With so much of our lives moving online – networking through social media, buying through online sellers, banking and investing from smartphones – cyber security is increasingly important. Once upon a time, computer bugs were annoying, an inconvenience at the worst; but today, cyber attacks can take down Hollywood studios and government agencies. Cyber security is a growing field as society relies more heavily on the digital world and organizations are becoming more vulnerable to cyber crimes. Organizations need individuals to create secure architecture to protect them from harmful attacks and intrusions.
Why Get an Online Cyber Security Degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth projections for Information Security Analysts (the official term for cybersecurity) is out of this world – as high as 28%, with median incomes in the high $80s. Of course, with high salary rates and a strong job market, cybersecurity looks like the career to go into. And while professionals can get into a cybersecurity job with just a certification or experience, their path forward will be limited without a degree.
The best cyber security undergraduate programs prepare students not only to use the tools available now, but to learn the analytical and professional skills they will need to continue to develop new techniques and technologies. That’s why an online cyber security degree is so valuable on the job market. It’s convenient, and with an affordable online cyber security degree, graduates can expect a strong return on their investment – one that will last through a career.
Ranking the Most Affordable Online Cyber Security Degree Programs
Value Colleges’ Most Affordable Ranking includes only regionally-accredited, trustworthy universities and colleges that just happen to have the best prices around. Most degree types are Bachelor of Science, and all are 100% online. To rank programs, only one criteria was considered: tuition rate. Schools are ordered from lowest price to highest.
NOTE: tuition rates given are usually for in-state residency. Out-of-state residents may pay more, sometimes a lot more; however, many colleges offer in-state costs for online students. Most online bachelor’s programs are degree completion, meaning you must come in with foundational (freshman and sophomore) courses. Be very sure of what you’re getting into by contacting the schools early.
Bellevue University’ online cyber security degree program offers a curriculum that combines the art of forensics and the technology of computer science. Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity prepares graduates to protect networks, data, and computers against cybersecurity threats and dangerous risks. Bellevue’s online BS in Cybersecurity program has been recognized by the Department of Homeland Security as a center for excellence in academia. The school offers a 54-week accelerated option.
Bellevue College was established in 1966 with a focus on adult learners and an education outreach program. About ten years after its inception, Bellevue University was considered the fourth largest private institution of higher learning in the state of Nebraska. Bellevue University’s suburban campus is home to more than 10,000 students who attend on-campus and online. The school has received regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Western Governors University
Western Governors University’s BS in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance is a cyber security undergraduate degree that has received the sought-after CODiE award issued by the Software & Information Industry Association. Degree candidates have the option to earn preset certificates in thirteen specialties. A partial list includes A+, Certified Encryption Specialist, Network+ and IT Operations Specialist, among others. To graduate, students must successfully complete 34 courses (with a minimum of 12 competency units) and a capstone project. WGU boasts that its tuition costs are about one-half the nation’s average for other online cyber security degree programs.
Western Governors University was established in 1997 and is an online, nonprofit, private institution of higher learning. The school operates based upon a defined model of competency-based learning. The nineteen governors that made up the Western Governors Association founded WGU. Other member states include North Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, Texas, Washington, Tennessee, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, among others.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
The Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s affordable online cyber security degree program specializes in Information Technologies. This online cyber security bachelor’s degree has three concentrations from which to choose: Network Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Digital Forensics, and Software Developments. Students are required to complete 121-credit hours to graduate. The school’s generous prior learning credit program helps reduce the time and cost to graduate. Applicants must have earned an AAS degree or better.
The Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology was founded in 1846. It is a member school of the Oklahoma State University System and state supported. The nearest city to the rural school is Tulsa, located about 40 miles to the north. The institution of higher learning receives sponsorship from Rolex, Toyota, Ford, Caterpillar, and General Motors, among others. Bestcolleges.com recognizes OSU Institute of Technology among the best cyber security undergraduate programs in the country.
University of Illinois-Springfield
The University of Illinois-Springfield’s BS in Information Systems Security degree program designed to prepare students to protect against cyber threats across the globe each day. Students must complete 120-semester hours to earn UIS’ cyber security undergraduate degree. Graduates are prepared for rewarding careers in the cyber security areas of systems analysis, network administration and many other security-focused careers. The program is recognized as a Cisco Regional Networking Academy.
The University of Illinois-Springfield is a land grant institution of higher learning that was established in 1969. It is a member school of the University of Illinois system, which serves nearly 5,500 students. The University of Illinois-Springfield has been recognized among the best public schools in the Midwest portion of the United States. The school has been offering distance learning programs and degree options since 1999. The Department of Homeland Security has recognized UIS’ computer science division for its academic excellence in cybersecurity coursework.
Purdue University Global
The Purdue University Global affordable BS in Cybersecurity program provides the foundational knowledge required to earn mandatory industry certifications. Purdue University Global’s online cyber security degree program requires the completion of 180-credit hours to graduate. Graduates enter the workforce ready to secure information systems, analyze security issues, and assess cyber security risk. Classes require about 16 hours per week of the student’s time. Purdue University Global offers credit for prior work experience and previously completed college-level coursework.
Purdue University Global is an extension of the Purdue University system. Purdue established this distance-learning platform as a viable way to provide quality online programs and degrees. This extension program serves the adult/working learner and currently has a student enrollment of more than 30,000. The school became a reality when Purdue University purchased the now-defunct Kaplan University.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College’s three baccalaureate cybersecurity degree programs can be completed entirely online. Degree candidates can select an online cyber security degree with a concentration in Computer Networks & Cybersecurity, Software Development & Security, or Cybersecurity Management & Policy. UMUC holds the distinction and approval from several federal security agencies. Coursework prepares graduates to sit for the specialized industry certifications. It is noted that 5 of 6 cyber security jobs require some sort of related degree.
The University of Maryland University College was established in 1947 and is a member school of the University System of Maryland. The school operates 53 domestic and international campuses. However, The University of Maryland University College also provides a distance-learning platform for a worldwide student population of 90,000. In fact, UMUC is considered one of the largest online education providers across the globe.
Baker College’s BS in Information Technology can be completed entirely online. This affordable online cyber security degree program specifically focuses on Information Assurance and Cyber Security. Coursework prepares students for rewarding careers in network security, operating system security, and platform security, among others. Graduates enter the workforce ready to protect computer networks by troubleshooting and supporting its safety systems.
Baker College was established in 1911 that operates 8 campuses within the boundaries of the lower peninsula of Michigan. The school is an accredited institution that offers career options that include 150 different programs in the fields of technology, business, healthcare, education, and social services. The school operates with a generous financial assistance policy for its students. The school offers associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s online cyber security degree programs give students interested in becoming a cyber security professional the choice between the BS in Applied Computing (Cybersecurity) or the BS in Engineering, with a strong focus in the field of Computer Systems Engineering (Cybersecurity). These online cyber security bachelor’s degree programs offer a global experience option available in 250 programs in more than 60 countries. Arizona State’s BSE degree program offers students the option of completing both their baccalaureate and a graduate degree in just 5 years.
Arizona State University was established in 1885. It is a public, land grant research university that serves the greater Phoenix area. Between Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses, ASU is home to more than 83,000 undergraduate students. Additionally, the school’s urban campuses are home to more than 19,000+ postgraduate students. Arizona State University consistently ranks among the top public and private universities in the country.
Wilmington University’s BS in Computer and Network Security is recognized as one of the top cybersecurity baccalaureate programs in the country. Coursework for this affordable has received accreditation by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. This online cyber security degree prepares graduates to sit for many specialized industry certifications. Wilmington University’s online cyber security degree program offers classes that start every eight weeks.
Wilmington University is a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1968. Wilmington University operates with seven campuses in Delaware plus several in New Jersey and one partnership in Maryland. Its suburban campus in historic New Castle is home to a student enrollment that exceeds 20,000. Wilmington University is divided into seven academic schools: Education, Business, Health Professions, Behavioral Sciences, Online Learning, Technology, and the Arts & Sciences.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University’s BS in Cybersecurity degree program, from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, has been ranked among the top affordable online baccalaureate degrees that focus on Network Security. ODU’s online cyber security degree program requires the completion of 30-credit hours dedicated exclusively to the specialization coursework. The BS in Cybersecurity requires the completion of a total of 120-credit hours of general education coursework and other requirements.
Old Dominion University was established in 1930 as a division of the College of William and Mary. It is a research, sea-grant, space-grant, and research school that operates from its urban 250+-acre campus in Norfolk. Its student population of more than 25,000 has the option to choose from among nearly 170 undergraduate and graduate programs. Additionally, the school inputs nearly $2 billion to the Norfolk metropolitan area. Old Dominion University has been offering distance-learning courses for the past thirty years.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University’s affordable online BS in Cyber Operations degree program prepares graduates to assess and fix malware infections, security vulnerabilities and data breaches. Students enrolled in DSU’s online cyber security degree program explore the world of hacking to gain insight into the hacks mindset and motivation. Dakota State University’s baccalaureate degree with a concentration in Cyber Operations requires the completion of 30-credit in addition to the typical bachelor’s general education requirements.
Dakota State University was established in 1881. The school’s 60+-acre campus is about fifty miles from the state’s largest metropolitan city, Sioux Falls. The school is now recognized for its unique tech-intensive coursework that specializes in cybersecurity, health care informatics and computer science. DSU’s distance-learning tech-infused degree programs have earned national recognition. Dakota State University values student success, diversity, inclusion, and academic freedom, among other principles. The school has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Mercy College’s BS in Cybersecurity can be completed entirely online. Mercy College’s cyber security undergraduate degree program requires the completion of 120-credit hours to graduate. Students explore, test and implement security software methodologies to protect and offer disaster recovery relief for businesses and organizations. The school offers students the option of completing both a bachelor’s degree and master’s together, in just five years. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have recognized mercy’s baccalaureate cyber security degree as a center of excellence.
Mercy College was established in 1950 in Westchester County, NY, just north of New York City. The school operates from its main Dobbs Ferry campus and 3 satellite campuses in Yorktown Heights, Manhattan, and the Bronx. The school’s 60+ acre campus runs along the majestic Hudson River and overlooks Rockland County on the other side of the river. The school consists of five colleges: Liberal Arts, Education, Business, Behavioral Sciences, and Health Sciences.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona’s Bachelor of Applied Science Cyber Operations specialization provides students an experiential learning experience to master the skills necessary to succeed in the private sector, the field of law and cyber security defense. Coursework is available in two-degree paths: The Engineering Track and The Defenses & Forensics Track. U of A’s affordable cyber security undergraduate degree is designed for income students who already possess around 60-credit hours from another regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
The University of Arizona was chartered in 1885, prior to Arizona’s statehood. Its urban 375+ acre campus is home to nearly 45,000 students studying from nineteen colleges and schools. U.S. News and World Report recognizes U of A among the top universities in the country. Tuition rates remain the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. The University of Arizona ranks among the top one percent of all higher learning organizations, as noted by the Center for World University Rankings.
Davenport University’s online cyber security degree is a BS in Cyber Defense. Davenport University is one of the leading Michigan schools focused on cyber security. This program gives students the flexibility to take courses completely online or on campus. Students are given the tools along with hands on experience to learn the best ways to protect businesses informational assets.
Students in Davenport’s online cyber security bachelor’s degree program develop their understanding of risk and how to mitigate it. They understand the value of compliance and assurance internally and externally when it comes to giving the best cyber security to an organization. Students are given special skills needed to enforce checks and balances on an organization’s system to prevent intrusion and threats.
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University’s eMajor BS in Cybersecurity is an online cyber security bachelor’s degree program offered at a lower cost than on-campus degree programs at Kennesaw State. This program is part of the University System of Georgia mission to offer students the ability to solve the problems and needs of cyber security for organizations. This program is geared towards students who want to take advantage of a flexible schedule to obtain their degree.
Students in Kennesaw State’s online cyber security degree programs will gain an understanding of the business and management side of cyber security. Students are given a fundamental understanding of cyber crimes and how they occur. This program allows students to gain stronger technological skills giving them better focus on security issues.
Colorado Tech’s BS in Cybersecurity degree program has been developed in line with CompTIA standards. They are a independent provider of certifications for IT programs showing that it shows competency in network and security issues. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have recognized Colorado Technical University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.
Upon graduation from Colorado Tech’s cyber security undergraduate degree program, students are able to sit for CompTIA Security+ and Network+ badges certification exams. Students will gain foundational knowledge in network systems and security, as well as protocols that protect data. They gain a deeper knowledge of computer forensics, compliance with security, assessing vulnerabilities, and assurance of software.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University’s online BS in Cybersecurity program is geared towards students who want to become skilled and knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals. This program prepares students for jobs in defense firms, financial services, government agencies, and private industries. This degree is technical in that it adds hands on experience in real life situations to explain the concepts learned in the classroom.
Grand Canyon students understand how to utilize the constantly changing and innovative digital environment to prevent data breaches. Students learn the value of understanding vulnerabilities and protecting against them. The gain a foundation in all computer environments, the digital world and the cloud. They delve deeper into wireless security, system administration, investigations, and security architecture design.
Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University’s BS in Cyber Forensics and Information Security program is accredited through the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Upon graduating from this program, students can find employment in law enforcement and private organizations focused using their knowledge of technology to reduce vulnerabilities. At Robert Morris (located in Moon Township, PA), cyber security tudents will develop tools to detect, prevent, and respond to, network intrusions.
The interdisciplinary RMU online cyber security degree program blends business, law, technology, and the behavior of an organization to give students a well rounded foundation to help them excel in their career path. Students are given a foundation in using resources responsibly, aligning information technology with the needs of the organization, and managing risks appropriately.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University’s BS in Cybersecurity program gives students s foundation in cyber security, penetration testing, network controls that provide protection, and managing the implementation of security devices. Students are given hands on experience to work with infrastructure and software tools to create real life scenarios in which they can enhance their knowledge and perfect their skills.
Saint Leo University is a Catholic liberal arts college particularly known for its distance education programs. Saint Leo was an early pioneer in distance education for military service members, beginning in the 1970s providing education for Vietnam personnel and veterans, and its programs are still designed with military in mind. Upon graduating with this degree, students can find employment as cyber analysts, security engineers, IT auditors, database security analyst, and network security engineers.
Limestone College’s cyber security undergraduate degree program offers a BS in Computer Science and Information Systems Security. Cyber security is becoming an increasingly popular and necessary protection to have in place because every day, there are new security threats. Web sites are being hacked, credit card numbers are being stolen, and services are being denied. Limestone College is helping to combat the dangers with their BS in Computer Science and Information Systems Security.
Students at Limestone College benefit from in depth foundation in computer and information system security. They receive hands on training and skill that will benefit them in real world scenarios. Upon graduation, they will be prepared to enter the workforce in private industries and government agencies. They will be ready to take the Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Check Point Certified Security Administrator (CCSA), International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS), Security Professional (CIW), and CompTIA’s Security exams.
Utica College’s BS in Cybersecurity program is completely online, making it flexible for students to work around their existing schedules. This program can be completed part time in about three years, or even less, if students take more classes per semester. Utica is on the cutting edge of innovative cyber security protection and training, and has been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE- CD) by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA).
Students in Utica’s online cyber security degree programs have access to classes in intrusion investigations and digital forensics, homeland security and emergency management, and information assurance. Students take a deeper look at cyber operations and fraud investigations. The program teaches students the value of thinking critically about investigations. They offer four specializations from which student can choose.
Liberty University’s BS Computer Science Cybersecurity is one of the nation’s best cyber security undergraduate programs. Liberty’s program is 100% online with eight week courses making this program flexible and convenient for students. Students needs 121 credit hours to graduate and most complete the program in around three and a half years.
Liberty cybersecurity students benefit from developing skills to prepare them for employment in information sciences. They receive a foundational understanding of programming, computer science, and informational systems. They will be better able to design and install software systems while staying within the budget of the organization. They will learn the value of keeping a project on schedule and data safe from intrusions and hackers. Students will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills.
Penn State World Campus
The Penn State World Campus BS in Security and Risk Analysis is recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. The Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology leads the way for information schools because of their dedication to a well rounded education, including the fields of engineering, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Penn State’s program in security and risk analysis focuses on education, technology, and polices to provide protection to people and their data.
Students are given the skills and tools they need to protect the access and availability of a person’s data. They will gain a foundation in designing secure systems, measuring and evaluating risks, maintain the system to ensure the proper level of protection is available for users. Students gain a deeper understanding in the theory, skill, and technology with network security and how it protects the system from threats. They take a deeper look at information warfare, and how to protect critical infrastructures. Upon graduation students can find employment as an applications security specialist, a computer forensics specialist, an intelligence analyst and specialist, or a counterintelligence and counterterrorism threat analysis. Students can find jobs in various industries including intelligence and government, criminology and protective services.
Maryville University’s BS in Cyber Security degree program is is housed in the John E. Simon School of Business. Mayville is aware that cyber security is a field that is growing exponentially across various industries, like health care, organization, and financial institutions. As a result, they have created their Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security. This program is geared towards students who have no prior experience in information security. Students can graduate in as few as two and a half years after some basic requirements. Students can select from a Defensive Cyber Security, Offensive Cyber Security, or General track.
Maryville’s online cyber security degree equips students with the tools to needed to address cyber security issues. They gain the needed technical skills and literacy needed to address database design, programming, and cyber law. The defensive tracks allows students to apply proactive approaches to security utilizing ethical hacking. Students learn how to prevent threats from becoming more dangerous. The defensive track prepares students to be reactive to threats and enables them to have strong defenses. The general track combines both giving students a strong foundation of all things cyber security.
Franklin University’s BS in Cyber Security is 100 percent online, allowing students to have greater flexibility. This program teaches students how to respond to breaches in security while using innovative and forward thinking technology. Franklin University’s Bachelor in Cyber Security program readies students for employment in government, or private industry to protect information from threats. This program was created with the standards of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC). The courses are taught by experts in the industry to ensure students receive a current and cutting edge education.
Students are given a strong foundation in principles of technology including, but not limited to, programming, database creation, networks, and systems. They learn the value of a layered approach to security and architecture with proper controls and measures in place. Franklin’s mission is to give students a complete view of technology, policy, and management. They receive hands-on training with real world situations to enrich what they learn in the classroom. Students learn how to create risk assessments, do penetration testing, scan for vulnerabilities, and security plans.
Will Employers Trust an Online Cybersecurity Degree?
Many government agencies, private security firms, and financial institutions are perfectly happy to hire students who have acquired an online cyber security bachelor’s degree – as long as it’s from a reputable, accredited college or university. In fact, the National Security Administration provides several student programs that offer internships, scholarships, or work study options for students to participate. NSA accredited cyber security programs provide career development opportunities to students as well.
Together with the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA has set the standard for cybersecurity education. Many colleges and universities have earned NSA/DHS recognition as a cybersecurity center of excellence; employers will take NSA accredited cyber security programs far more seriously than other online cyber security degrees. As a result, NSA/DHS recognition also builds trust, reliability, and confidence in their employees. A degree from a cybersecurity center of excellence tells employers that you have received the most current education and experience – but, more importantly, that you have a strong foundation for further development and growth. NSA accredited cyber security programs are the first choice for any serious prospective cybersecurity professional.
How Much Should a Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Cost?
There is no doubt that the best cyber security undergraduate programs comes with a price. Large private schools may be more expensive than the average public or small liberal arts college. However, many students can find some of the cheapest online cyber security degree programs by checking out the websites of the NSA, CIA, and FBI. These agencies commonly hire and want the best candidates for the job.
A cyber security degree online can often be completed much sooner than the traditional education path, and can save some money for the student in the end. Sometimes the cheapest online cyber security degree programs are found at schools with low-income residents in the area. One reason is to attract students to apply. In addition, a recognized cybersecurity center of excellence may offer certain scholarships or internships that is appealing to the student. The tuition cost of a cyber security degree online may vary, depending on the school.
The most affordable tuition costs are around $10,000 a semester year. However, some schools can be as low as $5,000 per academic year. However, the cheapest online cybersecurity degree will definitely be worth the time if it is accredited and reputable. According to the BLS, the projected growth for the cyber security sector is as high as 28% between 2016 and 2026.
What Will I Learn in an Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Program?
Earning an online cyber security bachelor’s degree will provide a student with knowledge in computer science, electrical engineering, intelligence analysis, and mathematics. Computer programming and technological systems are recommended as part of the curriculum as well. It’s worth noting that many students complete their online degree while working, so you are building experience along the way – experience you can’t get in a classroom.
There are several cyber security degree requirements for students. Some skills needed include critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and analytical skills. Students should also be highly detail-oriented. A cyber security undergraduate degree program provides many career possibilities for graduates. Some of these jobs are in computer systems design, finance and insurance, or tech support services. Networking will help to increase a student’s portfolio.
Earning at least a Bachelors degree will allow a student to match the cyber security degree requirements for the school of choice. Some employers, however, may prefer students to obtain a Master’s degree in Cyber Security. Another option to consider is minoring in Business, or obtaining an MBA degree, along with the cyber security undergraduate degree. Many business-related students may find work in the security departments of their employers. Having a second degree will benefit the student by providing better opportunities in the workplace.