Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs

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

A bachelor’s in cybersecurity provides a foundation in information technology (IT), computing, and information security theory and strategies. Cybersecurity school prepares students for careers like information security analyst, chief information security officer, and security engineer.

Demand for computer and IT professionals continues to increase as businesses and other organizations move more operations online. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% job growth rate for information security analysts between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average growth projection for all occupations. As cyberattacks increase, organizations continue to need skilled professionals to improve information security.

This page includes a list of best cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs. We also explain what to expect from a typical cybersecurity program, potential jobs for graduates, and how to choose the right school.

Explore This Page: Why Cybersecurity? | Admission Requirements | Typical Courses | Jobs for Graduates | Choosing Your School | Top Programs | FAQs

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an exciting, lucrative, and in-demand field concerned with protecting valuable and sensitive information from cyberattacks by hackers and other malicious actors. Cybersecurity professionals once primarily worked in specialized areas like defense and government, but industries like finance, retail, insurance, and healthcare now demand these experts’ knowledge as well.

Popular cybersecurity jobs include information security analyst, security engineer, and penetration tester. Cybersecurity professionals also work as security administrators and chief information security officers. The BLS reports 141,200 information security analysts working in the U.S. as of 2020, with that number expected to grow by 47,100 by 2030.

The cybersecurity field attracts those interested in justice, privacy, and information security. These individuals tend to possess computer, math, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Earning a BS in cybersecurity helps students develop the technical skills and theoretical foundation to qualify for a variety of computer and IT jobs, or to apply to graduate school in cybersecurity and related fields.

Many employers prefer or require applicants with bachelor’s degrees. Specializing in cybersecurity can help you stand out from applicants with more general IT or computer science backgrounds. Some technical industry certifications required by employers also call for a bachelor’s degree.

Why Attend a School for Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs prepare students for well-paying careers in computers and IT. Although it takes time, money, and hard work to earn a BS in cybersecurity, it can pay off. Below, we discuss potential benefits of getting a cybersecurity bachelor’s, including the opportunity to develop technical skills, make a comfortable salary, and enjoy job security.

Gain Technical Skills
Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs provide training that helps students develop in-demand technical skills to mitigate and respond to cyberattacks. They learn programming languages, risk management strategies, and how to identify security risks.
High-Paying Field
Bachelor’s in cybersecurity jobs typically offer competitive wages. The BLS reports that as of 2020, information security analysts earn a median annual salary of $103,590, significantly higher than the median annual wage for all workers of $41,950.
Job Security
The demand for computer and IT professionals in general, and cybersecurity specialists in particular, continues to grow. As organizations conduct more of their operations online, they need information security experts to help protect their data.

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 Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs develop fundamental IT and computer skills, while emphasizing information security, risk mitigation, and data analytics. A BS in cybersecurity typically requires 120 credits, which full-time learners can complete in four years. Some cybersecurity schools offer accelerated options that take less time.

The cost of a cybersecurity degree varies by school, but the National Center for Education Statistics reports that public, four-year universities charged their in-state students an average of $9,349 in tuition and fees as of the 2019-20 academic year.

The cybersecurity field offers a variety of degree types, including a BS in cybersecurity, BS in IT with a cybersecurity concentration, BS in information assurance, and BS in computer science with an IT concentration. Though similar, these degrees often emphasize different skills and areas of knowledge. Students should pick the degree type that most closely aligns with their career goals.

Some of the best colleges for cybersecurity also offer concentrations in areas like mobile application development and data analytics. The specific types of courses that cybersecurity majors take varies by program, but a typical curriculum includes classes that focus on topics like digital forensics, legal issues in cybersecurity, and ethical hacking.

Read more about cybersecurity programs

BS in Cybersecurity Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for cybersecurity schools vary by program. Applicants typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate, a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, and satisfactory SAT/ACT scores.

The application process requires prospective students to fill out an online application, pay a small fee, and submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Those with an associate degree in cybersecurity or a cybersecurity certificate may increase their chances of acceptance.

Many universities use Common App, which lets students apply to many schools at one time by filling out one general application. Common App streamlines the otherwise time-consuming and tedious process of applying to multiple programs. Some schools require applicants using CommonApp to submit supplemental materials like letters of recommendation, resumes, or written essays.

Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Degree and Concentration Options

Students can choose from a variety of bachelor’s programs that focus on cybersecurity. Below, we compare different types of cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees.

  • BS in Cybersecurity: A bachelor of science in cybersecurity provides a foundation in information security. Students learn to evaluate network vulnerabilities, protect information from cyberattacks, and understand the legal issues of information security. Potential careers for those with a BS in cybersecurity include information security analyst, chief information security officer, and security administrator.
  • BS in Information Technology With a Cybersecurity Concentration: A BS in IT with a cybersecurity concentration emphasizes networking and security. Graduates qualify for jobs like IT manager or web developer.
  • BS in Computer Science With a Cybersecurity Concentration: A BS in computer science with a cybersecurity concentration develops skills in programming, data science, and software engineering. Graduates pursue jobs like computer and information systems manager, information security analyst, and chief information security officer.
  • BS in Information Assurance: The curriculum of a typical BS in information assurance mirrors that of a BS in cybersecurity, with graduates pursuing similar careers.

Popular Courses at Colleges With Cybersecurity Majors

The type and variety of classes varies by school, but many of the best universities for cybersecurity focus on issues like risk management, information systems security, and programming. Typical bachelor’s programs require core, elective/concentration, and general education courses. Some also require a practicum, capstone, or internship. Below, we describe courses in cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs.

  • Foundations of Information Security: This class introduces the fundamentals of information security practice and theory. Topics include network vulnerabilities, security of physical media, and mitigation techniques. Cybersecurity majors learn best practices for information security procedures and policies.
  • Digital Forensics: This course provides a foundation in digital forensics, exploring topics like incident management, evidence handling, and incident categories. Students learn how to locate digital evidence to solve cybercrimes and use tools to respond to malicious activities. The class also covers security laws and legal issues of cyberthreats.
  • Ethical Hacking: Cybersecurity majors learn to think like a hacker and gain skills necessary to respond to cyberattacks in an information system. The class investigates how measures like security protocols, firewalls, and encryption can sometimes fail. Learners gain experience with risk assessment methodologies, incident response, and threat detection techniques.
  • Legal Issues in Information Security: This course focuses on legal and ethical principles related to keeping organizations’ data secure. Students explore the regulations, laws, and authorities that cybersecurity professionals need to understand to mitigate and respond to both external and internal threats.
  • Managing Information Security: This course emphasizes the foundations of information security, focusing on the relationship between information security and an organization’s larger goals. Topics include creation and management of an information security program, information security best practices, and mitigation strategies.

Jobs for Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Graduates

Cybersecurity school prepares graduates for lucrative computer and information technology careers that improve organizations’ information security. Most bachelor’s in cybersecurity jobs offer significantly higher pay than the median salary for all occupations.

Many graduates pursue careers as information security analysts, who earn a median annual salary of $103,590. On the higher end, chief information security officers earn an average annual salary of $165,788. A variety of cybersecurity jobs are explored in more detail below, including typical duties, job outlook, required education, and typical annual salaries.

Top Jobs for Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Graduates

Choosing the Best Cybersecurity Degree Program for You

Our rankings list of the best bachelor’s degree programs in cybersecurity is a great place to start, but choosing a program takes research. The best cybersecurity degree for one person is not necessarily right for someone else with different career goals or personal circumstances. Below, we explain additional considerations for selecting a program.

  • Accreditation: Attending a regionally accredited institution increases your chances of receiving financial aid, qualifying for graduate school and professional certifications, and transferring credit to another school. Regional accreditation also signals that your college meets minimum standards of quality.
  • School Size: Do you want to attend a large university to take advantage of the academic, career, and cultural opportunities? Or do you seek a small college where you can build close relationships more easily?
  • Cost: Make sure to create a budget and decide what you want to spend before looking at programs. Students usually get the best price by paying in-state tuition at a public university.
  • Career Services: Many universities offer career development assistance to students and alumni, including resume help, mock job interviews, and networking events. Learners can often find internship and job opportunities through their school’s career services office.

Should You Get Your Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Online?

Going to cybersecurity school online lets you learn anywhere and anytime. Distance education works especially well for students with family responsibilities and full-time jobs, but online learning increasingly draws people of all kinds. The past stigma attached to online degrees rarely presents problems for job-hunters, as companies today generally understand that distance learning can provide the same quality education as on-campus options.

Most online bachelor of cybersecurity programs offer asynchronous instruction, giving students the flexibility to log on to a virtual classroom to participate in discussions, watch lectures, and submit assignments on their own time. In some cases, online learning may be more affordable than an in-person program. Online programs sometimes offer tuition discounts, fee waivers, and free textbooks. Students may graduate with less debt by continuing to work while in school.

Other factors to think about when considering an online cybersecurity degree include your learning style, schedule, and the importance of student services and extracurricular activities to you.

Top 5 Cybersecurity Schools

Graduates of our top-ranked cybersecurity schools earn some of the highest salaries in IT. The following schools offer the 15 best cybersecurity degrees, according to our unique ranking methodology.

Our ranking methodology

  • What the Best Cybersecurity Schools Have in Common

    Each college and university offers a unique experience, but the best cybersecurity schools often share some characteristics. We apply the following criteria to rank the top cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs:

    • They are accredited. To earn accreditation, a school must undergo a rigorous evaluation to meet standards set by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Students should only consider schools that hold national or regional accreditation, with the latter held in higher regard. Some cybersecurity schools receive programmatic accreditation through ABET or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Our rankings include schools with regional accreditation through 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 (NWCCU)
      • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
      • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
    • They are reputable. Our rankings highlight schools with selective admission, high admissions yields, and impressive average alumni earnings six years after graduation. DePaul University, for example, ranks fourth on our list, due in part to the school’s 68% acceptance rate.
    • They provide affordable programs. Affordability takes precedence for many prospective college enrollees. Our list ranks the top cybersecurity schools according to their average amount of aid awarded, net price, percent of students with scholarships or federal aid, and default loan rate. Our first-place school, Messiah University, awards financial aid to 100% of its first-year undergraduate students.
    • They embody academic excellence. Our rankings recognize high-performance schools with impressive statistics, including their student retention rates, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, and full-time faculty. Our third-place school, Maryville University, boasts an 83% retention rate and a 75% graduation rate.

  1. Messiah University

    Mechanicsburg, PA

    Founded in 1909, Messiah offers nearly 200 graduate and undergraduate programs in the Christian tradition. The university enrolls nearly 3,400 students in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and online.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    Messiah offers its BS in cybersecurity through the Department of Computing, Mathematics, and Physics. The cybersecurity bachelor's explores information assurance, ethical hacking, and secure software. Each student must also satisfy an experiential learning requirement to earn the degree.

    Messiah's experiential learning initiative enables enrollees to complete internship or service-learning projects, hold student leadership positions, or pursue undergraduate research projects to meet degree requirements. Cybersecurity students participate in internships with organizations including Comcast, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric. The program trains degree-seekers to bring Christian principles to the cybersecurity profession.

    Applying to Messiah

    Applying to Messiah requires a $50 application fee. Each applicant must provide official high school transcripts; a personal statement; and SAT, ACT, or CLT scores with their completed admission application.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $36,340/year
    • Required Credits: 123 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus
  2. Drexel University

    Philadelphia, PA

    Through multiple campuses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel enrolls more than 24,000 students and offers over 200 programs. Drexel helped pioneer distance education with the launch of its online program in 1996.

    BS in Computing and Security Technology

    Drexel offers its bachelor's in cybersecurity as a full-time program on campus or a part-time degree-completion program online for transfer students with two years of experience. Students must choose a concentration in computing technology or computing security. The National Security Agency has deemed Drexel a national center of academic excellence in cybersecurity.

    Drexel's unique cooperative learning model provides practical career training opportunities. Learners may complete one co-op over four years or three co-op experiences over five years. Core course requirements include network administration, information technology security, and open servers. The degree culminates in a two-part senior project.

    Applying to Drexel

    Each candidate must provide official high school transcripts, a personal essay, and two letters of recommendation. Drexel currently maintains a testing-optional policy for standardized test scores. Transfer students with at least 24 completed credits must submit official transcripts of all college-level coursework. Applicants with fewer than 24 credits must submit high school transcripts and may require SAT or ACT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $17,956/term (on campus); $530/credit (online)
    • Required Credits: 188 quarter credit hours
    • Program Length: 4 years (with 3 co-op experiences) or 5 years (with 1 co-op experience)
    • Delivery Format: On campus or 100% online (asynchronous)
  3. Maryville University of Saint Louis

    Saint Louis, MO

    Maryville, following 16 consecutive years of record enrollment, is the nation's second-fastest-growing private university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The university enrolls nearly 11,000 students and offers more than 120 academic programs.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    Maryville's BS in cybersecurity offers offensive, defensive, and general tracks. The curriculum includes general education, business core, cybersecurity core, and elective coursework. The cybersecurity degree culminates in a business policies capstone requirement. Each enrollee receives a complimentary iPad and partners with a life coach to customize their coursework.

    Maryville developed the Cyber Fusion Center for students to provide free cybersecurity services to local organizations, including the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club and the American Cancer Society. The university also offers a bachelor's in cybersecurity online.

    Applying to Maryville

    Maryville accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants must provide official high school transcripts demonstrating a high school GPA of at least 2.5. Students may opt to provide SAT or ACT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $24,766/year (on campus); $622/credit (online)
    • Required Credits: 128 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years (on campus); 2.5 years (online)
    • Delivery Format: On campus or 100% online
  4. DePaul University

    Chicago, IL

    DePaul enrolls nearly 22,000 students as the nation's largest Catholic university. The university offers an "urban education" with a "global perspective" through hundreds of academic programs across 10 schools and colleges.

    BS in Cybersecurity

    DePaul offers a bachelor's in cybersecurity through its College of Computing and Digital Media. Enrollees gain practical experience through designing and implementing infrastructure elements. DePaul maintains a security laboratory, equipped by Cisco to provide training in virtual private networks, multi-vendor firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention systems.

    The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency recognize DePaul as a national center of academic excellence in cybersecurity. Degree-seekers may earn additional Cisco certified network associate credentials. The degree culminates in an information systems security engineering capstone. DePaul makes many courses, including 100% of lectures, available online for enrollees in the cybersecurity bachelor's program.

    Applying to DePaul

    Students may apply for early action or regular acceptance notification, though all undergraduate programs begin in September. Each applicant must submit official high school transcripts and may choose to submit ACT or SAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $40,551/year (12-18 credit hours); $655/credit (over 18 credit hours)
    • Required Credits: 192 credit hours
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus or hybrid
  5. St John's University

    Queens, NY

    St. John's enrolls more than 21,000 students at multiple campuses across New York; in Italy, France, and Ireland; and online. The university offers more than 100 academic programs rooted in Catholic and Vincentian traditions.

    Cybersecurity Systems, Bachelor of Science

    St. John's offers its BS in cybersecurity systems through the Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies and the Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science. Learners can complete their degrees at the university's main campus in Queens, New York. The program prepares students for careers in Fortune 500 companies and law enforcement agencies.

    The bachelor's in cybersecurity systems emphasizes foundational math, programming, and computing coursework. Course options unique to St. John's include perspectives on Christianity, moral theology, and "discover NY." Students can complete elective internships in the fourth year of the degree.

    Applying to St. John's

    St. John's offers a free online application for all undergraduate programs. Each candidate must submit official high school transcripts, plus standardized test scores or a personal essay. St. John's recommends that test-optional applicants also submit resumes and letters of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $1,439/credit
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: On campus

Frequently Asked Questions About Cybersecurity Colleges

  • How long do you go to school for cybersecurity?

    The amount of time it takes to finish cybersecurity school varies depending on what type of degree you earn. A BS in cybersecurity usually takes full-time students four years to complete.

  • What can you do with a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity?

    Potential bachelor’s in cybersecurity jobs include information security analyst, penetration tester, and chief information security officer. Other opportunities include security administrator and security engineer. Cybersecurity bachelor’s-holders can also apply to graduate programs.

  • Is it worth getting a degree in cybersecurity?

    Earning a BS in cybersecurity takes time and money, but the degree prepares students for lucrative computer and IT jobs. As of 2020, information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $103,590, significantly more than the median annual salary for all jobs.

  • Is cybersecurity a good career?

    The cybersecurity field offers exciting, well-paying, and stable job opportunities. Demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow as more organizations put their information online.

Recommended Reading

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Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Programs

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An online master's in cybersecurity can boost your career options and earning potential. Check out our program rankings to kick off your search.

Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs

Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs

December 10, 2021   | Staff

The best cybersecurity schools prepare students for exciting and lucrative IT careers. Explore our ranking of the best cybersecurity bachelor's degree programs.

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.