Best Online Cybersecurity Master's Degrees 2022

Updated September 12, 2022

Online cybersecurity master's programs can open the door to a rewarding career. Explore the best online master's in cybersecurity degrees.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

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By pursuing an online cybersecurity master's degree, students learn to protect computer and network systems. They also learn how to respond when cyberattacks occur.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% growth in employment for information security analysts from 2020-2030. This projection outpaces the national average for all occupations, making now an excellent time to enter the field.

An online master's in cybersecurity allows students to enroll in any program without relocating. Given the flexibility of online classes, many learners continue working while studying for their online cybersecurity master's degree.

What to Expect From an Online Master's in Cybersecurity Program

Online cybersecurity programs share similarities with their on-campus counterparts, including shared faculty. Both delivery styles require similar credit loads and courses as well.

However, some notable differences exist between online and in-person programs. Differences between online and on-campus programs often arise in scheduling, course delivery, and tuition costs, which may run lower for online students.

How Is an Online Master's in Cybersecurity Different From an On-Campus Program?

For traditional on-campus degrees, students meet in classrooms or computer labs. Instructors present materials through lectures and in-class exercises.

Online degrees operate differently. Professors may post lectures in video or written form for learners to access on their own time. Some classes may run in real time, requiring students to virtually attend. Discussions often take place in forums.

Distance learners may need to buy or rent equipment that on-campus students can access in a computer lab.

The table below explores some differences between online and on-campus cybersecurity master's programs.

Comparing Online and On-Campus Master's in Cybersecurity Degrees
Online Program On-Campus Program
Cost $565-$2,200 per credit $1,585-$2,200 per credit
Course Load 30-36 credits 30-36 credits
Scheduling Courses may run asynchronously, with students accessing material at their convenience. Synchronous courses entail virtual meetings at specific times. Courses meet in person at specified times.
Program Length 1.5-2 years 2 years
Course Delivery Materials presented online through written lectures, videos, and class discussions in a forum or real-time meeting Materials presented in a classroom through lectures and in-person discussions

Degree-seekers can save on tuition costs by pursuing an online master's in cybersecurity. Even courses that run synchronously allow for increased flexibility, saving learners time and money on commuting.

Degree-seekers can save on tuition costs by pursuing an online master's in cybersecurity.

Students with strong independent learning skills can thrive in distance learning environments. Those who prefer the guidance of classroom experience may prefer traditional on-campus degrees.

How Is an Online Master's in Cybersecurity Different From a Bootcamp?

Aspiring cybersecurity specialists might consider the difference between a master's degree and a cybersecurity bootcamp program. With a master's degree in cybersecurity, students graduate with college credit that can apply to other programs.

A master's degree in cybersecurity takes about two years to complete. A bootcamp may take about six months. Highly focused on career readiness, cybersecurity bootcamps emphasize job placement and preparation for industry credentials like CompTIA Security+.

Degree programs focus on the student experience, highlighting alumni networks, career services, and extracurricular activities.

Delivery Formats for Online Cybersecurity Degrees

Many online cybersecurity master's degrees are entirely remote. Others may require occasional in-person attendance.

Some programs present all materials asynchronously, emphasizing flexibility. Asynchronous classes allow students to complete work at their convenience, though learners usually return assignments according to a schedule.

Synchronous classes require degree-seekers to meet online with instructors and peers at a regular time. Some programs combine these two options.

Students must decide which format works best for their schedules and learning styles. Those with unpredictable schedules may prefer an asynchronous structure. Learners who enjoy live discussions, however, might want real-time class meetings.

Accreditation for Online Cybersecurity Degrees

Prospective students should select from accredited online cybersecurity programs. Regional and national accreditation apply to the entire institution. National accreditation generally evaluates for-profit and vocational schools.

Regional accreditation is a higher standard. Employers and other institutions may not recognize degrees that are not regionally accredited.

Aspiring cybersecurity specialists should look for accreditation from ABET.

Some accrediting organizations set specific standards for cybersecurity programs. Programmatic accreditation can indicate degree excellence. Aspiring cybersecurity specialists should look for accreditation from ABET.

Those interested in working for homeland security, or in government jobs, should consider a program with National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) accreditation.

How Much Will an Online Master's in Cybersecurity Cost?

Tuition for online cybersecurity master's programs varies widely. Prospective students can expect tuition to cost $565-$2,200 per credit for most programs.

Tuition cost can depend on program prestige. Private schools often cost more than public schools. Likewise, public schools may charge out-of-state rates for distance learners. However, many schools allow online students to pay in-state rates regardless of where they live.

Beyond tuition, distance learners must pay for equipment, including computers, software, and internet service. Hybrid learners should plan for any travel costs.

In-person programs may cost more than online programs. On-campus students tend to pay $1,585-$2,200 per credit.

Prospective students seeking financial aid should complete a FAFSA. This grants learners access to low-interest federal loans, which require repayment after graduation. Students can also find scholarship opportunities to help lower tuition costs. Sometimes scholarship funds can apply to materials.

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Why Get Your Master's in Cybersecurity Online?

By completing a cybersecurity master's degree online, distance learners access the same curriculum as on-campus students. Online learning offers an opportunity for students to advance in their field without the inconvenience of uprooting their lives.

Each student needs to decide whether online learning works for them. Some factors to consider when it comes to online learning:

Pros

  • Flexibility. Distance learners can study from anywhere, often accessing materials on their own time.
  • Experience. With the increased flexibility of an online program, online students can continue working while completing their degree.
  • Cost. Many online programs cost less than their on-campus counterparts. For example, schools may allow out-of-state online students to pay in-state tuition rates.

Cons

  • Extracurriculars. Many schools work hard to ensure that distance learners can participate in extracurricular activities. However, on-campus students still have more access to clubs and organizations.
  • Networking. While networking absolutely occurs in online programs, students may find it more difficult without access to on-campus events.
  • Environment. Online students may miss the activity of a bustling campus.

Learn more about cybersecurity careers:

Selecting Your Online Cybersecurity Program

Prospective students should keep their own goals in mind before selecting a cybersecurity graduate program online. Important factors can include admission requirements, university resources, and dedication to online-specific education.

Admission requirements vary by school. Some programs require standardized tests like the GRE. Other programs may require prerequisite courses.

Universities provide many resources, such as tech support, disability services, library resources, and career guidance. Prospective students should ask whether the program can connect them with an alumni network as well.

With online education growing in popularity, many schools offer support for distance learners. For example, some institutions might connect new online enrollees with student mentors. This allows distance learners to engage in extracurricular activities.

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Top Five Online Master's in Cybersecurity Degrees 2022

Use our ranked list to explore the five best online master's in cybersecurity programs for 2022. Learn about our ranking methods at the link below.

1

Johns Hopkins University

A private university in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins leads U.S. colleges and universities in total research and development spending. Founded in 1876, the school is Maryland's largest employer.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Johns Hopkins offers a part-time master of science in cybersecurity through the Whiting School of Engineering. The program covers subjects like information assurance, cryptology, security engineering, and artificial intelligence.

Course topics include reverse engineering and vulnerability analysis. Learners also explore covert channels, authentication technologies, and ethical hacking. Students choose one of five tracks with options like assured autonomy, analysis, systems, and networks.

Johns Hopkins's cybersecurity master's program requires several undergraduate prerequisites, including coursework in calculus, data structures, and computer organization.

Applying to Johns Hopkins

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. Applicants must submit official transcripts and a completed application form. Admitted students typically hold a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $1,957/credit
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, hybrid, or on campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 29%
2

University of California-Berkeley

Founded in 1868, UC Berkeley offers over 350 degree programs. Learners benefit from small class sizes with a 17.8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Master of Information and Cybersecurity

Berkeley's online master of information and cybersecurity provides hands-on experience with secure applications and systems. Offered through the university's School of Information, this leadership-focused program explores cybersecurity's business, legal, and political aspects.

Students take classes in operating system security, cryptography for cyber and network security, and privacy engineering. The curriculum also explores cyber risk management and software security.

The 27-unit, nine-course program takes as little as 20 months to complete. Students must complete an in-person cybersecurity immersion on campus or at a cybersecurity-related location. The program accepts candidates with strong computational backgrounds.

Applying to Berkeley

Most applicants hold a 3.0 GPA or higher. Requirements include a bachelor's degree and official transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Students must submit two professional letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a current resume.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $2,712/unit
  • Program Length: 20 months
  • Delivery Format: Online (synchronous) with some in-person requirements
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 22%
3

University of Southern California

A private research university, USC serves 21,000 undergraduates and 28,500 graduate students. The Los Angeles-based school offers free tuition for undergraduate students from families making $80,000 or less each year.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

USC's master of science in cybersecurity engineering program takes 1.5-2 years for full-time students to complete. Part-time learners can graduate in 2.5-3 years. The Viterbi School of Engineering offers the degree fully online with no required internships or fieldwork.

The program prefers applicants with programming skills. Students also need an understanding of computer operating systems and computer networking and a strong foundation in math.

Cybersecurity engineering students take classes like foundations and policy for information security. Other courses examine security and privacy, computer forensics, and secure systems administration. The program teaches students why information security plans succeed or fail.

Applying to USC

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in an engineering-related field. Applicants must submit a completed application form, application fee, and official transcripts.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $2,199/credit
  • Program Length: 1.5-2 years (full time)
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 26%
4

Florida International University

A public research university in Miami, Florida, FIU serves nearly 54,000 students. The school offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in person and online.

MS in Computer Engineering: Network Security

Students can earn an MS in computer engineering with a concentration in network security completely online from FIU's College of Engineering and Computing. The 30-credit degree takes 10 months to complete. FIU holds a designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education from the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency.

The frequently updated curriculum includes classes in advanced malware reverse engineering and random signal principles. Learners also study computer communication networks and advanced ethical hacking. Students develop the skills for leadership positions protecting and defending networks. The program requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above to graduate.

Applying to FIU

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Degree fields can include computer engineering, electrical engineering, and related STEM disciplines. The program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 undergraduate credits.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $25,000/program
  • Program Length: 10 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 29%
5

New York University

Founded in 1831 and headquartered in New York City, NYU comprises 19 schools and colleges with 11 global campus centers. The school serves more than 50,000 students.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

The online cybersecurity master's program at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering features internationally recognized expert instructors. Online cybersecurity MS candidates can apply for an NYU Cyber Fellows scholarship. This program offers a 75% scholarship and other benefits.

The National Security Administration has designated NYU as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and Cyber Defense Research. The cybersecurity MS curriculum includes classes in application security and applied cryptography. Learners delve into algorithm design and analysis and machine learning.

Students can add a specialization in cyber operations or cyber defense. The program requires prerequisites in data structures, algorithms, and programming.

Applying to NYU

The program prefers students with a STEM-related bachelor's, but accepts others on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose and GRE scores. Students' backgrounds should include math through calculus, programming skills, and at least one year of university-level science.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $2,021/credit
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 29%

Questions About Online Cybersecurity Programs

How long does it take to get a master's degree in cybersecurity online?

true A typical online cybersecurity master's degree takes 1.5-2 years to complete. Many online programs offer flexibility and part-time study, giving students up to five years to finish their degree.

Is cybersecurity hard?

Cybersecurity professionals need strong analytical and problem-solving skills. They should establish a solid base of knowledge to keep up with rapid changes in the field.

How much is an online degree in cybersecurity?

Tuition and fees vary by location, institution type, and school reputation. Prospective students can expect tuition rates to cost $565-$2,200 per credit.

Is an online cybersecurity degree worth it?

An online cybersecurity degree requires the same dedication and rigor as an in-person degree. The BLS reports that information security analysts earn a median annual salary of $103,590. This may indicate a strong return on investment.

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