Top 20 Cyber Security Master’s Degrees


An undergrad degree may be all you need for entry level cyber sec roles. But, if you earn your master’s in cyber sec this can mean higher wages. This can also mean that you can compete for more advanced roles in the field. The programs looks at advanced topics like ethical hacking and digital forensics. You can further customize your education if you choose a focus based on your goals and interests.

Cyber Sec master’s degrees aim to prep you to fill in demand jobs. And, experts ISC2 and Cyber Security Ventures say that there are many of these that exist. In fact, they predict from 3 to 3.5 million new jobs will open by 2021. And to add to that, the World Economic Forum says cyber attacks are also on the rise. So much so, in fact, that the World Economic Forum ranks it one of the five highest risks. That’s due to the fact we keep so much of our data online.

To meet the demand for skilled pros, many grad schools now offer advanced degrees. While distinct, they all teach ways to keep data safe, secure and private. These master’s in cyber sec programs come from many fields too. From comp sci to law and criminal justice.

What is a Cyber Security Master’s Degree?

Master’s in cyber sec programs will start out with basics. Then, come with tracks to match your interests and goals. Some of the key parts are tech based. So, they look at the tools one can use to prevent, deter and end attacks. This may mean that you will learn codes to program networks and systems. Yet other topics may touch on leadership. As such, you may learn how to deal with a security team. Or, craft a defense strategy to keep a company’s data safe.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: BS Cybersecurity – General Track, BS Cybersecurity – Data Analytics, BS Cybersecurity – Project Management, MS Cybersecurity – General Track, and MS Cybersecurity – IT Management

Purdue University Global

  • Experience world-class education online!
  • Purdue Global offers 180 programs at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels
  • Competency-based ExcelTrack™ Programs may allow you to earn your degree faster and for less money
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, Graduate Certificate in Information Security, Information Security Postbaccalaureate Certificate

Types of Cyber Security Master’s Degrees

There are three main types of master’s degrees in cyber sec. A Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). And there is also a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Along with the type, the degree may come with an anchor point also known as a field of study. This means you may focus on some classes around that theme.

One example is a MS in Cyber Sec Risk & Strategy. As the name suggests, you will learn ways to deal with and manage risk. Then, you will also learn ways to use your analysis when you craft a cyber sec policy. Another type is a Cyber Sec Strategy & Info Management Master’s degree. It takes a wide look at policy and cyber law. So, it deals with trends and tactics that are known to help leaders.

Cost of a Cyber Security Master’s Degree

As per NCES, the average cost of a master’s in cyber sec was $18,947. But since this is just an average, there are programs that will cost more. And ones that will cost less. For instance, you may get your degree in state and at a public school. The average cost of this type of school is $11, 926. And this is much less than private schools which average at $25,442. And, apart from tuition, there are other costs you may need to budget for. Books, supplies and room and board are just a few.

Cyber Security Master’s Program Course Curriculum

To enter into a cyber sec master’s program, here are a few things you may need:

  • Bachelor’s in a computer major
  • GRE Scores that meet the school’s min. score
  • Know how to speak English if you are not from the U.S.
  • GPA that meet’s school’s min. score

The classes you will take change from one school to the next. So, here is a sample of what a study plan might teach.

  • Social Impact of Info Sec
  • Data Mining
  • Firewalls
  • Mobile and Wireless Tech
  • Network Sec
  • Internet Media Sec
  • Audit and Compliance
How to Earn a Masters in Cyber security

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Master’s Degree in Cyber Security?

Many full time students take about 18 months to two years to earn a master’s degree in cyber sec. But you may need more time if you are doing research to prep for a PhD.

What Accreditation Should I Look For?

There is a stamp of approval in the form of a special status. It is for schools that have cyber sec programs. And it is part of a joint effort by two agencies.

The status they give a school is as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE CD). Or CAE in Cyber Operations (CAE CO). To get this approval, the school must meet high standards. Both those of NSA and of the DHS.

20 Best Schools with Cyber Security Master’s Degree Programs

So what is the difference from one school to the next and why should you care? The reality is, no two schools are the same. To help you in your search we ranked our top 20 schools. All have a cyber sec master’s degree program, so it may help you to narrow your choices down. Our process uses data from the NCES.

Top 20 Cyber Security Masters Degrees

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s in Cyber Security?

Earning a master’s in cyber sec may help you start or advance in the field. Each of the jobs below fits under the job title Computer and Information Systems Manager as per BLS.  And some are types of jobs you may want to seek out. All these jobs take a strong leader. One who can plan, manage, and also direct a company’s computer systems.

IT Security Manager

IT security managers protects company data. That means they plan and install systems that keep computer data safe. They also maintain these systems. So, when a breach or hack happens, this is the person you call first.

IT Director

The role of an IT Director is to make critical decisions. So, they manage policy for IT departments. As leaders, they may also train staff and resolve any issues. Plus give the OK to buy new hardware, software, or upgrades.


CIO is Chief Information Officer. CISO stands for Chief Information Security Officer. Both CIOs and CISOs are chief execs. As such, they may manage people, projects and budget. Plus, are the ones who craft policy that a director will enforce.

Top Salaries by State for Computer and Information Systems Managers

New York28,960$190,390
New Jersey15,570$181,620

Cyber Security Certifications to Consider

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Created by (ISC)2, CISSP certs focus on two things. Security policy and management. It is also the most popular of the cyber sec certs, according to CyberSecurityCC.

You need at least 5 years of experience before you can take the CISSP exam. So, it is not for those new to the field. And, your experience must be in at least two of these areas.

  • Sec and Risk Management
  • Asset Sec
  • Sec Engineering
  • Communications and Network Sec
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Sec Assessment and Testing
  • Sec Operations
  • Software Development Sec

To remain current, cert holders must also join the (ISC)2. Then, they must renew their cert every three years.

As a CISSP, each year you must also do two things to stay current. One is to pay an $85 fee. The other is to submit 40 CPE credits.

CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

Offered by ISACA®, more than 140,100 people have CISA cert.

To get your CISA, you need to take an exam that covers 5 core areas.

  1. Auditing
  2. Governance & Management of IT
  3. Info Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation
  4. Info Systems Operations, Maintenance and Service Management
  5. Protection of Info Assets

As a CISA cert holder, you must renew every three years. Then also, you have to pay a yearly fee of $45 for ISACA® members. Or $85 for non members.

You must also submit at least 20 CPE credits each year for the three year period.

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

CISM gives guide lines for Cyber Sec management to those in charge. So, one of the things it asks of you is to be able to explain complex info sec issues.

It is another of SACA® credentials. And one that over 40,000 pros have once they know these four content areas.

  • Info Sec Governance
  • Managing Info Risk
  • Develop and Manage an Info Sec Program
  • Info Sec Incident Management

To remain current, CISMs must renew every three years. Also, pay a yearly fee. This is $45 for ISACA® members or $85 if not a member. You must also submit at least 20 CPEs for the three year period.

GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler

GCIH cert deals with how to handle incidents. So, you must know how to detect, respond to and resolve them. You must also master core areas.

  • The incident handling process
  • Detect harmful apps and network activity
  • Common attack methods that can compromise a host
  • Spot and assess system and network weak areas
  • Know how to find the root causes of incidents

Once you have your GHIC, you need to renew it every 4 years. This means a fee of $429 and 36 CPE credits.