Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Information Security

Apr 05, 2021

What is an Online Bachelor's Degree in Information Security?

Bachelor's degrees in information security (sometimes called infosec) can vary somewhat in title between colleges, depending on specialization and concentration. While obtaining a degree in information security, students can expect to learn about computer systems, information systems, networking, data and cyber security. Information security's main focus is the safety and security of data, data transmission systems and storage, through a variety of measures such as mitigation, systems, devices, disclosure protection, and best industry practices.

Bachelor's degrees in information security can be obtained fully online so you can learn around your busy schedule. Additionally, many schools offer both online and hybrid options, for those looking for the best of both worlds: the convenience of online learning and an immersive classroom experience. Information security covers a broad range of specialties, so degrees and courses will be reflective of this, allowing students to focus on general as well as more specialized fields.

The Best Online Bachelors Degree Programs in Information Security

1. Central Washington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8273 85% 58% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

2. Regent University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18620 86% 57% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

3. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13988 76% 71% % No Yes AP Credits

4. University of Illinois at Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11928 77% 54% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

5. Dakota State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9536 77% 43% 93% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

6. University of North Dakota

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9736 81% 61% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

7. Saint Leo University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$23750 72% 49% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

8. Kennesaw State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6456 75% 46% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

9. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8295 99% 36% 94% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

10. Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5550 No Available Data (2019-2020) 37% 98% No Yes AP Credits

11. Mercy College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19594 82% 44% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

12. The University of Texas at San Antonio

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8262 77% 42% 83% Yes Yes AP Credits

13. Lindenwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18100 88% 50% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

14. Southeast Missouri State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7800 86% 50% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

15. Ferris State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12376 87% 47% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

16. Eastern Michigan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13758 74% 46% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Difference Between Information Security and Cyber Security Programs

The terms information security and cyber security are often interchanged and have some similarities. However, they are distinct from one another in several ways. Knowing the difference can help alleviate some confusion when researching schools and the programs they offer.

Information security studies refers, in its simplest terms, to the study of securing and preserving information of all types (digital or analog) from loss, damage, corruption and theft. Cyber security studies, a derivative of information security and a more recent branch, pertains to the study of protecting attacks in cyberspace, which includes data, storage and devices. In both fields, students learn computer and network infrastructure and associated security measures associated with each. The outlook for both fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of rapid growth, with continued opportunities for future graduates.

Bachelor's in Information Security Specializations/Concentrations

The general field of information security encompasses a wide variety of specializations and concentrations, and some even include certifications within the realm of their degree program. Examples of the types of degrees students may see in information security include:

  • Data Networking - This concentration will introduce students to computer networks, computer operating systems and computer systems security.
  • Information Security and Assurance - In this specialization, students will prepare to work in both the private and government sectors to detect system vulnerabilities and protect sensitive data.
  • Information System Security - In this degree concentration, students are immersed in how to recognize and assess threats to data and information systems.
  • Information Technology - In this bachelor's program, students will learn application development, systems analysis and information security, among other topics.

Degrees can be further enhanced through additional certifications and licensures, ensuring a well-rounded education in the various fields and allowing the student more flexibility in choosing a specialty of interest with the best career options.

Curriculum/Coursework for a Bachelor's in Information Security Degree

Students looking to earn a bachelor of science degree in information security will typically find coursework pertaining to technology and systems for keeping organization's data secure, ranging from hardware, software systems, developing and implementing plans for the prevention of data breaches, compromises and secure networking. Coursework will vary, depending on the college and the specialization upon which the degree is focused.

Below are just some examples of common major courses at schools such as University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), DeVry University and others:

  • Information Systems in Organizations - Students learn to recognize how technology enables strategic outcomes and to identify information system requirements for an organization by analyzing business processes.
  • Computer Programing - Courses such as this teach students to design, implement, test, debug, and document programs, using appropriate developmental tools with languages such as JavaScript, C, C+, HTML, etc.
  • Foundations of Information Systems Management - Students will become familiar with information technology (IT) organizations, management of IT systems, and factors in IT decision making.
  • Software and Hardware Infrastructure Concepts - Students can expect to learn about hardware, software, and network components of computer systems and their interrelationships in this and similar courses.
  • Systems Analysis and Design - Courses such as this offer a project-driven study of tools and techniques for translating business requirements into real world operational systems.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Information Security?

Typically, a bachelor's degree in information security requires that students complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. Completing 120 credit hours traditionally takes four years when attending full-time. Students attending part-time may take a bit longer to complete all required credit hours. Some schools offer accelerated timelines, such as shorter, more intensive semesters, allowing for students to complete a bachelor's degree in information security in 22-48 months.

A number of programs require that students be fully prepared for the rigors of upcoming coursework with prerequisites, such as abstract algebra, discrete mathematics, and graph theory. It is important to check with your potential school's academic advisor to fully understand what pre-enrollment prerequisites, if any, may be needed for your program of choice.

How to Choose an Information Security School & Program

One of the most daunting tasks that prospective students face is researching and deciding on the school and program for their desired degree. There are a number of useful tools available to assist in filtering and sorting schools based on a number of factors, such as online vs. classroom/hybrid, school location, cost, coursework, accreditation, and so on.

One such tool, created by Study.com, allows prospective students to enter a variety of criteria, such as subject of interest and discipline, including where they would like to attend classes. The resulting search provides the user with list of top schools offering programs in the desired field of study where more detailed research can be done on each school the user selects. Once the school is selected, users are guided to the schools website where they can peruse the schools offerings, course requirements and other critical information, such as enrollment, tuition, financial aide office contacts, and how to request information from the school.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Information Security Degrees

Students aspiring to become infosec or cybersecurity professionals should verify the accreditation status of their program. This is to ensure the soundness of the faculty and that curricula and program in which they are enrolled is one that will carry its weight with potential employers and graduate school admissions boards, as well as be credible on applications for financial aid. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that a higher education provided by an institution meets acceptable levels of quality and standards.

There are numerous agencies approved by the Department of Education, who provide accreditation to schools specializing in computer sciences, such as information security at the regional (there are six regions in the U.S.), institutional or program level. One such agency is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Information security and cybersecurity are fast-growing fields and are deemed as critical to many private and government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Defense Office of the Chief Information Officer (DoD-CIO) and the US Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). As such, the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), within the NSA, was created to establish standards for curriculum and academic excellence and competency development for faculty and students. This type of accreditation is not only governmental, but specialized accreditation.

Information Security Licensure & Certification

In the fields of computing, security, networks and data security, certificates and licenses are a highly valued addition to a resume and often a requirement to work with a variety of networks and systems. Many certificates are available to help you advance your career in this field.

While there are numerous certifications both in the United States as well as internationally that an infosec professional can pursue to demonstrate their qualifications, the level of acceptance and quality will vary. It should also be noted that some certifications and licenses are vendor-neutral while others are vendor-specific, being offered through many schools or through the vendors, such as the Microsoft Corporation and CISCO Systems, Incorporated, both multinational technology conglomerates.

Prospective students should research and understand how each certification can benefit them and enhance their resume as well as understand what is expected of them, such as required coursework, tests, field experience, and cost to obtain a specific certificate (some are free, while others are quite costly). Examples of certifications and licenses include CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Associate, Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer, and CISSM (Certified Information Systems Security Tester).

Although there are many independent certifications available, the minimum level of education that employers are looking for in a candidate is a bachelor's degree, as noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A bachelor's degree in information security provides students with a solid underpinning in information systems, computing, platforms, and protecting vulnerable data.

Certifications abound in information security - and most colleges offer them, along with bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Be sure to ask your college advisor and current or potential employer if they offer certifications on a variety of systems, languages, security, and networking.

Information Security Career Information

There is high demand in both the private and government segments of the business world for information security specialists. Both private and government organizations, such as the National Security Administration (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are hiring entry level information security graduates as well as providing internship opportunities for students still attending college.

Graduates of information security programs find careers in both the private and governmental sectors. Information security career opportunities are expected to continue growing, according to BLS (2019-2020). Careers include information security specialist, information systems security officer, cloud security engineer, and network security specialist. Information security analysts with a bachelor's degree, plan and carry out security measures to protect their employer's and client's computer networks and systems, with a median salary of $99,730. Network and computer systems administrators would be responsible for the day-to-day operation of their company's networks, earning, according to BLS, $83,510 annually. Database administrators, using specialized software to store and organize data, can expect to earn $93,750 per year with a bachelor's degree.

How to Become an Information Security Analyst

According to BLS, information security analysts work to protect an organization's computer networks and systems. Most information security analyst positions require a bachelor's degree. Employers usually prefer to hire analysts with experience in a related occupation. Many agencies hire students and new graduates at entry level positions in order to grow their employees, allowing them to acquire the needed experience.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators are the gatekeepers of an organizations vital data and data security. BLS shows that database administrators can find a career in industries and organizations with large databases. BLS also projects this career field to grow 10 percent over the next nine years, driven by the increased data needs of companies across the economy. Database administrators usually have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree.

What Other Kinds of Information Security Degrees Are There?

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in information security can begin a career in many rewarding specialization fields and expect competitive salaries, as previously discussed. There is also the option of starting with an associate degree and building from there. Those who already have completed their bachelor's degree may want to enhance their resume and salaries with continuing education at the graduate and post-graduate levels, accompanied with additional certifications, which offer them opportunities in leadership and career-expanding opportunities.

Online Associate Degrees in Information Security

Associate degrees in information security generally takes about two years to complete, requiring about 60 credit hours, as opposed to 120 credit hours for a bachelor's degree. Some schools offer accelerated programs that can shorten the length of time. Overall, an associate degree requires fewer courses in general education and electives and more classes focused on information security.

Online Master's Degrees in Information Security

A Master of Science in Information Security, or Master of Business Administration, require an additional two years (or less) of study, depending on prerequisites and required coursework. The choices in venues include traditional classroom, hybrid or fully online programs, offering a fit for all students, and increase potential for higher salaries and opportunities for growth. The master's degree courses will include topics on research and statistics and build upon what has been learned at the bachelor's level. Graduate degrees in information technology may include Master of Science (MS) in Information Technology (or a similarly titled degree) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Technology Management, which includes business education courses in conjunction with those that focus on technology.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Information Security

Professionals in the field of Information Security wishing to delve further into such areas as research, development and academic roles, will want to pursue an online or even a classroom Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Information Security.

Completion of the program can take anywhere from 3-5 years to complete, depending on both the program and student's timelines. However, at some schools with accelerated and intensive semesters, the degree may be completed in a shorter time period. Most Ph.D. and Doctor of Information Security programs require extensive coursework, field studies and research, with the culmination of the program in completion of a dissertation. Some programs may require short residency sessions in person with cohorts throughout the program, which may not be possible to complete online.

To apply, students will likely need to have completed a master's degree as well as submit a CV (curriculum vitae) or resume, as well as a personal statement of intent and philosophy.

Online Certificates in Information Security

Certificates in Information security can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. An undergraduate certificate is ideal for the student who has not yet completed a bachelor's degree and who wants get a head start on a career in information security as a salaried employee while still working on a degree. An undergraduate certificate is usually completed in four to five courses (about 15 credits) within a year.

Graduate certificates require about the same amount of time commitment towards completing as the undergraduate certificate and, like the undergraduate certificate, allow the student a chance to enhance their career without the commitment, cost and time of a full master's degree.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Information Security Degrees

When applying for an online bachelor's program in information security, prospective students should take time to research school funding options. One of the first places to start is with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Student aid can range from loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), scholarships, work-study opportunities and Pell Grants. One reason an applicant should apply as early as possible is that, for example, Pell Grants available to undergraduate students are given on not only a needs basis but also on a first-come basis until federal funding runs out for the academic year that students apply for the grants. It is important to seek the guidance of your academic advisor and financial aid office of your school or, for those who are Active Duty, to visit the Base Education Office to learn more and obtain assistance in the application process.

The list of scholarships for degree fields is seemingly endless, and taking time to research what scholarships are available may pay off. Those seeking a scholarship should have a current resume and cover letter prepared as many grantors request these, along with an application. Examples of scholarships in information security include the following:

Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Additional Bachelor's Degrees Programs

View More

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?