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Top 10 Online Network Security Degrees

Information security is an ever-expanding field.   Protecting confidential and proprietary information and data is of critical importance.  Network security as one aspect of the field of Security has evolved and changed as quickly as the networks themselves.  With the increasing popularity and ease of generating networks and databases, the need for securing such networks has increased as well.  Keeping network data secure and monitoring or restricting access to stored information has become a specialized field of study.

Online Security Degrees is pleased to provide the Top Ten Online Network Security Degree Programs 2018.  Degree programs in this realm include elements of Information Technology, Cyber Security and Network Design in addition to the specific elements of network security.  The ten schools listed herein represent the best options specifically for online Information Security 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. Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, non-sectarian research institution located in New Castle, Delaware, just outside of Wilmington’s historic district. Established as a charter class in the late 1960s, today the University offers a wide range of degree programs from associates to doctorates and holds accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Comprising several colleges, these include 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. 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. The University’s mission 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 offers a single online degree program in Network Security: the online Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security. Offered through the College of Technology, the program is taught by faculty members who have real-world experience and are prepared to provide students with an “academically challenging and aesthetically pleasing environment that foster the development of creative and innovative thinking.” The program further equips students with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of a continually changing profession. Wilmington University is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity through the academic year 2021 by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

2. University of Maryland-University College

The University of Maryland University College (abbreviated UMUC) is a public, nonprofit university located in Adelphi, Maryland. A member of the University System of Maryland, UMUC began in 1947 and currently offers over 90 degrees, specializations and certificates, operating 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.” UMUC 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.

The University of Maryland University College offers a single online degree program related to network security: the online Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity. Requiring 120 credit-hours (up to 90 transfer credits are acceptable), the program blends the benefits of traditional classroom education with hands-on training in state-of-the-art technology, integrating technical skill with communication skills as well as “superior general education knowledge.” Named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, UMUC’s cybersecurity students have won first place in several cyber competitions and graduates are often recruited by top agencies and firms.

3. Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University is an online university based out of Orange Beach, Alabama. A subsidiary of Columbia Southern Education Group, Columbia Southern University “strives to change and improve lives through higher education by enabling students to maximize their professional and personal potential.” The University is built on several core values including Organizational Health, Humility, Exceptional Service, Flexibility, Excellence, and Relationships and operates with a mission to provide “diverse learning experiences and affordable, flexible distance education programs at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels to a global student body, delivered by qualified, student-centered faculty committed to teaching and student learning.” The mission statement continues, “The university is dedicated to providing exceptional academic and student support services.” Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Columbia Southern University offers a wide variety of associate, bachelor, master, doctorate and certificates programs.

Columbia Southern University offers a single online degree program related to network security, namely the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security. Offered through the College of Safety & Emergency Services, the program’s core focus is on application security, intrusion detection, systems, IS auditing, and IS disaster recovery. Designed to offer students experience in programming, analysis, web development, networking, databases, and IT infrastructures, the program “prepares individuals to develop applications, implement databases, maintain networks, and create websites with security as the focal point. Outcomes of the program include the ability to “classify potential threats, risks, and weakness in the Information Technology infrastructure; interpret business and management theory and practices that help mitigate information systems security problems; recognize the application of security practices; and analyze current legal requirements for information systems security.”

4. Dakota State University

Dakota State University is a public, four-year institution located in Madison, South Dakota. Established in 1881 as a teacher training college in the Dakota Territory, the University is currently governed by the South Dakota System Board of Regents and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The University’s mission is to provide “learning that integrates technology and innovation to develop graduates ready to contribute to local, national, and global prosperity.” Its vision is to become “the university of choice for those seeking a student-centered institution that offers innovative programs grounded in teaching, research, technology, scholarship, and service excellence.” Dakota State University offers over 35 undergraduate majors as well as a number of graduate-level degree programs through its four colleges. These include the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business and Information Systems, the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, and the College of Education.

Dakota State University offers a single online network security degree program: the Bachelor of Science in Network and Security Administration. The program provides a solid foundation in networking and security skill sets and covers the basics of network security, including networking, business management, cybersecurity, virtualization and forensics. Classes are kept intentionally small and taught by approachable and seasoned industry professionals; the same faculty members who teach on-campus also teach online, often bringing both sets of students together for collaborative projects which foster a strong sense of community. A convenient, low-cost option, Dakota State University’s online program options allow students to earn their degree from a reputable source, balancing both quality and convenience.

5. Walden University

Walden University is a four year, private distance learning institution headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded by educators Bernie and Rita Turner in 1970, the school’s original purpose was to provide a convenient way for working professionals to earn their doctorate degree. In 1979 the institution was granted licensure and permission awarded by the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s in the state of Minnesota. Today, Walden University offers programs ranging from undergraduate to doctorates, catering especially to the higher education needs of adult learners. Walden University’s mission is to provide “a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change.”Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, programs are available across a wide range of subjects, including the areas of health sciences, counseling, criminal justice, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, social work, public administration, and information technology.

Walden University offers a single online degree program related to network security, namely the online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking and Operations. As part of the concentration, students learn to “design, implement, and maintain computer-network operations; examine the selection, installation, and maintenance of computer hardware and software; explore the deployment, configuration, maintenance, and monitoring of active network equipment; [and] focus on security and fault-tolerance in networks for secure and reliable performance.” The degree requires a total of 181 quarter credits, including 85 core course credits and 20 concentration course credits. Specific concentration courses include IT Service Management, Network Security, Network Planning and Maintenance, and Fault-Tolerant Systems.

6. ECPI University

East Coast Polytechnic Institute University – better known as ECPI University – is a private, nonprofit, independent and multi-campus university, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Established in 1966, the University began in Norfolk, Virginia, originally offering programs in computer science and programming with a focus on accelerated education that would prepare individuals for the workplace. Today, the University offers a wide range of degree programs at sites in Virginia, South Carolina and globally, thanks to its strong online presence. Committed to the core values of excellence in academics, commitment to students, professionalism in action, and innovation in Education, ECPI University is known for its hands-on approach to learning and its excellent student services including free tutoring and comprehensive career services. ECPI University’s mission is to provide “a student-centered learning environment that promotes the enhancement of each student’s professional and personal life through education.”Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, ECPI University comprises four colleges, including the College of Technology, the College of Health Science, the College of Business and Criminal Justice, and the College of Culinary Arts.

ECPI University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science with a major in Cyber and Network Security. Reinforcing classroom experience hands-on instruction, the program teaches students how to “create and build networks in Windows, CISCO, and UNIX environments, and design and implement network security plans to keep hackers and bay and networks secure.” Outcomes of the program include the ability to maintain network hardware and software; evaluate problems and monitor network to ensure its availability to system users; plan, coordinate and implement network security measures; install security software, and much more. In addition, the program’s curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to sit for their IT certification exams related to Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and CompTIA.

7. Liberty University

Located in the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains in Lynchburg, Virginia, is Liberty University. The fifth largest university in the nation and the largest Christian university in the world, Liberty University is a private, nonprofit, evangelical Christian institution established by Jerry Fallwell, Sr. in 1971. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Liberty University’s mission is to develop “Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world.” Over 500 programs are offered through the University’s several colleges and schools, including the College of Applied Studies and Academic Success; the College of Arts & Sciences; the Helms School of Government; the Rawlings School of Divinity; the School of Aeronautics; the School of Behavioral Sciences; the School of Business; the School of Communication and Digital Content; the School of Education; the School of Health Sciences; the School of Law; the School of Music; the School of Nursing; and the School of Visual and Performing Arts.

A leader in distance and online learning since the mid-1980s, Liberty University enrolls nearly 100,000 students online and offers over 200 online programs ranging from certification options to doctorates. In the area of network security, Liberty University offers two online degrees – the online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Data Networking and Security and the online Master of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Network Design and Security. Liberty University offers exceptional resources to online students including access to the University’s digital library, the Online Writing Center, Liberty Online Communities, and access to knowledgeable academic advisors. It is the University’s mission to provide its students with “the most up-to-date tools, training and information to succeed in [their] career.”

8. Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit institution of higher education; its main campus is 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.” WGU is a pioneer in the competency-based learning approach wherein students are able to earn their degree by demonstrating knowledge, rather than simply logging class hours. WGU is known for its solid academic results and 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. 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, and is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). 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.”

In the area of network security, Western Governors University offers the Bachelor of Science in Network Operations and Security. An award-winning program, the degree is designed for IT professionals who are interested in using their experience in network and cloud knowledge to become network administration and IT security management experts. The program also features 14 sought-after industry certifications that are certain to boost students’ résumé, even before completing the degree. The program is further intended to help students “develop the latest network design, network operations, and security management skills,” enabling them to become “an expert network administration and security manager.”

9. California Intercontinental University

California Intercontinental University (trademarked CALUNIVERSITY and abbreviated CIU) is a private, for-profit institution of higher education which exclusively offers distance and internet-based programs. Headquartered in Irvine, California, CIU was built “by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.” Incorporated in the State of California in 2003, two years later in 2005 the University received California State Approval to grant undergraduate and graduate degrees and in 2009 became accredited through the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). CIU offers distance education programs and is dedicated to the study of Business Administration and Management, promoting “quality learning, critical thinking, and the discovery of new knowledge for the benefit of diverse business communities.” Part of the University’s educational objective is to ensure that its graduates are “prepared to succeed in a variety of professional, civic, and personal settings.” CIU’s mission is to offer “relevant, in-demand accredited online programs designed to enhance each student’s professional career.” This mission statement continues, “CIU is committed to equip the next generation of business professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs with the confidence, qualifications, and competence to succeed in the global business community and economy.”

California Intercontinental University offers a single online degree program related to network security, namely the online Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology with an emphasis in Networking Systems and Security. Abbreviated BEIT NSS, the program is designed to provide students with “knowledge and skills to apply business principles and management practices with specialization in networking and systems security.” The program’s specialization teaches about information technology, knowledge management, information security, and information systems. A four-year program, 120 credits are required for degree completion, and up to 90 transfer credits are accepted.

10. Independence University

Independence University is a private, nonprofit, independent institution of higher education, located on the main campus in West Haven, Utah. While the University’s educational roots reach back to 1891 with its founding, it was not until 1978 that the school – then operating as the California College for Health Sciences – began offering distance education programs. In 2005 the College was renamed, adopting the name Independence University as a more accurate reflection of the “institution’s broader range of programs and its philosophy that education should lead to greater independence.” In 2010 the University merged with its affiliated institution, the Stevens-Henager’s main campus in Ogden/West Haven, Utah, creating the school as it is known today. Independence University offers a wide range of programs and comprises four schools: the School of Healthcare, the School of Business, the School of Technology, and the School of Graphic Arts. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), the University offers career-focused degrees  and operates with a mission to help students “graduate, launch better careers, and gain greater independence to live the life they want as soon as possible.”

Independence University offers a single online program in network security, namely the Bachelor of Science in Networking & Information Systems Security. A 36-month long program, the degree is available in an online format and is offered through the School of Technology. The program is designed to help kick-start students’ careers in IT by providing valuable knowledge and strong skills that potential employers are seeking. The degree covers the complex topics of information security management, computer servicing, security concepts, network communications, project management, cryptography, ethical hacking, computer forensics, workstation and server administration, cloud and mobile computing, operating systems, and entrepreneurship.

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