Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs

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Is an Online Cybersecurity Program Right for Me?

The field of cybersecurity exists to keep private digital information private, and to help bring to justice those who would compromise that privacy, misappropriate information, and in some cases misuse it. Because the proliferation of information networks, especially the internet, really ushered in the need for digital information security, it seems only fitting that one be able to study it online. The question is: which students tend to thrive in an online learning environment (versus a face-to-face, classroom experience)?

Ultimately, an online degree program is often an excellent choice for students who have additional obligations, such as those with current full-time work who wish to pursue a degree during their free time. An online cybersecurity program may also be right for an individual who lives too far from a physical campus, or who otherwise cannot fit classroom attendance into an already busy schedule. Online degree programs generally allow students some amount of flexibility to complete work on their own time throughout the semester, although most often they must still adhere to the semester calendar of the institution and in some cases attend particular online classes at scheduled times.

That said, those students who require more of a hands-on experience or who need routine supervision from an instructor may wish to look to a campus-based program for their education. Indeed, an online program demands a certain degree of independence, both from instructors and other peers, which should be an important consideration for anyone interested in this type of degree.

List of Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs

Filter by state :
DEGREE :
School City State Website Undergrad Graduate Grads
University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi

MD www.umgc.edu 1620
Wilmington University

New Castle

DE www.wilmu.edu 1045
Western Governors University

Salt Lake City

UT www.wgu.edu 980
University of Phoenix-Arizona

Tempe

AZ www.phoenix.edu 536
University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg

KY www.ucumberlands.edu 511
American Public University System

Charles Town

WV www.apus.edu 397
ECPI University

Virginia Beach

VA www.ecpi.edu 386
Champlain College

Burlington

VT www.champlain.edu 206
Anne Arundel Community College

Arnold

MD www.aacc.edu 197
Naval Postgraduate School

Monterey

CA www.nps.edu 181
Capella University

Minneapolis

MN www.capella.edu 180
Bellevue University

Bellevue

NE www.bellevue.edu 149
St Petersburg College

Clearwater

FL www.spcollege.edu 116
Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

CO www.coloradotech.edu 98
College of Southern Maryland

La Plata

MD www.csmd.edu 95
The University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio

TX www.utsa.edu 93
Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore

MD www.jhu.edu 88
Capitol Technology University

Laurel

MD www.captechu.edu 86
Baker College

Flint

MI www.baker.edu 85
National University

La Jolla

CA www.nu.edu 77
Hinds Community College

Raymond

MS www.hindscc.edu 75
DePaul University

Chicago

IL www.depaul.edu 71
Community College of Baltimore County

Baltimore

MD www.ccbcmd.edu 67
George Washington University

Washington

DC www.gwu.edu 66
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park

PA worldcampus.psu.edu 65
Syracuse University

Syracuse

NY www.syracuse.edu 63
New England College

Henniker

NH www.nec.edu 63
Harford Community College

Bel Air

MD www.harford.edu 59
Lewis University

Romeoville

IL www.lewisu.edu 59
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester

NY www.rit.edu 58
Dakota State University

Madison

SD dsu.edu 57
Central Washington University

Ellensburg

WA www.cwu.edu 53
Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw

GA www.kennesaw.edu 51
Davenport University

Grand Rapids

MI www.davenport.edu 48
Community College of Allegheny County

Pittsburgh

PA www.ccac.edu 47
MyComputerCareer.edu-Columbus

Westerville

OH www.mycomputercareer.edu 46
Saint Leo University

Saint Leo

FL www.saintleo.edu 43
Mercy College

Dobbs Ferry

NY www.mercy.edu 40
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Okmulgee

OK www.osuit.edu 37
Grantham University

Lenexa

KS www.grantham.edu 36
SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica

NY www.sunypoly.edu 33
Purdue University Global-Davenport

Davenport

IA www.purdueglobal.edu 33
St Philip's College

San Antonio

TX www.alamo.edu/spc 32
Regis University

Denver

CO www.regis.edu 31
University of Rhode Island

Kingston

RI web.uri.edu 30
Stratford University

Fairfax

VA www.stratford.edu 29
New York University

New York

NY www.nyu.edu 28
College of Central Florida

Ocala

FL www.cf.edu 26
William T McFatter Technical College

Davie

FL www.mcfattertechnicalcollege.edu 26
Metropolitan State University

Saint Paul

MN www.metrostate.edu 24
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha

NE www.unomaha.edu 24
Norfolk State University

Norfolk

VA www.nsu.edu 22
Drexel University

Philadelphia

PA www.drexel.edu 22
Sam Houston State University

Huntsville

TX www.shsu.edu 21
University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell

MA www.uml.edu 21
Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach

AL www.columbiasouthern.edu 21
Strayer University-Virginia

Arlington

VA www.strayer.edu 20
University of Southern California

Los Angeles

CA www.usc.edu 20
Excelsior College

Albany

NY www.excelsior.edu 20
Concordia University-Saint Paul

Saint Paul

MN www.csp.edu 19
Florida Institute of Technology-Online

Melbourne

FL www.fit.edu 19
Towson University

Towson

MD www.towson.edu 19
The University of Montana

Missoula

MT www.umt.edu 19
University of Dallas

Irving

TX www.udallas.edu 18
Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale

FL www.nova.edu 15
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

Daytona Beach

FL worldwide.erau.edu 15
Fountainhead College of Technology

Knoxville

TN www.fountainheadcollege.edu 15
MyComputerCareer.edu-Raleigh

Raleigh

NC www.mycomputercareer.edu 15
Valley College-Martinsburg

Martinsburg

WV www.valley.edu 15
Sullivan University

Louisville

KY www.sullivan.edu 15
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Metro

San Juan

PR www.metro.inter.edu 14
Our Lady of the Lake University

San Antonio

TX www.ollusa.edu 13
University of the Potomac-Washington DC Campus

Washington

DC www.potomac.edu 13
Westmoreland County Community College

Youngwood

PA westmoreland.edu 13
Missouri State University-Springfield

Springfield

MO www.missouristate.edu 12
Charter Oak State College

New Britain

CT www.charteroak.edu 12
University of Delaware

Newark

DE www.udel.edu 11
Franklin University

Columbus

OH www.franklin.edu 11
Rasmussen College-Minnesota

St. Cloud

MN rasmussen.edu 11
Central Texas College

Killeen

TX www.ctcd.edu 11
Roger Williams University

Bristol

RI www.rwu.edu 10
Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken

NJ www.stevens.edu 10
Broward College

Fort Lauderdale

FL www.broward.edu 10
Brandeis University

Waltham

MA www.brandeis.edu 9
Hodges University

Naples

FL www.hodges.edu 9
Limestone College

Gaffney

SC www.limestone.edu 9
Robert Morris University

Moon Township

PA www.rmu.edu 9
University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield

IL www.uis.edu 9
EDP University of Puerto Rico Inc-San Juan

San Juan

PR www.edpuniversity.edu 8
University of Virginia-Main Campus

Charlottesville

VA www.virginia.edu 8
Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis

IN www.ivytech.edu 8
Niagara University

Niagara University

NY www.niagara.edu 7
Friends University

Wichita

KS www.friends.edu 6
University of Louisville

Louisville

KY www.louisville.edu 6
Allegany College of Maryland

Cumberland

MD www.allegany.edu 6
Rasmussen College-Florida

Ocala

FL rasmussen.edu 6
University of Maine at Augusta

Augusta

ME www.uma.edu 6
Old Dominion University

Norfolk

VA www.odu.edu 5
Southern Utah University

Cedar City

UT www.suu.edu 5
Strayer University-District of Columbia

Washington

DC www.strayer.edu 5
Strayer University-Florida

Tampa

FL www.strayer.edu 5
University of Detroit Mercy

Detroit

MI www.udmercy.edu 5
Bryant & Stratton College-Online

Orchard Park

NY www.bryantstratton.edu 5
Garrett College

McHenry

MD www.garrettcollege.edu 5
Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Branch Community College

Ruidoso

NM www.ruidoso.enmu.edu 5
California State University-San Marcos

San Marcos

CA www.csusm.edu 4
Strayer University-Georgia

Atlanta

GA www.strayer.edu 4
Strayer University-Global Region

Washington

DC www.strayer.edu 4
Hallmark University

San Antonio

TX www.hallmarkuniversity.edu 4
Coastal Carolina University

Conway

SC www.coastal.edu 3
Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne

FL www.fit.edu 3
La Salle University

Philadelphia

PA www.lasalle.edu 3
Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester

NH www.snhu.edu 3
University of Arizona

Tucson

AZ www.arizona.edu 3
University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Princess Anne

MD www.umes.edu 3
City University of Seattle

Seattle

WA www.cityu.edu 3
East Mississippi Community College

Scooba

MS www.eastms.edu 3
Liberty University

Lynchburg

VA www.liberty.edu 3
Rasmussen College-Illinois

Rockford

IL rasmussen.edu 3
Valley College-Beckley

Beckley

WV www.valley.edu 3
Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Granite Falls

MN www.mnwest.edu 3
National American University-Rapid City

Rapid City

SD www.national.edu 3
Zane State College

Zanesville

OH www.zanestate.edu 3
American National University

Salem

VA www.an.edu 2
Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids

MI www.grcc.edu 2
Minnesota State College Southeast

Winona

MN www.southeastmn.edu 2
Montreat College

Montreat

NC www.montreat.edu 2
Purdue University Global-St. Louis

St. Louis

MO www.purdueglobal.edu 2
Rasmussen College-North Dakota

Fargo

ND rasmussen.edu 2
Southeastern Technical College

Vidalia

GA www.southeasterntech.edu 2
University of Maine at Fort Kent

Fort Kent

ME www.umfk.maine.edu 2
Hampton University

Hampton

VA www.hamptonu.edu 1
Johnson & Wales University-Online

Providence

RI online.jwu.edu 1
Minnesota State University-Mankato

Mankato

MN mankato.mnsu.edu 1
Strayer University-South Carolina

Greenville

SC www.strayer.edu 1
Strayer University-Tennessee

Memphis

TN www.strayer.edu 1
Strayer University-Texas

Austin

TX www.strayer.edu 1
Strayer University-West Virginia

Scott Depot

WV www.strayer.edu 1
University of Tulsa

Tulsa

OK utulsa.edu 1
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus

Roswell

NM www.roswell.enmu.edu 1
Marist College

Poughkeepsie

NY www.marist.edu 1
Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Fergus Falls

MN www.minnesota.edu 1
Monroe College

Bronx

NY www.monroecollege.edu 1
Purdue University Global-Lincoln

Lincoln

NE www.purdueglobal.edu 1
Purdue University Global-Omaha

Omaha

NE www.purdueglobal.edu 1
Radford University

Radford

VA www.radford.edu 1
Vatterott College-Sunset Hills

Sunset Hills

MO www.vatterott.edu 1
Laramie County Community College

Cheyenne

WY www.lccc.wy.edu 1

Admissions Requirements for Online Cybersecurity
Programs (What to Expect)

If you are planning on pursuing an online degree in cybersecurity, it is important that you know what to expect throughout the application process, and how to prepare accordingly.

Of course, the specifics of the application will likely depend on the level of degree you are pursuing; to be sure, those who are applying for an undergraduate program will be presented with different criteria than those interested in obtaining a graduate degree. For example, while an individual applying to an undergraduate bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity may be asked to submit proof of SAT scores, those applying to graduate master’s or doctoral degree programs may be asked for GRE or GMAT scores instead.

Furthermore, those applying to a master’s or doctoral program may ask for letters of recommendation from previous professors and even employers, while those looking to obtain a bachelor’s degree may only be asked for such letters from high school instructors. In addition, an undergraduate applicant will be asked to show proof of high school transcripts, while a graduate applicant will need to show transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended. Outside of these variances though, the applications may appear similar, and may ask for a personal statement, a resume or CV, and other related information.

In general, most programs require prospective students to apply before a certain date in order to be considered for acceptance. Many schools have a deadline of January for programs to start in the fall, or an early fall deadline for winter-start programs.

Program Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence program, which designates specific two- and four-year colleges and universities as centers of academic excellence (CAE) in cyber defense. Schools are presented with this form of accreditation based on a number of criteria, including the contents of their degree program, as well as their alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units. As of the time of this writing (May, 2016), almost 200 top colleges and universities have been awarded this designation.

It is certainly not necessary to attend an institution that has been recognized as a CAE in cyber defense. That being said, doing so will help ensure that the student has access to a top-notch education from some of the leading minds in the field.

Curriculum & Specialization

Generally, while the specifics of a cybersecurity program will likely vary based on the program, students in this field of study may expect to take a fairly similar course load in pursuit of their degree. For example, students at both the undergraduate and graduate level will likely take classes on cyberspace and cybersecurity, ethics in cybersecurity, security policy analysis, cybersecurity management, emerging technologies, and a capstone course or project. Of course, undergraduate students may also be required to take a number of electives in order to meet core requirements, which may not be the same for graduate students

Furthermore, in some cases a student in a cybersecurity program may be able to pursue an additional specialty, although this is not a guarantee for each institution. Areas of specialty for a student of cybersecurity, particularly at the master’s level, may include cybersecurity engineering, operations, management, policy, investigation/forensics, and intelligence.

Very often, schools may present cybersecurity as a specialty itself, housed within a broader degree in information systems or computer science.

Highly Regarded Online Cybersecurity Programs

Aspiring students interested in pursuing an online degree in cybersecurity should not assume that all institutions will provide the same quality of experience and education. Indeed, each college or university has faculty that are stronger in certain areas, and uses different technology and instructional design for its cybersecurity program. In light of this, it is generally best to research each program of interest to find one where you believe you will be comfortable learning (some schools let you test-drive an online course, which we highly recommend doing), where faculty specializations align with your own academic interests. You may wish to consider one of the five following schools, known to offer strong online cybersecurity degree programs.

1Iowa State University

At Iowa State University, students may pursue an online master of science degree in information assurance, focusing largely on cybersecurity. This degree is offered 100 percent online, without ever requiring students to visit the campus.

Doug Jacobson is a professor within the information assurance program at Iowa State University. He is also the director of the Information Assurance Center at the university, and he currently works on an Internet testbed meant to study security.

George Amariucai is an assistant professor at Iowa State University. His research largely focuses on information assurance, cryptography, wireless network security, and digital signal processing.

2Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University offers students the ability to pursue an online master of science degree in cybersecurity. This program is meant to prepare students to defend against cybersecurity attacks and to use digital forensics to identify the perpetrators.

Cheryl Hinds is an assistant professor of computer science at Norfolk State University, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in cybersecurity. During the summer of 2014 she conducted a cybersecurity summer camp for area high school students that was funded by the Department of Defense.

Aurelia Williams is an associate professor of computer science at Norfolk State University, where she also serves as the department chair. Her most recent research has focused on the application of digital forensics applied to cloud computing.

3University of Dallas

At the University of Dallas, students have the opportunity to pursue a master’s of science in cybersecurity. This institution has been designated a center of academic excellence, and here students may also pursue an MBA with a cybersecurity concentration.

Brett J. L. Landry is the Dean at the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business and Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Dallas. For more than twenty-five years, he has worked in information security in the public and private sectors. He has taught and consulted in the US, Europe, Asia, and South America and has published and presented numerous articles in the areas of Cybersecurity, IT Ethics, IT Management, Network Architecture, and Disaster Recovery. Landry also holds numerous industry security certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC).

Dr. Sandra Blanke joined the University of Dallas – Irving, Texas in 2005 and is an Associate Professor in Cyber Security Education. She serves as the Director for the Center of Cyber Security Education and is the Ellis Endowed Chair in Management Technology. Dr. Blanke is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), maintains a Certification in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) and her Ph.D is in Computer and Information Systems. Dr. Blanke’s research, teaching and consulting areas of expertise include Cyber Security, Risk Management, Disaster Recovery, Emerging Technologies and Cyber Insurance. She teaches courses in Cyber and Technology within the Masters and Doctoral Programs in the UD - Gupta College of Business. Blanke is a former Verizon Executive with over 20 years in Enterprise Technology and Network Operations.

4University of Delaware

Students have the ability to pursue an online master of science degree in cybersecurity at the University of Delaware. This flexible online degree can be completed in as little as two years.

Chase Cotton is a professor of cybersecurity at the University of Delaware. His research interests include cybersecurity and high-availability software systems.

Haining Wang is also a professor of cybersecurity at the University of Delaware, where he has remained since 2014. His research focuses on security, networking systems, cloud computing, and mobile computing, among others.

5Utica College

Aspiring students may pursue an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity at Utica College. This program was developed with the college’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection, a research collaborative dedicated to the advancement of data security, identity management, and information sharing. Note that the university also offers an online master’s in cybersecurity.

Austen Givens is an assistant professor of cybersecurity at Utica College. Prior to becoming a professor he was a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and later worked with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, among other organizations.

Leonard Popyack is an assistant professor of cybersecurity at Utica College. He was also one of the first United States government research scientists to study offensive information warfare.

Campus Visitation Requirements for Online Cybersecurity Programs

In some cases, students pursuing an online degree in cybersecurity may be required to visit the campus once or twice throughout the calendar year. That being said, this is not the norm; instead, many programs, such as the one offered by Iowa State University, may be completed without ever stepping foot on the campus. This should certainly be taken into consideration by those whose schedule prevents them from physically attending courses, or who do not live near a quality institution. Since campus visitation requirements are not published in a standard manner across universities, please be sure to research specific requirements for your programs of interest. It is not uncommon, even for primarily online programs, to require a campus visit for orientation, for instance, or for the presentation of a capstone project.

Other Considerations for Selecting
the Right Program

Finally, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind during the program selection process. For starters, you may wish to inquire about each institution’s career placement assistance, or the career success statistics of its graduates. While neither is synonymous with a job guarantee or long-term career advancement or success, it can help you get a better idea of a program’s post-degree support system. In addition, and related to the above, you may wish to get in contact with the school’s academic advising programs to learn about the advising services offered to online students. Ultimately, remaining diligent by taking these actions can help ensure success during the program and beyond.

Influential Cybersecurity Professors
Who Teach Online

Some individuals are concerned that the quality of the education offered in an online program may not be as high as that found in a traditional, campus-based, face-to-face program. In reality, however, there are many experienced and skilled professors that very successfully teach cybersecurity classes online, including the four listed below.

Aviel Rubin is a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, and is the technical director of the institution’s Information Security Institute. His research primarily focuses on computer security, especially for electronic medical records.

Faisal Abdullah is an associate professor of information security at Lewis University, as well as the director of the Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) program. He has a thorough understanding of regulations, including SOX, GLBA, HIPPA, and FSGA, and a number of security frameworks.

Balbir Bal is a professor of computer science at Saint Leo University, where he also serves as the dean of the school of business. He was personally involved in the development of the curriculum for the computer science program and the master of science in cybersecurity, and he has also coauthored a textbook in computer information systems (CIS).

Diane Murphy is a professor of information management at Marymount University, as well as the chair of the department of information technology, management sciences, and cybersecurity. Her research areas include insider threats, diversity in technology, privacy, and technology for the older population, among others, and she was the recipient of the CyberCorpsSFS scholarship at the university.

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