Top 20 Cyber Security Master’s Degrees

Cyber Security master’s degrees aim to prep you to fill in demand jobs. And, industry experts ISC2 and Cybersecurity Ventures assert that plenty of these exist.

In fact, they predict from 3 to 3.5 million new jobs will open by 2021. Add to that, Cyber Attacks are also on the rise.

So much so that the World Economic Forum ranks it one of the five highest risks. That’s due to the fact we keep so much data online.

To meet the demand for skilled pros, many grad schools now offer advanced degrees. While distinct, they all study ways to keep data safe, secure and private.

These master’s in cyber security programs come from many departments too. From engineering and comp sci. To law and criminal justice.

 

 

What is a Cyber Security Master's Degree?

Master’s in cyber security programs often start out with basics. Then, also come with tracks to match interests and goals.

Some of the key elements are technical. So, they discuss the tools one can use to prevent, deter and end attacks. This often means learning specific codes to program networks and systems.

Yet other topics may touch on leadership. As such, you may learn how to manage a security team. Or, craft a defense strategy to keep company data safe.

 

 

Types of Cyber Security Master’s Degrees

There are three main types of master’s degrees in cyber security. Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). And even Master of Business Administration.

 

Along with the type, the degree may come with an anchor point. This means you are likely to focus some classes around that theme.

One example is a Master of Science in Cyber Security Risk & Strategy.

As the name suggests, you study ways to identify and manage risk. Then also, ways to use your analysis when crafting cyber security policy.

Another example is a Cybersecurity Strategy & Information Management Master’s degree.

It takes a wide look at policy and cyber law. So, explores emerging trends and tactics known to help leaders.

 

 

 

Cost of a Cyber Security Master’s Degree

At last check, the average cost of earning a master’s in cyber security was $17,868.

But because it is an average, there are programs that cost more. And ones that cost less.

For instance, you may pursue your degree in state and at a public college. The average cost of this type of school is $11, 303. And is much lower than private colleges which average at $23,919.

Apart from tuition, there are other costs you may need to budget for. Books, supplies and room and board are a few.

 

 

Cyber Security Master’s Program Course Curriculum

To enter into a cyber security master’s program, there are a few things you need.

  • Bachelor’s in a computer major
  • GRE Scores suited to the school’s min. score
  • Ability to speak English if from outside the U.S.
  • GPA that meet’s school’s min. score

The classes one takes vary from one school to the next. So, the topics below are only samples of what a study plan might cover.

  • Social impact of Info Sec
  • Data mining
  • Security for databases
  • Digital forensics
  • Firewalls
  • Mobile and wireless technology
  • Network security
  • Internet media security
  • Audit and compliance
  • Applied cryptography

 

 

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 security. But you may need longer if you are doing research to prep for a PhD.

What Accreditations Should I Look For?

There is a current stamp of approval in the form of special status. It is for schools that offer cyber security programs. And is part of a joint effort by two agencies.
  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
 
The status they name 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 college to another and why should you care? The reality is, no two universities are the same.

To help you in your search we ranked our top 20 colleges. All offer a cyber security master’s degree so it may help you narrow choices down.

Our methodology uses data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics.

 

 

Top 20 Cyber Security Masters Degrees
1

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd | Daytona Beach, Florida 32114-3900

Master of Science in Cyber Security & Policy Online

The MS in Cyber Security Management & Policy (MSCMP) 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, students study both cyber security and manager focused courses. Learning, for instance, how security policies impact a company.

  1. Security Engineering 
  2. International Law and U.S. Security Policy
  3. Emerging Topics in Cyber Security
  4. Cyber Security Management and Policy

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know how to relate cyber security with strategic goals
  • Realize the long term impact of a security breach

 

 

Tuition & Fees: $9,360
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
39%, Average Amount $3,981
Federal Loans:
14%, Average Amount $10,679
2

Strayer University – Global Region

1133 15th St NW, Suite 200 | Washington, District of Columbia 20005

Master of Science in Information Assurance (Cyber Security)

This online MS in Information Assurance has an NSA certified study plan. It requires 12 courses which aim to ready you to take certification exams.

  1. Information Systems for Decision Making
  2. Advanced Computer Architecture
  3. IT Risk Management
  4. Advanced Network Security 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 effective user security plans

 

 

Tuition & Fees: $14,985
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
35%, Average Amount $4,326
Federal Loans:
36%, Average Amount: $10,188
3

University of Maryland – University College

3501 University Blvd East | Adelphi, Maryland 20783-8010

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 as an investigator of cyber crime.

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

  1. Cyber Space and Cyber Security Basics
  2. Advanced Forensics Practices
  3. Digital Forensics Tools 
  4. Leading in Cyber Security

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to perform forensic searches to find intruders
  • Come up with forensic results that can withstand scrutiny in a court of law
  • Process a cyber crime scene to ensure that the digital evidence is not corrupted

 

 

Tuition & Fees: $12,132
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
29%, Average Amount: $3,315
Federal Loans:
19%, Average Amount: $7,927
4

Colorado Technical University

4435 N Chestnut Street | Colorado Springs, Colorado 80907-3812

Master of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Engineering

This MS has a focus in cyber security engineering. So it 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
  2. Systems Engineering Methods
  3. Security Management
  4. Software Information Assurance

Skills You May Gain:

  • Develop security policies and methods to protect valuable data, networks and devices
  • Apply basics of cyber security to manage company data assets

 

 

Tuition & Fees: $13,766
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
74%, Average Amount: $4270
Federal Loans:
74%, Average Amount: $8036
5

Temple University

1801 North Broad Street | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6096

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 in Philadelphia.

MS ITACS students take four common core courses. Plus a handful of topics in one of two areas. Either IT Auditing or Cyber Security.

  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 industry certification exams
  • Assess and design internal processes that foster info sec
  • Be able to put cyber security safeguards into use

 

 

Tuition & Fees: $23,588
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
73%, Average Amount: $9,152
Federal Loans:
62%, Average Amount: $6,953
6

Florida Institute of Technology - Online

150 West University Blvd | Melbourne, Florida 32901-6975

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 also helping you spot threats and risks to internal systems.

  1. Host & Application Security
  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%, Average Amount $5,058
Federal Loans:
77%, Average Amount $9,051
7

University of St. Thomas

2115 Summit Ave | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105-1078

Master of Science in Cyber Security Management

The 36 credit course plan fuses two main areas. One is the technical side of cyber security. The other, the managerial 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 Protocols and Network Security
  4. Cyber Crime and its Control

Skills You May Gain

  • Offensive and defensive security tactics
  • Use the practices, tools and processes of info sec to drive decisions

 

Tuition & Fees: $26,185
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
91%, Average Amount $21,145
Federal Loans:
47%, Average Amount $6,645
8

Capitol Technology University

11301 Springfield Rd | Laurel, Maryland 20708

Master of Science (MS) in Cyber Security

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

It also serves as a study guide for an industry exam. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). You also need to complete from 36 to 39 credits.

  1. Operating Systems 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%, Average Amount: $3315
Federal Loans:
19%, Average Amount: $7927
9

Arizona State University

University Drive and Mill Avenue | Tempe, Arizona 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 security.

You must complete 30 credits. And, a portfolio.

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

Skills You May Gain:

  • Understand computer, software and network security, software security
  • 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%, Average Amount $12,060
Federal Loans:
36%, Average Amount: $4,948
10

George Mason University

4400 University Dr | Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

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%, Average Amount $7,175
Federal Loans:
42%, Average Amount $6,873
11

ECPI University

5555 Greenwich Rd | Virginia Beach, Virginia 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 Security
  3. Network Security and Intrusion Detection
  4. Virtualization Security

Skills You May Gain:

  • Assess security and operations in wired and wireless contexts
  • Know the classes of possible threats and how to mitigate them
  • Devise a defensive network architecture that uses many layers of protection

 

Tuition & Fees: $12,960
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
60%, Average Amount $5,770
Federal Loans:
48%, Average Amount $9,150
12

Walden University

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

MS in Cyber Security

This cyber security MS program focuses on tech tools and their uses. It also entails 30 credit hours.

  1. Security 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%, Average Amount $4,326
Federal Loans:
36%, Average Amount: $10,188
13

University of Cumberlands

6191 College Station Drive | Williamsburg, Kentucky 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. Security Architecture and Design
  3. Cyber Law and Privacy
  4. Operations Security

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%, Average Amount $15,130
Federal Loans:
41%, Average Amount: $7,029
14

Southern New Hampshire University

2500 North River Road | Manchester, New Hampshire 03106-1045

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. Cyberlaw and Ethics

Skills You May Gain 

  • Assess how well an info sec policy works
  • Craft a tactical plan to prepare and respond to threats
  • Develop ways to spot and manage risk
  • Lead a security audit

 

Tuition & Fees: $18,810
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
43%, Average Amount $3,888
Federal Loans:
58%, Average Amount: $7,259
15

Regent University

1000 Regent University Dr | Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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 emphasis.Either cyber security policy or management.

  1. Digital Forensics Engineering
  2. Cyber Intelligence
  3. Network Security
  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%, Average Amount $7,230
Federal Loans:
81%, Average Amount $9,559
16

Ferris State University

1201 S State St | Big Rapids, Michigan 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 Intelligence, or Project Management. :

  1. Intelligence Weak Areas 
  2. Database Management and Security
  3. Info Sec and Analysis
  4. Secure Information Systems

Skills You May Gain

  • Ensure enterprise info systems are safe against threats and attacks
  • Understand how to prevent security breaches and attacks
  • Be able to assess incident data and respond to security risks and threats

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,320
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
73%, Average Amount $8,350
Federal Loans:
59%, Average Amount $7,389
17

Fairleigh Dickinson University

1000 River Rd | Teaneck New Jersey 07666

M.S. Cyber & Homeland Security Administration

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

  1. Computer Security & 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 an effective risk analysis
  • Manage responses to crisis and threats

 

Tuition & Fees: $23,805
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
53%, Average Amount $22,490
Federal Loans:
44%, Average Amount: $10,017
18

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

210 Burruss Hall, 800 Drillfield Dr | Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0131

Master of Information Technology – Cyber Security Track

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

  1. Basics of Computer Systems
  2. IT Security & Trust 
  3. Cyber Security and the Internet of Things
  4. Governance and Risk 

Skills You May Gain

  • Be able to assess systems for risk
  • Put cyber security policies into place
  • Design a security policy for an enterprise
  • Know the kinds of attacks there are
  • Understand computer forensics

 

Tuition & Fees: $29,025
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
49%, Average Amount $8630
Federal Loans:
36%, Average Amount: $6524
19

Nova Southeastern University

3301 College Ave | Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

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 operational system complies with laws and policies

 

Tuition & Fees: $20,620
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
80%, Average Amount $17,005
Federal Loans:
47%, Average Amount: $8,294
20

American Public University System

111 W Congress St Charles Town, West Virginia 25414

Master of Science in Cyber Security Studies

in this 36 credit program you study basic network security classes. You also learn about digital forensics while also studying big picture topics. As such, you may learn about national security, intelligence, criminal justice, and emergency management.

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

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to navigate legal, social, regulatory, ethical, and technical issues related to info sec
  • Understand 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%, Average Amount $1,705
Federal Loans:
22%, Average Amount: $8,635

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

Earning a master’s in cyber security may help you start or advance in the industry.

Each of the jobs below fits under the job title Computer and Information Systems Manager.  And are some examples of the jobs you may 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 challenges. 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 often manage people, projects and budget. Plus, are the ones who craft policy that directors enforce.

Top Salaries by State for Computer and Information Systems Managers

STATEEMPLOYMENTANNUAL MEAN WAGE
California63,640$180,250
New York27,070$190,310
Texas22,350$154,650
Massachusetts17,829$156,620
Illinois17,770$143,900

 

Cyber Security Certifications to consider

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Created by (ISC)2, CISSP certification focuses on two things. Security policy and management. It is also the most popular of the cyber security certifications.

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

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

To remain current, cert holders must also join the (ISC)2. Then, have to re certify every three years.

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

CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

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

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

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

As a CISA cert holder, you must re certify every three years. Then also, you have to pay an annual 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 guidelines for Cyber Security 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.

  • Information Security Governance
  • Managing Information Risk
  • Developing and Managing an Information Security Program
  • Information Security Incident Management

To remain current, CISMs must re certify every three years. Also, pay an annual 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 certification focuses on handling incidents. So, you must know how to detect, respond to and resolve them. You must also master core areas.

  • The incident handling process
  • Detect malicious apps and network activity
  • Common attack methods that compromise hosts
  • 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 involves a fee of $429 and 36 CPE credits.