Obtaining a Masters in Cyber Security online is an excellent career move for those who are currently working in the profession and want to move into positions of more authority. Most of these programs are geared to those with a background and who are seeking out a higher position or promotion with an MS cybersecurity online program and the flexibility that they offer students. An online Cybersecurity MS curriculum is designed to make students proficient in their current skills, and prepare them for the future of security. Students are able to work in groups and build on each other as a team in the same way that they are currently working in their present professions.
When pursuing an online cybersecurity Master’s degree, students are able to maintain their current work schedule and commitments while advancing their education. By choosing the cybersecurity Masters online, students are able to enhance their experience and build their education, which makes them a more competitive candidate during interviews and competing for jobs. This field is growing annually and the need for IT professionals who want to build upon a specialty in this field by hands-on experience paralleled with their experience in the work field.
How We Ranked the Best Online Cybersecurity Master’s Programs
The editors at Best Master’s Programs know that for most students a master’s degree is a practical, professional decision. That’s why we feature only programs with a history of excellence from accredited colleges and universities. To rank the best online cybersecurity master’s degree programs, we used data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, Niche, and U.S. News & World Report to rank online and hybrid programs. Our criteria are Cost, Salary Potential, National Recognition, and Student Reviews. These factors tell prospective students that they can trust the programs on the BMP ranking to provide a real return on their investment.
1. Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology offers one of the best online cybersecurity Masters programs in the state of Georgia and the country. Georgia Tech’s MS in Cybersecurity has been designed for students to complete the coursework in two to three years. The distance-learning format from Georgia Tech provides the flexibility required to continue working full time while earning their degree. Georgia Tech’s online MS degree offers students several tracks — Information Security, Energy Systems, and Policy Track. Degree graduates must also complete a five-hour practicum project.
Georgia Tech was established in 1885 and is a member school of the University of Georgia system. The school operates with satellite branches in France, Ireland, China, Singapore and Savannah, GA. The main campus in Atlanta covers nearly 375 acres and is home to more than 32,600 students. Georgia Tech is recognized among the top five public institutions of higher education learning in the United States.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
2. University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information offers a Master of Information and Cybersecurity that can be completed entirely online. UC Berkeley’s is recognized as one of the best universities for masters in cyber security in the nation. UC Berkeley’s Master of Information and Cybersecurity degree program requires the completion of 27 credit units in as little as 20 months. Coursework includes Privacy Engineering, Cryptography for Cyber & Network Security, and Operating System Security, among others.
The University of California, Berkeley was established in 1868 and is considered the flagship institution of higher education among the ten different campuses in the University of California system. UC Berkeley’s main campus covers more than 175+ acres and is home to more than 42,500 students studying from the fourteen different colleges/schools. UC Berkeley is a founding member school of the AAU — the Association of American Universities.
Degree: Master of Information and Cybersecurity
3. University of Maryland
The University of Maryland Carey School of Law offers an MS in Cyber Security Law degree program that is delivered completely online. UMD’s MS in Cyber Security Law is viewed among the best universities for masters in cybersecurity law. Degree candidates are required to complete 30 credit units across four consecutive sessions that generally includes the summer session. Coursework includes Legal Methods, Ethics & the Law, Legal Research, Dispute Resolution, to name a few.
The University of Maryland was established in 1856 and holds the distinction of being a land grant; sea-grant and space grant institution of higher learning. The University of Maryland’s suburban campus is home to more than 41,000 students studying from more than 235 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The University of Maryland holds the distinction of being the University System of Maryland’s flagship institution of higher education and the largest school in the state of Maryland.
Degree: MS in Cyber Security Law
4. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering offers a Master of Engineering with a specialization in Cybersecurity degree program that is delivered 100% online. Texas A&M’s program is recognized among the best online cybersecurity masters programs in the country. Program applicants must hold a BS in Engineering or Computer Science at the time of application. Degree candidates are required to complete 30 credit hours to earn the Master of Engineering in Engineering with a specialization in Cybersecurity degree. Coursework includes Cybersecurity Law, Hardware & Software Security, Software Reverse Engineering and Information Theory, among others.
Texas A&M University was established in 1987. Texas A&M University’s 5,000+-acre campus is home to nearly 70,000 students and considered one of the largest campuses in the nation. Texas A&M University is also home to the Bush Presidential Library. By enrollment, Texas A&M is considered to have the 2nd largest student body in the country.
Degree: Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity
5. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering offers an MS in Cyber Security Engineering degree program that can be completed entirely online. Students graduate prepared for opportunities in the areas of Intelligence Analysis, Computer Architecture, Homeland Security, and Network Administration, to name a few. USC is recognized as one of the best universities for masters in cyber security in California and in the country. Degree candidates must complete a minimum of 28 credit units to graduate. Coursework includes Information Security Policy, Informatics Privacy, and Information Security Personnel, among others.
The University of Southern California was established in 1880. The University of Southern California is the oldest research school in the public domain. The school’s 300-acre main urban campus serves more than 45,000 students studying for degrees offered by USC’s eighteen colleges/schools. The University of Southern California holds the distinction of being the ‘domain naming system’s’ birthplace.
Degree: MS in Cyber Security Engineering
6. Iowa State University
Iowa State University offers an MS in Information Assurance degree program that can be earned online exclusively. Students are required to complete 30 credit units spread out among core course, research courses, elective courses, and a culminating capstone project. Coursework includes Information Warfare, Legal/Ethical Issues Regarding Computer Security, Steganography, and Forensics, among others. Students are permitted to transfer up to six credit units that meet the school’s criteria.
Iowa State University was established as a land grant university in 1858; the first land grant school in the country that was created by the Morrill Land Grant Act. The school’s campus covers more than 1,800 acres and is home to nearly 35,000 students vying for the more than 300-degree programs offered by Iowa State University. Iowa State University holds claims to being the biggest institution of higher education in Iowa.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance
7. George Mason University
George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering offers an MS in Applied Information Technology (AIT) with a Cyber Security Concentration degree program that is offered 100% online. GMU’s MS with a cyber security concentration prepares students for careers in Knowledge Mining, Social Media Analytics and Data Analytics, among others. Coursework includes Data Structures, Database Management, Cloud Computing, Network Security, and Computer Platform Fundamentals. Degree candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credit units to graduate. Tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state residents.
George Mason University was established in 1949. The school was named for one of the school’s founding members, George Mason. The school operates with four Virginia campuses and an international campus in Songdo, South Korea. The founding member George Mason authored the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights; which forms the basis of the Constitutions’ Bill of Rights.
Degree: MS in Applied Information Technology, Cyber Security Concentration
8. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering offers an MS in Cybersecurity degree program that is available entirely online. Johns Hopkins University is considered among the best universities for masters in cyber security in the country and online. Cybersecurity program outcomes include proficiency in risk management, data integrity, and data confidentiality, to name a few. Degree candidates have five years to complete a total of 10 classes within the cybersecurity curriculum. Johns Hopkins MS in Cybersecurity program has three academic tracks — Analysis, Networks, and Systems. It is noted that the school also offers an independent study option.
Johns Hopkins University was established in 1876. Johns Hopkins University operates with several campuses located in Maryland, D.C., and academic facilities in China, Italy and Singapore. US News recognizes Johns Hopkins among the top ten national schools. The school’s campuses serve more than 26,000 students. The American philanthropist, Johns Hopkins was the university’s benefactor. His initial gift of $7 million is equivalent to $144 million today.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
9. New York University
New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering offers an MS in Cybersecurity degree program that is delivered entirely online. Students graduate prepared for careers as a security product developer, security software programmer, a penetration tester or a security analyst. Coursework covers relevant topics of Networking, Algorithm Analysis, Cryptography, Network Security and an optional master’s thesis or capstone research project. Students have the option of studying towards a Cyber Ops specialization as well.
New York University was established in 1831. New York University received its written charter by the NY State Legislature. NYU is organized among fifteen profession/graduate schools and ten undergraduate schools. New York University’s student enrollment exceeds 51,700 students. Highlight – NYU operates academic facilities across the world, in Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Prague, Paris, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Washington, DC, Florence, London, Accra, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
10. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers an online MS in Cybersecurity degree program that also offers students the opportunity of earn the Department of MIS Enterprise Security Certificate. U of A is among the best universities for masters in cyber security as it has earned the distinction of being a Designated Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. Degree candidates are required to complete 33 credit units from an interdisciplinary curriculum. U of A’s graduate cyber security degree has two academic tracks — the Information Systems Track and the Physical Systems Track.
The University of Arizona was established as an institution of higher education in 1885. U of A’s suburban campus covers more than 375 acres and services nearly 45,000 students studying for degrees offered by the school’s nineteen colleges/schools. the University of Arizona was established prior to the state of Arizona receiving its statehood.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
11. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida offers an interdisciplinary Master’s in Cybersecurity degree program that can be completed entirely online. USF’s best online cybersecurity masters degree program offers four academic concentrations — Fundamentals of Computer Security, Digital Forensics, Information Assurance and Cyber Intelligence. Degree candidates, depending on the specific cyber security track, are required to complete 30 – 33 credit units to graduate. Coursework includes Disaster Recovery, Data Systems, and Risk Management, to name a few.
The University of South Florida was established in 1956 and currently holds the distinction of being a space coast institution of higher education. USF is a member school of the University System in Florida. The school’s urban campus on the West Coast of Florida is home to more than 50,000 students studying for the more than 200-degree programs offered by USF. The University of South Florida holds the distinction of being the 4th largest public university in the Sunshine State.
Degree: Master’s in Cybersecurity
12. George Washington University
George Washington University offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management that can be completed 100% online. Degree candidates must complete a minimum of 36 credit units to graduate. Some students graduate in only sixteen months. GWU Online’s program in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management has been designed with the flexibility and convenience required by working learners. Coursework includes Cyber Investigation, Ethics and Cyber Security, Digital Forensics, Network Device Security, and a practicum and capstone project.
George Washington University was established in 1821. The school operates several campuses in the capital district and in Virginia. GWU’s campuses serve more than 27,000 students studying for degrees offered by eight undergraduate colleges/schools and six graduate colleges/schools. George Washington University is one of the few universities that have been chartered by an act of the United States Congress.
Degree: MPS in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management
13. Villanova University
Villanova University’s College of Engineering offers an MS in Cybersecurity degree program delivered entirely online. Students are required to complete 30 credit units (equivalent to ten courses) to graduate. Villanova University’s MS in Cybersecurity degree has three academic tracks — the Operations Specialization, the Policy Specialization, and the Systems Specialization. Villanova University offers cyber security graduate students the opportunity to complete this degree on a fast track (3 years), a tradition track (4 years) or as a five-year plan.
Villanova University was established in 1842. The school is affiliated with the Augustinian Roman Catholic tradition. The school’s 250+-acre suburban campus serves more than 10,700 students studying for degrees offered by Villanova University’s six colleges-schools. Several national ranking systems recognize Villanova among the top ‘wired’ schools. Villanova is situated about ten miles from downtown Philadelphia’s nightlife.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
14. University of Delaware
When you want to find the best universities for masters in cyber security degree programs, the University of Delaware offers a solution for your goals. The online MS in Cybersecurity focuses on teaching students to identify and address risks to a network or system. It offers hands-on experience and training as well as the theories students need to recognize problems.
The University of Delaware stands apart by offering a flexible program that works around the needs of students. The online degree program allows students to work at their own pace and it gives you an opportunity to complete your coursework when you have time. It is designed around the needs of working adults who may have obligations that limit their ability to attend traditional classes. The University of Delaware’s cybersecurity program is designated as a Center for Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
15. Boston University
Evaluating the best online cybersecurity masters programs will result in looking at the program at Boston University. The Boston University MS in Criminal Justice with a focus on Cybercrime Investigation and Cybersecurity brings an interesting perspective to the process of identifying and addressing online and cyber threats. It uses investigative strategies and legal standards to help students with their long-term goals.
The way Boston University differs from other programs is the focus on digital investigative skills. It looks at cybersecurity through the lens of forensics and criminal investigation, which prepares students for a career in law enforcement or with a government agency. It also helps when working for a corporate business because students will understand the criminal implications of potential risk factors. Boston University was ranked in the top five online universities for its cybersecurity program by U.S. News and World Reports.
Degree: MS in Criminal Justice – Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity
16. Syracuse University
Syracuse University offers one of the best online cybersecurity masters programs for students who are planning to work in law enforcement or the security industry. The degree program prepares students to handle the challenges of developing a secured and assured system. The degree program focuses on teaching students the skills they need to verify that a security system is working and maintaining a system over time for optimal security.
A key way Syracuse University stands apart is the immersive learning environment. The online program uses an immersive program that helps students keep up with the coursework and learn new skills they need for their career. It also gives students a hands-on experience with the processes and theories discussed in coursework to help with understanding and proper evaluation. Syracuse University offers on-campus immersions to give students a hands-on experience under the supervision of professors to ensure proper clarity and explanation.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
17. University of Colorado Denver
When you are looking for the best universities for masters in cyber security programs, the University of Colorado Denver is a good option for your goals. The Master of Information Systems with a concentration in Cyber Security and Information Assurance prepares students for a career in the security industry. The degree program combines technical skills with strategic training to ensure that students are ready for the challenges they will face when keeping up with rapid changes in their field.
The University of Colorado Denver stands out by offering hands-on software projects. Students develop or work with software programs throughout their coursework to ensure that they are able to handle the challenges of information assurance. The hands-on experience gives students an opportunity to make mistakes or to improve their ideas in a low-risk environment. The University of Colorado Denver offers flexible schedules that range from fully online courses to evening classes and on-campus classes. The flexible schedules allow students to work around their obligations and situation.
Degree: MS in Information Systems – Cyber Security and Information Assurance
18. Drexel University
Drexel University offers an excellent online Master of Science in Cybersecurity that prepares students for the challenges they will face when working in the security industry. The degree program focuses on the combination of technical training and hands-on experience. It allows students to focus on their career goals by giving students the opportunity to adjust and customize the program to their needs.
The way Drexel University differs from other programs is the interactive online learning experience. The online program encourages students to engage in conversation, keep up with challenges, and work on their coursework while staying interesting and up-to-date. The focus on interaction allows students to stay interested while the flexible hours focus on the needs of working adults. Drexel University is recognized by the National Security Agency, or NSA, as a Center for Academic Excellence for the cybersecurity master’s degree.
Degree: MS in Cybersecurity
19. James Madison University
James Madison University offers an MS in Information Security that teaches students how to protect a network or system from cyber threats as well as natural disasters, physical damage to hardware, accidents, and problems associated with employees. It takes a comprehensive approach to the entire network and system that combines cybersecurity with information technology to prevent complications from unexpected challenges.
A key way James Madison University stands apart is the fully online format of the program. Students do not need to spend any time on-campus for the degree. It is fully online and students do not need to meet a residency requirement to complete their degree. That gives working adults a chance to complete a degree from the comfort of home or any other location. James Madison University was one of the first universities to offer an information security program in the nation. The program was established in 1997.
Degree: MS in Information Security
20. Florida Institute of Technology
The Florida Institute of Technology offers two excellent cybersecurity programs for students who want to work in cybersecurity. The MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity focuses on cryptography, biometric data, and data mining as it relates to cybersecurity. The MS in Information Technology Cybersecurity focuses on software development and risk management application. Both programs are fully online and allow students to work at their pace.
The Florida Institute of Technology differs from other programs by offering different options for a cybersecurity degree. The school recognizes that cybersecurity has different facets and challenges. By focusing on a specific area of cybersecurity, students are prepared for the potential challenges that may arise in their career. It gives you a different perspective that may result in creative solutions in an industry that changes rapidly. The Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity or MS in Information Technology Cybersecurity
21. University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island offers a Professional Science Masters in Cybersecurity that focuses on teaching students the skills they need to assess, identify, and address threats to a network or system. The self-paced program allows students to work on their classes when they have time and to complete their projects at any time of the day or night.
A key way the University of Rhode Island differs from other programs is the method used for research projects. The classes require research projects, but students are not required to work on a thesis. It also requires students to complete an internship; however, it may count work experience with a current employer as an internship in certain situations. The University of Rhode Island is recognized as a school of excellence in information assurance education and research by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Degree: Professional Science Master’s in Cybersecurity
22. University of San Diego
The Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership from the University of San Diego prepares students to take on a leadership role in the security industry. It offers an education in cybersecurity and the methods used within the security industry for information assurance. It also provides students with the leadership skills they need to work on their long-term goals.
The University of San Diego stands out by focusing on an innovative strategy for cybersecurity education. The degree program focuses on the critical challenges in cybersecurity while recognizing the value of leadership skills within the security industry. It combines theory and practical skills with leadership to give students a clear idea of how to handle challenges that may arise. The University of San Diego allows students to complete their degree in 20 months with an accelerated online program.
Degree: MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership
23. UMass Lowell
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell, or UMass Lowell, offers an MS in Security Studies with a concentration in Cybersecurity to prepare students for a career in the security industry. The degree program combines cyber forensics skills with human behavioral studies and network security principles to prepare students for the rigors of working in a cybersecurity role.
A key way UMass Lowell stands out is the focus on understanding the motivations behind a cyber attack. It does not only focus on the skills and theories associated with preventing threats or addressing problems with a security breach. It also focuses on the way human behavior may interact with other areas of cyber threats to impact the outcome of a breach. UMass Lowell was recognized as an excellent school by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for the Cyber Defense Research.
Degree: MS in Security Studies: Cybersecurity
24. Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus offers an online program for students who want to study cybersecurity. Penn State’s Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences with a concentration in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance recognizes the risks associated with a growing digital landscape. It focuses on teaching students to recognize ways to prevent security risks and measures to take after a breach.
A key way Penn State World Campus differs from other programs is the socio-technical approach used in the studies. The degree program evaluates the potential social challenges and implications of certain theories or ideas when developing a strategy to address a concern. Penn State World Campus was recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the top schools for information technology degrees at the graduate level.
Degree: Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences – Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
25. Regis University
The MS in Information Assurance from Regis University prepares students for a career in cybersecurity. The degree program recognizes the challenges of keeping up with modern technology. It prepares students to think of new solutions to address threats that may arise due to changes in technology or improvements to a system. It also teaches students the foundational skills they need to handle current technology and known threats against a system from hacking, Trojans, and related concerns.
Regis University stands out from other programs by offering eight-week courses. The accelerated courses help students finish their degree at a time when it fits their schedule. Since it also offers fully online studies, students are able to work at their own pace and can register for classes six times throughout the year, which helps you work around any obligations that may limit your available time. Regis University offers professional certificates that add to your master’s degree and allow you to enhance your skills for greater focus on your career.
Degree: MS in Information Assurance
Will Employers Trust an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity?
The stigma around online programs is evaporating as employers have begun accepting online cybersecurity Master’s programs from institutions across the country. These institutions must be regionally or nationally accredited for the program and for all the programs in their school. What accreditation means is that an institution curriculum meets the minimum requirements established by the accrediting agency. A cybersecurity Master’s program must have minimal accreditation for most employers to consider the degree relevant.
The most reputable cyber security master’s programs include accreditation from ABET for that specific program. ABET accreditation began initially for engineering but has moved to cover the technological programs offered in institutions across the globe. This accreditation for technology fields is one of the more reputable and prestigious approvals that a program can receive. Employers are aware of the benefit that ABET accreditation carries and seeks out employees who have graduated from programs carrying this approval. When searching for cybersecurity masters programs, look for this accreditation. The best universities for Masters in cybersecurity will come with this accreditation whether the format is a traditional on-campus program or if the program is taught online. ABET accreditation covers online cybersecurity Master’s programs at the best universities for Masters in cybersecurity.
What Will I Learn in a Cybersecurity Master’s Program?
When pursuing one of the cybersecurity Master’s programs, students will gain access to a variety of skills that they will further develop to enhance their performance in their career field. Advanced computing skills is one of the leading cybersecurity degree requirements, as students must be well-versed in the different operations of a computer and how to perform these operations found in large databases. These operations will assist these students in determining cyber threats to the database at the local, state, and national level.
Leadership and management are also a part of the Masters in cybersecurity requirements. Taking on this field and these processes require a professional that can handle the pressure of making decisions and managing situations where security and threat are an issue. In order to be successful at managing these situations, these individuals must be proficient at this skill and maintaining organizational structures.
Knowing and understanding cyber policy is also essential for these students. Courses such as cyber policy and theory found in cyber security education programs give students an introduction to the various policies that surround cyber security at various levels.
Do I Need a Master’s in Cybersecurity?
Just to enter the field of cybersecurity does not require a cybersecurity master’s program. Professionals can gain entry into this field with a cybersecurity education requirement that includes certification. As long as the professional has an educational background in information technology or computer science, achieving a cybersecurity graduate certificate online meets the cybersecurity education requirement to enter the field. Basic skills and policies are covered in these certifications, allowing students to gain an understanding and specialty in the field.
For the individuals who are looking to move into a management setting, or get promotion within the cybersecurity field, a Master’s degree is the desired education for these positions. The cybersecurity graduate certificate does not include management skills and development as a complete Masters’s program embodies. Some organizations offer their employees an option to achieve a cybersecurity certification online free of charge, as they pick up the bill for the employee to advance their education and gain specialization in cybersecurity. When the students are considering a Masters in cybersecurity, it is best to determine their career goals, and if management is a part of those goals, then the Master’s program is the best option.