5 Best Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?
Public and private organizations continue to implement more technology into daily operations. However, with more technology comes a higher risk of cyberthreats like security breaches or confidential information leaks. These security issues lead to an increased demand for cybersecurity experts and new solutions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 31% increase in job growth for information security analyst positions from 2019-29. Yet, Cybersecurity Ventures' "Official Annual Cybersecurity Jobs Report for 2019-2020" estimates that 3.5 million cybersecurity positions will go unfilled before the end of 2021.
Responding to the increased demand, individuals with bachelor's in cybersecurity management can pursue many high-paying career opportunities. This guide explores the field, what to expect, possible job titles, the best cybersecurity management programs, and other pertinent information for those considering cybersecurity careers.
What Is Cybersecurity Management?
Cybersecurity management combines digital threat prevention strategies with leadership skills to prevent digital attacks. These attacks include computer viruses, malware, and ransomware. Additionally, each new cybersecurity solution encourages illegal hackers to develop new and more sophisticated cyberthreats.
Cybersecurity management combines digital threat prevention strategies with leadership skills to prevent digital attacks.
Heightened demand partially explains the skills gap in the cybersecurity workforce. Almost all sizable companies and organizations hire cybersecurity experts to protect consumer data, private documents, and other sensitive information. Over 150 security services like Avast, Bitdefender, and McAfee also employ cybersecurity professionals to develop software protection and other products.
Graduates with a bachelor's in cybersecurity management can find themselves in good standing in their job search. According to MIT Technology Review, less than one out of four cybersecurity applicants hold the credentials for the job. A bachelor's degree in the field can equip students with the right qualifications to pursue these opportunities.
Why Get a Cybersecurity Management Bachelor's?
The large cybersecurity workforce gap makes a bachelor's in cybersecurity management a valuable asset. The increased demand for these professionals can lead to high salaries and many career options. Organizations continue to siphon more money and resources into cybersecurity, potentially translating to greater job security.
- Lucrative Pay: The high demand for cybersecurity management positions can increase annual salaries. The median annual wage for all computer and information technology positions was $91,250 as of May 2020.
- Many Career Choices: Earning a bachelor's in cybersecurity opens up 61% of available jobs in the field, according to a 2015 report from Burning Glass. Another 23% of cybersecurity positions require a master's degree in the field.
- Good Job Security: With the rise in cybercrime, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will likely increase. For example, the healthcare industry alone estimates spending $125 billion in digital security solutions from 2020-2025.
Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
What to Expect From Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Management Programs
A bachelor's in cybersecurity management prepares students for entry-level positions or graduate study in the field. The curriculum covers programming fundamentals, network security, industry developments, and leadership skills. Compared to other technology programs, cybersecurity programs focus more on system vulnerabilities and legal implications.
Bachelor's programs typically take four years to complete for full-time students. However, some schools offer accelerated programs, which allow students to earn their degree faster. The estimated length varies depending on the program's required credits. A bachelor of cybersecurity management degree program usually ranges from 120-147 credits.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that the average undergraduate tuition and fees come to $16,647 for 2019-2020 for all institutions. However, tuition rates can vary widely depending on institution type, student residency, and other factors.
Bachelor's programs usually require applicants to submit proof of their high school diplomas, GED certificates, or equivalent. Students should check the school's website for specific application instructions.
In general, applicants should prepare materials such as official transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT. To save time when applying to multiple schools, students can consider applying through the Common App. Many higher education institutions in the U.S. accept Common App applications, which can streamline the process.
Associate degree- and certificate-holders may transfer their credits to a cybersecurity bachelor's program. These students should contact the school to determine its credits transfer policy.
Review these links for more information about associate degrees and certificates in cybersecurity.
Comparing Degree Types
Many cybersecurity management majors earn a BS in cybersecurity, but not all degrees appear under the same name. For example, Roger Williams University offers a cybersecurity and networking program, while Drexel University has a computing and security technology program.
Most cybersecurity programs award a BS or BAS degree The BS curriculum typically emphasizes cybersecurity applications. In comparison, a BAS might focus more on hands-on security skills.
Some programs offer a bachelor's in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity. While these fields are similar, computer science has a broader focus, and cybersecurity centers specifically on digital threats and countermeasures.
Students looking for niche careers in digital forensics should strongly consider earning a cybersecurity degree compared to a computer science degree.
Popular Cybersecurity Management Courses
Cybersecurity programs include core courses and electives. Core classes cover essential topics necessary to graduate. Electives allow students to pursue optional topics and academic paths. Programs can culminate in a senior capstone that involves an experiential learning activity, a thesis, or a project. Below are several common cybersecurity courses:
- Security Foundations: This course explores the basics of information security from a business perspective. Enrollees study hardware and software security and common network vulnerabilities. Along with preventative measures, students learn how to create recovery plans after security breaches and data loss.
- Digital Evidence and Forensic Investigations: This class covers the fundamentals and procedures of civil and criminal investigations. Students learn the ethical and legal methods of procuring digital evidence. The course introduces learners to Encase™, a popular software used in computer forensics.
- Encryption Techniques: Starting with the history of cryptography, students learn the foundations and modern applications of encryption. The course explores cryptography's mathematical basis and its role in Internet Key Exchange protocols. By the end of the course, participants can analyze and crack modern encryptions.
- Emerging Cyberthreats and Defenses: This course tackles rapid developments in the field and cybersecurity trends, including machine learning. Students learn how to adapt to emerging threats and the importance of continued education throughout their careers.
- Senior Project: For this course, seniors hone their project management skills by researching a current cybersecurity topic and forming a thesis. They present their findings to the class and a professional organization, such as InfraGard or the Information Systems Security Association.
How Much Will a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Management Cost?
Degree-seekers can find an average annual net price of $17,000-$39,000 according to NCES data for 2018-19. This range only includes prices for the top 15 ranked schools for cybersecurity bachelor's degrees, but it forms a solid basis of potential education costs.
Tuition rates can vary greatly depending on whether it is a public or private school and the student's residency status. Students can often save money by enrolling in online programs and avoiding on-campus fees.
Other than tuition, the cost of books and supplies can affect the total expense. For tech-heavy programs like cybersecurity, learners might need to supply their own laptops and software.
To offset college costs, students can apply for various financial aid or assistance options, such as payment plans, loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Learners should also submit a FAFSA application to determine federal aid eligibility.
Unlike loans, students do not need to pay back gift aid like scholarships and grants. Financial aid opportunities also exist at the state and institutional levels. Many private scholarships are also available for technology students.
Jobs for Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Management Graduates
According to data from the BLS, the 2019-29 projected job growth for cybersecurity roles exceed the national average. Several popular cybersecurity positions boast median annual salaries at the six-figure mark. For example, Payscale reports that chief information and security officers earn the highest average salary of $165,910 per year as of April 2021.
Many cybersecurity jobs require bachelor's degrees at a minimum. However, relevant work experience or a master's degree in the field can make applicants more competitive in the job market. Those holding professional certifications can also boost their chances of getting hired.
Security analysts monitor an organization's networks and digital traffic to protect against cyberattacks. These employees follow protocols while looking for digital threats and security weaknesses. They maintain protections such as firewalls for routers and other hardware. Security analysts also record any security breaches and minimize vulnerabilities while updating the network.
These professionals create security software including firewalls and commercial anti-virus products. Developers need to learn several programming languages, databases, and operating systems. Security software developers work together to create unified code so the role requires strong teamwork skills.
Computer forensics analysts retrieve data and digital information as evidence during investigations. This role works in private companies or public sectors. Since the job involves civil and criminal investigations, computer forensics analysts must follow all relevant legal regulations. These analysts benefit from learning legal procedures and criminal law along with core computer science topics.
Required Education: Bachelor's | Job Outlook: N/A | Average Annual Salary: $74,190 as of April 2021
Penetrations testers work in a team and specialize in finding security vulnerabilities. Penetration testers create their own software and perform mock attacks on the network to find backdoors and other security flaws. For this position, employers usually require a bachelor's degree or several years of experience along with professional certifications.
Required Education: Bachelor's | Job Outlook: N/A | Average Annual Salary: $86,030 as of April 2021
CISCO professionals earn a lucrative salary since the position usually requires 7-10 years of industry experience. Along with mastering cybersecurity, these officers must show leadership and strong communication skills as they manage entire networks. The CISO creates and updates an organization's security policies.
Required Education: Bachelor's | Job Outlook: N/A | Average Annual Salary: $165,910 as of April 2021
FAQ's About Cybersecurity Management and Policy
What should I major in to become a cybersecurity manager?
Many schools offer dedicated cybersecurity or cybersecurity management majors. Some computer science programs include concentrations in cybersecurity. Any courses or tracks emphasizing leadership skills can also help you become a cybersecurity manager.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity management?
Most bachelor's programs can be completed in four years with full-time study. The actual length can vary depending on the curriculum, courseload, and other factors. Some schools also offer accelerated formats for faster completion times.
What can I do with a bachelor's in cybersecurity management?
A bachelor's in cybersecurity management can give you the skills and knowledge for entry-level positions in cybersecurity. The program's focus on management and leadership may lead to future job promotions commensurate with industry experience.Graduates can also seek a master's degree in the field.
What is a cybersecurity management and policy degree?
A cybersecurity management and policy degree is similar to a cybersecurity management degree. However, the former emphasizes creating and enforcing security policies on an organizational level. Beyond that, many of the core skills and studies remain the same.
The Top Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Management Schools
As the 21st century progresses, the need for information security grows. Hackers and cybercriminals often spell grim consequences for businesses, sparing no sector. Information security remains paramount.
The following lists the top five cybersecurity management and policy degrees. Some of these programs boast industry-specific accreditation. Accreditation confirms whether the program and the school meet all the quality standards of the leading certification bodies in the country. Some of the notable accrediting bodies include:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
1. Taylor University
Founded as Fort Wayne Female College in 1846, TU describes itself as a discipleship community and offers over 60 majors. The school prides itself on its heritage and integration of faith.
With six full-time faculty members, TU's computer science legacy demonstrates an almost-100% graduate placement rate. Taylor's cybersecurity program teaches students how to use pre-made security-related tools, such as antivirus software and firewalls. The program also boasts an advanced technology lab awarded to the school by Lockheed Martin.
Applying to TU
Taylor prefers applicants submit standardized test scores. Applicants need to also submit a Christian Character Reference and the submission of "Your Story" where applicants explain how God manifests in their life.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private | Accreditation: HLC | Tuition: $36,270 | Required Credits: 128 | Length of Program: 4 years | Delivery format: On CampusVisit School Profile
2. Messiah University
Located just 12 miles from the state capital, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania's Messiah University sprawls across 471 acres. Messiah describes itself as broadly evangelical and accepting of a variety of denominations.
Messiah's cybersecurity degree program for undergraduates prepares its students for a variety of careers, even graduate school. Students in this program will also develop and defend an ethical code of conduct consistent with the Christian faith and formulated from a professional, ethical and legal understanding.
Applying to Messiah
Prospective students must submit high school transcripts and a personal statement as part of the application process. Standardized test results, including SAT, ACT, or CLT are optional.
Program at a glance
School Type: Private | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $37,430 | Required Credits: 123 | Length of Program: 4 years | Delivery format: On CampusVisit School Profile
3. Seton Hill University
35 miles from Pittsburgh, Seton Hill describes itself as a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university that educates more than 2000 students. The school offers over 100 certificate and degree programs.
Seton Hill's nationally recognized Career and Professional Development center can help students find cybersecurity-related internships. The institution's cybersecurity program belongs to the Apple Distinguished School ranks.
Applying to Seton Hill
Prospective students must submit an application form, an official secondary transcript or GED certification, and test scores from either the SAT or ACT. Seton Hill accepts but does not require a 200-word essay and letters of recommendation.
Program At a Glance
School Type: Private | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $19,259 per semester | Required Credits: 120 | Length of Program: 4 years | Delivery format: On CampusVisit School Profile
4. Southeast Missouri State
Located in Cape Girardeau and commonly referred to as SEMO, Southeast Missouri State university traces its roots back to 1873. Currently, enrollment reaches nearly 12,000.
SEMO holds the title of the only university in Missouri to offer a cybersecurity bachelor's degree. The program at SEMO prepares its graduates for working in the cybersecurity field or to further their knowledge in a related graduate program.
At SEMO, the cybersecurity program belongs to the Harrison College of Business and Computing, and the program includes courses such as computer science and software engineering along with information assurance, computer forensics, network security and cryptography.
Applying to SEMO
Students with a 2.75 cumulative high school GPA need not submit SAT or ACT test scores. Applicants with lower GPAs should submit test scores for consideration SEMO uses "superscoring" for students taking SAT or ACT tests multiple times. Superscoring uses the best scores from each of the four test categories to create a composite score.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: HLC | Tuition: $290.50 per credit in-state; $509.50 per credit out of state | Required Credits: 78 hours | Length of Program: 4 years | Delivery format: On CampusVisit School Profile
5. Florida State University
Located in Tallahassee, FSU educates nearly 43,000 students. The university serves as the oldest Florida site of continuing education, and traces its founding back to 1851.
Cyber criminology includes instruction on using computers to facilitate the study of crime, and the study of how crimes are accomplished through the use of computers. Students receive training on completing graduate research in this area, and can learn to become effective employees of government, law enforcement, and industry.
Applying to FSU
Applicants must submit high school transcripts, an essay, a resume, and SAT or ACT test scores. FSU lacks a minimum GPA requirement, but very few students with less than a 3.0 high school GPA earn admission.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: SACSCOC | Tuition: $ 4.022 a year for Florida residents/ $16,540 a year for non-residents | Required Credits: 120 | Length of Program: 4 years | Delivery format: On CampusVisit School Profile
Featured Image: Jetta Productions Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images
View hand-picked degree programs
Tell us what you’d like to specialize in, and discover which schools offer a degree program that can help you make an impact on the world.