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Start Here: Best Online Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degrees in 2024

If you are looking to earn your bachelor’s degree in cyber security online, then then this guide is for you! Explore accredited online programs and compare degree options to help determine which school and program is right for you.

Author: Shannon Lee
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Thanks to intense popularity and professional growth potential, colleges and universities offer a wide range of cyber security programs. These are available at various degree and certificate levels, but among the most popular and useful are online cyber security bachelor’s degree programs. Western Governor’s University shares that 60% of current U.S. cybersecurity job openings require an undergraduate degree, and the median base salary is a whopping $113,158 — almost twice the national average of $61,900.

While there are plenty of cyber security bachelor degree online options available, the sheer number of programs can make finding the right one a daunting task. To help with your research, we’ve compiled a ranked list of the best online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs, as well as a more in-depth spotlight on three best-in-class options.

Ready to begin search for the perfect cyber security bachelor’s degree online program for you? Let’s get started.

Spotlight on Top Online Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Now that you’ve perused our complete list, it’s time for a deeper dive into a few notable options. Below, we’ve identified three online cyber security bachelor’s degree offerings that stand out in terms of value, affordability, flexible learning options, and student services. To provide a more diverse look at what you can expect during your program search, we’re spotlighting private, public, for-profit, and nonprofit schools. While reading through these descriptions, consider the factors that are most important to you, and add those to your list as you continue your research into this valuable degree option.

Purdue University Global is one of the largest and most prominent online universities. It has plenty of experience providing high-quality education online. The ABET-accredited online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is no exception.

Although based in Indiana, students from almost anywhere can earn their degree 100% online, with no campus visits needed to complete the required 180 quarter credits. Because classes are delivered remotely, self-paced learning is possible, with most students putting in about 15 to 18 hours of study and class time per week. This makes it easier to fit program requirements into busy working schedules.

Students can also choose from 10 cybersecurity concentrations, such as cloud computing, data management, and software development using Python. Those interested in eventually earning a master’s degree can consider the accelerated Master of Science in Information Technology or Cybersecurity Management programs.

  • Formats available: Fully online
  • Accreditations: HLC (institutional); ABET (programmatic)
  • Specializations: CISSP certification preparation, cloud computing, data management, game development, programming and analytics, software development using C#, software development using Java, software development using Python, software development using web languages, and supply chain management and logistics
  • Cost per credit: $371
  • Program completion time: About four years

The online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program from Southern New Hampshire University is designed to teach a two-pronged approach to cybersecurity: You’ll gain a systems perspective, understanding how information technology works from a big-picture view; and you’ll also take an adversarial perspective, meaning you can learn to think like a hacker and more effectively develop and implement cyber defenses.

This fully online cyber security bachelor’s degree program offers classes that are asynchronous with no set course schedules. Classes have eight-week terms, so you can more easily self-pace your learning.

Students can apply up to 90 transfer credits toward the 120-credit graduation requirement. Tuition is affordable, as is the no-application-fee admissions process.

  • Formats available: Fully online
  • Accreditations: NECHE (institutional)
  • Specializations: Data analytics fundamentals and project management fundamentals
  • Cost per credit: $330
  • Program completion time: About four years

American Public University has a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program that will prepare you to work in corporations or the public sector. With its rolling admission process, new classes start every month and last between eight and 16 weeks each, helping students fit their classes into their busy personal and professional schedules.

The application process is one of the most affordable and streamlined, with no application fee or entrance exam requirement. To graduate, you’ll need to complete 120 credits: 45 major credits, 15 credits in their chosen cybersecurity concentration, 27 credits of general electives, and 30 general education credits. There’s also a three-credit capstone course where you’ll apply your knowledge to real-world problems. Faster graduation is possible with students permitted to transfer up to 90 credits.

  • Formats available: Online
  • Accreditations: HLC (institutional)
  • Specializations: Wireless and mobile security, general, critical infrastructure, digital forensics, and privacy and surveillance
  • Cost per credit: $350
  • Program completion time: About four years

Courses for an Online Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree

Every school designs their online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree curriculum to fit into their specific teaching and learning philosophies; you’ll also find differences in available concentrations or specializations. However, there are plenty of similarities in the academic skills and knowledge you’ll gain while earning a bachelor’s degree in cyber security, regardless of where you attend.

Below is a list and description of five major-related courses you can expect to take in most cybersecurity bachelor degree online programs.

Strengthening Operation Systems

Operating systems serve as the core for many information technology systems, so understanding how they work and their vulnerabilities to malicious actions will be invaluable to any cybersecurity professional. This class covers not just the operating system software itself, but also the hardware and networking aspects of its operation. Students will know not just what they can do to improve the security of operating systems from hacking attempts, but also ways to spot potential weaknesses in existing operating systems not yet under attack.

Legal and Ethical Issues with IT Security

Much of what a cybersecurity expert does is dictated by ethical and legal considerations. The goal of this course is to teach students how they can serve their clients’ interests in protecting technological assets while also complying with regulatory and moral obligations. Content topics for this course include privacy concerns, statutory requirements, philosophical dilemmas commonly faced by organizations, and enforcing security rules.

Cybersecurity Foundations

This is an introductory course to the general terms and theories of cybersecurity. Class content covers various types of electronic and technological threats and how to identify vulnerabilities that can lead to these threats. Students will also take legal and psychological factors into consideration and understand their effect on managing cybersecurity risks.

IT Risk Management

No information system can truly be free from the risk of any cyberattack. As a result, cybersecurity practitioners will need to understand how to effectively assess risk and use a cost-benefit analysis to develop defense systems that can defend against hacks. Students will use this class to examine real-world security risks; they will also discuss methods of managing them with a balanced approach so that defense systems and policies are both convenient and affordable.

Network Security

Given the need for interconnection among systems, devices, and infrastructure, future cybersecurity professionals must understand how to protect both internal and external computer networks. This class examines the basics of network operations, including hardware requirements and regulatory considerations when developing and maintaining the confidentiality of organizational and user information. This course will also look at the software component of networks, with a special focus on identifying cyberattack weaknesses and developing preventive solutions to network risks.

The Job Market: Salary and Career Outlook for Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

Information systems are at constant risk of potential criminal activity. Security Magazine reports that there are over 2,200 attacks each day, which breaks down to nearly one cyber attack every 39 seconds. So, it’s no surprise that there is a strong need for information technology professionals with a solid foundation in cybersecurity skills. The following chart offers a glimpse into the type of positions that can benefit from a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree, as well as what kind of pay you can expect if you work in one these occupations.

Job titleStarting salary (most current data)Median Salary (most current data)Job Growth (most current data)
Information Security Analysts$83,000$112,00032%
Computer and Information Systems Managers$120,000$164,07015%
Digital Forensics Analysts$80,000$63,74013%
Database Administrators$92,000$99,8907%
Computer Systems Analysts$90,000$102,24010%

Sources: BLS.gov, Glassdoor, ONet

Choosing the Right Online Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree

You’ll want to consider many factors when choosing the right cyber security bachelor degree online program for you. One consideration that should apply to all degree programs: confirming that the school has institutional accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Other factors that most students will need to think about include:

Continue reading to learn more about these and other important factors when choosing the right program.

Should you choose an online or on-campus program?

If you consider yourself a more traditional college student who prefers face-to-face learning and a robust on-campus experience, then you should probably choose a campus-based program. But if you have personal or professional obligations that make having a set schedule or in-person classes difficult, an online program will probably be best. Even if you choose an on-campus program, you can expect at least some of your coursework to be offered online or contain online learning components.

Bachelor’s vs. certificate vs. bootcamp — which is better?

Each career path has its own set of benefits, so you’ll need to weigh options depending on your specific needs. If you want the most comprehensive training in not just cybersecurity, but also general education topics, then a bachelor’s program is probably best. A certificate is ideal if you already have a college degree, but you want to specialize in a field or gain advanced training in cybersecurity. A bootcamp might be better if you need to learn the basics of cybersecurity as quickly and affordably as possible.

What is the length of a typical bachelor’s degree for cyber security, and can you complete your degree faster?

Most students take about three to four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, but the exact amount of time will depend on how much prior college learning you’ve completed and the learning pace you choose. Programs such as the University of Arizona’s online Bachelor of Applied Science in Cyber Operations allow you to meet half of your require curriculum requirements through transfer credits. As for self-paced learning, Drexel University’s online bachelor’s degree in computing and security technology lets you accelerate your degree, allowing you to graduate in less than four years even if you have no prior college credits.

How are these programs paced or structured?

Many online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs do not follow a cohort model and instead let students choose the speed at which they complete their courses. But there are also online cyber security bachelor’s degree online programs that require students to complete certain components of their coursework on a more regimented schedule. For instance, the Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security from the University of North Dakota lets students complete individual course assignments on their own timeframe, but still requires them to complete program requirements within specific deadlines.

Does the school help with job placement?

You should expect your school to offer at least some assistance with your job search after you graduate. For example, the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program from Western Michigan University offers professional development assistance through its Zhang Career Center. Services include hiring events, workshops, and networking skill development. You can also make use of a school’s vast alumni base to expand your networking opportunities.

What financial aid and scholarship resources are available?

Once accepted into a particular online cyber security bachelor’s degree program, you can take advantage of various financial aid resources. Some of these will come from the school itself and include grants and scholarships — some specifically tailored to cyber security students. You should consider applying for Federal Student Aid (check out these FAFSA tips for more information). Then there are financial aid options from government agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations; examples include the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service.