Why This Matters

  • THE WORLD NEEDS 3.5M MORE OF YOU BY 2021

    The global demand for internet security professionals has consistently outpaced supply, with over 15,000 unfilled positions in the U.S. alone in 2017. This is expected to continue for the next few years.

  • DEMAND FOR CYBER SECURITY EXPERTS UP 32%

    The top industries that need information security analysts include banking, finance, and healthcare. These individuals are tasked with creating solutions that will protect sensitive information about companies and customers.

  • INCREASE YOUR EARNING POTENTIAL BY $44,180

    Earning a master’s in internet security can often lead to management positions, which have an annual median salary of $142,530, compared to $98,350, which is the average median salary for analyst positions.

Our Research

For this list, we concentrated on master’s degrees in internet security, also referred to as cybersecurity. The majority of graduate degrees in this field are Master of Science (MS) although some schools offer a Master of Professional Studies (MPS).

To guarantee flexibility for students, we focused on programs that are delivered online. Some programs are also offered on-campus, and give students the option to complete their degree through in-person and online classes.

We only included programs offered by schools that have regional accreditation, to confirm that they meet the highest standards of quality postsecondary education. Credits and degrees from regionally accredited institutions are the most widely recognized by other schools and employers.

We reviewed each program on the basis of outcomes, cost, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. Then, we calculated an Intelligent Score for each degree on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in internet security programs are highly regarded, cost-effective, and flexible. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 83 hours to write this article
  • 191 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 434 education programs we compared

The Top 30 Online Master’s in Internet Security

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What You Should Know About This Degree

A master’s in internet security is typically geared towards individuals who already have backgrounds in cybersecurity or a related field, and want to develop advanced skills and move into higher-level positions.

However, for individuals who are specifically interested in obtaining management positions, another option is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. MBA programs focus on business, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills, preparing students for advancement into management roles within the information technology and internet security industries. Think about your career goals, and what type of advanced education will best help you reach them.

There are also a number of different master’s degrees in related information technology areas like computer science and information systems that may be appealing to you. These programs may allow you to concentrate on internet security through electives or a concentration, but will also include more general coursework in areas like software development, systems administration, and more.

Internet security professionals don’t need any kind of license to work professionally, although there a some certain credentials that employers may require or prefer. The most common of these is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). There are also other, more specialized certifications for different areas of internet security. Obtaining professional certifications is another commitment of time and money to this profession.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Internet Security programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Many master’s programs seek students who have educational and/or professional backgrounds in cybersecurity or another computer science field, as graduate-level programs build upon existing knowledge and skills. Review the program’s minimum qualifications before applying to ensure your eligibility for admission.
  • Can I pass a background check? Because of the sensitive nature of working in information security, most jobs will require you to pass a background check and receive a security clearance. While it may not impact your acceptance into a master’s program, be aware that criminal activity on your record can affect your employability down the road.

Other steps you should take at this point include researching application deadlines and admissions requirements; collecting your application materials, and reviewing your options for funding your master’s degree. Contact the admissions and financial aid representatives at the school or schools to which you are applying to get more information about these procedures. Funding options can include loans, scholarships, assistantships, grants, and tuition benefits from your employer.