Cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand degree programs in 2023. This program is the practice of protecting computer systems and data from loss, damage or unauthorized access. Cybersecurity, also known as IT security, applies in various contexts and can be divided into common categories. Cyber security colleges attract those interested in privacy, information security and law enforcement fields. These individuals possess mathematical, analytical, computer and problem-solving skills.
Earning a cybersecurity degree helps students develop the technical skills to qualify for a range of technical and IT jobs or apply to a university specializing in cybersecurity fields. Many businesses prefer applicants with bachelor’s degrees, and cybersecurity specialization can help users stand out from applicants with more of an IT background.
When searching for the best colleges for cyber security, prospective students should prioritize schools with multiple degree options, strong expertise and reasonable costs. The best cybersecurity degree programs in 2023 are listed below.
- Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
- Drexel University
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Capella University
- American Public University System
- Ferris State University
- Maryville University of Saint Louis
- Saint Leo University
- Dakota State University
- Kennesaw State University
1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus is one of the best universities that improve students’ knowledge of cybersecurity analytics to better protect digital information from cyberattacks. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus is an online university campus that launched in 1998 with the mission to extend Pennsylvania State University’s undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs to students who cannot attend another campus due to location or other factors.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus offers online cybersecurity college degrees and certificate programs, including a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, a bachelor’s in cybersecurity analytics and operations, a graduate certificate in information system cybersecurity, a master’s in cybersecurity analytics and operations, and a graduate certificate in cyber threat analytics and prevention. The university hosts a one-year certification program, a four-year bachelor’s degree and two-year master’s degree programs.
The school’s cybersecurity programs cost $950 per credit or $11,398 per semester.
2. Drexel University
Drexel is another top university that utilizes practical PC applications to provide students with the essential knowledge and real-world skills needed for successful careers in security technology. This university is also known as the National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, a designation that boosts the school’s reputation in the security field.
Drexel University was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel, and the campus is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school’s mission is to serve students with comprehensive academic offerings improved by technology and clinical practice in an urban setting, with international outreach, research and community initiatives.
The university offers in-house classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. Drexel University provides a bachelor’s in computer security, a master’s in cybersecurity, a bachelor’s in computer and security technology, and graduate certificate programs in cybersecurity. Drexel University offers on-campus and online cybersecurity programs that cost around $530 per credit. This university provides a one-year graduate certification and four-year bachelor’s and two-year master’s degree programs.
3. Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology is a well-known school that is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity and Cyber Defense Research. The institute’s mission is to shape students’ futures and enhance the world through creativity and innovation. Rochester Institute of Technology offers a bachelor’s in computing security, a graduate certificate in cybersecurity, an advanced cybersecurity certificate, a master’s in cybersecurity and a micro-master’s in cybersecurity.
Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 and is located in Henrietta, New York. The university offers online and in-house classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. The online and on-campus programs cost around $497 per credit hour and $69,276 per year. This university provides four-year bachelor’s degree, one-year graduate certification and two-year master’s degree programs.
4. Capella University
Capella University is another private university specializing in online education. The university’s programs are designed to help students develop the technical skills required to protect information and health data. Capella University’s mission is to increase access to high-quality certificate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.
Capella University was founded in 1993, with the main campus based in Capella Tower in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school aims to fulfill students’ needs through innovative programs and engaging and relevant learning experiences provided in various delivery modes.
Capella University offers certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity. The university also provides online classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. This school has a one-year certification and four-year bachelor’s degree and two-year master’s degree programs.
Capella University’s cybersecurity programs cost between $350 and $695 per credit and around $22,000 average transfer credits.
5. American Public University System
American Public University is one of the best for-profit universities that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and committed to offering access to affordable, high-quality education, with more than 200 online degree and certificate programs. The private university provides online cybersecurity programs integrated with multiple disciplines to ensure students gain the essential skills and management practices required to lead a cybersecurity mission efficiently.
American Public University System was founded in 1991 and is located in Charles Town, West Virginia. The university offers a graduate certificate in cybercrime, undergraduate certificate in cybercrime essentials, cybersecurity, digital forensics, information security planning, information system security essentials, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity.
The school’s undergraduate certificate programs cost $285 per credit hour, while the undergraduate programs cost $250 per credit hour and the master’s programs cost around $370 per credit hour. American Public University System offers online classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. This university hosts a one-year graduate certification and four-year bachelor’s and two-year master’s degree programs.
6. Ferris State University
Ferris State University is a U.S.-based public university founded in 1884 with a main campus in Big Rapids, Michigan. The university focuses on diversity, ethics, community, collaboration and opportunity, and aims to prepare students for responsible citizenship, successful careers and lifelong learning. Ferris State University offers a certificate program in cybersecurity, a bachelor’s degree in information security and intelligence, and a master’s degree in information security and intelligence.
The school offers online and in-house classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. Ferris State University also provides four-year bachelor’s degree, one-year certification and two-year master’s degree programs.
Ferris State University’s undergraduate program costs around $12,740 per year and $455 per credit hour, while the master’s program costs around $686 per credit hour.
7. Maryville University of Saint Louis
Maryville University of Saint Louis is one of the top-rated private universities with over 6,000 students enrolled. The university offers more than 70 degrees covering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education levels. Maryville University of Saint Louis was founded in 1872 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The main campus is located in Saint Louis County, Missouri.
Maryville University of Saint Louis is committed to offering an innovative liberal arts foundation for all students. In the security field, the school offers online certificates in cybersecurity, an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and an online master’s degree in cybersecurity. The certificate and bachelor’s programs cost around $622 per credit, and the master’s program costs around $816 per credit. The school hosts both in-house and online classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. Overall, this university offers four-year bachelor’s and two-year master’s degrees and one-year certification programs.
8. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is one of the best Catholic universities that is associated with the Holy Name Monastery, a Benedictine convent, and Saint Leo Abbey. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and master’s degree programs to about 18,000 students each year. The school’s mission is to foster a personal and inclusive community that prepares, educates and develops students for success.
Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 and is located in St. Leo, Florida. This university offers in-house and online classes for associate degree programs, undergraduate programs, graduate certificates and master’s degrees. The school provides one-year associate programs, one-year certifications, and four-year bachelor’s and two-years master’s degree programs.
The university offers an associate program in cybersecurity, a bachelor’s in cybersecurity and a master’s in cybersecurity. Saint Leo University’s bachelor’s program in cybersecurity costs around $11,995 per semester, and the master’s program in cybersecurity costs $590 per credit hour.
9. Dakota State University
Dakota State University is one of the top-ranked public universities, providing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through its colleges of business and information systems, arts and sciences, computer and cyber science, and education. The university focuses on the development, implications and impacts of information technologies, computing and cybersecurity.
Dakota State University was founded in 1811 and is located in Madison, South Dakota. The university’s mission is to offer learning that integrates innovation and technology to develop students ready to contribute to national, local and global prosperity. Dakota State University offers a bachelor’s in cyber operations, cyber leadership and intelligence, digital forensics, world affairs and human behavior, a graduate certificate in cybersecurity, and a master’s in cyber defense. The university’s undergraduate programs cost around $397.90 per credit hour and $20,158 per year, while the main campus graduate programs cost about $662.80 per credit hour or $11,930.40 per year.
10. Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is another top-ranked public research university, offering more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to about 40,000 students. The university was founded in 1963 and is located in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Kennesaw State has multiple undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degree programs in education, engineering, business, information technology, criminal justice and sports management. In the security field, the university offers an undergraduate degree program in information technology and a graduate degree program in cybersecurity.
Kennesaw State University’s degree programs cost around $843 per credit hour. The university offers in-house and online classes for undergraduate programs, graduate certificates, master’s degrees and doctoral degree programs. This university offers four-year bachelor’s degree, one-year graduate certification, two-year master’s degree and four-year doctoral degree programs.
What Can You Learn from Cybersecurity Degree Programs?
Cybersecurity degree programs help students learn to protect PCs, networks and data from cyberattacks. These programs also teach students to monitor systems and networks and mitigate threats when they happen. Some students focus more on programming, while others on security policies, digital forensics or broader aspects of cybersecurity.
Some degrees specialize in cyber threats, cyber defense, networking concepts, system administration or basic scripting. Students will use a variety of cybersecurity tools, including network security monitoring programs, encryption protocols, penetration testing tools and packet sniffer applications.
How Much Money Do You Need to Study in a Cybersecurity Education Program?
Cybersecurity degree programs can cost about $15,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the institute or university a user attends. Some colleges and universities charge all students the same tuition fees, while others charge differently based on students’ residence.
The application fees for cybersecurity degree programs range from $50 to $150, and transcript evaluation fees generally cost around $100. Travel and residence fees vary, while the books for cybersecurity courses typically cost around $800 to $1,000 per year.
How Long is Schooling for Cyber Security?
The duration of schooling for cyber security degrees generally ranges from one to five years. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity typically takes three or four years, while master’s degrees take one to two years and Ph.D. degrees extend three to five years.
The curriculum highlights many advanced topics, including digital forensics, ethical hacking and cryptology. Students pursuing bachelor’s degrees are required to submit a project thesis, while master’s degree programs usually offer students a choice between a thesis or a capstone project.
Note:The thesis or a capstone project requirement may vary depending on the degree program. In some cybersecurity degree programs, the student may be required to complete a capstone project, while other degree programs may require a research-based thesis to earn the degree.
What Title Do You Get After Graduating from a Cybersecurity Training Program?
Users can graduate from cybersecurity training programs with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, cyber law and cyber ethics. Users can also specialize in cybersecurity with master and doctoral-level degrees.
A strong performance in a college program is expected for a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. For a master’s degree in cybersecurity, an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, an updated resume and one letter of recommendation are required.
What Are the Job Opportunities in Cybersecurity?
There are countless jobs available in the cybersecurity field globally. Some of the most common cybersecurity job opportunities are listed below.
- Cryptographer: Cryptographers help businesses securely exchange and communicate information. As online threats grow, the demand for expert cryptographers who can protect communication channels may increase. The average salary of a cryptographer is around $75,000 per year. Cryptographers typically work for healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and tech companies like Apple, Google and Amazon.
- Forensics Expert: Forensics experts work with IT security professionals and deliver security reports to lawyers, executives and law enforcement personnel. Forensics experts are hired by government agencies, law firms and large enterprises. The average salary of a forensics expert is around $65,000 per year.
- Incident Responder: Incident responders typically respond to cybersecurity incidents and data breaches. In addressing critical security issues, the incident responder improves the business’ overall security and reputation. The average salary of an incident responder is around $84,000 per year.
- Security Administrator: Security administrators guard businesses from threats and attacks. Security administrators work in all industries that rely on networks, and the average salary is around $67,000 per year.
- Security Analyst: Security analyst installs computer security software and trains employees to use protected procedures. Security analysts work with employees, executives and managers to analyze efficient security plans and strategies. This job usually earns around $69,000 per year.
- Security Architect: Security architects typically plan, design, engineer and supervise systems that prevent potential PC security threats. Security architects work efficiently in the PC design and telecommunications industries. The average salary of a security architect is around $120,000 per year.
Is Cybersecurity a Good Career?
Yes, cybersecurity is a good career, as there is a high demand for professionals with cybersecurity skills. Cybersecurity professionals are often called on during emergency situations, such as data breaches, malware and ransomware attacks, or system outages. A career in cybersecurity is a bit stressful if the job is involved in incident management, as responding to critical incidents can mean having to work under stress to get tasks done.
How Much Can I Make with a Degree in Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity professionals often get paid very well. The average salary of a cybersecurity professional in the U.S. is around $105,000 per year. Due to increased awareness and concerns over the growing number of cyber threats targeting governments, commercial businesses and high-profile figures worldwide, cybersecurity professionals are paid top-dollar to help stop these attacks.
Can You Get a Cyber Security Certificate from Courses?
Yes, one can get cybersecurity certificates from a variety of courses available in the market. Some of the cybersecurity courses on offer include Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Security Manager, CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Security Professional, GIAC Security Essentials, EC-Council Certified Security Analyst, and Certified in Risk and Information System Control.
Can You Get a Cyber Security Certificate Online?
Yes, students can get cybersecurity certificates online to understand a skill area before committing to a full degree program. Online certificate programs offer a flexible alternative to on-campus tracks, with limited or no in-person requirements.
Pro Tip:Cybersecurity certification provided from reputable sources can make professionals valuable employees to businesses. Some organizations even give more value to certifications than degrees, so having a certificate from a reputed institute may be preferable in a competitive job market.
There are many cybersecurity courses and degrees available, such as a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, a graduate certificate in cybersecurity, a master’s degree in cybersecurity, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Information Security Manager, CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Security Professional, GIAC Security Essentials, and EC-Council Certificate in Security.