Degree Finder For Security

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Top 10 Online Cyber Security Degree Programs for 2015

online-cybersecurity-programsThe field of cyber security revolves around protecting digital information which is a major concern for consumers, decision-makers in government as well as for business leaders. Why? Consider the fact that about half of America’s adults had some of their personal information leaked as a result of cyber attacks between 2013 and 2014. This is according to the Ponemon Institute, a research firm that specializes in cyber security. Additionally, the US Government Accountability Office has reported a 780 percent increase in cyber security incidents at federal agencies between 2006 and 2012.

The Importance of Cyber Security Degrees

A cyber security degree enables students to detect and battle digital crime with classes that combine technology education with lessons on forensics and investigative techniques. Individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree can opt for a master’s degree in cyber security.

Choosing the Right Cyber Security Degree Program

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security
A four-year program will include the study of both mathematics and science. It prepares students to work in the fields of networking and computer security along with a variety of other fields. Aspects like ethics and practices will be covered and the course work will include subjects like:

  • Operating systems (including Windows and Linux)
  • Computer forensics
  • Managing networks

Master of Science in Cyber Security
These programs typically last between one and two years and exist to provide additional education on cyber security to professionals who already have a background in the field. The course work here will usually include subjects such as:

  • The design and engineering of systems
  • Programming
  • Software security

Ranking Criteria

The factors used to rank the online cyber security degree programs below include the quality of the technology used to administer the online learning experience. Also considered is the value of the online degree when compared to the degree earned on the physical campus.

The experience and credentials of the faculty along with the program’s ability to prepare graduates for real world work environments are also factored into the rankings.

1. University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering

USC Viterbi School of Engineering square logoDegree: Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
This online cyber security degree is aimed at students who want to obtain jobs for which the understanding of computer networks and operations is essential. It is also useful if they want to go on to earn a doctorate degree that is focused on information security.

The focus of the degree is on the development and operation of secure information systems. Students will learn how to respond to the challenges associated with developing secure operating systems, applications and networking. They will also be instructed on the use of cryptography and the management of keys. Additionally, lessons will cover the development of security policy.

Graduates will get hands on experience in simulations of real world scenarios along with comprehensive laboratory work designed by experienced information security professionals.

Degree Requirements
The minimum unit requirement for graduation is 27. The student will be required to take 21 units and six elective units.

Applying to the Program
It is recommended that applicants have at least a baccalaureate degree in engineering, computer science or hard science. Applicants should also have experience in computer architecture and design, digital networking or abstract algebra. They must also submit GRE test results that are less than five years old.

What Sets This Program Apart
This program is available as an online degree via the Distance Education Network. The same faculty members provide instruction both online and on campus. Because the program provides an equivalent experience, the degree offered is the same whether the student is online or on campus.

The Viterbi School’s Master of Science in cyber security engineering program features some of the most advanced and innovative technology available in the field of online education. Online classrooms are designed to ensure that students are provided with proper academic support.

2. Pennsylvania State University

Penn State University round logoDegree: Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences – Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
This degree program includes courses on the fundamentals of cyber security and Information Assurance. It also includes simulations of realistic scenarios from the business world and has a focus on the analysis of information.

This program is ideal for those who wish to investigate the factors involved in networks and data and who want a better understanding of the various threats to information security on the Internet.

Degree Requirements
This course consists of 33 credits and part time students may complete it in two years. Up to nine graduate credits from an accredited school may be transferred into the online master’s degree program.

Applying to the Program
Students from most disciplines can be accepted into the program; however, the program is technical in nature. This means that it is geared towards individuals with degrees in technical and scientific disciplines. Those with experience in the following areas will be considered as well:

  • Information technology
  • Database development
  • Statistics
  • Engineering
  • Computer science

What Sets This Program Apart
This program is available via Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus. Pennsylvania State University has been offering distance education for more than a century and has been offering online education for more than a decade. They provide an academic experience that is the same as that provided to students on the school’s physical campus. The degrees offered are the same as those offered to graduates of the on-campus program.

3. Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins University square logoDegree: Master of Science in Cyber-security
This program aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to defend information systems. They will learn how to ensure the confidentiality of information as well as how to preserve and restore systems.

Degree Requirements
Students must complete ten courses within five years with eight of them being from the cyber-security curriculum as well as courses in computer science, statistics and security informatics. Three of the courses should be from the same track and there should be at least two 700 level cyber-security courses.

Students may take two electives not related to cyber-security.

Applying to the Program
Applicants will need at least a 3.0 grade point average (B or better) in the second half of their undergraduate studies. If they have significant work experience or a graduate degree in a technical discipline that is related to cybersecurity, this may be accepted in place of meeting the GPA requirement. Other requirements include:

  • At least a year of calculus, along with taking a mathematics course beyond calculus.
  • A data structures course along with a programming course in c++ or Java.

Those who have not taken any of the required courses may satisfy the requirements for admission by taking completing them with an A or B. The following undergraduate courses are offered in the program:

  • Computer Organization
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics

What Sets This Program Apart
The cutting edge facilities and tools that Johns Hopkins University provides are available to students who are on the physical campus as well as to those who pursue their degree online. Furthermore, the faculty members who teach the courses are cybersecurity professionals and are active in fighting threats to information security. They include specialists from the government and the military as well as industry experts. Their practical experience enables them to help students to apply their knowledge.

4. Iowa State University College of Engineering

Iowa State University College of Engineering square logoDegree: Information Assurance Master’s Degree Online
Information assurance is the field that revolves around the management of risks to information. Graduates of this degree program will work to ensure that confidentiality and integrity are maintained for information whether it is being stored, processed or is in transit. Students will learn how to engineer and expand complex systems as well as how to instill and encourage a sense of ethics.

Degree Requirements
The course consists of 30 credit hours with eighteen of the student’s credits coming from the core set of courses. Six credits of research for a degree with a thesis or three credits for the capstone course for a master’s without a thesis. The remainder will come from elective courses.

Applying for the Degree
Admission requirements for this degree program are the same as those for computer engineers; however, the GRE and GPA requirement may be waived if the student has three or more years of work experience in a field related to technology.

What Sets This Program Apart
The courses are taught by the regular engineering faculty. Also, students who take courses online pay the in-state tuition.

5. University of Maryland University College

University of Maryland University College square logoDegree: Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity
This degree program prepares graduates for leadership roles in the protection of data. The focus of the curriculum is on the techniques, policies and procedures that secure the integrity of information and information systems. Graduates should be able to implement risk management best practices as well as continuously monitor networks. They should also be able to implement security solutions in real time. Graduates can go on to become system managers or administrators or to occupy any other roles where they will be responsible for the protection of data assets.

Degree Requirements
This degree requires that the student successful complete 120 credits of coursework. This includes 33 credits for the major along with 41 credits in general education requirements. They must also complete 46 credits in the minor together with electives and other requirements for the degree. At least 17 credits in the major must be earned in courses above the 300 level. Foundation courses include Technology in Contemporary Society and Ethics in Information Technology. Additional required courses include Digital Forensics in the Criminal Justice System and Security Policy Analysis.

If a student completes their undergraduate cyber security degree and pursues a master’s of science in cybersecurity or cybersecurity policy, the total course work for the MS can be reduced by as much as 18 credits. This allows them to complete both degrees with 150 credits or less.

Applying to the Program
UMUC does not require prospective students to submit GRE or GMAT scores in order to be admitted. The do require students to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution.

What Sets This Program Apart
All University students are provided with the same resources, whether they are on campus or online. Hands-on learning is provided via the school’s Virtual Security Lab which allows students to gain experience by defending against simulated cyber attacks.

6. University of Denver

University of Denver shield logoDegree: Master’s Degree in Information Security
Graduates will have the skills to protect organizations from both internal and external threats as well as to develop effective security policies and procedures. They will also learn how to analyze an organization’s security needs and to set up secure networks and servers. They will be prepared to lead, plan and manage the efforts to secure information in both private and governmental organizations.

Degree Requirements
In order to earn their degree, students will have to complete 48 credit hours. The foundation courses include Security Concepts Overview and Business Assets Protection. Concentration courses include Integrated Security Systems and Legal and Ethical Issues in Security Management.

Applying to the Program
Students will need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution along with a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0- scale). The University of Denver does not require GMAT and GRE. Applicants may be approved on a provisional basis if it is believed that they may be successful in the program.

What Sets This Program Apart
Practical labs allow students to get real world hands-on experience with the state-of-the-art security tools that are currently being used in the industry. Students have the option to customize their Master’s degree using the University of Denver’s online degree builder tool. This tool allows them to choose the courses that are best suited for their career goals.

7. Northeastern University

Northeastern University round logoDegree: Master of Science Information Assurance Online
Students will learn to provide both physical and IT security for organizations in the public and private sectors. Their education will consist of more than just the knowledge of computers; it will include valuable principles from a variety of areas as well. Those areas include criminology, law and psychology. They will benefit from practical lessons on how to assess and manage information security risks. Students will also gain the knowledge and expertise to make decisions about issues related to cybersecurity including electronic fraud and computer viruses.

Degree Requirements
In order to earn their degree, students will be required to complete their two required courses along with at least two technical track electives and two contextual track electives. A total of 32 semester hours will be required.

Applying to the Program
Applicants should have a bachelors degree along with a basic knowledge of information technology concepts and mathematics. They are expected to have taken courses in computer systems and discrete mathematics or they should have experience in these areas. Students will be assigned courses as necessary if they are not adequately prepared. The GRE is a requirement for admission into the Master of Science in Information Assurance Program.

What Sets This Program Apart
Students can get online Master of Science in Information Assurance programs that are customized to suit their backgrounds. They can enhance their technical skills if they have experience in law, social sciences or business. This program also allows the degree requirements to be completed in four semesters. The faculty has extensive experience in information assurance and relevant fields.

8. Bellevue University

Bellevue UniversityDegree: Master of Science in Cyber-Security
This program’s graduates will be provided with the skills to develop cyber-security policies and to protect the infrastructure of public and private sector organizations from cyber attacks.

The Master of Science in Cyber Security degree prepares students to be leaders in network and software security as well as in areas like disaster recovery, risk management and the management of information systems. Graduates will leave the program with a thorough understanding of the best practices in these areas and know how to develop and implement innovative solutions that prevent cyber criminals from stealing important information or causing other problems on networks.

Degree Requirements
The core requirements for this degree program include courses in Computer Forensics, Security Architecture and Design and Human Aspects of Cyber-security. The core requirements total 27 credit hours. The elective courses total nine credit hours and students can choose from a list of courses that includes IT Strategy and Policy, Advanced Database Management and Introduction to Cyber Ethics.

Applying to the Program
Applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an institution that has been accredited nationally or internationally. They should also have a GPA of at least 2.5. The GPA should be from the last 60 credits toward their baccalaureate degree. Their GPA for work before that should be 3.0 or greater.

What Sets This Program Apart
Bellevue University offers 14 full-time and 34 part-time faculty members who teach the institution’s online courses.

9. DePaul University

DePaul University square logoDegree: Master of Science in Computer, Information and Network Security
This degree program is aimed at students who want to focus their studies on the aspects of information technology that relate to security. They will learn to develop and implement the secure IT infrastructure essential for business and governmental organizations. They will also be educated on the fundamentals of information security theory.

Students have the option of focusing their studies on either network security or computer security. The network security degree concentration provides students with in-depth education on network security infrastructure. That infrastructure includes virtual private networks along with systems for the detection and prevention of intrusions. The computer security concentration will be focused on factors such as the design of distributed systems along with access control and cryptography.

Degree Requirements
Whether students want to concentrate their studies on network security or on computer security, they must complete at least 52 graduate credit hours along with any introductory courses that are required. They must also have a 3.0 or better GPA among the foundation courses and their cumulative GPA will have to be above 2.5.

Students who are working towards a second master’s degree must complete the 52 graduate credit hour minimum in both designated graduate degree programs in addition to any introductory courses.

Students who achieve a GPA above 3.9 will graduate with distinction.

Applying to the Program
Applicants will need a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. International students must also complete a Test of English Proficiency. Transcripts from all colleges and institutions attended by the student will also be required.

What Sets This Program Apart
The Department of Homeland Security has designated DePaul University as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity.

10. Dakota State University

Dakota State University logoDegree: Master of Science in Information Assurance & Computer Security
This information security degree teaches enables students to provide leadership in efforts to defend organizations against cyber attacks. The Master of Science in Information Assurance degree program will prepare them to innovate strategies for any organization. They will take classes in subject areas that include intrusion detection and data privacy. They will learn to look at all aspects of network security as it affects the industry in which they work.

Degree Requirements
The Master of Science in Information Assurance program requires 30 credit hours including 18 credit hours of core courses and 12 of specialization coursework. The student must also successfully complete all courses on their plan of study within five years. Their GPA must be no less than 3.0 with a maximum of six credit hours with a C grade.

Applying to the Program
Applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or software engineering from a school that has been regionally accredited for that degree. They will also need to have at least a 3.0 GPA or its equivalent. They should be able to provide satisfactory GRE scores that are no older than five years.

What Sets This Program Apart
Students can opt to specialize their master’s degree by taking three courses in the niche that they choose. They can choose Banking and Financial Security or they can create they own specialization from electives such as computer science and information systems courses. Additionally, the faculty is nationally recognized and both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the program as a center for excellence in information assurance education.

Check out our Top Online Security Degree Programs for 2015

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