Top Computer Security Schools

Computer security is a broad field of study often intermingled with information security, computer security, information assurance, cyber security and IT security. Find out what to look for in a top computer security school. Compare the program options available from three nationally ranked schools, degrees offered as well as coursework you should expect to undertake. Review a list of ten additional top ranked schools offering degrees in computer security. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top School for Computer Security?

The top schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer security should have national rankings and related research institutes. You might also look for those schools that offer varied programs, such as those in information systems management or engineering. Some schools also offer you the opportunity to study abroad or gain international experience. The National Security Agency (NSA) also designates some schools as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research.

Three Top Schools for Computer Security

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA

CMU tied for first place ranking among schools offering graduate computer science programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2018 evaluation. The university houses a School of Computer Science with award-winning faculty and industry-focused programs. As a student enrolled in one of the school's information technology (IT) programs, you might present research at the annual Meeting of the Minds event. Joint programs are offered in Portugal, Australia, India, Australia and Korea. The following programs are available:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Information Security
  • Master of Science in Information Technology - Information Security
  • Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management
  • Master of Science in Information Technology - Information Security and Assurance

University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

U of I's graduate computer science programs placed 5th in U.S. News & World Report's 2018 evaluation. U of I was selected by the NSF to lead its Cyber-Physical Systems initiative. U of I's Information Trust Institute (ITI) houses seven centers and associated laboratories. These include the NSA Center for Information Assurance Education, the Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid Center and the Illinois Security Lab. ITI sponsors courses and certificate programs for cyber trust and security. To be eligible for the specialized computer security program, you must have an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering. Or, if you are an undergraduate student with two years of completed undergraduate studies, you would be eligible to participate. Below is a list of relevant degrees offered by the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign:

  • BS in Computer Science
  • Professional Master's (MCS) in Computer Science
  • Graduate Certificate in Security
  • Master of Science, Computer Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

University of Maryland (UM) in College Park

University of Maryland tied for 16th place in U.S. News & World Report's 2018 ranking of graduate computer science programs. UM hosts the Maryland Center for Cybersecurity (MC 2), an interdisciplinary research center combining engineering and computing expertise. The Department of Computer Science's (DCS) own honors program offers summer internships and research opportunities with faculty members. As a computer security graduate student, you could potentially leverage relationships with the Army Research Labs, the NSA or MC 2 for research opportunities or eventual employment. The following programs are offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Software Development and Security
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology
  • Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation
  • Master of Science in Information Technology:Information Assurance

Top Computer Security Schools

College/University Institution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition (2018-2019)*
George Mason University 4-year, Public Fairfax, VA $15,000
University of Maryland - Baltimore4-year, PublicBaltimore, MD $16,500
Pennsylvania State University 4-year, Public University Park, PA $22,500
Rochester Institute of Technology4-year, Private Rochester, NY $46, 000
Towson University4-year, Public Towson, MD $10,000
University of Texas at Dallas4-year, Public Richardson, TX $13,500
SUNY University at Buffalo 4-year, Public Buffalo, NY $13,500
University of Texas at San Antonio4-year, Public San Antonio, TX $7,500
West Virginia University4-year, Public Morgantown, WV $10,000
Syracuse University (Maxwell) 4-year, Private Syracuse, NY $39,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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