Best Cybersecurity Master's Degrees

Updated November 3, 2023

Explore master's in cybersecurity courses, admission requirements, and tuition costs in our degree guide to find the best master's program for 2022. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Cybersecurity professionals help organizations protect sensitive data and respond to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity master's programs tend to attract students who enjoy solving problems and working with computers. Potential careers include information security analyst, computer and information research scientist, and computer systems analyst.

Top cybersecurity master's programs help graduates qualify for in-demand computer and information technology (IT) positions. These positions pay significantly more than the national median salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% growth rate for information security analyst employment from 2020-2030 — much faster than average.

This guide explains what to expect when earning a degree in this field. We also discuss finding the best universities for a master's in cybersecurity.

Top Master's in Cybersecurity 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 a Cybersecurity Master's Degree?

The field of modern cybersecurity traces its origins to 1971, when researchers created the first computer worm and antivirus program. As our dependence on computers has increased, the number of cyberattacks each year has also grown.

The BLS projects strong demand for cybersecurity professionals in 2020-2030. Cybersecurity master's programs prepare graduates for well-paying advanced technical positions in computer security and IT.

Cybersecurity majors learn to keep computer systems secure, identify potential vulnerabilities, and respond to cyberattacks. Potential cybersecurity jobs include information security analyst, computer and information research scientist, and computer and information systems manager. Although most jobs in this rapidly growing industry require at least a bachelor's degree, earning a master's in cybersecurity can lead to better opportunities and higher salaries.

The BLS projects strong demand for cybersecurity professionals in 2020-2030.

Benefits of earning a cybersecurity master's degree include a strong job outlook, lucrative salaries, and challenging but interesting work. Learn more about why to earn a master's in cybersecurity below.

  • Growing Field

    As cyberattacks increase, the supply of qualified cybersecurity professionals can not keep pace with the demand. The BLS projects faster-than-average growth for information security analysts from 2020-2030.
  • High-Paying Careers

    Many jobs open to cybersecurity master's program graduates feature competitive wages that significantly exceed the national median. Information security analysts made a median annual salary of $103,590 in 2020.
  • Challenging and Evolving Work

    The cybersecurity industry attracts people who enjoy solving problems. The need to keep up with IT security trends helps keep the work interesting and allows cybersecurity professionals to continue learning throughout their careers.

Top Five Cybersecurity Master's Degree Programs

This ranking features our top five cybersecurity master's degree programs. Learn what to expect from the best programs, including admission requirements, notable courses, and unique benefits. Read about our ranking methodology at the link below.


Georgetown University

Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. This globally renowned academic institution generated $212.3 million in research and development expenditures in 2017.

Master's in Cybersecurity Risk Management

Students can enroll part time or full time in Georgetown's master's in cybersecurity risk management degree to complete the program completely online or in person in 2-5 years. Distance learners should expect to devote about 6-9 hours to coursework outside of class each week. The program suits working professionals and admits new candidates in fall, spring, and summer sessions.

The 33-credit curriculum requires courses like system architecture and design, disruptive technology and organizational change, and information security laws and regulatory compliance. Cybersecurity risk management majors must complete capstone projects. Students develop critical thinking, ethical reasoning, information literacy, and applied problem-solving skills.

Applying to Georgetown

Admission requirements include a completed online application, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and college transcripts from previously attended schools. The school does not require GRE or GMAT test scores.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: 1,483/credit for Summer; $1,527 for Fall and Spring
  • Program Length: 2-5 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 25%

University of Southern California

This private research university in Los Angeles enrolls nearly 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school featured 221 National Merit Scholars in its 2021 class of first-year students.

Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering

USC's Viterbi School of Engineering offers a 28-credit, fully online master of science in cybersecurity engineering degree designed for working professionals. The program covers secure networking, key management, secure operating systems, and the challenges of secure applications. Students learn to develop, engineer, and operate secure information systems.

U.S.-based and international students admitted to the Viterbi School can apply for merit-based funding opportunities. The curriculum includes classes like security and privacy, foundations and policy for information security, computer systems assurance, and applied cryptography. The cybersecurity engineering program requires a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Applying to USC

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university in an engineering or engineering-related subject. The program requires transcripts, a resume/CV, and a personal statement. Letters of recommendation are optional.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Tuition: $2,199/credit
  • Required Credits: 28 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 26%

Florida State University

Founded in 1861, FSU is the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida. The school offers 276 degree programs and serves more than 43,000 students from 130 countries.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

FSU's department of computer science offers an MS in computer science cybersecurity major that also confers information security specialist certificates. The computer science department awards financial support to master's students each semester, including research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

Cybersecurity majors take data and computer communications, offensive computer security, cryptography, and software reverse engineering and malware analytics courses. They also complete general computer science coursework in software, systems, and theory.

The 30-credit cybersecurity program requires students to complete six undergraduate prerequisites before graduating, including introduction to computer security, computer organization, and theory of computation.

Applying to FSU

An applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field from an accredited university. Admission requirements also include a minimum 3.0 GPA and minimum GRE scores.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: Varies
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 35%

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Tech, a public research university headquartered in Atlanta, serves almost 40,000 students. The school houses highly regarded engineering and computing schools that rank among the top in the U.S.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Georgia Tech's fully online master of science in cybersecurity program offers tracks in information security, cyber-physical systems, and policy. The part-time program takes 2-3 years to complete and requires 32 credits.

All tracks require classes like introduction to information security, information security policies and strategies, and a five-credit practicum.

The information security track focuses on practical skills for protecting networks and computers. The cyber-physical systems track covers smart grids, cyber-physical electric energy systems, and embedded systems. The policy track explores privacy issues related to computing, the internet and public policy, and data analytics.

Applying to Georgia Tech

Admission requirements vary by track but include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Each candidate must submit official transcripts, a personal statement, a professional resume, and references.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $310/credit
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 24%

Johns Hopkins University

Established in 1876, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, is the oldest research university in the United States. The school boasts 29 past and present Nobel laureates.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Johns Hopkins's Whiting School of Engineering offers a part-time online master of science in cybersecurity degree designed for working engineering professionals. The program combines theory and practice and helps students develop technical skills to stop cyberattacks. The cybersecurity MS offers five tracks, including assured autonomy, systems, and independent study.

Enrollees complete courses like foundations of information assurance, security engineering, public key infrastructure and managing e-security, and intrusion detection. Other topics include cryptology, ethical hacking, and digital forensics. Successful program applicants typically possess a minimum 3.0 GPA in the second half of their undergraduate studies.

Applying to Johns Hopkins

Candidates must hold bachelor's degrees from regionally accredited institutions and submit transcripts from all previously attended universities. The program requires prerequisites like calculus, data structures, and Java.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $58,720/year
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid, on-site, or 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 29%

What To Expect From Master's in Cybersecurity Programs

The best cybersecurity master's programs cover computer system security, risk analysis and reduction, and information assurance. Students learn best practices for preventing and responding to cyberattacks. Graduates can pursue advanced careers in computer security.

A cybersecurity master's degree takes 12-24 months to complete and requires about 30-48 credits. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that one year of graduate tuition was $19,792, on average, in the 2019-20 school year.

Cybersecurity master's programs feature courses in computer system security, ethical hacking, information security risk management, and data mining. Graduation requirements may include a thesis paper, capstone project, or internship.

Learn more about what to expect from the top cybersecurity master's programs below.

Admission Requirements

Some cybersecurity master's programs welcome applicants from undergraduate backgrounds unrelated to the field. Others require a bachelor's in cybersecurity, computer science, or computer engineering. Applicants with non-cybersecurity bachelor's degrees may need to complete prerequisite courses in IT foundations, statistics, and programming.

Admission requirements for a cybersecurity master's program often include a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE scores. Schools may also seek letters of recommendation, resumes, and writing samples. Professional experience in IT or computer security can strengthen your application. Some programs require a telephone or in-person interview for admission.

Degree Options

Master's in cybersecurity programs offer several degree options. When exploring cybersecurity master's degrees, consider the setting (online, in person, or hybrid) and delivery format (asynchronous or synchronous). Think about your schedule, flexibility, and learning style to choose the type of degree that aligns with your goals and interests.

Some of the best cybersecurity master's programs allow students to specialize in subdisciplines, including systems security and information analysis. Many schools offer cybersecurity as a concentration within computer science, computer engineering, or IT master's degrees.

Popular Cybersecurity Courses

The variety and type of available cybersecurity courses vary by school. Cybersecurity master's programs generally feature core, elective, and concentration courses. Some also require a capstone or thesis course. Below, we describe some popular cybersecurity master's classes.

  • Ethical Hacking

    This class teaches how to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in computer systems. Students learn to use the same techniques and skills as malicious hackers to protect systems.
  • Capstone Project

    A cybersecurity majo often completes a capstone project in their final semester. These projects allow learners to apply classroom learning to real-world problems.
  • Computer Security

    his foundational course explores operating system security, secure engineering principles, and software vulnerabilities. Enrollees also delve into authentication, worms, and viruses.

Accreditation for Cybersecurity Degrees

Prospective students should select from accredited 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 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 Much Will a Master's in Cybersecurity Cost?

Cybersecurity master's costs vary by school. Factors that can affect tuition price include the type of school (public or private) and level of prestige, along with students' state residency status.

The NCES reports that the average cost for one year of graduate school was $19,792 in 2019-20. Tuition at public institutions reached $12,410 annually, while private universities charged an average of $26,597 in the same period.

Students who complete their cybersecurity master's degree in two years pay an average of nearly $40,000 for their graduate education. Learners should also consider costs related to books and supplies, housing, and transportation.

The best cybersecurity master's programs offer various financing options like scholarships, fellowships, loans, and grants.

Top Master's in Cybersecurity Programs

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

Jobs for Master's in Cybersecurity Graduates

The top cybersecurity master's programs prepare students to pursue fulfilling computer and IT security jobs. The cybersecurity jobs listed below feature significantly higher salaries than the median in the U.S.

At the lower end, database administrators and architects earn a median annual salary of $98,860. At the high end, computer and information systems managers make a median of $151,150.

Below, we detail education requirements, job duties, projected job growth rates, and median salaries for popular master's in cybersecurity careers.

Information Security Analyst

Duties for information security analysts include investigating security breaches and installing software to protect data. These analysts also research contemporary security trends, make recommendations for security efforts, and assist users with security procedures. Computer systems design, finance, and insurance industries primarily employ these professionals.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +33%
  • Median Annual Salary: $103,590

Computer and Information Research Scientists

A computer and information research scientist needs a master's degree in computer science or a related field. With experience, some computer and information research scientists can advance to computer and information systems manager positions. Job tasks include researching computing problems, creating new computer languages, and writing papers about research findings.

  • Required Education: Master's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +22%
  • Median Annual Salary: $126,830

Computer and Information Systems Managers

A computer and information systems manager usually must possess at least five years of professional experience and a bachelor's degree. Earning a master's in cybersecurity may allow candidates to bypass part of the experience requirements. These managers oversee their organizations' computer-related activities.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $151,150

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects create data communication networks, including wide area networks, local area networks, and intranets. Duties include developing networks, upgrading hardware, and researching new technologies.

Network architects usually need 5-10 years in IT, but a master's in cybersecurity can help them qualify for positions with less work experience.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $116,780

Database Administrators and Architects

Database administrators and architects create data storage systems. Their duties include building new databases, maintaining existing databases, and backing up data. These professionals need strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Some database administrators and architects can advance to roles as computer and information systems managers.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +8%
  • Median Annual Salary: $98,860

Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Graduate Program

A ranked list of the best cybersecurity master's degrees offers a great starting place for your research, but students should consider many factors to find their ideal program. Consider the following characteristics when researching your cybersecurity master's degree:

  • Accreditation: Make sure any school you consider is regionally accredited. Completing your degree at a regionally accredited university makes it easier to get financial aid and qualify for professional certifications. Accreditation also signals to employers that your school offers a high-quality education.
  • Cost/Financial Aid: Tuition costs vary significantly among schools. Attending an in-state public university may offer the most affordable option, and some online programs offer in-state rates to out-of-state students. Make sure to ask about financial aid opportunities.
  • Future Education Opportunities: Some universities offer doctoral degrees and certifications relevant to cybersecurity professionals. Students interested in post-master's cybersecurity education may want to choose schools with additional educational opportunities.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Some of the best cybersecurity master's programs feature online delivery. The field focuses on computer and IT expertise, so cybersecurity master's degrees are especially suited to the online learning experience. Cybersecurity majors taking online classes can also build online communication and tech troubleshooting skills.

Online master's in cybersecurity degrees offer flexibility and convenience. Some students find time management and the lack of in-person interaction challenging. Identify your learning style to weigh the pros and cons of distance learning before making your decision.

Other Educational Paths

Cybersecurity professionals can pursue other educational pathways if they do not want to earn master's degrees. Many cybersecurity careers require a bachelor's degree, which takes less time and money than a master's. Entering the workforce after earning a bachelor's also allows you to begin earning a salary more quickly.

Completing a certificate or bootcamp in cybersecurity can signal proficiency to employers. The following links detail other education pathways for the field.

Explore other cybersecurity education paths:


Cybersecurity Certificates

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Associate Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Doctoral Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Types of Coding Bootcamps

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Best Coding Bootcamps

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Cybersecurity Bootcamps

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Frequently Asked Questions About a Master's Degree in Cybersecurity

How long does a master's in cybersecurity take?

Program length varies, but a master's in cybersecurity often takes two years of full-time enrollment or less to complete. Some online cybersecurity master's programs offer accelerated tracks, as well.

Does cybersecurity require coding?

Coding requirements vary by position, but not all cybersecurity jobs require coding expertise. Some basic coding or programming knowledge is useful, but cybersecurity careers focus on higher-level issues in computer security.

Where can I work with a master's in cybersecurity?

A cybersecurity master's degree can open the door to in-demand careers in IT and computer security. Employers include banks, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, and the federal government. Many cybersecurity professionals also work from home.

Can cybersecurity be self-taught?

It depends on the person. In general, you can teach yourself some cybersecurity basics, but self-education usually does not lead to the same level of expertise you can develop in cybersecurity master's programs.

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