Cybersecurity degrees are fairly new in the world of higher education as this field has grown with the growth of computers. People who have these degrees can become "ethical hackers," or people who contract for companies to try to find their digital security flaws before the bad guys do.
What does a Cybersecurity degree entail?
Those with cybersecurity degrees can also work to analyze and decrypt things to stop cyber-terrorism. Cybersecurity experts also work to build out digital systems for modern companies to store data.
In essence, if it's a digital platform that needs security or if it's something even just digital at all, chances are a cybersecurity expert was involved at some point... at least we hope.
A four-year degree will teach you about the various methods of protecting data and IT systems. This means that you'll get training in databases, system administrator roles, and data recovery. You'll also get skills such as criminal psychology and digital forensics as cybersecurity often involves a good bit of detective work as well.
As for job titles, when you get out of school, you could be any of the following:
- Security Analyst
- Security Software Developer
- Security Consultant
- Security Engineer
Now that we've taken a look at what a cybersecurity degree entails, if you're still interested, here are the 11 best schools for cybersecurity degrees as of 2019.
1. Georgia Institute Of Technology
Degree: M.S. in Cybersecurity
Emphasis: Practical skills
Specializations: Information Security, Energy Systems, Public Policy
Georgia Tech's program is specifically focused on the practical application of cybersecurity. The program works closely with the college of engineering to integrate applicable coursework and thanks to their three main specialization paths. You have good options depending upon which career path you see yourself taking.
While studying at the school, you'll also have a chance to do research work for the U.S. government, military, and even private industry thanks to the school's immense connections in the field.
2. Purdue University
Degree: M.S. in Computer Science
Emphasis: IT Professional Training
Specializations: Information Security, Cyber Forensics
Purdue University is an internationally acclaimed educational powerhouse, and its cybersecurity program is geared towards industry professionals. For their cybersecurity specialties, you'll need a B.S. in a computer science major, which is understandable as you'll need a baseline to build on.
Their programs are geared to give you on-the-job experience and help you become an information security specialist.
As for research, Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security Lab (CERIAS) is one of the world's top research labs in the field. It incorporates tons of interdisciplinary tactics and gives students a high degree of hands-on experience in the field.
3. University Of Maryland-College Park
Degree: B.S. in Computer Science
Emphasis: Cybersecurity Overview
UMD's cybersecurity education offers extensive interdisciplinary opportunities while studying. The university works directly with many government agencies and security firms, with strong ties to Lockheed Martin, Cisco, and Northrop Grumman.
4. The University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Degree: B.S. in Computer Science, M.S. in Cybersecurity
Emphasis: Research, Career Development
Specializations: Electrical and Computer Engineering, Research, Law
UIUC offers extensive scholarship opportunities for the Cybersecurity educational tract. The University has an Information Trust Institute (ITI) that works on researching power grid development, health information, systems & networks, as well as data science. This institute is one of the core assets the university has in the cybersecurity educational paths.
5. Rochester Institute Of Technology
Degree: B.S. & M.S. in Computing Security
Emphasis: Research, Expert Development
Specializations: Information Sciences, Cryptography
RIT's cybersecurity degrees focus on turning students into independent experts in their fields. Students have the opportunity to engage in advanced research in the field.
The university is well known for its well-funded research projects, which means that regardless of what career path you want to take in the field, you'll likely have a chance to explore that industry through research before you graduate.
6. University Of Pittsburgh
Degree: B.S. & M.S. in Information Science
Emphasis: Cyber Crime Prevention, Rounded Professional Development
Specializations: Information Security, Database Management, Cyber Law
The University of Pittsburgh is on a shortlist of universities that have 5 'Committee on National System Security' certifications. This means that all of the degrees here are thorough to a high degree.
UoP also has an Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security that works closely with the School of Computing. The school also has extensive research labs.
7. Texas A&M University-College Station
Degree: M.S. in Engineering
Emphasis: Research, Digital Ethics
Specializations: Cybersecurity, Cyber Law, Risk Management
Texas A&M's cybersecurity program is particularly unique in that it falls under its renowned College of Engineering.
Their Cybersecurity degree incorporates classes from many different colleges at the school, which gives graduates a broad understanding of the industry and its adjacent fields.
One notable aspect of their college is that if you're interested in a graduate degree in cybersecurity, you can complete it all online in as little as 20 months.
The NSA and the Department of Homeland Security have both recognized Texas A&Ms cybersecurity prowess through awards over the years. A&M is ranked as one of the top engineering schools in the world, so getting a cybersecurity degree from this school will put you on a path to becoming an expert.
8. University Of California-Davis
Degree: M.S. in Computer Science
Emphasis: Research, Cyber Attack Prevention
Specializations: Information Assurance, Architecture, Applications
UC Davis has an industry reputation as being a great tech university, and their cybersecurity focus allows you to customize your learning path.
The university holds a CAE-R designation for excellence in cybersecurity research – notably conducted at their Computer Security Lab.
9. Virginia Tech
Degree: B.S. in Computer Engineering, B.S. in Networks & Cybersecurity
Emphasis: Software Development, Rounded education
Specializations: Cyber Operations, Information Assurance
Virginia Tech is ranked as one of the Top 100 universities in the world, and their college of Engineering is award-winning.
One notable aspect of this school is the geographic location for students interested in cyberlaw and cybercrime. It's near employers in the Washington D.C. area, along with defense contractors and federal agencies.
Not only is the school's education top-notch, but it may get you a job placement with cybersecurity employers due to its location.
10. University Of Washington-Seattle
Degree: B.S. in Informatics
Emphasis: Broad Security and Privacy Understanding
Specializations: Information Assurance, Cybersecurity
UW Seattle has a unique degree in informatics, which is the science of processing and storing data. Their research efforts focus on the broader picture of data security tackling issues like the Internet of Things, robotics, and smart cities.
11. George Mason University
Degree: B.S. in Cybersecurity Engineering, B.S. in Information Tech.
Emphasis: IT Professional Training
Specializations: Cybersecurity, Information Security, Digital Forensics
George Mason University, like Virginia Tech, is located very close to the D.C. metro along with cybersecurity firms. You'll get the opportunity at this university to learn digital forensics and cyber analysis. There's even the opportunity to get a concentration in digital forensics as your degree.