Cyber Security Degree Programs in Massachusetts

Cyber Security Degree Programs in Massachusetts

There are cyber security degree programs in Massachusetts at all levels. While many MA schools have computer science (CS) programs, not all of them offer cyber majors. Cyber majors cover the tools and methods to keep digital data safe. 

According to the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s College Scorecard, there are 139 schools in Massachusetts. Of them, only 6 awarded degrees in information assurance in 2018. In order of the number of cyber grads for the 2018 school year, these are: 

  • Springfield Technical Community College – 26
  • Bentley University – 22
  • Brandeis University - 9
  • Quinsigamond Community College - 6 
  • Boston University - 2
  • Massachusetts Bay Community College - 1

There are also schools, like Bristol Community College that only awarded certificates. 

Online Cyber Security Programs in MA

As cybercrime is on the rise, many schools in MA offer cyber security programs online. Online programs offer a flexible option to at work and busy students.  You tend to have the same coursework and labs. But, are able to access these things via virtual classrooms and a self paced schedule.  If this interests you, here are a few online cyber security degrees in MA to think about.  

Springfield Technical Community College

STCC offers online learning. The school has associate degree or certificate programs in a few areas related to cyber. Computer and Information Technology Security (CITS) as well as criminal justice. In the AS in CITS, students may learn assess a company’s risk. And, work with the processes that check for security breaches in a system.

If you already have certain professional IT certifications, they may replace some of the classes. Other wise, the topics in the study plan aim to prep you for industry cert exams. A two year program, it is also transfer friendly. So as a grad, one may continue to a bachelor’s degree or seek an entry level job.  

Brandeis University

The school offers a 100% online Master of Science in Information Security Leadership. A part time program, it focuses on risk management.  Some of the less technical classes focus on C Suite and Board communication strategies and skills. But other classes are computer focused.

These go into the many kinds of cyberattacks and viruses. And, how to identify, manage, and defend against IT network threats and weak areas. Students also study security controls. How to set them up and create a cybersecurity policy to enforce them.  If it’s not a master’s degree you prefer, there are undergrad programs. These fall under computer science and are on campus. 

Quinsigamond Community College

QCC offers Associate in Science and certificate programs in digital forensics. They are available online to varying levels. The AS in Computer Systems Engineering Tech (CSET) is 80 % online. It is a technical program that you may tailor to one of two areas. A digital forensics track is about criminal justice and information technology (IT).  

These areas intersect when there is a cybercrime. So this path is about the tools, tech and tasks that look for clues and help law enforcement. Another track is Cybersecurity. This track is about information systems and how to keep them safe. Because there are labs, it is 50% online.  

Boston University

BU offers an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (MS CIS). There are 7 tracks, one in security. The program is also CNNS certified. CNNS is the Committee on National Security Systems. It is a part of NSA’s INFOSEC Education and Training program. 

Apart from these feats, BU is a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). It earned this status in Information Assurance Education and Research (IAE / R).  The security track is about cyber threats and solutions. It aims to prep grads as technical leaders with courses in mobile and network security.  As such, the classes are about building more complex skills. Ones that support business goals. And ensure there are secure systems and computer networks.  

Massachusetts Bay Community College

MBCC offers an online AS in Cyber Security through MassBay Online. At the moment, the school is working towards status as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). Because of this, they aim to deliver the same classes one expects from a CAE two year school. That includes classes that help prep for CompTIA and Cisco’s exams. 

While basic, successful grads may leave able to identify security threats and weak areas. As well as lessen those risks with a firmer grasp of cyber defense tactics.  The program may also serve as a jumping point to a Bachelor of Science. Some students transfer credits to local schools. Like BU, UMass Lowell, and Wellesley.  

University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts offers 100% cyber programs through UMass Online.  These programs mimic the ones at University of Massachusetts Lowell campus. But, allow students to study remotely.  Two are graduate certificates. One in cyber security and the other, information security. 

The others are master’s degrees. A Master of Arts in Security Studies comes with a track in Industry and Economic Security. It looks deeply at security threats to the nation’s markets and private businesses. What they are, about economic crimes, and how to deal with these issues.  

Another is a Master of Science in Security Studies: cyber security concentration. This track speaks to computer and network security topics. How to manage virtual systems, cloud computing and digital forensics. Of note, UMass Online ranked in 2020 as having the Best Online Grad Programs, per U.S. News. 

Cyber Scholarships in MA

One way to make a cyber security degree in MA more affordable is to apply for financial aid. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Scholarships and grants are unlike loans. If you abide by the terms, the funds are yours to put towards cost of tuition and fees.  Sources of cyber scholarships include colleges and the gov’t. They tend to offer them to students who qualify on the basis of need and or merit.

Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Program

This program is from MA Dept. of Higher Education. It is open to University of Massachusetts Amherst, Lowell, Dartmouth and Boston campus students. Applicants must be legal residents of MA as well as US citizens. And, must be in a bachelor’s degree program termed a high need field. 

Apart from a GPA of 3.0, the other criterion is need. You must you must have already submitted a FAFSA to qualify. If you do and receive a scholarship, the award amounts vary. Full time students may get up to $6,500 per year. Part time students may get up to $3,250. 

Paul Tsongas Scholarship 

The Paul Tsongas Scholarship is a merit-based program. Also run by the MA Dept. of Higher Education and available at 9 MA state schools. To qualify, one must be a MA resident, US citizen and have already sent in a FAFSA. You must also have a GPA of 3.75, SAT of 1200 or its ACT equal score. Eligible students receive a waiver of tuition and mandatory fees at partner MA schools. 

M. Lindsay Scholarship Program

A MA Dept. of Higher Education need based program for students from rural MA. To qualify, one must be a MA resident and US citizen. Rural areas are those outside cities with populations of less than 15,000. An applicant must also be a full time student taking at least 12 credits. The program of study can be a certificate, 2 year or 4 year degree. Award amounts vary and may only offset costs of an eligible school in MA. 

Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship

The MA Dept. of Higher Education offers this need based program to grade 10 and 11 high school students. Like the others, it is open to MA residents who are US citizens. Applicants must also show lack of funding for college as well as academic promise. 

While the GPA is 2.75, preferred candidates show they’ve overcome a hurdle. Abuse, illness, societal and other kinds of challenges.  If a recipient, the award may pay up to 50%  of one’s calculated need. And at a college of choice within the United States.  

Women in STEM Scholarship

The BHW Group offers the WIS Scholarship. It pays $3,000 and is, as the name suggests, is for female students. Applicants may be pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree. As long as the major is in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. To win, you have to also write a strong essay.  

Cyber Workshops and Conferences in Massachusetts

One way to network with cyber security professionals is to attend a conference. These events may include trainings, workshops, speakers and panel discussions.  

Virtual Source Conference - Boston

Source is a security conference with three sides. CISO training, hacker tech and professional growth.  It tends to take place over two days and includes workshops and networking. 

Boston Conference on Cyber Security

In 2017, Boston College teamed up with the FBI to hold its first conference. BC’s Woods College of Advancing Studies hosts the (now) annual event. Called BCCS, it is about trying to tackle the gap between what hackers know. And, what experts can do to stop them. BU school partners with the FBI for their MS in Cyber Security and Governance program. So, the themes span Intel, innovation, defense, justice and national security. 

2021 National Cyber Crime Conference

Hosted by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the NCCC may go virtual in 2021. The conference is about cyber crimes and the use of digital evidence in criminal cases. 

BSides Boston

An information security conference slated for 2020. The plan is to hold the event, which includes speakers, online. Organizers also say there are scholarship tickets available.  

Cyber Security 2 Day Training

Mangates is putting on this event. It is a workshop to help attendees understand the different types of malware and security breaches. 

Cyber Meetups in MA

Meetups tend to be less formal ways to interact with like minded peers in the security and tech world.  The meetings may happen on a regular basis and sometimes include food, drinks and short presentations. 

Amherst Security Group

AmherstSec is a public group with over 100 security minded members. They meet over pizza on a regular basis, so expect a laid back setting. 

Boston Security Group

A public group with over 2,400 members. They meet ever month about Cyber Risk, Cyber Security, Cyber Compliance and Cyber Privacy. 

BeanSec

BeanSec is an informal meetup of information security professionals, researchers and academics. They meet in the Greater Boston area the third Wednesday of each month. 

Boston Security Meetup

Also a public group with over 2,000 members who meet every month in the Cambridge area. Their format blends ‘lighting talks’ about info sec with networking. 

OWASP Boston Chapter

A local chapter of the OWASP Foundation. OWASP is short for Open Web Application Security Project. They meet to discuss industry software news, trends and share ideas. 

Cyber Security Jobs in Massachusetts 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage in May 2018 was $108,400. When looking for a cyber job in Massachusetts, there may be options for various of skill sets.  To acquaint you with the Massachusetts cyber security scene, here are a few potential employers.

SAIC

A federal contractor and Fortune 500 company whose markets include cyber, cloud and eng. They may recruit for jobs on the Hanscom AFB in MA.

Kforce

A staffing firm for tech, finance and accounting and gov’t contractor. They have corporate offices in MA, and may recruit for jobs in Lowell and North Andover too.

Oasis Systems

A tech company, HQ’d in Burlington, MA that offers engineering solutions, IT, cyber security and other services. They may hire in Bedford at the Hanscom AFB. 

MITRE Corp

A federally funded nonprofit with R & D centers. Located in Bedford MA, and a gov’t contractor, their markets are AI, cyber security, and space security.

Charles River Analytics

A software company located in Cambridge MA. They design robotic platforms and other innovative intelligence systems. 

Digital Prospectors

A federal contractor with two offices in New England – Boston and Exeter (NH). They may recruit for clients in Lexington. 

Chenega Corp

An Alaska Native village corp. and federal contractor whose markets include defense, intelligence and federal civilians. They may hire for jobs in Boston.

Cyber Security Degrees in Massachusetts by College 

In Massachusetts, both public and private colleges offer cyber security degree programs. Some of these schools are Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). And others, may try to map courses that line up with their guides. 

To gain CAE status, a school must gain approval from two U.S. security agencies. The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To make it easier for you to find MA cyber colleges, we compiled a list of 6 schools. The schools are in order of the number of students who graduated in the 2018 year.

1

Springfield Technical Community College

1 Armory Sq., Springfield, MA

AS in Computer Information Technologies

STCC had the highest number (26) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails from 61 to 64 credits. The first few semesters lay out computer basics like python programming. Later classes focus on network security. These may help you learn to build firewalls and watch network traffic. Sample classes are: 

  • Computer Basics – Learn about hardware (input, output, processing, and storage), and software (systems, applications, and productivity)
  • Internet / Network Security – This class is about how to protect data, networks and operating systems against hackers
  • Networks – Study how to set up routers, switches and virtual LANs
  • Advanced Security Topics – A class that teaches network design and shows students how to analyze a network for flaws

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AS in Criminal Justice 

Scholarships:

  • STCC Foundation and College Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online learning 
2

Bentley University

175 Forest St., Waltham, MA

BS in Information Systems Audit and Control 

Bentley had the second highest number (22) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 120 credits. The classes, which stack accounting and IT also study risk advisory services.

One of the goals of the program is to show you how to keep assets and data safe and intact. As such, it also looks into governance, Info Sec and computer forensics. If you map classes a certain way, it may help in the pursuit of CPA licensure. But to take the CPA exam, you must plan another 30 credits. Sample classes are: 

  • IT Auditing – An intro to the main kinds of audits and how to plan, conduct and report on them
  • Fraud – A look at the concepts and practices used to check financial statement fraud, tax and electronic fraud
  • Accounting Info Systems – Learn how to use, assess, design and audit AIS. Side topics include flow charts, risk and control
  • Info Sec – An overview of security risks, network and app software that also looks into computer forensics

More Cyber Degree Programs: 

  • BS in Computer Information Systems 

Scholarships:

  • Bentley University Scholarships / Grants 
  • Raise.ME Scholarships 

School Features:

  • STEM majors
  • Internal Auditing Educational Partner (IAEP) 
3

Brandeis University

415 South St., Waltham, MA

MS in Information Security Leadership 

Brandeis had the third highest number (9) of cyber grads in 2018. This part time program entails 30 credits. It aims build the leadership and tech skills that help deal with cyber security issues. 

The six core classes are computer focused. They go over basic network security tools, methods and ideas. Other topics view cyber through the lens of a decision maker. So, there are also classes about security policy, risk balancing and budget. Sample classes are: 

  • Risk Management – This class looks at how to assess risks and calculate uncertainty
  • Leading Security – Learn how to convey risk and IT policy in a clear, persuasive way to C Suite execs
  • Incident Response – Also related to risk, this class may help you build a disaster recovery plan
  • Info Sec Management – Topics span security strategy and how to execute plans

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • BS in Computer Science

Scholarships:

  • Brandeis Need Based Scholarships

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degree – MS 
4

Quinsigamond Community College

670 West Boylston Street, Worcester, MA

AS – Computer Systems Engineering Technology – Forensics 

QCC had the fourth highest number (6) of cyber grads in 2018. This technical program entails 64 credits. The first part frames basic business methods, math and writing. There is also an intro to the US justice system.

In it, one learns about the police, courts, corrections and the nature of crime. Later courses are computer focused and about forensics. These cover the tools, tasks and tech used to recover data and use it to prosecute cybercriminals. Sample classes are: 

  • IT Security – An intro to basic security goals. Keeping data confidential, intact and available to certain users
  • Computer Forensics – Learn how to prevent, spot and analyze computer crime
  • E Business Law – Study some of the laws that relate to e comm, Internet crime, free speech and other cyber legal issues
  • Operating Systems – A class about UNIX op systems. How to install, rebuild, set up, and keep them running well

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AS in CSET – Cyber Security

Scholarships:

  • QCC Foundation Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degree – AS 
5

Boston University

One Silber Way, Boston, MA

MS in Computer Information Systems – Security 

BU had the fifth highest number (2) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 40 credits. Half of them are core topics that pertain to software and computing skills. 

These classes study databases and their uses. Then also cover database design and systems security. The other courses are in the security major. They frame IT security policy, process and probability. Sample classes are: 

  • Enterprise Cyber Security – An in depth look at security issues in systems, networks and apps
  • IT Security Policy –Learn about new risks, secure networks, privacy issues and how to recover from a breach
  • Mobile Forensics – Study the tools and methods to recover data. Jail breaking, bypass, rooting and more
  • Data Base Security – This class is about security, profiles, password policies, access and roles

More Cyber Degree Programs: 

  • Information Security Graduate Certificate
  • MS in Criminal Justice 

Scholarships:

  • BU Undergraduate / Graduate Scholarships
  • Bryan D. Willard Memorial Scholarship

School Features:

  • CAE in IAE / R
  • Online Cyber Degree – MS
  • Certified by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) 
6

Massachusetts Bay Community College

50 Oakland St Wellesley Hills

AS in Cyber Security 

Mass Bay had the sixth highest number (1) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 63 to 65 credits. While not a CAE, it maps classes to line up those used in National Centers. 

First year topics are introductory. You may learn the basics of scripting, operating systems and networks. After an overview of cyber, the next year goes into skills. Things like perimeter defense and secure access. Sample classes are: 

  • Cyber Security Basics – What it means to protect data, keep it private and accessible only to certain users
  • Intro to Operating Systems – About system structures, functions and services
  • Securing Access – An overview of access controls and policies that defend against hackers
  • Computer Networks – An intro to WAN and LAN networks that transmit data and how to watch them for suspicious activity

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • Cyber Security Certificate

Scholarships:

  • MassBay Scholarships 

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degree – AS 

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