Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Programs

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Over the past 20 years, the internet has become an increasingly prevalent part of our lives. As more companies have discovered how to use data, the demand for internet security professionals has skyrocketed. Currently, the BLS forecasts an 18% growth rate in the internet security field over the next ten years. Earning an online master’s in internet security will prepare you for a wide variety of careers in almost any industry. There are several online master’s in internet security programs that allow you to earn 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 certainly look good on an application, 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 like calculus, programming, computer science, and computer organization. There may be additional undergraduate coursework required based on the concentration that you choose.

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE PROGRAM FOR ME?

There are several factors that can make it easier to find the best master’s degree in internet security for you. 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 you want to pursue, such as cybersecurity, networks, or analysis. You might also consider what type of capstone experience you’d 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 and are delivered asynchronously, allowing 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 whenever 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, it is possible to work full-time and earn an online master’s in internet security at the same time. Internet security students are likely the best suited for distance learning, as their work involves regular use of computers, the internet, and programming languages.

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Johns Hopkins University RANKING SCORE 80.73 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 47% LOCATION Baltimore, MD

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.

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2 University of California-Berkeley RANKING SCORE 77.95 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Berkeley, CA

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.

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3 University of Southern California RANKING SCORE 76.76 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 25% LOCATION Los Angeles, CA

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.

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4 New York University RANKING SCORE 70.33 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION New York, NY

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.

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5 University of Delaware RANKING SCORE 61.89 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 13% LOCATION Newark, DE

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.

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6 Western Governors University RANKING SCORE 61.30 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION Salt Lake City, UT

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.

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7 University of Dallas RANKING SCORE 60.50 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION Irving, TX

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.

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8 University of Colorado Boulder RANKING SCORE 60.16 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION Boulder, CO

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.

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9 Syracuse University RANKING SCORE 60.02 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 25% LOCATION Syracuse, NY

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.

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10 Excelsior College RANKING SCORE 55.02 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION Albany, NY

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.

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11 University of Detroit Mercy RANKING SCORE 53.43 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 17% LOCATION Detroit, MI

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.

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12 National University RANKING SCORE 53.11 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 82% LOCATION La Jolla, CA

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.

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13 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 52.51 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 96% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

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.

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14 Lewis University RANKING SCORE 52.46 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 48% LOCATION Romeoville, IL

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.

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15 Drexel University RANKING SCORE 51.91 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 46% LOCATION Philadelphia, PA

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.

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16 Mercy College RANKING SCORE 49.87 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 54% LOCATION Dobbs Ferry, NY

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.

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17 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus RANKING SCORE 49.21 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 100% LOCATION University Park, PA

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.

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18 Maryville University of Saint Louis RANKING SCORE 48.69 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 76% LOCATION Saint Louis, MO

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.

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19 Bellevue University RANKING SCORE 48.14 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 93% LOCATION Bellevue, NE

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.

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20 La Salle University RANKING SCORE 47.69 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 29% LOCATION Philadelphia, PA

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.

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21 University of Arizona RANKING SCORE 45.94 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 25% LOCATION Tucson, AZ

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 RANKING SCORE 43.27 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Kingston, RI

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.

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23 Robert Morris University RANKING SCORE 43.09 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 52% LOCATION Moon Township, PA

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.

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24 University of Maryland-University College RANKING SCORE 43.01 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 92% LOCATION Adelphi, MD

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.

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25 University of Charleston RANKING SCORE 42.43 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 40% LOCATION Charleston, WV

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.

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Due to the wide variety of possible roles in the internet security industry, students can expect to find programs that offer several different concentrations. You can also expect to find some variation in terms of capstone experiences, credit requirements, and specific coursework offered between these concentrations.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN INTERNET SECURITY

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 learn how to use a number 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 either the government or private corporations. Students enroll in coursework on topics such as cryptology, digital forensics, and even hacking. This concentration teaches students the techniques that hackers use and debates the ethics of the entire process. Intelligence Analyst

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN INTERNET SECURITY

Each master’s in online security administration program will have a different curriculum with its own unique course offerings. However, there are some foundational topics that you will find in any program. Below is a sample curriculum of common internet security courses.

  • Cryptology: In cryptology, students learn about the classic and modern cryptological techniques and how they apply to cybersecurity, including ciphers, encryption, digital signatures, and public keys. This course also spends a lot of time on number theory, which is the basis for much of modern cryptology.
  • Foundations of Information Assurance: In this survey course, students gain a broad understanding of some of the major contemporary threats to information technology systems. Students learn about risk management, policy, and best practices in network security, in addition to specific hardware and software-related topics.
  • Applied Cryptography: In applied cryptography, students learn a wide variety of techniques that are used in the cryptographical field, including word scrambling and ciphers, and how they pertain to cybersecurity. Students learn how to write and solve their own codes and apply common network security principles to defend against cyberattacks.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN INTERNET SECURITY?

The time it takes to complete an online master’s in internet security program can vary based on several factors. Common variables include whether a program is offered part-time or full-time, whether coursework can be completed synchronously or asynchronously, and how many credits must be earned. Asynchronous programs allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, while synchronous programs offers lectures on a set schedule. Therefore, it is much easier to forecast how long a synchronous program will take to complete. Depending on these factors, students can earn their degree in as few as 18 and as many as 42 months.

Accreditation is important for any degree program. Academic accreditation demonstrates that an institution has met a certain set of industry standards. Attending a program at an accredited institution qualifies you to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation is also important because it shows employers that the education you received is of high quality.

There are two types of accreditation that you will come across: regional and national. Regional accreditation means that a school has been evaluated and approved by a regional educational association. All regional educational accrediting associations are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) or the Council of HIgher Education Association (CHEA). For a thorough list of all accredited schools throughout the United States, students can visit the DoED and CHEA websites.

National accreditation is less prestigious and agencies often specialize in accrediting programs of the same discipline. For example, there are different accrediting bodies for business schools and nursing schools. For internet security, students should keep an eye out for program’s accredited by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). The CAE-CD is a joint venture by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to oversee and ensure the quality of two-year, four-year, and graduate programs in cybersecurity.

MASTER’S IN INTERNET SECURITY CAREERS

Even though they all pertain to information technology and databases, there are a variety of careers that you can pursue after earning a master’s in internet security. Many of these careers involve working long hours in front of screens and in computer banks, so applicants should enjoy working indoors and be capable of focusing on one task for long periods of time. Due to the ubiquity of the internet and information technology applications, you should be able to find work in nearly any industry. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most common careers for those with a master’s in internet security.

  • Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts work for both governmental and private organization to prevent and respond to security breaches in an organization’s network. As cyberattacks have become more common worldwide, information security analysts must remain increasingly vigilant and well-versed in contemporary security measures.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator: Network and computer systems administrators ensure that their organization’s computer network and systems are operational on a daily basis. They oversee other IT employees and respond to questions and requests for help from an organization’s employees.
  • Database Administrator: Database administrators manage and store an organization’s data, using software to organize that data and make it available to the right people within the organization. There is also a security aspect to the database administrator’s job, as he or she must prevent unauthorized access to the databases.
  • Computer Systems Analyst: Typically working as consultants, Computer systems analysts study an organization’s computer and network structure and recommend policies and design systems that can make the whole operation more efficient. Since they may be hired by companies in a variety of industries, they must have a solid understanding of both business and information technology.
  • Software Developer: Software developers design and create new software programs, including both client-facing and behind-the-scenes applications. There are a range of careers in software development, with some developers working for software companies that produce programs that customers can purchase. However, other software developers may be hired by a large technology company that wants to create a proprietary tool for their internal use.
Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Information Security Analyst $92,600 18%
Network and Computer Systems Administrator $79,700 8%
Database Administrator $84,950 11%
Computer Systems Analyst $87,220 21%
Software Developer $102,280 17%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensure and Certification

While most careers don’t require additional certification beyond a master’s degree, earning a professional license or certification is a good way to advance your career. Obtaining a professional licensure or certification is can prepare you to pursue an upper-level position or earn a raise in your current role. Below are two of the most important industry standard certifications:

  • CompTIA Security+: Those with a CompTIA Security+ certification have a broad range of knowledge on information security in a variety of disciplines. This certification serves as a benchmark for best practices in IT security and covers essential topics in network security and risk management.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): This certification shows that you have intimate knowledge of a wide variety of contemporary hacking methods. Ethical hackers know how to exploit vulnerabilities in various systems and are often hired to test the security of network.

MASTER’S IN Internet Security SALARY

Professional education and level of experience play the biggest roles when determining an internet security professional’s salary. These figures also vary greatly based on which individual company hires you and which industry you choose to work in. You can also receive a higher salary if you earn a professional license or certification, as mentioned above. The following table features data from PayScale and charts the median expected salaries for the careers touched on above throughout a professional’s career.

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 $70,135 $63,939 $80,038 $91,626
Network Administrator $55,929 $51,071 $57,415 $66,489
Database Administrator $72,209 $61,228 $77,762 $93,219
Computer Systems Analyst $65,650 $57,103 $69,198 $87,538
Software Developer $69,122 $64,751 $78,798 $95,736

Source: PayScale

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Just like in any other industry, networking and conferences are incredibly important to all internet security professionals. In technology hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, professional connections made at these events can lead directly to jobs. There are a number of professional organizations in the field of information technology that provide opportunities for both potential careers and professional development. Below we have highlighted a few of the best organizations.

  • CompTIA: CompTIA membership offers professional development, research, and education opportunities, and serves as a great networking opportunity for many technology professionals. CompTIA also issues the aforementioned CompTIA Security+ certification.
  • EC-Council: The EC-Council provides information security training and certifications in over 140 countries worldwide. They also issue the aforementioned Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification.
  • GIAC: The GIAC issues more than 30 different certifications in the information security field. The GIAC also provides a variety of cyber security resources specifically for employees of the federal government.

The first step to financing your online master’s in internet security degree should be filling out a FAFSA form. This will allow you to receive federal financial aid, and allows offers to see what types of aid you qualify for. In fact, some colleges require that students complete the FAFSA to become eligible for scholarships and grants. There are also a number of 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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 STUDENTS

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

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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

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