Best Cybersecurity Programs

A student studying cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing professions in America and beyond. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 32% growth over the next decade. A cybersecurity master’s degree is ideal for undergraduates looking to the future, recent graduates, and technology professionals at various stages in their careers looking to upskill or change careers. The schools featured here represent five of the best cybersecurity programs and offer a variety of options from online to in-person, full and part-time study to help jumpstart your career.

Brigham Young University

IT and Cybersecurity MS

Application requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field. They must have completed coursework equivalent to a basic science background, including courses in engineering mathematics, computers, and/or electronics. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and take the GRE. You can substitute the GMAT for the GRE, but no test waivers will be granted. Applicants who do not have English as their primary language will need to meet BYU Graduate School English Language Proficiency requirements. Applicants include a statement of intent, three letters of recommendation, and a resume.

About the program

The program should be completed within three years. There is flexibility around day and evening courses, but the course is in-person with no online option. The department’s focus is on the technology, science, and engineering behind IT and cybersecurity. Students must complete 24 hours of coursework, twelve of which must be in IT and Cybersecurity courses, and six thesis hours. BYU’s program has been consistently recognized as a center for academic excellence in cyberdefense by the National Security Agency. Recent graduates find placement in PhD programs. For professionals looking to further their careers, graduates have a strong track record of qualifying for new, higher paying positions.

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering

Application requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or an engineering related field. Strong candidates often come from Computer Science, Information Security, Software Engineering, and Computer Engineering fields. The application requires transcripts, a personal statement, resume/cv, and an optional letter of recommendation. While the program is not requiring the GRE for the class matriculating in 2024, they have not made a decision about the GRE in 2025.

About the program

The program is offered both online and on campus, with a slight majority opting for online instruction. USC’s program is geared towards students looking to enter a PhD program in information security and professionals who need computer network operations knowledge. Students will leave the program with a strong understanding of security policy, security technology, and the building of secure operating systems and applications. The program is regarded as a top school for the in-demand and growing field of cybersecurity engineering.

Duke University

Cybersecurity Master of Engineering

Application requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science from an accredited institution. You must write a statement of purpose answering specific questions written for the field. A resume, three letters of recommendation, and a video introduction are also required. The GRE is optional for 2024 applications.

About the program

Duke offers both an in-person and online option for the cybersecurity degree, however, the online option does include a mandatory residency at Duke. Duke boasts a robust industry network and an adaptive curriculum that makes it a program ideal for recent graduates to military veterans to cybersecurity professionals at various career stages. Their course is billed as market-ready and has faculty expertise in healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and security. 9 out of 10 engineering graduate students from Duke find work within six months of graduating. The program has a dedicated career services team to help graduates find placement.

University of Washington at Bothell

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

Application requirements

Bachelor’s in computer science or a degree closely related to computer science. Must be from a regionally accredited university or equivalent international institution. All admissions are for the fall quarter and applications are evaluated on a rolling basis beginning in early February. Students are expected to have coursework experience in software engineering, high level object-oriented programming, and data structures and algorithms. A minimum GPA of 3.0 over the last two years of study is required; the GRE is optional. The application consists of transcripts, 2-3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement answering several short answer questions, and a research essay.

About the program

An NSA designated Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research and Education. The program prides itself on interdisciplinary work across different departments and partnering institutions to prepare students for careers in security. The curriculum is a mix of core classes and varied electives allowing students to specialize in areas of interest. A thesis or project culminates the program and students are prepared throughout their time at UW for the challenges of writing and research. Part and full time in person options are available and most students complete the program in a little over two years. 90.3% of graduates are employed upon graduation and 45% of graduates see pay increases at graduation.

University of San Diego

Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

Application requirements

Must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The GRE, GMAT, or LSAT can be submitted to strengthen applications of those with GPAs lower than 3.0 or other weaknesses. If English is not your primary language you will need to complete an English proficiency test. A 500 word statement of purpose is required, along with a letter of support from the applicant’s employer or two letters of recommendation. A resume showing technical experience related to the field is also required. Applicants interested in the online program cannot reside in Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Wisconsin.

About the program

Offered in person or online and designated as an NSA Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research and Education. Advertises an integrated approach to cybersecurity education that was developed with military, intelligence community, industry, and government input. Curriculum has been designed by practitioners in the field of cybersecurity to blend academic and applied knowledge at one of the best cybersecurity programs in America. While the program body consists of students from a variety of backgrounds, it is particularly well suited for those with engineering backgrounds looking to develop engineering solutions to security threats and concerns.

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