In this post, you will find information on information security, cybersecurity, and ethical hacking degree programs offered for both in-person and online attendance modes.
The acceleration in online cybercrime has led to the accelerated need for jobs to secure systems and networks against these threats. These new jobs require specialized skills in technology to design, implement, monitor, and protect corporate, government and personal data and systems against an ever-increasing threat of intruders trying to break into these systems with malicious intent.
With a degree in information and cybersecurity, individuals can gain the knowledge and skills needed to understand the complex and dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats and develop strategies to protect against them.
In this post, I will explore the different types of degrees available, including bachelor, master, and doctorate level options.
- Degree Programs In Information and CyberSecurity
- Doctoral Degrees in Information Security
- Specialization Within Information Security
- How Much is Tuition For an Information or CyberSecurity Bachelor’s Degree?
- Online Information and CyberSecurity Degree Programs
- Universities Offering Bachelor and Master Degrees in Information Security
- Importance of Accreditation and Certification
- Career Opportunities in Information Security
Degree Programs In Information and CyberSecurity
A Bachelor’s degree in Information Security is an undergraduate program that prepares students for a career in the field of cybersecurity. The program typically takes four years to complete and provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the principles, practices, and technologies used in information security.
The curriculum for a bachelor’s degree typically includes courses in:
- Computer systems and networking
- Operating systems
- Database management
- Cybersecurity ethics and laws
- Ethical hacking
And depending on the program students also learn about risk management, vulnerability assessment, incident response, and security policies and procedures.
Graduate or Master’s Degree
A Master’s Degree builds upon the information learned in undergraduate programs with advanced skills and knowledge.
It usually takes two years to complete the graduate program and requires that students already have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
The curriculum for a Master’s Degree in Information Security offers similar course options as those for an undergraduate degree. But graduate courses are more involved and explore more in-depth details of the subject being learned.
There are other advanced courses that are part of graduate programs such as:
- Advanced cryptography
- Network security
- Digital forensics
- Cyber law and policy
- Security management
Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as cybersecurity risk management, cybercrime investigations, and secure software engineering.
In most graduate programs students are required to complete a research project or thesis. This allows for an opportunity to conduct in-depth research and develop a comprehensive understanding of a specific area.
A graduate degree is not required for a job in the information security field. But it is an excellent option if you choose to get into field research and management jobs in the field. With a graduate degree you can also command a higher salary than you otherwise would.
Doctoral Degrees in Information Security
A doctoral degree is a terminal degree in the education pipeline that prepares individuals for leadership roles in academia, research, and industry. The program typically takes 3-5 years to complete and requires students to have a Master’s degree in a related field.
Other than the focus on advanced research methods, the key benefit of being in a doctorate program is that it requires student to conduct original research in the field. Students work closely with faculty members and outside experts to develop a dissertation that contributes to the body of knowledge in information security.
Note: Coursework topics are usually similar to what is offered in graduate programs.
An individual with a Master’s degree will make approximately 17% more than a holder of Bachelor’s degree in the same field.National Center for Education Services
Graduates with a Doctoral Degree in Information Security have a wide range of career options, including academic positions as professors or researchers, executive positions in cybersecurity companies, or leadership roles in government agencies. They may also work as cybersecurity consultants or analysts.
Top 10 Degrees in CyberSecurity and Information Security
- Cloud Computing
- Computer Forensics
- Computer Hardware Engineering
- Computer Programming
- Computer Science
- Database Management
- Information Security & Assurance
- Information Technology Management
- Network Administration
- Machine Learning
Specialization Within Information Security
Students seeking degrees in Information Security allow developing expertise in chosen areas of the field. Following are some examples of specializations within Information Security Degrees.
You focus on investigation of cybercrime, including digital forensics and cyber law. Students learn about the collection, preservation, and analysis of digital evidence and how to present findings in a court of law.
Cybersecurity Policy and Governance
Policy and governance focuses on the development and implementation of cybersecurity policies and procedures. Students learn about cybersecurity regulations, compliance frameworks, and governance models.
In network security you will focus on the security of computer networks, including LANs, WANs, and cloud-based networks. Students learn about network architecture, protocols, and security measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
This specialization focuses on the identification, assessment, and mitigation of cybersecurity risks. Students learn about risk management frameworks, risk analysis techniques, and risk mitigation strategies.
Secure Software Engineering
Secure software engineering practices focuses on development practices and patterns to design and create applications and software that is designed with security in mind. Included within this specialization are testing practices that can be implmented to test software for security.
Specializations within a subject domain allow students to focus on areas of interest and require them to take specific courses targeting such skills.
How Much is Tuition For an Information or CyberSecurity Bachelor’s Degree?
Tuition for cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees can vary widely, depending on a variety of factors.
Like most undergraduate degrees, a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree will require between 120 and 140 hours of coursework, which includes technical courses and electives.
In the United States, tutition in a public university can range between $1,500 to $4,500 per semester for a fulltime student.
For out of state or credit hour student in public or private universitites the tuition can range between $300 to $500 per unit. A single course is usually 3 or 4 unites and will therefore cost about $900 to $2,000.
Total tuition for a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree can range anywhere between $23,000 and $61,000.U.S. News and World Report.
Below are few things to consider when evaluating tuition costs.
- Cost per credit
- Full-time versus part-time
- Institution accreditation
- Online vs. on-campus coursework
To save money in the start of a program, one can start their undergraduate degree work in a community college. These are much cheaper with per sememster fees in the $500 to $1,200 range. Many of the community colleges may not have advanced technology facitilties but they offer you to complete your elective and non-elective general education courses in an extremely cost effective manner.
Cost of your education can be drastically reduced by scholarships offered to qualified students pursuing a degree. Some of these are publicly funded while other scholarships are supported by companies looking to expand the cybersecurity workforce or government agencies and organizations that need to fill critical cybersecurity-related roles.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education offers a number of scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Some of the scholarships are specifically designed to support women studying cybersecurity. The scholarships are available for students pursuing both traditional on-campus degrees and online cybersecurity degrees.
The Stokes Educational Scholarship Program is for high school students who are planning on enrolling in a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program can apply for this scholarship. This program is run by the National Security Agency (NSA) and offers scholarship up to $30,000 a year and provides other benefits and stipend opportunities. Students enrolled in this program are required to work for the NSA after graduation for 1.5 times the number of years the scholarship funded.
Online Information and CyberSecurity Degree Programs
The following institutions offer online programs in the information security field.
|Bachelor, Master||Colorado State University Global (CSU Global)||CSU Global offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Management with a specialization in cybersecurity. Both programs are available online, and students can choose from a range of courses covering topics such as network security, incident response, and risk management.|
|Bachelor, Master||Dakota State University (DSU)||DSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security. Both programs are available online, and students can choose from a range of courses covering topics such as cryptography, computer forensics, and secure software development.|
|Master||Drexel University||Drexel University offers an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This program covers topics such as information security management, network security, and digital forensics, and includes opportunities for hands-on experience and research.|
|Bachelor, Master||Purdue University Global||Purdue University Global offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in information security and assurance. Both programs are available entirely online, and students can choose from a range of courses covering topics such as digital forensics, network defense, and risk management.|
|Bachelor, Master||Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)||SNHU offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Both programs are available entirely online, and students can choose from a range of specializations, including data analytics, network defense, and cybersecurity leadership.|
|Bachelor, Master||University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC)||UAGC offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Both programs are available entirely online, and students can choose from a range of courses covering topics such as cybercrime, information assurance, and ethical hacking.|
|Master||University of Denver||The University of Denver offers a Master of Science in Information Systems Security entirely online. This program covers topics such as cryptography, network security, and ethical hacking, and includes opportunities for hands-on experience and research.|
|Master||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||The University of Illinois offers an online Master of Computer Science with a specialization in computer security. This program covers a range of topics in computer security, including cryptography, network security, and software security.|
|Bachelor, Master||University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)||UMGC offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology. Both programs are available entirely online, and students can choose from a range of specializations, including cybersecurity management, digital forensics, and homeland security.|
|Master||University of Southern California (USC)||USC offers an online Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering. This program is designed for professionals who are interested in cybersecurity engineering and covers topics such as network security, secure software development, and cryptography.|
This is not an exhaustive list but includes some of the best accredited degree programs.
Universities Offering Bachelor and Master Degrees in Information Security
The following institutions offer on campus programs but may also have online degrees as well.
|Master||Boston College||This degree program is designed for professionals who are interested in cybersecurity policy and governance issues. It covers topics such as cybersecurity risk management, cybercrime and cyber law, and privacy and data protection.|
Degree: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance
|PHD (Doctorate)||Carnegie Mellon University||This degree program is focused on research in cybersecurity and privacy. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty members on cutting-edge research projects in areas such as cryptography, secure systems, and privacy-enhancing technologies.|
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
|Bachelor||Champlain College||This degree program provides students with a strong foundation in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Courses cover topics such as network security, digital forensics, and cyber law and ethics.|
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics
|Bachelor, Master||Georgia Tech||This program is designed for students with a background in computer science or a related field. It covers topics such as secure software development, network security, and cryptography. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as information security policy and management or cyber-physical systems security.|
Degree: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
|Master||Johns Hopkins University||This program covers a range of topics in information security, including cryptography, network security, and information assurance. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as computer forensics or healthcare security.|
Degree: Master of Science in Information Security
|Master||George Mason University||This program is designed for professionals who are interested in information security and assurance issues. It covers topics such as network security, cryptography, and information assurance.|
Degree: Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance
|Master||Mercyhurst University||This program covers a range of topics in cybersecurity and information assurance, including digital forensics, network security, and cyber law and ethics. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as cybersecurity intelligence or critical infrastructure protection.|
Degree: Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
|Bachelor||University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)||This degree program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices. Courses cover topics such as network security, ethical hacking, digital forensics, and cyber law and policy.|
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
|Bachelor||University of Tampa||This degree program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity principles and practices. Courses cover topics such as computer forensics, cyber law and ethics, and network security.|
Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
|Bachelor||Western Governors University||This degree program provides students with a strong foundation in cybersecurity principles and practices. Courses cover topics such as network security, cryptography, and risk management.|
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
Importance of Accreditation and Certification
There are organizations offering Accreditation to colleges and universities offering education degrees, who evaluate and certify that such programs being offered by these entities meet certain standards of quality. Accreditation ensures that the degree offered is recognized by employers and other institutions.
Accreditation and certification play important roles in the education and professional development of individuals pursuing careers in information security.
Accreditations are offered to institutions, whereas certifications are assigned to specific courses offering knowledge and skill in a particular area of information security.
Certifications demonstrate to employers that an individual has a certain level of knowledge and expertise in a particular area. Certifications also provide individuals with a competitive edge in the job market and can lead to increased salaries and opportunities for advancement.
Certification is often provided by professional organizations, such as the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) or the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)².
National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) evaluate and certify certain educational programs meet certain standards in areas such as cybersecurity education, digital forensics, and information assurance.
To check out how accreditations work and are assigned in the United States, check out Department of Education website.
Career Opportunities in Information Security
A degree in information security provides a wide range of career opportunities in various industries. Be it private or public sector the opportunities are available and will grow for the foreseeable future.
Listed below are the top 10 career opportunities in the information security and cyber security fields:
- Cybersecurity Consultant: Cybersecurity consultants work with businesses and organizations to assess their security risks and develop strategies to protect against cyber threats. The median annual wage for management analysts is over $90,000 as of January 2022.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): The CISO is responsible for the overall security of an organization’s information systems and data. They develop and implement security policies and procedures, train employees on security best practices, and manage security teams. The median annual wage for top executives is over $110,00 as of 2022.
- Digital Forensic Investigator: Digital forensic investigators analyze digital evidence in criminal investigations or civil litigation cases. The median annual wage for forensic science technicians is over $65,000 as of January 2022.
- Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts protect computer networks and systems from cyber attacks, viruses, and other security breaches. They monitor network activity, install firewalls and other security measures, and investigate security incidents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for information security analysts was $103,590 in May 2020.
- Information Security Manager: Information security managers oversee security programs and teams within an organization. They develop and implement security policies and procedures, manage security budgets, and ensure compliance with security regulations. The median annual wage for information security managers is over $150,000 as of January 2022.
- Network Administrator: Network administrators install, manage, and maintain computer networks for businesses and organizations. The median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators is $84,810 in May 2020.
- Penetration Tester: Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, simulate cyber attacks to identify weaknesses in computer systems and networks. The median annual wage for information security analysts is over $110,000 as of January 2022.
- Security Auditor: Security auditors assess the effectiveness of an organization’s security policies and procedures. The median annual wage for accountants and auditors is over $75,000 as of January 2022..
- Security Engineer: Security engineers design and implement security systems and controls to protect computer networks and systems from unauthorized access, attacks, and other security threats. The median annual wage for computer hardware engineers is over $120,940 as of January 2022.
- Security Software Developer: Security software developers design, develop, and test software programs that help protect computer systems and data from security breaches. The median annual wage for software developers is over $110,260 as of January 2022.
Equipped with this knowledge, you should be able to plan next steps in your education career.