Masters in Cybersecurity

What Do You Learn in a Masters in Cybersecurity?

A Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MS in cybersecurity) is a graduate level degree program that typically examines the impact of information security on a person’s lives, business and government risks, and the impact on laws and public policy. This degree program may offer several concentration options for students, including options that offer a technology concentration, a cyber-physical and energy system concentration, or a policy concentration.

This educational program typically helps to prepare students to take on leadership roles in technology-based and information-based career paths. Some students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree may wish to use this master’s program as a way to focus on a specific concentration. Others may use it as a way to gain new skills in the field.

Cybersecurity Masters

Top 25 Schools Graduating Students with a Masters in Cybersecurity

The following are the top colleges for a master’s degree in cybersecurity based on the number of students graduating from the program during the 2019/2020 school year, according to the NCES.

College / UniversityGraduatesAcceptance Rate
University of the Cumberlands124180%
Western Governors University830N/A
University of Maryland Global Campus821N/A
George Washington University21341%
Wilmington University173N/A
American Public University System164N/A
Grand Canyon University11177%
Carnegie Mellon University9215%
Bellevue University85N/A
National University7989%
Temple University7360%
Johns Hopkins University7211%
Fordham University6846%
Purdue University Global65N/A
Capella University69N/A
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus6121%
ECPI University6071%
DePaul University5868%
Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network52N/A
Saint Cloud State University5190%
University of Dallas4745%
University of Alabama in Huntsville4683%
University of North Carolina at Charlotte4265%
Marymount University4181%
Iowa State University4092%

Cybersecurity Courses May Include

Below are some of the courses that a student may take in a master’s degree in cybersecurity, though numerous other options may exist.

1st course Introduction to Cybersecurity

Introduction to Cybersecurity

This course typically covers the applications of cybersecurity, including looking into current cybersecurity issues and resolutions being applied. Students may also explore the future of cybersecurity and numerous possible applications.

2nd course Secure Enterprise Computing

Secure Enterprise Computing

In this course, students typically focus on the security of servers and operating systems. Some of the operating systems that may be covered include UNIX and Windows. The architecture and configuration of these systems may also be topics.

3rd Course Cryptography and Cybersecurity

Cryptography and Cybersecurity

This course may include an analysis of the history of cryptography and how it applies to the current world. Different types of cryptosystems and techniques are also possible topics of discussion in this course. How to use and gain hands on experience with current cryptographic technology may be included.

4th Course Cybersecurity Risk Analysis

Cybersecurity Risk Analysis

In this course, students typically cover the legal aspects of cybersecurity. This may include topics such as risk analysis. Some problems that may be analyzed include reliability, safety, security and privacy among other topics.

5th Course Digital Forensics

Digital Forensics

This course typically is an introduction to the field of digital forensics, applying various methods. These may include media analysis, network forensics, data reconstruction, and legal issues.

6th Course Control Systems Security

Control Systems Security

In this course, students may look into the function of security for control systems. This tends to be a hands-on course. Students may examine the threats, vulnerabilities, and possible responses to a broad range of cybersecurity issues.

  • IT majors including cybersecurity, IT Management and software development.
  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year.

5 Most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about a masters in cybersecurity

Completing a master’s degree in cybersecurity may help students work in a range of fields. This may include working as a chief information systems manager, computer information systems manager, cybercrime analyst, cyber security architect, cyber security director, or a cyber security engineer, among others.

Yes, there are several colleges and universities that offer a master’s degree in cybersecurity. Students may look to gain more skills and education after completing a bachelor’s degree or may wish to switch from another educational path to cybersecurity using a master’s program.

For many students, completing a cyber security master’s degree may be worth it because it may help them qualify for positions where having a graduate degree is necessary. It may also help people work in a range of fields in leadership positions. Some students complete a master’s to update their knowledge and skills to the latest insights in this industry.

Some employers require a masters. However, there are some programs that require a bachelor’s degree and/or work experience to obtain them. Students may wish to consider the type of career they plan to do and learn what typical employers require in that field.

Typically, a master’s degree in cyber security requires 2 years of education attending full time. Some programs, including online cybersecurity programs, are available as accelerated programs, which may allow students to complete them in 18 months or so. Students may also elect to complete a program at a slower pace by taking courses part time.

Find Funding

According to date from the 2019/2020 school year from NCES, the average cost for tuition and fees for a master’s degree was $19,792. For many students, that indicates the need for funding options. Paying for school may be done in various ways, and often a combination of methods. Students may wish to spend some time comparing their options to determine which method is a good fit for their situation. Here are a few examples that may help.

Scholarships

A scholarship is not a loan, but rather an award of funds that may be used for tuition, fees, and other costs (depending on the terms of the scholarship). Students typically do not repay these funds. They may be helpful in reducing the cost of a college or university’s tuition. Students may need to carefully consider how well they qualify for the scholarship, the terms and conditions of it, and how to apply. Some have limited applications and awards.

Take a closer look at some of the potential cybersecurity scholarships that may be available.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Who Can Apply: The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship scholarship is available for graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. NSF has funded over50,000 Graduate Fellowships to more than 500,000 applicants.

Amount: $46,000

Deadline: November 1

Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship is provided by ESET and is available for women who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in cybersecurity or a related technology field. Applicants must enrolled in or accepted to an accredited undergraduate or graduate program in the U.S. a 3.0 GPA, or higher.

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 15

Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and guaranteed civilian employment with the Department of Defense (DoD) upon degree completion. Scholarships are awarded for a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 5 years of funding.

Amount: $38,000

Deadline: December 3

(ISC)2 Graduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Center for Cyber Safety and Education offers up to 20 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to students pursuing or planning to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree with a focus in cybersecurity or information assurance.

Amount: $100,000

Deadline: March 8

KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity

Who Can Apply: The Center for Cyber Safety and Education offers the KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity to a male or female pursuing, or planning to pursue, a degree with a focus on cybersecurity or information assurance.

Amount: $13,000

Deadline: April 19

Federal Loans

A federal student loan is one that meets specific federal guidelines and may be backed by the U.S. federal government. These loans are typically available to students who meet specific requirements. There are several options that may be available to those completing a master’s degree, though those may be slightly different than the federal loans applicable to undergraduate students.

Typical student loans may be highly valuable because they provide a wide range of resources, though each person’s qualifications differ.

Here is a look at some of the options for graduate degree programs through federal student loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are available to graduate schools and professional students. Unlike direct subsidized loans, which are made available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, direct unsubsidized loans often do not have a need based requirement. More students may be eligible for them.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These are made available to professional or graduate level students. They are designed to pay for educational expenses that are typically not paid for through other loans. Eligibility for these loans is not based on financial need. However, some require a credit check to be performed, and borrowers may not qualify without meeting other requirements in some cases.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: These loans enable a student to combine all of their undergraduate and graduate level federal debt into one new loan. This consolidation loan is typically provided after a student completes their education.

Private Student Loans

A private student loan is one provided from a non-government lender, and as a result, they have less stringent guidelines to follow in terms of offering those loans. Students may need to learn as much as possible about these loans before choosing them because they may require credit and work histories, GRE scores, and GPA scores. Some may also have different terms in relation to repayment timelines, refinancing the loans, and loan forgiveness. Still, they may be an option for those who want access to student loans to pay for a master’s degree.

Is computer information systems manager a good career?

Those who complete a master’s degree in cybersecurity may qualify for a position as a computer information systems manager. This may include working as a computing services director, data processing manager, information systems director, or numerous other titles. In short, a person that works in this career path typically plans, directs, or coordinates the activities involving electronic data processing, system analysis, computer information systems, and computer programming.

The tasks involved in this type of work may include directing the daily operations of the department, including analyzing workflow, developing standards within the organization, setting deadlines, and establishing priorities. In addition, as a manger, they may meet with other department heads and managers, along with vendors, supervisors, and others to solicit cooperation and to resolve problems within the company.

In addition to this, computer information systems managers may also review project plans and coordinate activity within them. They may assign and review the work that is done by others including computer programmers and analysts. Some also provide technical support for problems within the system.

Cybersecurity Masters , Important Skills for Computer Information Systems Managers
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

Daily tasks for this career field may include developing computer or information systems, analyzing data to make decisions or complete activities as needed, and coordinating the operational activities for stakeholders. They may also develop goals and objectives for the organization and work with other members of the company to make sure goals are met.

To do this type of work, employers typically expect an individual to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field, with some preferring a higher level of education. They may also need to have some experience working in the field, though it may not be in a management position. Some, limited skill building is done on the job site with many coming from education and prior work experience.

2020 Median Salary for Computer Information Systems Managers

The following is the median salary for those working as a computer information system manager in 2020 in each state, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

StateSalaryStateSalary
Alabama$123,210Alaska$114,990
Arizona$139,930Arkansas$103,450
California$184,280Colorado$162,310
Connecticut$136,780Delaware$156,820
Georgia$136,780Florida$136,400
Idaho$106,580Hawaii$120,130
Indiana$117,870Illinois$146,620
Kansas$125,380Iowa$123,240
Louisiana$108,360Kentucky$119,300
Maryland$156,540Maine$123,950
Minnesota$146,700Massachusetts$155,420
Montana$103,010Michigan$128,950
Nevada$118,780Mississippi$96,550
New Jersey$175,620Missouri$131,020
New York$179,830Nebraska$120,360
North Dakota$116,160New Hampshire$142,000
Oklahoma$117,130New Mexico$109,870
Pennsylvania$139,350North Carolina$139,000
South Carolina$122,930Ohio$133,410
Tennessee$116,120Oregon$130,850
Utah$132,440Rhode Island$152,310
Virginia$166,500South Dakota$138,660
Wisconsin$127,620Texas$150,790
Washington$162,410Vermont$110,860
West Virginia$129,570Wyoming$98,600

Is information security analyst a good career?

A person with a master’s degree in cybersecurity may wish to pursue a career as an information security analyst. This career may also be called working as an information systems security analyst, IT security analyst, systems analyst, or other job titles. The work typically includes planning, putting into place, upgrading and modernizing, as well as monitoring security measures. The goal is typically to protect computer networks and core information from access by unapproved sources.

Those working in this field typically need to assess potential vulnerabilities that could be security risks and then propose and implement mitigation strategies. They may also work to ensure security controls are in place within the company’s or organization’s electronic infrastructure. They may also work to respond to problems, including viruses and security breaches, as they occur.

An information security analyst may develop plans to minimize risks and safeguard files against unauthorized access, modification, destruction, or disclosure and meet any emergency data processing needs. They may work to monitor current reports on viruses and, as needed, make upgrades to protect against them. Some may also work to encrypt data transmissions and otherwise protect confidential information during transmission and keep digital transfer risks out of line. Some may also modify computer security files to update new software or correct errors.

Cybersecurity Masters Programs , Important skills for Information Security Analysts
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Daily tasks in this job may include developing computer and information security policies and procedures for others to following, implementing necessary security measures, and updating their knowledge about emerging risks. This may also include testing computer system operations to ensure risks are mitigated as much as possible. Often, these analysts work with others to resolve technology issues.

To complete this type of work, many employers seek out those with at least a bachelor’s degree, though some want those with more experience or education. There may be some, but limited, education on the job provided.

2020 Median Salary for Information Security Analysts

The following is the median salary for those working as an information security analyst in 2020 by state, based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

StateSalaryStateSalary
Alabama$81,750Alaska$85,530
Arizona$99,290Arkansas$86,480
California$121,510Colorado$104,450
Connecticut$97,220Delaware$109,930
Georgia$101,690Florida$93,350
Idaho$86,620Hawaii$83,320
Indiana$80,820Illinois$108,850
Kansas$85,410Iowa$81,180
Louisiana$72,550Kentucky$77,170
Maryland$106,290Maine$88,550
Minnesota$100,340Massachusetts$99,630
Montana$75,110Michigan$94,520
Nevada$89,590Mississippi$71,130
New Jersey$122,740Missouri$90,020
New York$120,660Nebraska$89,130
North Dakota$90,090New Hampshire$102,200
Oklahoma$82,130New Mexico$112,490
Pennsylvania$99,270North Carolina$100,780
South Carolina$84,860Ohio$92,660
Tennessee$81,600Oregon$103,690
Utah$86,760Rhode Island$94,160
Virginia$116,370South Dakota$94,080
Wisconsin$88,720Texas$110,680
Washington$106,900Vermont$85,530
West Virginia$97,300Wyoming$74,660
Sandy B CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sandy Baker

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sandy has extensive experience writing educational articles for topics ranging from online education to college degrees. She’s worked with several Ivy League colleges to create blogs, newsletters, sales material for recruiting as well as “how to manage” college lifestyle pieces. Additionally, she’s written for well-respected study abroad programs helping students to find international opportunities spanning the globe from South America to Africa and Asia.

Sandy’s experience also includes writing about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship searches, and managing college loans and grants. This includes aiding both students and parents in managing the application and financial aid process from start to finish. Her writing in this area has been featured in The New York Times, Cleveland Magazine, and several blogs.

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