online cyber security degree programme with detail analysis


What It Takes to Get an Online Cybersecurity Degree: A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  1. Required Courses
  1. Degree Cost
  1. Steps Needed
  1. 2024 Rankings
  1. Admissions
  1. Career Options
  1. FAQs
  1. School Listings


The field of cybersecurity is expanding rapidly, driven by the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats. This surge in demand has led many institutions to offer specialized online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs. Currently, there are 53 bachelor’s programs dedicated to online cybersecurity degrees, reflecting a growing trend towards flexible, remote learning options.

An online degree in cybersecurity not only provides the technical and analytical skills necessary to combat cyber threats but also offers flexibility and affordability. This guide will cover everything you need to know about pursuing an online cybersecurity degree, including required courses, costs, admission steps, career options, and more.

Required Courses

Common Courses in Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs typically require a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip students with the skills necessary to protect information systems. The most common courses found in these programs include:

  1. Network Security (60% of programs)
  2. Computer Networks (55%)
  3. Introduction to Cybersecurity (47%)
  4. Information Security (43%)
  5. Cyber Defense (40%)
  6. Computer Operating Systems (38%)
  7. Computer Forensics (38%)
  8. Computer Programming (36%)
  9. Systems Security (36%)
  10. Risk Management (26%)
  11. Linux (26%)
  12. Cryptography (26%)
  13. Digital Forensics (23%)
  14. Information Security Management (21%)
  15. Database Management (21%)
  16. Cyber Ethics (21%)
  17. Cyber Law (19%)
  18. Project Management (19%)
  19. Auditing (19%)
  20. Incident Response (19%)

Hands-On Learning Components

Hands-on learning is a critical component of cybersecurity education.  programs analyzed,  require some form of hands-on experience, often achieved through internships or capstone projects.

Examples of Capstone Projects:

  • University of Arizona: Students produce a research paper on topics such as security design, cyberspace policies, and emerging threats.
  • Metropolitan State University: A two-part course culminating in a research project on defending enterprises against cyber threats.
  • University of Texas, El Paso: A formal research paper examining the relationship between cybersecurity and national security.

These projects provide real-world experience, enhancing students' resumes and portfolios.

Degree Cost

Financial Considerations for an Online Cybersecurity Degree

The cost of an online cybersecurity degree can vary significantly. On average, the cost per credit hour is $539, with total degree costs ranging from $23,286 to $199,200. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Average Cost: $66,297
  • Lowest Cost: University of the Potomac ($23,286)
  • Highest Cost: Saint Louis University ($199,200)

Additional Cost Factors:

  1. Housing and Living Expenses: Online degrees often save money on housing and living expenses.
  2. In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition: Public universities may charge different rates for in-state and out-of-state students.
  3. Transfer Credits: Transfer policies can affect the total cost and time to complete the degree.

Steps Needed

Five Steps for Picking the Right Online Cybersecurity Degree

  1. Settling on Cybersecurity:

    • Evaluate your interest in cybersecurity and its growing job market.
    • Understand the blend of technical and non-technical skills involved.
  2. Finding an Online Program:

    • Research programs based on budget, prerequisites, and career services.
    • Look for programs that offer hands-on learning like internships or capstone projects.
  3. Research Admission Requirements:

    • Gather information on test scores, transcripts, recommendations, and essays.
    • Note important deadlines and application processes.
  4. Schedule Testing:

    • Plan for and take standardized tests like the ACT or SAT well in advance.
    • Utilize test prep resources to improve scores.
  5. Budget and Financial Aid:

    • Understand the cost per credit and total program cost.
    • Research available financial aid and scholarships for cybersecurity students.

2024 Rankings

Best Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs for 2024

The rankings for the best online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs were determined based on criteria such as graduation rates, student-faculty ratios, admission rates, and tuition costs. Here are some of the top programs:

  1. Champlain College (Burlington, Vermont)
  2. Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  3. Norwich University (Northfield, Vermont)
  4. Baker College (Owosso, Michigan)
  5. Southern New Hampshire University (Online BS in Cybersecurity)
  6. Assumption University (Worcester, Massachusetts)
  7. Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan)
  8. Maryville University (Saint Louis, Missouri)
  9. ECPI University (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
  10. Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, Florida)

These rankings were compiled using data from the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Navigator, with tuition data current as of November 


Admission Criteria for Online Cybersecurity Degrees

Admission requirements for online cybersecurity bachelor’s programs typically include:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Verification of completion.
  • Transcripts: Official high school transcripts and any relevant college coursework.
  • Standardized Test Scores: ACT or SAT scores, depending on the program.
  • Letters of Recommendation: From teachers or professionals familiar with the applicant’s abilities.
  • Entrance Essays: Personal statements or essays explaining the applicant’s interest in cybersecurity.
  • Application Fees: Vary by institution.

It's important to double-check individual program requirements as they can vary.

Career Options

Exploring Career Opportunities with an Online Cybersecurity Degree

A degree in cybersecurity opens up a variety of career paths. The field is projected to grow significantly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 35% increase in job demand for information security analysts over the next ten years.

Common Career Paths:

  1. Ethical Hacker/Penetration Tester: Identifies and exploits vulnerabilities in systems to improve security.
  2. Information Security Analyst: Protects an organization’s computer systems and networks.
  3. Digital Forensics: Investigates cybercrimes by collecting and analyzing digital evidence.
  4. Security Code Auditor: Reviews and ensures the security of code in software applications.

Job Market and Salary Expectations

The mean salary for information security analysts is $119,860, with the top ten percent earning over $174,540. New graduates, especially those from online programs with current training, are highly sought after. For instance, Arizona State’s online cybersecurity program reports that 87% of its graduates receive job offers within 90 days of graduation.

Professional Certifications

In addition to a degree, obtaining professional certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) can enhance job prospects and career advancement.


Frequently Asked Questions About Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs

What is an online cybersecurity degree? An online cybersecurity degree provides the same education and career preparation as an on-campus program but with added flexibility. These programs typically require around 120 credit hours and offer specializations in areas like IT, criminal justice, policy, or management.

Can I complete a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree entirely online? Yes, many programs allow students to complete their degrees entirely online, including hands-on learning components via remote internships or online labs.

Which bachelor’s degree is best for cybersecurity? With 57 cybersecurity-specific online degree programs available, students can now choose from various specializations within cybersecurity, making it easier to find a program that aligns with their career goals.

Is an online degree in cybersecurity worth it? Evaluating the return on investment (ROI) is crucial. Given the high demand and competitive salaries in cybersecurity, an online degree can provide both financial and career benefits.

How long does it take to earn a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree? Most programs require 120 credit hours, typically completed in four years. However, online programs may offer accelerated options.

What can I do with a bachelor’s in cybersecurity? Graduates can pursue various entry-level positions such as analysts, testers, developers, or specialists. With experience, they can advance to senior roles or further specialize through advanced degrees and certifications.

Is a bachelor’s in cybersecurity difficult? The degree can be challenging due to its technical nature, requiring skills in math, computer science, and programming. However, the applied nature of cybersecurity, with hands-on projects and real-world applications, can make it engaging and rewarding.

School Listings

Explore Accredited Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Below is a list of institutions offering accredited online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs. These schools have been selected based on their adherence to educational standards and their ability to provide quality, flexible online learning experiences.

  • Champlain College
  • Drexel University
  • Norwich University
  • Baker College
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Assumption University
  • Ferris State University
  • Maryville University
  • ECPI University
  • Saint Leo University

For detailed information about each program, including specific courses, tuition fees, and admission requirements, visit their official websites or contact their admissions offices.

This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of what it takes to get an online cybersecurity degree, helping prospective students make informed decisions about their education and career paths.

Navigating the World of Online Cyber Security Degree Programs

In today's digital age, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. With our increasing reliance on digital infrastructure, the threats to our data, privacy, and security are growing exponentially. Cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated, targeting individuals, businesses, and governments alike. As a result, there is a pressing need for a skilled workforce of cybersecurity experts capable of defending against these threats. An Online Cyber Security Degree Program offers a convenient and accessible pathway to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to safeguard our digital world. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth overview of what to expect from an Online Cyber Security Degree Program, including the curriculum, learning delivery methods, career opportunities, and tips for choosing the right program.

Curriculum: Building a Strong Foundation

A well-structured Online Cyber Security Degree Program covers a diverse range of courses designed to provide a holistic understanding of the field. These courses are essential for building a strong foundation in cybersecurity and preparing students for various roles in the industry. Here are some key areas you can expect to encounter:

Network Security

Network security is a fundamental aspect of cybersecurity. This course delves into the basics of network infrastructure, including how to secure networks from unauthorized access, intrusion attempts, and vulnerabilities. Students learn about firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), as well as network protocols and architecture.


Cryptography is the science of securing information by transforming it into a format that is unreadable to unauthorized users. In this course, students explore data encryption and decryption techniques, cryptographic algorithms, and key management practices. Understanding cryptography is crucial for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of sensitive information.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing, involves identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities in systems before malicious hackers can do so. This course teaches students the tactics and techniques used by ethical hackers (white hats) to conduct penetration tests and security assessments. Students learn how to think like a hacker to proactively defend against potential threats.

Digital Forensics

Digital forensics involves the collection, analysis, and presentation of digital evidence in the context of cybercrime investigations. This course equips students with the skills needed to investigate cyber incidents, recover lost or deleted data, and present findings in a legally admissible manner. Digital forensics is critical for understanding the nature of cyberattacks and mitigating future risks.

Specialized Courses

In addition to core areas, many programs offer specialized courses catering to specific interests within cybersecurity. Some examples include:

  • Cloud Security: This course explores the unique challenges and solutions associated with securing data and systems in cloud environments.
  • Mobile Security: Students learn about safeguarding mobile devices and applications from growing threats in the mobile landscape.
  • Incident Response: This course focuses on effective response strategies to cyberattacks, minimizing damage, and restoring normalcy after a security breach.

The specific curriculum will vary depending on the institution you choose, but a combination of these core and specialized courses will equip you with a well-rounded understanding of the multifaceted nature of cybersecurity.

Learning Delivery: Bridging the Physical and Digital Divide

Online Cyber Security Degree Programs offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to learn at your own pace and schedule. The learning experience typically incorporates the following elements:

Asynchronous Learning Modules

Asynchronous learning modules include pre-recorded lectures, presentations, and reading materials that you can access independently. This format provides the freedom to learn at your convenience, making it easier to balance coursework with personal and professional commitments.

Interactive Online Forums

Interactive online forums facilitate discussions with classmates and instructors, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange in a virtual environment. These forums are an excellent platform for asking questions, sharing insights, and engaging in intellectual debates.

Virtual Labs and Simulations

Practical experience is crucial in cybersecurity education. Virtual labs and simulations allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a safe and controlled setting. These hands-on exercises simulate real-world scenarios, helping students develop practical skills in areas such as network security, ethical hacking, and digital forensics.

Online Assessments

Online assessments, including quizzes, exams, and projects, help demonstrate your understanding of the material. These assessments provide instructors with an evaluation of your learning progress and ensure that you stay engaged with the coursework. Regular evaluations also allow instructors to identify areas where you may need additional support.

While online programs offer flexibility, they also demand a high level of self-discipline and time management skills. Balancing coursework with other commitments requires a commitment to staying organized and motivated.

Career Opportunities: Unlocking Potential in the Digital Age

An Online Cyber Security Degree Program can open doors to numerous career opportunities. Here are some potential career paths you could explore upon graduation:

Security Analyst

Security analysts are responsible for identifying, analyzing, and responding to security threats within an organization. They monitor networks for suspicious activity, investigate security breaches, and implement measures to protect against future attacks. Security analysts play a critical role in maintaining the security posture of an organization.

Penetration Tester

Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, conduct authorized hacking exercises to identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks. Their goal is to find and fix security weaknesses before malicious hackers can exploit them. Penetration testers use a variety of tools and techniques to test the security of an organization's infrastructure.

Security Architect

Security architects design and implement secure network architectures to safeguard sensitive data and systems. They develop security policies, standards, and procedures, and ensure that security measures are integrated into the overall IT infrastructure. Security architects play a strategic role in protecting an organization's assets.

Digital Forensics Investigator

Digital forensics investigators collect, analyze, and present digital evidence in the context of cybercrime investigations. They work with law enforcement agencies, legal teams, and organizations to uncover the details of cyber incidents. Digital forensics investigators must have a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of forensic techniques.

Security Consultant

Security consultants provide organizations with professional advice and direction on cybersecurity best practices. They conduct security assessments, develop security strategies, and help implement security solutions. Security consultants often work with multiple clients, offering tailored advice to meet specific security needs.

The specific career path you choose will depend on your interests, skills, and career aspirations. However, with a strong foundation in cybersecurity knowledge and a passion for protecting the digital world, you can embark on a fulfilling and impactful career in this dynamic field.

Choosing the Right Program: Understanding the Educational Scenario

With the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, numerous institutions offer Online Cyber Security Degree Programs. Here are some important factors to keep in mind while making your choice:


Ensure the program is accredited by a reputable accrediting agency. Accreditation guarantees that the program meets certain quality and educational standards. Attending an accredited program can also enhance your employability, as many employers prefer candidates with degrees from accredited institutions.

Faculty Expertise

Look for programs with faculty comprised of experienced cybersecurity professionals. Faculty with real-world experience can provide valuable insights and practical knowledge that go beyond textbook learning. Their industry connections can also be beneficial for networking and job placement.

Industry Recognition

Choose a program that is recognized and respected by potential employers. Programs with strong industry connections and partnerships can offer better job placement opportunities and internships. Research the program's reputation and reach out to alumni for their feedback.

Program Specializations

Consider programs that offer specialized tracks or courses aligned with your specific interests within the cybersecurity field. Specializations can help you develop expertise in a particular area and make you more competitive in the job market.

Cost and Financial Aid Options

Evaluate the program's tuition fees and explore financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance programs. Understanding the cost and available financial support can help you make an informed decision and minimize the financial burden of your education.

Beyond the Degree: Continuous Learning and Professional Development

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, with new threats emerging and technologies being developed at a rapid pace. To maintain your competitive edge in the job market, continuous learning and professional development are essential. Here are some ways to stay ahead of the curve:

Industry Certifications

Earning industry-recognized certifications can demonstrate your expertise and commitment to staying current with the latest advancements in cybersecurity. Certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and CompTIA Security+ are highly regarded in the industry.

Professional Associations

Join professional associations such as the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT). These associations offer networking opportunities, conferences, workshops, and access to industry publications.

Online Resources

Utilize online resources such as blogs, webinars, and online courses to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices. Websites like Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and SANS Institute provide valuable information and training resources.

The Final Words

An Online Cyber Security Degree Program presents an exciting opportunity to delve into the fascinating field of cybersecurity. By equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge, skills, and dedication, you can become a vital part of the global effort to safeguard our increasingly digital world. Remember, the journey of learning doesn't end with graduation. Embrace the challenges of continuous learning, stay passionate about exploring the ever-evolving field, and contribute to building a more secure and resilient digital future.

With the right education and mindset, you can make a significant impact in the world of cybersecurity. Whether you choose to become a security analyst, penetration tester, security architect, digital forensics investigator, or security consultant, the opportunities are vast and rewarding. Take the first step towards a fulfilling career by enrolling in an Online Cyber Security Degree Program today and join the front lines in the battle against cyber threats.

Previous Post Next Post