The 10 Best Online Master's in Internet Security Programs

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Technology continues to advance, connecting not only our computers, tablets, and phones to the internet, but also our appliances, home security systems, and personal biosensors. As a result, keeping data private and devices secure has become a top priority for both business corporations and the government. This increasing need for people trained in computer technology and security has helped employment in the IT industry grow 37% since 2003 — much faster than average.

Online Master’s in Internet Security Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The Best Online Master’s in Internet Security Degree Programs

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4

Lewis University 

Romeoville, IL

About this school

Lewis is a Catholic school with locations in Romeoville Illinois and in Albuquerque New Mexico. Known for its diverse student population and the value it places on justice Lewis offers a master’s of science in information security that prepares students to defend organizations against breaches.

The curriculum covers risk management information technology assets how to identify vulnerability and the communication of ethical and privacy concerns. The program requires 35 to 41 credit hours including a capstone course.

The program offers two concentrations: technical and management. The technical concentration provides a hands–on approach to securing information systems and includes courses in cryptography network security and security protocols. Students in the management concentration develop skills in design and maintenance of IT infrastructures and security controls. The concentration includes courses in ethical hacking risk management and information security governance and compliance. Both concentrations prepare students to pass the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam.

Classes are fully online and follow an eight–week schedule. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Lewis accepts transfer credits earned with a grade of B or better.

Lewis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commision.

5

Sam Houston State University 

Huntsville, TX

About this school

Located in Huntsville Texas SHSU offers rigorous online programs including a master’s of science in information assurance and security program that is ideal for students with an undergraduate degree in a technical field such as management information systems.

The 36–hour curriculum covers principle and policy information assurance and business continuity management public formation and risk management. Students learn to assess threat levels and organizations’ vulnerability by identifying compromised enterprise IT systems. Online students complete two 16–week semesters during the fall and spring and two 4–week sessions during summer months.

SHSU delivers online courses asynchronously so students can complete coursework according to their schedule and the program does not require a capstone project. Each professor provides a syllabus containing due dates for discussions assignments and assessments. Distance learners have access to an online support desk and a creative services team specializing in production and media. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA. SHSU awards credit for professional experience.

SHSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College.

6

Flordia Institute of Technology-Online 

Melbourne, FL

About this school

Located in Melbourne Florida Tech’s programs focus on the advancement of science and technology to positively impact society. The school’s online master’s of science in information assurance and cybersecurity prepares students to meet corporations’ growing demand for skilled professionals to address cyberthreats.

The curriculum covers topics such as cryptography and hidden information and explores how information is filtered through encryption watermarking and steganography. Coursework in areas such as biometric authentication technologies exposes students to technologies that assess fingerprinting and facial biometrics. Students learn to design apply and assess biometric systems. Most students complete the fully online 33–credit program in two years.

Distance learners have access to student service representatives and 24/7 technical support. Florida Tech provides an online library and free online tutoring. Online courses last eight weeks and students can access course materials at their convenience. Florida Tech does not require GRE or GMAT scores and transfer students can submit previous credits earned with at least a B– for approval.

Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7

Western Governors University 

Salt Lake City, UT

About this school

WGU is a nonprofit school that provides flexible online programs. Although headquartered in Salt Lake City WGU has offices throughout the United States. WGU’s self–paced programs use a qualitative learning progression; students demonstrate their progress by proving their understanding of coursework. This structure allows students to focus on practical competencies rather than credits.

WGU’s master’s of science in cybersecurity and information assurance includes coursework in forensics and network intrusion and security policies and standards. Graduates offer organizations reliable defense against cyberthreats. Most students complete the program within one year. The program follows six–month terms and offers start dates each month.

Students benefit from WGU’s nationwide alumni network. A mentor helps each student achieve personal goals throughout the program. WGU offers online research assistance libraries and webinars. Distance learners can contact librarians through an online chat service. WGU does not accept college transfer credits at the graduate level.

WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

8

National University 

La Jolla, CA

About this school

NU is the largest private nonprofit school in San Diego. The university offers accelerated online programs with four–week classes to help working professionals advance their careers.

NU’s master’s of science in cybersecurity and information assurance requires 58.5 quarter units and prepares students to lead with justice authenticity and control. Students learn to design operate and manage information systems. Coursework provides skills in analyzing risk assessment methods and strategies conducting in–depth research and developing mitigation plans against external and internal weak points.

Online students have 24/7 access to course materials. NU’s hands–on virtual learning environment utilizes group activities discussions presentations and emails. Distance learners complete assignments and exams fully online. NU offers start dates each month and offers transfer scholarships. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA or a 2.75 GPA in their last 90 quarter units. Applicants with a GPA of at least 2.5 do not need to submit GRE scores.

NU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

9

Dakota State University 

Madison, SD

About this school

Located in Madison DSU’s nationally recognized faculty teach respected programs in computer management and information systems. Both the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security recognize DSU for excellence in information assurance.

DSU’s online master’s of science in information assurance and computer security prepares students to defend information systems implement individualized security strategies administer technical leadership and develop innovative security alternatives. The curriculum covers principles of information assurance managing security risks offensive security and incident response. The program requires 30 credit hours and students complete an exit examination during their final semester. Online classes follow traditional 16–week semesters and offer 12–week summer sessions.

DSU provides an interactive virtual learning environment and students can access course materials 24/7. Students have access to online tutors and personal counselors. Online students pay a per–credit tuition rate which includes few administrative fees. Transfer applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.

DSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

10

Hampton University 

Hampton, VA

About this school

HU is an historically black institution located in Virginia. The university offers a master’s of science in information assurance that prepares students to provide reliable and ethical solutions to major security threats and to develop strategies for improving security across industries.

Students analyze recent trends and advancements in the field and practice communication skills to ensure key stakeholders understand systems and potential risks. The curriculum requires coursework in computer viruses and malicious software; secure distributed computing; and ethics law and policy in cyberspace. The two–year program requires 24 core credit hours and 12 elective hours.

Online programs follow traditional semesters and class materials are accessible 24/7. Distance learners meet deadlines for assignments class discussions and assessments. HU provides an online library with assistance available by phone and chat. Online students can schedule appointments with the online writing center and the counseling center. Applicants must have at least a 3.3 GPA and transfer applicants must have a 3.0 GPA.

Hampton University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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Choosing a Program

Professionals with an online master’s degree in internet security, or cybersecurity, work to protect a company’s data and information by identifying threats and preventing malicious cyberattacks with software, hardware, and the latest technology. Completing an online master’s degree in internet security program will prepare you to assess a company’s computer security needs, make technology recommendations, and execute plans for the implementation and management of safeguards. The best online master’s in internet security programs will also provide additional management and leadership training, qualifying graduates for director and supervisory positions.

Because cybersecurity is of national interest, most online master’s in internet security programs align with National Security Agency guidelines and feature core classes that focus on network management, computer forensics, and, of course, security. However, the best online master’s degree in internet security programs can differ in their emphasis. Some programs specifically offer an online master’s degree in internet security, while other programs offer degrees in information science or information technology with a cybersecurity concentration. Other schools offer dual MS/MBA degrees for people aspiring to executive–level positions, such as Chief Information Officer.

Programs that offer an online master’s in internet security can often be specialized even further with concentrations, such as white–collar crime, cloud computing, and cyberwarfare. Many curriculums also fulfill the requirements for attaining special certifications, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Certified Information Security Manager.

Online Master’s in Internet Security Careers

Because just about every company in all industries uses computers to do business, an online master’s in internet security can lead to a job in most fields. Even graduates who desire to work for themselves can easily do so with an MS in internet security, as graduates with this degree often find work as consultants.

Computer Systems Analyst
This position suits those with an information science or IT degree with a cybersecurity emphasis. Computer systems analysts do not focus solely on security. They also help a business or organization use technology to improve productivity and processes. They stay on top of emerging technology trends, designing and configuring software and hardware to maximize efficiency.
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,220
  • Projected Growth Rate: 9%
Information Security Analyst
This is the most common and fastest growing position for people with a master's degree in internet security. Information System Analysts monitor computer networks for security breaches and defend against hackers and cyberattacks by developing encryption programs, firewalls, and security protocols. They repair systems that have been damaged by viruses and other malware. Employers often expect in-depth knowledge and experience, making a graduate degree preferable over a bachelor's.
  • Median Annual Salary: $92,600
  • Projected Growth Rate: 28%
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and Information Systems Managers oversee an organization's technology and computer-related activities. They work with both computer system analysts and information security analysts to implement technology updates, schedule maintenance, and plan security strategies. This position often shares duties with a company's Chief Information Officer or IT Director. Most supervising positions require a graduate degree that computer system analysts advance into.
  • Median Annual Salary: $135,800
  • Projected Growth Rate: 12%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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