Table of Contents
- Best Master’s in Cybersecurity Programs
- Arizona State University – School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence
- Clemson University
- New York University (NYU), Tandon School of Engineering
- Purdue University, Polytechnic Institute
- Berkeley, School of Information
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- The University of Baltimore
- Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
- How to Choose the Best Cybersecurity Master’s Programs
- How Much Will a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Cost?
- Why Choose a Cybersecurity Master’s?
- Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Requirements
- Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries
- Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity FAQs
- Key Takeaways
Anyone in the online world has likely experienced a threat to their digital security — an unauthorized login, suspicious web page, or worse: a stolen identity. Americans made an incredible 847,376 complaints to the FBI about cybersecurity crimes.
Who helps mitigate? Programmers, technologists, and other professionals with a master’s in cybersecurity! Not only does the program offer immense opportunities in the computer science field, but it also provides job satisfaction. It feels good to fight back against hackers and fraudsters.
Cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity IT director, cybersecurity cloud architect — these are some examples of the lucrative roles you could obtain with a cybersecurity master’s degree.
Ready to level up your programming career? Let’s explore the best cybersecurity masters programs, how much they cost, and why they’re worth it.
Best Master’s in Cybersecurity Programs
Before we dive into the details, let’s look at each of the best schools for master’s in cybersecurity at a glance. Compare tuition and location for each school against your ideal programs.
|University/ School||Program||Duration||Total tuition (per year; residents vs. non-residents)||Location|
|Arizona State University||MS in Computer Science (cybersecurity concentration)||2 years||$11,720-$23,544||Tempe, AZ|
|Clemson University||MS in Computer Engineering (Cybersecurity)||30 credits||$5,429- $11,283||Charleston, SC|
|New York University (NYU)||MS in Computer Engineering (Cybersecurity)||30 credits||$14,147||New York City, NY|
|Purdue University||MS in Cybersecurity Management||60-80||$22,680 – $25,200 (total program tuition)||West Lafayette, IN|
|Berkeley University||Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS)||27||$73,224 (total program tuition)||Berkeley, CA|
|Georgia Institute of Technology||MS in Cybersecurity||32||$9,920 (total program tuition)||Atlanta, GA|
|University of Baltimore||Master of Forensic Science – Cyber Investigations||30||$23,640 – $34,680 (full program tuition)||Baltimore, MD|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||MS in Computing Security||30||$67,710 (full program tuition)||Rochester, NY|
Arizona State University – School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence
Master of Computer Science (Specialization in Cybersecurity)
Located in Tempe, Arizona, Arizona State University tops countless rankings for best online university programs — including their MS in Computer Science. The school has a generous acceptance rate, and its cybersecurity specialization boasts a 90% employment rate shortly after graduation. Students can pick between a thesis and a non-thesis graduate option. And in just five years, students can also finish an accelerated cybersecurity combined bachelor’s and master’s program with ASU. Our favorite part? ASU doesn’t limit its cybersecurity program to coders. With prerequisite courses, students from various disciplines can enroll in the program.
- Courses: Computer systems security, network security, computer and network forensics, software security, cloud computing
- Duration: 2 years
- Delivery: On-campus and online
- Tuition: $11,720 per year for residents; $23,544 for non-residents
- Financial aid: Employment, loans, fellowships
- Acceptance rate: 88.4%
- Location: Tempe, AZ
Master of Science in Computer Engineering – Cybersecurity
Clemson University is a public research university with the second-largest student population in South Carolina. The school’s MS in Computer Engineering (Cybersecurity) is an ideal match for someone with an electrical or computer engineering background, ideally a bachelor’s. This program also offers students a unique opportunity to conduct research in the novel Energy Innovation Center, including the Wind Turbine Train Test Facility and Duke Energy eGrid.
- Courses: Digital signal processing, intelligent systems, computer systems architecture
- Duration: 2 years
- Credits: 30
- Tuition: $5,429 per year for in-state students; $11,283 for non-residents
- Financial aid: Loans
- Delivery: On-campus
- Acceptance rate: 61.9%
- Location: Charleston, SC
New York University (NYU), Tandon School of Engineering
MS in Computer Science and Engineering- Cybersecurity
If you’re looking for a global education, NYU is a top choice. Headquartered in New York City, the private university allows students to pursue degrees at its Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and New York campuses. Students must have strong grades in an undergraduate degree in mathematics, computer science, or engineering to enroll in the program. Knowing C++ programming is also preferable. You can opt for either a research project or a thesis-based program.
Prospective cybersecurity grads may sign up for NYU’s Cyber Fellows Program — an affordable, online, part-time version of the program that offers a generous scholarship of up to 75% if you’re a US resident.
- Courses: Penetration testing, Cloud security, Applied Cryptography, Information, Security, and Privacy
- Duration: 2 years
- Credits: 30
- Tuition: $14,147 (7 credits per semester)
- Financial aid: Scholarships, loans, funding
- Delivery: On-campus, online, hybrid
- Acceptance rate: 21.1%
- Location: New York City, NY
Purdue University, Polytechnic Institute
MS in Cybersecurity Management
Purdue University’s engineering and nursing programs are some of the top-ranked master’s programs in the US. Its cybersecurity management master’s is the perfect choice for professionals looking to move up into leadership roles in the cybersecurity space. Upon graduation, you’ll be equipped to manage information continuity, IT infrastructure administration, and cybersecurity policy implementation. Prospective students must have an undergraduate background that covered mathematics, computer systems, and networking technology.
- Courses: IT Security Auditing, Computer Forensics, Ethical Hacking and Network Defense, Advanced Network Management
- Credits: 60-80 credits
- Duration: 2 years
- Delivery: On-campus, online
- Tuition: $22,680 for residents; $25,200 for non-residents (total tuition)
- Financial aid: Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
- Acceptance rate: 67.2%
- Location: West Lafayette, IN
Berkeley, School of Information
Master of Information and Cybersecurity Online (MICS)
What better place to study cybersecurity than with a school that neighbors San Francisco’s technology hub? Berkeley’s online MICS teaches students about cybersecurity’s ethical, behavioral, and economic connotations, going beyond theory and application. Students have unique access to the school’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, a resource that fosters connection and collaboration between industry and academic professionals in the field.
Graduates will surely create valuable connections within the Berkeley community and alumni network, though tuition is significantly higher than other universities on this list.
- Courses: Secure coding, network and web security, privacy engineering, usable privacy and security
- Duration: 20 months
- Delivery: Online
- Tuition: $73,224 ($2,712 per unit, for 27 credits)
- Financial aid: Fellowships
- Acceptance rate: 17.5%
- Location: Berkeley, CA
Georgia Institute of Technology
If you’re looking to work while pursuing your cybersecurity master’s degree, Georgia Tech is an excellent option. Designed to be completed in 2-3 years, the program accommodates flexible, part-time schedules. The school is globally recognized as a leader in technology, ranking 13th in computer science in the World University Rankings. With Georgia Tech, you get unbeatable value.
Its online MS in Cybersecurity is the only interdisciplinary degree in this field that meets all these criteria:
- On your own schedule
- Under $10,000
- Top 10-ranked public university in the US
The program prepares students to anticipate software and network vulnerabilities, use data protection methods, advise on cybercrime privacy costs, and understand cyber threats.
- Courses: Information security, malware analysis & defense, applied cryptography, security policies and strategies
- Credits: 32
- Duration: 2-3 years part-time
- Delivery: Online
- Tuition: $9,920
- Financial aid: Education loans, employer tuition reimbursement
- Acceptance rate: 21.3%
- Location: Atlanta, GA
The University of Baltimore
MS in Forensic Science – Cyber Investigations
Interested in applying a cybersecurity lens to your forensic science degree? The University of Baltimore offers a flexible, part-time, comprehensive option through its MS in Forensic Science – Cyber Investigations. Students will learn about computer crimes, forensic investigation techniques, security management and strategies, and much more. What’s great about this program is its hands-on experience. The school offers a computer lab where students can physically dissect computer hardware and apply forensic analysis.
Make sure you also check out the University of Baltimore’s Cybersecurity Certificate program.
- Courses: Cybercrime and the law, money laundering, ethical hacking, mobile forensics
- Credits: 30
- Delivery: On-campus
- Tuition: $23,640 for in-state students; $34,680 for non-residents
- Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, and federal work-study
- Acceptance rate: 80%
- Location: Baltimore, MD
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
The Rochester Institute of Technology is a prestigious private university consistently ranked as a top US university. Its MAS in Computing Security leads graduates to secure average salaries of $120,000 in their first year of work. This school’s cybersecurity program is one of the costliest on our list, but the school boasts a new ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute — a research facility designated for cybersecurity innovation and training.
The program prepares students to build security into computer software and hardware, as well as understand cybersecurity from a current technological lens.
- Courses: Computer system security, cryptography and authentication, research electives
- Credits: 30
- Duration: 2 years
- Delivery: On-campus, Online
- Tuition: $67,710
- Financial aid: Scholarships
- Acceptance rate: 73.9%
- Location: Rochester, NY
How to Choose the Best Cybersecurity Master’s Programs
You have many options for your master’s degree in cybersecurity. Narrow down your choices by examining these quality criteria for each program:
- Accreditation: All science and technology programs should be accredited to demonstrate excellence. Look out for programs with the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity designation.
- Faculty: The best universities for master’s in cybersecurity degrees should have faculty with relevant, current experience in the industry. The tech world is constantly changing, so you should have faith that your faculty are up-to-date on the latest trends and developments and can apply them. For example, NYU’s faculty includes Nikhil Gupta, who is exploring cybersecurity concerns in modern 3D printing.
- Cost: Tuition varies across our list of cybersecurity master’s programs. You can complete your degree with under $10,000 at Georgia Tech, but spent over $70,000 at Berkeley University. Don’t automatically pick the cheapest university unless you feel it meets your curriculum needs and career goals. Likewise, assess the true value of a degree program that’s priced higher than average.
- Research Opportunities: Some schools offer more value in their research facilities and programs. If you’re after hands-on experience in a dedicated cybersecurity lab, RIT’s Global Cybersecurity Institute’s 52,000-sq.-ft facility might be of interest!
How Much Will a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Cost?
Cybersecurity master’s degrees range in tuition and college fees. On the low end, you could complete your master’s in cybersecurity with under $10,000 (see Georgia Tech). Average tuition ranges between $14,000 – $30,000, with some private colleges charging upward of $60,000-$70,000 for tuition.
On top of tuition, out-of-state students will have to budget for room and board. However, there are enough online programs on this list to allow you to pursue your degree from home, without spending so much money on transportation and accommodation.
Why Choose a Cybersecurity Master’s?
Cybersecurity is an ever-growing and evolving field. Perhaps that’s why it has a projected job growth of 33% in the next ten years — much faster than the average for other industries.
Prospective cybersecurity professionals can expect a minimum salary of $70,000 upon graduating from a reputable cybersecurity master’s program, though most can secure $100,000 quickly. Some universities even promise higher salary potential shown by their alumni research.
And finally, graduates will feel a strong sense of accomplishment in the field. The constant problem solving, learning, and important work keep you engaged and satisfied.
Related Reading: Top 10 Best Programs for a PhD in Cyber Security
Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Requirements
While programs have varying requirements, most require some of most of the following for admission:
- Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, engineering, computer science, or related
- Some coding knowledge and computer science work experience
- Statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
Check each individual cybersecurity master’s program for specific degree requirements.
Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries
The options for employment are near endless with a master’s in cybersecurity. Let’s look at some common cybersecurity roles, what they entail, and how much they pay.
- Security Architect ($124,939): Every organization should undergo a cybersecurity threat assessment and have corresponding strategies to address potential risks. Security architects manage the assessment, as well as the development of policies and technologies to protect a business’s cyber assets.
- Cybersecurity Director ($131,597): Cybersecurity directors are typically responsible for managing entire cybersecurity teams, though they may have a Chief Security Officer to report to. These professionals lead teams through crises and address security breaches.
- Security Engineer ($105,934): Security engineers develop security strategies and protocols and maintain day-to-day operations for an IT security system.
Other popular cybersecurity roles include:
- Information manager ($85,338)
- IT security analyst ($73,181)
- Cybersecurity forensic analyst ($84,979)
Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity FAQs
Is a Master’s in Cybersecurity Worth It?
Certainly. These days, you can pay as little as $10,000 for a cybersecurity master’s degree and access a wide range of lucrative roles ($100,000) in a vibrant industry. Additionally, cybersecurity professionals experience excellent job satisfaction since they’re helping individuals and businesses protect their sensitive information.
Which Master’s Degree is Best for Cybersecurity?
The best master’s degree in cybersecurity meets your career goals, scheduling needs, and interests. Many cybersecurity degrees have specific concentrations where you can specialize in a niche interest, like forensic cybersecurity, for example.
Is a Cybersecurity Master’s Hard?
In simple terms — yes, a cybersecurity master’s is challenging and demanding. It requires substantial coding work most of the time and comprehensive training. However, you’ll fare well if you maintain a sense of curiosity (and commitment) amidst your studies.
How Many Years is a Master’s in Cybersecurity?
Most cybersecurity master’s degree programs take about two years to complete. Some programs allow the opportunity to finish faster, though you’ll find accelerated programs to be much more demanding.
A master’s in cybersecurity will give you valuable tools and knowledge to soar in a programming or IT career with the confidence to lead cybersecurity teams. Cybersecurity professionals earn over $100,000 on average, making the degree quite valuable in today’s job market.
Remember to take your time deciding on a program before you enroll. The school assesses your application, but you should likewise assess its offerings!
Interested in learning about other similar master’s degree programs? Check out our list of the top master’s degrees in mathematics.
Related: Best Laptop for Programming Students
Chrissy is a freelance writer and editor that takes pride in helping businesses and individuals tell their story. She's worked in a variety of professional writing and communications roles, including as a communications advisor for the Canadian Ontario Ministry of Energy.
Armed with an Honors BA in English and professional editing courses under her belt, Chrissy enjoys writing about the academic world and helping prospective students navigate their education.
Leave a Reply