There’s no question that finding the right cyber security master’s degree program can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge if you have the right resources and research on hand.
With the vast number of degree programs available in the United States today, how do you identify a graduate program that’s recognized in the industry, offers a great education, and doesn’t break the bank, all at the same time?
This guide was specifically designed to help wade through the noise, prevent overwhelm, and help you understand which programs fit your goals. Let’s jump right in and start looking at some of the best cyber security master’s programs nationwide.
|1||University of California – Berkeley||Berkeley, California|
|2||Mississippi College||Clinton, Mississippi|
|3||University of the Cumberlands||Williamsburg, Kentucky|
|4||Maryville University||St. Louis, Missouri|
|5||University of Charleston||Charleston, West Virginia|
Listing the Top 15 Best Master’s in Cyber Security Programs
For anyone looking to make a career change or break into the field of cyber security, choosing the right master’s program is a critical decision.
It’s essential to choose a program that offers the best education and training for your needs while simultaneously picking a college or university you resonate with and can stand behind. Here’s a list of several excellent master’s in cyber security programs available today from some of the leading colleges and universities in the country.
University of California – Berkeley
At the University of California, Berkeley, an online Master of Information and Cybersecurity is available. It’s a part-time program available to students who will attend synchronous sessions with classmates and their instructors. There are some asynchronous assignments as well. The school, beneficially, has the staff on campus, and students may come there as needed.
Mississippi College offers a Master of Cybersecurity & Information Assurance. The program is made up of 10 courses that can be completed in just five semesters
University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands offers a Master’s in Cyber-Engineering and Digital Forensics, Information Technology and Information Systems Security. Each of these degrees offers training for the field. It also offers an online Master’s in Information Systems Security.
At Maryville University, the Master of Science in Cyber Security is available in just 30-31 credit hours. The coursework is available online or through a one-year full-time format. The programs at the school are accredited through the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Charleston
The University of Charleston offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity that is available to anyone with a 2.0 or higher cumulative college GPA. The program is available on campus, and it is designed to prepare students for work in roles like those of the chief security officer, security planning, or cyber operations planning.
Eastern Illinois University
At Eastern Illinois University, the majority of the Master of Cyber Security is available online, though some classes are in person. Two residencies are required during the master’s program to help prepare students with the hands-on skills they need.
University of Southern California
The Master of Science Cyber Security Engineering is a degree that focuses on developing, engineering and operating security information systems. Students in this program complete programs that prepare them to work with homeland security, as computer engineers or as software developers, to name a few potential job options.
New York University
The M.S. in Cybersecurity at New York University is available online, on-campus or in a blended format. The program is formatted to work around the schedule of working professionals or as a continuation of the undergraduate degree.
At Stevenson University, students have the option of joining the Bachelor’s to Master’s Option, which allows them to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in cybersecurity simultaneously. Students take the online master’s program starting their junior and senior years.
Liberty University is a leading Christian university and offers both bachelor’s and master’s programs in cybersecurity. The Master’s Degree in Cyber Security teaches digital forensics, cryptography, ethical hacking and other important skills.
University of Dallas
The University of Dallas offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This program is hosted by the Gupta College of Business and offers a real-world cybersecurity education to students. The program focuses on content such as data protection, penetration testing, digital forensics and legal and compliance issues.
University of Delaware
In just 30 credit hours, students at the University of Delaware can receive the Master’s of Cybersecurity. This curriculum has both a thesis and non-thesis option. Concentrations are in areas such as security management, security analytics, secure systems and secure software.
University of San Diego
The Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership is a popular degree at the University of San Diego. The degree is designed for bachelor-prepared students who are already working in the field of cybersecurity or for those who would like to do so in the future. The program takes as few as 20 months to complete.
University of Arizona
Designed for working professionals, the Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity at the University of Arizona is available completely online when necessary. It is also offered through the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. On average, there is a 2-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, making for better mentorship.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University offers a Cybersecurity Master’s Degree for students who meet the requirements set by the Johns Hopkins Engineering Department, such as a term of advanced math and a term of Java and computer organization. The master’s degree has focus areas such as analysis, systems, networks and assured autonomy.
Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Security Master’s Programs
A Master’s degree in Cyber Security will teach you about the latest technologies, trends, and strategies for protecting computer systems from malicious attacks and hackers.
These programs typically have a strong focus on the legal and ethical aspects of the field, as well as providing you with the skills necessary to create secure networks and understand the different types of cyber threats. If you’re going the cyber security route in your career, obtaining your master’s will open up a world of opportunities for a rewarding career in a fast-growing field.
Why Attend a Master’s in Cyber Security Program?
The demand for professionals with expertise in cyber security has increased significantly in recent years, making a Masters in Cyber Security program an attractive option for those looking to expand their knowledge and pursue a career in the field.
This type of program offers the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of the principles and practices related to cyber security, including risk management, network security, cryptography, and digital forensics. With a master’s degree in cyber security, graduates can expect to be well-positioned for a variety of rewarding and highly sought-after positions in the industry.
Some of the most common reasons individuals enter the cybersecurity industry are to:
- Gain expertise in cyber security principles and practices
- Develop cutting-edge skills relevant to the cybersecurity industry
- Learn the latest technological advances in the field
- Understand risk management strategies to protect an organization’s data assets
- Develop ethical hacking skills to identify network vulnerabilities
- Prepare for a career in an in-demand field with high earning potential
- Network with other cyber security professionals to stay at the forefront of trends
What Can You Do with a Cyber Security Master’s Degree?
With a cyber security master’s degree, students can gain an in-depth understanding of both the technical and managerial aspects of cyber security and become qualified to work in a variety of industries such as banking, healthcare, and government.
With the rise of cyber threats and attacks, there is a growing need for individuals who understand how to protect networks and data from malicious actors. Cyber security master’s programs equip graduates with the skills to identify potential risks and create solutions to protect organizations from malicious attacks.
Types of Cyber Security Careers
There are several different types of cyber security careers you can pursue after graduating from a master’s program. We’re going to dive into some of the most common careers and look at what a typical day-to-day might look like for individuals in each career path.
- Network Security Analyst – Responsible for protecting the network systems of an organization from malicious cyber-attacks and unauthorized access. They regularly monitor network activity for any suspicious activities, investigate security breaches, and implement strategies to ensure the security of the network.
- Information Security Analyst – The role of an Information Security Analyst is to protect an organization’s computer systems and networks from unauthorized access. This involves monitoring networks for suspicious activity and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
- Cyber Security Engineer – Play a vital role in ensuring the security of computer networks and systems. They are responsible for designing, implementing, monitoring, and maintaining secure networks and systems. They identify security threats and vulnerabilities in network systems and develop recommendations for mitigating those risks.
- Cyber Security Architect – An expert in cyber security who is responsible for designing, developing, and overseeing the implementation of secure systems to protect an organization’s digital assets. These professionals typically have advanced degrees in cyber security obtained through a master’s program, and they must have extensive experience with network security, computer architecture, and software engineering.
- Penetration Tester – Highly specialized cyber security professional who is responsible for testing and evaluating the security of computer systems, networks, and applications by attempting to identify and exploit vulnerabilities.
- Incident Response Specialist – Responsible for developing incident response plans, identifying and responding to security breaches, conducting forensic investigations, and developing security policies and procedures.
- Security Software Developer – Creates secure software systems that protect companies from cyber attacks. The overall role is to design, develop, test, and maintain secure software solutions.
- Malware Analyst – Professionals that are responsible for identifying, analyzing, and neutralizing malicious software threats. They use a variety of tools and techniques to discover and evaluate malicious code while also developing strategies to mitigate future attacks.
Master’s in Cyber Security Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for Information Security Analysts is approximately $102,600 per year.
A master’s degree in cybersecurity can provide the necessary qualifications to pursue a career in the industry and gain a deeper understanding of the technical and managerial skills required to develop, maintain, and protect computer networks. Graduates of cyber security master’s programs can expect higher pay and more job opportunities than those without a graduate degree.
How Much Does a Master’s in Cyber Security Typically Cost?
The cost of a Master’s in Cyber Security degree can vary greatly depending on the institution and program.
Generally, the total cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses can range from $5,000-$10,000 to over $40,000. It’s important to research each program to understand the cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses such as room and board, books and supplies, travel costs, and technology fees.
Financial aid, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and scholarships may also be available and should be taken into consideration when researching potential programs.
Cyber Security Master’s Program Requirements
Earning a master’s degree in cyber security can open up many career opportunities, but there are requirements that must be met first.
Generally, applicants for a cyber security master’s program should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science or engineering. In addition, most programs require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience in the field of cyber security. To increase your chances of acceptance, it may be worth obtaining letters of recommendation from trusted mentors, professors, or advisors.
These requirements can vary from program to program, so it is important for prospective students to carefully review the requirements of each school before applying.
Master’s in Cyber Security Courses
Masters in Cyber Security programs offer a comprehensive education in the field, with coursework covering topics such as network security, cryptography, computer forensics, and digital intelligence. Here are some of the typical courses you’ll expect to see in master’s programs.
- System Security – Covers the fundamentals of system security, including topics such as network security, access control, cryptography, and malware prevention.
- Network Security – Focuses on the design and implementation of secure networks. Topics include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security measures.
- Cloud Security – Security measures to protect data stored in cloud computing environments. Topics include authentication, authorization, data encryption, and access control.
- Computer Forensics – Explores the use of digital evidence in criminal investigations. Topics include digital evidence collection and analysis techniques, as well as legal issues related to computer forensics.
- Cyberlaw – This course examines how laws and regulations apply to cybercrimes and cyber threats. Topics include online privacy, cyberbullying, and data protection.
- Advanced Data Protection – Covers advanced data protection methods, such as encryption and data scrubbing.
- Emerging Threats – The latest trends in cybercrime and cyber threats, including threats from malware, zero-day threats, social engineering attacks, and online scams.
Cyber Security Licensure and Certifications
The demand for qualified professionals in the cyber security sector is multiplying, and many employers now require applicants to have a master’s degree in cyber security as well as sufficient licenses and certifications.
Cyber security licenses and certifications are often obtained through formal education programs or professional organizations, such as CompTIA, ISACA, and EC Council.
Some of the licenses and certifications you’ll encounter in the cybersecurity industry include:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)