Do you want to become a leader in cyber security? Whether you’re already a professional working in the field or you’re looking to leverage your experience and move into cyber security from another industry, a Master of Cyber Security degree will provide you with the advanced skills you need to protect and defend information systems from attacks.
On this page you’ll find information about online Master of Cyber Security schools offered through colleges and universities across the United States. We’ve also provided some general information below to help you evaluate different online graduate cyber security programs.
Not all online cyber security programs are the same. Before you apply, make sure you know how the program is structured and delivered. Typically, online courses are either:
- Synchronous – Synchronous programs are paced at intervals that must be completed according to a specific schedule. For example, students may need to attend live classes that are streamed over the internet in real time. Exams may also be scheduled at specific times and dates (but still administered online).
- Asynchronous – Asynchronous programs are more self-paced and allow students to move through the coursework at different times and speeds. For example, there may be assignments and exams, but students may not have to complete them at a specific time like students in synchronous programs.
Depending on your learning style, work schedule and familiarity with cyber security, you will need to decide which type of online graduate program is right for you (synchronous or asynchronous) and look for a Master of Cyber Security that fits your needs.
Courses may vary by program and concentration. When evaluating online Master of Cyber Security colleges, think about how the course offerings align with your professional goals and how you can leverage them to reach the next step in your career. If you don’t already have a career plan and aren’t sure which specific skills and capabilities you need to develop, a good place to start is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.
The NICE Framework identifies the tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities that cyber security professionals must demonstrate across seven distinct job categories. Refer to the NICE Framework to learn about the professional competencies you need for your desired cyber security career, and then keep those competencies in mind as you review program curriculum.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program. The goal of the program is to recognize and designate institutions that meet stringent CAE criteria to produce skilled professionals capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation.
If your goal is to work on the front lines of national cyber security and defense, you might start your search for an online Master of Cyber Security by first looking at colleges and universities that are designated as National Centers of Academic Excellence.
How long does it take to earn a masters degree in cyber security online?
The time it takes to complete an online cyber security program varies depending on a couple different factors, including total credit hours and the number of classes you take each semester. For example, say an online Master of Cyber Security degree program requires students to finish 30 credits (10 courses). As a full-time student taking three or four courses per semester, you could complete the program in two years or less. If you attend as a part-time student and take one or two courses per semester, it may take two or three years to earn your degree.
Do you need a background in computer science to apply to an online Master of Cyber Security program?
Although some programs are highly selective and may only accept students with an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field, you can still apply to an online Master of Cyber Security college program even if your previous degrees are in non-related fields. Depending on your background and experience, you may be admitted conditionally to the program. Conditionally admitted students may need to take additional computer science and cyber security prerequisite courses in addition to the required coursework.
Learn more about the M.S. in Cybersecurity from Syracuse University.