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Top 10 Online Cybersecurity Degrees

Computer, network, information and domestic security are critical issues of our day.  While we as a country are not actively involved in a typical war within our borders, we are under perpetual attack.  The enemy is unseen; the tactics do not involve standard weapons. We are engaged in a conflict between those who seek to keep confidential and private information away from unauthorized individuals and organizations.  It is a “cyber” war. In order to protect the safety of data and networks, government, businesses and organizations require robust defense systems. The fields that have spawned from this environment are widespread, highly skilled and lucrative.

Online Security Degrees is pleased to provide the Top Ten Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs 2018.  While there is much overlap between disciplines surrounding cyber, information and network security, these schools represent the best option specifically for online Cybersecurity degrees.  The criteria for this ranking includes accreditation type (there is a government-sponsored accreditation body covering cybersecurity), number of distinct programs, graduation rate and overall cost.  Weights for each criteria element were assigned and the totals were ordered into the following Top Ten list.

1. Excelsior College

Excelsior College is a nonprofit distance learning institution located in Albany, New York. The College began in 1971 as the Regents External Degree Program (REX), funded by major grants from the Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation. The institution’s original purpose was to provide educational opportunities for adult learners; in 1998 the school was granted its charter to operate as a private, nonprofit and independent institution and in 2001 the institution adopted its current name. Today, Excelsior College is governed by a board of trustees who are leaders in the areas of education, business and the professions and more than 25 degree and certificate programs are offered. Comprising five schools, these include the School of Business, School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts, School of Nursing, School of Public Service, and School of Technology. The College strives to meet students “where they are — academically and geographically, offering quality instruction and the assessment of learning,” and its mission is to provide “educational opportunity to adult learners with an emphasis on those historically underrepresented in higher education.”

Excelsior College offers four cybersecurity-related degree programs, all of which are available online. These include the Bachelor of Science Cybersecurity with optional concentrations in Operations and in Healthcare; the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with optional concentrations in Cybersecurity and in Information Security; the Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology with an optional concentration in Nuclear Cybersecurity; and the Master of Science Cybersecurity with optional concentrations in Information Assurance, Medical Data Security, and Policy Administration. Excelsior College holds regional, institutional accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security.

2. Bellevue University

Bellevue University, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, is a nonprofit, fully accredited institution of higher education. Established in 1966, Bellevue University is home to over 50,000 graduates scattered across the globe and serves as a national leader in preparing students for “lifelong success with career-relevant knowledge and skills.” Bellevue University is committed to keeping costs affordable and specializes in offering education options for adult learners and offers more than 75-degree programs in high-growth career fields. The University comprises several colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, the College of Science and Technology, and the College of Continuing and Professional Education. The University’s mission is to actively engage “students in earning awards and degrees that prepare them to thrive in a connected, competitive world.” Its mission statement continues, “We provide students with a powerful foundation for personal value creation, instilling the confidence they need to take control of their lives and to be responsible citizens of the global community. We teach the value of a free market, capitalist economic system and the importance of preserving our American heritage of a democratic and free way of life.”

Bellevue University offers several online undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs in areas related to cybersecurity. These include the Bachelor of Science Cybersecurity; the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Intelligence and Security Studies; the Master of Science in Cybersecurity; the Master of Science in Intelligence and Security Studies; and the Master of Science in Security Management. These programs are designed to prepare students for future careers in areas related to intelligence and security in government agencies, corporations, or nonprofit organizations. Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education

3. Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, non-sectarian research institution located near Wilmington’s historic district in New Castle, Delaware. Beginning as a charter class in the late 1960s, today the University holds accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers a wide range of degree programs from associates to doctorates. The University comprises several colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Health Professions, the College of Online and Experiential Learning, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Technology. The University’s mission and vision is to “distinguish itself as an open-access educational institution by building exemplary and innovative academic programs and student-centered services while anticipating the career and personal needs of those it serves.” Wilmington University is committed to providing flexible and convenient education options without compromising quality. Many students are enrolled online or commute to one of the University’s several locations across Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

Wilmington University offers two online degrees in the area of cybersecurity: a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security and a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. The former program is taught by a faculty member with real-world experience and is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to meet the rigorous challenges of a “constantly changing profession.” The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is available with two concentration options, or “career tracks” including Cyber Terrorism and SCADA Cybersecurity. Wilmington University is recognized by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through the academic year 2021.

4. Davenport University

Davenport University is a private, nonprofit institution of higher education located at various sites across Michigan. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Davenport University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs through its several colleges. These include the Donald W. Maine College of Business, the College of Technology, the College of Health Professions, the College of Urban Education, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Established upon the core values of Serving with Quality, Trustworthiness, Accountability, Innovation and Creativity, and Respect and Inclusion, Davenport University’s focus is on providing “the highest academic quality; Small class sizes; Convenient campus locations; Faculty with professional experience; and Dynamic curriculum addressing in-demand careers.” The University’s mission is to prepare and transform students “to achieve the highest levels of academic performance, leading them to excel and advance in their chosen fields in the 21st century.”

Davenport University offers two online cybersecurity-related degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Defense and a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. The Bachelor in Cyber Defense is designed to equip students with specialized skills that allow them to “create systems of checks and procedures for controls that help thwart unwanted intervention and provide cybersecurity to the organization.” The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (MSIA) is designed to address the “management of risk to organizational and individual information assets and the importance of building secure systems that protect confidentiality, accessibility and integrity of those assets in today’s global environment.” Davenport University is recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

5. Lewis University

Lewis University is a private, coeducational, comprehensive university located in Romeoville, Illinois. A Catholic institution, Lewis University is sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, an international Roman Catholic teaching order. Established in 1932, the University is guided by its Catholic and Lasallian heritage and strives to provide “diverse student population programs for liberal and professional education, grounded in the interaction of knowledge and fidelity in the search for truth.” Its mission statement continues, “Lewis promotes the development of the complete person through the pursuit of wisdom and justice. Fundamental to its Mission is a spirit of association which fosters community in all teaching, learning, and service.” Lewis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 80 undergrad majors and programs, 37 graduate programs, and 2 doctoral programs through its several colleges and school. These include the College Of Arts & Sciences, the College Of Business, the College Of Education, the College Of Nursing & Health Professions, and the School Of Graduate, Professional & Continuing Education.

Lewis University offers two online degree programs related to cybersecurity: the Bachelor of Science in Information Security and Risk Management and the Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS). The former program is an accelerated undergraduate program offered through the College of Business. Taught from a hands-on and cutting-edge curriculum, the in-depth coursework equips and prepares students for prestigious industry certification including Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and many more. The MSIS is available with a Management or Technical concentration as well as a dual MSIS/MBA program. Lewis University is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency nationally recognized Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

6. University of Maryland – University College

The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a nonprofit, public university located in Adelphi, Maryland and part of the University System of Maryland. Established in 1947, the University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and specializes in offering education to busy professionals. Many of the University’s students are employed full-time and require both convenience and flexibility in order to achieve their academic goals. Most of UMUC’s degree programs are offered 100% online or in hybrid classes (combining in-person classes with online coursework) at various locations throughout Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. UMUC offers over 90 degrees, specializations and certificates and operates with a mission to improve the lives of adult learners. This mission is accomplished by “Operating as Maryland’s open university, serving working adults, military servicemen and servicewomen and their families, and veterans who reside in Maryland, across the United States, and around the world; Providing our students with affordable, open access to valued, quality higher education; and Serving as a recognized leader in career-relevant education, embracing innovation and change aligned with our purpose, and sharing our perspectives and expertise.”

The University of Maryland University College offers online several cybersecurity-related degree programs. These include the Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks; the Bachelor of Science in Software Development and Security; the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy; the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology; and the Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation. UMUC is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as well as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Defense Cyber Crime Center Academic Cyber Curriculum Alliance.

7. Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit institution of higher education primarily located in Salt Lake City, Utah. A unique institution, the University was founded in 1977 by a group of U.S. governors as an “innovative solution to their states’ rapidly growing and dramatically changing demand for high-quality, outcomes-oriented higher education.” A pioneer in the competency-based learning approach, students are able to earn their degree by proving knowledge, rather than merely logging class hours. Known for its solid academic results, the WGU also offers one of the best values in education due to its low tuition and the ability students have to accelerate through their program, further reducing costs. Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the University is comprised of for colleges – the College of Business, the Teachers College, the College of Information Technology, and the College of Health Professions. WGU’s primary mission is “to improve quality and expand access to post-secondary educational opportunities by providing a means for individuals to learn independent of time or place and to earn competency-based degrees and other credentials that are credible to both academic institutions and employers.”

Western Governors University offers three online cybersecurity-related degree programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance; the Bachelor of Science in Network Operations and Security; and the Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. The latter program was designed with input from cybersecurity experts and leading IT employers and is closely aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). In addition to the master’s degree, the program also allows students to earn the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker and EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certifications at no extra cost. WGU’s programs meet the most recent guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.

8. Towson University

Towson University is one of the top regional public universities in the nation and the second-largest university within the prestigious University System of Maryland. Located in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, the University began in 1866 as the Maryland State Normal School for the purpose of equipping teachers. A founding member of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, Towson University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and offers 64 undergrad majors, 46 master’s, and 4 doctoral degree programs. Comprising several colleges, these include the College of Business and Economics, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Health Professions, the College of Liberal Arts, The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics, and the Honors College. Towson University’s mission is to foster “intellectual inquiry and critical thinking preparing graduates who will serve as effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.”

Towson University a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Computer Security track. Both programs are available online; the undergraduate curriculum focuses on preparing students for careers in government, business, industry and education as well as for further study. Accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the Computer Security track is also designated as a ‘Cyber Operations’ program of study by the National Security Agency. The master-level program combines in-depth study with real-world experience and is designed to prepare students to meet the ever-changing and expanding demands in the field of information technology. The Computer Security track in the master’s program is particularly recommended for students who are interested in the “design, implementation and support of protecting data security.”

9. University of Illinois – Springfield

The University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) is a public institution of higher education located in Springfield, Illinois. Established in 1969 as Sangamon State University, the institution was originally founded by concerned citizens who made up the Springfield Committee for Higher Education. Today, UIS is a member of the world-class University of Illinois System, becoming the System’s third campus in 1995. The University’s mission is to provide “an intellectually rich, collaborative, and intimate learning environment for students, faculty, and staff, while serving local, regional, state, national, and international communities.” UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 30 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and one doctoral degree program through its four colleges. These include the College of Business and Management; the College of Education and Human Services; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

The University of Illinois-Springfield offers a single online cybersecurity program – the Bachelor of Science in the Field of Information Systems Security. Offered through the Department of Computer Science, the program’s curriculum is certified by the Committee of National Security Systems and the National Security Agency. The degree is designed to equip students with a strong foundation in computer science and provide experience in “mastering problem-solving skills relevant to the business, scientific, and public sectors.” Upon completion of the program, graduates will possess the necessary skills to enter into security-related careers including network and computer administration, system analysis, computer support, and more. UIS’s Computer Science Department is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  

10. Keiser University – Ft Lauderdale

Keiser University is a private, nonprofit institution of higher education headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a 100-acre residential Flagship Campus. Established in 1977 by Dr. Arthur Keiser and Evelyn Keiser, the Keisers founded the school after recognizing the need for hands-on career education conducted in small classroom setting. The original intention was to “create a University to better serve adult learners seeking a career-focused education.” Today, Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and offers a wide range of programs in the areas of Business, Chiropractic, Cinematic Arts, Criminal Justice, Culinary, Education, Fire Science, General Studies, Health Care, Information Technology, Nursing, Psychology, Sport Management. The University’s mission is to help students “succeed by providing the professional and academic foundation to meet your educational goals and objectives.”

Keiser University offers the Bachelor of Science in Cyber Forensics/Information Security available at a variety of locations as well as online. Part of the program’s objectives are to “provide students with knowledge, critical thinking skills and communication skills needed in the field of Cyber Forensics/Information Security; to enhance students’ ability to plan for, detect, respond to, and recover from incidences that require network forensic activity; [and] to assist students in becoming proficient in the use of information technology security tools and basic forensic techniques for the collection, preservation, analysis, and reporting of digital network.” The program is further designed to provide students with the “technical expertise and investigation skills required to detect and prevent cybercrimes.”

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