Graduate programs in cybersecurity prepare students for the ever-changing world of computer, network and information security. Students can choose from a number of master's degree programs or at least one doctoral program in the field. Here, we discuss these degree options in detail, including credit requirements and common course topics.
Types of Graduate Programs in Cybersecurity
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Students can pursue a Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity or Cybersecurity Technology that are usually available in flexible formats, including online, hybrid, evening and weekend formats. These programs may range from about 30 to 36 credits and can be completed in as little as 1 year. Students in these programs are usually required to complete a capstone course, but some programs may allow students to replace the capstone with a thesis option and/or require an additional hands-on learning experience through a cybersecurity practicum. Common core courses for these programs may discuss topics in cybersecurity foundations, cyber-attack/intrusion detection and prevention, information security and digital forensics.
Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity
There are Master of Engineering (MEng) in Cybersecurity degree programs and more specific MEng programs, like in cybersecurity policy and compliance. These programs are usually available in online formats, can be completed in about 2.5 years and typically require around 30 credit hours. Most of these programs do not require a thesis and may leave room for a few elective courses to allow students to explore specific topics of interest. Some core course topics for these programs may include information security, network security, information management and information assurance.
Doctorate in Cybersecurity
At the doctoral level, students can pursue a Doctor of Science (DSc) in Cybersecurity that may be available on-campus, online or in a hybrid format. Credit requirements for these programs may be as low as 36 credits for those with a master's degree or as high as 72 credits for those with a bachelor's degree. Most of these degree programs require a dissertation and may focus on applied research in the field. Coursework at the doctoral level varies greatly based on a student's research interests, but students may be able to take courses in topics like ethics and leadership, research theory, computer security, monitoring and auditing and operating systems.
Common Entrance Requirements
Entrance requirements for cybersecurity graduate programs vary by level and program, but students who plan to apply usually need at least a bachelor's degree, which also typically needs to be in a field of engineering, math, computer science, physics or another related field. Some programs may admit students without a degree from these particular fields, but may require some work experience instead. Several of these programs require a minimum GPA around a 3.0 and programs are generally mixed on whether they require the GRE or not. Depending on the program, students may be required to include their transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose/research background and a resume or CV with their application. Some programs may also require an interview process for applicants.
Cybersecurity degree programs are available at the master's and doctoral levels and are typically available in online and/or other flexible formats. Depending on the program, students may need to complete a final project or a research/dissertation.