Your Complete Guide to

Master’s in Cybersecurity

Online Masters Degree
on May 20, 2021

Why We Love It

  • Excellent Salary
  • High Demand
  • Multiple Career Paths
  • Exciting/Fast Paced Work

What is an MS in Cybersecurity?

Computer technology is a rapidly increasing field that isn’t going anywhere.  In 2020, data-driven businesses were worth an estimated $1.2 trillion.  In fact, 90% of the data in the world have been created in the last two years.  And with this growing reliance on computers comes theft, damage, disruption, and misdirection of services.  Increased protection is absolutely critical.  Welcome to the world of cybersecurity.

A Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity is designed to train you to take on this challenge–one of the most important challenges in the modern world.  An MS in Cybersecurity could be your ticket to one of the hottest and most in-demand jobs out there.  And best of all, the field and degree are relatively new, meaning you could be getting in on the ground floor.

While cybersecurity is a complex subject encompassing a diverse array of topics, there are a few key areas of knowledge that will often be integral to any MS in Cybersecurity program.  These include:

  • Computer Science: Hardware, software, computation processes, and even the theoretical study of algorithms are all important to understand.
  • Computer Security: This involves the protection of hardware, software, networks, information, and services.
  • Internet Security: The internet is an insecure channel for exchanging information, so it has brought new elements to the concept of computer security, such as browser security.
  • Information Assurance: As information is created, processed, stored, and transmitted, it is important to manage risks and ensure its integrity, authenticity, confidentiality, and availability.

What Can You Do With an MS in Cybersecurity?

That’s really up to you!

A security architect for a DOD contractor designs a system to withstand cyberterrorist attacks.  A Chief Security Officer implements new protocols to better protect sensitive data.  A security consultant simulates an attack, attempting to breach the security of their own company’s system in order to test it for weaknesses.  These are all potential futures for someone with an MS in Cybersecurity, and you could protect a company’s proprietary information, ensure people’s privacy, or even save lives.

These are only a few examples.  The sky is the limit with an in-demand degree like this.  You get to choose what you’ll do, and you don’t have to know what that is right now.  An MS in Cybersecurity could give you the tools you need to do a wide variety of jobs, so you’re not committing to a career before you even finish your degree.

Best Programs for an MS in Cybersecurity

Here’s the best part: We’re going to give you the secrets to finding the best programs for adults, programs that could help you get your MS in Cybersecurity faster and with as few headaches as possible.  We know planning for college can be confusing, and is dedicated to helping you find the right path for you so that you can complete your degree and start your new career as soon as possible.

Why We Love an MS in Cybersecurity

  • Excellent salary: Cybersecurity experts are paid handsomely for their expertise.
  • High demand: There is always room for advancement when your profession is as crucial as cybersecurity.
  • Multiple career paths: You could use your MS in Cybersecurity in many different ways and in countless industries.

Online vs. Traditional Campus

Most people who think about going back to school and getting their MS in Cybersecurity never even get started.  No one wants to take entrance exams, pay application fees, or pull their hair out trying to make school work around their schedule.

That’s not the case anymore, and we have technology to thank for that.

With adult-friendly schools, there is really no reason not to go back to school anymore.  What makes a school adult-friendly?  Here are a few key attributes:

  • Adult-friendly schools are totally online.  Online learning is best for busy adults, who have to balance their ongoing education with work, kids, and everything else that comes with being a grownup.  Online schools allow you to work college around your life, not the other way around.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer accelerated programs, with ongoing enrollment.  What’s better than getting your master’s in two years?  Getting it in fourteen months.  And with ongoing enrollment, you don’t have to wait until fall or spring to start on your new journey; many schools offer monthly enrollment periods, meaning you can start whenever it works for you.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer more support than traditional schools.  This includes, but is not limited to, career services, making it easier for you to begin your new career.  Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that why you’re going back to school?

Admissions Requirements for MS in Cybersecurity

How do you get into grad school?  You take the GRE or another entrance exam, right?


Many adult-friendly schools do not require GRE or entrance exams.  Online programs generally require only a bachelor’s degree to get started, and there are no application fees to worry about.  You start when you’re ready.

MS in Cybersecurity Curriculum

As mentioned above, an MS in Cybersecurity will help you to build a strong foundation of knowledge in topics such as computer science, computer security, internet security, and information assurance.  These are all critical areas of knowledge in the ever-growing field of cybersecurity, and you will need a mastery of these concepts to compete in this exciting and dynamic field.

What Courses Will I Take in My MS in Cybersecurity Program?

Because the field of cybersecurity is so complex, the core curriculum of an MS in Cybersecurity program will likely include courses that build upon your knowledge in the areas mentioned above.  Examples of specific courses include:

  • Cryptography: One of the most important elements in cybersecurity, this is the practice of secure communication, i.e., preventing third parties from reading private communications.
  • IT Law: It is important to understand the laws which govern areas such as e-commerce, information security, and software.
  • Cybercrime and/or Cyberterrorism: Whether financial theft, espionage, or something more heinous, it is imperative to defend systems against governments, non-state actors, and common criminals.
  • Cyberpsychology: Emerging technologies can have unpredictable effects on the human brain, and we are only beginning to understand how things like social media and virtual reality are affecting people’s minds.
  • Information Security: Identifying, evaluating, and addressing risks is at the heart of cybersecurity.
  • Malware: Antivirus software and firewalls are just some of the ways we can combat software designed to damage computers and networks.

Similar Degrees

Many schools offer a Master in Strategic Cyber Operations and Information Management (SCOIM), which is generally considered the same as an MS in Cybersecurity.

MS in Cybersecurity Program Length

Most MS in Cybersecurity programs require between 30 and 36 credits to graduate.  Normally, an MS in Cybersecurity program takes between two and three years to complete.  An accelerated plan, however, could take closer to half that time.  This is where adult-friendly schools really shine.  They know their students have jobs, kids, and other obligations that make a traditional school schedule unrealistic.  The best adult-friendly schools make the process as convenient as possible, and they could get you into the workforce as fast as possible, because they know that’s what adults want.

Choosing the Right University or College MS in Cybersecurity Program

Choosing the right school for you can be exciting, but it can also be a hassle.  Tuition costs, application fees, accreditation, enrollment windows, and entrance exams are just some of the variables to consider.

That’s why we created the Smartplan.  We want to help people go back to school, to make college more accessible and affordable for everyone.  With our Smartplan, we make it easy for you to start on your path towards your MS in Cybersecurity.  Here are just some of the benefits of your Smartplan:

  • No application fees
  • Accredited colleges and universities
  • No entrance exams or testing
  • Faculty and professors who understand adults
  • Discounts and scholarships available
  • Open enrollment dates

Best Jobs for Those With an MS in Cybersecurity

What can you do with an MS in Cybersecurity?  What kind of salary can you expect?  Here are some common careers for MS in Cybersecurity holders, with salary data estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Security Engineer: This person performs security monitoring and analysis, enhances security capabilities, and sometimes reviews code to improve security.  You could make anywhere from $57,810 to $158,860 per year.
  • Security Administrator: This is someone who installs, manages, and/or analyzes security systems for a company or organization.  You could make anywhere from $52,370 to $132,520 per year.
  • Security Architect: This is the actual designer of a security system or its major components, often as the head of a team.  You could make anywhere from $64,770 to $168,390 per year.
  • Security Consultant: This is someone responsible for monitoring, protecting, and even testing weaknesses in a security system.  You could make anywhere from $57,810 to $158,860 per year.
  • Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): These are upper management positions responsible for leading the entire security staff of an organization.  You could make anywhere from $144,000 to $216,000 per year.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite careers, but an MS in Cybersecurity does provide you broad skills to work in a variety of jobs, which will likely allow you to draw an excellent salary.  These are just some of the possibilities you can choose from.

Cost and Tuition

Cost and tuition vary from school to school, and you’ll want to speak with each of your prospective schools directly.  Fortunately, online schools are generally more affordable than their in-person counterparts.  Adult-friendly colleges understand that you want to save, and they could even help you with financial aid if you’re eligible.  You’ll definitely want to speak to a few schools, and can help you with that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Do I need to know what job I want before I start an MS in Cybersecurity program?

A: No!  An MS in Cybersecurity program could prepare you for a wide variety of careers.  You certainly don’t need to know what job you want today.

Q: Will I make more money with an MS in Cybersecurity?

A: That depends on a variety of factors.  But as you can see above in the “Best Jobs for Those With an MS in Cybersecurity” section, your MS in Cybersecurity could mean excellent earning potential.

Q: How long will I be in school?

A: That could depend on you, your current job, and any other obligations you might have.  An MS in Cybersecurity program could take anywhere from one to three years, but our Smartplan is designed to help you find the right degree for you, so could finish as quickly as possible!

Best Jobs for Master’s in Cybersecurity Degrees

How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Master’s in Cybersecurity degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

Create Your Free SmartPlan

There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.

That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.

It’s free, and helps you find potential ways to save and tons of information about each school you’re considering

Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:

  • Which Colleges Match Your Needs
  • Ways You Could Save Time & Money
  • Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
  • Valuable Data and Insights on Each College
  • Detailed Steps You Should Take!

See what’s possible for you and generate a free plan within just a few minutes

Create My SmartPlan

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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