Jeffrey H. Cruz
Written By - Jeffrey H. Cruz

Check MarkEdited By Arlene Ward

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The Master’s in Cybersecurity Online programs represent a dynamic and accessible pathway for individuals aspiring to advance their expertise in safeguarding digital assets. In response to the escalating demand for cybersecurity professionals, these programs offer a comprehensive and flexible curriculum covering threat detection, risk management, and secure system design. Delivered through virtual platforms, these degrees cater to the needs of working professionals, enabling them to balance education with existing commitments. With a focus on real-world applications and cutting-edge technologies, Master’s in Cybersecurity Online programs empower graduates with the skills and knowledge vital for addressing the evolving challenges in digital security.

Online Master’s in Cyber Security

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Cyber Security

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Top 25 Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Programs Online

Some of the best master’s in cybersecurity degrees are entirely online, letting students continue to gain professional experience while earning a graduate degree. These schools demonstrate the highest quality of education, outcomes, and program options:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
New York University
70 Washington Sq South, New York, New York 10012
University of Delaware
104 Hullihen Hall, Newark, Delaware 19716
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Lewis University
One University Parkway, Romeoville, Illinois 60446
University of Dallas
1845 E Northgate Drive, Irving, Texas 75062
University of California, Berkeley
200 California Hall, Berkeley, California 94720
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, California 92110
University of Southern California, Los Angeles
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
Syracuse University
900 South Crouse Ave., Syracuse, New York 13244
Western Governors University
001 South 700 East Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, Illinois 61920
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Liberty University
971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Robert Morris University
6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, Pennsylvania 15108
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
DeSales University
2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, Pennsylvania 18034
Pennsylvania State University
201 Old Main, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
George Washington University
1918 F Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052
University of Charleston
2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, West Virginia 25304
Mississippi College
200 South Capitol Street, Clinton, Mississippi 39058
Maryville University
650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, Missouri 63141
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

20 Most Affordable Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Programs

Not only do online degrees provide more flexibility, but many master’s in cybersecurity online programs also offer lower tuition rates than on-campus cybersecurity programs. These programs provide the best degrees at an affordable cost:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Southern Arkansas University
100 E. University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753
Missouri State University
901 S National Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65897
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Sam Houston State University
1806 Ave J, Huntsville, Texas 77340
Dakota State University
820 N Washington Ave, Madison, South Dakota 57042
Texas A&M University
JKW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, Texas 77843
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32816
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, Illinois 61920
Western Governors University
001 South 700 East Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
Liberty University
971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
Wilmington University
320 Dupont Hwy, New Castle, Delaware 19720
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights, Winona, Minnesota 55987
Purdue University
Hovde Hall of Administration, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265
Iowa State University
1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011
Grand Canyon University
3300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85017
Old Dominion University
5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, Virginia 23529

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding a Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Program

An online Master’s in Cybersecurity program explores advanced concepts, preparing candidates for leadership roles. Over approximately two years, students explore security policy creation, cyber threat comprehension, and mitigation strategies for data breaches. These programs typically comprise 30 to 36 credits or 10 to 12 courses, offering a comprehensive curriculum. Some programs emphasize theoretical knowledge, while others incorporate hands-on training, addressing real-world challenges in cybersecurity. Culminating in capstone projects or master’s theses, these programs may also integrate certifications, enhancing students’ practical skills and theoretical understanding of cybersecurity.

Curriculum for an Online Master of Cybersecurity Program

Every program decides what courses to include in the Master of Cybersecurity curriculum. While course names and specific materials may vary, most programs offer the following courses.

  • Information Assurance Analysis: Information assurance analysis introduces effective analyses to inform software development, criminal investigations, and network operations. Students also cover the collection, use, and visualization of data.
  • Foundations in Algorithms: Building off data structure skills that students already know, foundations in algorithms look at different ways to design, analyze, and implement algorithms. Students then use algorithms to perform various computer science tasks.
  • Cryptology: Usually offered as an introduction to cryptology, cryptology looks at the classical cryptographic techniques that led to today’s modern cryptology. Students cover symmetric block ciphers, public key cryptosystems, and digital signatures.
  • Ethical Hacking: Also known as ethical penetration testing, this course teaches students to use hacking and penetration tools to find and exploit system vulnerabilities. Finding and fixing these vulnerabilities is critical for cybersecurity professionals.
  • Malware and Attack Reverse Engineering: Malware and attack reverse engineering explores how criminals use malicious software. Students then find ways to detect and prevent malware attacks through reverse engineering.

A student gains several abilities from this cyber security degree, including the ability to:

  • Develop effective security policies to safeguard organizational assets.
  • Analyze and comprehend diverse cyber threats to anticipate potential risks.
  • Formulate strategies for timely and effective responses to security incidents.
  • Implement measures to minimize the negative impact of data breaches.
  • Gain expertise in advanced cryptographic techniques for secure data communication.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in designing and maintaining secure network architectures.
  • Conduct ethical hacking and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities.
  • Understand legal and compliance aspects related to cybersecurity.
  • Assess and manage security risks through comprehensive risk analysis.
  • Develop leadership skills and effective communication for cybersecurity roles.

Types of Master’s Degrees Cybersecurity Students Can Obtain

A master’s in cybersecurity is generally classified into two main types: the Master of Arts in Cybersecurity (MACS) and the Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCS), detailed below:

Master of Arts in Cybersecurity (MA Cybersecurity)

The Master of Arts in Cybersecurity (MA in Cybersecurity or MACS) is an advanced degree that integrates cybersecurity with a focus on the humanities and liberal arts. While graduates with this degree are eligible for high-level teaching roles in academia, it is less commonly pursued by students.

Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MS in Cybersecurity)

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MS in Cybersecurity or MSCS) program adopts a theoretical and research-oriented approach to cybersecurity. Those who complete this master’s degree possess practical expertise and a solid theoretical foundation, positioning them for leadership roles within the field.

Common Specializations for a Master’s in Cybersecurity Online

Cybersecurity encompasses various topics, leading many programs to offer concentrations or specializations. Choosing a concentration enhances exposure to a specific field, aiding graduates in securing a position or preparing for a doctoral program associated with the concentration.

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Cloud SecurityAlso known as cloud security engineering, cloud security teaches students to protect cloud-based platforms. Topics include designing and implementing cloud security controls, cloud security countermeasures, and industry best practices.Data scientist, cybercrime analyst, IT auditor, cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity consultant
Cyber EngineeringA specialization in cyber engineering has students cover the planning, creation, and implementation of various cybersecurity programs. Some courses also focus on hardware over software.Computer engineer, cybersecurity consultant, data scientist, information security analyst, software engineer
Digital ForensicsDigital forensics applies cybersecurity to a criminal investigation. Courses in this specialization teach investigative methods, complex data analysis, and collecting and presenting evidence for prosecution.Cybercrime analyst, cybersecurity analyst, software engineer, cybersecurity consultant, cyber investigator
Information AssuranceA specialization in information assurance blends cybersecurity with data privacy. Students learn to analyze and audit existing ecosystems to determine better data protection practices.Cyber security analyst, data security manager, IT specialist, information risk analyst
Information SecuritySimilar to information assurance, a specialization in information security teaches students to protect information. Courses might focus on the protection of customer data or valuable business information.Cyber security consultant, cybersecurity analyst, IT security analyst, ethical hacker
Internet SecurityInternet security focuses on protecting online information. Students learn to analyze a network’s exposure over the internet and then find ways to mitigate risk and protect data.Data scientist, cybersecurity analyst, data security manager, IT specialist, risk analyst
Network SecurityA specialization in network security focuses on protecting internal networks. Students learn to protect information and data as networks become more complex and interconnect.Data scientist, cybersecurity consultant, IT security analyst, IT specialist, network manager

Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Program Length

Before beginning a master’s in cybersecurity, understand that program length depends on several factors, including:

  • Part-time vs. Full-time: Selecting a full-time program means completing a degree in 1 year, compared to 2 or more for a part-time degree. However, full-time students commit to a stricter schedule.
  • On-campus vs. Online: Online students have more flexibility, and some choose to complete their degrees faster than on-campus students.
  • Accelerated Programs: Some schools offer accelerated programs that intentionally push students to graduate sooner than full-time students. These rigorous programs often use accelerated 8-week courses.

Accelerated Cybersecurity Programs

Accelerated master’s programs in Cybersecurity offer an efficient route for students to complete their degree swiftly. Tailored for motivated individuals, these programs enable faster graduation by allowing options such as increased course loads, summer or intensive courses, and credit transfers from previous academic or professional experiences. Some programs may feature streamlined curricula, emphasizing essential coursework and eliminating certain elective requirements, enabling students to focus on core components and achieve their cybersecurity master’s degree more efficiently. Here are examples of colleges that offer accelerated master’s in cybersecurity online programs:

Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Admission Requirements

Admission into a master’s in cybersecurity online program is highly competitive. Applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements to have their application considered. Requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution at a minimum, though most programs prefer applicants who studied computer science or a related field.
  • Minimum GPA: Instead of requiring standardized test scores like the GRE, many master’s in cybersecurity online programs look for a GPA of 3.0 or higher on previous college transcripts.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Even some students with a background in computer science may need to complete additional prerequisite courses before getting admitted into a master’s in cybersecurity program. Specific prerequisite course requirements vary by school.
  • Professional Resume: While most programs set no professional experience requirements, applicants with several years of relevant work experience often submit stronger applications.
  • English Proficiency/TOEFL: Students born outside of the country must prove English language proficiency. Most schools require foreign-born students to take the TOEFL.

Master’s Cybersecurity Online No GRE Programs

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) assesses a student’s ability to complete graduate coursework independently and is commonly required for university admissions. Fortunately, there is a growing trend among many schools to waive GRE scores. Institutions may adopt a more selective approach in such cases, setting higher criteria for minimum undergraduate GPA, work experience, certifications, recommendation letters, and other qualifications. Some examples of institutions that offer an online master’s in cyber security no GRE program are:

Accreditations for Master’s Cybersecurity Online Programs

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing global industry, and employers seek reliable, skilled professionals with credible credentials. Companies prefer candidates with accredited degrees, and selecting a college with accreditation is crucial. Accreditation is granted by independent organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) 8 and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 9 , which includes six regional accreditation agencies:

Beyond institutional accreditation, specific cybersecurity programs may hold programmatic accreditation. Accredited master’s in cybersecurity programs may carry recognition from bodies like the National Security Agency (NSA), which designates  Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)16.

Free Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Courses

Graduate students continue to seek affordable options for college, and it’s noteworthy that some cybersecurity programs are free. While there are no fully accredited free master’s programs in cybersecurity, some offerings allow access to lectures and courses from reputable institutions. Students won’t earn a master’s diploma in cybersecurity from these courses, but they can gain knowledge equivalent to master’s students at other online institutions. All of this is available for free and 100% online. Explore the following programs below.

CourseIntroduction to Cybersecurity 17
Provided byFuture Learn
DescriptionIn this course, students learn how internet routers move data to their destination, potentially passing it through multiple routers globally, creating vulnerabilities for data copying. They explore tips and strategies to safeguard data on a network, incorporating firewalls and VPNs, and delve into intrusion detection systems (IDS) and honeypots for attack detection.
CourseCybersecurity Best Practices and Standards 18
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis course covers the fundamentals of cyber security and its significance in the contemporary digital landscape. Various attack methods, straightforward techniques, and tools for safeguarding personal and organizational data are explored. Enroll to counteract hackers and scammers. 
CourseCybersecurity Specialization 19
Provided byCoursera
DescriptionIn this course, students learn the fundamental concepts of constructing secure systems, spanning hardware, software, and the human-computer interface. The use of cryptography for securing interactions is explored. Real-world examples and hands-on exercises with relevant tools and techniques enhance understanding of security-oriented thinking. Successful participants develop insights into approaching adversaries and building defensive systems.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Cybersecurity Degree

While online education can reduce the cost of a master’s in cybersecurity, students still must cover the remaining tuition costs and fees. To do so, students take advantage of different types of financial aid, including fellowships, internships, and student loans.


Scholarships are financial awards given to students based on criteria such as academic merit, talent, or financial need. They provide support to help students pursue their educational goals without needing repayment, easing the financial burden of obtaining a master’s degree.


Fellowships, such as the New America Cybersecurity Fellowship 20 and the Belfer Center Cybersecurity Fellowship 21, provide students with payment or a stipend in return for work, meaning students also receive experience.


Internships offer students college credits, payment, or both. Programs like the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Internship 22 also teach students critical real-world skills.

Student Loans

Student loans are financial aid provided to students to help cover the cost of higher education. They are typically repaid with interest after graduation and can be obtained from government programs or private lenders.

Scholarships for Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Students

Scholarships continue to be one of the most effective ways to reduce — or entirely cover — tuition costs. Thousands of internships are available, some specific to cybersecurity and computer science.

  • Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security 23 Who Can Apply: Women studying any degree related to information security may apply for this scholarship. Winners are selected based on financial need and academic merit.
    Amount: $2000
    Deadline: February 1 annually.
  • CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service 24 Who Can Apply: Any undergraduate or graduate cybersecurity students can apply for up to three years of full-tuition scholarships. In return, winners must work for the U.S. Government for the same lengths as the scholarship. Amount: Full tuition up to three years
    Deadline: Varies
  • ISSA Education Foundation Scholarships 25 Who Can Apply: With multiple awards available, the ISSA accepts applicants pursuing a security-related degree. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA and submit a letter of intent. 
    Amount: $2,000 – $3,500
    Deadline: Varies

Career Opportunities and Salaries After Graduating

Cyber threats loom across major industries as businesses increasingly rely on network technology for daily operations. Online master’s in cyber security graduates secure diverse employment opportunities spanning large and small companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. The future for cyber security professionals appears promising, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an average annual addition of about 16,800 openings for information security analysts between 2022 and 2032. Graduates typically assume roles such as:

OccupationCybersecurity Systems Design Manager 26
Median Annual Salary$159,800
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionThe role of the Cybersecurity Systems Design Manager involves outlining and formulating security requirements through activities such as risk assessments, threat modeling, testing, and analyzing current systems. This manager oversees a team of cybersecurity experts responsible for strategizing and creating security solutions. These solutions are designed to empower the organization in recognizing, safeguarding, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber threats and vulnerabilities. 
OccupationInformation Security Analysts 27
Median Annual Salary$112,000
Job Growth (up to 2032)32% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionInformation security analysts play a crucial role in formulating their organization’s disaster recovery plan, a set of procedures followed by IT personnel in emergencies. These plans ensure the uninterrupted operation of the organization’s IT department. The recovery plan encompasses preventive measures, such as regularly duplicating and relocating data to an offsite location.
OccupationSoftware Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers 28
Median Annual Salary$124,200
Job Growth (up to 2032)25% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionSoftware developers develop computer programs that empower users to carry out specific tasks, along with creating the foundational systems that drive devices or manage networks. Analysts and testers specializing in software quality assurance are responsible for designing and executing software tests to identify flaws and gain insights into the functionality of products.
OccupationComputer and Information Research Scientists 29
Median Annual Salary$126,900
Job Growth (up to 2032)4% (as fast as average)
Job DescriptionComputer and information scientists explore innovative applications for existing and emerging technologies, conducting research and tackling complex computing challenges across various fields, including science, medicine, business, and other disciplines.

Certifications and Licensing for Online Master’s Students in Cybersecurity

Acquiring a professional certification in cybersecurity serves as a valuable complement to one’s education and as tangible proof to employers of one’s qualifications for a given role. Specialized advanced certifications are designed to showcase technical expertise in specific subfields of cybersecurity. Various businesses and organizations provide general, vendor-specific, and vendor-neutral (third-party) certifications accessible to individuals with master’s degrees. It’s important to note that certain certifications may necessitate additional qualifications and work experience. Some examples of these certifications include:

GIAC Certifications 30

GIAC Certifications is responsible for developing and overseeing top-tier professional cybersecurity certifications globally. A wide range of certifications covers intrusion, defense, cloud security, and more. Examples of these certifications include:

  • GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC),
  • GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst Certification (GCIA)
  • GIAC Red Team Professional (GRTP)
  • GIAC Enterprise Vulnerability Assessor Certification (GEVA)
  • GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence (GCTI)

NICCS Certifications 31

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) furnishes the essential tools and resources through its cybersecurity certifications to guarantee that the nation’s workforce possesses the required training and education in cybersecurity. NICCS has curated a collection of widely recognized industry certifications beneficial for individuals engaged in cybersecurity. Some examples from this list include:

Resources for Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Students

While working toward a graduate degree, cybersecurity students can network, improve their resumes, and prepare for their future careers with the help of professional organizations. Some organizations that master’s in cybersecurity students should consider include:

  • International Association of Privacy Professionals 36  
    IAPP is the world’s largest community for information privacy professionals. Members gain access to an extensive network, various certifications, and plenty of exclusive industry content.
  • Information Systems Security Association 37  
    Among the top international associations for cybersecurity professionals, ISSA offers members breaking industry information, access to content from experts, and educational opportunities.
  • ISC2 38 
    Along with online education and various types of training, ISC2 membership proves that professionals rank among the top in their field. Membership requirements are strict, however.
  • ISACA 39 
    With membership options available for current professionals and students, ISACA’s members get exactly what they need, whether access to networking events or meeting with local chapters.
  • CompTIA 40 
    A leading organization for certifying cybersecurity professionals, CompTIA’s student membership provides students with industry discounts, scholarship opportunities, and connections to internships and jobs.

FAQs About Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Programs

What are the best cyber security online master’s?

The top online Master’s in Cybersecurity programs are accredited, provide specialization options, and allow program customization. They emphasize hands-on experience through labs, research, or internships. This page highlights some of the best online Master’s in Cybersecurity degree programs in the United States.

How long does it typically take to complete the master’s in cyber security program?

Can I pursue the master’s in cyber security program part-time or full-time?

Can I do a master’s in cybersecurity without a bachelor’s?

Can I take a non-thesis master’s in cyber security online?

Is a master’s in cyber security worth it?

Can I do a master’s in cybersecurity online?


The University of Rhode Island

The City College of New York

Saint Peters University

Marshall College of Engineering and Computer Science

 Berkeley School of Information

 St. Bonaventure University

University of Houston

U.S. Department of Education (USDE)

 Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

Future Learn- Introduction to Cybersecurity

Alison- Cybersecurity Best Practices and Standards

Coursera- Cybersecurity Specialization

 New America Cybersecurity Fellowship

Belfer Center Cybersecurity Fellowship

Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Internship 

Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security 

CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service 

ISSA Education Foundation Scholarships Cybersecurity Systems Design Manager

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Information Security Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Computer and Information Research Scientists

GIAC Certifications

NICCS Certifications 

AWS Security Essentials

Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge 

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) 

Certified ISO 31000 Internal Controls Risk Analyst (ISO 31000 CICRA)

International Association of Privacy Professionals

Information Systems Security Association