As internet technology increasingly touches all areas of modern life, so has cyber crime. Data breaches, identity theft, and computer hacking impact millions of people each year. An online cyber security master's degree prepares graduates with the advanced skills to identify, eradicate, and prevent cyber threats that affect the livelihood of individuals, as well as the daily operations of business and government. Cyber crime specialists find lucrative employment opportunities throughout the public and private sector, in areas such as law enforcement, healthcare, and education. Financial institutions, software companies, and government agencies -- including the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI -- rely on cyber crime investigators and forensic analysts.
Regardless of the field, internet security professionals can expect a dynamic and lucrative career. Positions such as vulnerability analysts, security architects, and penetration testers are in high demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 28% increase in information security analysts in the workforce through 2026, with the potential to earn almost $100,000 annually.
In response to the sharp demand for highly skilled intelligence security professionals, many colleges and universities offer cyber security master's degrees online. Prospective students can use this guide to learn about the advantages of an online master's in cyber crime, as well as the variety of employment possibilities graduates can expect after earning their degree.
Online Master's in Cyber Crime Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
The Best Online Master's in Cyber Crime Programs
1. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Since 1880, the University of Southern California (USC) has delivered a premier education to students from the heart of Los Angeles. The private research university boasts some of world's best graduate and professional programs. Today, more than half of USC's student body are registered in one of the school's 400 graduate level programs. While students have long travelled from around the globe to attend classes at USC's campus, online programs now allow students to study at USC without ever stepping foot in Los Angeles. In the MS in cyber security engineering students learn to secure networks, troubleshoot problems, and understand and develop security policies. This program boasts a blended online delivery, which lets online students connect with the on-campus classrooms directly to interact and participate with their instructors and peers during a real-time lecture.
Since the online cyber security master's degree delivery is synchronous and scheduled, online students follow the same path as on-campus students. Full-time students complete the degree in less than two years, while part-time study takes between 30 and 42 months. Students must complete 28 units with a 3.0 GPA to qualify for graduation. This includes 20 core units (five classes) plus an elective in either cryptography, secure systems, or computer forensics. Students also choose between an internship, directed research, or an integrated cyber security project for oil and gas operations.
To earn admission, successful applicants must have a degree in computer science, information security, or electrical engineering. They must also demonstrate knowledge of programming, networking, and mathematics. Online students at USC benefit from full administrative support, including career services, writing workshops, and library services. With local testing centers all over the country, online students can find a nearby location to take their proctored exams, but students who work or live in or around Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange counties take exams directly on the main campus.
USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
2. University of California–Berkeley
There have been several additions to the University of California since it was first founded in 1868 -- including nine other research university affiliations -- but UC Berkeley is the first and is the state's flagship institution. Considered one of the best public universities in the U.S. and home to some of the top professional schools in the world, UC Berkeley attracts students from all over the world to its campuses. The introduction of online education has made a UC Berkeley education even more accessible.
The School of Information (I School) at UC Berkeley benefits from these online possibilities as two of the school's three professional master's degrees are available online. The master of information and cybersecurity (MICS) is a 27-unit degree in which students learn to manage cyber security risks and the preventative measures needed to reduce risks in the future. The required nine courses can be completed in as little as 20 months and ends with a capstone project. While the program is delivered entirely online and asynchronously, there is a required on-campus immersion project. This three- to four-day campus visit allows students to meet their peers and instructors, attend lectures and seminars, and network with employers and alumni.
Admission requirements for the master's in cyber security online include a bachelor's degree with a GPA above 3.0 as a minimum. Students must also demonstrate quantitative ability, a problem-solving mindset, proficiency in computer systems and programming, and a strong mathematical foundation. There are online events throughout the year hosted by both UC Berkeley and the MICS program specifically for online students. All students also receive personalized support from institutional administrative services, such as career coaching, writing center support, and networking opportunities.
UC Berkeley is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
3. George Washington University
Washington, District of Columbia
George Washington University was founded in 1821 as Columbian College. In the early 1900s, the private institution changed its name and relocated to Foggy Bottom, a well-known neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where the main campus still resides today. Over the years, GW has grown immensely -- in student body, affiliations, and capabilities. The institution now offers many of its degree programs online, including more than 40 at the master's degree level.
The 36-credit master's degree of professional studies degree (MPS) in cybersecurity strategy and information management takes four semesters, and concludes with a capstone project that integrates the student's learning with real-world practice. The cyber security master's degree online boasts a strong focus on policy development and the incorporation of practical and strategic experience. The cybersecurity program was developed in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security and the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, making it well-recognized in the industry.
All online students at GW access the same extensive resources as their on-campus counterparts, including research consultations with the digital libraries, 24/7 tutoring, career services, writing center support, mental health services, and access to the GW student association. Online students also receive benefits that on-campus students do not, such as a lower student-instructor ratio and greater opportunities for one-on-one interaction with instructors and program facilitators.
GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
4. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania
With more than 260 years of history, 24 campuses, and close to 100,000 students, Pennsylvania State University casts a very large shadow on the educational world. Of all the institution's many achievements, its advances in distance education are some of the most impressive. Penn State has provided distance education for more than 100 years, and online courses have been available since 1998. Today, Penn State provides more than 150 degree and certificate program choices for online students, including many master's degrees, like the MPS in information sciences with a specialization in cybersecurity and information assurance.
This 33-credit online cyber security master's degree is entirely online, and students can complete their degree within two years with part-time study. The program takes a sociotechnical approach to cyber problems, and includes electives in enterprise architecture and modelling, as well as computer forensics. A separate 15-credit information systems cybersecurity certificate is also available for students to pursue. Additionally, the program is recognized by both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.
Online programs at Penn State are delivered asynchronously and do not require on-campus visits or residencies. Career counseling, access to the research libraries, and academic advising and support are provided to all online students. To gain admission into the program, preference is given to applicants with a bachelor's degree in a scientific or technical field. Furthermore, applicants with significant work experience in the field will be given strong consideration. Transfer students are welcome and may transfer up to nine credits.
Penn state is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. Villanova University
Villanova University has been the focal point in the community of Villanova, PA since it was founded in 1842. Today, Villanova remains the oldest and largest Catholic university in the state. Annually, the institution delivers high-quality educations to more than 10,000 students, many of which have the option to take classes online. Online courses at Villanova are delivered in a synchronous format, which lets students participate in real-time with the on-campus students or at their own convenience.
The online MS in cybersecurity at Villanova is one of nine master's degrees available online from the College of Engineering. The 30-credit degree requires students to complete 10 three-credit courses, and conclude their final semester with a capstone paper or project. There is also a thesis available for students interested in research. In addition to the foundational courses and electives, the cybersecurity degree features three different specializations in the areas of systems, policy, and operations. There is also a 15-credit cybersecurity certificate offered fully online.
Students in the online cyber security master's degree can choose part-time study and complete the program in three years, or full-time study and finish in two years. Part-time students take only one course a semester, whereas full-time students typically take two or three. All online students benefit from the virtual library and extensive online resources at Villanova University. For admission, applicants should have a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, or computer science, though students with significant work experience and a degree in another filed may be considered. Tuition is the same for all students, on-campus or online, and financial aid is accessible for all.
Villanova is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
6. Johns Hopkins University
In 1876, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) was founded in Baltimore, MD as part of the largest philanthropic gifts in United States history. Since then, JHU has grown into one of top universities in nation with 10 different divisions spread among its campuses, including the School of Engineering. In 2001, Johns Hopkins Engineering began offering online programs to students from around the globe. Today, the school provides 18 online degree programs, several certificates, and more than 260 online courses.
The MS in cybersecurity provides degree specializations in analysis, systems, and networks, but the core program focuses on cryptology, specifically in the areas of hash functions, encryption, authentication, and signature schemes. The degree consists of 10 three-credit courses, which must be completed within five years. There is an additional 18-credit certificate available online that students may begin upon completion of their master's degree.
Prospective applicants of the master's in cyber security online should have a strong foundation in mathematics, programming, and computer systems. Students looking to pursue one of the three specializations should note the track-specific prerequisites. Transfer students are encouraged to apply and may apply up to six credits to their degree. In addition to the many digital resources, academic advising, and support services available at Johns Hopkins University, online students are provided with professional collaborations and networking opportunities throughout the year.
JHU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
7. Columbia University
New York, New York
Columbia University has been synonymous with higher education for more 250 years. As the oldest university in New York and one of the oldest in the nation, Columbia features plenty of age-old traditions and yet remains a driver of innovation today. Most of the schools within Columbia University offer online programs, including the School of Professional Studies, which offers 16 master's degrees online and the MS in technology management with a focus in cybersecurity.
The cyber security master's degree online consists of nine core courses and two track-specific courses in enterprise information security and executive strategy, response, and risk management. Students are paired with an industry professional that provides one-on-one mentorship throughout the degree. The master's degree takes 16 months to complete, and students are enrolled as part of a cohort with classes beginning every fall. To gain admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in a related field and a minimum of five years professional experience.
Online study at Columbia is a blend of online and in-person events at one of the Columbia campuses. In addition to live events, which students in the New York area attend on the New York City campus, online students participate in executive seminars online, asynchronous community-driven events, and four or five multi-day campus residencies. These mandatory campus residencies foster networking with peers, instructors, and mentors.
Columbia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
8. Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York
Since its founding in 1870, Syracuse University has pioneered the field of education. Though its main campus in New York draws students from all over the nation, in 1993 Syracuse was one of the first major universities to introduce online master's degrees. Today, the institution offers several master's degrees online, including the MS in cybersecurity.
This 30-credit online cyber security master's degree focuses on five areas: systems design, systems protection, systems assurance, systems analysis, and data mining. Each year of coursework consists of four 12-week quarters, and students complete the degree in 15 months. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, the MS in cybersecurity offers electives in biometrics, machine learning, cryptography, data mining, and computer architecture. Online students also have full access to the career services, digital libraries, and academic support systems at Syracuse.
Online learning at Syracuse combines real-time lectures with interactive coursework that can be completed at any time. Every online degree features a five-day on-campus immersion, in which students participate in collaborative workshops, lectures, and networking opportunities. While the admission standards at Syracuse are demanding, students without the proper mathematical, computer systems, and programming foundations required for direct entry into the program may complete up to two preparatory classes before beginning their degree. Transfer students with previous graduate-level schooling may transfer up to nine credits.
Syracuse is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
9. Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
Brown University, located in Providence, RI, was founded in 1764. Despite being the seventh oldest university in the United States, Brown is at the forefront of innovative education delivery. Of the 32 master's degree programs at the institution, four are now offered fully online, including the executive master in cybersecurity (EMCS). This online master's degree seamlessly blends the benefits of face-to-face learning with the flexibility of online education.
The online cyber security master's degree at Brown is a 15-16 month cohort program. Graduates receive hands-on experience working with and assessing cyber attacks as well as creating and employing effective defense strategies. The program also provides courses in advanced computer security and effective leadership. The degree is concludes with a critical challenge project in which students devise and establish a system to address problems within each student's own professional workspace.
While online courses at Brown are largely delivered asynchronously, programs typically include scheduled interactions that require attendance. Each course also includes active learning experiences, which may require research and/or work to be completed during specific hours. Since the EMCS is considered a mid-career professional degree, applicants should have a bachelor's degree in a technical or business field, extensive professional experience, and a career that demonstrates a need for cybersecurity.
Brown is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
10. New York University
New York, New York
When New York University (NYU) was founded in 1831, it had less than 200 students. Today, with more than 50,000 students worldwide, the institution is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of the most familiar university names in the world. In order to accommodate students better, NYU introduced online education in nearly all of its schools. The Tandon School of Engineering, for example, now offers six online engineering master's degrees, including the MS in cybersecurity.
The 30-credit master's in cyber security online features core courses in computer science and security, plus electives in areas such as digital forensics, biometrics, and computer architecture. Students can complete a research project or a thesis option in place of some electives. Both the research project and the master's thesis can be used independently or applied to a PhD application. At NYU, cybersecurity students can also complete the National Security Agency (NSA) Cyber Operation program, which requires following a specific pathway to earn the designation.
To gain admission to the cybersecurity program, applicants should have the a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering, but applicants with a science or mathematics degree as well as programming and computer experience are eligible. Applicants who lack a computer science and/or programming foundation may enroll in the NYU bridge program. At NYU, online cybersecurity students are part of a large online community. Students gain access to one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, guest speakers, and virtual career fairs. There is even a virtual lab for students to receive hands-on work experience.
NYU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
11. University of Delaware
The University of Delaware (UD) traces its history to 1743 when it was first a private academy. UD is now the largest and most innovative university in the state of Delaware, featuring several online degrees, including 13 master's programs. UD Online provides students with 24/7 resources such as academic and technical support, access to digital libraries and holdings, and extensive career services assistance.
UD's online MS in cybersecurity provides students the flexibility to study when and where it suits their schedule, and the asynchronous program fully immerses students in the course material. The program designs hands-on learning opportunities and interactive sessions with classmates and instructors. The 30-credit MS in cybersecurity prepares graduates to protect computer systems while also designing safe and secure systems. The program boasts virtual machine environments that simulate real-world threats, allowing students to problem solve in real-time.
The cyber security master's degree online is delivered in seven-week sessions. Students can complete the degree in approximately two years. Among other benefits, UD has created the Cybersecurity Initiative (CSI), a program for cybersecurity students that hosts an expert lecture series regarding some of the most pressing issues in the field today. For entrance into the program, applicants must have a BS in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or a degree in a related field -- such as mathematics -- and a 3.0 GPA.
UD is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
12. University of Arizona
Located in central Tucson, AZ, the University of Arizona (UA) has delivered education to Arizona students since 1885, prior to Arizona's admittance to the Union. UA has grown extensively over the last 130 years, and now incorporates distance education and online programs to allow students from all over the world to attend classes. UA offers more than 80 degrees online, including 34 master's degrees, and features six annual admission dates and the same tuition rate for all students regardless of residence.
The 33 unit MS in cybersecurity draws from the fields of information systems management, computer and electrical engineering, and systems engineering. The core courses develop a broad foundation in systems analysis and system cybersecurity engineering. Students the choose between two tracks: physical systems or information systems. Throughout the degree, students may also pursue the nine-unit Department of MIS's Enterprise Security Certificate.
While online courses at UA are flexible and asynchronous, the online cyber security master's degree includes some active learning sessions which may require scheduled attendance. The program boasts several opportunities for hands-on training within a virtual lab setting, allowing students to apply their learning in live situations. Because of the technical focus in the cybersecurity program, applicants are expected to have three years of work experience in a technical field and demonstrate a strong mathematical and/or computer systems foundation. All online courses are delivered in an accelerated eight-week format, with one course taken at a time. Should it be required, online students are provided with online tutoring and academic workshops throughout the year.
UA is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. University of Maryland– Baltimore County
Founded in 1856 with only 34 students, the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) is now a global university with numerous international connections, affiliations, and students. UMB is the flagship institution in the University of Maryland system and is a pioneer in education.
The online MS in cybersecurity law is the first degree of its kind. The 30-credit fully online degree focuses on legal and public policy issues within cybersecurity, such as privacy, internet governance, and cybercrime. Students in the field of cybersecurity also benefit from Maryland being home to the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Cyber Command. In addition to core courses in cybersecurity law, students take courses in homeland security and counterterrorism, as well as NSA foreign Intelligence.
The online cyber security master's degree at UMB is delivered asynchronously over four semesters, and is typically completed in 16 months. Online students take part in an interactive and collaborative environment with access to a helpful network of support staff, peers, and mentors. Students have four years to graduate once they begin the degree. While transfer students are welcome, the unique and focused nature of the coursework means that no credits are eligible for transfer.
UMB is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
14. University of Massachusetts–Lowell
Located in the historic city of Lowell, MA, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass Lowell) boasts one of the largest online education systems in New England. UMass Lowell was one of the first institutions to offer traditional degrees online, and today there are more than 50 degrees and certificate programs available online, including 11 different master's degrees and concentrations.
The online MS in security studies with a concentration in cyber security is a 30-credit degree that consists of 10 courses. Students in the program explore effective strategies to counteract cyber attacks, as well as the agencies that use them. In addition to the core program, students choose among electives in areas such as cloud computing, intrusion detection systems, and virtual systems.
Online students benefit from the electronic libraries at UMass Lowell, as well as career services, extensive tutoring, and plenty of networking opportunities with peers, program instructors and coordinators, and alumni. All online students, regardless of residence location, pay the same tuition rate. For admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. A computer- or mathematics-related degree is preferred. Transfer students are encouraged to apply, and transfer credits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. UMass Lowell is designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research
UMass Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
15. University of South Florida
University of South Florida (USF) was founded in 1956 in Tampa Bay, FL. While it's beautiful main campus and sunny location hosts one of the country's largest student population, USF also hosts many different highly regarded online degree programs, including 28 at the master's degree level. For aspiring cybersecurity professionals, USF programs benefit from a close relationship and location to U.S. CENTCOM and U.S. SOCOM. Furthermore, the USF campus is home to the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, a new state resource designed to turn Florida into a cybersecurity leader. The center supports research at all levels, builds and fosters partnerships and alliances, and establishes USF as a prime location for cybersecurity employment.
Students in the MS in cybersecurity with a concentration in digital forensics analyze and investigate cyber crime. Other concentrations are available -- including cyber intelligence, information assurance, and computer security fundamentals -- but only the digital forensics and information assurance are offered online. The 30-33-credit program is delivered within eight-week sessions. USF also offers six different cybersecurity certificates, three of which are available online (digital forensics, cyber intelligence, and information assurance). Each certificate is between 12 and 18 credits.
Successful applicants to the MS in cybersecurity will have a bachelor's degree and work experience in a technical field. Computer science or computer engineering degrees are preferred. Online students at USF benefit from a host of services and support, including test preparation resources, electronic libraries, tutoring services, counseling, and a career services team that helps with career searches and creates an effective academic pathway.
USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
16. Boston University
With roots dating back to 1839, Boston University is one of the most prestigious and innovative universities in the world. In 2002 the school first offered its online master of criminal justice degree. Since then, 17 more master's degrees have been added to BU's online degree offerings, as well as many more concentrations.
The master of criminal justice degree recently added a concentration in cybercrime investigation and cybersecurity. The 40-credit concentration provides an in-depth look at cybercriminology -- including policy, law, and investigative practices -- and students are eligible to take forensic examiner exams upon completion of their degree. As part of the program, students are introduced to BU's large network of industry professionals and alumni.
The cyber security master's degree online program at BU can be completed in as little 20 months. While the vast majority of coursework and lectures are delivered asynchronously, some courses and professors may schedule live meetings. Online courses are contained within accelerated, seven-week sessions to allow students to focus their attention on as few subjects as possible. Students also have a choice between six start dates throughout the year. At BU, the online support staff assists with course registration, ordering textbooks, academic and financial aid, and career services.
Boston University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
17. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Founded in 1964, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) quickly established a reputation for quality off-campus and distance education programs. NSU is still recognized as an innovator in this area, opening up evening and weekend courses, regional campuses, and fully online degrees. NSU now offers 83 online degrees that are recognized by the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus program.
The MS in information assurance and cybersecurity (MSIS) is a 36-credit degree consisting of 12 courses that explore designing and programming cybersecurity systems. While the online degree is delivered asynchronously, there is substantial interactivity and collaboration aimed at including distance students in NSU's cybersecurity community. Online students have the option of studying full-time and completing the entire degree in one year, or part-time, which typically takes between 16 and 24 months to complete.
Recognized by both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA), the online cyber security master's degree hosts sponsored military personnel as they complete a certification or degree. For admission, applicants should have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field,a 2.5 GPA overall, and 3.0 GPA in the bachelor's degree major. Applicants who do not have the requisite computing and/or programming foundation may be able to take prerequisite courses at NSU during their study period.
NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. University of Texas at Dallas
In Richardson, TX, just north of Dallas, the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) enrolls nearly 30,000 students annually. To accommodate students who are unable to attend classes in the heart of North Texas, UT Dallas established online degree programs, including seven fully online master's degrees.
The MS in information technology and Management (MS ITM) with a specialization in cyber security management offers four tracks in areas of business intelligence and analytics, healthcare systems, enterprise systems, and IT consulting. Like these other specializations, the cyber security management track is a 36-credit degree and can be completed in as little as 18 months. In addition to core courses in IT, students in cyber security complete coursework in digital forensics, risk management, and technology security. Students also may complete courses that prepare them for various industry certifications, such as CISA and CompTIA Security+. Furthermore, a three-credit internship is an option for students in their final semester. Students can also acquire a graduate certificate in data mining and business intelligence.
To gain admission, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree with excellent academic standing. Applicants must also demonstrate a sufficient mathematics foundation. Students can transfer up to nine credits, provided they carry a grade of B or better. Online students have access to the same resources as their on-campus counterparts, and also receive extensive academic and career coaching. There are more than 300 student organizations and club that online students can join, including several that are directly related to computer science and information technology.
The University of Texas at Dallas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
19. James Madison University
JMU's MS in information security with a specialty in digital forensics offers cybersecurity students a rigorous, hands-on online cyber security degree that equips graduates for senior positions that pay them good salaries.
The 33-credit curriculum focuses on computer forensics, cryptography, malware, and advanced networking. An optional thesis facilitates additional hands-on learning. Students who do not write a thesis take a comprehensive examination in the fourth semester of the six-semester program. Cohort-based course delivery ensures that students enjoy the advantages of learning among peers, and the asynchronous course delivery ensures that students can work at their own pace. Students take two courses per semester for five semesters and one course during a summer semester.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, and JMU's admissions office requires the submission of official undergraduate transcripts, a professional resume, and a personal statement. Admissions does not requires GRE scores, but it does recommend them given the highly competitive nature of the applications process. Students pay the same tuition rate whether they live in-state or out-of-state.
JMU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
20. George Mason University
Based in the city of Fairfax, George Mason University is Virginia's largest public university. Its MS in applied information technology, cyber security concentration prepares graduates for careers in cyber security jobs like intelligence analyst, chief information officer, senior systems administrator, and cyber security consultant.
The 36-credit curriculum consists of three parts, beginning with four core courses in the essentials of algorithms and data structures, data management systems, computing platforms, and information. Following that, students take four concentration courses in cyber security fundamentals, secure software development, network and system security, and incident handling. The program concludes with two elective courses: a thesis or master's research project or classes in cloud computing security, emerging cyber threats, or identity and access management. Specific requirements vary by course, but students take most courses asynchronously with no campus visits.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least a 3.0 for the last 60 credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. Complete applications include two copies of all official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a professional resume with evidence of IT experience, and a statement of goals. Virginia residents pay discounted tuition.
George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
21. University of Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island
Located in Kingston, the University of Rhode Island's professional science master's degree in cybersecurity trains working professionals in advanced cybersecurity. The university offers three program lengths: 12, 18, and 24 months. Asynchronous class delivery and cloud-based labs facilitate flexible interaction with peers, class material, and professors.
The 36-credit curriculum consists of nine courses, four core courses and five elective courses. In lieu of a final thesis or capstone, most courses include smaller research projects. Students complete an internship during the final phase of the program using their place of employment to satisfy the requirement. Core classes introduce students to key concepts in information assurance, networking, and cyber security. Elective courses teach advanced skills in intrusion detection and defense, advanced digital forensics, and penetration testing. Students receive instruction from faculty with the highest degrees in the field.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, and complete an application that includes official transcripts, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. Rhode Island residents must also submit a residency form. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate irrespective of state residency. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores.
The University of Rhode Island is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
22. University of San Diego
San Diego, California
The master of science in cyber security operations and leadership at University of San Diego consists of 31 credits that students complete in 20 months, or five semesters. Students take one three-credit course per seven-week term. Each course constitutes 37.5 hours of instructional time, and the university recommends that students spend between 15 and 18 hours per week on each course. The program concludes with a capstone that requires students to create an ePortfolio.
Students graduate with the skills needed for placement at top-level cyber security jobs. As of 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that salaries range from $80,000 to 112,000 for positions in IT and cyber security.
Applicants must demonstrate professional or academic IT experience. The university requires the submission of a resume and either a letter of support from the applicant's employer or two letters of reference. Applicants must also submit official transcripts, possess at least a 2.75 GPA, and write a statement of purpose. The university encourages candidates who do not meet the GPA requirement to submit scores from the GRE, GMAT, MAT, or LSAT. Prior to entrance into the program, the school also recommends that applicants join InfraGard, a professional partnership between private sector companies and the FBI. Classes begin in the fall, spring, and summer.
The University of San Diego is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
23. Drexel University
Designed for students well-versed in technical engineering or computer science, Drexel University's master of science in cyber security provides students an immersive technical education that enables graduates to confront emerging cyber threats.
The curriculum consists of 45 quarter-credit hours. Students take 15-quarter credits of core courses, 18-quarter credits of technical electives, and 12-quarter credits of free electives. To ensure that students receive comprehensive training in one or more technical areas, academic advisors assist with the selection of technical electives. Drexel offers over 30 technical electives to choose from, including software design, high performance computing architecture, physical foundations of communications, and information forensics.
An optional thesis prepares students for future doctoral-level graduate work. The university graduate co-operative education program allows students to pause their academic studies for six months in order to conduct research on contemporary issues in cyber security.
The university evaluates applications based on academic merit and requires applicants to submit both GRE scores and official transcripts from all attended regionally accredited undergraduate institutions. Drexel emphasizes undergraduate academic performance during the final two years of an applicant's undergraduate studies.
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
24. San Jose State University
San Jose, California
San Jose State University awards students with an MS software engineering, specialization in cyber security degree after they complete three certifications in secure software engineering, secure test engineering, and cyber security engineering.
The curriculum consists of 33 credits, and California and non-California residents pay the same tuition rate. Students take classes in a cohort model. Throughout the program, students learn how to work individually and in teams to design, analyze, validate, and deploy advanced software systems. They graduate knowing how to solve complex software engineering problems while positively impacting the economy and environment.
Prospective students possess a background in computer science, software or computer engineer, or information systems and hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants also possess requisite knowledge in mathematics. The university requires GRE scores from all applicants who did not earn their bachelor's degree at an ABET-accredited institution. However, the GRE requirement does not apply to applicants with five years of post-baccalaureate software development experience. Because the university evaluates applications by academic performance, it asks applicants not to submit letters of reference.
San Jose State University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
25. Sam Houston State University
Located in Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University provides a quality education to students with technical backgrounds from all 50 states. Students with undergraduate majors or minors in computer science or criminal justice benefit most from the master of science in digital forensics. Admissions considers coursework that did not lead to an undergraduate degree. The university also accepts professional experience in lieu of previous academic achievement.
The curriculum consists of 36 evenly-split credits between core and elective courses. Core courses explore topics in cyber law, digital security, digital forensics investigation, and file system forensics. The final three-credit core course covers directed management and development projects. Prior to the student's enrollment in the course, the university pairs each student with an advisor who directs the project. The program concludes with a written comprehensive examination that tests students on core subjects. At the university's discretion, students may need to submit to an oral examination.
Applicants must submit official transcripts from their accredited undergraduate institution; the university requires an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants must also provide GRE scores and two letters of recommendation that describe the applicant's preparedness for graduate coursework. A personal statement is not required, and students pay the same tuition rate regardless of state residency.
Sam Houston State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
26. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Saint Leo University's MS in Cyber security prepares graduates for cyber security jobs in both the private and public sectors. Aligned with standards set by the National Security Agency for (online) cyber security master's degrees, the comprehensive 36-credit curriculum covers today's most pressing cyber security topics, including software and database security, cyber security risk management, advanced networking and protocols, and ethical hacking. The 12-course curriculum also covers certifications in Security+, CISSP, SSCP, CSSLP, and CISM. In order to comply with these various standards, the curriculum does not feature electives.
Applicants must submit transcripts, and the school exempts candidates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last 60 undergraduate credits from the university's GMAT requirement. Applicants who need to submit GMAT scores must earn a score of at least 500. Complete applications also include a 500-word statement of professional goals,a professional resume, and two professional recommendations. All students pay the same tuition, irrespective of state residency, and students can qualify for financial aid if they file their FAFSA in a timely manner.
Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
27. Salve Regina University
Newport, Rhode Island
Rhode Island's Salve Regina University offers students a customizable online cyber security master's program. The MS in administration of justice and homeland security's eight-course core sequence trains students to approach criminal justice with an analytic and historical perspective. Concentrations in either cyber security and intelligence or digital forensics train students to detect and combat cybercrime.
Both concentrations feature two required courses and two elective courses. The cyber security and intelligence concentration core focuses on high tech counterterrorism policy and methods. Notable electives include cyber threat analysis; challenges to counterterrorism; advanced persistent threat: tactics, techniques and procedures; and cyber security and resiliency in healthcare administration. The digital forensics core teaches students to extract and analyze relevant data for criminal investigations. Electives include mobile forensics, malware basics, and network forensics and incident response.
Students take all 12 courses for the degree through asynchronous course delivery in seven-week sessions. Discussion boards facilitate faculty-student and peer-to-peer interaction.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, and the university requires the submission of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, two professional or academic letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. Admissions does not require pre-graduate exams. Students living inside and outside of the state pay the same tuition rate, and students may qualify financially after filling out the FAFSA.
Salve Regina University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
28. University of Texas at Tyler
The online cyber security master's program at UT Tyler prepares professionals to serve as central coordinators between senior management and IT teams. UT Tyler's MBA with a concentration in cyber security curriculum teaches students the fundamentals of company management and cyber security threat protection.
The curriculum consists of 12 courses and 36 total credits. Students take nine core and three concentration courses. Core courses teach business competencies in organizational behavior, processes of strategic leadership, advanced marketing, and global business perspectives. The three concentration courses -- accounting for management control, retail cyber security management, and cyber security risk analysis -- train students in protecting organizations from cyber threats. All 12 courses typically take 12 months to complete.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and need to submit official transcripts with their application. UT Tyler requires most applicants to submit GMAT scores, though admissions exempts students with a 3.25 GPA or higher for the last 60 credit hours of their undergraduate degree. The university provides another exemption for candidates who possess three years of applicable healthcare or executive management professional experience. In rare cases, applicants may submit GRE scores instead of GMAT scores. Out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate paid by Texas residents.
UT Tyler is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
29. Fordham University
Bronx, New York
Fordham University offers a master of science in cyber security as a hybrid program that combines online and onsite evening and weekend courses at its Bronx, New York campus. The program trains graduates for jobs as cyber security specialists, cybercrime investigators, cyber security administrators, and cyber security architects. The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designate Fordham as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
The 30-credit curriculum consists of 10 courses--four core and six specializations--that take full-time students 12 months to complete. Core courses cover network essentials, intensive cyber security essentials, information security and ethics, and intrusion detection. A selection of 12 specialization courses like the social network, wireless security, malware and software security, or a cyber security practicum ensure that students study topics that align with their professional goals. Students select five specialization courses and take sixth as a capstone or a thesis.
Fordham does not require applicants to have a background in computer science. Admitted students who need extra background in computer science topics take specialized bridge courses. Applicants need not submit GRE scores either, though Fordham recommends them as a means of enhancing one's application. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.
Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of the Commission of Higher Education.
30. Regis University
Regis University's master's in cyber security online program combines the study of criminology with the study of emerging cyber threats. The master of science in criminology: cybercrime & terrorism focus curriculum consists of 12 courses that span 36 credits. Students take nine criminology courses before moving onto the three-course cybercrime focus, tailoring the core courses to a specific interest area.
The cybercrime focus examines the fundamentals of computer forensics and the basics of digital information's security standards and safeguarding strategies. The final course combines these topics into a risk management evaluation that trains students to analyze an organization's security systems and defend against threats.
Applicants must provide official transcripts from all attended baccalaureate and graduate institutions, two professional letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and two admissions essays that address professional goals and the applicant's interest in the program. The university schedules applicants for a faculty interview upon receiving application materials. The university offers all students the same tuition rate irrespective of residency. Additionally, active military and veteran students receive tuition discounts. Students who submit the FAFSA in a timely manner may receive financial aid.
Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
31. West Texas A & M University
West Texas A & M University offers students a master of science in computer information systems & business analytics with a business integration and cybersecurity study area. Students complete all courses entirely online or in hybrid format. Coursework incorporates lectures, case studies, and hands-on projects. Students graduate from the 27-credit program equipped with the analytic tools, business knowledge, cyber security skills, and computing proficiency to streamline an organization's information systems.
Students select two out of four courses in the business integration and cybersecurity curriculum: network management and information security, current issues in cybersecurity, enterprise process management, and planning for IT in healthcare. The curriculum features focus areas in data analytics, computing and data mining, web and mobile development, and technology planning and project management. In lieu of a thesis or final capstone, students sit for a comprehensive examination.
Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in foundational computing and statistics courses. Complete applications include official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, three letters of recommendation--one of which must be a professional reference, a goals statement, and a professional resume. The university requires GMAT scores, but applicants with undergraduate GPAs higher than a 3.0 may submit a GMAT waiver request.
West Texas A & M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
32. Colorado State University-Global Campus
Greenwood Village, Colorado
CSU-Global offers students a master of information technology management, cyber security specialization entirely online. The cyber security specialization is a 12-credit, four-course sequence. Students study cyber security management; emerging cyber security technology, threats, and defense; enterprise cyber security; and cyber security defense and countermeasures. The knowledge they obtain through this specialization augments and deepens the skill-set they develop through the degree's main curriculum.
The bulk of the program consists of eight core courses in information technology topics. Courses include fundamentals of quantitative analysis--which explores four research methods: managing virtualized and cloud systems, information technology auditing and assurance, and business continuity and disaster recovery. The program concludes with a capstone project in which students perform a detailed analysis of an organization's information needs and develop a solutions plan.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants provide the admissions office official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a professional and academic resume. Students pay the same tuition rate whether they live inside of or outside of the state.
CSU-Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
33. DePaul University
DePaul University's 52-credit MS in cybersecurity -- computer security concentration prepares graduates for top-level cyber security jobs. Students take five foundational courses in topics like distributed systems and object-oriented software development before moving onto advanced coursework. The rest of the course sequence consists of 30 electives of which students select three. Notable electives include framework for web application development, fundamentals of data science, business continuity/disaster recovery management and tactics, and object-oriented enterprise computing. Students with insufficient prerequisite knowledge also take introductory courses.
Students complete a 10-week capstone course at the end of their program. Students also choose an eight-credit research project focused on either information security governance or computer information and network security. The eight-credit research project requires students to take one less elective course.
DePaul charges all graduate students the same tuition rate irrespective of state residency. Four annual enrollment dates make it easy to get started in the cyber security program. Applicants must demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 by submitting official transcripts from their regionally accredited undergraduate institution. The university does not require professional resumes or letters of reference but accepts them as supplemental materials.
DePaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
34. Mississippi College
Mississippi College offers students a master of science in cybersecurity and information assurance as a hybrid program. The program consists of 30 credits spanning 10 courses, eight core and two electives. Students finish the program in as few as five semesters of full-time study. For busy students who need more time, the college allows up to four years to complete the degree plan. Core courses include ethics & law in information security; development, assessment, & implementation of information security; topics in computer networking; and cryptography & network security.
Prospective students possess a bachelor's degree in computer science or computing and information systems. Admissions considers students with degrees in a related field who demonstrate sufficient work experience in the IT space. The college accepts applications without these credentials at its discretion, but these admitted students must take 26 credit hours of foundational courses prior to starting the program. Applicants must also submit official transcripts with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 in their major coursework. The college does not provide transfer credit. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.
Mississippi College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
35. University of Detroit Mercy
In 2016, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated the University of Detroit Mercy as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. The school's online master of science in information assurance with a major in cyber security trains the next generation of professionals for jobs in the cybersecurity space.
Students complete the 30-credit curriculum entirely online in one academic year and graduate with two CNSS certifications: NSTISSI 4011 fundamentals and CNSSI 4012 IA management. The course sequence consists of nine core courses and one elective. As part of the core, students study cyber law, secure acquisition, incident response, and cyber defense operations. Electives include software assurance, ethical hacking, advanced network security, and advanced topics in cyber security.
Applicants possess a bachelor's degree and need to submit official transcripts along with their application form. The university encourages applicants to provide documents like recommendation letters to enhance their applications. Due to Department of Education regulations, this program is not available to residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Michigan and non-Michigan residents pay the same tuition.
The University of Detroit Mercy is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
36. Lewis University
Lewis University offers a nationally recognized online cyber security master's degree. The MS in computer science -- cyber security concentration teaches students advanced programming techniques and the requisite skills for monitoring, identifying, investigating, and responding to cyber threats. Students take 14 credits of core computer science courses, 15 credits in the cyber security concentration, and a three-credit thesis course.
The program focuses on hands-on learning projects that include software design, network design, authentication and encryption programming, and digital forensics. By studying digital forensics, students both familiarize themselves with industry tools and learn how to create their own tools, helping them secure well-paying jobs.
Preferred applicants possess an accredited bachelor's degree in computer science or engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, or information systems. The university admits applicants without undergraduate coursework in these areas, but these students must take foundational coursework. Candidates with undergraduate GPAs of 3.0 or higher receive full admission. Candidates with GPAs that do not meet this threshold can qualify for provisional admission. Complete applications include official transcripts, a two-page personal statement, two letters of reference, and a professional resume.
Lewis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
37. Stevenson University
Founded in 1947, SU offers an online master's in cyber forensics. Most students complete the 36-credit program in one year. The curriculum covers topics such as Windows forensics examinations, live response and acquisition, and cyberterrorism.
The program is formatted in eight-week terms and is available entirely online with the exception of a mobile device forensics course, which requires an eight-hour session at SU's campus in Owings Mills, Maryland. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through Blackboard. Students gain practical skills through mock training sessions, and the program culminates in a mock intrusion and response capstone.
Students and graduates have access to research, professional development, and networking opportunities that lead to cyber security jobs. SU's online job recruiting service, Handshake, provides graduates a network of more than 3,000 employers. Students also have access to online tutoring.
Applicants should have earned a bachelor's degree in a relevant field with a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have at least two years of professional experience. Applicants with a bachelor's in an unrelated field should have five years of relevant professional experience.
Stevenson University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
38. Columbus State University
Founded in Georgia in 1958, CSU offers an online master's of applied science with a concentration in cybersecurity. The program requires 30 to 34 credits and is ideal for working professionals who want to earn their cybersecurity master's degree online. The concentration includes coursework in computer network and management, software testing and quality assurance, and applied cryptography.
Online coursework is delivered through Brightspace and utilizes applications such as Blackboard Collaborate, Camtasia, and Kaltura. Some online courses incorporate synchronous elements, such as live video conferences and chats. Students have access to online tutoring and an extensive online library of books on cyberdefense.
Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree and must have either a 2.75 cumulative GPA, a 3.0 GPA in major coursework, or significant professional experience in industrial software development. CSU students must maintain a 3.0 GA and must complete their degree within seven years of enrollment.
Columbus State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
39. University of Colorado Denver
Founded in 1912, CU Denver offers more than a dozen online graduate programs, including an online master's in information systems with a concentration in cyber security. The 30-credit online cyber security master's degree covers topics such as internet and mobile technologies, auditing theory, and IT governance and service management.
The curriculum prepares students to provide cybersecurity for small businesses and corporations across the public and private sectors. CU Denver delivers online courses asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. Transfer students may apply up to nine approved credits toward the information studies core. Distance learners have access to online, synchronous writing tutoring.
Applicants must have earned a bachelor's or master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants without college-level education must have equivalent professional experience. UC Denver students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.
UC Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
40. Valparaiso University
Founded in Indiana in 1859, Valpo offers one of the most respected online master's in cyber security degrees available. The online master's in cyber security requires 36 credits, which most students complete in one year. The core curriculum covers topics such as information security, IT risk management, and technology, law, and policy.
Valpo delivers online courses asynchronously through Blackboard. Students complete computing infrastructure hosting simulations and lab exercises. An optional preparatory course is available for students planning to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional test. As a capstone, students complete either a 300-hour supervised internship or a research project.
Valpo students and graduates have access to job listings, mock interview exercises, and placement tests. Distance learners have online access to the Christopher Center for Library Resources. Valpo students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and must graduate before attempting more than 150% of required credits.
Valparaiso University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
41. Southern Utah University
Cedar City, Utah
Founded in 1898, SUU offers a number of online graduate degrees, including an online master's in cyber security and information assurance. Most students complete the 33-credit program in one year. The online cyber security master's program is designed for working professionals and offers emphases in cyber and web security and GRC and IS controls.
The core curriculum covers topics such as IT policy compliance and disaster recovery, advanced persistent threats, and IT risk management. Coursework fosters strong communication, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, which are integral to careers in cyberdefense. SUU delivers online courses asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. The program culminates in a capstone project comprising either a thesis or an internship.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Preference is given to applicants with IT-related certifications, such as A+ or Security+. SUU accepts transfer credits earned up to ten years prior; credits earned more than ten years prior to enrollment are evaluated on an individual basis.
SUU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
42. Saint Joseph's College
Brooklyn, New York
SJC offers online certificates and degrees, including a master's in cyber forensics. SJC offers the 33-credit program in a hybrid format, which is ideal for working professionals in New York.
The curriculum covers topics including ethics and the criminal justice system, software security, and computer forensics investigation and response. The program culminates in a field practicum; depending on their career goals, students complete either a capstone project or an internship. Students complete a 15-credit series of courses in math, CIT, and computer science. Students must fulfill a residency requirement and complete at least 30 credits through SJC.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and should demonstrate substantial professional experience and full-time employment. SJC offers discounted tuition rates for active duty, guard, and reserve service members. SJC accepts transfer credit through its online transfer evaluation system and awards scholarships to transfer students with 24 graduate-level credits and a minimum 2.8 GPA.
SJC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
43. Eastern Illinois University
Based in Charleston, EIU offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online master's in cybersecurity. EIU's program is one of the most affordable online cybersecurity master's degrees available. The core curriculum covers database security and reliability, management of IT, and biometric security.
EIU delivers online coursework through Brightspace by D2L. Courses are primarily asynchronous, but some instructors utilize synchronous learning methods. EIU's cybersecurity online master's program requires four days of residency at the end of spring term. Students also spend ten days in residency while completing the team-based capstone course, during which students create a security system for a computer network. Most students complete the 32 required credits in two years.
Applicants should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75. Applicants with lower GPAs may be admitted on a provisional basis and must earn a 3.0 GPA in their first 12 credits.
Eastern Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of College and Schools.
44. Missouri State University
Missouri State offers an online master's in cybersecurity that provides an overview of the field. The 30-credit program is designed for working professionals and distance learners. The core curriculum explores telecommunications and internet security, management of information security, and hacker techniques and incident response.
Students build practical skills during hands-on labs and exercises in defending systems from cyberattacks. The program culminates in an internship, during which students assemble a professional portfolio for evaluation. Students can pursue up to six credit hours of department-approved independent study. Transfer students may bring up to six approved credit hours.
Missouri State students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must have significant work experience and a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA. Applicants who do not meet these requirements may be admitted with written recommendations from the department head and the dean of the college and approval from the dean of the graduate college.
MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
45. La Salle University
Founded in 1863, La Salle is a private, Roman Catholic university located in Philadelphia. La Salle offers a cybersecurity master's degree in a fully online, accelerated format. The program is ideal for students who want to earn their online master's in cybersecurity quickly; most students complete the 30 required credits in fewer than two years.
The curriculum covers topics including secure software development, computer digital forensics, and network security. Online courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system and utilize synchronous and asynchronous learning methods. The eight-week courses incorporate simulations and labs to provide practical knowledge. The program culminates in a capstone course that requires either a research project or professional experience in a department-approved setting. The capstone course concludes with an oral presentation and a written summary.
Students have access to online tutoring. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. La Salle students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students can apply up to six transfer credits earned with a grade of B or better toward program requirements.
La Salle University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
46. California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
CSUSB is highly regarded for its business programs and its continued learning programs. The university offers an online MBA with a focus in cyber security. The 20-credit program is a flexible option for working professionals. The curriculum provides a comprehensive overview of business leadership and administration and covers specialized topics such as cyber defense, information-based management, and information networking systems and security.
CSUSB delivers online classes through Blackboard and Moodle, primarily utilizing asynchronous learning methods. Students must complete at least 70% of required credits through CSUSB. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants with at least a 2.5 GPA may be admitted on a provisional basis, depending on work experience and standardized test scores. CSUSB online students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete the online MBA boot camp before the beginning of their second quarter.
CSU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. CSU's master's of business administration program is accredited by the Association of Accredited Certification Bodies.
47. Albany Law School
Albany, New York
Founded in 1851, Albany Law provides quality distance learning programs in a variety of disciplines. The fully online MS in legal studies with a concentration in cybersecurity and data privacy is available in part-time and accelerated, full-time formats.
Albany Law's program is ideal for students interested in pursuing positions that require knowledge of both cybersecurity and law. Required courses include cyberspace law, global data protection law, and multimedia forensics. Albany Law delivers online coursework primarily asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. The program culminates in a capstone comprising an independent study and a special topics course.
Online students have access to an extensive library, conferences, workshops, and webinars on contemporary issues in the field. Albany Law students must maintain a 2.25 GPA. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Transfer students may apply up to six previous credits earned with a grade of B or better toward program requirements.
Albany Law School is nationally accredited by the American Bar Association and is also a Candidate for Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
48. University of Maryland-University College
UMUC offers an online master's in cybersecurity and management policy designed for working professionals who plan to pursue management positions in the field. The 36-credit curriculum covers topics such as cybersecurity management, public sector cybersecurity management, and international cybersecurity management.
Online students complete coursework asynchronously through the Learning Experience Online virtual classroom. The program culminates in a capstone course that requires a research project investigating contemporary cybersecurity issues. Students are prepared to obtain Global Information Assurance, Disaster Recovery, and CompTIA Security+ certifications.
Online students have access to tutoring and the writing center. Applicants must either possess significant professional experience or complete a series of prerequisite courses in information technology and computer programming. UMUC accepts up to six transfer credits completed no more than five years prior to enrollment. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same affordable tuition rate. UMUC students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and must graduate within five years of enrollment.
UMUC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
49. University of Dallas
Students can earn UD's fully online master's in cybersecurity degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students complete the program in one year. The curriculum covers topics including digital forensics, business and society, and strategic cybersecurity management. During a practicum course, students complete a simulation in a cybersecurity management role.
UD's cybersecurity advisory board comprises experts in the field who have worked in the private and public sectors. Many courses offer multiple start dates, and students choose to take 12-week, 6-week, or intermester courses. Students have access to a writing coach and the online library.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a 2.0 GPA. UD students must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their studies.
University of Dallas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and nationally accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
50. University of Charleston
Charleston, West Virginia
Founded in 1888, UC offers an accelerated online master's in cyber security. Students can complete the 30-credit program on a full-time or part-time basis, making it ideal for students with personal or professional obligations. The curriculum explores legal issues in cyber security, cyber psychology, and strategic investments in information security.
UC's program follows the seven-part framework established by the National Cybersecurity Workforce: securely provision, operate and maintain, protect and defend, investigate, collect and operate, analyze, and oversight and development. The program culminates in a capstone project, during which students develop a security and information protection program.
Online students have access to tutoring services. Military students receive discounted tuition rates. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business or information technology, and should be literate in computer and information technology.
University of Charleston is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
What is a Master's in Cyber Crime Degree?
An online cybersecurity master's program generally requires 30-40 credits of coursework, and takes full-time students two years to complete. Common courses include computer forensics, incident detection, network assessment, and risk analysis. Students who do not have an IT background may be required to also complete a computer basics course. Most programs feature courses in cyber ethics, censorship, and intellectual property, while classes in security policy and cyber laws familiarize students with methods for ensuring network security and handling confidential information.
Knowledge of these key areas prepares graduates for careers in project management, network architecture, and systems administration. Classes in computer crime theories and forensic investigation also allow graduates to seek employment in criminal justice.
Students enrolled in an online cybersecurity master's degree frequently have the option to concentrate in an area consistent with their career interests. Popular concentrations in this field include digital forensics, information assurance, and cybersecurity policy. Programs often conclude with a capstone project that requires students to synthesize and apply their knowledge to a specific IT security issue.
Online Master's in Cyber Crime Programs
An online cyber security master's degree appeals to a variety of students. The convenience of an online format attracts professionals in the field who want to continue working full-time while they study. Additionally, students who cannot find a cyber crime graduate program close to their home, or whose family responsibilities make it difficult to attend an on-campus program, can benefit from pursuing their studies online.
While an online master's in cyber crime offers the same curriculum and leads to the same employment opportunities as a campus-based degree, it generally offers more flexibility and convenience than traditional brick-and-mortar programs. Distance learning gives students the freedom to access their courses from their personal computer, regardless of the time of day.
For students who work well independently, the most flexible programs feature a completely online format that delivers asynchronistic courses. This allows web-based access to course materials throughout the day or night. Conversely, online learners who prefer the interaction experienced in a real-time class may consider a synchronous delivery format with classes scheduled at fixed times each week. Some online cyber security master's offer hybrid options that combine web-based courses with face-to-face meetings, or they may include a short residency that requires on-campus attendance to participate in orientations or thesis workshops.
The Advantages of a Master's Degree in Cyber Crime
The expanding availability of cyber security jobs may prompt students to question why they should invest the time and financial resources in a master's degree. While a bachelor's degree can lead to several fulfilling career paths in information security and forensic analysis, a master's opens more professional possibilities with higher compensation. Additionally, employers increasingly seek master's degree graduates for positions in specialized cyber security fields such as information assurance, advanced digital forensics, cyber risk management, and systems architecture.
A benefit of earning an online cyber security master's is the preparation it provides for managerial positions. Graduates gain the leadership skills to advance in the private sector, government, and law enforcement. Holders of a master's degree with especially strong skills in technological applications, computer programming, or data analysis may also elect to continue their education in doctoral programs. These terminal degrees can prepare them for research, consulting positions, and faculty appointments in higher education.
|Degree Level||Average Salary|
|Bachelor's in Information Assurance||$67,000|
|Master's in Information Assurance||$82,000|
What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Cyber Crime?
Students who complete a master's in cybersecurity online can pursue careers in a variety of industries, including government, healthcare, and education. They may also take on freelance or consulting roles which provide flexible hours and high pay. Some of the possible occupations are listed below.
- Forensic Science Technicians: Most commonly employed by local governments, forensic science technicians conduct digital forensic analyses to help solve crimes. Computer-based crimes usually involve identity theft, fraud, or online scams. Forensic science technicians must have strong skills in data extraction and digital evidence preservation.
- Private Detectives and Investigators: Often working to gather information for a case, private detectives and investigators are employed by businesses, lawyers, and individuals. Earning a cybersecurity master's degree online prepares these professionals to conduct in-depth investigations, retrieve personal data, and track social media use.
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: The majority of computer research scientists work for the federal government, where they test software and design computer architecture. A master's degree is required for most entry level positions, and an online cybersecurity master's can prepare graduates for work in specialized security research.
Choosing an Online Cyber Crime Graduate Degree Program
Selecting the best online cyber security master's program requires a bit of homework. Prospective students should compare the program features for several schools, including tuition costs, delivery formats, and graduation requirements. Research each school's policies governing part-time enrollment and on-campus residency requirements, and investigate how accelerated degree options or flexible course schedules may affect the time it takes to graduate.
A program's affordability may be the deciding factor for many students. Colleges and universities generally charge higher tuition to out-of-state students, though some schools charge a flat rate. Online learners can usually expect to pay supplementary fees in addition to their tuition.
Finally, students should evaluate which learning style best suits them. Those who like working at their own pace should look for asynchronous course delivery formats, while others may prefer the opportunities for face-to-face interaction provided by hybrid or synchronously-delivered programs.
- Program Cost: The cost of an online cyber security master's depends on several variables. For example, local two-year community colleges usually offer the most affordable tuition rates. In-state tuition usually costs less than attending out-of-state schools, although some schools charge a flat rate for all online students. Military personnel, veterans, and law enforcement officers sometimes qualify for reduced tuition. In addition to tuition and application costs, most schools charge technology fees for distance learning programs.
- Transfer Policies: Many public and private institutions participate in multi-state reciprocal agreements that make it easier for students to transfer credits from previous coursework. However, most regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other schools with this designation. Students planning to transfer credits into a master's program should check with their intended school.
- School Size and Type: The increasing number of online cyber security master's programs presents students with several options. Public colleges and universities may offer lower tuition and greater financial aid opportunities. Larger institutions, whether public- or privately-sponsored, may feature more specialized concentrations and a variety of student support services. While small private schools sometimes offer benefits, such as smaller class size and personalized mentoring, public institutions typically feature more program specializations, career guidance, and affordable tuition.
- Program Length: Most full-time students can complete a cyber security master's degree online or on-campus within two years; however, some programs offer accelerated degrees that take 18 months or less. Students entering a master's program without the requisite academic foundations or computer technology background may have to complete one or more prerequisite courses in order to progress through the degree, lengthening the time needed to finish.
- On-Campus Requirements: A few online cyber security master's programs include an in-person residency requirement. Students in these programs must travel to campus or a satellite location to attend one or more on-campus meetings, usually for orientation or thesis research workshops. Before enrolling in a online program with a residency requirement, students should carefully consider the time, travel commitment, and financial costs associated with attending on-campus classes.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: The best online cyber security master's programs require a thesis or capstone research project. A thesis requires students to conduct independent research that contributes to the cyber security knowledge base. Conversely, a capstone project is usually conducted during the final semester, and students must apply knowledge from their coursework to solve a real-world problem. Some programs also offer students paid fellowships that allow them to assist in faculty-sponsored research projects.
Accreditation for Online Cyber Crime Master's Degrees
Students choosing an online master's should consider the accreditation status of their prospective schools. Four-year and graduate degree-granting institutions generally receive regional accreditation that certifies their academic quality and financial practices. The most popular and prestigious designation, regional accreditation influences how federal financial aid agencies, graduate schools, and employers view degree programs. Vocation and industry-specific technical schools often receive national accreditation.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) each play an important role in regulating accreditation. The ED develops national educational policy and administers federal financial assistance programs. The CHEA promotes accreditation to ensure academic quality in postsecondary institutions. Students can check their intended school's accreditation status using these ED or CHEA links.
Undergraduate and graduate programs may also receive programmatic accreditation from independent organizations in their field of study. These acknowledge a specific program's quality educational standards and practices. Currently, no accreditation body provides programmatic designations for the specific field of cyber security; however, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recognize certain degree programs as centers of academic excellence in cyber security.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master in Cyber Crime Degree Program?
The majority of online cyber security master's programs require students to complete 30-40 credits, which usually takes full-time learners about two years. This timeframe depends on whether you take courses full-time or part-time. Disciplined online learners may complete accelerated degrees in less than 24 months -- and sometimes in as little as one year -- by maintaining a full-time course load and continuous enrollment each term. Working professionals and students with personal or family commitments may take longer depending on their personal circumstances. Some cyber crime programs also shorten the time needed to complete degree requirements by awarding credits for life experience or military and law enforcement service.
The most flexible online master's degrees offer completely asynchronous courses that allow students to proceed at their own pace. Cohort-based programs arrange for students to take courses as part of a group at fixed times each term. This format may appeal to students whose learning styles benefit from direct interaction with faculty and peers.
Courses in an Online Master's in Cyber Crime Program
This course introduces basic concepts for protecting networks, communication, and data, as well as planning, implementing, and managing security and system integrity in a variety of organizational settings. Students examine the most contemporary approaches to prevent, detect, and recover from information loss, fundamentals of cryptography and its applications, and security in networks and distributed environments.
Digital Forensics Investigation
Students in this course examine the theory and principles of digital forensics. They explore investigation practices for uncovering digital crime with applications for computers, networks, operating systems, mobile devices and other areas of digital forensics. Coursework covers the identification, collection, acquisition, authentication, examination, analysis, preservation, and presentation of digital forensic evidence.
Security Risk Analysis and Planning
This course explores the major aspects of information security risk and planning, including risk analysis, disaster recovery, incident response, security controls, and business continuity. Students examine internal and external partnerships, governance, emerging threats and vulnerabilities, and security capabilities. The course also addresses risks as they relate to areas like financial regulations and privacy.
Students learn to apply defensive measures to secure an organization's network, how to identify the overall network security posture, and how to implement basic practices in vulnerability assessment. Topics include secure network fundamentals, data and host security; protocols and analysis; threats and vulnerabilities; and application, access control and identity management.
Legal and Ethical Issues in Information Security
Cyber security professionals must understand the legal and ethical issues related to the rise of global connectivity and the use of information. Students examine confidentiality, privacy, and local, federal and international laws. The course emphasizes issues related to government regulation, e-commerce, and e-business, including content control and rights, access and jurisdiction regarding personal data, digital property, and fraud.
Cyber Crime Membership Associations
- International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists: Established in 1989, IACIS has emerged as a leading organization for computer forensic professionals, serving a membership base of over 2,200 from more than 60 countries. The association administers a variety of training programs including the Certified Forensic Computer Examiner certification program. It also hosts a forum for information exchange on emerging cyber threats.
- Information Systems Security Association: ISSA offers continuing education courses and networking opportunities to its membership of 10,000 international cybersecurity specialists. Members receive access to professional development training, webinars, and a career center that offers services to employers and job seekers. The organization hosts an annual conference that attracts cybercrime experts from around the globe.
- Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists: As one of the few organizations dedicated to the detection and prevention of financial crime, ACFCS offers certification, training opportunities, and networking. Membership includes free webinars, bi-weekly newsletters, and daily news briefs. ACFCS administers the Certified Financial Crime certification program for financial intelligence specialists who work in industry, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement.