Online Cyber Security Degree

Many online schools offer cyber security degrees to meet industry demand. Data breaches are on the rise. Yet there is an acute shortage of skilled staff to fill over 1.8 million new jobs. If you enjoy computers, now may be an ideal time to earn a cyber security degree online.  

A cyber security degree aims to arm you with the knowledge and skills to defend systems, networks and data. As you learn theory and also learn about cyber attacks of all kinds, it is a technical degree. Most cyber security degrees are sub sets of comp sci. You may find them listed under other names too. Of them, Information Assurance and Information Security (Info Sec) are the most common.

One may find cyber security degrees at all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhD. Many schools and private sources also offer cyber security scholarships to offset costs. At each level, you may study tools, techniques and protocols. Like how to prevent attacks, lessen their effects and design strong lines of defense.

Cyber security bachelor’s degrees are entry level. They often provide intense training in foundation skills. You tend to learn about policy and audits, IT compliance, network security, and cyber crime. Master’s in cyber security are often for a person midway in their career. And who now want to shift into a manager based role. As such, they cover ways to make data driven decisions, budget and lead. PhD in cyber security are research focused. They often appeal to people who want to direct defense strategy. And those who want to teach, consult and craft policies.

When researching schools, you may find ones that are national centers. These have the approval of two gov’t agencies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And the National Security Agency (NSA).

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security

There are two forms of online bachelor’s programs. Bachelor of Arts (BA) where you study liberal arts. And Bachelor of Science (BS) where you take more comp sci and math courses. Most programs cover a wide range of topics in 120 credit hours or more. These often take a full time student four years to complete.

Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees at this level is to prep you to enter the cyber work force. As such, they cover a wide range of basics. Things like how to spot risks, design secure systems and write safe computer codes. You assess and investigate the misuse of data and info systems too. This may help you hone skills as a problem solver.  

To get into an online cyber bachelor’s, you need to have a high school diploma or its equal. Plus meet any other standards set by the school. This may mean having a certain GPA. Or a background in comp sci. Tuition varies from one school to the next. If you study at a public school and in state, the average cost is $6,600. For out of state private schools, it is about $27,930.

Master’s Degree in Cyber Security

Most online schools award a Master of Science (MS) in cyber security. There are MBA programs too. These focus more on business skills and how they relate to info sec. The MS and MBA are grad degrees. They presume you have a basic knowledge of computer security. And want to go deeper. To do this, they often cover from 30 to 36 credits. This may take from one to three years depending on your course load.

These courses often include topics for manager based roles. Things like how to oversee people, IT projects and tactics. Along with this, you may take a slew of computer courses. Networks, intrusion detection, ethical hacking, etc. These courses help you refine technical security skills. And learn to manage complex systems. Many employers today look for these skills to fill advanced roles.

Aside from a bachelor’s, each school sets the bar for admission. You may need to meet a GPA or GRE range. And, have a few solid years in the work force. Tuition varies for online cyber security master’s too. Per recent data the average cost is $11,617 . That’s if you study at a public college.  

PhD in Cyber Security

An online PhD in cyber security is a research degree. Some online schools also offer a Doctor of Computer Science which is more technical. These are the highest degrees you can earn in info sec. They may prep you to form policies for internet and homeland security. Or innovate in AI.

Most programs cover 60 credits or more. And there may be two ways to enter. One is with a bachelor’s. The other, with a MS or MBA. As such the time it takes to complete your PhD may range from three to eight years. Beyond the degree, there are other things you need to get into a program. A statement of research goals for instance. Some programs include student teaching or mentoring as well. This may entail a few brief visits to campus. Called residencies, they provide the potential for hands on learning. And may involve work shops and a chance to network with your peers.

What can I do with an Online Cyber Security Degree?

This degree may be a gateway to a broad range of niche areas and work roles. Many of them have high growth and salary potential. As careers in this field are changing, there may be jobs for all levels of education. Entry ones usually call for an undergraduate degree. More manager based and research positions call for a master’s or PhD.

1. Information Security Analyst 

Info sec analysts plan and put into use security measures. Things like being able to install firewalls which protect networks from breaches. Or being able to encrypt data so it stays secure. Most info sec analysts enter the field with a bachelor’s degree. Often, it’s in an area like comp sci or info sec. To shift into the role of leader, many info sec analysts pursue more education. This can be an MBA, a master’s or if you’ve taken certification exams. Like CISSP, CISCO, LINUX.

2. Computer and Information Systems Manager 

Information Systems (IT) Managers are also project managers. Their task is to take care of a business’ computer needs. And any things that relate such as upgrades. For entry roles, you need at least a bachelor’s in comp sci or info sec. To climb the ladder, you often need an MBA. Then you may shift into a C Suite job. 

3. Database Administrator  

DBA’s use software to organize, store and guard data. Some use their skills to install upgrades or debug systems. Others work in app design. Many DBA’s start their career with a bachelor’s in comp sci or info sec. Then might move into an IT manager role. With job skills and possibly a master’s or MBA.

4. Computer Networking Administrator

Network managers take care of the day to day tasks of computer networks. This includes local area (LAN’s), wide area (WANs), intranet and more. Much of this work means keeping up to date with the latest technology. You also need a bachelor’s in a related field. An industry certification does not hurt either.  

5. Computer Information Research Scientist 

Most computer and information research scientists need a master’s degree. In computer science, computer engineering or a related field. These pros are innovators. They work to design new ways to defend systems, networks and data. And strive to solve problems along the way.

6. Software Developer 

Software developers have a creative mind. They have to bring this to the table to create programs that allow people to perform tasks on hardware and devices. These skills help them build the systems that run the devices. Or that control networks. This means keeping a finger on the pulse of tools and programming languages.

Is an Online Degree in Cyber Security worth it?

A degree in cyber security may help you secure a bright future. High value cyber security skills may lead to many potential careers in areas with higher earning potential. One reason is that without trained  cyber security professionals, companies face more attacks than ever. And the loss of billions of dollars in revenue.

Yet there is a short supply of people who can do three vital tasks. Identify threats, design safe software and lessen risk. As such, info sec jobs are some of the fastest growing in the states. And world wide. You may wonder if these jobs will exist later on. Once you have a cyber security degree. Well, no degree is a guarantee. So, let’s look at some data. Companies are eager to hire experts to guard against risks. Reports say there are 2.93 million open roles in the world today. And they predict more of these to come.

1.97 Million People Work in Information Systems Security  

Many of these roles are for info sec analysts. In fact, those who work in system security design face 55% more jobs to 2028. And last year earned an average of $102,620 working in this sector. If you prefer to research and innovate, there are other paths. Info research scientists look for ways to prevent digital attacks. This field expects 16% growth to 2028. And many earn about $118,370 per year.  

Some jobs entail past work experience. They may appeal to law enforcement officers who want to focus on cyber. There are other options for managers too. These often appeal to current pros who want to “get ahead”. Some are corporate roles. These often call for a master’s degree or MBA. And include IT directors, chief technology officers (CTOs) and chief information officers (CIOs). These pros work to ensure security measures meet with company goals. They lead teams and security defense projects.

As more businesses strengthen their defenses, the need for people at this level will rise by 11%. That’s above average growth. And may come with yearly salaries of up to $208,000 plus per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cyber Security Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Average Salary Jobs
Information Security Analyst $99,730 122,300
Computer and Information Systems Manager $146,360 414,400
Database Administrator $93,750 116,900
Network and Computer Systems Administrator $83,510 383,900

Top States for Jobs as an Information Sec Analysts 

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
VA 15,010 $114,760
TX 10,430 $108,810
CA 9,200 $114,620
NY 7,120 $121,750
FL 6,630 $91,580

What classes will I take with an Online Cyber Security Degree?

As cyber security is a pretty new field, programs change with trends, tools and tech. Many current study plans feature a menu of IT security and info assurance topics. These classes often help you learn the CIA triad.  

  • Confidentiality: Ways to cipher and encrypt data so it stays private 
  • Integrity: Methods that keep data intact so no one can tamper with it or destroy it 
  • Availability: Frame works that ensure only authorized users have access to data 

Some schools favor classes in programming and probability. Others play up digital forensics and security policy. Then there are programs that follow NSA’s CAE IA / CD criteria. These schools are Centers of Academic Excellence in Info Assurance/Cyber Defense. And may zoom in on defense, data analysis, scripting and more. As such, you are likely to find a lot of variety between cyber security programs. And will need to find an approach that meets your goals and interests while you fulfill other college credits. Here are some sample classes you may find at the bachelors, masters and PhD levels.  

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

Undergraduate programs share a common goal. To help you detect risks, threats and weak areas. And serve on the front lines of defense. As such, the study plan often melds governance, risk assessment, and compliance (GRC) skills. These look at how digital systems link and work with data. Your courses may cover many comp sci courses as well. Things like operating systems and databases. These areas often bolster critical thinking skills along the way. Below are a few other sample topics that online students may find.

Ethical Hacking

Learn the advanced hacking tools used to break into an organization in a lawful and legitimate way.

Network Defense

In this course, learn concepts used in defending a network, and techniques that can be used to protect a network from cyber threats.

Cyber Security Policy

In this course, you could learn about how to help organizations protect their data, identify and manage cyber risk, and recover from cyber attacks.

Database Basics

Learn the basics of creating tables and selecting data in various different ways. You could learn structured query language (SQL) as well.

Graduate Degree Courses

Many MS in cyber security programs cover core topics. Like incident response and reporting. Plus, ways to contain data as well as restore system infrastructure. Aside from the basics, there is usually room to choose a focus. This aims to prep you for a certain industry niche. And may be a perfect way to gain expertise. Apart from some of the sample topics that follow, you may gain soft skills. Leadership, ethics and an ability to make choices based on data are a few.

  • Digital Crime Investigations
  • National Security 
  • Intelligence 

In many online PhD course plans, you will find a few distinct areas. These cover core topics, research classes, strategy. Sometimes, teaching methods too. As a PhD is a research degree, it often asks you to write up a dissertation. For this, you may take writing classes. And learn about research design and methods. Core classes may cover a wide range of theories and their uses. As a result, you may study the IT field in depth while also learning advanced security measures.

Here are a few more to give you an idea.

Cyber Forensics

In this course you could cover the investigation of computer related crimes. Learn how to obtain evidence to present in a court of law.

Security Risks Management

In this course, you could gain comprehensive knowledge of risk management and the theories, concepts, and best practices.

Prevention of Cyber Attack Methods

This type of course is both theory and practice. The goal is to prevent cyber attacks. It may include insight into how to design, apply, and then check many tech solutions to achieve this. Some of this may include encryption, network access control methods, as well as firewalls. The classes may also teach things like cloud computing security and virtual network.

Cyberspace and Cyber Security Foundations

This advanced course teaches the foundation of cyber security. It may include areas of cyber methods and cyber architecture. Also, it may include components of hardware and software, algorithms, and protocols. Many students will learn about the role of cyber security in business continuity planning. And, they may learn management level aspects of cyber.

Popular Cyber Security Areas

If you want to gain a certain skill set and know how, you might tailor your course work to fit your interests. Here are a few themes to look for when scouting online schools.

1. Cyber Intelligence

Explores areas like terrorism and cyber conflicts. Threat intelligence also deals with response and detection programs. As a result, you may learn how to craft tactical plans.

2. Computer Forensics

Also called “digital” forensics. This area puts your technical sleuthing skills to use. You tend to learn how to investigate internet crimes as well as cyber defense tools. Most programs also get into methods used to report findings and present them in a court of law. 

3. Cloud Computing 

Storing data in the cloud makes it easy to access files and info. In this focus, you may learn to set up and manage cloud services. In some schools, the courses line up with cert exams. Like those for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SysOps Administrator.

4. Cyber and Network Defense 

Takes a deep look at malicious codes and ways to lessen their effects. Classes may also cover the ways to test for risks and weak areas. So, you may learn to simulate what hackers do to be able to keep one step ahead. In some schools, this may ready you to take the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam.

5. Information Assurance and Security

 Looks at access controls, networking and malicious code activity. You also tend to study cryptography and set up Microsoft® Windows Servers.

How long does it take to get a Cyber Security Degree online?

A full time student may earn a cyber security degree online at the bachelor’s level in four years. If you have transfer credits from community college, you may have two years less. Beyond the bachelor’s, a MS in cyber security often takes two years. For a PhD, you may need to study three to four more years. And some schools give you up to eight.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
City University of Seattle Bachelors 180 4 24
Bellevue University Bachelors 127 4 48
American Military University Bachelors 120 12 48
Utica College Masters 30 Every 16 Weeks 24
University of San Diego Masters 30 3 20
Texas A&M University Masters 30 2 20
Northcentral University PhD 60 Weekly 50
Capella University PhD 90QC Multiple 36
Walden University PhD 64+ Multiple 42

Scholarships for Cyber Security Majors

Find out if you qualify for a cyber security scholarship. These may be available from the online colleges you apply to as well as other sources.

(ISC)2 Undergraduate Scholarships

There are about 20 of these $1,000 to $5,000 awards each year. They are available from Center for Cyber Safety and Education. Applicants may be high school seniors or undergraduate students. Needed are a plan to pursue a degree in cyber security/info assurance or a related area and a 3.3 GPA.

Deadline: March 8, 2021

(ISC)2 Graduate Scholarships

The Center for Cyber Safety and Education puts aside 20 awards for grad students too. Also in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA and be going for a master’s or PhD in cyber security/info assurance or a related area.

Deadline: March 8, 2021

Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship

ESET offers this $5,000 award. It is available for women who are going for an undergraduate or graduate degree in cyber security or a related technology field. Applicants also need a 3.0 GPA or higher. 

Deadline: April 15, 2021

Snort Scholarship

This award of $10,000 is from Snort – an affiliate of Cisco (provider of security software products). There are two selectees. To qualify you must be a graduating high school senior. You must also plan to go for a degree in computer science. Or information technology, computer networking, cyber security, and related fields.

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Cyber Security Scholarship

Education Dynamics offers this $1,000 award. It goes to the person with a winning essay. Applicants must also show they want to get into the cyber field.

15 Online Cyber Security Degrees

We have ranked our top 15 schools based on the number of graduates from the program in 2019. Our process looks at 2019 data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.

  1. Western Governors University
  2. University of Maryland Global Campus
  3. University of the Cumberlands
  4. University of Phoenix Arizona
  5. American Public University System
  6. ECPI University
  7. Wilmington University
  8. Pennsylvania State University
  9. Champlain College
  10. University of Texas at San Antonio
  11. Capella University
  12. Bellevue University
  13. Colorado Technical University
  14. George Washington University
  15. Rochester Institute of Technology


Here is a closer look at the online cyber security degrees that these 15 schools have to offer.


Western Governors University

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security/Information Assurance 


WGU’s program includes 15 industry certifications. It also covers a broad range of practices in systems and services. You study networking and security, scripting and programming, data , and the business of IT. The school uses a competency model instead of credit hours. So, you work through the 34 courses as quickly as you master the topic. 

Courses include:

  • Web and Cloud Security 
  • Risk Management 
  • Secure Systems Analysis  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $6,670
Grad $7,790
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security


University of Maryland Global Campus

Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cyber Security   


UMGC is a National Center (CDFAE). The program they offer entails 120 credits and they accept up to 90 transfer credits. Courses weave operations, technical and communication skills. You also study ways to design, use, administer, secure, and troubleshoot corporate networks.

Courses include:

  • Cloud Tech 
  • Interconnecting Cisco Devices
  • Networking 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $10,779 / $36,891
Grad $14,793 / $30,885
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Homeland Security Management
  • MS in Cyber Security Technology 


University of the Cumberlands

Master of Science in Information Systems Security 


U Cumberlands is a National Center CAE -CD. Their program is for those who already have a bachelor’s and are at work in the field if IT. It spans 31 credits and studies security risks and ways to prevent them. Grads may thus have the skills to sit for the CISSP certification exam. 

Courses include:

  • Operations Security 
  • Cryptography
  • Access Control 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $9,875
Grad $5,670
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Criminal Justice


University of Phoenix Arizona

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology 


UOPX’s program studies how to keep corporate data safe. There are 120 credits though you may be able to transfer eligible credits to reduce the load. To tailor your program, the school offers elective tracks and certificates. Like Cyber Network Defense, Advanced Networking and more.

Courses include:

  • Info Systems 
  • Cyber Domain
  • Foundations of Security 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $9,552
Grad $16,752
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • AA in Information Technology
  • BS in Cyber Security
  • MS in Information Systems 


American Public University Systems

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security  


APU offers a degree completion program. It allows students who have earned an AS to apply 60 credits (30 general, 30 elective). Classes study cyber security theory and know how needed to be strategic. And, to assess, plan, design, and apply effective defenses in public and private sectors. You also choose a focal area – general or wireless/ mobile security.

Courses may include:

  • Scripting Languages
  • Red and Blue Team Security 
  • Cyber Warfare 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Criminal Justice 
  • MS in Cyber Security Studies
  • MA in Homeland Security 
  • MA in Intelligence Studies
  • Doctor of Global Security Doctor of Strategic Intelligence

ECPI’s program is technical, based in computer and info science. It studies how to manage and trouble shoot hardware, software and devices in a multi user setting. The school is also a CAE – CDE. So, many other topics look at how to watch and defend networks. 

Classes may include:

  • Service Desk Basics
  • Intro to Cloud Solutions 
  • Applied Project Mgmt. Lab 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $16,639
Grad $12,960
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Digital Forensics Technology
  • MS in Cyber Security 
  • MS in Information Systems 
  • MS in Management/Homeland Security 


Wilmington University

Master of Science in Cyber Security 


WilmU’s program aims to prep you to battle cyber terrorism and protect against multi vector attacks. As such, it studies areas like counter sabotage and espionage in depth. With a total of 36 credits, it may be possible to finish in about one year.

Some courses may include:

  • Threat Intelligence
  • Vulnerability Assmt.
  • Protecting OS

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $8,834
Grad $15,233
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Computer & Network Security


Pennsylvania State University Global

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security Analytics and Operations  


Penn State’s 126 credit program focuses on how to assess and respond to a wide range of threats. Like hacking, data breaches, theft of personal data, and cyber terrorist attacks. The classes also aim to grow the skills needed to convey technical info to stake holders. 

Some classes may include:

  • Cyber Incident Handling and Response
  • Cyber Security Analytics
  • Malware Analytics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $13,988
Grad $22,186
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Information Sciences and Technology
  • MPS in Cyber Security Analytics and Operations
  • MPS in Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation


Champlain College

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security


Champlain is a National Center and offers a 120 credit program. It studies industry specific skills and knowledge. Things like how to form and address risk policies that protect systems. Other areas frame ways to troubleshoot and update an enterprise’s info sec systems.

Classes may include:

  • Intro to Python 
  • Networking
  • TCP/IP

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $15,233

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More Degree Programs:

  • MS in Digital Forensic Science 
  • MS in Information Security


University of Texas at San Antonio

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security


UTSA’s program puts the role of cyber security within the broader context of business. It studies ways to protect and defend valuable info, data, and assets. While also looking at how cyber fits into an org’s greater goals. 

Some classes may include:

  • Cyber Security Governance 
  • Risk Management 
  • Leadership and Problem Solving 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $8,262 / $20,263
Grad $7,754 / $24,983
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Multidisciplinary Studies 


Capella University 

PhD in Information Assurance and Cyber Security 

Fully Online

Capella is an NSA CAE IA / CD. Their program aims to help you gain quality research and technical skills. And provides a chance to study key areas. These include confidentiality, compliance and risk. You also take a few dissertation research seminars along the way.

Learning topics may include:

  • Network Security Advances 
  • Assurance Controls 
  • Enterprise Security  

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $15,233
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

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More Degree Programs:

  • BS in Information Assurance / Cyber Security
  • MS in Information Technology / Cyber Security 
  • MS in Information Assurance / Cyber Security


Bellevue University 

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security  


Bellevue is NSA CAE / CDE. And their online BS in cyber sec covers many basics. You study cyber threats of all kinds as well as measures to defend against them. There is also a focus on forensics. As such, you may come to understand audits and investigation.

Classes may include:

  • Web, Commerce and App Security 
  • Intro to National Security 
  • Securing Access Control

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $7,851
Grad $11,205
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security


Colorado Technical University

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security / Information Assurance

Fully Online

CTU is a National Center CAE IA/CD). This 186 quarter credit program studies the systems that keep data safe. In it, you explore and apply the latest methods and tools for securing the public and private sector from threats and hackers. You also study policies that insure the security needs of an org or sector such as banking.

Classes may include:

  • Security Architecture
  • Client/Server Operating Systems
  • Structured Query 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,529
Grad $14,321
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • MA in Information Systems Security 

GWU is a NFOPU Consortium member.This program entails 36 credits and may take as few as 16 months to complete. It studies ways to protect info systems and aims to grow tactical skills in this area. You also take classes that frame issues of law, policy and leadership. 

Some courses may include:

  • Cyber Defense Strategy
  • Info Sharing and Safeguarding
  • Cyber Intelligence 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $56,935
Grad $31,824

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:

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More Degree Programs:

  • Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Completion 
  • MPS in Homeland Security 


Rochester Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Computing Security 

Fully Online

RIT is a National Center and offers this 30 credit degree. You may finish in as few as 24 months and enter in Fall or Spring. The course plan is skills focused. It studies ways to manage, analyze and make sense of big data. At the same time, there is an advanced cert in cyber security. You may work towards it while working towards the MS as it spans 4 courses.

Some classes may include:

  • Enterprise Security
  • Computer viruses
  • Advanced Forensics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $45,890
Grad $47,818
Special rates available for military students.

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More Degree Programs:

  • MS in Human Computer Interaction
  • MS in Data Science

*Unemployment Earnings. Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.