The 50 Best Online Master’s in Cybercrime Programs

The 50 Best Online Master’s in Cybercrime Programs

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As internet technology increasingly touches all areas of modern life, so has cybercrime. 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. Cybercrime 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 cybercrime 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 cybercrime, as well as the variety of employment possibilities graduates can expect after earning their degree.

Online Master’s in Cybercrime 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 Cybercrime Degree Programs

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University of South Florida 

Tampa, FL Apply Now

About this school

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 cybercrime. 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.


New York University 

New York, NY Apply Now

About this school

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 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 Ph.D. 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 hold 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.


Boston University 

Boston , MA Apply Now

About this school

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.

p>The cyber security master’s degree online program at BU can be completed in as little 20 months. While most of the 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.

Villanova University 

Villanova , PA Apply Now

About this school

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.


George Washington University 

Washington, D.C. Apply Now

About this school

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.


University of Delaware 

Newark, DE Apply Now

About this school

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.


Syracuse University 

Syracuse, NY Apply Now

About this school

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.


James Madison University 

Harrisonburg, VA Apply Now

About this school

James Madison University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


University of Maryland - Baltimore 

Baltimore, MD Apply Now

About this school

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.


University of San Diego 

San Diego, CA Apply Now

About this school

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.


University of Dallas 

Irving, TX Apply Now

About this school

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.


Regis University 

Denver , CO Apply Now

About this school

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 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.


CSU Global 

Greenwood Village, CO Apply Now

About this school

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.


Liberty University Online 

Lynchburg, VA Apply Now

About this school

Liberty University is a private, Evangelical Christian University established in 1971 by Jerry Falwell. Liberty enrolls over 75,000 students in a full array of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree and certificate programs. It owes its massive student population to a healthy roster of online programs; 71% and 94% of its undergraduate and graduate students populations, respectively, enroll entirely online. Founded on Evangelical principles, Liberty dedicates its programs to developing students as champions of Christ.

Among its many online options, Liberty University offers a master’s in cyber security online degree program. The program consists of 12 courses that total 36 credit hours, and this online cyber security master’s develops the necessary advanced knowledge and skills for success in cyber security professions. Students engage with courses in areas, such as:

  • Applied Cryptography
  • Digital Forensics
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Security Engineering
  • Web Security

Students also complete a capstone project.

This cybercrime master’s degree utilizes eight-week long courses. The program starts on eight dates per year; this allows students to earn their degree in as little as 18 months of study. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as information systems or computer science that was earned with at least a 3.0 GPA.


George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA Apply Now

About this school

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 allficial transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a professional resume with evidence of IT experience, and a statement of goals. Virginia residents pay discounted tuition.


Lewis University 

Romeoville, IL Apply Now

About this school

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.


Saint Joseph's College 

Brooklyn, NY Apply Now

About this school

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.


Eastern Illinois University 

Charleston, IL Apply Now

About this school

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.


Columbus State University 

Columbus, GA Apply Now

About this school

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.


Western Governors University 

Salt Lake City, UT Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1997, the private, non-profit Western Governors University is unique because all its undergraduate and graduate degree programs are entirely online. This dedication to online education allows the university to have a massive population of over 98,000 students around the world.

Western Governors University offers a master’s in cyber security online degree program for students who seek advancement in cyber security professions. The flexible online cyber security master’s program consists of nine courses in key areas, such as:

  • Cybersecurity Management
  • Forensic and Network Intrusion
  • Hacking
  • Secure Systems Analysis and Design

Students must also complete a capstone.

Western Governors University embraces a competency-based education model. This means that all the courses in the program are openly available to students and are entirely asynchronous, which allows students to complete the program on their own time and schedule. The program can be completed in as few as six months of dedicated study. Alternately, students may take their time and complete the program in up to 20 months. Students must complete at least one course per six-month term.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution and must have demonstrable knowledge in IT security.


Nova Southeastern University 

Fort Lauderdale, FL Apply Now

About this school

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 a 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.


University of Detroit Mercy 

Detroit , MI Apply Now

About this school

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.


End of list, bravo!

What is a Master’s in Cybercrime 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.

The Advantages of a Master’s Degree in Cybercrime

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.

Average Salary by Degree Level

Degree Level Average Salary
Bachelor’s in Information Assurance $67,000
Master’s in Information Assurance $82,000

Source: PayScale

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Cybercrime?

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:
most 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 Cybercrime 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 an 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 Cybercrime 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 Cybercrime Degree Program?

most 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 cybercrime 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 Cybercrime Program

Information Assurance
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.
Network Security
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.

Cybercrime 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.


2018 Archive

The 50 Best Online Master’s in Cybercrime Programs for 2018

  1. University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, California
  2. University of California - Berkeley
    Berkeley, California
  3. George Washington University, GW Online
    Washington, District of Columbia
  4. Pennsylvania State University - World Campus
    University Park, Pennsylvania
  5. Villanova University
    Villanova, Pennsylvania
  6. Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland
  7. Columbia University
    New York, New York
  8. Syracuse University
    Syracuse, New York
  9. Brown University
    Providence, Rhode Island
  10. New York University
    New York, New York
  11. University of Delaware
    Newark, Delaware
  12. University of Arizona
    Tucson, Arizona
  13. University of Maryland - Baltimore County
    Baltimore, Maryland
  14. University of Massachusetts - Lowell
    Lowell, Massachusetts
  15. University of South Florida
    Tampa, Florida
  16. Boston University
    Boston, Massachusetts
  17. Nova Southeastern University
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  18. The University of Texas at Dallas
    Richardson, Texas
  19. James Madison University
    Harrisonburg, Virginia
  20. George Mason University
    Fairfax, Virginia
  21. University of Rhode Island
    Kingston, Rhode Island
  22. University of San Diego
    San Diego, California
  23. Drexel University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  24. San Jose State University
    San Jose, California
  25. Sam Houston State University
    Huntsville, Texas
  26. Saint Leo University Online
    Saint Leo, Florida
  27. Salve Regina University
    Newport, Rhode Island
  28. The University of Texas at Tyler
    Tyler, Texas
  29. Fordham University
    Bronx, New York
  30. Regis University
    Denver, Colorado
  31. West Texas A&M University
    Canyon, Texas
  32. Colorado State University Global
    Greenwood Village, Colorado
  33. DePaul University
    Chicago, Illinois
  34. Mississippi College
    Clinton, Mississippi
  35. University of Detroit Mercy
    Detroit, Michigan
  36. Lewis University
    Romeoville, Illinois
  37. Stevenson University
    Stevenson, Maryland
  38. Columbus State University
    Columbus, Georgia
  39. University of Colorado Denver
    Denver, Colorado
  40. Valparaiso University
    Valparaiso, Indiana
  41. Southern Utah University
    Cedar City, Utah
  42. Saint Joseph’s College
    Brooklyn, New York
  43. Eastern Illinois University
    Charleston, Illinois
  44. Missouri State University
    Springfield, Missouri
  45. La Salle University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  46. California State University - San Bernardino
    San Bernardino, California
  47. Albany Law School
    Albany, New York
  48. University of Maryland - University College
    Adelphi, Maryland
  49. University of Dallas
    Irving, Texas
  50. University of Charleston
    Charleston, West Virginia

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