Information security is the study of online security systems, and students who want to work in the computer science field but don't have a lot of time will find some programs that let them earn an online Ph.D in Information Systems. We know that a large number of college students today have less free time because of the commitments and obligations that they have in their personal and their professional lives. Between working and spending time with loved ones, many people feel like it's impossible to go back to school and get a doctoral degree.
We wanted to make the process of finding schools that offer information systems programs much easier. Our list includes all colleges currently offering programs of this type, but our list focuses on the most affordable of those schools. This helps students spend less money out of their own pockets and lets them know how much financial aid they'll need in school. Some information security Ph.D online programs feature online classes only, but we also found hybrid programs with some face-to-face learning required. This article also goes over the methodology used to find and rank the top programs.
Many prospective students will want to know the methodology behind how we created this list. We started out with a look at the National Center for Education Statistics, which maintains an updated list of colleges in the United States and statistics relating to higher education. The data provided by that resource includes the most recent information available to our team. The 10 college and university campuses included on our list offer the best options for those who want to get a cheap Ph.D in Information Security online degree.
One of the top things that prospective students search for is the cost of going to school. Traditional programs can easily charge $15,000 to $20,000 or even more, and that tuition rate does not include all the other expenses that students have. Our list shows those students that they can get an information security doctoral degree and spend less than $10,000 a year.
In addition to using the statistics available to us, we also looked at the College Navigator designed by the National Center for Education Statistics. That helped us find out which colleges offer information security degrees and which of those degrees are available at the Ph.D level. We then identified which of the schools offered the lowest rates for its students.
After looking at a list of more than 50 campuses with online programs in information systems and security systems, we began looking for the most affordable options. We also used the tuition costs detailed by the College Navigator to rank schools from the most expensive to the most affordable. Our list puts the more expensive schools at the top and the cheapest ones at the bottom.
Ranking Low-cost Online Information Security PhD Programs
10. Towson University
Online Information Technology, D.Sc.
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,408 per year
Named after the same city that surrounds its campus, Towson University is public university that is one of the schools that make up the University System of Maryland. Established in 1866 as the Maryland State Normal School, it later became Maryland State Teachers College after earning the right to grant college degrees. Its expansion into other programs led to it becoming a state college and then a university. TU offers one of the top information systems security degree programs for doctoral students living in Maryland or any other state. This program includes a dissertation that awards students 24 credits as well as 18 credits of classes. Students will also need to take a qualifying exam. The computer science track within this program features courses like operating systems, computer networks and advanced data structures and algorithms. It also covers subjects like cybersecurity, e-learning, artificial intelligence and data mining in its courses.
9. Missouri University of Science and Technology
Online Ph.D in Computer Science
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,057 per year
The Missouri University of Science and Technology is a research institution located in Rolla, Missouri. Founded in 1870, it started as the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, but became a full university in the 1960s that offered more programs in technology and similar fields. U.S. News & World Report ranks its engineering graduate program among the top in the country and ranked the university as a national school too, and Washington Monthly ranks Missouri S&T among the top 100 of all colleges in America. The computer science Ph.D program that the university offers allows students to learn more about information systems and the security of those systems. Students can even base their dissertation work around those topics. Before enrolling, students must take a qualifying exam to ensure that they have the skills needed for this program. Students will also need to do a dissertation and defend their work later.
8. Dakota State University
Online Doctor of Science in Information Technology
Madison, South Dakota
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,927 per year
Dakota State University ranks as one of the top colleges in the world for technology students. Even those at the undergrad level will use technology on a daily basis because those students must use tablets or computers in their classes. The university expects students to take computer science courses too. Also called DSU, it opened in 1881 and now has an enrollment that includes a little over 300 doctoral and graduate students. This is one of the only colleges with an online information systems degree program. Graduates of this program work in academia, research and development and finance. Students can pick a concentration in analytics and decision support, health care information systems or information assurance and computer security. As the university offers classes online and on its campus, students have the option to enrolling in a traditional program, an online program or a hybrid program. Online students can use resources on the campus and others provided by the university too.
7. University of Arkansas
Online Information Systems Ph.D
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,820 per year
The University of Arkansas is the main public university in this southern state and is one of the largest too because its enrollment now includes more than 27,000 students. Many know UA because its Razorbacks teams won multiple championships over the years. Its home to the Sam M. Walton College of Business, named after the founder of Wal-Mart, and ranks on both a national and global scale, according to organizations like U.S. News and World Report, ARWU and Washington Monthly. UA designed its Ph.D. in Information Systems program to include some collaborative work because the university believes that students do better when they have the chance to work together. Students have the option to take courses from the College of Business and to submit their work for publication in one of the journals the school has. The program features courses such as survey of IS research, systems development and theory development.
6. Texas Tech University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with Concentration in Management Information Systems
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,428 per year
Texas Tech University offers a number of opportunities for students with an interest in and a passion for technology. Established in 1923, it opened as a tech school at a time when few of these schools existed in the United States. More than 40,000 students received doctoral and graduate degrees from the university since it first opened. ARWU ranks the university as one of the best in the world, and U.S. News and World Report, Forbes and Washington Monthly all rank it as a top national college. Texas Tech offers a fairly unique option for computer minded students, because this is a doctoral degree in business administration that has a concentration in managing information systems. Though the program requires a high level of research from its students, students can graduate in four years instead of the six years or more that it takes to finish other programs. It's available in other concentrations like marketing and finance too.
5. Iowa State University
Online Ph.D in Information Systems
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,219 per year
Iowa State University opened in the 1850s as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, which offered programs to farmers living in the state and those with an interest in agricultural. Within four decades of the school opening, its curriculum changed to reflect the needs and interests of incoming students. It now offers more than 80 doctoral degree programs in addition to bachelor's and master's programs. The ISU information systems Ph.D program is part of its College of Business and teaches students how to protect the companies they own and work for as well as their employers. The university can actually help place students in jobs working for top companies in the United States and abroad after they graduate. Students will take classes in other disciplines that help them succeed in the business field, including marketing, supply chain management and entrepreneurship. This program requires take classes on research and research methods before working on a dissertation.
4. University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Online Ph.D in Engineering – Concentration in Security
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,042 per year
Colorado has its own state university system, which is the University of Colorado Springs, and this campus is one of the largest in that system. Officially called the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, most use the abbreviation UCCS when talking about the campus. Established in 1965, it is one of the more recently established colleges that U.S. News and World Report ranks. That organization ranks it at number 32 on a list of the best colleges in the American West. Though the university does not offer a traditional information systems program, it does offer a doctorate in engineering with a concentration in security. This program started in 2008 and includes elements from different departments and subjects, including engineering, computer science and security. It has approval from the Department of Homeland Security too, because it meets all the evaluation standards that the government agency has in place for information systems programs.
3. Mississippi State University
Online Ph.D in Information Systems
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,780 per year
The Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science is the official name of Mississippi State University, which also goes by names like MSU and Mississippi State. Founded in 1870, it opened its doors and began educating its first group of students less than two years later. The Carnegie Foundation considers it an R2 doctoral university, because of the research that its Ph.D students do. Mississippi State offers an information systems online Ph.D degree program that is part of its Department of Management and Information Systems. Students will need to show that they took some required business courses at the undergrad or graduate level or the university will require that they take some of those courses. The MSU program features a number of information, computer science and business classes that can include business database systems, structured systems analysis and design, principles of management and production, organizational communications and principles of marketing.
2. Sam Houston State University
Online Doctor of Education in Instructional Systems Design and Technology
Online Graduate Tuition: $7,762 per year
Sam Houston State University is a public university in Texas. Established in the late 1870s as the Sam Houston Normal Institute, it was the first school founded in the state solely for the education of teachers. It changed its name to reflect its status as a state teachers college in the 1920s and again in the 1960s when it became a state college before finally becoming SHSU in 1969. This university has an enrollment of more than 20,000 students today. Though SHSU does not offer a traditional information systems degree program, it does offer a Ph.D. program in instructional systems design and technology that it designed for those who want to create the software and technology that teachers and students use. This program is available entirely online to allow students in any state to enroll, and U.S. News and World Report ranked it as one of the best online graduate doctoral education programs in 2015.
1. University of Idaho
Online Education, Ph.D. with Concentration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,232 per year
The University of Idaho has the distinction of being the flagship campus for the UI system and for being the state's oldest university. Not only did it open before Idaho formally became a state, but it was the only college in the state for more than seven decades. UI even established the first law school in Idaho. Washington Monthly ranked the university as the 61st best American college, and some refer to it as a lower tier Public Ivy League university. This university is another like SHSU that offers an education Ph.D program rather than an information systems program. It has a convertible available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for those who want to work in the tech field. UI designed this program to teach students how they can use technology when teaching students. Students can use this type of degree to work in a vocational school, for a community college or in a major university.
What Careers are Open to Those with an Information Security Degree?
Those enrolled in online information security Ph.D programs likely already have some professional experience and work full-time or part-time while in school. Those students will want to know what they can do with their degrees and how much money they can make in those careers too. The research that those students do when working on their dissertations will help them succeed in academia. They can work in community colleges and for universities. Small business owners as well as those who own large corporations hire these specialists to oversee information technology departments. Those workers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all the technology products used by workers and for securing data supplied by customers. There are positions available in financial institutions like banks too.
How Much Do Information Specialists Make?
The amount that these workers can make per year will depend on factors like work experience, job title and location. Security managers can earn around $100,000 a year, but the salary for department heads and directors can climb into the range of $110,000 to $120,000 a year. Chief information security officers can earn more than $190,00 a year. The median wage for a college professor is around $75,000 a year, but some professors earn more money because they teach more classes every semester. Some may work as adjunct professors and only teach one or two classes in a semester while working a full-time IT job. Vocational schools and community colleges typically pay less than four-year colleges and universities do.
Are There Any Related Disciplines Within the Field?
One discipline within the information security field is something called disaster recovery. This refers to the professionals who come in after a disaster and help recover some of the information stored on computers, hard drives and other devices. They might respond to calls after a flood sweeps through a business, a tornado tears through a town or a fire breaks out in a retail shop. Disaster preparedness professionals teach their clients tips that they can use to back up and save their data before a disaster strikes. Some of the students studying information systems want to work in the education field. Not only can they work in colleges and schools to teach information and computer science to others, but they can work on the design of new products that students will use. The business industry has a high need for IT and systems security workers too.
What Are Some of the Tasks That These Specialists Handle?
The duties that these professionals perform on the job will vary based on the job description. College professors not only teach classes, hand out and grade assignments, but they also meet with students in private settings to work with them on projects and serve as advisers to incoming freshmen and older students. Information security analysts are the ones who analyze the information available to them to help clients and employers make decisions on what they can do to increase their safety. Many employers require that these workers join professional organizations too and that they take part in conferences and other special events. This ensures that those workers remain up to date on all advances in the industry.
Can Students Use Loans for These Programs?
While our list of cheap online information security Ph.D programs include schools that charge a tuition rate of less than $10,000 a year, that may still be too much for some students. Students who need more help can borrow money from the government in the form of unsubsidized student loans. The government allows students to borrow $20,500 per year while in a professional program, and some students may qualify for a little more in loans. Students can continue borrowing money until they hit a maximum of $138,500 while in graduate school or a professional program. The maximum amount allowed will include any loans taken out during a student's undergrad days.
Are There Any Other Funding Options Available?
There are other funding options available for those who want to get an information security doctorate online. One option is tuition reimbursement, which is when an employer agrees to reimburse a student for tuition and other expenses. This is a popular option for those who already work in the security industry and those who can show their employers that getting a degree will benefit the company. Information security online Ph.D students can also deduct a portion of their tuition and other expenses on their taxes the following year. Some scholarships are also available for Ph.D candidates too. These scholarships come from organizations and corporations, and some schools offer both scholarships and grants for online students also.
The schools listed are the not only the most affordable of the degrees in information systems, but they are also some of the best in quality. These schools are excellent options for anyone looking into degrees in online Ph.D in Information Security.