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Schools with Cyber Security Programs: How to Choose

Individuals can prepare for a cyber security career through undergraduate and graduate programs in network or cyber security, which are offered at many colleges and universities around the nation. Read on for advice on selecting a school with a program in cyber security, and to view some U.S. schools with relevant programs.

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Typically, students who want to pursue a career in cyber security obtain a bachelor's or master's degree in cyber, network or computer security. A number of 4-year schools offer these degree programs, so prospective students have several of factors to consider when selecting a school.

10 Schools with Cyber Security Programs

The following public and private schools offer cyber security or related programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016, In-state)*
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,104 (Undergraduate)
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA 2-year, Public Associate's $2,746 (Undergraduate)
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $41,371 (Graduate)
Coleman University San Diego, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $20,725 (Undergraduate)
Excelsior College Albany, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $510 per credit (Undergraduate) $645 per credit (Graduate)**
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Master's $9,004 (Graduate)
Iowa State University Ames, IA 4-year, Public Graduate Certficate, Master's, Doctorate $9,172 (Graduate)
Montreat College Montreat, NC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $24,220 (Undergraduate)
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $40,984 (Graduate)
Portland State University Portland, OR 4-year, Public Certificate $14,100 (Graduate)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School websites

School Selection Criteria

Keep the following in mind as you search for a cyber security program:

  • Students should make sure their program of choice features opportunities for hands-on experience through advanced lab work in an enclosed network.
  • Another element students may want to consider is student-to-faculty ratio since much of the lab work that cyber security students must complete requires supervision of faculty members.
  • Students may also want to determine if a school has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
  • Students may need to research financial aid options and scholarship opportunities to help offset costs of private versus public schools.

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

This 4-year program combines the study of computer science and mathematics. It is designed to prepare students for careers in network and computer security as well as other fields, such as information assurance. Students gain a general knowledge of the ethics and practices of working in network and computer security. They are taught the importance of risk assessment and protecting sensitive information.

Master of Science in Cyber Security

This 1- to 2-year program is designed to give working professionals with a background in computer science and/or security additional education in the field of cyber security. Programs culminate in a master's thesis or graduate project.

Cyber security degree programs are widely available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels from several public and private institutions. When choosing a school to attend students should consider factors such as the student-to-faculty ratio, as well as hands-on experiences.

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