students the theory and best practices associated with information assurance, especially as it applies to networks. Students explore a variety of security tools to respond to breaches in the network. They may even learn common hacking techniques to help understand their network's vulnerabilities. Network Security Administrator, Network Security Engineer
Systems Students who pursue this concentration learn how to design and secure operating systems. The also often learn about Java security and cryptography. Cryptographer, Security Engineer
Analysis This track prepares students for careers as intelligence analysts for the government and private corporations. Students enroll in coursework on topics such as cryptology, digital forensics, and hacking. This concentration observes hackers' techniques and debates the ethics of the process. Intelligence Analyst

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Cybersecurity

Foundations of Information Assurance

This introductory course guides students to a broad understanding of the key principles governing information assurance and data protection. Students also explore the primary types of current cyberthreats, in addition to the functions of various hardware and software products in addressing threats and protecting sensitive, proprietary information.

Digital Risk Management

Students proceed from foundational to intermediate concepts in the identification, management, and mitigation of threats to digital assets. Course content observes standard and emerging strategies for categorizing the levels of risk to a given system or network, as well as enterprise risk management and business continuity techniques. These competencies are essential to anyone planning to follow a career path involving liaising with executive management.

Cyberlaw, Regulations, and Compliance

This survey course prepares students for careers that require a detailed understanding of current regulations and compliance standards. Students create risk analysis and cybersecurity solution models that comply with national and international laws while meeting the standards of third-party vendor agreements and specific organizations.

Fundamentals of Network Security

All cybersecurity professional require sound, detailed understandings of network architecture security principles. Coursework examines the application of both logical and physical architecture strategies for wired as well as wireless networks, and it challenges students to adopt network design techniques that minimize risks and vulnerabilities while optimizing performance.

Forensics and Network Intrusion

Students interested in careers in threat detection, threat mitigation, and digital forensics study the foundational principles of these cybersecurity topics. Learners discover automated and manual techniques for detecting and neutralizing cyberattacks, as well as professional tools for recovering, cataloging, and documenting hidden and deleted data for internal and external investigations.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master's in Cybersecurity?

Various factors affect the length of time needed to complete your cybersecurity master's degree, including whether you work toward your degree on a part-time or full-time schedule. Programs with individually paced learning structures, which allow you to customize your course loads and move through required and elective classes at your own rate, prove ideal for highly motivated learners looking to complete their degrees in the shortest possible amount of time. In cohort structures, all students progress toward degree completion at roughly the same pace, which offers more peer interaction and networking opportunities.

Most MS in cybersecurity programs cover a total of about 30-36 credit hours of coursework, though these features vary from school to school. Students working on expedited schedules can complete their degrees within about 12-18 months, though most learners take the equivalent of two academic years or four semesters of full-time study to meet graduation requirements. Some programs require students to complete all coursework within a set time, usually five years, to remain eligible for their degrees.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Cybersecurity Prepares For

CompTIA Security+

Branded as the first certification emerging IT security professionals should earn, the CompTIA Security+ designation assures employers that the bearer has proficient, performance-tested risk management, mitigation, detection, and threat reduction skills. To achieve this certification, you must pass a 90-minute, 90-question test that includes multiple choice and performance-oriented sections.

Certified Ethical Hacker

Aspiring specialists in intrusion detection, mitigation, and neutralization should consider this relatively new certification. CEHs possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the same techniques and vulnerability exploitation strategies hackers use to compromise networks, uniquely positioning them to prevent and respond to cyberthreats. The four-hour CEH exam features 125 multiple choice questions.

Microsoft MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert Certification

An essential certification for professionals marketing their cloud computing expertise, the Microsoft MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert designation covers data security, productivity, and logical aspects of cloud migration strategies. This certification specializes in eight different areas, each focusing on a specific set of topics, such as server configurations and enterprise communication solutions.

Accreditation is a type of formal certification issued by a recognized body that endorses a school or program, ensuring that it meets high academic standards and conforms to competency expectations of businesses and employers. Institutions and programs can hold one of two accreditation types: national or regional. National accreditation usually signals that a school has a private, for-profit orientation, or that its programs intend to provide practical vocational training as a primary function. State-run public institutions, nonprofit schools, and schools focused on academic or research activities usually hold regional accreditation, which is the more common of the two types.

Some of the best colleges for cybersecurity offer accreditation by ABET, which recognizes high-quality college and graduate school programs in computing, engineering technology, and applied and natural sciences. While many reputable programs do not have ABET accreditation for varying reasons, you should insist on attending a school accredited by an agency or organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

An agency of the U.S. federal government, the ED supports the advancement of American educational quality at all levels, from elementary school to graduate school. It also works to ensure that schools based in the United States, and the students that attend them, continue to strive for elite levels of academic excellence.

CHEA features an association structure with a current membership of more than 3,000 degree-granting institutions. It recognizes 60 different institutional and programmatic accreditations and serves as a major advocate of the self-directed, private-sector regulation of college and university education. CHEA rigorously screens partner accrediting organizations for quality and integrity in addition to serving as both a national and global accrediting authority.

To ensure the schools under your consideration hold recognized accreditation, use the CHEA directory or the searchable database on the ED website.


On average, professionals with a master's in cybersecurity earn significantly above-average salaries and enjoy strong earnings growth as they gain experience and move into the middle and later stages of their careers. Continued success in this field depends on your commitment to ongoing professional development, skills training, and staying informed as trends and new technologies emerge. Recognizing this, employers routinely connect their IT and information security professionals with continued education opportunities.

In addition to individual workplaces, your professional experience level will impact the annual earnings of employees in the cybersecurity field. The next table features data from PayScale regarding expected salaries for common career paths followed by those with a master's in cybersecurity, tracked through different stages of their respective careers.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Information Security Analyst $70,676 $64,697 $79,845 $94,448
Network and Computer Systems Administrator $57,536 $51,273 $58,860 $67,568
Database Administrator $69,071 $61,107 $78,031 $92,305
Computer Systems Analyst $67,657 $58,845 $70,500 $83,339
Security Software Developer $69,589 $65,283 $79,185 $94,906

Master's in Cybersecurity Careers

With a master's in cybersecurity, you qualify for an exciting and varied range of career paths in information security, data security, network security, software development, and other computing- and tech-related fields. The most successful cybersecurity professionals possess excellent problem-solving skills, logic skills, and strong attention to detail. They also display genuine enthusiasm for emerging technologies and stay abreast of the latest security strategies, in addition to the evolving techniques used by hackers and cybercriminals.

Consider these five commonly pursued career paths:

Information Security Analyst

As integral members of information security teams, information security analysts conduct audits of current protocols, identify weaknesses, and design and implement solutions that protect physical and digital assets. While some entry-level positions require only a bachelor's degree, holding a master's in cybersecurity will give you a competitive edge in the job market.

Median Annual Salary: $95,510
Projected Growth Rate: 28%

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Systems administrators oversee the everyday operations of an organization's computer systems and networks, evaluating the needs of their employers and clients, designing solutions, and making important software and hardware upgrades. A master's degree can qualify you for a wider range of higher-paying jobs, as many entry-level candidates hold bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, or certificates.

Median Annual Salary: $81,100
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Database Administrator

This career path requires advanced expertise with specialized administration software and data organization tools. Database administrators work to ensure that critical information remains accessible to authorized users while protecting it from unauthorized individuals and external threats. They also supervise the safe and efficient operation of databases and computing networks. Holding a master's degree may open up positions beyond the entry level, as most new database administrators hold only bachelor's degrees.

Median Annual Salary: $87,020
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Computer Systems Analyst

Also known as "systems architects," systems analysts concentrate on maximizing the efficiency and safety of an organization's computer networks. They evaluate new and emerging computing and networking tools, evaluating their suitability to determine if they would generate a worthwhile return on investment. Given that many entry-level professionals possess competent computer skills but do not necessarily hold a related degree, a master's degree will provide a competitive edge.

Median Annual Salary: $88,270
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Software Developer

With a cybersecurity degree, you can pursue a career as a security software developer. In this role, you will design, develop, test and configure security tools for desktop computers, mobile devices, and networking equipment. Pairing a cybersecurity master's degree with advanced programming skills will differentiate you in the eyes of employers, as most entry-level professionals hold only a generalized bachelor's degree in computer science.

Median Annual Salary: $103,560
Projected Growth Rate: 24%


Networking and conferences are incredibly important to all internet security professionals. In technology hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, the professional connections you make at these events can lead directly to jobs. There are many professional organizations in the field of information technology that provide opportunities for both potential careers and professional development. We have highlighted a few of the best organizations below.

The first step to financing your online master's degree in internet security should be filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which will allow you to explore your qualifications for aid. Some colleges even require that students complete the FAFSA to become eligible for scholarships and grants. There are many graduate scholarships offered by professional organizations in the cybersecurity field. For example, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education offers a graduate scholarship for on-campus or online master's students.


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.

Rankings Archive

Best Master's in Internet Security in 2017
Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
3 New York University New York, NY
4 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
5 University of Dallas Irving, TX
6 DePaul University Chicago, IL
7 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
8 National University La Jolla, CA
9 University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI
10 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
11 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD
12 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
13 Excelsior College Albany, NY
14 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
15 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY