Top bachelors and masters cybersecurity degree programs

These are some of the best on-campus and online cybersecurity degree programs helping to meet the cybersecurity job demand.

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The strong demand for cybersecurity talent has inspired many of the leading colleges and universities to develop new degree programs in the area. Many are offered online, so anyone seeking to enter the field or take their skills to the next level has access to quality security education.

All of the programs listed here have career services focused on helping graduates find employment. We've also provided links for employers to learn more about how they can recruit from those programs. 

Trends in cybersecurity degree curricula

Most of the undergraduate programs listed here cover cybersecurity basics, including pen-testing, network security, risk assessment and forensics. Some are designed to meet the Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) requirements set forth by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This program funds programs that provide training that the NSA and DHS deems necessary to reduce the vulnerability of the US information infrastructure.

Several programs have concentrations in secure software development, covering state-of-the-art tools and development methodologies. Schools that offer development courses typically have concentrations in security ethics, too.

Many of the graduate programs are designed with the assumption that its graduates could end up in management positions. You see courses and concentrations that have a business focus, teaching, for example, how to estimate costs, communicate with executive management, or plan a budget.

Bachelors Programs

American Military University

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity provides students with both theory and know-how required to strategically assess, plan, design, and implement effective cybersecurity defenses in the public and private sectors. Through this online IT bachelor’s program, students learn research, writing, math, and analytical skills, along with an in-depth understanding of cybercrime.

Notable specialties:  Coursework in AMU’s bachelor’s degree aligns to the general objectives of the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) certification and meets the topical requirements for the Department of Defense Directive 8570.1M Information Assurance Management (IAM) Technical I, Technical II, Technical III, Management I, Management II, and Management III categories.

Location: Online

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Excelsior College

Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Degrees programs at Excelsior College will prepare you to protect critical information and cyber assets through organizational prevention, detection, countering and recovery methods. Excelsior's cybersecurity degrees are also aligned with the academic requirements for cybersecurity set by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Notable specialties: The program has two tracks to choose from: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (Without Concentration) and Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (Cyber Operations).

Location: Albany, NY

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Liberty University

Liberty University created the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with Data Networking and Security Specialization to help develop IT cybersecurity professionals. Liberty offers information systems (IS), IT, and computer science (CS) degrees that prepares students for the IT field, specifically related to cybersecurity.

Notable specialties: Liberty offers three cybersecurity career paths:

  • Security GRC: Get involved in the security governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) of an organization. 
  • Security technology: Prepares students to provide a security architecture of the enterprise network and systems. The security architecture will be based on a risk assessment.
  • Secure development: Prepares students to solve tomorrow's cybersecurity challenges. 

Location: Online

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Regent University 

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, offered online and on campus, prepares students to begin or advance technology and network security careers in government, military, manufacturing, service, education and other private, public and nonprofit sectors. The program’s course work teaches students to create and execute a digital security strategy that supports and defends data resources managed by your employer. 

Notable specialties:  Students learn how to gather data and evidence employed in prosecuting cybercrimes, and to develop security safeguards and disaster recovery plans; develop ethical, innovative and practical intelligence, and networking solutions based on strategic technology applications and data-driven assessments; and learn how to defend computer networks against attacks by worms, viruses and other criminal acts.

Location: Virginia Beach, VA, and online

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Saint Leo University Online  

The BS – Cybersecurity  program in Saint Leo’s School of Business exposes students to the fundamentals needed for entry-level positions involving cybersecurity. Students will experience and learn security tools and technologies that are used by cybersecurity professionals in their daily work activities. This is done through a virtual lab environment where students have the unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a mock IT infrastructure and real-world software tools with realistic security scenarios.

Notable specialties:  The program introduces students to the principles of cybersecurity, penetration testing and ethical hacking, various computer and network protection controls, and managing the implementation and maintenance of security devices, systems, procedures and countermeasures.

Location: Saint Leo, FL, and online

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Southern New Hampshire University

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity online program teaches skills to defend and protect networks and information systems. SNHU's online cybersecurity degree provide a foundation in computing and security principles, and hands-on critical application using industry standard tools.

Notable specialties: SNHU offers a cybersecurity concentration: Secure Programming. It helps students gain a foundation in cybersecurity principles and practice; use industry-standard programming tools and methodologies to develop and assess software systems and programs; and determine appropriate models, methodologies, and strategies that maximize product quality and security within the software development lifecycle.

Location: Online

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University of Arizona South  

The Cyber Operations, Bachelor of Applied Science program gives students extensive hands-on experience and develops the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to succeed in defense, law enforcement and private industry.

Notable specialties:  This technical, interdisciplinary program offers two degree tracks: The Engineering Track is grounded in the computer science, networking and cybersecurity disciplines, and it conforms to the National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) academic requirements for low level programming; software reverse engineering; operating system theory; secure software development and security analysis; mathematics and algorithms; networking; cellular and mobile technologies; cloud computing; offensive and defensive cyber operations; and cyber law, ethics and policy. The Defense and Forensics Track encompasses offensive and defensive cyber operations, cyber threat intelligence, malware analysis, networking and digital forensics. It conforms to the academic requirements for the NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) and Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) for fundamental security principles, vulnerabilities and networking; digital forensics; offensive and defensive cyber operations; introduction to cryptography; probability and statistics; and cyber law, ethics and policy.

Location: Online

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University of Illinois at Springfield

In the UIS Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security (ISS) program, students will learn the fundamentals of information security including design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics. The B.S. in ISS is offered in both on-ground and online formats.

Notable specialties: Students will learn the fundamentals of information security including design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics.

Location: Springfield, IL

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University of Maryland University College 

The UMUC BS Cybersecurity program offers an array of cybersecurity bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and certificates in subjects ranging from digital forensics to cyber policy.

Notable specialties:  The UMUC Cyber Padawans competition team provides students with real-world experience and networking opportunities.

Location: Largo, MD, and online

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Walden University 

The Criminal Justice: Computer Information Systems and Security bachelor of science program is designed to help students understand the technology infrastructure that underlies information systems. Students will learn to prevent information security network attacks; study criminal theories and behavior to discover the proper way to conduct a criminal investigation; explore standard operating procedures for identifying, planning for and responding to terrorist threats, and identify patterns and trends related to terrorism.

Notable specialties:  Course concentrations include: Computer information and security; criminal investigation; homeland security.

Location: Online

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Western Governors University

WGU’s online B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree program was designed with input from cybersecurity experts and leading IT employers to meet the most recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and National Security Agency (NSA) guidelines.

Notable specialties: This degree program includes multiple industry-recognized certifications including those from CompTIA, CIW, EC-Council and ISC that are built into the curriculum and do not add time or cost.

Location: Online  

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Wilmington University

The B.S. in Computer and Network Security  program prepares who are capable of protecting networks from intrusion, protecting computers from viruses, and retrieving data as evidence from computers used in the commission of fraud and other corporate crimes. It has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through academic year 2021 by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Notable specialties: Gain the technical and forensic training to locate, recover, and analyze digital evidence with Wilmington University Digital Evidence Discovery and Digital Evidence Investigation certificates. These certificates offer forensic training for students to provide the skills to locate, recover, and analyze digital evidence.

Location: New Castle, DE, and online

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Masters Programs

Berkeley School of Information 

UC Berkeley School of Information’s (I School) Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) is an accredited program designed to train students with professional experience for a career in cybersecurity. Delivered online, MICS provides the technical skills and contextual knowledge students need to assume leadership positions in private sector technology companies as well as government and military organizations.

Notable specialties: The leadership-focused interdisciplinary MICS curriculum teaches students how to develop solutions for complex cybersecurity challenges. Students will learn how to manage cyber risk in the service of strategic decision making. The MICS program offers students mastery of core technical skills and fluency in the business, political, and legal context for cybersecurity.

Location: Online

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Boston University Metropolitan College

The Master of Criminal Justice, Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity Concentration allows students to develop competency and practical knowledge, enabling them to work with various issues related to cybercrime. Students who successfully complete the concentration are eligible to take the forensic examiner exams. BU offers both campus and online programs.

Notable specialties: This program focuses on these skills: Insight into cybercriminology and legal practices, practical digital investigative knowledge, an understanding of the policies related to cybersecurity risk assessment, and a command of leadership theories and skills pertaining to the management of criminal justice organizations.

Location: Boston, MA

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Columbia University in the City of New York / Columbia Engineering

The Computer Science Master's Degree - Computer Security track is intended for students who wish to develop state-of-the-art knowledge of computer and network security technologies.

Notable specialties: Required courses include: Operating Systems; Advanced Software Engineering; Network Security; Security Architecture and Engineering; Introduction to Cryptography; and Intrusion and Anomaly Detection Systems. In addition, students are required to choose courses from three groups, systems, theory and artificial intelligence and applications. Finally, two electives are required from an extensive list.

Location: New York, NY

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George Mason University  

The MS in Management of Secure Information Systems (MSIS) provides a path to enhance students’ leadership career and be at the forefront of addressing cybersecurity challenges.

Notable specialties: The MSIS program includes courses on financial management and accounting, networking principles, organizational behavior, and governance, regulation and compliance.

Location: Fairfax, VA

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Harvard Extension School (HES) Harvard University  

The Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate allows students to build knowledge of the tools and protocols needed to navigate, use, and manage security technologies as well as gain insight into the legal, social, and political dynamics of the cyber universe.

Notable specialties: Build an understanding of data network device and communications technology, architecture, and management. Develop knowledge of technical and organizational information security risks and communication tactics to mitigate these risks for both traditional and cloud-based environments. Learn to develop and articulate effective enterprise information security policies that address internal and external national and international threats. Gain insight into the strategies and protocols needed to secure and monitor computer networks in global organizations.

Location: Boston, MA

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New York University  

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy is a one-year program for experienced professionals from a range of backgrounds who seek to deepen their understanding of cybersecurity risk and strategy. Cybersecurity—both prevention and response—frequently requires coordination between public- and private-sector organizations and expertise in technology, law, and policy. NYU’s program will create managers with the integrated expertise needed to play a leadership role in the field.

Notable specialties: Spanning all three semesters is the Integrative Cybersecurity Management capstone, a team-based project that will allow students to demonstrate their ability to take an integrated view of cybersecurity risk and strategy.  Working in groups, students tackle difficult challenges of technology, law, risk, and strategy. As students refine their projects, teams meet and discuss issues related to the capstone with the faculty or industry mentor.

Location: Brooklyn, NY, and online

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Penn State University World Campus  

Penn State’s Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences - Cybersecurity and Information Assurance incorporates real-world business issues and simulations. The program takes a multidimensional perspective on cyber-domains that is defined by using a socio-technical approach to generate solutions to complex problems.

Notable specialties: Courses include two requirements: Web Fundamentals and Network Management and Security. Students may choose three from the following: Web Security and Privacy; Network Security; Computer and Cyber Forensics; Information Security Management; and Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management.

Location: Online

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Syracuse University 

The Online M.S. in Cybersecurity prepares students to identify, prevent and counteract cybercrime. Syracuse University believes that it is insufficient for systems to be merely secure; they must also be assured. A secure system exhibits the traditional properties of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. An assured system is a secure system whose properties are verified or proven. Students in the M.S. in Cybersecurity program develop the expertise to design and develop secure, assured systems.

Notable specialties: Curriculum focuses on five major objectives: Design of new systems that are inherently secure; protection of systems such as web, mobile, and critical infrastructures; systems assurance through application of mathematical logic; analysis and detection of malware and other cyberattacks; and data mining and anomaly detection to identify suspicious cyber behavior.

Location: Online

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University of Maryland 

The Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity is offered in collaboration with Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Computer Science, and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center. These cybersecurity engineering degree programs merge engineering applications with computer science principles.

Notable specialties: The Maryland Cybersecurity Center takes a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity education, research, and technology development, stressing "more-than-tech," interdisciplinary solutions. The center brings together experts from computer science and engineering with colleagues from across campus to establish broad-based cybersecurity initiatives. 

Location: College Park, MD

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University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Online Graduate Certificate Program in Cybersecurity addresses the growing demand for advanced-level studies in IT. Individuals interested in advancing their knowledge of network threats, data encryption, wireless network security, data authentication, data recovery and forensics, network architecture and emerging network technologies will benefit from this program.

Notable specialties: The UMass Lowell program consists of four graduate online courses in network security, digital forensics, network infrastructures, and secure mobile networks. Offered through the University's Computer Science Department, this program differs from traditional graduate computer science courses in its focus on application-specific details, case studies and the operational framework required by today's IT professionals.

Location: Lowell, MA, and online

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Utica College 

The Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity teaches students to proactively address ever-changing attack and infiltration techniques. Utica designed the program in response to calls from cybersecurity professionals for a graduate-level program that combines state-of-the-art practices in intelligence, forensics and cyber operations. The online M.S. in Cybersecurity offers students advanced knowledge and hands-on experience in intelligence, critical infrastructures, and investigative principles as they relate to cybercrime.

Notable specialties: The cybersecurity program offers five specializations targeted to students with different interests in this field: intelligence, computer forensics, cyber operations, electronic crime, and malware analysis.

Location: Online

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This story, "Top bachelors and masters cybersecurity degree programs" was originally published by CSO.