The Best Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security to Further Your Career

As more businesses go digital, cyber threats grow exponentially, affecting every facet of the economy and government. With a master’s degree in cyber security, you can take up supervisory or management roles to help tackle this challenge.

This degree can open up roles for you in small and large corporations that need to protect their data. It qualifies you to teach at higher education institutions. It also allows you to further your studies with a doctorate degree.

To start, you need to enroll in a university. This guide covers everything you need to consider before choosing a school. In addition, we have selected the ten best master’s degree programs in cyber security. Finally, we discuss other important information such as salary expectations for those with this degree.

Overview: The Top 10 Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security

The table below contains the top ten programs to consider for your master’s degree in cyber security. It lists each school’s location, tuition, and availability of online options. The information was obtained from the official website of each university. The tuition is subject to change.

School and Degree State Tuition Online Option
Brandeis University
Master of Science in Information Security Leadership
MA $3,535 per course Yes
Capitol Technology University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
MD $630 per credit hour Yes
Drexel University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
PA $1,342 per credit Yes
George Washington University
Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Analytics
DC $32,850 Yes
Johns Hopkins University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
MD $5,872 per course Yes
Liberty University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
VA $545 per credit hour Yes
Maryville University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
MO $816 per credit Yes
Missouri State University
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
MO $257 per credit for in-state students
$550 out-of-state students
$257 online
Yes
The University of Tulsa
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
OK $1,310 per credit hour Yes
University of Delaware
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
DE $1,237 per credit hour Yes

What Is a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security?

A cyber security master’s degree is a computer-based program. It includes training on technology and communication networks. Students of this program will learn about the ethical and legal issues in computer security.

This program gives you an opportunity to learn about the forensic issues and the information needed to find a data hack source. In most cases, the program includes a thesis or research project to give students an opportunity to focus on an area that interests them.

Why You Should Get a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security

There are many reasons to earn a master’s degree in cyber security. One is to increase your earning potential. This degree can help you qualify for supervisory roles. Additionally, it can help you upgrade your skills and stand out among peers, or even switch careers.

  • The degree makes you stand out. People with this degree have a higher level of training and this puts them ahead of their peers when applying for jobs.
  • It facilitates the switch to a cyber security career. A master’s degree in cyber security is an easy way to help you switch careers. You don’t need to study cyber security at a bachelor’s degree level to enroll in a master’s degree. A background in computer science is typically all you need. Even without this background, it is still possible to enroll.
  • It upgrades your skills. The program teaches you new skills needed for higher-level positions in cyber security. The skills you learn can help you to pursue different career paths.

In Detail: The Best Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security

Many schools have master’s in cyber security, but the delivery and content of these programs may differ. For instance, some are computer science degrees with a concentration in cyber security. Others offer cyber security coursework as part of a broader discipline.

If you want to stand out as a cyber security expert, you should choose a program that focuses on cyber security. Below, we discuss some of the best cyber security master’s degrees as well as the key elements of their curricula.

Brandeis University | Master of Science in Information Security Leadership

This master’s degree program requires 30 credits to complete. It has six core courses and four electives. The program offers a more individualized education because it only accepts a few students in each class. Students learn to handle cyber security threats and oversee the planning, evolution, and acquisition of security infrastructures.

The curriculum covers how to develop business cases for investing in risk management and cyber security. Additionally, students are taught how regulatory requirements and security policies affect organizational objectives and complex systems.

Master of Science in Information Security Leadership Pros

  • Offers online training
  • Small classes

Master of Science in Information Security Leadership Cons

  • Admission is competitive

Capitol Technology University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This program introduces students to advanced cyber security concepts, including how to guarantee the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data. The curriculum covers how to design cyber security programs to handle threats as well as the legal aspects of cyber security.

It is a hands-on program where students practice what they are learning. Students take part in technical labs to learn vulnerability assessments, malware analysis, incident handling, penetration testing, vulnerability mitigation, and proper use of cryptography. The program ends with a capstone course where students demonstrate what they have learned.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security
  • Solid curriculum

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • No in-person programs

Drexel University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This master’s program requires 45 credits to complete. It is divided into 10-week quarters and is part of the college of engineering. Students must have a background in computer science, computer engineering, telecommunications, or electrical engineering.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • The program is online and highly interactive
  • Students can customize their degree

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • Expensive tuition

George Washington University | Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Analytics

This online master’s degree program focuses on cyber security analytics. Students are equipped with the business and technical skills needed to identify and solve cyber security problems.

This program integrates practice exercises with real-world examples to give the students experience with information security techniques and tools. Students are trained to take on managerial roles in the field.

Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Analytics Pros

  • The program is recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency
  • Hands-on training
  • It is delivered 100 percent online

Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Analytics Cons

  • This is a difficult and demanding program that not everyone will be able to complete

Johns Hopkins University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This prestigious university offers a master’s degree in cyber security. There are four concentrations: autonomy, analysis, network, and systems.

The curriculum covers how to manage the risk of cyber attacks and protect computer networks and confidential data. There are ten courses in the program and they must be completed within five years.

The program has three core courses, five cyber security courses, and two electives. The foundational courses are Foundations of Information Assurance, Foundations of Algorithms, and Cryptology.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Multiple concentrations available

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • The program is rigorous and challenging. Not everyone will be able to complete it

Liberty University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This program focuses on the analytical framework for prevention, detection, and recovery from cyber attacks and security vulnerabilities. Students learn the best practices and standards in cyber security.

This program also teaches advanced defense of networks. Students learn how to eliminate existing threats and strengthen systems to withstand future attacks.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Delivered 100 percent online
  • Hands-on training

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • There are only a few scholarships available

Maryville University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This program has three concentrations: Technical, Leadership, or General. The coursework includes mobile device forensics and hacking, controls for effective cyber defense, and cyber security governance.

Once they complete the program, students will be in a good position to earn certifications in ethical hacking, information systems, and security to prove their skills.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Prepares students for certification exams
  • Fully online
  • Hands-on training

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • Tuition is higher than in similar programs

Missouri State University | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This program teaches the necessary skills to defend and secure information networks. Courses include Management of Information Security, Cloud Computing, and Computer Forensics.

Students engage in hands-on exercises and labs to learn how to defend networks. Graduates of this program have the opportunity to pursue senior management roles. The program can be completed within two years; students need 30 credits to graduate.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Solid curriculum

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • The online option is expensive compared to similar online degrees

The University of Tulsa | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This program trains students in the practice and theory behind network defense and information assurance in real-world environments. Students need 30 credits to graduate, which can be done in as little as 20 months. The coursework includes topics like defensive cyber security technologies and information systems assurance.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Delivered 100 percent online

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • Tuition is higher than in similar programs

University of Delaware | Master of Science in Cybersecurity

This degree program teaches students to design networks and software. It also teaches cyber defense. The 30-credit program consists of seven-week courses. System Protection and Hardening, Digital Forensics, and Secure Software Design are some of these courses.

Students have an option to start in the fall, spring, or summer. To enroll, students need to have programming experience as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science. A background in mathematics, physics, and other relevant disciplines is also preferred.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Pros

  • Recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security
  • Hands-on training

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Cons

  • Students need programming experience to enroll
Online vs In-Person Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security

Online vs In-Person Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security

Today, online degrees are more popular than ever. Fortunately, there is no shortage of online cyber security master’s degree programs. These programs are often cheaper but just as academically rigorous as on-campus programs.

An online master’s degree in cyber security can give you the opportunity to interact with fellow cyber security experts around the world. Most programs promote these networking opportunities. In-person programs, on the other hand, offer more limited networking opportunities.

The biggest advantage of online learning is flexibility. Most online cyber security master’s programs offer flexibility for busy students or working professionals. With online degrees, students have an easier time balancing work and family life while attending school.

Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Cyber Security

  • Flexibility. Students have flexible schedules and can learn at their own pace
  • Interactive platforms. Online education offers more opportunities for virtual communication and collaboration
  • Affordability. Online programs are typically cheaper than on-campus alternatives

Benefits of an In-Person Master’s Degree in Cyber Security

  • Face-to-face learning. Some people have an easier time learning in a class setting where they can interact with the teacher and with fellow students
  • More support. Students have greater access to teachers and can rely on them for support
  • Social interaction. You can join social activities on campus to get a more traditional university experience

How to Pick the Best Cyber Security Master’s Degree for You

When choosing a cyber security master’s degree, there are many factors to consider. These include reputation, cost, curriculum, and flexibility.

Reputation

The reputation of the school is a factor to consider. Make sure the school you choose offers the highest quality of education. This will be reflected in your training. The reputation of the program itself within the industry also matters.

Cost

Master’s degrees can be expensive. However, prices can vary widely from program to program. Public schools tend to be cheaper while still offering high-quality education. Financial assistance options like scholarships and grants are also important to consider.

Curriculum and Objectives

The curriculum is another important element to research before choosing a master’s degree program. The world of cyber security changes every day so it is important for the program to cover new tools as they become available. The curriculum should be updated as often as possible to give students the training they need to join the workforce.

Flexibility

Lots of online programs offer flexibility to help students maintain a healthy work-life balance. You need to find out how flexible the program is. Some degree programs are fully online while others are hybrid, meaning they have both online and in-person classes.

How Much Can You Earn With a Cyber Security Master’s Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber security experts earn a median salary of $103,590. Employment in the field is expected to grow by 31 percent as more businesses turn to cloud computing. Experts with master’s degrees in cyber security tend to earn more than those with just bachelor’s degrees.

The Top Cyber Security Master’s Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Information Security Manager $134,503
IT Security Architect $125,314
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) $120,716
Penetration Tester $118,597
Cyber Security Consultant $115,767
Information Security Engineer $115,359
Senior Network Engineer $101,841
Cyber Security Engineer $97,027
Information Security Analyst $87,881

Why You Should Study Cyber Security in 2021

The field of cyber security is constantly expanding. It has great potential for growth. Your cyber security skills will make you valuable in many industries. Another good reason to study cyber security is the high salary potential. There is a high demand for cyber security experts, so most companies will pay these professionals well.

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