In a time when virtually everything we do has a technological component, and we’re nearly always connected to the Internet, an online cyber security degree is one of the smartest investments you can make in a career. From routine identity theft to major breaches in national security, cybersecurity is crucial to keeping us safe in the real and virtual worlds. The demand for experienced cyber security experts has never been higher, and there have never been more opportunities for people who really know their stuff.
To meet the demand, colleges and universities have made online cyber security degree programs as plentiful as a degree can be. Still, the best cyber security undergraduate programs set themselves apart by combining affordability, quality, and future opportunity. For working adults who want to change careers, current computer science professionals who want to specialize, or students entering college for the first time, an online cyber security undergraduate degree is not only attainable, but an investment sure to show a rewarding return.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Cyber Security Undergraduate Programs
To rank the Top 20 Online Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degrees, Security Degree Hub editors made a comprehensive search of colleges and universities offering fully online, hybrid, and online bachelor’s degree completion programs in cyber security and related fields. The programs we found are ranked according to three factors:
- Cost (current IPEDS data)
- Reputation (current Niche review scores)
- Return (current College Scorecard alumni data)
Editors also considered whether programs are recognized by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security, or if their curriculum is based in NSA guidelines. With these guidelines, online cyber security degree programs prove to students that they are the best way to earn a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security.
1. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global’s online cyber security degree program has been designed to meet the needs of busy working professionals. Upon earning their BS in Cybersecurity, graduates have the ability to identify cyber threats and install safety protocols to protect against cyber risks. PUG’s cybersecurity undergraduate degree provides a solid foundation for students vying for industry certifications as well, making PUG one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs for students planning to go farther with their schooling.
Purdue University Global is a non-profit, public school affiliated with Purdue University and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Purdue University Global was created through the purchase of Kaplan University, combining an established online educational institution with Indiana’s foremost public research university. As an online school, PUG offers flexible starting dates and programs designed specifically for the needs of working adults. Tuition will vary, depending on a student’s status, location and the program selected.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
2. Bellevue University
Bellevue University’s online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity provides students with a flexible way to complete their undergraduate degree. BU’s online platform is the perfect way to earn an online cyber security degree while working full-time, and the university is well known for its support of working adult students. BU allows students to complete the degree within a 54-week fast-track schedule. Bellevue’s cyber security undergraduate degree offers students the flexibility to personalize class schedules to accommodate their busy lives.
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit institute of higher learning that was formed as an opportunity for working adult students in 1966. The Department of Homeland Security designated Bellevue University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity, giving students assurance that they are getting one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs in the world. Bellevue University is a ‘student-centric’ school. Its mission is to be a preeminent ‘open-access’ university. A student’s residency determines the amount of online tuition. Active military members are eligible for reduced credit hours/fees for undergraduate programs only.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
3. Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s online cyber security undergraduate degree program is offered through its New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences as a standard four-year degree. ASU graduates are trained and ready to participate in the protection of the digital world against cyber threats. ASU graduates are skilled critical thinkers who have honed their risk assessment proficiencies as they earn their cybersecurity undergraduate degree. A cyber security undergraduate degree is the perfect educational basis for career opportunities as a risk analyst, a network engineer or a security officer.
Established in 1885, Arizona State University is a public, nationally recognized university located on four campuses in the Phoenix area. ASU is considered one of the largest schools in the nation, by enrollment. Since the start of the 21st century, ASU has emerged as one of the most innovative and influential universities in the world, with a dedication to accessibility, affordability, and diversity. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Arizona State University’s 5th best in the nation for online distance learning education.
Degree: BS in Applied Computing (Cybersecurity) or BSE in Computer Systems Engineering (Cybersecurity)
4. University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College online cyber security degree is available in three areas of concentration. The four-year cyber security undergraduate degree includes Computer Networks & Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Management & Policy, and Software Development & Security. UM’s offers one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs by maintaining a cutting-edge curriculum. Online course materials are provided at no charge. These include textbooks, software programs and library resources.
UM’s University College was established in the mid-20th century as an distance learning option designed for working learners and service members. The cyber security degree requirements allow students to complete coursework at their own pace and schedule. UMUC is a school of academic excellence as denoted by the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Cyber Crime Center. UMUC acts as the central hub for various cybersecurity networks, including research facilities, federal agencies and schools, promising students one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs possible.
Degree: Computer Networks & Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Management & Policy, and Software Development & Security
5. Towson University
Towson University’s online BS in Computer Science-Security Track is the first online cyber security undergraduate degree offered in the state of Maryland. The Security Track coursework prepares graduates to understand and apply the latest in security theory. Towson also offers baccalaureate degrees in computer science and mathematics. Towson students complete their BS degree through internships and partnerships with the public and the private sectors. The online cyber security degree program trains critical thinkers and problem solvers and is considered one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs available online.
Towson University’s BS in Computer Science program has received accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission (ABET) . Towson is one of 20 schools in the country to receive a cyber operations designation by the NSA and Homeland Security as the National Center of Academic Excellence. Both state and federal agencies provide funding to Towson’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Towson’s cybersecurity classes are held in high-tech online labs.
Degree: BS in Computer Science – Security Track
6. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona online Bachelor of Applied Science Cyber Operations concentration is one of the top online cyber security degree programs in the West. This cyber security undergraduate degree prepares students to protect the digital world from cyber threats. Coursework during the four-year program includes cyber risk strategies from both defensive and offensive perspectives. UA’s cybersecurity coursework is completed in a cutting-edge Virtual Learning Environment. This allows for a hands-on learning experience and for students ability to build their confidence by demonstrating the application of conceptual knowledge.
The University of Arizona was chartered in 1885 as the Arizona Territory’s flagship public research university, and today it is central to professional education in the state. The University of Arizona is one of 20 schools in the nation that received a designation in the field of cyber operations by the National Center of Academic Excellence. This designation indicates that the curriculum has met established technical standards. Tuition is determined by a student’s residency. Incoming freshman are eligible for a tuition guarantee if they complete their degree within four consecutive years, making UA one of the cheapest online cyber security degree programs of its caliber.
Degree: BAS Cyber Operations
7. University of Illinois-Springfield
The University of Illinois–Springfield online cyber security degree program is offered as an entirely online 120-semester hour Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security (ISS). Graduates of the Information Systems Security program possess the fundamentals skills of risk assessment, security ethics and security design. ISS Graduates enter the workplace prepared for successful careers in field of computer science, and its related industries.
The Illinois state assembly established the University of Illinois–Springfield in 1969. This public university is located on a 740-acre campus, several miles from downtown Springfield. According to U. S News & World Report, UIS is ranked as the 8th best public school in the Midwest. Their online school celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019. The Department of Homeland Security has designated University of Illinois–Springfield as a member of the National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Programs. That makes UIS one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs in the US.
Degree: BS Information Systems Security
8. Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus online cyber security degree program comes from the online wing affiliated with the world-renowned Penn State University. Baccalaureate graduates with a Security and Risk Analysis degree receive the same quality education as students attending on-campus programs. PSWC offers unique learning experiences through the use of internships with nearby businesses and government agencies. The coursework prepares graduates with the skills necessary to reduce or eliminate cyber risks.
The current student enrollment at Penn State World Campus University is approximately 20,000. The enrollment makes PSWC the second largest campus within the Pennsylvania State University system. PSWC graduates can also take advantage of Penn State University’s alumni association – the largest alumni association in the world. The alumni network creates potential career opportunities across the globe. Tuition rates vary based upon credit hours earned and credit hours taken per semester. Service members are eligible for reduced tuition at Penn State World Campus University.
Degree: BS in Security and Risk Analysis
9. Syracuse University
The Syracuse University online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Administration comes from one of the best private research universities in New York. This cyber security undergraduate degree requires 120 semester hours and is the direct result of an ever increasing need to protect databanks and networks against cyber threats. Cybersecurity Administration coursework includes both independent studies and live, interactive classes.
Syracuse University’s 683-acre campus is located on University Hill just outside of downtown Syracuse. SU-UC maintains educational centers in Santiago, Florence, Beijing and Madrid, among others. Tuition fees for part-time undergraduate programs are the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. SU-UC’s financial aid staff is available to facilitate financial arrangements for those students who qualify. Veterans may be eligible for tutoring reimbursements, book stipends, and housing grants, making the online cyber security degree a strong investment with a real return for vets.
Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) – Cybersecurity Administration
10. Drexel University
Drexel University’s online Bachelor of Science in Computing and Security Technology degree is offered through the College of Computing and Informatics. Drexel’s Computing and Security Technology requires 120 hours of coursework and is one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs available as it prepares graduates for successful careers in the government, non-profit, and corporate sectors. Drexel’s online curriculum is designed to meet the needs of working IT professionals. DU’s CST graduates are prepared to assess problems and implement solutions. Graduates who have earned their Computing and Security Technology degree are ready to join the field of cybersecurity.
The renowned philanthropist Anthony Drexel established Drexel University in 1891 to provide education in the applied arts and sciences for the working class of Philadelphia. Today, Drexel University includes thirteen colleges/schools across three campuses in Philadelphia, but remains dedicated to market-ready professional education. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked a computer systems analyst as #6 in their list of ‘Best Tech Jobs.’ Informally, the College of Computing and Informatics is known as the ‘iSchool.’ Drexel University prices their online tuition rates 40% below Drexel’s tradition tuition rates, making for one of the cheapest online cyber security degree programs in its class.
Degree: BS in Computing and Security Technology
11. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University’s online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity exposes students to real-life situations and helps them understand the nature of cyber attacks and online threats to security. The cyber security undergraduate degree from Grand Canyon teaches students to adapt in a changing digital environment. It takes roughly four years to complete the program, but students do have options to go through a fast-track program. Demand for cybersecurity professionals is available in fields that range from government positions to roles in finance companies and other businesses.
Students who attend Grand Canyon University have the opportunity to learn from an accredited school that takes a real-life approach to the teaching process. The school focuses on building up critical thinking skills in the students and develops a challenging curriculum to encourage students to grow and develop their skills. By taking the cyber security undergraduate degree program from the university, students can expect challenging class work and a focus on accomplishing long-term objects for online security.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
12. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University’s online cyber security undergraduate degree program examines the challenges associated with online security in a digital age. The BS in Cybersecurity strives to develop skills that can handle the changing landscape within the technology industry and the challenges that may arise with new advances in technology. The school takes a multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity by teaching students a combination of computer engineering, information technology, criminal justice, and related studies in relation to technological security. The cyber security degree requirements focus on intensive and well-rounded studies.
Old Dominion University stands apart from other cybersecurity programs by insisting on a balanced approach to the learning process. In the 21st century, ODU – once just an extension campus of the College of William and Mary – has come into its own as one of the foremost online educators, including one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs available online. The school does not focus solely on the use of online security. It gives students multiple perspectives to help draw conclusions, verify data and build on their existing skills.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
13. Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity addresses the changing concerns within business and governmental organizations to protect data and information. The program builds on other areas of study within the university to give students a well-rounded view of the challenges associated with online security and cyber risks. When evaluating the cyber security degree requirements, students will notice that the school incorporates courses from criminal justice programs, managerial programs, and information technology as part of the curriculum. The focus on well-rounded education allows students to recognize risks and identify realistic solutions.
Kennesaw State University began in 1964 as a junior college, but the university has emerged in recent years as a key player in Georgia’s higher education system, with a heavily research-oriented focus. The school encourages students to focus on innovation and creativity through every area of study. That focus on innovation creates the potential for students to create new solutions for cybersecurity, making KSU one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs in the South. By obtaining a degree from Kennesaw State University, students will have the critical thinking skills to develop creative strategies for online security.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
14. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University’s online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program teaches students to recognize cyber threats and address the threats to protect important data and information. The program follows the strict standards set by CompTIA, which allows the school to ensure that students have a clear understanding of cybersecurity and their role as professionals after graduation. The program takes a technological approach to cybersecurity, recognizing that government organizations, businesses and private corporations want to address potential security threats from increasing technological advances.
Colorado Technical University is a technology-focused school founded in 1965 with an orientation toward working adults in technical fields. The cyber security undergraduate degree program recognizes the importance of working with technology to address potential threats. One key factor that sets Colorado Tech apart is their willingness to work with active members of the military, particularly through its online programs. Colorado Tech offers flexible courses and programs that allow soldiers to continue their studies when they are interrupted due to decisions made by the military.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
15. Maryville University
Maryville University offers one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs due to their focus on specific areas of security. The Maryville University Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity breaks down into three main categories: general security, defensive security and offensive security. Students are allowed to select the track that fits their goals and interests in relation to online security threats. The class work and the areas of study students focus on depends on the type of program they decide to pursue. By focusing on specific tracks of security, students go in-depth into the material and have the opportunity to build up their skills before they start working in a professional environment.
Founded as a Catholic college in 1872, Maryville University has not been affiliated with the Church for more than 40 years, but remains committed to ideals of educational excellence and academic rigor. A key aspect that sets Maryville University apart is their focus on online education, with nearly 40 fully online programs. With a 97 percent career placement rate, Maryville online graduates have a high chance to find a job and start a career after they complete their education.
Degree: BS in Cyber Security
16. Norwich University
Norwich University’s online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity puts its focus on the prevalence of cyber crime. The focus on computer forensics and managing vulnerabilities within a corporation or organization allow students to prepare for a wide array of security careers. Norwich sets a high standard for the curriculum, which helps students adapt to a fast-paced work environment. The online courses offer greater flexibility for adult students who are working in a career, so you can feel confident that it has the right solutions for your goals.
As America’s founding military college, Norwich University is a perfect setting for one of the best online cyber security undergraduate programs. A key advantage of attending Norwich University is its deep connections to the military, the security sector, and the federal government. Norwich not only has an excellent reputation for online learning; the flexibility of the course work means students can complete their BS in Cybersecurity within 18 months by planning your classes around their own schedule.
Degree: BS in Cyber Security
17. Saint Leo University
The Saint Leo University Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity recognizes the value of online security in a modern technological environment. Cybersecurity courses focus on forensics, various forms of security, and homeland defense. Saint Leo University recognizes that you may work for corporations, businesses, government organizations or other organizations that need extensive security. They focus on teaching students the important skills they need in a variety of different work environments.
A private, Catholic college in Florida, Saint Leo University is considered one of the best colleges in the South. Saint Leo is also one of the largest Catholic schools in the US, with much of its growth in recent years due to embracing online education. The university has a long history as the first Catholic university in the state of Florida. Recognized by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Saint Leo is top-ranked university for students looking for a degree in cybersecurity. If you want to attend one of the best cyber security undergraduate programs, then you may want to consider Saint Leo University.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
18. Western Governors University
Keeping up with the technology of a modern world starts with security. The Western Governors University online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance recognizes that companies and organizations need professionals to handle cyber risks. The program meets the standards of the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency in relation to guidelines for cybersecurity. The result if a comprehensive overview of security risks and methods of handling risks that may arise. The program takes 6 to 18 months due to the online coursework. The university allows students to move forward with their studies at their own pace, which allows you to complete the work in a short amount of time.
Western Governors University is one of the most unique institutions in America, founded as an exclusively online university by an unusual collaboration between 19 state governors. With a focus on the needs of working adults, military personnel, and veterans, WGU has made affordable, high-quality online education its mission. With its connections to state and federal governments, and to government agencies like the NSA and DHS, Western Governors’ students are prepared to handle the challenges of government roles in the cybersecurity field.
Degree: BS Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
19. Wilmington University
Wilmington University’s online cyber security degree program provides students with a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security. The program provides two primary strategies for student education: broad studies of cybersecurity, then specialized studies based on the student’s goals and interests. Students are able to focus on their career goals when evaluating the classes and specialized training they need for their situation. For example, students can specialize in Digital Forensics to work with government organizations or a police force. By focusing on a specialized skill, students have greater flexibility for their career path.
A key aspect that sets Wilmington University apart is the high standards set by the school. Founded in just 1968, Wilmington has become the foremost private liberal arts university in Rhode Island through a focus on applicable, practical learning. The university offers accredited degrees in cybersecurity that give students the chance to focus on their career goals. The National Security Agency named the school a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security, so students can feel confident that they are obtaining the high level of education they need for their career goals.
Degree: BS Computer and Network Security
20. Dakota State University
When you want to study cybersecurity, Dakota State University’s online BS in Cyber Operations offers the education you need for your future career goals. The program focuses on the psychology behind hacking and the motivations that drive hackers to commit online and digital crimes. The education starts with a strong foundation in programming, mathematics and networking before moving into the psychology associated with hacking and the practical applications of cybersecurity. By studying the mindset of hackers, students learn to track down potential threats and reverse engineer a threat so they are able to address and remove the cyber threat from a computer or network.
When you study at Dakota State University, you know you are studying at one of the top universities for cyber security. The Cyber Operations degree from Dakota State University is acknowledged by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. It is only one of 13 universities to obtain the designation, which sets the school apart from other universities. The university also has a 100 percent job placement rate for graduating students.
Degree: BS in Cyber Operations
Can I Get a Real Cyber Security Degree Online?
The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is “Yes, but watch out for potential scams.” A lot of universities offer legitimate online degrees. They recognize that some people have children, jobs, and lifestyles that can prevent full-time learning on campus. You can absolutely get a cyber security degree online. As long as it’s a legitimate degree, you should have no problem using that degree to find employment. In fact, you may find some of the best cyber security undergraduate programs online. It is a tech-heavy degree, after all.
Still, the high demand for cybersecurity degrees has led to a lot of diploma mills and downright scams. Plenty of non-legitimate places are all too happy to take your money in exchange for a worthless degree. So how do you tell the difference? Check for accreditation. When you find a school that sparks your interest, check out it’s “About” page. If it’s not regionally accredited, or has some other “accreditation” that isn’t recognized by the Department of Education, that’s a big red flag.
What Can I Do With a Cyber Security Undergraduate Degree?
A cyber security undergraduate degree will give you the skills you need for plenty of different cybersecurity jobs. CyberDegrees.org lists 17 different job possibilities, That number is bound to grow as technology creates more demand. Most cyber security jobs boil down to helping organizations avoid data breaches. A Security Engineer, for example, builds hardware and software solutions to help companies maintain their security. An Incident Responder handles emergency cyber security situations. Take some time to explore your options and look for some of the careers that appeal to you the most.
Is a Cyber Security Degree Hard to Get?
Like any good degree, an online cyber security Bachelor’s degree should be challenging but attainable. Most cyber security jobs require a 4 year degree. Generally, cyber security degree requirements include classes in computer science, security, and programming. If your major has a specific concentration, you may have more specialized cyber security degree requirements. Of course, your requirements will vary from one school to another, so take some time to look at specific requirements from the schools that interest you. You might also contact specific schools if you have more questions about requirements and course loads.
How Much Will a Cyber Security Degree Online Cost?
The average cost of a Bachelor’s degree is nearly $17,000 at a public institution. Sources vary when it comes to averaging a cyber security degree specifically, but you do have resources to find the cheapest online cyber security degree. First of all, getting an online degree will save you a significant amount of money on room and board. You can also look into in-state vs out-of-state tuition and financial aid options. Finally, some schools are more cost-effective than others. One school charges about $3,225 per term, which should appeal to people looking for the cheapest online cyber security degree.
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