Most Diverse Cybersecurity Programs 2022

| Liz Simmons Modified on March 23, 2022

Most Diverse Cybersecurity Programs 2022

A cybersecurity degree prepares graduates for well-paying jobs protecting computer systems and networks from breaches. A specialized subfield of computer science, cybersecurity focuses on security risk management, IT infrastructure, and security testing. Demand for cybersecurity professionals outpaces the supply, making now a smart time to pursue a computer security career.

Women of all backgrounds and Black and brown people of all genders remain largely underrepresented and underserved in cybersecurity. This is especially true for leadership roles.

The cybersecurity industry must continue its work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, it has made some progress. More women work in cybersecurity now than in the past. A commitment to making the cybersecurity workforce more diverse can help spur innovation and address the field's labor shortage.

Below, we discuss why to pursue a bachelor's in cybersecurity and what to expect from a typical program. This page also explains why to prioritize diversity in cybersecurity programs and how to find the right school for you.

Why Major in Cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity field attracts tech-savvy people who enjoy novelty and solving problems. This technical field can be challenging at times as well.

The cybersecurity industry offers above-average pay and a high demand for workers. This draws people from other fields who are seeking to change careers. It also attracts tech workers from other specializations.

As cyberattacks increase and more organizations put valuable information online, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals will likely grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% job growth for information security analysts from 2020-2030.

What to Expect From a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree

A bachelor's in cybersecurity provides the knowledge and skills to protect computer systems, devices, and networks from intrusion. Students learn to stop cybercriminals, which can save their companies millions of dollars. Graduates can apply for various entry-level information technology security jobs.

A typical cybersecurity bachelor's degree takes about four years to complete, requiring 120 semester credits. Some accelerated online options offer faster completion options.

Students take general education, core, and electives courses. Typical classes include digital forensics, certified ethical hacking, object-oriented scripting language, and computer network defense. Most schools accept transfer credits earned at accredited institutions.

Admissions Process

Most bachelor's in cybersecurity programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students should also turn in an online application with the application fee. Some schools require a minimum GPA and ACT or SAT scores.

Each applicant must also submit letters of recommendation, an essay, and a resume.

Some programs require an admissions interview. Relevant professional experience or education may also increase chances of admission.

Most bachelor's in cybersecurity programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Many schools let prospective students apply through the Common App, which makes it possible to apply to multiple programs at once.

Why Prioritize Diversity in Cybersecurity Programs?

Cybersecurity programs that prioritize diversity offer the potential benefit of being more welcoming and inclusive. Not all cybersecurity majors look, sound, or act the same way. Inclusive programs allow students to come as they are and expect to be treated well. By choosing a cybersecurity program that promotes diversity, you can maximize networking potential. With students from various backgrounds in your cohort, you may increase your chances of finding new internship and job opportunities. Cybersecurity bachelor's programs that value diversity may do a better job preparing students of underrepresented identities and genders for cybersecurity careers. This may create a more diverse workforce. Diverse student bodies can lead to more innovative, exciting tech and cybersecurity fields. Choosing a cybersecurity program that prioritizes diversity gives students opportunities to learn from people of different backgrounds. This brings new perspectives, ways of thinking, and approaches to problems. As more companies make efforts to diversify their workforce, knowing how to collaborate with people from different backgrounds is a key skill for the future. Although many identities remain underrepresented in cybersecurity now, some businesses are working to improve their diversity and inclusion.

Factors in Cybersecurity Programs that Value Diversity

Diversity is a somewhat subjective concept. For this ranking, we consider cybersecurity program diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. This is not an exhaustive list of factors that indicate diversity in cybersecurity programs, but it is a good starting point.

For this ranking, we consider cybersecurity program diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation.

Colleges have historically excluded many racial and ethnic minorities. Women, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community have faced exclusion as well. Moreover, many first-generation students remain underserved or underrepresented in higher education and the cybersecurity field.

Race and Ethnicity

We consider the percentage of racial and ethnic minorities present at a school as one indicator of diversity.

Historically, college was out of reach for many racial and ethnic minorities due to discriminatory policies and racial inequalities in wealth. Today, white Americans remain much more likely to hold a bachelor's degree than Americans who are Black, Hispanic, or both.

Racial and ethnic diversity increased significantly in colleges over the 20th and 21st centuries. College attendance by students who are not white increased by 191% from 1976-2021. College attendance among Hispanic and Latino/a students has grown by 47% since 2010.

To represent diversity among race and ethnicity, this ranking features schools that reported a range of 30%-65% white students in fall 2020. We excluded any schools with a single dominant race or ethnicity, including certain historically Black colleges and universities.

Gender

Until the 19th century, most universities served men only and did not accept women students. Men continued to outnumber women in higher education until the second half of the 20th century.

In 1960, women made up just 41% of the college student population. As universities became more welcoming to women, this ratio shifted. Today, women are 25% more likely to enroll in higher education than men.

However, women remain severely underrepresented in the cybersecurity field. They made up only 20% of the global cybersecurity workforce in 2019. Including more women in cybersecurity programs can help address the industry's lack of gender diversity.

Note that this ranking includes colleges with student bodies comprising 51%-60% women students as of fall 2020. Our ranking does not include schools with a single dominant gender.

IPEDS does not present relevant data for students of nonbinary genders. For this reason, we did not factor nonbinary learners into this ranking.

Disability and Neurodivergence

We also assess diversity by considering postsecondary institutions' inclusion of students with disabilities. During the 2015-2016 school year, 19% of undergraduate students reported having a disability.

Formally registered disabilities at postsecondary institutions include:

  • Hearing impairments
  • Blindness or visual impairments
  • Orthopedic or mobility impairments
  • Speech or language impairments

Colleges may also recognize learning, mental, psychiatric, and emotional conditions like depression, ADD, ADHD, and other learning disabilities.

This ranking includes colleges that report 10% or more students with disabilities in fall 2020.

Neurodivergent people and people with disabilities can flourish in the cybersecurity field. A 2018 Disability Horizons article notes that some neurodiverse individuals may be considered "ideal" for cybersecurity jobs. Certain traits often exhibited by autistic people, like focus and attention to detail, are prized in the cybersecurity sector.

Sexual Orientation

We also measure diversity by assessing the presence of students of various sexual orientations. The existence of an official LGBTQIA+ community, resource group, or counseling center at a school can increase a sense of acceptance, understanding, and success for college students.

The tech field often attracts progressive people. Many human resources departments at cybersecurity firms have diversity targets that include hiring LGBTQIA+ people.

According to a 2020 Infosecurity Magazine reader poll, 43% of respondents said their company had a social group, committee, or initiative specifically targeted for the LGBTQIA+ community.

This ranking does not measure percentages of LGBTQIA+ students. Reliable data for LGBTQIA+ students is difficult to find and may not be accurately reported. We assess sexual orientation diversity by noting campus LGBTQIA+ "safe spaces," clubs and organizations, inclusion trainings, and student resources on schools' websites.

Selecting the Right Cybersecurity Program

Many considerations go into choosing the right program for a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity. We describe some of the most important factors below.

  • Accreditation: Make sure any school you consider holds institutional accreditation. Accreditation verifies that a school provides high-quality education. Attending a properly accredited school can help you qualify for financial aid and transfer credits to other institutions.
  • Cost/Financial Aid: Research your estimated cost of attendance. Consider tuition and fees, but also cost of living, required books and materials, and technology. Determine your likelihood of receiving financial aid to see which programs fall within your budget.
  • Competitiveness and Admission Requirements: More prestigious programs are usually more difficult to get into. Consider each school's admission requirements and make sure you meet the minimum criteria before applying.
  • Program Length: Research how long it usually takes learners to graduate. If you want to earn your degree more quickly, look for accelerated online options.

Additional Resources

Top Diverse Cybersecurity Programs

Interested in a school that values diversity in cybersecurity programs? Keep reading to explore the five most diverse cybersecurity programs for 2022. The link below explains how we rank schools generally before refining them to feature diverse programs only.

true Guilford College

Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, started as a Quaker children's school in 1837. Quaker values still guide Guilford, but the private college welcomes students of all faiths.

BS in Cyber and Network Security

Guilford's Department of Computing Technology and Information Systems offers a BS in cyber and network security that ranks high for students searching for diversity in cybersecurity programs. The program trains learners to stop hacking attempts and investigate cyber crimes. Graduates find jobs at companies like IBM, Deloitte, and LabCorp.

The 124-credit curriculum includes classes like computer forensics, operating systems, and ethics in a digital world. Students get hands-on experience through a required internship and practical skills-based labs and exercises. Some cyber and network security majors participate in the Cisco Global Cybersecurity Scholarship program.

Applying to Guilford

To apply, submit a completed free online application, transcripts, and a personal essay. Optionally, students can submit ACT or SAT scores and a letter of recommendation. All students who submit a FAFSA receive financial aid from Guilford.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $20,200/semester
  • Required Credits: 124
  • Delivery Format: On-campus

Student Diversity

  • Race: 51% non-white
  • Gender: 53% female
  • Disability: 11% with a disability
  • LGBTQ+ Support: Queer and Trans Guide
true Hilbert College

Founded in 1957 by Sister Edwina Bogel, Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York, is a Franciscan Catholic college that serves about 800 students. All majors can participate in the school's honors program.

BS in Cybersecurity 

Hilbert's BS in cybersecurity emphasizes both the managerial and technical aspects of the field. Students can take classes online or in person. The curriculum includes courses like introduction to information security, computer organization, and introduction to network security. The program also requires a service learning project.

Cybersecurity majors choose from 30 concentrations including criminology, integrated marketing, or law and human services. Hillbert houses the Cybersecurity Education Center, a collaborative resource dedicated to information assurance and cybersecurity. The program prepares students to pass certification exams for the CompTIA Network+, Certified Information System Security Professional, and CompTIA Security+.

Applying to Hilbert

Admission requirements include a completed online application, transcripts, and a high school diploma or GED certificate. Recommended application documents include SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $27,400/year
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: Online or on campus 

Student Diversity

Lynn University

Founded in 1962, Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, got its start as a two-year women's finishing school. The school's accelerated bachelor's degree programs let students graduate in three years and save money.

BS in Cybersecurity

Students looking for diversity in cybersecurity programs should consider the BS in cybersecurity from Lynn University's Business and Management College. Students learn the foundations of cybersecurity and business and graduate prepared to pursue entry-level information technology careers.. The 120-credit, on-campus degree takes three to four years to complete.

The curriculum requires classes like information systems fundamentals, business strategy, and business analytics using Excel modeling. Cybersecurity majors complete a team capstone project that explores an important cybersecurity threat to an organization. Students get access to career preparation services like resume writing consultation, networking opportunities, mentoring, and one-on-one advising.

Applying to Lynn University

Admission requirements include a personal statement, official transcripts from all prior schools, a resume, and a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor. Applicants can submit optional ACT or SAT scores.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $1,326/credit (four-year students); $995/credit (three-year students)
  • Required Credits: 120
  • Program Length: 3-4 years
  • Delivery Format: On-campus

Student Diversity

Hofstra University

Hofstra University offers small classes on a beautiful campus not far from New York City. Students choose from 165 undergraduate programs and 175 graduate programs in fields like business, engineering and applied science, and liberal arts and sciences.

BS in Computer Science and Cybersecurity

Hofstra's BS in computer science and cybersecurity may appeal to students searching for diversity in cybersecurity programs. The program prepares graduates for careers like software developer, network administrator, and penetration tester. The curriculum's foundation in computer science includes an emphasis on computer systems. Learners get hands-on experience with defense technologies.

The program meets the knowledge units specified by the National Security Agency National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The 124-credit, four-year degree offers classes like computer architecture laboratory; computing, ethics, and society; and methods of random process. Students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and technical skills.

Applying to Hofstra

Admission requirements include a high school diploma. Applicants must submit proof of their high school diploma or their final high school transcript. A test-optional school, Hofstra does not require ACT or SAT scores, but will consider them for students who choose to submit them.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $25,132/term
  • Required Credits: 124
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Student Diversity

SUNY Canton

Chartered in 1906, SUNY Canton is part of the State University of New York system and located in Canton, New York. The school offers 31 bachelor's degrees, 20 associate degrees, and 23 fully online degrees.

BS in Cybersecurity

The BS in cybersecurity from SUNY Canton is a good choice for learners seeking diversity in cybersecurity programs. The curriculum explores network defense, professional ethics, cryptology and digital forensics, and ethical hacking and system penetration. Students choose from minors in homeland security, forensic science, or emergency management.

SUNY Canton offers students the option to complete the program fully online or on campus. Distance learners participate in virtual networking, communities, and career-building workshops. Required courses include introduction to programming, ethical hacking and penetration testing, and network management. In their final semester, students can complete an internship or additional upper-level program electives.

Applying to SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton accepts applications year-round. Admission requirements include a high school diploma and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants must meet the school's English proficiency requirements.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $295/credit (in state); $708/credit (out of state); $353/credit (out of state/online)
  • Required Credits: 123
  • Program Length: 8 semesters
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus

Student Diversity

FAQ About Diversity in Cybersecurity Programs

What is diversity in cybersecurity?

Diversity in cybersecurity requires better representation of historically excluded and underrepresented groups. This includes racial and ethnic minorities and all genders. A truly diverse and inclusive cybersecurity field welcomes people with disabilities and of all sexual orientations, too.

Why is diversity important in cybersecurity?

Improving diversity in cybersecurity can help more people feel included in the field rather than stigmatized and blocked from working. Diversity initiatives can also address labor shortages. Diversity leads to innovation, new ways of thinking about problems, and more stimulating and creative workplaces.

Which cybersecurity programs are the most diverse?

The most diverse cybersecurity programs welcome people from various backgrounds. This includes racial and ethnic minorities and people of all genders, abilities, and sexual orientations. Programs with explicit initiatives for inclusivity may offer the most diverse options.

Will I get a better education from a more diverse school?

That depends on your priorities. Attending a more diverse school does not guarantee a better education. However, diversity can offer unique opportunities that you might not get in a more homogenous setting.


Reviewed by:

Portrait of Angelique Geehan

Angelique Geehan

Angelique Geehan works to support and repair the connections people have with themselves and their families, communities, and cultural practices. A queer, Asian, gender binary-nonconforming parent, Geehan founded Interchange, a consulting group that offers anti-oppression support. She organizes as part of several groups, including the National Perinatal Association's Health Equity Workgroup, the Health and Healing Justice Committee of the National Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, QTPOC+ Family Circle, and Batalá Houston.
Angelique Geehan is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.
Page last reviewed February 2, 2022


Featured Image: 10'000 Hours / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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