Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

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Updated December 20, 2022

Cybersecurity schools prepare students to pursue exciting, in-demand careers. Learn what to expect from a degree and explore our ranking of the top cybersecurity programs.

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A cybersecurity degree prepares graduates to pursue careers in the expanding computer and information technology landscape. Specialists in this field protect individuals and organizations against the growing threat of cybercrime.

While the cybersecurity industry has experienced incredible development and investment since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector has also encountered a startling increase in cybercrime. A special report from Canalys found more digital records compromised in 2020 than the combined 15 years prior.

As our reliance on information, network, and cloud-based technologies increases, our need for enhanced security measures must keep pace. The top cybersecurity schools focus on emerging technologies to ensure graduates receive the most relevant training.

This guide explores cybersecurity in detail, highlighting the schools, programs, and careers available in this exciting field. To help you choose the ideal path, we rank the best schools for cybersecurity.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an exciting and in-demand field concerned with safeguarding valuable and sensitive information from cyberattacks by hackers and other malicious actors. As a subfield of computer science, cybersecurity experts work to protect computer systems, devices, and networks.

Cyberattacks can cause individuals and organizations to lose valuable, private, and proprietary information. Cybersecurity professionals identify vulnerabilities and monitor systems for threats. As organizations store more data online and cyberattacks increase, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will also likely grow.

Cybersecurity experts 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. The cybersecurity field tends to attract detail-oriented, analytical problem-solvers with knowledge from previous experience in tech.

CyberDegrees.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Why Go to College for Cybersecurity?

Students attending cybersecurity schools may be interested in working with computers and security programs or drawn to varied work environments in the field.

Cybersecurity students are often interested in justice, privacy, and information security. These individuals may already possess computer, math, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Earning a degree in cybersecurity can help students develop the technical skills and theoretical foundation to pursue computer and IT jobs as information security analysts.

For many candidates, the growing field offers opportunities for professional growth and security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which categorizes most cybersecurity professionals under information security analysts, ranks these experts among the fastest-growing occupations.

While cybersecurity bootcamps can lead to employment in the field, most students pursue cybersecurity degrees to meet the minimum requirements for cybersecurity careers.

Many employers prefer or require applicants who possess bachelor's degrees. However, specializing in cybersecurity at any degree level helps students stand out from applicants with more general IT or computer science backgrounds. Some technical industry certifications required by employers also call for bachelor's degrees.

  • Job Growth: The BLS projects a 35% employment growth rate in the information security analysis field from 2021-2031, which is more than four times the average for all occupations.
  • Widely Applicable: As a specialization within the broader computer science field, cybersecurity training can lead to careers in other computer and information technology professions, such as computer systems analysts and information systems managers.
  • Salary Potential: According to the BLS, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $102,600 in May 2021 — more than $55,000 higher than the median annual salary for all occupations.

Types of Cybersecurity Degrees

As shown below, the type and level of cybersecurity degree can directly influence a graduate's career and salary potential. Professionals with more advanced training and credentials can pursue senior-level and leadership positions, such as management, research and development, and teaching.

The following sections explore cybersecurity education at every level.

Certificate in Cybersecurity

A cybersecurity certificate may appeal to individuals who cannot or do not want to invest the time and money to earn full degrees. Tuition costs, program length, and required credits vary by school.

Certificates usually take less time and have less stringent admission requirements than degrees. Earning a certificate may be ideal for people seeking career changes or entry-level jobs. Tech professionals with degrees in other fields can also benefit from certificates.

Do not confuse a certificate in cybersecurity with a certification. Professional certifications are voluntary credentials awarded by organizations to demonstrate specific skills.

Undergraduate, graduate, and postsecondary students can pursue cybersecurity certificates. Learners can often apply certificate credits to full degrees. Common classes include fundamentals of infrastructure security, ethical hacking, and computer forensics.

Cybersecurity certificate-holders can pursue jobs like cybersecurity analyst, computer user support specialist, cybersecurity technician, and network systems administrator.

Associate Degree in Cybersecurity

Students can earn associate degrees in cybersecurity online or in person. Schools offer associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS) degrees in cybersecurity. These degrees share similar coursework and can count toward the first two years of a bachelor's degree. An AS focuses more on science and math, while an AA often includes more liberal arts classes.

An associate in cybersecurity takes 1.5-2 years to complete and requires 60 credits. Typical courses include computer networking, cybersecurity foundations, database management systems, and communication and network security. Students gain broad information technology and security skills and learn to identify and mitigate risks.

Common admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED certificate. Applicants do not complete prerequisites. Tuition varies by school, but public community colleges commonly offer the most affordable options. Students who earn their associate cybersecurity degrees online can pursue entry-level positions like cybersecurity specialist and cybersecurity analyst.

Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity

Bachelor's in cybersecurity programs may culminate in bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degrees. A BS focuses more on technical courses within the major, while a BA is broader and encompasses classes in other disciplines.

A cybersecurity degree at the bachelor's level usually requires around 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. Students who earn their cybersecurity degrees online may be able to graduate in less time than those who attend in person.

The cost of a bachelor's varies by school, but cybersecurity colleges offer many financial aid opportunities. Entrance requirements usually include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Other admission criteria may include SAT or ACT scores, a minimum GPA, and a personal essay.

Typical courses for cybersecurity majors include introduction to scripting, security risk management, securing visual and cloud systems, and a cybersecurity capstone. Cybersecurity degree-holders can seek jobs like information security analyst, security engineer, and security architect.

Master's Degree in Cybersecurity

Master's students can pursue cybersecurity degrees online or in person. A master's in cybersecurity usually takes 1-2 years to complete and requires 30-36 credits. Tuition for master's in cybersecurity programs varies depending on the school type (public or private), in-state vs. out-of-state residency status, and school prestige.

Core courses for master's in cybersecurity programs include enterprise architecture, risk management, information security assurance, and cybersecurity management. Some cybersecurity master's programs require thesis projects or capstone experiences.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree, a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Some cybersecurity colleges require GRE scores. Depending on previous education and experience, applicants may need to complete prerequisite computer science courses.

A master's in cybersecurity can qualify graduates for advanced, senior-level positions in the field. Potential jobs include chief information security officer, security manager, security director, and information security consultant.

Ph.D. in Cybersecurity

A doctoral cybersecurity degree takes around 4-5 years and totals 48-75 credits. Common courses include software vulnerabilities and security, computer hardware and system security, and assurance controls and compliance management. A cybersecurity Ph.D. student may need to pass a comprehensive exam and complete a doctoral research dissertation.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or a related field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. An applicant must often submit letters of recommendation, writing samples, a resume, and transcripts.

Cybersecurity program costs at the doctoral level vary by institution, but students who qualify for assistantships or fellowships may receive tuition waivers and living stipends.

Graduates with cybersecurity Ph.D.s can pursue university teaching and advanced research positions. Careers include professor, information security consultant, and computer and information research scientist.

Jobs for Cybersecurity Graduates

Cybersecurity degree-holders can qualify for in-demand, high-paying jobs in the tech field. Specific opportunities and earning potential depend on the candidate's education, experience, location, and industry. However, job-seekers with bachelor's degrees may qualify for more roles in cybersecurity and receive higher salaries for entry-level positions.

Potential careers include information security analyst, security architect, and security engineer. Cybersecurity graduates with advanced degrees or several years of experience can pursue roles as security managers, chief information security officers, and security consultants.

Below, we explore five cybersecurity careers, including the level of education and years of experience typically required for the role.

Information Security Analyst

These professionals help organizations improve their security systems and processes. They may advance in this field by developing their own programs and pursuing management roles. According to the BLS, information security analysts primarily work in computer systems design services, finance and insurance, and information industries.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2021-31): +35%

Median Annual Salary: $102,600

Computer and Information Systems Manager

These professionals oversee computer-related activities and operations within organizations. They handle staffing, budgeting, systems security, and project management. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers work in industries like computer systems design services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2021-31): +16%

Median Annual Salary: $159,010

Computer Systems Analyst

These professionals assist organizations in improving computer system effectiveness and efficiency. They may develop and implement their own improvements and manage teams of analysts as they advance within the field. According to the BLS, computer systems analysts work in the government, finance and insurance, and information industries.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2021-31): +9%

Median Annual Salary: $99,270

Computer and Information Research Scientist

These professionals design new technologies and new technological systems to solve problems for people and organizations. They develop theories and solutions, run tests, and present their findings in various ways. According to the BLS, computer and information research scientists primarily work in the government, education, and research and development industries.

Required Education: Master's degree

Job Outlook (2021-31): +21%

Median Annual Salary: $131,490

Forensic Computer Examiner

These professionals collect and analyze evidence in computer-based crimes. They record their observations and findings from the digital data with care and precision in compliance with the law. According to the BLS, forensic computer examiners often work in the government, testing laboratories, and medical laboratories.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2021-31): +11%

Median Annual Salary: $61,930

Choosing the Best College and Cybersecurity Program for You

To find the right cybersecurity school and program, start by considering your personal and professional goals. Next, evaluate and compare programs for how they meet your needs.

Start by ensuring that your prospective schools hold institutional accreditation. Those recognized as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity or featuring programs accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET might stand out even more.

From there, find a school that meets your ideal size, location, culture, and diversity standards. Research the number and quality of resources and facilities available and the extracurricular opportunities provided. Next, consider if you can meet the admission and tuition requirements to attend.

Investigate program lengths, delivery methods, coursework, and specializations that appeal to you. Look up any available internship and computer lab opportunities and the program's reputation in the cybersecurity field.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Students may pursue online learning, on-campus education, or a mix of the two types in a hybrid program. Online learning allows degree-seekers to access more schools and programs to study with more flexible schedules than with traditional platforms. Enrollees may attend virtual classes in real-time with synchronous delivery or study asynchronously at their convenience.

Many of the best colleges for cybersecurity run successful online programs because of the discipline's reliance on computers and computer-based information. Cybersecurity students tend to be more technologically inclined, which can help them to navigate online platforms and materials. Conversely, online programs may feature less classroom and campus integration and communication, which some students prefer.

Top 5 Cybersecurity Schools for 2023

Below, we rank the top five cybersecurity schools and programs in the country for 2023. You will also find a link to our ranking methodology for more information on the process we use to determine what schools make the list.

#1 Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

United States Air Force Academy

  • USAF Academy, CO
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the USAFA hosted its first class of cadets in 1955. Now home to more than 4,000 attendees, the USAFA offers 31 programs of study and an 8-to-1 cadet-to-faculty ratio. 

Bachelor of science in cyber science

The USAFA's cyber science bachelor's degree includes 145 credits of coursework to help prepare cadets for both military and civilian professions. Designed to provide insight into aircraft, weapon systems, and cyber operations, the program emphasizes leadership, moral and ethical standards, and sound decision making for future Air Force officers. 

Cadets complete 99 credits of core and athletic courses plus major courses in mathematics, telecommunications, and programming. Cadets also fulfill two cyber science capstone requirements. During the capstone sequence, students apply concepts and techniques to a team-based project. 

Two additional cyberscience colloquium courses integrate cadet and faculty research, guest lectures, field trips, and career preparation resources.

Applying to USAFA

Applicants must be nominated by a legally authorized nominating entity to accept an appointment at the institution. Aspiring cadets complete a pre-candidate questionnaire in anticipation of submitting a formal application, ACT or SAT scores, transcripts, and teacher evaluations. Applicants must also take a candidate fitness assessment. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); ABET's Computing Accreditation Commission
  • Tuition: No tuition; Cadets are required to serve in the U.S. Air Force or Space Force after graduation
  • Required Credits: 145
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
13%
Students Enrolled
4,307
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

Taylor University

  • Upland, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

As the oldest nondenominational school in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, TU traces its origins to 1846. TU is located in Upland, Indiana, and integrates evangelical Christian teachings into more than 100 programs of study. 

Bachelor of science in computer science — cybersecurity

Taylor University offers a cybersecurity concentration within the computer science bachelor's degree. The program teaches students to create and use security-related software, program defensively, and enforce cybersecurity standards and policies. Students also learn about network operations, computational problem solving, and software development.

The 128-credit curriculum includes core classes in topics like digital forensics, international security, and software reverse engineering and analysis. Students must complete a cybersecurity practicum, a senior project, and a computer science senior capstone. They must  also attend 21 computer science and engineering sanction events to meet degree requirements.

Applying to TU

To apply, students submit high school transcripts or equivalent, a Christian character reference, and a personal description of their relationship with Christ, God, and the Christian faith. ACT and SAT scores are optional. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $18,588/semester (full time)
  • Required Credits: 128
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$36,535
Out-of-state
$36,535
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
2,110
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

Saint Vincent College

  • Latrobe, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Saint Vincent College was founded in 1846. As the first Benedictine college in the nation, more than 1,500 students enroll in academic programs that integrate spirituality and the Catholic tradition into the curricula.

Bachelor of science in cybersecurity

With an emphasis on experiential learning, Saint Vincent College's bachelor's degree in cybersecurity includes 73 credits of major coursework. Core classes in programming, information systems management, networking, and data communications accompany courses in engineering, computer ethics, and cryptography.

During a computer science project sequence, students research, design, implement, and test a project. Done in teams, these projects may be completed for actual clients and serve as a capstone requirement.

Learners benefit from cybersecurity competitions in individual and team formats, access to two project labs, and use of a subnetwork and servers managed by the computer and information systems department. 

Applying to Saint Vincent College

Applicants are assessed based on academic performance and extracurricular achievements. Letters of recommendation, an admission essay, and SAT and ACT scores are optional. Individuals who do not submit test scores may be asked to write a personal statement or complete an interview. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle School Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $38,814/year (full time)
  • Required Credits: 124
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$36,586
Out-of-state
$36,586
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
1,634
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

FSU's campus in Tallahassee, Florida, serves as the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state. FSU hosts more than 45,000 students annually and offers nearly 300 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Master's degree in cyber criminology

Florida State University's master's degree in cyber criminology includes 33 credits of coursework. The program looks at cybercrime from the perspectives of the perpetrator and investigator. Learners study computer crimes and how they are committed.

As a non-thesis program, students complete four graduate criminology courses and seven graduate computer science courses. To earn the cyber criminology degree, learners must also complete five undergraduate requisites.

Six of the required courses for FSU's cyber criminology degree fulfill a certificate program approved by the National Security Administration. This helps students pursue employment with a government agency or government contractor once they graduate.

Applying to FSU

Application materials include a professional statement, transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and score of 1,000 or higher on the GRE for consideration. 

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $444/ credit (in state); $1,076/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 33
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,640
Out-of-state
$19,084
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
43,569
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Top Cybersecurity Schools and Programs of 2023

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1964, John Jay is a senior college of The City University of New York. John Jay enrolls more than 15,000 students who benefit from the institution's award-winning faculty.

Master of science in digital forensics and cybersecurity

John Jay's digital forensics and cybersecurity master's degree requires 36 credits, blending theory and practice. Students complete required classes in computer science, law, and criminal justice. 

Electives in forensic and security explore in-depth topics such as cryptography and network forensics. Criminal justice electives also give students opportunities to study crime scene and cybercrime investigation.

Students must select two capstone options, including a seminar and fieldwork course, a forensic computing research practicum, and a faculty-mentored research project in digital forensics and cybersecurity.

Applying to John Jay

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited bachelor's degree for consideration. Application materials include a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and official transcripts.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $5,545/semester (in state); $855/credit for (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
15,766
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Questions About Colleges With Cybersecurity Majors


What to Expect From Cybersecurity Degree Programs

Coursework varies by cybersecurity college and the level and type of degree. In general, however, these programs focus on identifying and mitigating threats to computer systems and networks. Topics usually include cryptography, programming, development, analysis, and forensics.

Cybersecurity majors also learn to test systems for vulnerabilities and create backups and recovery plans. Some learners can specialize in one area of the field, such as risk assessment, security architecture, or cyberlaw. Though not typically mandatory, the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET provides programmatic accreditation to certain programs.

Is cybersecurity worth learning?

Yes. Students can receive plenty of value from a cybersecurity degree. The BLS projects a 35% employment growth rate for information security analysts from 2021-2031 — significantly higher than the national average for all occupations — signaling consistent growth in the sector.

Which degree should I get to work in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity professionals come from many disciplines and levels, but a bachelor's in cybersecurity likely provides the most direct route to the profession. Other possible disciplines include programming or computer science.

Do I need to go to school to get a cybersecurity job?

According to the BLS, most employers look for cybersecurity professionals with bachelor's degrees at a minimum. They may also want certified candidates, which typically require a bachelor's degree and experience. However, some jobs may hire self-taught candidates or bootcamp graduates if they possess enough experience.

How much can I earn with a cybersecurity degree?

Cybersecurity salaries depend on the job, employer, location, and individual. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for these professionals was $102,600 as of May 2021. Meanwhile, the top 10% in the field made more than $165,920.

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