Cyber Security Colleges in California

Cyber Security Colleges in California

There are cyber security colleges in California at all levels. Not a stretch given CA is home to Silicon Valley and is a hub for high tech innovation. 
Cyber security degree programs study the computer science skills that defend systems, networks and data. If this interests you, it is a major not all CA schools offer. According to the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s College Scorecard, there are 308 colleges in California. Of them, only 19 awarded degrees in information assurance in 2018. Of these, the top 14 schools with graduating students are: 

  • National University - 77 students graduated in 2018
  • Coastline Community College – 47
  • City College of San Francisco - 45
  • University of San Diego - 41
  • Oxnard College – 30 
  • Mt San Antonio College – 20
  • University of Phoenix - California - 20
  • University of Southern California - 20
  • Sacramento City College – 18
  • San Diego City College – 13
  • Los Medanos College – 9
  • American River College -7
  • Cuesta College – 7
  • California State University-San Marcos – 4

Online Cyber Security Programs in CA

With skilled information security analysts in demand, many schools in CA offer cybersecurity programs online.  Online programs offer a flexible format that may appeal to at work and busy students. They may be a perfect option if you want to skip a commute. 

Often, the coursework and labs are the same as the on campus programs. But, you access them via virtual classrooms and a self paced schedule.  These are some of the cyber security colleges in CA with online cyber security degree programs. 

National University

National is a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CDE. The school offers 100% online cyber programs, monthly start dates and four week classes. At the undergrad level, there is bachelor’s degree in cyber security. It features a series of core classes in information technology and basic security skills.  

Once completed, you may take a four class concentration in one of two areas. Computer Network Defense or Computer Forensics. The school also offers cyber graduate programs. One is a master’s degree in cyber security. It is a professional degree that blends managerial and technical classes. There are also a range of criminal justice focused programs. Some of these are available in graduate certificate formats, also online.  

University of San Diego

USD offers 100% online cyber graduate programs. One is a Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering (MSCSE). It is technical and uses simulated settings to build cyber skills.  The MSCSE focuses on the eng. aspects of software and hardware security. As such, it explores how to design secure and trusted systems.  

Another is a Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership. This focus brings in aspects of business administration. From strategy to human resources, budget and team building.  Both programs have three start dates. Each of these semesters comprises two classes which may allow one to graduate in 20 months.

Mt San Antonio College

Mt San Antonio offers online certificate and associate degrees. Many are in IT and CS with anchors in network security. This type of program may prep students to design, watch and manage networks. There are also specific classes that aim to prep for industry certification exams. These cover operating systems to show how attackers operate, and how viruses strike. 

University of Phoenix - California

Apart from a campus in CA, UOPX offers 100% online programs.  If you are just starting out, there is an Associate of Arts in Information Technology. An Information Assurance and Security Certificate adds a cyber focus. The program covers three key areas. Basics of information systems, information security and networking.  

As the info sec classes serve a study guide, they may prep you to sit for certifications from CompTIA and EC-Council. For those who seek a bachelor’s degree, there are several options. In each, you take one five week class at a time which may provide some work study balance. 

One example is the BS in Cyber Security. You can tailor the program with a Cyber Policy and Governance Certificate. The program also allows you to choose from a few elective tracks. Ethical Hacking, Security Compliance, Risk Management, Penetration Testing and Computer Forensics.  

University of Southern California

USC offers online cyber graduate programs. There are three potential start dates – fall, summer or spring.  One is an MS in Computer Security. It studies the development of systems that enforce security. The other is a MS in Cyber Security Engineering. It looks into how to develop a security policy. And, how this policy drives tech decisions.  Both are professional growth paths and may help to build research skills. The MS CSE may also serve as a step on the path to a PhD in Info Sec. 

California State University - St Marcos

CSU St Marcos is a National Center of Academic Excellence. They earned the CAE status in Cyber Defense Education. One of the online programs they offer is a MS in Cyber Security. It is a blend of technical and MBA level business classes.  CSUSM also offers add on graduate certificates. These add an extra credential and more focus. Areas include risk, cyber tech and management.  New cohorts begin every fall semester. 

Cyber Scholarships in CA

To make a cyber security degree in CA more affordable, financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Scholarships are a vital kind of aid, given one does not typically have to pay the funds back. Instead, the money could help offset tuition, fees and possibly, other expenses. Providers of scholarships offer them to students who qualify. One may qualify on the basis of financial need, merit, or a blend of the two.  

Cal Grant

A Cal Grant is money for college you generally don’t have to pay back. Cal Grants come from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). To qualify, you must apply one of two ways. Either with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

You must do this by the due date and meet the criteria for need and GPA. If you secure a Cal Grant, it may offset the cost at partner schools. Like the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) or California Community College.  

Middle Class Scholarship

A CSAC program. The MCS scholarship is for eligible CA undergrads. it provides funds to attend UC or CSU campuses. To be eligible, one of the metrics is to have family incomes and assets up to $184,000. You must also fill out either a FAFSA or CADAA. The amounts vary each year but may pay up to four years of college. 

SWSIS Scholarships

SWSIS is a partnership of two agencies. The Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA) and Computing Research Association (CRA-WP).   The SWSIS program provides scholarships of up to $10,000. It is for women studying for their Bachelors and Masters degrees in fields relating to information security. Scholarships are made available to women in an effort to close the gender gap in the cyber field. 

(ISC)2 Women’s Scholarships

The Center for Cyber Safety and Education (Center), formerly (ISC)² Foundation, is a non-profit charitable trust. They aim to make the cyber world a safer place for everyone. This program awards up to ten scholarships. Each scholarship award will be between $1,000 to $6,000.  

The program is open full time and part time female students with a 3.3 GPA or above. That includes high school seniors, undergrads graduate or post graduate students.  Applicants do need to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. And, must be pursuing a cyber security or information assurance (IA) degree. 

(ISC)2 Undergraduate Scholarships

This program is open to both male and female undergrads. It awards up to 20 scholarships. Each scholarship award will be between $1,000 to $5,000. Many of the same criteria apply. One needs a 3.3 GPA or above, citizenship and cyber or IA majors. 

(ISC)2 Graduate Scholarships

This program is open to both male and female students pursuing a master’s degree or PhD in cyber or IA. It awards up to 20 scholarships, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.  Applicants need to have a GPA of at least 3.5. Plus, must meet other (ISC)2 eligibility criteria.  

Cyber Workshops and Conferences in California

To expand your network of cyber security professionals, you may want to take part in an event. California is an epicenter for tech. So the state often hosts conferences, workshops and other trainings. 

Blockchain Expo

A two day event slated for the fall at the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley). The format includes keynotes and panels that will explore the Blockchain space.  

AI and Big Data Conference

This conference plans to explore next gen tech and tactics. Explore and discover the world of artificial intelligence at the Santa Clara Convention Center. 

Cyber Security Expo

Some of the topics on the menu are network security, malware, “best practices” for CISO’s, DDoS, and cyberattack threats.  

Monterrey Threat Financing Forum

This event is about cybercrime and online fraudsters. You may learn from FBI experts about money laundering, phishing scams and all about cyber enabled financial crime.  

Information Systems Security 2020

Hosted by ISSA Los Angeles, this annual event is about risk management and making systems more secure.

Network and Distributed System Security Symposium

NDSS fosters an exchange of ideas. And, tends to include researchers and workers in the systems security space. The format for this event includes presentations and Q & A.

RSA Conference

This week long event plans to take place in San Francisco and also virtually. This year’s theme will explore the human element in cyber security. If you hold a full access ticket, you might test your cyber skills in the RSAC Sandbox. It’s a hands on interactive space.  There’s also a CYBeer Network session and many speakers to fill your time.  

Cyber Meetups in CA

Meetups are less formal. But they still provide a forum to meet peers and discuss security trends, tech and ideas.  


A public group in San Diego with over 2,300 members. They talk about cybersecurity, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and IoT during ‘Jumpstart Coffee’ meetings.  

Bay Area Cyber Security Startups

A San Francisco group of over 1,000 entrepreneurs. Their format is a “fire side” chat which is a monthly meeting where a CEO / CISCO speaks and shares industry expertise. 


This public group consists of Ethical Hackers, Penetration Testers and Network / Computer Security pros. With over 1,400 members, they meet in Los Angeles.  

Bay Area Security Meetup

There are over 4,000 members of this San Francisco based group. Their goal is to share about incident response, info sec and intel. 

Cyber Security Jobs in California

Cyber security jobs in California tend to pay above average salaries. California is also one of the states with the highest employment level of Info Sec Analysts. Most are in the Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim area. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage in May 2018 was $110,340. When looking for a cyber job in California, there may be options for various of skill sets.  To help you get to know the California cyber security job scene, here are a few potential employers.

Parsons Corporation

A U.S. tech focused defense, Intel, security and engineering firm. Also a gov’t contractor that may hire in El Segundo or Vandenberg AFB.


A gov’t contractor whose markets include cyber, cloud and eng. They have a few locations in CA including one in San Diego. 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

A federal research lab and gov’t contractor. Set up by the University of California, Berkeley, they deal in defense, biosecurity, and Intel. 


A media company that just added WarnerMedia to its roster and is a gov’t contractor too. They may recruit for various roles in El Segundo, CA.


A gov’t contractor and company with four key markets. Civil, defense, health and intelligence. They may hire in San Diego and Oceanside.

Robert Half Inc

A staffing agency and federal contractor. They may recruit for tech companies in California.

Cyber Security Degrees in California by College

Public and private colleges offer cyber security degree programs in California. Community colleges may have associate degree and certificate programs. While four year schools tend to offer bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programs. Some of these schools are what’s called, a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). 

CAE schools line up with standards set by two U.S. gov’t agencies. The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To make it easier for you to find colleges in CA with cyber security degrees, we compiled a list of 9 schools. We put these schools in order of the number of students who graduated in the 2018 year.


National University

11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA

BS in Cyber Security 

National had the highest number (77) of cyber grads in 2018. This program spans 180 quarter credits. First stage courses lay down basics in IT and security to build an ability to solve problems.  Further along, students learn ethical hacking and how to handle various threats. There is an option to focus in Computer Network Defense or Digital Forensics.  Sample classes are: 

  • Cyber Threat Intelligence – Learn some of the ways to collect intel about possible cyber threats
  • Network Defense – A class about how to secure networks that transmit data
  • Cybersec Planning and Policy – Study some of the policies that prevent breaches and how to put them into use
  • Security Audit – This class may help you detect risks and flaws in security systems

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • MS in Cybersecurity
  • MS in Homeland Security  
  • MS in Criminal Justice


  • Transfer to Success Scholarship
  • Tuition Scholarships
  • Military Tuition Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – BS, MS
  • CAE - Cyber Defense Education

Coastline Community College

11460 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, CA

AS in Cyber Security 

Coastline had the second highest number (47) of cyber grads in 2018. This 60 credit program melds security topics and skills. You may learn about ethical hacking, computer forensics and networking. As a graduate, the credits may transfer to a BS in cyber security program. Some of these classes may prep for industry certifications like CISCO too. Sample classes are: 

  • Computer Forensics - Learn some of the ways to collect clues and recover data in a cyber crime investigation
  • Intro to Python – A class in computer programming
  • Pen Test – A technical class to learn how to probe a system to discover risks and weak areas
  • Ethical Hacking – Study the ways of white hat hackers who look for ways to break into systems before bad actors can

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AS in Computer Networking


  • Coastline College Foundation Scholarships 

School Features:

  • CAE - Cyber Defense Education 

City College of San Francisco

50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA

AS in Information Technology and Computer Science 

CCSF had the third highest number (45) of cyber grads in 2018. This 60 credit program is technical. The first courses are about computer hardware and basics of HTML. Later classes touch on security processes and tasks. Things like building firewalls and setting up secure networks. Sample classes are: 

  • Network Security - Develop strategies for network defense using firewalls, routers, switches, antivirus, antispyware tools, and hacking techniques
  • IT Customer Support – A class to help with trouble shooting skills
  • Computer Forensics – Build sleuth skills as you study the tools and methods to recover evidence from a digital crime scene
  • Ethical Hacking – Also a class in network defense, you may study ways to watch network traffic for suspicious activity

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • Advanced Cyber Security Certificate
  • Network Security Certificate 


  • CCSF Scholarships  

School Features:

  • CAE - Cyber Defense Education 

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA

MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership 

U San Diego had the fourth highest number (41) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 31 credits. It focuses on three main themes. Strategy, business and management. These themes aim to mold decision skills. At the same time, the program covers areas like policy, incident response and network security.  Sample classes are: 

  • Applied Cryptography – An intro to the ideas and practices for multi level security systems and military grade defenses
  • Risk Management – This class us about tradition and NIST cyber specific processes that assess and manage risk
  • Operational Policy – About the types of policy that are part of a security strategy (roles, access control etc.)
  • Cyber Intelligence – A survey of human, electronic and digital intel efforts

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • BS in Computer Science
  • MS in Cyber Security Engineering


  • USD Merit Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – MS 

Oxnard College

4000 S Rose Ave, Oxnard, CA

AS in Computer Networking Information Technology 

Oxnard had the fifth highest number (30) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 60 credits. Initial classes frame IT, cloud platforms, and computer science.  Some classes may also prep students to take certification exams. Like Cisco®, CompTIA®, and Microsoft®. Sample classes are: 

  • Intro to Computer Info Systems – A broad look at tech terms, computer systems, hardware, software, the Internet and World Wide Web, security and networking
  • IT Basics – An intro to the personal computer, mobile devices and computer networks
  • Networking – Study basics like cabling, network set up, LANs, ethernet, switching and routing
  • Pen Test – Learn how to do a vulnerability scan. Then a pen test on host based and network based systems

More Cyber Degree Programs: 

  • Cyber Security Proficiency Award
  • Cisco Networking Proficiency Award


  • Oxnard College Foundation Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online / Hybrid Cyber Degrees – AS
  • Cisco Networking Academy Partner
  • CompTIA Authorized Partner Program
  • Microsoft Imagine Academy Member 

Mt San Antonio College

1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA

AS Computer Network Admin and Security Management

Mt. San Antonio ties for the sixth highest number (20) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 60 credits. The goal of the courses is two fold. One part aims to build the skills needed to set up and safe networks and systems. The other, to be able to scan networks for bad actors. Sample classes are: 

  • Operating Systems Security – A broad look at how attackers and viruses work plus how to apply security to repel them
  • Cyber Defense – An intro to hands on methods that lessen and prevent attacks (VoIP, firewalls, SQL etc.)
  • CS Forensics – An overview of computer crimes and the tools, tech and tasks that gather clues
  • Telecomm – About network standards and protocols, LANs, WANs, remote connectivity, network sniffing and more

More Cyber Degree Programs: 

  • AS Computer Programming
  • AS in Information and OS Security


  • Mt. SAC Scholarship Program 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – AS

University of Phoenix-California

3110 East Guasti Road, Ontario CA

BS in Cyber Security

UOPX ties for the sixth highest number (20) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 120 credits. Many of the core topics aim to prep grads to sit for industry certification exams. There is also room to choose an elective track. Ethical Hacking, Security Compliance, Risk Management, Pen Testing and Computer Forensics. Sample classes are:

  • Cyber Domain – About securing computer data, networks, assets and other comm systems from damage and unauthorized access
  • Network Defense – A training about security threats, attacks and risks. And, the controls, tools and policies that work to keep them at bay
  • Applied Security – Learn about the tools that scan, protect and test networks
  • Ethical Hacking – An intro to pen testing, foot printing, scanning networks and malware threats

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AA Information Technology – IA and Security Certificate
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Computer Networking 


  • Military Police Regimental Association Scholarship 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – AS, BS 

University of Southern California

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

MS in Computer Security

USC ties for the sixth highest number (20) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 32 credits. Most are core topics that nurture tech skills and lay the ground work for CS directed research. Some classes aim to build a deeper grasp of how to develop and deploy security systems.  And others touch on the tools and methods used to enforce security. Sample classes are: 

  • Security Systems – This class looks at the ways to protect computer networks and systems (e.g. data encryption)
  • Computer Networking – About protocol design, routing, transport and internet networking
  • Advanced Operating Systems – Explore OS structures, novel memory, file system and security methods
  • AI – The basics of intelligent systems, planning and learning

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security Eng. 


  • USC Merit Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – MS
  • 2020 Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 18th 

Sacramento City College

3835 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA

AS in Cyber Security and Information Assurance 

Sacramento City College had the fifth highest number (18) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 60 credits. It focuses on the tech aspects needed to safeguard systems and networks. Students explore areas like risk and digital forensics. The program also serves as a study guide to industry certification exams. Sample classes are: 

  • Ethical Hacking – A skills class that helps you learn how to probe a system to assess its strengths or weak, risky areas
  • Disaster Recovery – This class looks at how to plan for business continuity in the event of a cyberattack
  • Network Admin – Study how to detect suspicious activity, handle incidents and bolster networks
  • Internet Security – About security controls like firewalls and user authentication

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AS in Network Administration
  • Advanced CISCO Networking Certificate


  • SCC Scholarships

School Features:

  • Online classes