As hacking and cyberterrorism grow more and more sophisticated, so too must cybersecurity. Today, we are slowly maturing beyond the Wild West of black-hat and white-hat hackers doing battle; cybersecurity is a massive, complex operation, encompassing government agencies, private security, and every single industry that does business or has data online – in other words, every industry. Teams of highly specialized, highly trained professionals are responsible for keeping everything from banking information to elections safe.
With professionalization comes education, and today a master’s degree in cybersecurity is becoming the standard for career advancement and managerial roles in the field. Professionals currently working in cybersecurity may not have time to go back to school to earn a master’s, so universities across the US are developing online cybersecurity master’s degree programs to help busy working adults get the credentials they need to move into more advanced technical and leadership roles. Security Degree Hub’s ranking of the 20 Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity is designed to show them the right way for their career path.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Master’s in Cyber Security Online Programs
The Master’s in Cybersecurity is a degree growing in demand, and colleges and universities are adding new programs every year. Security Degree Hub editors researched all of the accredited, reputable institutions offering hybrid of fully online cybersecurity master’s degree programs. We then ranked programs according to data drawn from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche:
- Tuition Cost
- Student Reviews
- Average Alumni Salary
With these factors, students can feel confident that their master’s in cybersecurity online degree will be trusted by employers and provide a real return on investment for their career.
1. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering offers an online Master of Engineering degree program with a Specialization in Cybersecurity that requires the completion of 30 credit hours and a professional internship to graduate. Texas A&M’s Cyber Security Masters online program prepares students to enter the digital workforce armed with the tools required to maintain cybersecurity networks and systems. Coursework includes Cybersecurity Law, Network Security, Quantum Algorithms, and Cybersecurity Risks, among others.
Texas A&M University was established in 1871. Texas A&M is considered the founding member of the Texas A&M University system. The school is a land grant, sea grant, space grant and senior military institution of higher education. Texas A&M’s 5,500-acre college-town campus is home to nearly 70,000 students, the largest student enrollment in the Lone Star State.
Degree: Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity
2. George Mason University
George Mason University’s Digital Learning/Mason Online offers a Master of Science in Applied Information Technology (AIT) degree program with a specialization in cyber security. Students graduate prepared for rewarding careers in the areas of Social Media Data Analytics, Mining of Knowledge, Human-Cyber Relations, and Cyber Security, among others. George Mason’s masters in cyber security online programs are recognized among the top 25 cybersecurity online graduate degree programs in the country. The online cyber security master’s degree program requires the completion of 30-36 credit units.
George Mason University was established in 1949. The school operates with 4 Virginia campuses — Arlington, Fairfax Front Royal, and Prince William, plus one satellite campus in South Korea. George Mason University was originally established as a branch campus of the University of Virginia. The Virginia peanut farmer and politician, George Mason, founded the school.
Degree: MS in Applied Information Technology, Cyber Security Concentration
3. Iowa State University
Iowa State University’s Engineering-LAS Online division offers a Master of Science in Information Assurance degree program that requires the completion of 30 credit units, the completion of a thesis (or capstone project), and an oral exam regarding a student’s research in order to graduate. Coursework includes Information Warfare, Legal/Ethical Issues in Computer Security, Cryptography, and Wireless Security, among others, which can be completed entirely online.
Iowa State University was established in 1858 under the Morrill Land Act. The school holds the distinction of being a space grant, land grant, and flagship institution of higher learning. Iowa State’s 1,800+-acre urban campus is home to nearly 35,000 students, which makes the school the largest in the state of Iowa. Iowa State offers hundreds of degree programs through its eight colleges/schools.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance
4. Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology offers two cybersecurity graduate degree programs — the Master of Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity (ITC) program, and the Master of Science in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity (IAC) program. Each online cyber security master’s degree program offered by Iowa State required the completion of 33-credit units; however, the MS program in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity requires the completion of a capstone project as well. FIT’s MS cyber security online programs are offered by a nationally designated Center of Excellence by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.
The Florida Institute of Technology was established in 1958. The school originally began as the Brevard Engineering College. The school’s sunny South Florida 125+-acre ‘small city feel’ campus is home to more than 6,400 students and nearly 600 administrative staff and faculty. FIT is organized under four academic schools/colleges — Aeronautics, Engineering/Science, Business, and Liberal Arts/Psychology.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity or MS in Information Technology Cybersecurity
5. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida’s Innovative Education division offers a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity program that can be completed online. USF’s masters in cyber security online program is offered with four areas of concentration — Digital Forensics, Computer Security Fundamentals, Information Assurance, and Cyber Intelligence. USF’s online cyber security master’s degree options are offered as an interdisciplinary study using resources from the College of Arts &Science, Business, and Engineering. The master’s in cybersecurity options require the completion of 33 – 36 credit units.
The University of South Florida was established in 1956 and is a space grant university. USF is a member school of the State University System of Florida. The University of South Florida’s 1,900+-acre campus on the west coast of Florida is home to nearly 51,000 students; which makes USF the 4th largest institution of higher education in the Sunshine State.
Degree: Master’s in Cybersecurity
6. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management & the College of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program that can be completed entirely online. Arizona’s MS Cyber Security online program offers degree graduates two academic concentration tracks — the Physical Systems/Engineering track and the Information Systems/MIS track. Students explore the critical thinking techniques in the areas of Business Data Mining, Ethical Hacking, Social Engineering, and Cyber Warfare, among others. Coursework is offered through eight-week courses, and there are six enrollment dates to choose from throughout the year.
The University of Arizona was established in 1885, as a chartered normal school, as the first institution of higher learning in the Arizona Territory. Arizona is organized with nineteen schools/colleges serving nearly 45,000 students on the school’s 380 urban acres in Tucson. The University of Arizona is recognized among the top public universities in the country and the world.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
7. Regis University
Regis University’s College of Computer & Information Sciences offers a Master of Science Information Assurance degree program that can be completed 100% online. Students graduating from Regis University’s online cyber security master’s degree program are well-prepared to sit for the Cisco, the Electronic Commerce Council, the (ISC)2 and the ISACA industry exams. Coursework required to complete the MS Cyber Security online degree includes 46 graduate credit units and a capstone program to graduate. Students graduate prepared for rewarding careers as Chief Information Security Officers, IT Security Lead, Senior IT Security Consultant, and Data Strategist, among others.
Regis University was established in 1877 and is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Regis University is a member school of the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities. Regis operates with five schools/colleges — Regis College, the College for Health Professions, the College of Business, the College of Liberal Studies, and the College of Computer & Information Sciences.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance
8. Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University offers a Master of Science in Cyber Security degree program that can be completed entirely online. Students explore the related topics of Reverse Engineering for Software, Securitizing Infrastructure, and forensics, Counter Measures and Ethical Hacking, among others. Degree candidates must complete 36 credit units, and choose to take the prep course for the CISSP — the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam after graduation. Valparaiso University is home to a Virtualization Facility that allows Valparaiso University students have the ability to explore countless computer scenarios against theories and strategies.
Valparaiso University was established in 1859 and is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Valparaiso University was one of the first coeducational institutions of higher learning in the country and is home to the Chapel of the Resurrection, the 2nd largest academic chapel on the globe. The school’s 300+-acre campus is home to more than 4,400 students and 200+ administrative/academic staff.
Degree: MS in Cyber Security
9. UMass Lowell
The University of Massachusetts’ Online & Continuing Education division offers a Master of Science in Security Studies degree program with a specialized focus on Cybersecurity that is available 100% online. Students must complete ten 3-hour graduate courses to graduate from UMass Lowell’s masters in cyber security online program. These include Research Design, Intelligence Policy, Cloud Computing, Virtual Systems, and Inferential Statistics, among others. UMass Lowell is a National Center of Excellence as designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency of the United States.
The University of Massachusetts, Lowell was established in 1894 and is a member school of the University of Massachusetts system. UMass Lowell is a regionally accredited public institution of higher learning and the second largest university in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. UMass Lowell’s 150-acre urban campus is located in the Merrimack Valley and home to more than 18,000 students.
Degree: MS in Security Studies: Cybersecurity
10. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security degree program that is available completely online. SHSU’s online cybersecurity master’s degree program requires the completion of 36 credit units. Program applicants are required to have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a relevant technical area. Students graduate prepared to plan for disasters, assess risk, protect network systems, and prevent network damage.
Sam Houston State University was established in 1879 as a normal school. SHSU holds the distinction as being the 3rd oldest school in the Lone Star State of Texas. SHSU is a member school of the Texas State University System and serves more than 21,000 students in the eastern parts of Texas. Sam Houston State University is located in the college town of Huntsville on more than 270 acres.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance and Security
11. Saint Bonaventure University
Saint Bonaventure University offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity that prepares students for rewarding careers in the cybersecurity industry. SBU’s MS Cyber Security online degree program is flexible and customizable. Students graduate prepared to defend systems from breaches, hacking, and, cyber threats. US News recognizes SBU as a ‘best value’ college in the state of New York. Coursework for the online cyber security master’s degree includes Cyber Forensics, Risk Management, Ethical Hacking, and Machine learning.
Saint Bonaventure University was established in 1958. The school was the first Franciscan institution of higher education in the United States. Saint Bonaventure University’s ‘small town’ campus measures more than 500 acres and is home to more than 2,100 students. The school offers more than fifty academic degrees and a nationally ranked student-run radio station.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
12. University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island’s Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity Center offers a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Cybersecurity that is similar to a graduate degree without the capstone requirement. URI’s Masters in Cyber Security online degree program requires the completion of 36 credit units plus an internship. Coursework includes Cyber Security Fundamentals, Systems Security and Assurance, Digital Forensic, and Advance Incidence Response, among others. Students have the flexibility to complete the online cyber security master’s degree program at their own pace, and on their own schedule.
The University of Rhode Island was established in 1892 and holds the distinction of being a land grant, sea grant, and space grant institution of higher learning. URI is the flagship school of Rhode Island. The school’s 1,250+-acre rural campus is home to more than 18,000 students. URI has several additional campuses in Providence, West Greenwich, and Narragansett.
Degree: Professional Science Master’s in Cybersecurity
13. DePaul University
DePaul University’s College of Computing & Digital Media offers an MS Cyber Security online program as a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. DePaul’s MS in Cybersecurity degree allows students to choose from three areas of concentration — Computer Security, Compliance & Risk Management, and Networks & Infrastructures. Each area of concentration requires the completion of 52 credit units and a capstone experience in a relevant topic. DePaul’s masters in cyber security online degree program can be completed entirely online.
DePaul University was established in 1898. The school is affiliated with the Vincentian Catholic and holds the distinction as the largest Catholic institution of higher learning in terms of enrollment size. The school operates from two Chicago campuses — the Loop and Lincoln Park — where together, more than 34,000 graduate and undergraduate students study. As such, DePaul University ranks among the top 15 institutions of higher learning in terms of the size of enrollment.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
14. Lewis University
Lewis University offers a Master of Science in Computer Science with a concentration on cyber security. The online cyber security master’s degree prepares students to enter the workforce with the ability to identify and investigate cyber hacking and threats. Coursework requires the completion of 33 credit units, which culminates in a capstone experience. US News recognizes Lewis University’s online cyber security degree program among the top online cyber security institutions of higher learning. Classes include Network Security, Advanced Cyber Security, and Authentication, among others.
Lewis was established in 1932. The school is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and founded by the Chicago Archdiocese. During the Second World War, classes at Lewis University were suspended so that the school could become a navy training area. The school is organized into five schools/colleges in Business, Education, Arts & Sciences, Health Professions, and Adult Ed.
Degree: MS in Computer Science – Cyber Security concentration
15. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University’s College of Engineering & Computing offers an online Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance that requires the completion of 30 credit units. Nova’s masters in cyber security online degree curriculum meets the requirements of the education specialty Network Security Engineering designation set forth by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. Students studying full time can complete the cyber security masters online program in as little as 18 months. Degree candidates graduate prepared for careers as a compliance manager, network administrator, or security analyst, among others.
Nova Southeastern University is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1964. Its original name was the Nova University of Advanced Technology. In World War II, the campus was used to train Navy pilots; with taxiways still used as roads at present. The school operates a satellite campus in Puerto Rico.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
16. Norwich University
Norwich University offers a Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance degree program that can be completed entirely online. Norwich University’s MS Cyber Security online degree offers students eight areas of specialization — Forensics, Investigation Response Management, Infrastructure, Cyber Crime, Vulnerability, Project Management, and Cyber Law. Norwich’s masters in cyber security online degree requires the completion of six — 11-week classes, for a total of 36 credit units. Norwich’s transfer credit policy is handled on a case-by-case basis; the school allows up to twelve transfer credits. The cyber security graduate program is generally finished in 1.5 through 2 years.
Norwich University was established in 1819 and holds the distinction of being the oldest private military college in the nation. Norwich University is recognized as the birthplace of the Reserves Officers’ Training Corps — the ROTC. Captain Alden Partridge, a distinguished military educator, believed in the concept of Citizen-Soldier — Norwich University represents this belief.
Degree: MS in Information Security and Assurance
17. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers an MS Cyber Security online degree program that requires the completion of 36 credit hours on a traditionally paced schedule or an accelerated format. Coursework includes Security Architecture, Compliance & Governance, Cyber Ethics, Advanced Methods in Database Operations, Cyber-deterrence, and White Collar Crime, among others. Degree candidates of Bellevue University’s masters in cyber security online must complete 36 credit units to graduate. For students who want to finish the degree fast, there are accelerated options available. Graduates find careers as a Systems Administration, Computer Architect, or Information Security Analyst, among many others.
Bellevue University is a nonprofit university that was established in 1966. Its academic mission is to focus upon serving the adult-student population. The school’s suburban campus is home to more than 1,000 students. Bellevue has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
18. Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State University offers a Cyber Security Masters online degree program that has been recognized, by GetEducated.com as a ‘best buy’ among available online Masters in Cyber Security online programs. JSU’s MS in Computer Systems/Software Design includes an emphasis on Information Security & Assurance. Jacksonville State University’s cyber security specialty degree prepares students for information technology careers in the business, private, government, or industry sector. Students graduate prepared for the next generation of computer defense and protection.
Jacksonville State University was established in 1883 originally as a teacher’s college. The school’s somewhat urban campus is home to more than 8,500 studying from six academic divisions – Education, Business, Arts/Humanities, Health Professions, Science, and Social Services. The school is located at the foothills of Appalachians and is considered the flagship university of the state of Alabama.
Degree: MS in Computer Systems/Software Design – Information Security and Assurance
19. Dakota State University
Dakota State University offers an MS Cyber Security online degree program with an emphasis on Cyber Defense. DSU’s cybersecurity program is a Center of Excellence, as established by the Department of Homeland Security. Dakota State University’s graduate cybersecurity online program requires the completion of 30 credit units, a specialized lab component and the passage of a comprehensive examination before graduating. The degree program is available as a part-time or a full-time student; full-time students generally complete the degree in approximately 24 months. Coursework includes Cryptography, Intrusion Identity, Incident Response, and Information Assurance, among others.
Dakota State University was established in 1881 as a normal/teaching school – eight years before South Dakota became a state. DSU was initially focused on education training; the school also follows a specialty mission in technology and computer design. DSU’s 60+-acre campus is home to more than 3,300 students.
Degree: MS in Cyber Defense
20. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity that can be completed entirely online. Students graduate prepared to protect infrastructures and critical computer networks using tools that include cryptography, biometrics, mobile security, cloud computing, and digital forensics, among others. MS Cyber Security online program applicants are welcome to apply during any semester during the year. Career opportunities include a Security Software Developer, a Cyber Security Auditor, a Cryptographer, a Security Engineer, or a Forensic Auditor. Saint Leo University’s MS cyber security degree requires the completion of 36 credit hours.
Saint Leo University is a private school that was established in 1889 and is the first Catholic university in the Sunshine State. The school is affiliated with the Order of Saint Benedict Catholic Church. Saint Leo University’s rural campus is located about 45 minutes north of the city of Tampa and home to more than 13,000 students.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
Do Employers Trust an Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree?
A Cybersecurity professional possesses tools and techniques required to oversee and defend computer systems from the onslaught of online threats. Throughout their studies, cybersecurity degree candidates become highly skilled in the areas of computer programming, mathematics, and IT.
Online cyber security master’s programs offer students convenience and flexibility to earn a graduate degree from an accredited cyber security masters program. Many elite schools across the country offer cybersecurity masters programs, either online or on-campus.
The best universities for masters in cyber security offer cyber security master’s programs accredited by ABET— the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology. ABET is the watchdog-oversight agency that evaluates (and accredits) schools in the fields of engineering and technology. Essentially, when it comes to evaluating cybersecurity master’s degree programs, ABET accreditation is the mark of excellence.
Cybersecurity hiring managers recognize that ABET-accredited cybersecurity masters programs (from reputable institutions of higher learning) prepare graduates to enter the workforce in the same way that the traditional on-campus cyber security master’s programs do.
Students are advised to follow a prudent decision path and to choose from the many accredited cybersecurity masters programs offered by some of the best universities for masters in cybersecurity.
What is Involved in a Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Program?
Computer networks have become an essential component of the world’s social and economic infrastructures. A digital-based lifestyle provides tremendous benefits, however, it also indirectly creates dangerous vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity professionals are the industry experts, who protect, strengthen and defend what some call the “digital frontier” of the 21st century.
While more schools are beginning to offer stand-alone cyber security education programs, most schools design a cybersecurity specialization within the broader fields of Computer Science or Information Technology.
The cyber security degree requirements for undergraduate coursework prepares graduates with the techniques to locate security vulnerabilities within a network. The Masters in Cyber Security requirements will differ from the undergraduate degree requirements because students learn how to set policies, to manage cybersecurity departments and to become industry leaders. Coursework that meets cyber security degree requirements includes Computer Programing, Risk Management, Cloud Security, and Mobile Ops, among others.
From an overall perspective, the cybersecurity education community groups cybersecurity jobs into three categories — Digital Forensics, Information Assurance, and Information Governance.
Do I Need a Master’s in Cybersecurity?
Have you considered if it is possible to earn a cyber security certification online free? The reality is that while there are MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses — that offer cybersecurity, tuition-free courses. The catch is that in order to receive a completion certificate, the school charges a nominal fee for written verification.
Many cybersecurity professionals begin their career with a bachelor’s degree from a cybersecurity program, although many professionals simply start with just a cybersecurity certificate. Students who decide to begin their cybersecurity career with an undergraduate degree will also be required to complete the cyber security education requirement of an internship. This cyber security education requirement provides students with an opportunity to gain real world, hands-on cybersecurity experience, working alongside seasoned cybersecurity professionals.
To advance within the cybersecurity profession (after earning an undergraduate cybersecurity degree), many professionals choose to earn their graduate cybersecurity degree or, even a cybersecurity graduate certificate. The added credential of a cybersecurity graduate certificate often opens a fast track to a more advanced position as a cybersecurity policy manager or an industry leader.
So, while a cyber security certification online free course is not the best plan to begin a serious cybersecurity career, there are many accredited, reputable, and affordable cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are being offered on-campus, online, or in a hybrid format.
Cybersecurity is a serious business. The United States’ Federal government maintains a nation cybersecurity department that operates under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security.