Cyber Security is quickly becoming one of the most crucial, understaffed sectors of our economy. Any organization that relies on digital information (which is virtually all of them) either has, wants, or will need professionals that protect them from cyber attacks, natural disasters, and other compromising calamities.
Cyber attacks have been rapidly rising in recent years. In 2018 it was estimated that cyber crime would cost the world $6 trillion each year by 2021. It cost the world $3 trillion in 2017.
So what can you do? Right now there is a dearth of qualified cyber security professionals in America, and worldwide. It’s not easy to become a cyber security worker or leader. You need at least a Bachelor’s degree in the field, and to reach upper competencies, a graduate degree. These degrees are much more difficult and less often entered than traditional liberal arts programs. These factors combine to create major barriers for solving the lack of cyber security professionals.
By entering a graduate program in cyber security you can do your part to solve this growing problem, and secure yourself a stable, high-paying career. To enter one of these programs and complete it successfully you’ll likely need an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field, or some applicable work experience, or both.
We’ve ranked 20 of the best online cyber security graduate degrees to help you whittle down your options when applying.
We’ve ranked the schools on this list based on special features, affordability, flexibility, their national (or regional) rankings, among other factors. Here are the schools that made the cut:
1) University of Denver
Denver is a private university founded in 1864. It’s based in its namesake, in Colorado. U.S. News & World Report ranks it 97th among National Universities. It’s known for its Woman’s College, College of Law, majors in art, engineering, theater, and of course, Cyber Security education. Denver offers an Online Information Security Master’s degree. It includes the following core courses:
- Security Concepts Overview
- Business Function of Security
- Business Assets Protection
- Research Practices and Applications
- Capstone Project
Denver offers several programs designated as Security Management Master’s degrees. They include concentrations in Information Security, Organizational Security, Emergency Planning and Response, and Supply Chain Management. In these programs students will study threats to security and how to solve them. You’ll use case studies, collaborative discussion and problem-solving, and significant research to do so. These degrees can be completed in as little as 18 months.
- Affordability Rank: 5th
2) Boston University
BU is a private university based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was established in 1839. USNR ranks it 40th among National Universities. It’s known for its programs in Engineering, Law, Medicine, Education, and Management. It’s also one of the largest independent nonprofit universities in the country. It offers an Online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems Concentration in Security. Courses in this degree include:
- Business Data Communication and Networks
- Database Design and Implementation for Business
- Information Systems Analysis and Design
- IT Strategy and Management
Students will also choose between taking Information Structures with Java, or Python. You’ll gain comprehensive understanding of current threats to security and the solutions necessary to find, evolve, and deploy secure systems. It’s important to protect organizations and networks while boosting productivity, and graduates of this program will be ready to do so as information system leaders, system or security analysts, among many other positions. This degree was designed to be completed in 18-24 months.
- Affordability Rank: 14th
3) Dakota State University
Dakota State is a public university in Madison, South Dakota. It was founded in 1881 and is primarily focused on technology. Currently it’s ranked 84th in the Regional Universities Midwest bracket of USNR’s rankings. Its most popular degree programs include Education, Business, Management, Computer and Information Sciences, among others. DSU offers an Online M.S. in Information Assurance and Computer Security. It includes core courses in:
- Compliance and Audit
- Data Privacy
- Computer Forensics
- Offensive Security
- Among several others
This program is designed to teach students to create and implement security strategies and solutions to pressing problems across different organizations. They will also learn to take leadership roles in technology and security that will prevent assets and mitigate the consequences of attacks. This program requires 30 credit hours and can be completed in two years of full-time attendance. It must be completed in 5 years after admission.
- Affordability Rank: 2nd
4) National University
This private university was founded in 1971. It’s headquartered in La Jolla, California. It’s currently unranked in the Regional Universities West bracket of USNR’s rankings. It’s known for colleges and schools of Letters and Sciences, Education, Business and Management, Engineering and Computing, Health and Human Services, and Professional Studies. Its online programming maximizes interactivity and engagement. It also prizes concentrated, accelerated education to help students complete courses and degrees as quickly as possible. NU offers an Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance that includes the following courses:
- Ethical Hacking
- Info Sys. Vulnerab. & Attacks
- Information Assurance
- Cyber Security Technology
- Among many others.
Students will analyze and evaluate risk and solutions to it. You’ll learn how to protect systems, mitigate attacks to them, do critical research, and much more. This program features comprehensive projects where students can practice their skills in scenarios that simulate real problems they’d face in the workforce. You’ll also come to understand legal and ethical issues, ramifications, and requirements of cybersecurity professionals at the Local, State, and Federal levels.
- Affordability Rank: 1st
5) DePaul University
DePaul is a private university founded in 1898. It’s based in Chicago, Illinois. USNR currently ranks DePaul 125th in National Universities. It’s known for colleges of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Business, and New Learning. DePaul offers an Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity that offers the following concentrations:
- Networking and Infrastructure
- Computer Security
- Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance
If you want to specialize in the security aspects of Information Technology, this is a great graduate degree option for you. People who complete this degree have gone on to work in Computer Forensics, Web Development, Incident Response, Management, Network Security Administration, and many others. This program prizes online learning, and has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.
- Affordability Rank: 18th
6) Maryville University
Maryville is a private university in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded in 1872. It was first founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart to serve underprivileged youth and women. Maryville offers more than 90 degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels in schools of Nursing, Adult and Online Education, Business, Health Professions, Education and Arts and Sciences, among others. Currently USNR ranks it tied at 202 among National Universities. Maryville offers an Online M.S. in Cyber Security. It features the following courses:
- Controls for Effective Cyber Defense
- Cryptography and Network Security
- Designing and Implementing Cloud Security
- Forensic Examination and Analysis
- Incident Handling and Breaches
Students in this program can graduate in as little as 18 months. All of their coursework can be completed online. Maryville’s Virtual Lab is a great way to hone your professional skills and experience. The program builds towards a Legal Aspects of Privacy and Compliance (Capstone). Graduates can work as Network Architects, Information Security Managers, Security Engineers, and Chief Information Security Officers, among other roles.
- Affordability Rank: 17th
7) Penn State World Campus
Penn State is a public research university spread out on campuses throughout Pennsylvania. It was established in 1855. Penn State has been nicknamed the “Public Ivy” because of its excellence in public education. USNR ranks it 57th among National Universities. It’s known for its programs in Education, Computer Science, and Engineering, as well as its online wing: the World Campus. It offers an Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations that features courses in:
- Web Security and Privacy
- Network Security
- Information Security Management
- Foundations of Software Security
- Network Management and Security
This degree requires 33 credits. It can be completed online in just two years of part-time study (or longer if you so desire or require). The core of the degree is focused on network management and security, information technology, and of course, cybersecurity. Up to 9 graduate credits can be transferred in. Students will enjoy incredible flexibility, interactive and collaborative courses, and build a strong community with their cohort in this program.
- Affordability Rank: 22nd
8) Western Governors University
WGU is a private university in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was founded in 1996. Currently it’s unranked in USNR’s Regional Universities West category. WGU prizes a competency-based learning model. This means relying at times on assessments to determine students’ progress. Former United States Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan once said of this approach, “…programs [like WGU] are now the exception, I want them to be the norm.” WGU is especially known for its online education. It offers an Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance with courses in:
- Secure Systems Analysis & Design
- Cybersecurity Mangement
- Network Design and Management
In total there are 9 courses in this program. Students generally take them one at a time. In this degree you’ll work with a Program Mentor to build an individual degree plan. In each course you’ll study, learn material, then pass assessment to prove you understand what it was comprised of. This allows you to theoretically take as many courses in a term as you can handle. There’s no extra cost for this, allowing you to save time and money if you opt to do so.
- Affordability Rank: 4th
9) Regis University
Regis is a private university in Denver, Colorado. It was founded in 1877. Currently USNR ranks it at 202 among National Universities. It offers dozens of online graduate degrees, including Information Assurance, Business Administration, and Nursing Practice. Regis offers an Online M.S. Information and Cyber Security, with courses in:
- Risk Management
- Managing a Secure Enterprise
- Information Technology Concepts
- Computer Forensics
- Offensive Cyber Security
Students will be prepared to fill the constantly growing demand for qualified cyber security professionals. This program features 8 week terms and six start dates. Graduates will be prepared for several industry exams including Cisco, ISACA, (ISC)2, among others. Students can opt for specializations in Cyber Security, Information Assurance Policy Management, or no specialization. This program requires 36 credit hours to complete.
- Affordability Rank: 11th
10) Iowa State University
Iowa State University is a public research university in Ames, Iowa. It was established in 1858. It’s currently ranked 121st among National Universities by USNR. ISU built the first electronic digital computer, invented in the late ’30s and early ’40s. It was also instrumental in developing nuclear weapons while working on the Manhattan Project. Its Cyber Security Master’s Degree Online features courses in:
- Wireless Security
- Information Warfare
This program requires approximately 30 credit hours. There are options with coursework only, along with thesis options, and others. Students can opt between more elective work, or complete a thesis. The program also builds towards a Capstone course. The program’s asynchronous online delivery format increases flexibility for working students.
- Affordability Rank: 13th
11) Florida Institute of Technology
FIT is a private institute that opened in 1958. It’s based in Melbourne, Florida. It was initially founded to train space industry workers at what became the Kennedy Space Center. Currently the school is ranked 202nd among National Universities. It’s known for degrees in STEM education, science, liberal arts, engineering, psychology, and more. Florida Tech offers an Online M.S. in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, featuring courses in:
- Secure Operating Systems
- Computer and Information Security
- Secure Data Communications and Networks
- Biometric Authentication Technologies
- Host and Application Security
This interdisciplinary, flexible program works great for working adults, and prepares them to work in many different positions across the cyber security/information assurance landscape. You’ll study security architectures, operating system security, encryption, communications, data mining, biometric technology, forms of attack, and much, much more. This program creates and promotes leadership in the field, prizes cutting edge research, and creates cyber experts.
- Affordability Rank: 8th
12) Liberty University Online
Liberty is a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. It serves a significant portion of its students online. Liberty was founded in 1971. It offers more than 280 different degrees and certifications online. USNR ranks it in the 293-381 bracket of National Universities. Liberty offers an Online Master of Science in Information Systems with a specialization in Information Assurance. Sample courses include:
- Information Operations and Security
- Info. Forensics, Compliance and Risk Management
- Secure Enterprise Design and Development
- Telecommunications and Network Security
Liberty offers 100% online 8 week courses and allows students to transfer in up to 50% of their credits. This program can be completed in a year and a half, and requires 36 credit hours. Students can also specialize in Technology Management instead of Information Assurance if they so choose. Graduates go on to work in Consulting, Software Development, Systems Integration, and Project Management, among other areas.
- Affordability Rank: 7th
13) Our Lady of the Lake University
OLLU is a Catholic, private university in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1895. USNR currently ranks it in the 293-381 bracket of National Universities. It offers a graduate certification in Information Assurance and Security in addition to an Online Master of Science in Information Systems and Security. This degree features courses in:
- Information Assurance Assessment
- Internet Security Architectures
- Principles of Information Assurance and Security
- Special Topics in Informations systems and Security
This program can be completed in 30 semester hours. It can be completed in one year of full-time study. Students are trained to fill elite positions in technical management, including Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, or Chief Security Officer. Students will study telecommunications, database management, systems analysis and design, security of all of the above, and much more. This program is broken into two sequences, CISS courses and Information Assurance courses (15 semester hours each).
- Affordability Rank: 19th
14) Sam Houston State University
SHSU is a public university founded in 1879. It’s based in Huntsville, Texas. It was founded in 1879. SHSU is a member of the Texas State University System. It’s ranked 281st in National Universities by USNR. USNR has also declared Sam Houston one of the best schools in the country for online graduate programs. Its Online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security features study in:
- Protecting Corporate Information and Resources
- Hardening and Securing Network Systems
- Preventing Network Damage
- Performing Risk Assessment
This program requires 36 credits. It has three start dates per year. The program is intended for students with previous experience in computer science, including bachelor’s degrees in CS or a related field. Work experience in these fields is also accepted Students will learn how to defend information resources, secure network systems, maintain network functionality, assess risks and recover data after disaster.
- Affordability Rank: 6th
15) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
ERAU is a private university headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was founded in 1926. The school offers over 40 distinct degree programs. USNR currently ranks it 11th among Regional Universities South. It’s especially known for its degrees in aeronautical space and engineering, as well as other STEM degrees. Embry’s Online Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance features courses in:
- Risk Management and Business Continuity
- Informatics: Security Implications of Cross-Disciplinary Computing
- Cyber Law, Cyber Compliance, and Information Assurance
- Incident Management and Information Forensics
There are several specializations in this degree that students can opt for including: Protecting Business Intelligence, Information Systems Security, and Information Assurance in a Global Context. Overall, this program works to balance business management principles with technical knowledge required to protect information. Graduates will be prepared to work as leaders in business and information security. They will be able to make effective decisions that facilitate organizational success.
- Affordability Rank: 3rd
16) University of Maryland Global Campus
The Global Campus is a public university and wing of the University of Maryland. It was founded in 1947, and is headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland. It was formerly known as the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). The school serves tens of thousands of students globally, offering a diverse catalog of degrees and courses. It offers a number of Online Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security, including:
- Cloud Computing Architecture
- Cybersecurity Management and Policy
- Cybersecurity Technology
- Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation
- Information Technology: Information Assurance
These diverse options let students specialize in many pertinent areas of the field. The school also offers a number of certificates and bachelor degrees in cyber security. UMGC focuses on cyber security dogmatically, as opposed to some programs that mix in other disciplines into their curriculum. UMGC is headquartered in the middle of DoD’s Cyber Command in Maryland and the Cyber Corridor in Virginia, which can lead to government employment, a major area of cyber security.
- Affordability Rank: 9th
17) Lewis University
Lewis is a private university in Romeoville, Illinois. It’s a Roman Catholic school. Lewis was founded in 1932. USNR ranks it 20th in the Regional Universities Midwest bracket. Lewis began as an aviation technology school, but has expanded dramatically since then. Its Online Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) offers courses in:
- Operating Systems
- Networking Security Essentials
- Introduction to Information Security
- Encryption and Authentication
- Business Data Networking
This degree comes in two concentrations: Management and Technical. Students will look at the weaknesses of database systems, web applications and operating systems, among other systems. They’ll learn how to find problems, solve them, prevent attacks, and recover data after attacks or disaster. The program also prepares students for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. Studies will culminate with a 16-week research project of students’ choice. This program can be completed in just a year of accelerated study.
- Affordability Rank: 16th
18) Brandeis University, Graduate Professional Studies
Brandeis is a private university in Waltham, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1948. USNR ranks it 40th among National Universities. It’s known for programs in history, English, international development, social policy, and health policy and management. Brandeis offers an Online Master’s in Information Security Leadership featuring courses in:
- Foundations of Information Security
- Principles of Computer Incident Response and Investigation
- Information Security Management
- Principles of Risk Management in Information Security
In total there are ten courses in this program, and it requires 30 credits. It can be completed in 15-30 months. Students can opt to take part-time, full-time, on-campus or online. You’ll learn how to convince businesses to invest in cyber security, influence and educate senior executives, plan for, acquire and develop security infrastructures, and much more. Brandeis also offers five degrees that are closely related to this one as a special feature.
- Affordability Rank: 24th
19) Norwich University Online
NU is a private military school in Northfield, Vermont. It was founded in 1819, making it the oldest military school in the country. It has been called the “Birthplace of ROTC.” USNR currently ranks it 66th in the Regional Universities North bracket. Norwich offers an Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity with concentrations in:
- Computer Forensic Investigation and Incident Response Team Management
- Vulnerability Management
- Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime
- Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyberspace
- Project Management
This program is online, but requires a one week residency on campus as a culminating experience to complete it. There are a maximum of 15 students to a class, and the entire program can be completed in 18 months (on average). This program gives students a comprehensive business acumen and elite management skills. You’ll become intimately familiar with information assets, including how to protect and value them appropriately in complex organizations.
- Affordability Rank: 15th
20) Northeastern University
Northeastern is a private school based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1898. USNR ranks it 40th among National Universities. The school receives generous research grants from the Departments of Homeland Security, Energy and Defense each year. Its Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity features courses in:
- Applied Cryptography
- Software Security Practices
- Security Risk Management and Assessment
- Cyberlaw: Privacy, Ethics, and Digital Rights
There are two tracks in the program, Contextual and Technical. Overall this program is aimed at giving students expertise in management, law, social sciences, and criminology, all through the lens of information technology. Graduates will understand how to make important decisions about information security issues like electronic fraud, hacking, cyber warfare, identity theft, and more. There are co-op opportunities, and eventually this program builds towards a capstone project.
- Affordability Rank: 25th
If you’re interested in cyber security, there’s so much more to learn about on Degree Query. We’ve answered a host of important questions about cyber security, information assurance, and other related topics. Some of the questions we’ve answered and guides we’ve provided include:
- What Degree do I need to work in Cyber Security Law?
- What Can I Do With a Cyber Security Degree?
- What is a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security Engineering?
- What Kind of Computer Degree Is Most Helpful in Getting a Job in Cyber Security?
- What Is the Career Outlook for Cyber Security?
- What is the Hiring Process for Cyber Security?
- Is there a clear career path to get into Cyber Security?
- What are good subjects to double major or minor with Cyber Security?
- What kind of security clearance would I need for most Cyber Security jobs?
- How Advanced a Degree Do I Need to Work in Cryptography?
These are just some of the pieces we’ve produced about cyber security and related fields. If you’re interested in the full catalog of work we’ve done on the field, you can search “cyber security” or any other related keywords on our homepage for a complete collection of our applicable work.
Best of luck in your education and career!