Top 20 Cyber Security Master’s Degrees

CYBER SECURITY MASTER’S DEGREES

An undergrad degree may be all you need for entry level cyber sec roles. But, if you earn your master’s in cyber sec this can mean higher wages. This can also mean that you can compete for more advanced roles in the field. The programs looks at advanced topics like ethical hacking and digital forensics. You can further customize your education if you choose a focus based on your goals and interests.

Cyber Sec master’s degrees aim to prep you to fill in demand jobs. And, experts ISC2 and Cyber Security Ventures say that there are many of these that exist. In fact, they predict from 3 to 3.5 million new jobs will open by 2021. And to add to that, the World Economic Forum says cyber attacks are also on the rise. So much so, in fact, that the World Economic Forum ranks it one of the five highest risks. That’s due to the fact we keep so much of our data online.

To meet the demand for skilled pros, many grad schools now offer advanced degrees. While distinct, they all teach ways to keep data safe, secure and private. These master’s in cyber sec programs come from many fields too. From comp sci to law and criminal justice.

What is a Cyber Security Master’s Degree?

Master’s in cyber sec programs will start out with basics. Then, come with tracks to match your interests and goals. Some of the key parts are tech based. So, they look at the tools one can use to prevent, deter and end attacks. This may mean that you will learn codes to program networks and systems. Yet other topics may touch on leadership. As such, you may learn how to deal with a security team. Or, craft a defense strategy to keep a company’s data safe.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: BS Cybersecurity – General Track, BS Cybersecurity – Data Analytics, BS Cybersecurity – Project Management, MS Cybersecurity – General Track, and MS Cybersecurity – IT Management

Purdue University Global

  • Experience world-class education online!
  • Purdue Global offers 180 programs at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels
  • Competency-based ExcelTrack™ Programs may allow you to earn your degree faster and for less money
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, Graduate Certificate in Information Security, Information Security Postbaccalaureate Certificate

Types of Cyber Security Master’s Degrees

There are three main types of master’s degrees in cyber sec. A Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). And there is also a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Along with the type, the degree may come with an anchor point also known as a field of study. This means you may focus on some classes around that theme.

One example is a MS in Cyber Sec Risk & Strategy. As the name suggests, you will learn ways to deal with and manage risk. Then, you will also learn ways to use your analysis when you craft a cyber sec policy. Another type is a Cyber Sec Strategy & Info Management Master’s degree. It takes a wide look at policy and cyber law. So, it deals with trends and tactics that are known to help leaders.

Cost of a Cyber Security Master’s Degree

As per NCES, the average cost of a master’s in cyber sec was $18,947. But since this is just an average, there are programs that will cost more. And ones that will cost less. For instance, you may get your degree in state and at a public school. The average cost of this type of school is $11, 926. And this is much less than private schools which average at $25,442. And, apart from tuition, there are other costs you may need to budget for. Books, supplies and room and board are just a few.

Cyber Security Master’s Program Course Curriculum

To enter into a cyber sec master’s program, here are a few things you may need:

  • Bachelor’s in a computer major
  • GRE Scores that meet the school’s min. score
  • Know how to speak English if you are not from the U.S.
  • GPA that meet’s school’s min. score

The classes you will take change from one school to the next. So, here is a sample of what a study plan might teach.

  • Social Impact of Info Sec
  • Data Mining
  • Firewalls
  • Mobile and Wireless Tech
  • Network Sec
  • Internet Media Sec
  • Audit and Compliance
How to Earn a Masters in Cyber security

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Master’s Degree in Cyber Security?

Many full time students take about 18 months to two years to earn a master’s degree in cyber sec. But you may need more time if you are doing research to prep for a PhD.

What Accreditation Should I Look For?

There is a stamp of approval in the form of a special status. It is for schools that have cyber sec programs. And it is part of a joint effort by two agencies.

The status they give a school is as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE CD). Or CAE in Cyber Operations (CAE CO). To get this approval, the school must meet high standards. Both those of NSA and of the DHS.

20 Best Schools with Cyber Security Master’s Degree Programs

So what is the difference from one school to the next and why should you care? The reality is, no two schools are the same. To help you in your search we ranked our top 20 schools. All have a cyber sec master’s degree program, so it may help you to narrow your choices down. Our process uses data from the NCES.

Top 20 Cyber Security Masters Degrees
1

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd | Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Master of Science in Cyber Security & Policy Online

This is a 30 credit online degree. It is for both IT and non IT pros who want to shift into a leader role. As such, you will take both cyber sec and manager based courses. You will learn, for instance, how security policies can impact a company.

  1. Sec Engineering 
  2. Int’l Law and U.S. Sec Policy
  3. Emerging Topics in Cyber Sec
  4. Cyber Sec Policy

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know how to relate cyber sec with strategic goals
  • Realize the long term impact of a breach
Tuition & Fees: $9,360
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
39%, Avg. Amt. $3,981
Federal Loans:
14%, Avg. Amt. $10,679
2

Strayer University – Global Region

1133 15th St NW, Suite 200 | Washington, D.C. 20005

Master of Science in Information Assurance (Cyber Security)

This online MS has an NSA certified study plan. It has 12 courses which aim to ready you to take cert exams.

  1. Info Systems for Decision Making
  2. Advanced Computer Architecture
  3. IT Risk Management
  4. Advanced Network Sec Design

Skills You May Gain:

  • Assess risk and craft solutions to security issues
  • Design and deploy info sec solutions to protect assets and boost performance
  • Create user security plans
Tuition & Fees: $14,985
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
35%, Avg. Amt. $4,326
Federal Loans:
36%, Avg. Amt. $10,188
3

University of Maryland

3501 University Blvd East | Adelphi, MD 20783

Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation Master’s Degree

In this 36 credit hour program, the focus is on detective work. So, you may hone skills to investigate cyber crime.

Another key concern of the program is analysis. As such, you may learn how to make sense of complex data. Apart from looking at evidence, you may learn to write detailed digital forensic reports.

  1. Cyber Space and Cyber Sec Basics
  2. Advanced Forensics Practice
  3. Digital Forensics Tools 
  4. Leading in Cyber Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to perform forensic searches to find intruders
  • Come up with forensic results that can with stand scrutiny in a court of law
  • Process a cyber crime scene to make sure that the evidence is not corrupt
Tuition & Fees: $12,132
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
29%, Avg Amt. $3,315
Federal Loans:
19%, Avg Amt. $7,927
4

Colorado Technical University

4435 N Chestnut Street | Colorado Springs, CO 80907

Master of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Engineering

This MS may be ideal if you seek to craft security policies and processes.

You must complete 48 credit hours which may include some of these topics.

  1. Modern Operation Systems (OS)
  2. Systems Engineering Methods
  3. Security Management
  4. Software Info Assurance

Skills You May Gain:

  • Develop policies and methods to protect valuable data, networks and devices
  • Apply basics of cyber sec to manage company data assets
Tuition & Fees: $13,766
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
74%, Avg. Amt. $4270
Federal Loans:
74%, Avg. Amt. $8036
5

Temple University

1801 North Broad Street | Philadelphia, PA 19122

Information Technology Auditing and Cyber Security MS

This 30 credit MS ITACS program comes full and part time options. You may also study online or at the main campus.

MS ITACS students take four common core courses. Plus there are many topics in one of two areas. Either IT Auditing or Cyber Sec.

  1. Protection of Data Assets
  2. Security Architecture
  3. Data Analytics and IT Auditors
  4. Securing Digital Infrastructures

Skills You May Gain:

  • May ready you to take cert exams
  • Assess and design internal processes that foster info sec
  • Be able to put cyber sec safe guards into use
Tuition & Fees: $23,588
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
73%, Avg. Amt. $9,152
Federal Loans:
62%, Avg. Amt. $6,953
6

Florida Institute of Technology - Online

150 West University Blvd | Melbourne, FL 32901

MS in Information Assurance and Cyber Security Online

In this program, you study complex attack models. So, many of the 33 credits may prep you to protect and secure data. While they also help you to spot threats and risks to internal systems.

  1. Host & App Sec
  2. Secure Data Communications & Networks
  3. Biometrics
  4. Cryptography 

Skills You May Gain:

  • Spot threats and weak areas in security systems
  • Assess attack models
  • Use forensics and biometric tools
  • Know how to hide and encrypt data
  • Apply data mining and machine learning methods
Tuition & Fees: $16,128
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
77%, Avg. Amt. $5,058
Federal Loans:
77%, Avg. Amt. $9,051
7

University of St. Thomas

2115 Summit Ave | Saint Paul, MN 55105

Master of Science in Cyber Security Management

The 36 credit course plan fuses two main areas. One is the tech side of cyber sec. The other, the manager side. As such, it covers business and MIS skills that help a leader make sound decisions.

  1. Ethical Hacking for Business
  2. Enterprise Info Sec
  3. Internet Methods and Network Sec
  4. Cyber Crime and its Control

Skills You May Gain:

  • Offensive and defensive tactics
  • Use the practices, tools and processes of info sec to drive decisions
Tuition & Fees: $26,185
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
91%, Avg Amt. $21,145
Federal Loans:
47%, Avg Amt. $6,645
8

Capitol Technology University

11301 Springfield Rd | Laurel, MD 20708

Master of Science (MS) in Cyber Security

In this online MS, you will look at how to keep corporate and gov’t data safe.

It also serves as a study guide for exams. The CISSP. You also need to complete from 36 to 39 credits.

  1. OS for Info Sec
  2. Malicious Software
  3. Risk Mitigation
  4. Security Risk Management

Skills You May Gain:

  • Assess diverse points of view into a tactical plan
  • Use ethics and cyber law for policy
  • Apply tools and concepts of security
Tuition & Fees: $11,178
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
29%, Avg. Amt. $3315
Federal Loans:
19%, Avg. Amt. $7927
9

Arizona State University

University Drive and Mill Avenue | Tempe, AZ 85287

MCS Computer Science (Cyber Security)

The MCS program is a technical one. As such, it focuses on the science and design aspects of cyber sec.

You must complete 30 credits. And, a portfolio.

  1. Applied Cryptography
  2. Info Sec
  3. Software Verification and Testing
  4. Computer Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know computer, software and network sec and software sec
  • Be able to test systems for weak areas
  • Know how to restore systems after a breach
Tuition & Fees: $25,160
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
76%, Avg. Amt. $12,060
Federal Loans:
36%, Avg. Amt. $4,948
10

George Mason University

4400 University Dr | Fairfax, VA 22030

Applied Information Technology MS Cyber Security 

This 30 to 36 credit program is both online and available in a part time format.

One of its goals is to help you know how to work on teams. Both in the design and managerial aspects.

  1. Algorithms and Data Structures 
  2. Basics of Computing Platforms
  3. Data Visualization
  4. Secure Software Development

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know how to prevent, detect and recover from cyber threats
  • Be able to test systems and use science to back up policy
Tuition & Fees: $35,724
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
48%, Avg. Amt. $7,175
Federal Loans:
42%, Avg. Amt. $6,873
11

ECPI University

5555 Greenwich Rd | Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Master of Science in Cyber Security

This 36 credit MS program covers theory and how to put it into use. It also looks at settings that use info sec systems. And how to manage systems in each context as well as craft policy for them.

  1. Info  Sec Policy and Practice
  2. Cloud Sec
  3. Network Sec and Intrusion Detection
  4. Virtualization Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Assess security and operations in wired and wireless contexts
  • Know the classes of possible threats and how to deal with them
  • Devise a defensive network architecture that can use many layers of protection
Tuition & Fees: $12,960
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
60%, Avg. Amt. $5,770
Federal Loans:
48%, Avg. Amt. $9,150
12

Walden University

100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900 | Minneapolis, MN 55401

MS in Cyber Security

This MS program deals with tech tools and their uses. It also entails 30 credit hours.

  1. Sec Risk Management
  2. Cyber Forensics
  3. Basics of Intelligent Systems
  4. Security Engineering and Compliance

Skills You May Gain:

  • Gain insight into cryptography
  • Review computer forensics and their uses
  • Know how to manage when there is a cyber attack
Tuition & Fees: $12,205
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
35%, Avg. Amt. $4,326
Federal Loans:
36%, Avg. Amt. $10,188
13

University of Cumberlands

6191 College Station Drive | Williamsburg, KY 40769

Master of Science in Information Security Systems

This program lines up with DHS and NSA standards. It also lines up with the (ISC)2 CISSP Common Body of Knowledge.

You need to complete 31 credits and may learn some of these topics.

  1. Cryptography
  2. Sec Architecture and Design
  3. Cyber Law and Privacy
  4. Operations Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to deal with risks and breaches
  • Know the rules of privacy and how to comply
  • Assess risks
Tuition & Fees: $5,970
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
57%, Avg. Amt. $15,130
Federal Loans:
41%, Avg. Amt. $7,029
14

Southern New Hampshire University

2500 North River Road | Manchester, NH 03106

Master of Science in Cyber Security

There are five key areas in this 36 credit program.  Info sec governance, risk and compliance, info sec management, incident response and business continuity. You also study ways to lead and work in teams

  1. Incident Detection and Response
  2. Investigation and Digital Forensics
  3. Human Factors in Security
  4. Cyber Law and Ethics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Assess how well an info sec policy works
  • Craft a tactical plan to prep and respond to threats
  • Develop ways to spot and manage risk
  • Lead a sec audit
Tuition & Fees: $18,810
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
43%, Avg. Amt. $3,888
Federal Loans:
58%, Avg Amt. $7,259
15

Regent University

1000 Regent University Dr | Virginia Beach, VA 23464

Master of Science in Cyber Security

A 30 credit program, this program comes with a few options. One is a choice of format – online or on campus.

The other is a choice of focus. Either cyber sec policy or management.

  1. Digital Forensics Engineering
  2. Cyber Intel
  3. Network Sec
  4. Cyber Risk and Strategy Analysis

Skills You May Gain: 

  • Know how to manage, prevent or limit cyber attacks
  • Build systems to protect digital assets
  • Develop IT disaster recovery plans (IT DRP)
Tuition & Fees: $16,179
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
84%, Avg. Amt. $7,230
Federal Loans:
81%, Avg. Amt. $9,559
16

Ferris State University

1201 S State St | Big Rapids, MI 49307

Master of Science Info Security and Intelligence

The 33 credit MS ISI program consists of eight core courses. It also weaves in a capstone project.

You also have the chance to add an Advanced Studies Certificate. This focuses on your chosen area of which there are a few options.  Incident Response, Business Intel, or Project Management.

  1. Intel Weak Areas 
  2. Data base Management and Sec
  3. Info Sec and Analysis
  4. Secure Info Systems

Skills You May Gain:

  • Make sure enterprise info systems are safe against threats and attacks
  • Know how to prevent breaches and attacks
  • Be able to assess incident data and respond to risks and threats
Tuition & Fees: $7,320
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
73%, Avg. Amt. $8,350
Federal Loans:
59%, Avg. Amt. $7,389
17

Fairleigh Dickinson University

1000 River Rd | Teaneck NJ 07666

M.S. Cyber & Homeland Security Administration

One focus of this program is to prep you to become a leader in the field. As you work your way through the 36 credits you can choose one of three tracks. Terrorism and security studies, emergency management (EM), and leadership.

  1. Computer Sec & Forensics
  2. Cyber Crime
  3. Threat Assessment
  4. Research and Policy Analysis

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to research and use critical thinking
  • Know how to do a risk analysis
  • Deal with response to crisis and threats
Tuition & Fees: $23,805
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
53%, Avg. Amt. $22,490
Federal Loans:
44%, Avg. Amt. $10,017
18

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

210 Burruss Hall, 800 Drillfield Dr | Blacksburg, VA 24061

Master of Information Technology – Cyber Security Track

To earn this MSIT degree, you must complete 11 courses (33 credits). Of them, 4 are core topics. And 7 are electives.

  1. Basics of Computer Systems
  2. IT Sec & Trust 
  3. Cyber Sec and the Internet of Things (IOT)
  4. Governance and Risk 

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to assess systems for risk
  • Put cyber sec policies into place
  • Design a security policy for an enterprise
  • Know the kinds of attacks there are
  • Know computer forensics
Tuition & Fees: $29,025
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
49%, Avg. Amt. $8630
Federal Loans:
36%, Avg. Amt. $6524
19

Nova Southeastern University

3301 College Ave | Fort Lauderdale, FA 33314

Master of Science in Cyber Security Management

This MS is a 30 credit hour program. And is one that both NSA and DHS gives their stamp of approval.

  1. Ethics in Computing
  2. Info Sec Operations Management
  3. Governance
  4. Human Computer Interaction

Skills You May Gain:

  • Develop info sec policy
  • Assess whether an OS complies with laws and policies
Tuition & Fees: $20,620
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
80%, Avg. Amt. $17,005
Federal Loans:
47%, Avg. Amt. $8,294
20

American Public University System

111 W Congress St Charles Town, WV 25414

Master of Science in Cyber Security Studies

IN this 36 credit program you study basic network sec classes. You also learn about digital forensics while you study the big picture topics. As such, you may learn about national sec, intel, criminal justice, and EM.

  1. Cyber Policy and Practice in National Sec
  2. Risk Management
  3. Cyber Intel
  4. Intrusion Detection and Incident Handling

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to navigate legal, social, ethical, and tech issues related to info sec
  • Know the national cyber threat landscape
  • Assess practices that check for weak systems and risks
  • Know how to mitigate risk
Tuition & Fees: $6,880
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
85%, Avg. Amt. $1,705
Federal Loans:
22%, Avg Amt. $8,635

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s in Cyber Security?

Earning a master’s in cyber sec may help you start or advance in the field. Each of the jobs below fits under the job title Computer and Information Systems Manager as per BLS.  And some are types of jobs you may want to seek out. All these jobs take a strong leader. One who can plan, manage, and also direct a company’s computer systems.

IT Security Manager

IT security managers protects company data. That means they plan and install systems that keep computer data safe. They also maintain these systems. So, when a breach or hack happens, this is the person you call first.

IT Director

The role of an IT Director is to make critical decisions. So, they manage policy for IT departments. As leaders, they may also train staff and resolve any issues. Plus give the OK to buy new hardware, software, or upgrades.

CIO or CISO

CIO is Chief Information Officer. CISO stands for Chief Information Security Officer. Both CIOs and CISOs are chief execs. As such, they may manage people, projects and budget. Plus, are the ones who craft policy that a director will enforce.

Top Salaries by State for Computer and Information Systems Managers

STATE EMPLOYMENT ANNUAL MEAN WAGE
New York 28,960 $190,390
California 75,700 $185,640
New Jersey 15,570 $181,620
Virginia 14,680 $173,280
Colorado 7,920 $172,810

Cyber Security Certifications to Consider

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Created by (ISC)2, CISSP certs focus on two things. Security policy and management. It is also the most popular of the cyber sec certs, according to CyberSecurityCC.

You need at least 5 years of experience before you can take the CISSP exam. So, it is not for those new to the field. And, your experience must be in at least two of these areas.

  • Sec and Risk Management
  • Asset Sec
  • Sec Engineering
  • Communications and Network Sec
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Sec Assessment and Testing
  • Sec Operations
  • Software Development Sec

To remain current, cert holders must also join the (ISC)2. Then, they must renew their cert every three years.

As a CISSP, each year you must also do two things to stay current. One is to pay an $85 fee. The other is to submit 40 CPE credits.

CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

Offered by ISACA®, more than 140,100 people have CISA cert.

To get your CISA, you need to take an exam that covers 5 core areas.

  1. Auditing
  2. Governance & Management of IT
  3. Info Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation
  4. Info Systems Operations, Maintenance and Service Management
  5. Protection of Info Assets

As a CISA cert holder, you must renew every three years. Then also, you have to pay a yearly fee of $45 for ISACA® members. Or $85 for non members.

You must also submit at least 20 CPE credits each year for the three year period.

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

CISM gives guide lines for Cyber Sec management to those in charge. So, one of the things it asks of you is to be able to explain complex info sec issues.

It is another of SACA® credentials. And one that over 40,000 pros have once they know these four content areas.

  • Info Sec Governance
  • Managing Info Risk
  • Develop and Manage an Info Sec Program
  • Info Sec Incident Management

To remain current, CISMs must renew every three years. Also, pay a yearly fee. This is $45 for ISACA® members or $85 if not a member. You must also submit at least 20 CPEs for the three year period.

GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler

GCIH cert deals with how to handle incidents. So, you must know how to detect, respond to and resolve them. You must also master core areas.

  • The incident handling process
  • Detect harmful apps and network activity
  • Common attack methods that can compromise a host
  • Spot and assess system and network weak areas
  • Know how to find the root causes of incidents

Once you have your GHIC, you need to renew it every 4 years. This means a fee of $429 and 36 CPE credits.