Updated: August 1, 2017
One need only check the news once in awhile to know that computer network security failures, system breaches, cyberattacks, and hacking have become serious problems for companies large and small, government agencies, public institutions, and individuals. The increasing dependence on technology to power critical infrastructures across the globe exposes information vulnerabilities. The consequences of a successful cyberattack can be far reaching. In fact, it is estimated that by 2019 cyber crimes will cost companies, agencies, institutions, and individuals over $2 trillion globally. President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address noted cyber attacks as one of the top issues faced by Americans today. The World Economic Forum placed cybersecurity as one of the top five global risks in 2012.
Information sharing, the way we buy and sell goods, and the sheer amount of data shared and exchanged via technology, points to an increasing need for a skilled workforce—individuals who can recognize and anticipate failures and intrusions and those who can ensure network and system security. Information Assurance and Cyber Security includes both information technology (IT) and physical security for companies, government organizations, and institutions. While the responsibilities vary between industries, all IT security managers oversee the protection of information by implementing security measures on networks and computers. IT security managers are responsible for IT infrastructure, intrusion detection, and customer service.
The severity of cyber attacks, the rapid growth of technology, and the growing availability of IT-related jobs make it essential for potential employees to be well-prepared to face the ever-changing landscape. Information Assurance and Cyber Security specialists are in high demand. Indeed, in 2013 the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium reported that existing IT security professionals were feeling overwhelmed due to staffing shortages. Such demand is reflected in the attractive mean annual wage for Information Security Analysts as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These analysts average over $96,000 per year. Analysts in some industries can expect to make six figures. The better educated and trained one can be in this industry, the more opportunities they will have. Those cybersecurity specialists who have successfully completed a graduate degree program and graduate-level certification can expect to be well-positioned for a career with high salaries, good perks, and flexible schedules.
While it is true that the technical aspects of the career are rigorous, prospects need to recognize that problem-solving skills, teamwork, and creativity are also important skills in order for one to be successful in a cyber career. This complex discipline requires more than just a detailed knowledge of computers, networks, and security technology. It also draws on an understanding of essential principles from psychology, criminology, law, and business.
What are the Best Online Master’s in Information Assurance and Cyber Security Programs?
We at College Choice have compared data from U.S. News & World Report and other publicly available outlets to determine the quality and reputation of online masters programs in information assurance, cyber security, and related fields. We have also used information available from Payscale.org, the Equality of Opportunity Project, and individual school sites to approximate a return on investment for students. With these data points we have derived a College Choice Score for the thirty best online Master’s in Information Assurance and Cyber Security. The information here, we hope, will prove helpful for those looking to further or begin their careers in an extremely important and rapidly growing job market. Most of the schools listed below are recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Penn State World Campus
College Choice Score: 100
Total Program Tuition: $28,182
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) was founded in 1862 as a land-grant institution of higher education for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It remains the only land-grant university in the state. Its main campus is in University Park, PA, but it’s largest campus is the world. Penn State World Campus is an award-winning online environment. Penn State was one of the first universities to offer online degrees and certificates. Today the university has over 100,000 students, 17,000 faculty members, and 24 campuses, including its award-winning online Penn State World Campus.
Penn State World Campus offers a Master of Professional Studies in Information Sciences (MPS IS) online. A student interested in cybersecurity can pursue an MPS IS with a focus on Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. The online MPS IS provides flexibility with a highly relevant course curriculum that incorporates real-world issues. The 33-credit online degree with a focus in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance focuses on information analysis, cybersecurity, and information science training. The program is recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.
Penn State World Campus is the country’s foremost online destination for higher education and is nationally recognized as one of the Best Online Programs by U.S. News and World Report. It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Partnering with Penn State’s academic units and colleges allows Penn State World Campus to offer more than 125 degree and certificate programs developed and taught by Penn State faculty.
Florida Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 99.60
Total Program Tuition: $25,641
Florida Institute of Technology was founded nearly sixty years ago in Melbourne, Florida to educate professionals working in the region. Today, the regionally accredited university offers degree and certificate programs on campus, at off-site locations, and online. Florida Tech is an innovative leader in a variety of disciplines, and continues to be the only independent, technological university in the Southeast. Florida Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (MS-IAC) is offered 100% online through Florida Tech’s Harris Institute for Assured Information, an institute created through a partnership with global security leader Harris Corp. to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity experts. In the 33-credit degree program, students learn how to recognize threats, vulnerabilities, and security structures, as well as how to analyze attack models, forensics, operation processes, and biometric technology. During their time at Florida Tech, students explore communications encryption, and apply data mining and machine learning methods to cybersecurity scenarios. Florida Tech also offers an online Master of Business Administration in Cybersecurity for those interested in a more business-centered avenue to a degree in information technology security. Florida tech is designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Online classes at Florida Tech are as rigorous as the on-campus courses. The faculty at Florida Tech collaborates with instructional designers to develop each course as an interactive, media-rich experience for all students. Assignments and discussions are presented in an easy-to-follow format. Students interact with their peers through discussion boards and live chat. Classes may include group projects where students collaborate. Faculty members provide individualized attention to students through discussion boards, email, and chat. They also provide feedback on assignments via the learning platform.
Sam Houston State University
College Choice Score: 98.65
Total Program Tuition: $17,586
Named after one of Texas’s greatest heroes, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has been preparing students for meaningful lives for nearly 140 years. SHSU is located in Huntsville and enrolls over 20,000 students. The Chronicle of Higher Education named SHSU one of the fastest growing colleges from 2003-2013. The school consistently ranks highly for first-generation and minority graduation rates. While embracing its legacy, SHSU also strives to meet the needs of contemporary students, both traditional and online. In fact SHSU was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best schools in the country for online graduate programs, and especially significant for cybersecurity, SHSU was recognized as one of the country’s best for Computer Information Technology.
The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security degree at SHSU prepares students for a professional career in commercial, industrial, and governmental information assurance. Graduates of the program will know how to utilize knowledge and methods to ensure the protection of corporate information resources, be able to effectively harden and secure network systems, prevent network damage, perform risk assessment, and plan for disaster recovery. This degree requires 30-36 credit hours and is open to anyone who has completed an undergraduate Computer Science or Management Information Systems major or minor, or if they have a baccalaureate degree in a related technical field and appropriate professional experience.
SHSU offers over forty degree programs entirely online. Online courses are taught by on-campus professors, so the credits earned online are identical to the ones earned in a face-to-face course on campus. SHSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, whether earned on campus or online. SHSU degree and certificate programs combine the best in online education: flexibility, affordability and quality.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 97.22
Total Program Tuition: $54,236
The University of Southern California (USC) is a leading research institute in Los Angeles. Founded in 1880 when LA was a burgeoning city, USC is now home to more than 41,000 students and has developed a reputation as one of the leading universities in the country. Less than two decades after its founding, USC awarded its first degree in engineering. Just two decade after that a separate College of Engineering was established. Today the Viterbi School of Engineering is one of the top school of engineering in the world.
The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering at USC focuses on the fundamentals of developing, engineering, and operating secure information systems. The curriculum requires a minimum of 28 units and fosters an understanding on how to develop a security policy and how policy drives technology decisions. Graduates of the program will be well versed in the challenges and problems of secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography, and key management. The program is available online to professional engineers through the Distance Education Network at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering.
The Distance Education Network at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering ([email protected]) enables students to advance their education with an innovative online delivery method. In addition to over forty graduate programs, professional (non-credit) courses are also available. [email protected] provides academic, administrative, and technical support for professional engineers to gain the same high quality degree from USC, completely online. [email protected] operates unique studio classrooms to support on-campus and online students in a blended learning environment. Course lectures are delivered both synchronously and asynchronously through DEN’s custom e-learning environment and provide real time interactivity.
Kennesaw State University
College Choice Score: 94.43
Total Program Tuition: $19,772
Kennesaw State University (KSU), with campuses in the greater Atlanta metro cities of Kennesaw and Marietta, is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third largest university in the state. KSU offers more than 150 degrees and enrolls more than 35,000 students, signs of a quick rise to prominence since its charter in 1963. In its 54 years of existence KSU has been consistently recognized for its excellence in higher education, including recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a leader in online graduate programs, especially in Computer Information Technology.
In the Department of Information Technology at KSU’s College of Computing and Software Engineering, a student can earn an online Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT). MSIT students can then focus electives on Information Technology Security in line with KSU’s Graduate Certificate in IT Security. In this way, once the program is completed, the graduate has an MSIT degree and a graduate certificate, making them highly valuable on the job market. The MSIT coupled with the Graduate Certificate in IT Security requires 36 to 48 credit hours, depending on a student’s prior exposure to required foundation courses.
KSU offers over 70 fully online degree programs, certificate programs, hybrid online programs, and more than 400 courses in online and mixed-model versions. With courses designed and taught by KSU faculty, online learning at KSU offers high quality degree options with online learning convenience and flexibility. Online courses and degrees at KSU are fully accredited and held to the same learning standards, rigors, and expectations of quality that on-campus courses and programs require. KSU Online is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 92.78
Total Program Tuition: $40,550
For over 140 years Johns Hopkins University has been a destination for excellent, ambitious scholars and a world leader in teaching and research. As America’s first research university, Johns Hopkins has revolutionized higher education in the U.S. In 1913 the first engineering class matriculated at the school of applied science and advanced technology, what later came to be the Whiting School of Engineering. Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals is the arm of the Whiting School of Engineering that provides part-time and online programs to give working adults a convenient way to advance their education. It is one of the largest continuing education schools in engineering in the United States.
At Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals, students can become proficient in ensuring the confidentiality, availability and integrity of data, in preserving and restoring systems, and in developing risk management skills through the Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSC) degree program. Or if a student wants a broader degree in information systems, Johns Hopkins also offers an online Master of Science in Information Systems with a focus in Cybersecurity. Johns Hopkins’ state-of-the-art computing tools are available on-site and online, and the instructors are working to fight cybersecurity threats on the front lines. Both degrees can be obtained by successfully completing ten graduate-level courses all available online. Students can choose to complete the MSC degree along one of three tracks: Analysis, Networks, or Systems.
Johns Hopkins Engineering offers seventeen degrees fully online. Online courses are highly interactive and utilize structured, guided learning that provides students a clear pathway for mastering course content. The online experience includes digital resources, academic advising, and support services from across the university. Courses are carefully constructed specifically for the online environment, but the rigor is no less than what one would encounter on campus. Johns Hopkins has been recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best schools for online graduate engineering programs.
College Choice Score: 90.87
Total Program Tuition: $26,280
Regis University, a Jesuit institution of higher education located in Denver, Colorado,has been grounded in the tradition of the Society of Jesus and the society’s founder St. Ignatius of Loyola for 140 years. Award-winning faculty across Regis’s five colleges bring real-world experience and genuine dedication into the course, putting students at the center of their work. In addition to the main Denver campus, Regis has campuses in Lowell, Colorado Springs, and Thornton, as well as a Tech Center in downtown Denver. Regis’s online campus has expanded its goal to nurture the life of the mind and the pursuit of truth within an environment conducive to effective teaching, learning, and personal development.
Regis’s College of Computer and Information Sciences grants a 36-credit Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) degree available entirely online. Students can choose to specialize in Cybersecurity or Information Assurance Policy Management (IAPM). With a specialization in cybersecurity students study the fundamentals for securing entire data networks with specific courses on database security, risk analysis and policy, and computer and network forensics. The IAPM specialization helps students learn how to plan for physical security breaches, disaster recovery, implementation of enterprise and architecture security systems, risk management, and auditing best practices. Through this specialization students study the governance side of information assurance.
Regis offers 78 online programs and numerous courses, all of which are run through the WorldClass learning management system, a system used for on-campus courses as well. Regis’s Learning Commons offers several online resources for students enrolled in online degree programs. Tutoring services and a writing center assist online students in their progress toward successful completion of their degrees. Online courses start six times per year, so one never has to wait long to begin the next phase of their education.
College Choice Score: 90.84
Total Program Tuition: $59,700
Columbia University in New York City has been a world leader in higher education for more than 250 years. Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. Established as a mining school in 1864, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Columbia University today offers broad-based instruction within a major research university and is ideally suited to educate tomorrow’s engineering leaders and encourage technical literacy. The engineering and applied science programs, which are among the nation’s oldest and most influential, embrace new technologies and interdisciplinary possibilities.
Columbia Engineering offers a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Computer Security track. This track is intended for students who wish to develop state-of-the-art knowledge of computer and network security technologies. With security considerations pervading personal, corporate, military, governmental, and national infrastructure systems and networks, this track helps students develop leading-edge knowledge in security and positions them well for a career in many environments. The fully online degree program can be completed with thirty credits and offers the flexibility necessary for busy professionals.
The Columbia Video Network (CVN) has been a leading online learning platform for over thirty years. It enables working professionals and remotely located students to benefit from distance learning and pursue degrees without residency. CVN students take the same classes, have the same homework assignments and the same exams as their on-campus counterparts. The only difference is in location. CVN students earn the same degrees as on-campus students from Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
College Choice Score: 90.75
Total Program Tuition: $19,200
In 1925 barnstomer John Paul Riddle met entrepreneur T. Higbee Embry and founded the Embry-Riddle Company to teach people how to fly. From that beginning Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grew. Today, with campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, as well as a robust Worldwide and Online Campus, Embry-Riddle continues to produce alumni who drive innovation and keep the aerospace and related industries sunning safely and productively. The university has more than 80 programs conferring associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, enrolls over 31,000 students annually.
The Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance (MSISA) is available at Embry-Riddle as a fully online degree program in the business school. This program prepares its graduates to develop, coordinate, and protect information and knowledge resources. The MSISA degree program at Embry-Riddle is unique in its focus on business and organizational life in the Information Age. It is taught from three key perspectives—enterprise, knowledge management, and quality management—to provide a well-rounded foundation in business and security assurance. While the majority of information security degrees focus solely on technical aspects, the MSISA balances technical knowledge with business management principles. The curriculum requires thirty credits for program completion.
For over twenty years Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been home to one of the best online colleges in the country. Its online presence has been around since 1993. Currently, the online student body of over 13,000 students are working towards 31 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Embry-Riddle provides a world-class curriculum that is taught by industry professionals with an average of five years work experience in the field. These instructors are able to lead online courses and projects through the perspective of potential employers, ensuring that students understand the industry inside and out before graduation.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 90.48
Total Program Tuition: $36,060
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has proudly served its region and the country as a beacon of higher education for over 130 years. The school has especially devoted resources to growth in enrollment, research, and facilities in the last decade in order to meet the needs of today’s demanding high-tech marketplace. NJIT offers nearly 130 degree programs in six specialized schools. Its main campus is located in the vibrant University Heights district of downtown Newark, just twenty minutes from Manhattan. Its growing online programs option is helping it reach a larger constituency while maintaining its reputation as one of the nation’s leading polytechnic universities.
In the Ying Wu College of Computing, NJIT offers the Master of Science in Business and Information Systems (MS BIS) as an online degree option. Students interested in security can specialize in Security and Network Management. The program provides a broad technical and managerial understanding of information systems, including database, systems design, and IS strategy. The degree can be obtained with the successful completion of thirty credits. Graduates are well positioned to serve a variety of positions including business and application systems analysts, and to advance into technical management.
Completing a degree or certificate purely on an online basis at NJIT requires some additional planning since some online courses may not be offered every semester. Degree requirements are the same regardless of format, although course activities may be adjusted to best fit the online format. Most online courses are offered anywhere and anytime (asynchronous). A few, however, are anywhere and same time (synchronous). The synchronous courses use an internet connection for video and audio communication among the instructor and all class members. It is highly recommended that students consult with an adviser to plan an optimal schedule if they plan to complete a degree fully online.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
College Choice Score: 90.27
Total Program Tuition: $39,168
The Although the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has roots dating back to 1859, it was not until 1969 that UAB became an independent institution. For close to fifty years UAB has been an autonomous university within the three-campus University of Alabama System. The university is the largest research institution in the state and the only comprehensive urban university in the state’s largest metropolitan area. Each year over 18,000 students enroll in courses at UAB’s campus in Birmingham or online.
The online Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS MIS) from UAB’s Collat School of Business brings technology and business together to help students reinforce their technical knowledge and build their communication, business, and leadership skills. Students working toward an MS MIS can concentrate their 36-credit degree in Information Security. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.
UAB is a part of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. As such, the online degree programs offered at UAB are held to the same high standards as traditional programs. One can expect to receive the same high level of education regardless of whether they are doing an online or traditional degree program. Online courses at UAB are delivered through the Canvas learning management system.
Robert Morris University
College Choice Score: 88.68
Total Program Tuition: $26,850
Robert Morris University is located in Moon Township, PA, a part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It was founded in 1921 in downtown Pittsburgh, but only became a four-year college in the late 1960s, finally reaching university status in 2002. Its 5200 students are located mainly on the school’s main campus but satellite campuses in Pittsburgh and Southpointe, as well as its growing online campus, give RMU an influence beyond its 230 scenic, rolling acres.
The Master of Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance (MS CSIA) degree program at RMU prepares information systems and technology professionals to recognize and combat information systems threats and vulnerabilities. In addition to the traditional MS CSIA, a Enterprise Systems Concentration is available to add to the degree. The 30-credit MS CSIA-Enterprise Systems Concentration degree program at RMU prepare information technology professionals for the challenges of developing and maintaining secure mainframe-based enterprise information systems in organizations facing the dynamic challenges of cyber-terrorism and world-wide security challenges.
Online students at RMU get the same type of personal attention from the same professors they will find on campus. They get a dedicated student counselor to help them with enrollment issues or any other questions they may have. They get a dedicated career advisor to help them with their professional goals. They also get a dedicated wellness counselor, a financial aid counselor, and 24-hour technology support. RMU is consistently recognized as offering top-ranked online degree programs. In fact it was recently ranked as one of the top schools for online graduate degrees in computer and information technology by U.S. News & World Report.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 88.14
Total Program Tuition: $39,960
The University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson was established in 1885 as the state’s super land-grant university. UA is a leader in research and a pioneer in the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship. Over 43,000 students enroll each year at UA, pursuing one of more than 300 degrees offered at the university.
The University of Arizona’s online Master’s in Management Information Systems (MS MIS) degree enables students to bolster their management, technical, and analytical skills while benefiting from the department’s top-five ranking, world-renowned faculty and cutting-edge curriculum. Students interested in security can rest assured that in completing the 30-credit MIS degree they will also earn the Enterprise Security Certificate as well as the Business Intelligence and Analytics Certificate. Students more interested in a focused cybersecurity degree can choose the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity, which draws courses from programs in MIS, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Systems and Industrial Engineering. The 33-credit MS in Cybersecurity program offers two different tracks for students: Information Systems and Physical Systems.
The MS MIS degree program is run by MISonline, the distance learning unit of the MIS Department of the Eller College of Management. MISonline programs are comprehensive, practical, and designed with the adult learner in mind. The MS in Cybersecurity is a part of UA’s virtual campus, where immersive engaging courses provide an unparalleled experience. The programs are unique in that they combine the appropriate pedagogy for web-based course delivery with quality personal interactions between instructor and fellow classmates.
Iowa State University
College Choice Score: 86.21
Total Program Tuition: $17,160
Iowa State University was established in 1858 as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, but did not have its first official class until 1869. As a land grant institution, ISU has focused on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all and that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects. ISU has over 27,000 students enrolled in world class programs in agriculture, technology, science, and art.
ISU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers a Master of Engineering in Information Assurance (MEIA) that is available fully online. This degree program is designed to assist individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in computing or related areas to pursue an in-depth study in information assurance. It consists of a total of thirty credit hours, typically with eighteen credits from the core set of courses and six credits of research. The remaining credits can be selected from a set of elective courses.
Students may join the MEIA program at the beginning of any semester and may take courses in any order at a pace that suits their needs. Classes are delivered online via digital streaming video through ISU’s College of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences Online (ELO) Learning streaming media online education program. ELO has a full range of services and resources for online students, including online orientation, academic services, an online testing center, and technical support.
College Choice Score: 84.44
Total Program Tuition: $18,568
Towson University is a part of the prestigious University System of Maryland. It is the largest university in the area of Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1866 as a teacher’s college, today Towson offers its 22,000 students over 110 degrees across a variety of disciplines. With a main campus in the city of Towson, three Regional Higher Education Centers throughout Maryland, and a vibrant online environment, Towson furthers its reach as a top educational, cultural, and community instiution.
In the Master of Science in Applied Information Technology (MSAIT) degree program at Towson, students study the design, development, implementation, and support of information systems to solve the major challenges in today’s work environment. Courses for this 36-credit degree are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters at Towson’s suburban Baltimore campus in the evening and online. Students complete the requirements for one or more graduate certificates as they work toward completing their MSAIT degrees. Thus completion of a certificate in Information Security and Assurance (ISA) plus six additional graduate level courses fulfills the MSAIT with a focus in ISA.
Online courses at Towson are delivered through the Blackboard course management system. All online courses provide the same level of educational rigor as on-campus courses and degrees earned online have the same prestige as their in-person counterparts. Towson provides several self-help documents and tutorials as well as technology workshops to help students successfully progress through their degree programs.
College Choice Score: 84.03
Total Program Tuition: $20,340
Bellevue University has been a leader in the higher education industry since its founding in 1966. The private, non-profit regionally accredited institution has an idyllic main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska. At this campus and its eleven other campuses and centers in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, as well as through its vibrant online program, Bellevue offers over eighty degree programs and certificates for career advancement. The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education.
Geared for entry or mid-level professionals and following the university’s standard schedule for master’s degree completion, the Master of Science in Cybersecurity provides active learning of information security technologies and risk management techniques based on real-world scenarios. The 36-credit degree program prepares students with the knowledge, skill, and ability to recommend solutions that safeguard an organization’s information and technology assets and respond to security incidents. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Bellevue University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity.
Online learning at Bellevue University is engaging, helping students become a confident professional through extensive faculty and peer-to-peer interaction. A degree earned online provides the same knowledge and challenge as one earned on-campus. Online students have the benefit of interacting with people from around the nation and the world. They also have access to Bellevue’s Service Desk for hardware or software support during extended hours of operation seven days a week, via phone, email, and online help response system. Online library resources are available at all times. Bellevue also offers many additional resources for students, such as online tutorials and tools.
College Choice Score: 83.94
Total Program Tuition: $45,120
Founded in 1898, Northeastern University (NU) is a global, experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world. Its main campus is in the heart of Boston. NU offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs. With campuses in Boston, MA, Seattle, WA, Charlotte, NC, San Jose, CA, Toronto, Canada, and online, NU brings its students the power and reputation of a world-class institution. NU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cyber Security degree program at NU takes an interdisciplinary approach that offers a range of unique benefits. The program emphasizes not only information technology but also pertinent aspects of social sciences, law, criminology, and management. Working entirely online, students in the 32-credit program learn how to use methods and tools to make strategic decisions about information security issues, including identity theft and other forms of electronic fraud, computer viruses, hacking attacks, and even cyber warfare. All students learn about the key issues in information security. However, electives let individuals customize their program to meet their own professional goals and/or those of their employer.
NU offers over sixty online programs and degrees, each as rigorous and prestigious as parallel programs on any of its campuses. Online courses are held to the same high standard as campus-based courses, and are taught by experienced instructors who are scholars and industry leaders. All of the online discussions are designed so students feel connected with instructors and other students. Discussion boards and interactive tools help students feel they are a part of a dynamic learning experience, just as in a traditional campus-based course. Course content (lectures, additional materials, discussions, assignments, etc.) is presented on a weekly basis using an online learning system called NU Online.
College Choice Score: 81.76
Total Program Tuition: $24,336
Since its founding in 1971, National University (NU) has been dedicated to making accessible lifelong learning opportunities to a diverse student population. NU has four schools and two colleges that provide challenging and relevant programs that are well-balanced with theoretical and practical attributes. NU offers more than 120 degree programs, more than 90 of which are available online. National University has 28 locations and is the flagship institution in the National University System.
The Master of Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance (MS-CSIA) at National University is a professional degree offered online. This degree program is comprised of 40.5 quarter units of core requirements and 18 quarter units in a required specialization. Students in the MS-CSIA program can choose to specialize in Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing or Information Assurance and Security Policy. Penetration tests probe network and information system security components by conducting simulated attacks on systems. Information Assurance and Security Policy focuses on organizational and informational arenas particularly in larger organizations.
More than seventy NU degree programs are available completely online. These programs are delivered using the latest technology to provide dynamic, interactive learning environments, online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Flexible online programs at National University are offered using interactive tools to support individual learning styles. Links between students, professors, and classmates, and tools like email, lectures, readings, presentations, evaluations, quizzes, and exams all work together to create a strong sense of community within all online classes.
Western Governors University
College Choice Score: 81.53
Total Program Tuition: $11,560
Western Governors University (WGU) is a school with no boundaries. It is a nonprofit online university founded and supported by nineteen U.S. governors. The idea for such a school was born in 1995 at a bipartisan meeting of the Western Governors Association. The governors decided to create a university that would make maximum use of distance learning technologies, would be collaborative among the western member states, and would use competencies rather than seat time as the measure of its outcomes. With the help of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the governors association and their respective states designed an online university that was incorporated in 1997 and accepted students in 1999. Today WGU serves over 80,000 students from all 50 states.
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree program was designed in collaboration with national intelligence organizations and information technology industry leaders. The curriculum ensures students are up-to-speed with emerging technologies and best practices in security governance. Students can complete the degree’s thirty required competency units in two years, but many are able to pass required assessments at a quicker pace and complete the degree much sooner. The program incorporates two recognized industry certifications as part of the degree: EC-Council Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures, and EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator.
WGU’s online degree programs are truly unique. Students advance by demonstrating their competence in any given subject area. This means they are able to move quickly through material they already know so they can spend their time focusing on what they still need to learn. Faculty Mentors work with students on a personalized degree program that establishes the pace at which students will move through their programs. Each six-month term, students complete as much work as they choose or are capable of completing successfully.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 81.32
Total Program Tuition: $49,650
The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC was chartered by an act of Congress in 1821. Today GWU has three campuses in the DC area with over 26,000 students, making it the largest institution of higher education in the nation’s capital. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity and Policy Compliance follows the history of GWU’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences by helping professionals meet the technological challenges of the day. The multidisciplinary degree program incorporates a unique blend of engineering and computer science courses, making it well-suited for those with a technical or engineering background and project management professionals with a strong desire to protect proprietary information in the age of cyber warfare and global corporate espionage. The 30-credit online degree program has a management-focused course of study that provides an overview of cryptography, security systems, algorithms, and software paradigms. Students of the program will become familiar with industry-recognized frameworks and methodologies as they train to take charge in the fast-paced world of information security.
GWU offers 65 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Rare among many universities of its stature, GWU makes no distinction between online students and on-campus students. Each GWU student is treated to the same education and the same degree upon completion of the requirements. Students who do learn online are given access to career and student support services, networking opportunities, and internship programs. GWU believes these are important features that enhance a student’s online education, providing them with important programs that will further their careers once they graduate.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 80.47
Total Program Tuition: $22,572
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), founded in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, has always been about serving adult learners. In the 60s SNHU first offered off-campus courses to better serve these non-traditional students. In 1995 the school initiated its internet-based distance learning programs known as SNHU Online. All programs offered by SNHU are encompassed by the regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
SNHU’s online Master of Science in Cyber Security program positions student to fill a significant marketplace demand, providing proactive preventive measures to quell the threat of breach and maintain public confidence. The degree program at SNHU is recognized by the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) national office as a Professional Science Master’s program. The PSM is an innovative degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics while developing workplace skills valued by employers. The 36-credit curriculum provides an in-depth learning experience, with a core focus on network management and security, knowledge management and web fundamentals and a strong emphasis on intelligence, computer forensics and cyber operations.
Online students can pursue one of 200 career-focused degrees at SNHU. These online college degree programs are developed by subject matter experts and designed to meet the needs of busy adult learners. Students in all of these programs have access to world-class online educational services, including library, tutoring, and 24/7 tech support, all developed specifically with busy adults in mind. SNHU is especially recognized as a leader in online business education.
College Choice Score: 80.29
Total Program Tuition: $55,260
Drexel University in Philadelphia is a comprehensive global research university. Founded in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. Originally a non-degree-granting institution, Drexel began conferring the bachelor of science degree in 1914, when its 18 departments were organized into four schools. Drexel now has three Philadelphia campuses as well as other regional sites, 15 colleges and schools, and over 200 degree programs. It enrolls 26,000 students each year, making it one of the nation’s largest private universities. Drexel Online is one of the oldest and most successful providers of online degree programs.
The online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program was designed by the university’s renowned College of Engineering and College of Computing and Informatics. It is a program designed for students with backgrounds in computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and other related technical fields. The curriculum of 45 quarter credits provides a theoretical foundation in computer networking, mathematics, policy, and legal issues along with electives in specialized technical areas. Drexel University is a designated National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence.
Drexel currently offers 68 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, all of which are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Drexel is student-focused even before students officially enroll. The school allows students to test-drive online courses, giving them a taste of what an online education is like. Their assistance to students is further bolstered by the addition of the Career Development Center, which prepares students for the working world through helpful articles and career advising. Drexel is also a part of the Educational Partnership Program. Drexel University Online has partnered with over 500 professional and educational entities across the countries, giving employees of these institutions the opportunity to enroll at the school at a reduced tuition rate. Working professionals who work at a partner organization can contact the Drexel Online to receive more information on this program.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 79.83
Total Program Tuition: $27,900
Nova Southeastern was founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1964 as Nova University of Advanced Technology. It was originally chartered as a graduate institution in the physical and social sciences. Over time the university added programs in a broader range of disciplines and became nationally recognized for its innovative distance education programs. Today NSU is a classified research university and has campuses all across Florida as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS) with a concentration in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at NSU is a 36-credit degree program offered fully online through the university’s College of Engineering and Computing. The degree program is designed for someone who wants to design, program, enhance, and develop cyber security technologies that secure information and systems. The program is recognized by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
NSU utilizes Blackboard as the learning management system to deliver online course content through its SharkLearn online portal. NSU’s Help Desk provides technical support services to all students, including those exclusively online. All students are also given access to Thomson ResearchSoft software which can assist in locating bibliographic data and creating bibliographies. The MS-MIS degree program is one of many online degrees certified by the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus program.
College Choice Score: 79.35
Total Program Tuition: $26,280
Located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, with three other campuses in the New York City area, Mercy College is as dynamic and diverse as the region in which it is located. Founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy College became a full four-year college in 1961 and was accredited by the Middle States Association’s Commission on Higher Education in 1968. It has continued to grow over the years, granting graduate degrees in the early 80s and becoming an early adopter of online education in the late 80s. Today Mercy offers over forty degree programs and enrolls over 10,000 students each year.
The Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity at Mercy can be completed in as little as eighteen months. The 30-credit degree program well prepares its graduates for careers in government agencies, law enforcement, private companies, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and IT departments. Graduates of this program will understand security and privacy from technological, legal and managerial perspectives. They will be prepared to create, implement and oversee security systems and security policies. Mercy College Cybersecurity Education Center is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Mercy’s online courses are managed and delivered through the Blackboard online course management system. Online students have access to the online resources at Mercy’s Center for Academic Excellence and Innovation (CAEI). CAEI offers online tutoring in writing, math, and the sciences via Blackboard Collaborate. Mercy also makes available technical support and testing assistance for those pursuing an online degree.
University of Rhode Island
College Choice Score: 79.24
Total Program Tuition: $23,580
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as the state’s agricultural school in 1888. Classes began in 1892 when the school was known as the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Located in Kingston, the university enrolls nearly 18,000 students each year. URI is the state’s preeminent public learner-centered research university, embracing the state’s heritage of independent thought.
The Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Cyber Security is a University issued degree geared towards working professionals who have already obtained a four-year undergraduate degree. This online degree program is offered through URI’s Digital Forensics and Cyber Security Center in the Department of Computer Science and Statistics. The degree requires 36 credits which consists of nine four-credit courses. Included in this is an Internship that will provide a capstone experience with a partner organization. Students are required to take four core courses, and choose five more courses from an extensive list of online courses.
The PSM degree program is built to work around the busy schedules of working professionals. Video lectures can be streamed on-demand, and cloud-based, hands-on labs are accessible for graduate-level research projects. The program makes available Fundamentals for Cyber Security, a self-paced program for enrolled students in basic technology concepts, for students coming from less technical backgrounds. This material is provided the summer before the program begins.
University of Denver
College Choice Score: 77.89
Total Program Tuition: $31,872
Just a few years after the city of Denver was founded, the University of Denver (UD) was established in 1864, originally called Colorado Seminary. With the backing of the Methodist Church at its beginnings, UD continues to complement the principles of the Methodist Church by being an institution hospitable to students and employees of all faiths and backgrounds. UD is the oldest independent university in the Rocky Mountain region. Enrolling close to 12,000 students, DU is one of the country’s premier private universities.
The online Master of Science in Information Systems Security is a twelve-course, 48-credit degree program that can be completed in as little as eighteen months. It is designed for professionals currently in the information technology field or for those looking for a career change. It focuses on developing both technical and leadership skills. The curriculum aligns with the Common Body of Knowledge for CISSP certification developed by the International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium. In addition, the program was developed in collaboration with the Colorado Springs and Denver chapters of the Information Security Systems Association, and the courses have been mapped to the Committee on National Security Systems standards. The University of Denver has been designated by NSA/DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education.
The University of Denver houses its online portal within University College, which has answered the call for accredited online colleges to provide their online coursework asynchronously. This gives students the ability to do their coursework on their schedule and makes it easier for working students to pursue higher education. The university goes to great lengths to provide every opportunity for students to finish their coursework and graduate on time, including providing technical and advising support for all online students.
College Choice Score: 77.73
Total Program Tuition: $16,776
One hundred ninety-four students from the areas around Wilmington and New Castle, Delaware became the charter class for the newly founded Wilmington University in 1968. In the nearly fifty years since then, the school has grown to enroll a diverse student body of more than 18,000 students on six locations throughout Delaware, five locations in New Jersey, and one in Maryland. With its online campus, Wilmington University has made its aim of offering high-quality degree programs accessible to the world.
The Master of Science in Information Systems Technology with a concentration in Information Assurance is available online at WU, an institution that has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through academic year 2021 by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Students who successfully complete the 36-credit graduate degree program in Information Systems Technologies will possess a working command of current informational practices that can immediately be applied in business, educational, and governmental organizations regardless of size. The managerial nature of this program is closely aligned with the business curriculum at WU, but with a decidedly technological bent.
Students in Wilmington’s online courses complete weekly readings, assignments, and other learning activities using the Blackboard online learning platform. These online courses provide the ultimate convenience for self-motivated, self-directed students. Students communicate with faculty members and classmates via e-mail, chat, and discussion boards. All of the courses are 100% online with no on-location meetings. Online course duration may be either fifteen or seven weeks long, depending on the level of intensive focus.
College Choice Score: 77.21
Total Program Tuition: $20,340
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia has the distinction of being the largest Christian university in the world and the fifth largest university in the country. Across it main campus and online course offerings its total enrollment exceeds 110,000 students. Liberty has achieved that status in just over 40 years of existence. Beginning as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971, the university today has sixteen schools and colleges and offers more than 500 programs, many of which are found at Liberty University Online. The college achieved full accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 1980.
Liberty’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), a completely online program, provides students with a broad perspective of information-related issues in strategy, security, ethics, design and development, and related business process support. Core courses focus on essential technology and management knowledge while encouraging interpersonal and team collaboration skills through an array of business and real-world viewpoints. Students in the 36-credit degree program must choose a specialization, on of which is Information assurance.
Liberty University Online offers over 250 online programs. The school knows well what it’s doing when it comes to online education. Since 1985 Liberty has been offering the same quality education in distance learning programs as it does on its campus. An online student at Liberty has a comprehensive support system available to aid in their success, including an assigned academic advisor, an online writing center, free 24/7 access to online tutors, a private Facebook community to network with peers, and online ministries.
Dakota State University
College Choice Score: 76.90
Total Program Tuition: $13,328
Dakota State University was founded in 1881 as a school for teacher education in the Dakota Territory. It is a public university governed by the South Dakota System Board of Regents and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is also one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the Midwest, if not the nation. DSU specializes in computer management, computer information systems, and other related programs. Though located in Madison, South Dakota, DSU has a broad array of online programs available across the country and the world.
DSU offers a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security (MSIACS) degree program that is available full online. In this program, students take classes in data privacy, computer forensics, hacking, and intrusion detection. They learn how to lead strategic technical efforts and consider all aspects of a network as it relates to their chosen industry. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree. Additional coursework as a condition of admission may be required for those who do not have a prerequisite undergraduate degree. The 30-credit graduate degree requires eighteen credit of core courses and twelve credits of specialization coursework. Full-time students can usually complete the program in two years.
As online DSU students, MSIACS students learn from the same professors that teach on campus. All DSU students receive the same high-quality education, regardless of the format. DSU faculty know how to teach online classes. Often, the online courses are taught at the same time as the on-campus class. Because of this, many faculty will bring the online and on-campus students together through collaborative projects. Not all degree programs are available in all states. Prospective online students should check what DSU degrees are available in their home state.
College Choice Score: 76.47
Total Program Tuition: $32,595
Located in Romeoville, Illinois, with campuses in Oak Brook and Tinley Park, as well as a campus in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lewis University is a comprehensive, Catholic university, where the traditions of liberal learning, values and preparation for professional work come together. Founded in 1932, Lewis is a dynamic, coeducational university offering more than eighty undergraduate majors and programs of study, thirty-five graduate programs, and two doctoral programs for its over 7000 students. Lewis is one of many schools sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, an international Roman Catholic teaching order.
The Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS) prepares students to understand both current and future threats to computer security and counteract those threats with stellar technical skills and techniques. The program is available entirely online. Students in this innovative degree program take a shared set of core courses to receive a solid understanding of both the technical and managerial issues that face information security professionals. Then, students choose one of the two concentrations to expand their understanding of the side of information security—technical or managerial—that interests them most. Near the end of the program, students take two focused seminars designed to prepare them for a certification exam. Students end the program by completing a 16-week research project of their choice under the guidance of an expert in the field. Student are prepared to graduate uniquely well-versed in both the computer science of cyber security and its impact on and integration into the business environment.
Lewis’s flexible online format is convenient for the working adult. The course content and assignments match those provided on campus. In fact many in-class lectures are broadcast simultaneously online and archived for the added convenience of the working adult balancing work, school, and family. Lewis offers nearly twenty fully online degree programs and a wide variety of individual online courses. Lewis University online courses and degree programs allow students to learn in a way that fits their learning style.