5 Best Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees

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Bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity prepare students to protect computer systems against malicious attacks. With cloud computing becoming an increasingly essential component of any business, cybersecurity now counts as a major staple across industries. Cybersecurity degree-holders can demonstrate the foundational knowledge they need to keep up in a rapidly evolving field.

With a cybersecurity degree, graduates enter an exciting field with flexible and potentially lucrative opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information technology professionals across all occupations earned a median annual wage of $88,240 as of 2019.

This page highlights the best online cybersecurity degrees, offering an excellent starting point for prospective students researching potential programs. Readers can learn more about cybersecurity degree expectations and careers, including educational requirements and average salaries.

Explore This Page: Why Get a Degree? | Admission Requirements | Popular Courses | Jobs for Graduates | Choosing Your School | Top Bachelor’s Programs | FAQs

What Is Cybersecurity?

Experts date the beginning of cybersecurity to around 1970, when an engineer named Bob Thomas created the first virus capable of transferring between computer networks. In 1988, Robert Morris followed in Thomas’ footsteps, inventing a worm that caused enough damage to halt operations across the nascent internet.

Now a necessary position in nearly every workplace, cybersecurity professionals protect their organizations’ computer systems from attacks. With business becoming increasingly reliant upon cloud computing, attackers attempt to steal sensitive information and interrupt operations, making cybersecurity a crucial component of any company.

Prospective students with a strong interest in computers and technology should consider pursuing cybersecurity degrees. Important skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and strong deductive reasoning.

Graduates with bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity qualify for professional roles as consultants, information security analysts, and computer and information systems managers. According to the BLS, the top employing industries for information security analysts include computer systems design, management of companies and enterprises, and credit intermediation and related activities.

With 131,000 information security analysts employed nationwide, BLS projection data indicates a surge in demand of 31% in the profession between 2019 and 2029, far outpacing the national average for all occupations.

Why Get an Education in Cybersecurity?

Higher education entails a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Cybersecurity degree-holders can expect to enter a job market that rewards their investment through lucrative jobs within many career fields. Technology enthusiasts with strong problem-solving skills can find ample opportunities in this challenging and rewarding sector. Consider the following reasons to pursue a cybersecurity degree:

Opportunity
With cybersecurity now comprising a crucial component of most businesses, degree-holders can pursue roles in many industries and locations.
Challenge
As technology expands and changes, cyberattackers use new methods for undermining computer systems. Cybersecurity professionals must maintain up-to-date knowledge and explore creative solutions, resulting in an engaging and challenging career.
Earning Potential
According to BLS data, information security analysts made a median salary of $103,590 in 2020. Among other lucrative opportunities, cybersecurity degree-holders may also apply their expertise as IT managers, who took home a median annual salary of $151,150 in 2020.

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 a Cybersecurity Degree Program

A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity prepares students to protect digital assets through offensive and defensive methods. The curriculum combines theoretical coursework with hands-on projects to emphasize skill-building in critical thinking, analysis, communication, and research. Students can also collaborate with local businesses.

To complete a cybersecurity degree, an enrollee must typically complete 120 credits, including any transfer credits. Some programs allow learners to apply work experience, such as industry credentials, toward degree completion. Depending on the program, the number of transfer credits, and individual student needs, program timelines can vary from 18 months to six years.

Many cybersecurity degree programs offer multiple tracks or concentrations. Foundational courses cover topics like network administration, information security, and computer programming. Some programs also cover certain aspects of business environments, such as organization management. Tuition rates also vary by institution, though many schools feature reduced rates.

Read more about cybersecurity programs

Admission Requirements for Cybersecurity Schools

Cybersecurity programs often require applicants to hold an associate degree or other college experience, like a certificate, before qualifying for admission. These programs expect students to enter the program with about 30 credits already earned. Some schools do not require any previous college coursework. In either case, most programs allow degree-seekers to transfer more credits into the program as needed.

Applicants may also encounter GPA minimums, typically in the 2.5-3.0 range. In addition to an online application, schools typically require an application fee, personal statement, resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Prospective students can use the Common App to create a single, streamlined application for multiple schools. The Common App also provides planning resources and financial aid information.

Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Degree and Concentration Options

Most cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs offer BS degrees. Individuals interested in pairing business and technology can also pursue bachelor’s degrees in business administration with a focus in cybersecurity.

Several of the best cybersecurity programs offer a selection of specializations, allowing students to tailor their studies to their interests and career goals. Common options include:

  • Computer Forensics: Computer forensics involves investigation and vulnerability testing, with courses focused on network and malware forensics. Students learn to detect and respond to network intrusions.
  • Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation: This specialization focuses on unearthing crimes like money laundering, credit fraud, and fraud prevention.
  • Information Assurance: Emphasizing the prevention of data-driven cybercrime, the information assurance concentration teaches students to run protected cyberoperations and continually assess system vulnerabilities.
  • Information Warfare and Security Management: An information warfare concentration focuses on issues of national security and explores cyberintelligence from offensive and defensive positions.

Popular Cybersecurity School Courses

Every cybersecurity degree program maintains different requirements and expectations. Prospective students should keep their own interests in mind while researching schools, as coursework differs substantially among schools. Still, degree-seekers can expect to encounter some similarities as they consider their options.

Major requirements for a bachelor’s in cybersecurity usually split core degree requirements and electives or concentration options. Some programs also require each enrollee to complete a capstone or senior project. Frequently required courses include:

Fundamentals of Computer Networking
Cybersecurity personnel must understand the systems they aim to protect. By studying networking theories and protocols, plus common structures and terminology, learners develop the foundational knowledge they need to apply security measures. Topics include common networking types, hardware, applications, and routing concepts.
Computer Science I
This staple of the more technically oriented concentration pathways, such as network forensics and information assurance, covers general knowledge in data structures, programming, and algorithms. A computer science course generally comprises theoretical principles and project-based learning.
Cyberlaw and Cybercrime
This course provides a foundation in the legal aspects of cybersecurity. Students learn about laws and regulations as they apply to information security, internet fraud, and the use of digital forensics. Coursework also touches on approaches for investigations that extend across international borders.
Information Security
With data breaches becoming a common occurrence among corporations, every business aims to enhance the protection of their sensitive information. This course may cover cybersecurity as it applies to both business and government, focusing on the value of information, legal issues, policy development, and system maintenance as it applies to data security.
Cybersecurity Capstone
Capstone expectations vary by program. Some schools require each student to work with an advisor to develop an individual project, while others use seminars. In some cases, students work directly with an existing company to assess their cybersecurity protocols and infrastructure.

Learn more about master's degrees in cybersecurity Explore top doctorate in cybersecurity programs

Jobs for Graduates of Cybersecurity Colleges

With degrees in cybersecurity, candidates can leverage their expertise to impress potential employers for many computer-related roles. BLS data indicates that careers in the information security field requiring a bachelor’s degree took home a national median salary that exceeded $100,000 in 2020. Computer systems analysts earned a median income of $93,730 in 2020, while computer programmers earned a median income of $89,190 in the same year.

Graduates might also consider obtaining professional certifications, such as CompTIA Security+, to help secure lucrative manager or director positions. A master’s degree can also accelerate advancement opportunities to roles as computer and information research scientists, for which the BLS reports a median 2020 salary of $126,830

Top Jobs for Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Graduates

How to Choose the Best College for a Cybersecurity Degree

Our rankings provide an excellent anchor for students beginning or continuing their search for the right cybersecurity degree. However, prospective enrollees should consider their own goals and preferences before committing to a program.

Accreditation plays a crucial role in the search for any degree program. Regional and national accreditation apply to schools themselves, while programmatic accreditation refers to specific degrees within a school. Many institutions do not recognize transfer credits or degrees earned without regional accreditation. Cybersecurity degree-seekers may also want to look for programs accredited by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense or Operations.

Prospective students should consider the availability of extracurricular activities and university resources. Distance learners may wish to know what kind of community-building opportunities the program provides, such as club memberships and online events. Other important resources include career services and alumni networks, library assistance, disability services, and tutoring.

The cost of a program also weighs heavily for many degree-seekers. Some programs offer scholarships and other forms of financial aid, so students should ask about these opportunities when contacting potential schools. Learners should also balance cost against earning potential — many schools offer details on graduate success rates, including how quickly graduates secured jobs, salary ranges, and specific job titles.

Why You Should Get Your Cybersecurity Degree Online

The success of online education grows by the year as more top institutions recognize the value of distance learning.

Cybersecurity students can easily learn the necessary theories and principles through online lectures, with practical computing projects particularly suited to distance learning. Enrollees can still participate in group work and make important connections while studying online.

Before committing to an online cybersecurity degree, however, degree-seekers should consider their personal preferences and tendencies. Distance education curriculum compares equally with the rigor of in-person coursework, necessitating strong self-motivation on the part of the students. Some may want to participate in a busy on-campus atmosphere, whereas others excel in individual study.

Cybersecurity college students should consider the program structure that best matches their situation and personality. Some online courses run through real-time web meetings, requiring enrollees to attend courses at scheduled times. Others present materials for students to complete on their own schedules. Degree-seekers may also prefer a hybrid approach, which incorporates regular or occasional in-person meetings.

Should you attend a cybersecurity bootcamp instead? Read these tips for taking online cybersecurity classes

Top Online Schools for Cybersecurity Degrees

The following list ranks 15 of the best online cybersecurity schools; learners can use this page to find the right school for their career goals and learning preferences. To examine our ranking methodology, visit the link below.


Our Ranking Methodology

  • What the Best Cybersecurity Programs Have in Common

    Student experience can differ greatly based on their chosen school. However, the top cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees share four major characteristics, like institutional and programmatic accreditation.

    • They are accredited. To grant certificates and degrees respected by government authorities, professional organizations, and employers, postsecondary schools must be accredited. All the colleges featured below hold regional accreditation from one of the following agencies:
      • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges
      • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
      • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
      • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
      • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
      • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
      • WASC Senior College and University Commission.

      Additionally, many of our listed institutions hold programmatic accreditation from ABET and/or center of academic excellence designation by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    • They represent academic excellence. We determine the quality of a postsecondary school’s programming based on its student retention and graduation rates. For example, the University of Charleston (UC) retained 65% of its students during the 2019-20 academic year, which is roughly the average for nonprofit online colleges. However, UC shines when it comes to alumni achievement: 85% of its students find employment or pursue additional academics within six months of graduation, and 98% of graduates earn professional licensing or pass board exams on their first try.
    • They are reputable. We evaluate reputation by the number of applicants and admitted students an online college yields each year. Reputable, discerning schools may receive many applications but admit relatively few candidates. Pair that metric with a high enrollment rate — how many of those admitted end up attending — and you have a carefully selected student body excited to be at the school.
    • They have robust cybersecurity programs. To assess program appeal, we look at how many students at an institution are enrolled in online learning both overall and at the bachelor’s level. With remote programming across over 135 areas of study, Regent University is an exemplar in this category. Because cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary field, we also look at elective concentration options.


  1. Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    A longtime leader in distance education, Maryville delivers more than 50 remote degrees and certificates through the Canvas platform. Students enjoy flexible start dates and one-on-one guidance from admissions and academic advisors.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    Maryville's BS in cybersecurity prepares learners for jobs with government agencies, financial institutions, and tech companies through a curriculum emphasizing project-based skill development. The program entails courses in database design; applied operating systems; and cyberlaw, policy, and compliance. Students also complete a series of core business classes on accounting and economics.

    In lieu of the general track, online cybersecurity degree candidates personalize their education by pursuing an offensive concentration focused on mobile security and advanced ethical hacking. Alternatively, they may specialize in defensive techniques like penetration testing and cloud security. Distance learners gain hands-on training through the school's virtual laboratory, the Cyber Fusion Center.

    Applying to Maryville

    Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. Maryville is a test-optional institution and does not require prospective undergraduate students to have relevant job experience.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
    • Tuition: $622/credit
    • Required Credits: 128 credit hours
    • Program Length: 2.5 years after completion of general education
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  2. University of North Dakota
    Location

    Grand Forks, ND

    UND is a comprehensive public research institution that provides over 250 academic programs across nine colleges and schools. The university powers distance education with Blackboard Learn.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    Students who enroll in UND's online cybersecurity program learn to protect critical data assets. This training prepares learners for careers with defense firms and technology-focused companies, including employers in the surrounding Red River Valley. The interdisciplinary curriculum centers on electrical engineering, covering such topics as control systems and computer-aided measurements.

    Applying to UND

    Freshman applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA, and transfer candidates must have earned at least 24 college-level credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. UND has waived all testing requirements through 2022.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $631/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credit hours
    • Program Length: 4-5 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  3. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Founded in 1866, Davenport is one of Michigan's oldest higher education institutions. The university was also the state's first distance education community. Today, students choose from over 30 online degrees and certificates through the Global Campus.

    Bachelor's in Cyber Defense

    In addition to regional accreditation, the Davenport cybersecurity program is designated by the NSA and DHS as a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense education. Students take core classes like database design, Windows digital forensics, and Python/Perl scripting. They gain advanced skills through either an information assurance or healthcare information assurance specialty track.

    Students can personalize the curriculum even further with an optional mathematics minor. All degree candidates must complete a relevant internship or field experience. Graduates who do not find work within six months of earning their degree can access financial and career development resources through the Employment Guarantee initiative.

    Applying to Davenport

    Both first-time and transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and acceptable ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores. In addition to general financial aid, cybersecurity students can apply for Department of Defense and National Science Foundation scholarships.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $815/credit (in state); $544/credit (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  4. Saint Leo University
    Location

    Saint Leo, FL

    Saint Leo was one of the first American universities to deliver online academic programming. Distance learners choose from more than 75 certificates and degrees. They have the option to earn their credentials through fully asynchronous classes or pursue a learning hybrid experience.

    Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

    The Saint Leo online cybersecurity degree teaches students to protect cyber assets and critical information. Through a 120-credit curriculum, candidates develop programming skills with Java, Python, and C/C++. They also learn to create statistical analysis applications supporting the organizational decision-making process.

    Cybersecurity candidates strengthen their skills in virtual lab sessions and may also gain additional hands-on training through an internship. Graduates are well-equipped to occupy entry-level positions as database administrators, computer engineers, and information security analysts. Alternatively, they can enroll in Saint Leo's online MS in cybersecurity or MBA in cybersecurity management program.

    Applying to Saint Leo

    Transfer applicants need at least 19 college-level credits demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA. Saint Leo offers rolling admissions and six yearly start dates. Prospective students can expect official notification within 30 days of submitting all required application materials.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $380/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous), hybrid, or on campus
  5. Baker College
    Location

    Owosso, MI

    Baker provides affordable academics at its Michigan campuses and through asynchronous courses powered by Canvas. The college's remote certificates and degrees are renowned for their innovation, earning a quality scorecard exemplary endorsement from the Online Learning Commission in 2016.

    BS in Information Technology and Security

    The online bachelor of science program in information technology and security with a concentration in information assurance/cybersecurity teaches students to respond to internal and external threats. Required coursework includes ethical hacking, security policies and auditing, and VPN firewall. Learners also delve into IT legal/ethical issues like intellectual property and social media addiction.

    All degree candidates need to gain at least 150 hours of work experience. The program culminates with a research-focused senior project that lets students examine a pertinent challenge in the technology field. Baker is a designated national center of academic excellence in cyber defense and education.

    Applying to Baker

    Baker does not maintain minimum GPA requirements. Applicants may send ACT or SAT scores to strengthen their admissions portfolio, but doing so is not mandatory. Nearly 86% of students receive scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $415/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credit hours
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous) or on campus

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees

  • What degree do I need for cybersecurity?

    A cybersecurity degree typically comes in the form of a BS in cybersecurity. Students interested in business might consider a BS in administration with a concentration in cybersecurity, as well.

  • How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity?

    Depending on the number of credits transferred into a program, a cybersecurity degree can take 18 months to four years. Part-time students may extend programs longer, if necessary.

  • What can I do with a degree in cybersecurity?

    As an essential component to many computer-related professions, cybersecurity opens the doors to jobs like information security analyst, computer and information systems manager, and database administrator.

  • Is an online cybersecurity degree worth it?

    BLS projection data indicates that demand for information security analysts will grow by 33% between 2020 and 2030, far exceeding the national average for all occupations. With an overall growth of 13% for all computer and IT professions, graduates can enter a booming job market with high earning potential.

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Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Find the right education path to take advantage of this fast-growing industry and join the front-lines on technology and security.