Best Online Cyber Security Bachelor's Degree Programs

Find out which schools offer the best online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity. Also explore program types, how much cybersecurity degrees cost, and possible career paths in the cybersecurity field. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Cybersecurity

When deciding which online program in cybersecurity is the right fit for you, you should consider cost, flexibility, program prerequisites, and completion time. Below, you can explore the best online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity.

1. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Kent, ME $8,115 95%

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program that also has a focus on information assurance. Along with general education coursework, you take classes on network security, cyber defense, and databases. You are required to complete a cybersecurity portfolio that showcases the concepts and skills you have learned in the program. The National Security Administration (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted this online program specialized recognition for meeting its rigorous curriculum requirements through the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense program.

2. Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
Okmulgee, OK $5,550 96%

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology has an online Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies - Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics degree. This program is for those who already hold at least an associate degree in information technologies. The online courses in this program are taught by experienced instructors and cover such topics as operating systems, script programming, and security system administration. This university accepts qualified transfer credits and professional industry experience so that you can save on your tuition and finish your online degree quickly.

3. Central Washington University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
Ellensburg, WA $8,072 90%

Central Washington University has two online cybersecurity-focused degree programs:

  • A Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) - Information Technology and Administrative Management degree
  • A Bachelor of Science (BS) - Information Technology and Administrative Management degree

Both programs allow you to choose a concentration in cybersecurity and suggest that you have an associate degree in computer science or a related field. Central Washington University's online IT/cybersecurity degree programs are affordable with out-of-state students paying the same tuition as their in-state peers when fully enrolled.

4. Immaculata University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
Immaculata , PA $27,350 100%

Immaculata University's online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program features unique coursework in open source intelligence analysis and collection. This online program is guided by a Cybersecurity Advisory Board made up of IT and cybersecurity professionals who use their real-world experience to make sure coursework and the program as a whole fully prepares you for your cybersecurity career. Immaculata University's online program is flexible with coursework able to be completed on your schedule, and you are able to apply up to 72 undergraduate credits to your cybersecurity bachelor's degree.

5. Western Governors University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
Salt Lake City, UT $6,670 n/a

Western Governors University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. This degree program has a robust curriculum that adheres to DHS and NSA guidelines and is constantly refined by the Information Technology Program Council, which consists of leading experts in the field. Your coursework also has industry certifications, such as CompTIA and EC-Council, within it so that you can earn these valuable certifications while you earn your online degree. A majority of students in this online program are able to finish their degree within only 18 months.

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state; 2018-2019) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Dakota State University Madison, SD $9,276 95%
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI $18,414 97%
8 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA $30,300 98%
9 Franklin University Columbus, OH $12,649 86%
10 Purdue University Global Indianapolis, IN $14,343 100%
11 Wilmington University New Castle, DE $11,210 89%
12 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX $8,049 83%
13 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME $7,988 94%
14 University of Maryland Global Campus Adelphi, MD $7,416 53%
15Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY $19,042 97%
16 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX $20,070 96%
17 California Baptist University Riverside, CA $33,478 95%
18 Champlain College Burlington, VT $41,010 100%
19 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA $53,244 100%
20Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA $6,347 91%
21 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL $11,813 97%
22 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE $7,827 89%
23 Lewis University Romeoville, IL $32,450 99%
24 New England College Henniker, NH $37,914 95%
25Hodges University Naples, FL $14,180 81%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Bachelor's Programs in Cybersecurity

Online cybersecurity bachelor's degree programs usually lead to a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. These programs can be completed fully online with no on-campus residencies or real-world elements required. Some programs also offer part-time or full-time attendance. The coursework in these programs focuses on computer and technology topics in the fields of computer science, information technology, and network security.

Differences Between Online BS and BAS Programs in Cybersecurity

Online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity typically have similar coursework and degree requirements. However, there are key differences between Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degrees and Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity degrees, which we will discuss below.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cybersecurity

Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cybersecurity degree programs generally require around 120 total credits. Many programs are designed to be completed in 4 years when attended full-time. However, for those returning to school with previous college credit or an associate degree, you may be able to apply transfer credits towards your BS in Cybersecurity degree and finish in about 2 years or less.

Coursework

BS in Cybersecurity degree programs commonly have general educational coursework in the following subject areas:

  • Social sciences, such as psychology and sociology
  • Arts and humanities, such as literature and foreign languages
  • Math, such as algebra and statistics
  • Natural science, such as biology and chemistry
  • Communications, such as technical writing and public speaking
  • History, such as world history or American history

These programs also require core coursework in the cybersecurity field, including subject areas like:

  • Programming
  • Computer forensics
  • Network, computer, and application security
  • Database design and security
  • Cyber law and legal issues
  • Cyber attacks/terrorism

The exact number of credits to fulfill your major cybersecurity coursework varies by program. However, you can expect to earn anywhere from 36-48 credits within the cybersecurity major with the remaining credits coming from general education coursework.

Concentrations

Some online programs offer concentrations, which require that you complete specific coursework on topics within your chosen area. Concentrations that some online BS in Cybersecurity programs offer include:

  • Wireless and mobile security
  • Cyber operations
  • Computer forensics
  • Cybersecurity defense

Capstone Course

Many programs require a final capstone or seminar course as well. Usually, this capstone course consists of a large research or written project that centers on a current topic in the field or one aspect of cybersecurity. The purpose of the capstone course is to demonstrate all you have learned during your degree program.

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity

A Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) is a technical, career-preparation degree that has a more practical, hands-on focus than a BS degree. BAS programs require that you have already earned an associate degree or a technical degree before applying.

Online BAS in Cybersecurity degree programs require anywhere from 90-120 credits. However, these programs accept transfer credits from your associate degree, so the exact number of classes you need to take during your degree program varies based on your university's transfer credit policy. These programs can be completed in about 18 months to 2 years.

Coursework

BAS in Cybersecurity degree programs have the same coursework requirements as BS programs. Along with general educational coursework, you take core courses in the cybersecurity field.

Concentrations

Generally, BAS programs don't offer concentration areas.

Capstone Course

Some, but not all, BAS in Cybersecurity programs have a capstone course requirement. Similar to capstone courses in BS in Cybersecurity degree programs, this course consists of a final research project.

Prerequisites for Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Programs

Admission to online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity depends on several factors, including your educational background, experience, and the type of bachelor's degree program.

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cybersecurity

To apply to a BS in Cybersecurity degree program, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a GED. A limited number of BS programs require an associate degree or at least 30 college credits. An application and a fee are also required. Some programs may require a letter of intent as well. If you have college credit or an associate degree, then you must submit transcripts.

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity

For admission to a BAS degree program, you must already hold an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Applied Science, or an Associate of Applied Science-Transfer degree. Some BAS programs may require a minimum overall GPA of 2.0-2.5 in your associate degree coursework. You must also submit an application and a fee as well as your transcripts.

Cost of an Online Bachelor Program in Cybersecurity

The cost of an online bachelor's program in cybersecurity varies by university and depends on several factors, including the length of a program, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student, and additional costs that are added on top of the base tuition price.

Tuition

The cost of tuition for online cybersecurity programs can range from $30,000 to $80,000 for completing around 120 credits. Some universities have a single price per credit or base tuition for all students regardless of residency, while others may charge out-of-state students more. When calculating your tuition make sure you are taking into account the total number of credits needed to earn your degree and any transfer credits you may use, which could lower your overall tuition cost.

Other Fees

Universities usually charge additional fees, which get added onto your tuition. Examples of fees include:

  • Technology fees
  • Library fees
  • Tutoring service fees
  • Online program fees
  • Graduation fees
  • Facility fees
  • Book fees

Each of these individual fees could range anywhere from $50 to $150. Check with your school about which fees apply to online students. Most schools will also help you estimate the total cost of your degree with tuition and fees added together.

Accreditation for Bachelor Programs in Cybersecurity

There are only a few agencies and organizations that accredit cybersecurity bachelor's programs. When a program is accredited that means it has met an independent standard in terms of its overall curriculum, its faculty, and other criteria. Programs must go through an accreditation process that could include documenting student outcomes, adhering to curriculum guidelines, and holding site visits. Below are two accrediting agencies.

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program

This program is administered by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the goal of creating workers skilled in cybersecurity. To achieve this accreditation, cybersecurity programs must have a curriculum of technical courses that span the fields of computer science and computer engineering, prove its students are involved in cyber operations research, have faculty who conduct research and publish in the field, and offer its students opportunities in the form of internships.

ABET

ABET is an organization that accredits technical programs in the areas of computing, engineering, and the natural sciences. ABET-accredited cybersecurity programs must track student progress, document student outcomes, have experienced faculty, and ensure its curriculum includes courses on all aspects of computer, data, organizational, and human security.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor Program in Cybersecurity

When choosing an online cybersecurity program, there are several factors that you should consider, including the skills a program teaches you as well as the program's flexibility and affordability.

Industry Certification Opportunities

Some online bachelor's programs in cybersecurity have built-in IT certifications that you can earn as you complete your degree, while other programs focus on the skills you need to earn these certifications outside of your program. By earning IT certifications, you can improve your job prospects. Possible IT industry certification areas include:

  • Cisco CCNA - demonstrates competency in IT fundamentals
  • CompTIA - demonstrates mastery of basic IT skills
  • (ISC)2 - includes the CCSP certification, which shows competency in cloud security and infrastructure, and the SSCP certification, which demonstrates mastery of monitoring and overseeing IT infrastructure

Flexibility

As online cybersecurity degree programs vary widely, you should choose a program that works best for your schedule, work commitments, and family life. Not every program offers both part- and full-time formats, so be sure to check with your school's attendance options.

You also want to consider your program's type of online classes and whether they are asynchronous, meaning you have no set log-on time and could work on your own time, or are synchronous, meaning you must be online at a specific time for lectures or meetings. Some programs might only be asynchronous, while others may have a mix of asynchronous and synchronous classes.

Some programs may allow you to view recordings of live classes, if you can't attend in real-time. Additionally, some programs may by hybrid programs that offer a mix of on-campus and online classes.

Affordability

You want to take your program's total cost and any financial aid help you qualify for into account as well when choosing a program.

Cost

Some programs charge out-of-state students the same lower tuition cost or price per credit as in-state students. However, other programs will charge out-of-state students more. You want to also make sure that you add in all the extra fees you will be charged during your degree program.

Financial Aid

There are several pathways for attaining financial aid, which can help you afford your online cybersecurity degree. Your first step should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a free tool that allows you to discover which types of financial aid you qualify for. Below are some common financial aid options.

  • Federal Pell Grants - grants available for undergraduate students that are based on enrollment status and Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Federal Stafford Loans - includes subsidized and unsubsidized loans for all students
  • University scholarships - scholarships administered by your school that you must qualify for and apply to that could be based on academic performance, financial need, or heritage

Be sure to consult with your school's financial aid department to find out what exact financial aid loans or scholarships are available.

Career Options with Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity

With a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, you can pursue a career in the IT field as an IT administrator or a computer or network security expert.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Network and computer systems administrators are in charge of an organization's computer networks and systems, including servers, equipment, and desktop computers. Specific job duties entail:

  • Installing software and/or hardware
  • Conducting upgrades and repairs to networks and systems
  • Overseeing email, cloud, or data storage
  • Managing the security of networks and systems

Network and computer systems administrators work in a variety of settings, including private businesses, local governments, and educational institutions. Most of these positions require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, and some employers prefer that you are certified in specific IT products.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), network and computer systems administrators earned a median salary of $82,050 in 2018, and the number of jobs are expected to increase 5% from 2018-2028.

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects are responsible for devising and implementing computer networks, such as intranets, LANs, and WANs. They typically work with an organization to come up with a computer network strategy that best fulfills that organization's communication needs, including security needs. Computer network architects must also monitor computer networks and systems and perform any upgrades or maintenance that is required.

Computer network architects need a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field; however, some positions may require an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Computer network architects are typically also certified in the IT products they use in their job and have significant experience in the IT field.

In 2018, computer network architects earned a median salary of $109,020, and the number of jobs are expected to increase 5% from 2018-2028, as per the BLS.

Information Security Analyst

The information security analyst profession is primarily concerned with the security of an organization's computer systems and networks. In this capacity, information security analysts' general job duties include:

  • Looking out for any type of security issue or breach
  • Reporting any security breach and enacting a recovery plan
  • Installing security software or data encryption programs
  • Maintaining firewalls
  • Conducting simulations to check for weakness in network or computer systems

Information security analysts typically need a computer science-related bachelor's degree, but some employers require a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Professional experience in the IT field and IT certifications are also preferred.

According to the BLS, information security analysts earned a median salary of $98,350, and the number of jobs are expected to increase 32% from 2018-2028.

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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