The Best Universities for
Cyber Security in 2021

Cyber security is a very prominent topic in the world of technology. Cyber security professionals help protect computer systems against any potential cyber threats. Businesses and companies have an enormous amount of online data that needs to be protected. This includes the personal information of employees, as well as confidential financial information.

Data protection is an increasingly urgent topic. Becoming a cyber security engineer or information security analyst is a sure-fire way to guarantee a busy and exciting career. In this article, we’ll cover the best schools for cyber security in 2021. This article will list the pros and cons of each institution to help you assess which school is best for you.

Overview: The Top 10 Cyber Security Colleges in 2021

To help you choose the best option, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 cyber security universities in the United States, which includes some of the best online schools for cyber security. The tuition rates have been taken from the official college websites, but they are subject to change.

School State Degrees and Tuition Online Options
Boston University MA Master of Science in Computer Information Systems,
Security Concentration
$29,280 per semester
Master of Science in Computer Science,
Security Concentration
$29,280 per semester
No
Carnegie Mellon University PA Master of Science in Information Security
$25,050 per semester
No
George Mason University VA Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
In-state: $396 per credit hour
Out-of-state: $1,373 per credit hour
Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
In-state: $785 per credit hour
Out-of-state: $1,558 per credit hour
Yes
Georgia Institute of Technology GA Master of Science in Cyber Security
$310 per credit hour
Yes
Johns Hopkins University MA Master of Science in Cyber Security
About $47,000 per year
Yes, both online and hybrid
Rutgers University NJ Master of Science in Cyber Security
In-state: $13,092 per semester
Out-of-state: $18,468 per semester
Yes
Stanford University CA Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
$18,491 per semester
No
University of Pennsylvania PA Bachelor of Science in Computer and
Information Science
$54,652 per year
Master of Science in Computer and
Information Science
$7,328 per course unit
PhD in Computer and Information Science
$7,328 per course unit
No
University of Southern California CA Master of Science in Cyber Security
$2,199 per credit
Yes
University of Texas at Austin TX Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
$11,468 per semester
Master of Science in Computer Science
$13,677 per semester
Yes

Cyber Security Degree Levels Explained

There are different educational pathways to choose from. Whether you are considering a career change or you have only recently graduated high school, a degree is the best way to prepare for some of the best careers in network security.

Cyber Security Associate Degree

Associate degrees are undergraduate degrees. Most associate degree programs take two years. The point of earning an associate degree is to provide you with the foundations of your topic of interest.

As it relates to cyber security, a two-year Associate Degree in Information Technology can sometimes be considered enough to land an entry-level job. However, if you would like more flexibility in your career, you should aim higher.

Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree takes about four years. A Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security will cover everything you need to know to start your career. These programs are project-based and are designed to set you up for lucrative careers.

You will need to complete a capstone project during your senior year. Final-year projects are a fantastic way to ramp up your portfolio and impress potential employers.

Cyber Security Master’s Degree

Cyber security master’s degrees tend to be more difficult and more in-depth than bachelor’s degrees. If you enjoyed the academic side of your bachelor’s and would like to specialize in a specific topic, pursuing a master’s degree could be for you.

Many people choose to pursue a master’s a few years into their career. A graduate degree is great for young professionals who have a few years of work under their belts. A master’s degree can help you land senior positions and higher-paying jobs.

Cyber Security Doctorate

Cyber security doctorates are great for academically inclined students. A doctorate will allow you to work in managerial and high-paying research positions. You will also be able to branch out into other information security fields.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that IT professions will grow at a rate of 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. A PhD in Cyber Security will secure your place in the expanding field of IT.

In Detail: The Best Cyber Security Schools of 2021

In Detail: The Best Cyber Security Schools of 2021

Now that we have provided you with an overview of what each degree entails, let’s delve deep into each program.

Boston University

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 86.5%

Regional Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education

Boston University has a reputable computer science department. The school offers a variety of Master’s Degrees in Computer Science with cyber security concentrations. The school offers a Master’s in Computer Information Systems and another in Computer Science, both with cyber security emphasis options.

Boston University Cyber Security Pros

  • The university offers many graduate certificates in cyber security to bolster your resume.
  • The school has a 15-to-one student-to-teacher ratio. This is a perfect group size for learning and interacting with peers.
  • The university provides a range of career services to students.

Boston University Cyber Security Cons

  • The master’s programs have no online option.
  • Boston University’s tuition is very expensive.
  • The university doesn’t have many alternative payment options.

Carnegie Mellon University

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 89.8%

Regional Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Carnegie Mellon specializes in computer science. The school offers a robust Master’s Program in Information Security. The program allows students to personalize their degrees by choosing from a long list of electives. Course options include fundamentals of telecommunications, real-world data networks, applied cryptography, and more.

Carnegie Mellon Cyber Security Pros

  • The degree program has a wide range of concentration options.
  • The master’s program includes a professional internship as part of the curriculum.
  • The program is degree-focused.

Carnegie Mellon Cyber Security Cons

  • The workload at Carnegie Mellon is known to be quite intense and challenging.
  • Tuition is expensive.
  • Networking across disciplines might prove difficult.

George Mason University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 69.4%

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

George Mason has a state-of-the-art computer science department. The school offers Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Computer Science and other related topics. George Mason offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Cyber Security as well as a master’s program. You can also opt for an accelerated master’s option.

George Mason Cyber Security Pros

  • Students can jump straight into an accelerated master’s program once they complete their bachelor’s degree.
  • There are a lot of career development opportunities.
  • The cyber security programs are interdisciplinary.

George Mason Cyber Security Cons

  • Tuition is expensive.
  • You’ll need a strong grasp of math and science to succeed.
  • The workload can be intense and challenging.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 86.2%

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, offers a specialized Master’s Degree in Cyber Security online. In fact, the school offers three master’s programs, each with its own concentration options. You can opt for an MS in Cyber Security with a specialization in technology, energy systems, or policy.

Georgia Tech Cyber Security Pros

  • The school’s master’s options have an interesting variety of concentration options.
  • The curriculum includes a final practicum project worth five credit hours.
  • The cyber security master’s program has a long list of available electives.

Georgia Tech Cyber Security Cons

  • The school’s master option is online only.
  • The cyber security program has a hefty list of requirements.
  • Tuition can be expensive.

Johns Hopkins University

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 92.4%

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Johns Hopkins has an exciting master’s program that can be pursued online or on campus. JHU’s program is designed for anyone aiming for the best careers in IT, risk compliance and management, or information security. The program focuses on areas such as analysis, assured autonomy, networks, and systems.

Johns Hopkins Cyber Security Pros

  • The campus is equipped with new computing facilities.
  • John Hopkins University also offers a post-master’s certificate.
  • The master’s program has a proficiency exam. This ensures you start your lessons at the optimal level.

Johns Hopkins Cyber Security Cons

  • Tuition is very expensive without grants or scholarships.
  • Programs are research-oriented rather than career-oriented.
  • The master’s program is very competitive and admission can be difficult.

Rutgers University

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 80.4%

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Rutgers has a cyber security master’s program that is available both online and on campus. The curriculum has many pathways available. You can choose to concentrate on digital forensics, technical cybersecurity, cyber security management, computer forensics, and more.

Rutgers Cyber Security Pros

  • The program has a wide array of concentration options.
  • The curriculum is hands-on and career-focused.
  • It is possible to enroll in the cyber security master’s program without a background in IT.

Rutgers Cyber Security Cons

  • Tuition can be expensive.
  • The course load can be stressful.
  • No internship opportunities are offered as part of the program.

Stanford University

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science

Graduation Rate: 94%

Regional Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Stanford has a robust computer science department. The school doesn’t offer a specific cyber security degree. However, the computer science bachelor’s does include specialization options that can lead to a career in cyber security. These include information systems, artificial intelligence, and more.

Stanford Cyber Security Pros

  • Studying computer science to get into cyber security can help you broaden your horizons and learn new skills.
  • The program has many exploratory modules such as computing principles, programming methodology, programming abstraction, and more.
  • The program is research-based.

Stanford Cyber Security Cons

  • The school is quite expensive.
  • The workload can be excessive.
  • The program is about computer science rather than cyber security.

University of Pennsylvania

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, PhD

Graduation Rate: 95.2%

Regional Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The University of Pennsylvania is world-renowned. You can enroll in a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, or a Doctorate in Computer and Information Science. The programs include all the modules you would find in any cyber security program.

Studying computer science at UPenn will give you the advantage of being able to branch out in many directions. Topics covered include computer systems, data structures, software design, algorithms, software analysis, and more.

UPenn Cyber Security Pros

  • The school offers a cyber security bootcamp. This provides students with a concise cyber security education and a certificate.
  • The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution. This can impress employers.
  • The computer and information science programs offer many concentration options.

UPenn Cyber Security Cons

  • Tuition for the University of Pennsylvania is very expensive.
  • Coursework can be very demanding.
  • Courses are academically oriented.

University of Southern California

Degree Levels: Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 91.5%

Regional Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

The University of Southern California (USC) offers a cyber security master’s that is available online. The program is career-focused. Throughout the degree, you will cover how to develop, maintain, and operate secure information systems. You will perform hands-on exercises that will allow you to simulate real scenarios.

USC Cyber Security Pros

  • The online nature of the degree offers students flexibility.
  • Students will complete a capstone project.
  • The university has helpful career services for students.

USC Cyber Security Cons

  • The program is very challenging and coursework can be demanding.
  • The curriculum doesn’t have as many concentration options as other schools.
  • Tuition is expensive, although the school offers financing options.

University of Texas at Austin

Degree Levels: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science

Graduation Rate: 80.8%

Regional Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The University of Texas at Austin offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science. The programs include cyber security concentration options. The cyber security concentration at UT Austin includes cutting-edge modules such as ethical hacking, virtualization, compilers, concurrency, cryptography, and more.

UT Austin Cyber Security Pros

  • The programs cover a wide range of topics with the possibility to specialize in niche aspects of cyber security.
  • The university has cutting-edge research and lab facilities.
  • The program curriculum has been devised by top industry personnel.

UT Austin Cyber Security Cons

  • The university is expensive.
  • Coursework can be challenging.
How to Pick the Best Cyber Security School for You

How to Pick the Best Cyber Security School for You

With so many great computer science universities and awesome cyber security schools to choose from, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. All colleges have different specialties and offer different curricula. It is important to know what to look for when choosing the best cyber security school for you.

Online vs In-Person Cyber Security Degrees

Online degrees tend to offer the same content as in-person degrees. There are, however, some key differences. Online cyber security degrees offer learning flexibility. You can study at your own pace, anywhere. Studying online also offers students the possibility to overcome transport, accommodation, and other logistical issues.

In-person degrees are more expensive. However, with higher expenses come extra benefits. By attending a cyber security program in person, you give yourself access to the college’s labs, resources, and study spaces. Furthermore, universities often host networking events and career seminars.

Other elements to consider are graduation rates, tuition, and the curriculum.

Graduation Rates

Graduation rates are important to pay attention to. A college’s graduation rate is a good insight into the institution’s performance. If a school has a low graduation rate, this might mean that students encounter too many difficulties to overcome.

Tuition

A degree at an American university can be expensive. Before disregarding a potential cyber security school based on tuition alone, check out scholarship or financial aid options. Schools sometimes have partnership schemes with high-end industries to provide helpful grants to students who wish to get into cyber security.

Curriculum

Last but not least, a program’s curriculum should be acutely scrutinized. You need to make sure the school has good course options. Make sure that a program’s concentration options are in line with your interests and career expectations.

How Much Can You Earn With a Cyber Security Degree?

A career in cyber security can be very lucrative. Getting a degree in cyber security does not necessarily mean that you will become a cyber security professional. There are many professions in computer science that you can do with a cyber security degree.

According to PayScale, the average salary for someone with cyber security skills is about $90,704. To give you a more concrete idea of your potential salary, we’ve gathered a few career options in the table below.

The Best Cyber Security Careers

Profession Required Education Approximate Average Salary
Security Architect Master’s degree $125,571
Lead Software Engineer Bachelor’s degree $119,685
Information Security Manager Master’s degree $117,707
Data Scientist Bachelor’s degree $96,528
Information Security Engineer Bachelor’s degree $94,947
Security Engineer Bachelor’s degree $94,077
Software Engineer Bachelor’s degree $87,403
IT Consultant Bachelor’s degree $79,737
Cyber Security Analyst Bachelor’s degree $76,505
Information Security Analyst Bachelor’s degree $73,074

Why You Should Attend a Cyber Security School in 2021

Cyber security is an expanding field that will continue to grow. Businesses and government agencies rely on cyber security professionals to keep their information safe. This degree provides you with job security. A cyber security degree is also a way of ensuring an exciting career with prospects for advancement.

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