The world we live in today increasingly relies on technology and the web. We store our most valued information online: bank accounts, social security numbers, and classified work secrets, to name a few examples. As such, hacking, stealing data, and other cybercrime has also become more and more lucrative for a new generation of crooks. The demand for people who can protect against these crimes continues to grow; in fact, the number of information security analysts will increase by 28% from 2016 to 2026 — much faster than average — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you find yourself curious about a career in cybersecurity, you can find several online bachelor’s programs that prepare students to work in this field. Many of these programs accept transfer credit from any previous higher education, and they allow working adults to take courses at their own pace. Keep reading to learn more about 15 of these degrees.
Lewis University offers a B.S. in information security and risk management that students may complete entirely online. In addition, the school designed an accelerated option for adult students who work full-time. This degree prepares students for several different types of certification exams, including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam and the Certified Ethical Hacker exam. Students enrolled in this program qualify to apply for scholarships from the Department of Defense and National Security Agency, and adult students also receive discounts for tuition. After students complete this degree, they may choose to earn a master’s degree at Lewis in 18 months.
The B.S. in security and risk analysis at Penn State University’s online World Campus allows students to choose an information analysis and cybersecurity concentration. In 2014, this program received designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence from the National Security Agency — a designation that will last until 2021. Students must complete 120 credits, including 21 credits within the specialization. Cybersecurity online coursework covers cyber crime, computer forensics, contingency planning, and emerging technologies in security. Students learn how to protect digital information for individuals, government agencies, corporations, and other organizations. Applicants must hold high school diplomas or GEDs with a strong background in math, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
At Seminole State College in Florida, students enrolled in the B.S. in information systems technology program may specialize in cybersecurity. Learners take cybersecurity online courses like principles of telephony, enterprise security, and security in cloud computing. Generally, the curriculum focuses on teaching students theoretical concepts in addition to training them to create solutions for real-world problems. Undergraduate students who declare this major must hold at least a 2.0 GPA in previous coursework. Program candidates may also transfer in after completing an accredited associate degree. Before pursuing this degree, students should have completed foundation courses like network concepts and operating systems, database management, and principles of computer programming.
Located in Madison, South Dakota, Dakota State University administers a B.S. in cyber operations with both online and on campus plans. Learners complete 120 credits of cybersecurity online coursework, covering topics like malware analysis and reverse engineering. Students can also pursue the 4+1 program, which allows them to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. The cyber operations program at DSU received designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations from the National Security Agency. Those enrolled in the program may qualify for DSU’S Cyber Corps Scholarship Program; this scholarship covers tuition and pays recipients a $20,000 stipend each year.
The University of Arizona runs a bachelor of applied science in cyber operations with two possible concentrations: an engineering track and a defense and forensics track. The engineering emphasis area teaches students about network security at a technical level, while the defense and forensics specialization takes a broader, more interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity. Students take cybersecurity online courses like cyber warfare and malware threats and analysis, which dig into the technological skills and students need to to fight web crime. The online degree administers its courses through cloud computing. This program possesses designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations from the National Security Agency.
The American Public University System operates as a private for-profit university. Although most of its graduates hold some military service, the school welcomes students from all backgrounds. The university offers an online B.S. in cybersecurity, which full-time students typically complete in four years. Learners study cybersecurity law and policy online coursework. Classes also cover topics like mobile device security and digital forensics. The program requires students to complete a senior seminar, in which they integrate all of material they learned to solve real problems. In addition, the degree equips students for the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) certification.
The B.S. in cybersecurity and information assurance at Western Governors University runs at an accelerated pace, allowing students to finish in 18 or fewer months. The program operates on a competency-based system, which means people who possess programming and other computer skills can skip those classes and start with advanced coursework. Students learn about web and cloud security, hacking countermeasures and techniques, and ethics and cyberlaw. They also complete a written capstone toward the end of their program. The cybersecurity online course prepares graduates for multiple certification exams, including the Certified Cloud Security Professional, Certified Encryption Specialist, and Systems Security Certified Practitioner exams.
At Philadelphia-based Drexel University, students can earn transfer credit for their B.S. in computing and security technology degree if they hold computer programming certification. In addition, Drexel organizes its terms in four 10-week quarters. This allows students to graduate more quickly. Students who choose their cybersecurity education online at Drexel may enter as either fresh high school graduates or professionals looking for a change in career. Transfer students may also enroll in the program, but they must apply with at least a C average in previous coursework — and plenty of math, science, information technology, and computer science credits as well.
DePaul University — a Catholic institution located in Chicago — offers a B.S. in cybersecurity that students may complete through distance learning. About 90% of those who graduate from this program find employment or continue on to graduate education within six months of finishing their degrees, according to DePaul’s figures. Learners take cybersecurity online courses in computer forensics, risk assessment, and security infrastructure design and implementation. The program earned a distinction of National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. DePaul also operates in partnership with Cisco Networking Academy, so graduates may earn their Cisco Certified Network Associate certification.
The B.S. in cybersecurity from Grantham University grants students the ability to graduate in 38 months, or just over three years. Plus, students can start the program at any time throughout the year as new courses begin each month. The program consists of 120 credits of coursework, with cybersecurity online courses covering operating systems and networking protocols. Students also learn how to protect technology and respond to cyberattacks at companies and other organizations. The capstone course requires learners to complete a long-term project. Once students complete the program, they may take professional certification exams. Grantham offers discounted tuition rates for veterans and active service members.
Students enrolled in the B.S. in network and computer security program at Wilmington University take cybersecurity online courses to prepare them for several possible certifications and careers. The degree requires learners to take 39 credits of core courses in addition to 18 credits of security electives. Students may choose between courses like psychology of the cyber attacker and ethical hacking. They may also earn earn up to six credits through internships. The program allows students with associate degrees to transfer credit and graduate in a couple of years. Plus, learners may choose an accelerated option with SCADA cybersecurity graduate certification.
Kennesaw State University’s B.S. in cybersecurity — an “eMajor” offered to any student enrolled in the public University of Georgia System — focuses on technological and administrative skills needed to fight cybercrime. Learners may choose between two different minors to bolster their degree: a criminal justice minor and a crisis preparedness minor. They can also specialize in a few different tracks, including systems security, network security, or cyber crimes. The cybersecurity online courses cover topics like ethical hacking for effective defense and management of digital forensics and e-discovery. Students can also take a special global project management course, complete an internship, or pursue an independent study topic before they graduate.
At Columbus, Ohio-based Franklin University, students pursuing their B.S. in cybersecurity must complete 124 credits of coursework. However, students can transfer up to 94 credits, allowing them to graduate in just one year. Franklin designed the program for busy adults who work or care for families, so learners can complete their entire cybersecurity education online. The curriculum follows standards set by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. Classes examine information assurance, digital forensics, and software development security. They also learn how to analyze and fight cyber attacks. In the capstone course, students work in small groups to create a substantial project.
Davenport University offers an online 120-credit B.S. in cyber defense that allows students to choose between two specializations: information assurance and healthcare information assurance. The information assurance emphasis area includes cybersecurity online courses like disaster recovery and cryptography. The healthcare information assurance focus area prepares students for careers in IT at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. Learners can also pursue a mathematics minor in tandem with the cyber defense major. All students must all complete a capstone course and earn a certification before graduation. Davenport runs a generous transfer credit program, offering course credit to people who hold professional certifications even if they do not possess any previous college education.
Designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by federal government agencies, the University of Maine at Augusta’s B.S. in cybersecurity allows students to enroll online. Students learn how to use software security analysis tools, and they also learn how to detect and remediate cyber attacks. The cybersecurity online courses include cyberlaw, mobile forensics, and database design. Students may choose from three concentration area options: information assurance, network security analysis, and cyber forensics. In addition, learners may choose a minor or certification in either cybersecurity or cyber forensics. The University of Maine also offers reduced tuition for New England residents enrolled in the cybersecurity program, even if they don’t live in Maine.
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