Online Master’s in Cyber Security Programs of 2022

An online master’s in cyber security is a way to break into this field. Students pursuing a master’s in cyber security may take classes in a variety of subjects, from digital forensics to introductory classes in programming languages, cryptography and biometrics. Read on to learn if an online master’s in cyber security is right for you, what to expect in a program and what the projected career and salary outlooks are for cyber security professionals.

Cyber security is a concern for businesses and consumers alike, with issues such as data breaches and threatening malware. Cyber security is a skill with increasing demand: The information security analyst job field is projected to grow by 33% by 2030, which the BLS reports as much faster than average. Cyber security professionals protect consumer data while maintaining business continuity for companies who might experience setbacks due to security threats.

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Finding the Best Online Master’s in Cyber Security Program for You

When looking for the best online master’s cyber security program for you, consider your personal goals, the length of the program, the schedule (part time or full time) and whether classes can be taken in person or remotely. Depending on your learning style, you may also consider whether a self-paced format or live lectures will best suit you. In addition, you may consider schools offering an online master’s in cyber security with no GRE requirement.

Five Steps to Choose the Right Online Master’s in Cyber Security

An online master’s in cyber security may help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the cyber security field. Depending on the program, you may expect to spend around two years completing your degree. There are a number of cyber security graduate programs—with options for part time or full time, in-person or remote—and with live classes or with self-paced classes that you take when it works for you.

Before making the commitment to a particular program, review some common steps that may help you choose the right school for you.

  1. Consider your career goals. Some master’s degree programs may focus on tactical aspects of cyber security, like security threat assessment and incident response, and also offer courses in cyber policy and law. If you’re particularly interested in cyber law, you may want to find a program that offers multiple courses in this area. Consider where you’d like to go and whether the program meets your future career needs.
  2. Understand the difference between a bachelor’s and master’s in cyber security degree. A bachelor’s in cyber security offers students a foundation on field principles. A master’s degree may allow students to pick a specialty to gain deeper knowledge and practical skills. It may also count toward experience on a resume, furthering one’s ability to land a job.
  3. Compare curriculums. Online master’s in cyber security programs range in their curriculums. For example, some programs may offer various study tracks in areas like information security, information systems and physical systems. You may choose a specific study track based on your career goals. Experienced faculty members may also be an important aspect to consider in a program’s curriculum. Research different program curriculums to see what aligns with your interests.
  4. Ask about student support. Check whether your online master’s in cyber security program offers student support in the form of professional development and job placement help, networking opportunities or financial aid to offset the cost of your studies. You may also want to ask how you can reach out for help outside of classroom time. This may vary between asynchronous (on your own time) and synchronous (real-time) programs.
  5. Be mindful of accreditation. Accreditation ensures a program is held to certain standards set by accrediting agencies. Additionally, federal funding and loans are available to accredited programs. Two types of accreditation exist: regional and national. Generally, credits from a regionally accredited program may be transferred to a nationally accredited program but not vice versa. Check which type of accreditation specific online master’s in cyber security programs offer.

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Learn to predict, prevent, and respond to cyber attacks with an M.S. in Cybersecurity online from Syracuse University.

  • Complete in 15 months
  • No GRE currently required

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Is an Online Cyber Security Master’s Program Right for You?

A cyber security master’s online offers flexibility that supports students with other time commitments, such as a job or family to take care of. If you’re looking for this kind of flexibility, an online master’s in cyber security may be a good fit for you. Online programs may offer the same benefits as their on-campus counterparts—they may be taught by on-campus faculty, feature the same curriculum as on-campus programs and offer you the opportunity to complete cyber security projects (possibly group projects).

What to Expect from Your Master’s in Cyber Security Online?

Some cyber security online programs may offer a set of prerecorded lessons, while others may have live classes or group projects. Programs may offer opportunities for hands-on learning projects as well. The admissions criteria for cyber security online programs will vary by school and may include a required GPA and amount of work experience. Read more below about what to expect from curriculum, faculty and admission requirements in an online master’s in cyber security program.

Curriculum

Online master’s in cyber security curriculum may focus on topics such as wireless security, forensic computing, cryptography, malware and software security, cloud computing, blockchain technology, penetration testing, cyber security policy and ethics, and security engineering. Below, we take a look at some of these topics and how they may be discussed in your online master’s in cyber security program courses.

  • Cryptography: Learn about cryptography’s role authentication protocols, hash functions, cryptanalysis, random numbers, steganography and digital signatures.
  • Cloud Computing: Discover the technologies that enable cloud computing while learning about common cloud computing models, characteristics of cloud platforms, typical development modes and more.
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis: Develop and learn skills for dividing and conquering algorithms. Create social network and optimization algorithms with real-world applications. You may also study NP-completeness, greedy and graph algorithms and advanced data structures.
  • Information Ethics and Policy: Learn about policies and ethics related to data and computing. This part of an online master’s in cyber security curriculum may focus on information policies for various organizations and what kind of social responsibility companies have in regard to cyber security.
  • Security Engineering: Review foundational elements of security engineering, such as security protocol, access control and interface problems.

Faculty

Some graduate programs have faculty members who are experts in their field. They may be working on research or finding solutions to current cyber security problems. One way to evaluate online master’s in cyber security faculty is to review faculty members’ profiles. Read about their experience and what courses they teach to see if any align with your interests.

Another way to evaluate online master’s in cyber security faculty is to reach out to them directly. Here are some questions you may consider asking them:

  • Have you recently published any research or reports?
  • Are you currently working on any projects?
  • Have you worked in an information or cyber security role in the past?
  • How long have you been teaching in the technology and security field?

Online Master’s in Cyber Security Requirements

Every admissions department differs in their online master’s in cyber security requirements. While some look for a 3.0 undergraduate minimum GPA, others may consider your real-world experience, certifications, knowledge of various programming languages, past coursework and aptitude in mathematics.

Here are some other common online master’s in cyber security requirements you may come across:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • GRE/GMAT scores

Some programs may require your bachelor’s degree to be in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, management information systems or a related field. Be sure to check the specific online master’s in cyber security requirements for the programs you’re interested in.

What Are the Career Opportunities and Salary Outlook if You Have an Online Master’s in Cyber Security?

The cyber security career outlook looks bright. Employment in computer and information technology occupations is expected to increase 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average across all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS notes that this growth is driven by the increasing emphasis put on cloud computing, information security and the retrieval and storage of big data.

The BLS reports that employment of information security analysts specifically is expected to increase 33% from 2020 to 2030. According to the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber), a nonprofit cyber security company in Australia, global cyber security spending is expected to increase 86% by 2026 to $270 billion.

In addition to a favorable cyber security career outlook, there also may be potential for a strong cyber security salary. Information security analysts had a median annual salary of $103,590 in 2020, according to the BLS. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that the median annual salary for all computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in 2020.

After completing an online master’s in cyber security, you may apply for a variety of IT jobs. Depending on your specialization, you could start a career as an analyst, engineer, auditor or manager. Some possible careers to consider include cryptographer, security architect, forensic expert, source code auditor, security engineer or security manager. Your cyber security salary in these positions may vary depending on where you live, your experience and what industry you work in. You may also consider attending a cybersecurity bootcamp to expand your skills and career prospects.

Online Master’s in Cyber Security Programs

We found 20 universities in our directory offering online master’s in cyber security programs. If you represent a university and would like to contact us about editing any of our listings, or adding new programs, please send an email to mastersindatascience@2u.com.