Professionals know how important an online Master's in Internet Security degree is; with so many security threats permeating the Internet, it's hard to tell what is secure and what isn't for most civilians. It is a problem that, as the Internet and technology become more ingrained in the human experience in America, will only grow more complex. That is why there is such a need for Internet security professionals.
Many of these professionals have already earned a bachelor's degree in the field, but graduate experience is in high demand. An online program is the best fit for these professionals, as they already work long hours and do not have the time to earn a degree on a campus. They need an affordable and flexible program that works around their schedules, enabling them to advance their profession while remaining in their present careers.
This ranking aims to make the search for a viable Master's in Internet Security easier. With information gleaned from the National Center for Education Statistics, an initial pool of 80 schools resulted. The ten schools in the ranking below were chosen for their in-state graduate tuition rates. They are listed below in descending order.
10. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Saint Leo University offers an online Master's in Internet Security that will meet the needs of professionals already in the field. This hybrid degree offers online synchronous courses that enable a student to continue with their career while earning a degree that will prepare them to join the fight against internet attacks. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is aligned with the graduate information assurance degrees as stated by the National Security Agency; it can also provide students with the chance to earn certification in a variety of different information security specialties, including Security+, CISM, and CSSLP. Students will find that the program is comprehensive in scope, covering everything from advanced networking to cloud computing. The program requires 36 credit hours of coursework as well as a comprehensive exam for graduation. Sample courses include Principles of Cybersecurity Management, Web Services Security, and Strategic Planning for Cybersecurity.
9. Iowa State University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance
Students interested in a Master's in Internet Security online degree will find what they are looking for at Iowa State University; it is also possible to earn an online Master's in Engineering in Information Assurance. This program is 100 percent online and all courses are delivered in an asynchronous format. Students may also choose to enroll during the beginning of any term in order to provide them with the most flexibility possible. Research is a large part of this degree; students will be required to do research and complete a thesis as part of the requirements for graduation. They may also elect to take on a creative project in lieu of a thesis. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research thesis or creative project, and an oral exam. Sample courses include Ethical and Legal Issues in Computer Security, Advanced Computer Networking, and Information Warfare.
8. University of South Florida
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
The University of South Florida offers a graduate degree in cybersecurity that is offered 100 percent online. Most courses required for this interdisciplinary degree program are delivered asynchronously and in an eight-week format, providing working professionals the chance to complete the degree quickly while still maintaining their career responsibilities. Students can choose from three concentrations: Cyber Intelligence, Digital Forensics, and Information Assurance. It is recommended that students who do not have previous academic or work experience in information assurance and computer science think wisely about applying for this program; this is an advanced professional degree that builds on the foundations of the field that only a student with previous experience would understand. Students will be expected to complete 33 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam.
7. University of Maryland – University College
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology
Internet security professionals will want to check out University of Maryland – University College's Master of Science in Cybersecurity Technology. This program is delivered 100 percent online; some electives are only available in a hybrid format. The degree also accepts students without a background in information technology, although they will be required to take some noncredit prerequisite courses prior to beginning the program. Students will find a comprehensive degree that will teach them about cybersecurity issues and solutions. Each course was designed with the input of industry scholars and working professionals to ensure that the degree properly prepares students to enter the workforce after graduation. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Digital Forensics Technology and Practices, Prevention of Cyber Attack Methodologies, and Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Foundations.
6. Wilmington University
New Castle, Delaware
Online Master of Science in Information Systems Technologies, Information Assurance Concentration
Wilmington University confers an Internet Security master's online degree that is designed to help working professionals advanced their understanding of information assurance. The program is delivered 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will find that courses are delivered in an asynchronous format, enabling them to study when and how it is most convenient for them. The Information Assurance concentration makes up for roughly half of the curriculum; this provides students with ample opportunity to explore the field while taking on a general degree. Students will be expected to complete an internship in their final semester that can be completed in their community. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Web and Data Security, Incident Handling and Response, and Contemporary Issues in Homeland Security.
5. Liberty University
Online Master of Science in Cyber Security
An online Internet Security master's degree is available 100 percent online from Liberty University. The Master of Science in Cyber Security Online was designed to focus on cybersecurity to provide working professionals with an advanced understanding of the architecture and systems that people rely on to keep their information private. Students will find that courses are delivered asynchronously in an eight-week format and that the entire degree can be completed in two years with full-time study. Military students will also be happy to hear that Liberty provides tuition discounts as well as college credit for military training. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Advanced Topics in Computer Security, Applied Network Security, and Ethics, Legal Issues and Policy.
4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida
Online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance (MSISA)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University provides students with an excellent online Master's in Internet Security. The MSISA is available as a fully online program and courses are generally taught in an asynchronous format in an eight-week format. It is a unique program because it balances Internet security with business management principles, a combination that many professionals will find when they enter into the field. There are three concentrations for the MSISA, including Protecting Business Intelligence, Information Systems Security, and Information Assurance in a Global Context. This interdisciplinary program was built with the input from working cybersecurity professionals and is a great choice for students who are interested in becoming leaders in the field. The degree requirements include 33 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Quality Management for Information Assurance, Secure Information Systems Design, and Global Information and Technology Management.
3. Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, Utah
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
Students interested in a comprehensive online Master's in Internet Security will likely want to hear about the program at Western Governors University. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance is aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency guidelines. It also provides students with a chance to earn two certificates: EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker and EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator. This 100 percent online program can be completed in as little as one year; courses are delivered asynchronously and in eight-week terms. The curriculum is constantly being updated with input from industry experts, ensuring students are always updated on key issues and trends in the field. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Network Design and Management, Security Policies and Standards, and Forensics and Network Intrusion.
2. Dakota State University
Madison, South Dakota
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Computer Security
Dakota State University offers a cheap Internet Security master's online that is perfect for professionals interested in moving into the field. The school has been recognized as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Students are advised that only those with an educational background in computer science, networking, engineering, or a related will be considered for this program. Full-time study will see students complete all the requirements necessary in two years; part-time students generally finish in three years. This is a professional degree that focuses on internet security, with the curriculum having a strong focus on defense and security risks. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Ethics and Information Technology, Computer Forensics, and Principles of Information Assurance.
1. Sam Houston State University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security
Sam Houston State University offers students the chance to earn a degree that will make them powerful allies in the fight against cybercriminals. This 100 percent online degree is open to all students with an educational background in computer science, information systems, or a related field. The program is built for working professionals; courses are delivered asynchronously and in eight-week terms. The curriculum focuses on both business and computer security, making it a great choice for students who wish to work in business intelligence once they complete their degree. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Operating System Security, Principles and Policy of Information Assurance, and Organization System Security.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are My Career oOptions for an Online Master's in Internet Security Degree?
An online Master's in Internet Security opens the doorway to various different positions, including:
- Internet Security Specialist
- Security Engineer
- Information Assurance Officer
- Project Manager
- Information Security Analyst
- Director of Information Technology
- Ethical Hacker
- Digital Forensics Analyst
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
Internet security specialists can work in every industry. This is because nearly every facet of society uses the Internet in some way, from schools to hospitals to banks to even the government. This means that these professionals have a variety of choices available to them, which is only heightened when they earn an online graduate degree.
The most common industry, however, is the government. The National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, every military branch, and the Department of Defense all have a need for analysts, engineers, and directors. Professionals can find work at every level of Internet security within these agencies and departments and most spend their entire careers in service to the government.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The salary range for Internet security professionals ranges from $61,000 straight out of graduate school to over $150,000 for experienced professionals. The actual salary one can make depends on whether they are working in an in-demand subfield of internet security, career position, their region, and their work experience level.
Most Internet security professionals work as engineers or project managers at the beginning of their career. These positions often carry a salary range of $61,000 to $80,000. Those that work as directors or supervisors make substantially more with a range of $75,000 to $150,000.
Salaries also do not mention bonuses or other forms of compensation, such as stocks and commissions. This can make up $5,000 to $10,000 extra per year, based on a professional's contract with their organization.
What are the Various Disciplines of Internet Security?
Internet security is a multidisciplinary field. There are several different disciplines that are at play within the field, including technology, forensics, law, computer science, engineering, and more. But there are many more.
For instance, cybercrime deals with crimes committed on the Internet or closed systems, such as hacking and malware. Professionals often use law and psychology to determine how to best deter cybercriminals and how to protect different systems.
Professionals are also often involved in designed new security programs to keep sensitive information safe. This means that coding, architecture, and engineering play a large role in the field. Computer science also makes an appearance, and as technology advances the understanding of security systems, so too do the computers that can handle the workload of keeping things safe.
There is also something to say about the economic and business disciplines. Many professionals choose to work in the private sector as specialists for banks, large corporations, and more. They must understand economics, finance, accounting, and various business practices to make the best choice for their employers.
There are many more disciplines at play in Internet security, but the ones discussed above permeate the entire field. Specialties have their own specific disciplines, but they are rooted in that subfield.
Is it Important to Take on a Degree that is Aligned with Government Standards?
The National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security all have the need for experienced professionals in the field of Internet security. They have all created guidelines for schools who focus on government Internet security as well as cybercrime. Their recognition of a program is not only important for the school, but also for students.
This is because one of the best places for a student to find employment is within the United States Government. The intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security are always looking for internet security professionals to help beef up their cybercrime and hacking divisions. As more of everyday life is conducted on the Internet, this is becoming a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Students who are interested in working for the government will want to choose a school that is aligned with the government's guidelines for information assurance and internet security. This information is always posted on a program's website. If a student wants to go to work for a particular agency, they should then pursue the agency's website to find a list of online schools that align with their guidelines.
A curriculum's alignment with government standards is only important for students interested in working in the government. Students who wish to go into business intelligence or work in the public sector need not concern themselves with this distinction.
Are There Any Additional Certifications That Can Be Earned at the Graduate Level?
Information and Internet security is a field that values certifications, especially at the graduate level. While there are entry-level certifications available in undergraduate programs, certifications held after graduate study are more important in the sector. Employers are always searching for candidates who have at least one certification, if not more.
Not all professionals will want or need to earn each type of certification; it would simply take too much time. With so many professionals choosing to specialize in one field, it isn't necessary to take on certification from a different specialty.
Some of the many certifications that can be earned include:
- CompTIA Security+
- CFR: Logical Operations CyberSec First Responder
- CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
- CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+)
- Cyber Security and Governance Certification
- GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials
- Master Mobile Application Developer
- Certified Cyber Secure Coder
- CVP: Certified Virtualization Professional
Many online programs offer pathways to sit for certification within their curriculum, including a few of the programs in this ranking. They are generally listed along with the concentration that it is most aligned with, making it easier for students to decide whether or not that degree is right for them. It's also possible to earn certification after graduating; students are advised to research the most critical certifications for their specialization.
Internet security remains one of the largest issues facing America today. The government, businesses, multinational companies, healthcare providers, banks, and even private citizens must have their private information protected. Professionals who work in this field are creating more opportunities for American citizens to feel more secure about the privacy of their own lives as well as sensitive information. There has never been a better time for professionals to earn an online Master's in Internet Security.