Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 40,000 MORE SECURITY ANALYSTS

    Employment of information security analysts will grow by 31% through 2029 to exceed 170,000 jobs, far outpacing other computer careers.

  • CYBERSECURITY PAY NEARS $100,000

    The median annual wages for information security analysts is $99,730. That’s more than $10,000 higher than the average across all computer professions.

  • CLOUD COMPUTING IS DRIVING DEMAND

    The risk of cyberattacks continues to grow as more small and midsize enterprises shift critical operations to cloud computing platforms and launch other digital initiatives. Almost 11% of corporate IT budgets are earmarked for cybersecurity.

Our Research

Our list highlights Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in cybersecurity and cyber defense, plus security-related certificate programs. We gathered data on online, in-person, and blended-format cybersecurity courses offered by accredited colleges and universities across the nation.

Many security degree programs on our list are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a nongovernmental agency that ensures computer, engineering, and applied sciences programs meet its quality standards. Several other programs are accredited with the U.S. National Security Agency’s Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) designation for cybersecurity degree and certificate programs. Our research also covers programs offered by regionally accredited schools.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best Cyber Security Degree program are affordable, respected, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 60 hours to write this article
  • 166 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 222 education programs we compared

The Top 10 Best Cyber Security Degree Programs

Kennesaw State University

Intelligent Pick

Kennesaw State University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program offers a flexible transfer credit policy that makes it easy to fulfill your general education courses so you can dive into the cyber security curriculum. Kennesaw allows you to complete your degree either on campus in Kennesaw, Georgia, or completely online. In addition to 37 credit hours of core cyber security coursework, you also get to choose a nine-credit specialization in systems security, network security, or cyber crime. Beyond those requirements, you get to choose 14 credits worth of electives, taking classes such as Global IS Project Management, Software Acquisition and Project Management, and/or an internship, special project, or cooperative study. The curriculum gives you lots of room to tailor it to your particular interests and goals.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Kennesaw, GA
  • Cost per credit: $199
  • Credits required to graduate: 120
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $11,467 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 48%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Email: [email protected]

Learn more

University of Texas at San Antonio

Best for Homeland Security

University of Texas at San Antonio’s Bachelor of Business Administration in Cyber Security has been ranked #1 in the nation, and the program has been named a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. You can complete the degree in person in San Antonio or online from anywhere in the world. Graduates of this program are recruited by some of the world’s preeminent companies and organizations, including Amazon, Ernst & Young, National Security Agency, and PwC. You will take coursework on topics such as digital forensic analysis, network security, and intrusion detection and incident response. You can also choose to join the Computer Security Association to network with peers and participate in cyber security competitions.

Things to consider:

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Cost per credit: $129
  • Credits required to graduate: 120
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $9,972 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 48%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

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Sam Houston State University

Best for Digital Forensics

Sam Houston State University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program offers a rigorous education in computer science with an emphasis on cyber security. The department houses the university’s Center of Excellence in Digital Forensics, a center dedicated to the development of digital forensics training for law enforcement personnel and research opportunities into forensics and security issues. This is a unique resource that offers digital forensics opportunities you might not find at another university. In addition to a 56-credit cyber security curriculum, you also get to choose two elective classes among options like Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Graphics, and Network Theory.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Huntsville, TX
  • Cost per credit: $244
  • Credits required to graduate: 121
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $9,670 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 60%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Email: a[email protected]
  • Phone: 936-294-1828

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Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals

Best for Network Security

John Hopkins Engineering for Professionals’ Master of Science in Cybersecurity is routinely rated as one of the best online master’s degrees in cyber security. The program, ranked #2 in the country by U.S. News and World Report, takes places 100% online on a part-time schedule. It is therefore well-suited to you if you are a busy professional who wants to increase your career advancement potential without attending school full-time. You take courses in cutting-edge domains like security engineering, applied machine learning, and reverse engineering and vulnerability analysis, and you have the unique option to complete a capstone or independent research project. To tailor your degree to your specific interests and goals, you can select one of the following focus areas: analysis, assured autonomy, networks, or systems.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $16,800 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 92%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 936-294-1828

Learn more

University of Southern California

Best Part-Time Option

University of Southern California’s Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering program is geared toward graduate students who want to obtain jobs in which computer network operations knowledge and skills are required or who want to continue toward a doctorate in information security. The curriculum includes extensive laboratory work to give you hands-on experience with problems that simulate those you would encounter in the real world. Whether you study on campus or online, this is the same program, with the same faculty, leading to the same degree. You take a core curriculum of four cyber security courses and then choose at least two of the following classes: Applied Cryptography; Trusted System Design, Analysis and Development; Secure Systems Administration; and/or Computer Forensics. You can also choose to complete a directed research project and/or a course on Integrated Physical and Cyber Security for Oil and Gas Operations. The degree can be completed full-time or part-time.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Cost per credit: $2,199
  • Credits required to graduate: 28
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: ​​$17,750 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 92%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 410-516-2300

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Boston University

Best for Criminal Justice

Boston University’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity has been ranked among the top four online programs since 2015. You can pursue this degree online or in person, full-time or part-time. Depending on your path and format, it takes between eight and 16 months to complete. The curriculum is supported by ​​a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is designed to help create cutting-edge criminal justice and cyber security training programs. Furthermore, you benefit from a low 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, an active learning environment centered on real-world problems and simulations, and engaged faculty with years of criminal justice experience.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Credits required to graduate: 32
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $16,640 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 86%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 617-353-6000

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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Best for Data Science

University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Master of Science in Computer Science program is highly customizable. Offered in person on the Amherst, Massachusetts, campus, the program lets you choose a concentration in data science, security, or field experience. The data science concentration is particularly strong, as the university is home to a dedicated Center for Data Science. The program can also be completed online on a flexible schedule designed to suit the needs of working professionals. Admission to the program is very competitive, with approximately 20% of master’s applicants gaining admission. You should have a solid background in computer science before beginning the program.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Amherst, MA
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $14,644 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 77%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Email: [email protected]

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Arizona State University

Best Accelerated Program

Arizona State University’s Master of Science in Computer Science program with a concentration in Cybersecurity offers a thesis track for those interested in research and a nonthesis project portfolio track for those focused on hands-on, practice-oriented learning. If you have not yet earned an undergraduate degree, you might be interested in Arizona State University’s accelerated degree options, which enable you to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in as little as five years. The Computer Science (Cybersecurity) master’s program can be paired with a Computer Science BS, Computer Science (Cybersecurity) BS, Computer Science (Software Engineering) BS, Computer Systems Engineering BSE, or Computer Systems Engineering (Cybersecurity) BSE. The Master of Science in Computer Science (Cybersecurity) program is structured as a computer science nine-credit core course sequence of applications, foundations, and systems; a concentration in cyber security; six or 12 credit hours of electives and/or research; and a six-credit thesis or zero-credit portfolio.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $13,510 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 63%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: North Central Association Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 480-965-3199

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Northeastern University

Best for International Students

Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity is a two- to three-year program in Boston, Massachusetts, that can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The program meets F1 visa requirements, enabling international students to secure the necessary visa permissions to study in the U.S. Designed with working professionals in mind, the program is good fit if you are planning to advance in a cyber security career or if you intend to pursue a doctorate — for instance, in Northeastern’s PhD in Information Assurance program. Northeastern has been designated by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense, in IA Research, and in Cyber Operations. Furthermore, the degree program incorporates substantial hands-on experience, including internships and co-op opportunities that can differentiate you on the job market.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Credits required to graduate: 32
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $17,480 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 87%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 617-373-2462

Learn more

Howard University

Best HBCU

Howard University’s Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity is a 15-credit hour, interdisciplinary program that incorporates coursework in the departments of engineering and computer science. The curriculum is built around a year-long cyber security course, two additional technical courses, and a capstone cyber security course. Additionally, you can choose one elective from the following options: Special Topics in Cybersecurity, Database Systems & Security, Wireless Network & Security, or Advanced Operating Systems and Security. As a historically black college, Howard University offers a learning environment designed with the unique needs of students of color in mind. The program is offered in person at Howard’s Washington, D.C., campus.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Cost per credit: $1,838
  • Credits required to graduate: 15
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $14,680 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 64%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Email: [email protected]

Learn more

Other Cyber Security Degree Programs to Consider

Best Cyber Security Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

When considering an information security career, you should understand the difference between a cybersecurity degree and similar educational programs. There are a variety of computer degrees available, including data science, network administration, programming, and systems design, that touch on data security topics. However, cybersecurity programs provide detailed, specific knowledge and skills that explore advanced tools and techniques to protect computer data and systems from cyberattacks.

Finding an accredited cybersecurity program helps ensure you get full value for your educational investment. The two leading cybersecurity accreditation groups are provided by the federal government’s National Security Agency and the privately run ABET.

Certifications aren’t mandatory to work in cybersecurity, but they help you start or advance your career. The most widely sought designation is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), held by more than 140,000 people globally. There are a number of other certifications available in specific areas, such as internet security, or for vendor-specific software platforms, such as Microsoft or Cisco.

The sector’s 31% growth rate is almost three times higher than the 11% forecast for all computer positions and far above the 4% projected across all occupations.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to consider when exploring cybersecurity degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this degree? Undergraduate and certificate programs in cybersecurity typically have the same requirements as other programs, although aptitude with technology and mathematics is definitely helpful. Master’s programs generally expect candidates to hold an undergraduate degree in computer science, plus possibly some work experience in the field.
  • What licensing or certifications are required? Cybersecurity certifications aren’t required to enter the field, but they’re recommended to help you start or advance your professional career.

Your research into cybersecurity degree programs should begin online by checking out school websites. If you narrow your choices to an on-campus program, you should also visit its facilities and make sure the technology is up-to-date. Review the admissions requirements, particularly for postgraduate work, and keep track of application deadlines to help ensure the admissions process goes smoothly.

Also, give some thought to how you will finance your education. Research the kinds of scholarships, grants, and other forms of assistance available through your school of choice. You might also be able to take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs if you’re employed.