The Best Online Cybersecurity Degrees of 2021
thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Are you ready to discover your college program?
Cybersecurity pertains to the protection of information and technology in electronic systems, computers, networks, and servers from unwanted invasions.
These attacks can affect organizations of all sizes in any industry. Therefore, many employers value the expertise of professionals with cybersecurity degrees.
Graduates with a bachelor's in cybersecurity enjoy a steadily growing career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in jobs for network and computer systems administrators between 2018 and 2028.
This guide ranks the 20 best online cybersecurity bachelor's degrees. We also cover important information for prospective students, such as common careers and potential salaries for graduates.
|#1||Drexel University Philadelphia, PA|
|#2||Champlain College Burlington, VT|
|#3||Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA|
|#4||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI|
|#5||Dakota State University Madison, SD|
|#6||California Baptist University Riverside, CA|
|#7||Lewis University Romeoville, IL|
|#8||The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX|
|#9||Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|#10||Wilmington University New Castle, DE|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs
Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.
If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.
We thank you for your readership and trust.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity degrees prepare graduates to protect organizations from illegal hackers and viruses that target sensitive information. The term "cybersecurity" applies to a broad field, including network security, information security, operational security, and application security.
Concentrations vary by program, but cybersecurity students can potentially specialize in areas like web and mobile development, business analytics, database and analytics, and computing technology. Today's digital society allows cybersecurity professionals to find employment in nearly any field, but the most common fields include computer systems design and educational services.
Constant advances in technology pose ongoing challenges and changes; cybersecurity professionals must stay abreast of any changes to maintain relevance and a competitive edge in the job market. Cybersecurity professionals also need integrity and strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
What Is the Difference Between Information Assurance and Cybersecurity?
Information assurance and cybersecurity both refer to the protection of information. However, information assurance refers to the protection of both non-digital and digital information, while cybersecurity emphasizes digital information.
Information security professionals analyze how organizations use and communicate information, identifying possible areas of exposure in order to advise companies. Cybersecurity professionals develop methods of protecting digital hardware, software, and information systems from data breaches or other damage.
What Is a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
During a bachelor's in cybersecurity program, students explore computer system administration and electronic safety concepts, learning how to protect digital data, computer systems, and networks from infiltration. Courses may include usability in data structures and algorithms, project management standards and behaviors, Linux systems administration, and server-side scripting PHP.
Some programs offer cybersecurity specializations. Concentrations that focus on the business aspect of the field include project management and business analytics, while field-specific concentrations may include secure software development and mobile development programming.
Students typically earn this degree in four years of full-time attendance. However, online programs may offer accelerated options or modified academic calendars that require shorter time commitments. Admission requirements vary, but applicants usually must submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and SAT or ACT scores. Universities may also require an interview and a minimum GPA.
During a cybersecurity bachelor's degree, students gain soft skills in research, writing, adaptability, and networking. They also gain hard skills, like how to design and assess network architecture, compose custom scripts, and understand anti-malware.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
While most employers seek cybersecurity professionals with a bachelor's degree, an associate degree can satisfy requirements for some entry-level roles, including network security analyst, cybersecurity penetration tester, or cyberthreat analyst. Earning an associate degree also provides students with a strong foundation to pursue a cybersecurity bachelor's degree. In fact, some schools require applicants to hold an associate degree or professional experience before enrolling in a bachelor's program.
Professionals with a bachelor's degree have more opportunities. Potential roles for graduates include information security manager, IT security consultant, information assurance engineer, and ethical hacker.
A master's in cybersecurity provides further advancement opportunities, typically allowing students to specialize in an area like IT auditing or risk management and compliance. Cybersecurity professionals can also earn a doctorate, which prepares them for leadership roles like computer security researcher and developer, computer security system architect, director of information security, or senior security consultant.
The need for highly qualified cybersecurity professionals continues to grow. There are roles that only require an associate degree, allowing graduates to enter the field within two years and begin building professional experience. However, employers more often look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity. Several common careers for graduates with a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity are listed below.
Computer systems administrators manage network-related tasks within an organization. These professionals must maintain network transfer performance, review protocols, and develop scripts that enhance networking devices. Other responsibilities include updating computer systems, reviewing software installations, and developing run-times for multiple programming languages.
This position requires analytical, IT, and business skills. Computer systems administrators need to perform well in teams while operating with minimal supervision. Most employers require applicants to hold a cybersecurity bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Employers may also require prior related experience or industry certifications.
Information security analysts improve data safety within an organization. Primary responsibilities include research, data collection, strategy development, and efficiency improvement. These analysts also implement and uphold privacy policies and security guidelines. This role requires constant assessment of enterprise environments, log monitoring, and computer traffic management.
The best candidates can multitask and pay attention to detail. Information security analysts also need problem-solving skills. Employers typically require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and experience in the field.
Network architects create and review network capabilities and needs for their companies. Other responsibilities include providing technical support regarding advanced wireless networks and managing client relationships under the guidance of organizational protocols and standards. These professionals work closely with network administrators.
This role requires advanced organizational skills to prevent detrimental network issues. Network architects must maintain detailed reports of their work to prevent and manage connectivity problems. These professionals also need strong communication skills to stay abreast of changes within the field. Employers typically look for candidates with a bachelor's degree. Some roles may also require prior experience.
Cybersecurity Membership Associations
Technology evolves rapidly, so cybersecurity professionals need to stay updated on changes within the field. Membership organizations help professionals collaborate and share their knowledge. Professional organizations also offer discounted coursework and certification programs, digital databases, and online resources.
Cybersecurity certifications allow professionals to demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills, creating opportunities in a competitive job market. The list below includes highly recognized certifications that cybersecurity professionals should consider pursuing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Digital attacks aim to access, destroy, or change sensitive information in an organization. Cybersecurity protects computer systems from these threats and attacks.
A bachelor's in cybersecurity teaches students how to protect various information systems and data, emphasizing technical knowledge and skills.
While employers may accept applicants with an associate degree for entry-level cybersecurity positions, most employers require a bachelor's degree at minimum. Certifications can provide an additional advantage in the job market.
Students can earn a cybersecurity bachelor's degree in four years of full-time attendance. However, online programs may offer accelerated options, which allow students to graduate sooner.
According to BLS data, network and computer systems administrators earn a median annual salary of $82,050.
Professionals may find limited entry-level jobs with an associate degree in cybersecurity, but most employers require a bachelor's degree.
Cybersecurity salaries vary by location, experience, industry, and title. For instance, professionals who provide educational services earn median annual wages of around $71,990, while information administrators earn median salaries of $88,440.
Cybersecurity professionals typically offer computer systems design services. They may also work in education-related services, finance and insurance, or management.
Popular with our students.
Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.
Take the next step toward your future with online learning.
Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.