Personal information and many other data types are being transmitted across the internet and stored digitally. This provides better efficiency in many industries, but also introduces higher risk for sensitive data to be retrieved by unauthorized parties. For this reason, cyber security jobs are highly trending and in demand.
Colleges across the United States are launching programs with a specific focus in cyber security. These are found under the disciplines of Cyber Security itself or, more broadly, Information Assurance. Education level may vary from two-year associate programs looking at fundamental needs all the way to theory and innovation research within a doctorate.
Students can find forensic science content within cyber security degrees. Fundamental courses may be offered in the core content or as electives to add on. They may also be packaged within a concentration, adding in criminal law and malware techniques.
|Utica College||Bachelor||BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation||Website|
|Utica College||Master||MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics||Website|
|Bethel University||Bachelor||B.S. Cyber Security||Website|
|Lindenwood University||Bachelor||BA Cybersecurity||Website|
|St. Ambrose University||Bachelor||Bachelor of Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management||Website|
|Utica College||Bachelor||BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy||Website|
|Aurora University||Bachelor||BS in Cybersecurity||Website|
|Utica College||Master||Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis||Website|
Cyber security programs may have designation as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). This is an accreditation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) that verifies specific curricula. Designations are separated as foundational defense education, operations at the engineering level, and in-depth research.
Are There Forensic Cyber Security Degrees Online?
Many cyber security degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level are available online. Due to the nature of the profession, students must be competent in a number of technological aspects to succeed. This includes understanding operating systems, network architecture, software development, and more.
Universities frequently offer flexibility in their online studies. Students may be able to complete the entire curriculum online or in a hybrid format. The latter option means that students have both on-campus and online options for many or all of their courses.
Full-time or part-time enrollment is another option available at most schools. Graduate programs tend to have more flexibility as established professionals may continue their work while earning advanced education. Prospective students should review any time limitations to determine if they can complete the program on a part-time basis.
When pursuing a cyber security program online, students must have proper hardware and internet bandwidth to succeed. Applicants should review recommendations or requirements to determine if they have a compatible platform to learn. Many learning management systems require the Windows or Mac operating system.
As technology evolves, mobile devices are becoming compatible with online learning. Students may be able to download an application or access some course material through their web browser. In many cases, it is still recommended to have a desktop or laptop computer to complete assignments and group projects.
|Utica College||Bachelor||Bachelor's in Criminal Intelligence Analysis||Website|
|Utica College||Bachelor||BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation||Website|
|Michigan State University||Master||Master of Science in Criminal Justice||Website|
|Utica College||Master||MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics||Website|
|Saint Joseph's University||Master||MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence & Crime Analysis||Website|
Top Online Programs for Forensic Cyber Security
Penn State University
The World Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis. One of the focused options are within Information and Cyber Security. This program requires 120 credits and offers multiple start times throughout the academic year.
Between 77 to 85 credit hours are needed for the entire major, with 30 to 36 credits dedicated to the Information and Cyber Security focus. Flexibility in credit hours are based on internship experiences. Some courses are worth more than the typical three-credit average.
Courses in the option include Information Security Management, Networking and Telecommunications, and Risk Analysis in a Security Context. 12 credit hours are not preselected and students can choose from various topics. Courses must be approved by an advisor and three credit hours must be at the 400-course level.
General education courses in communication and quantification require a C grade or higher to be successful. Culminating capstone project focuses on solving problems in a security setting. Must include a form of teamwork that comes to the solution.
The College of Computing and Digital Media offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This degree is available 100 percent online with coursework and lectures available on-demand. An additional hybrid blend with on-campus education is also available.
Three concentrations are available for students to focus their cyber security education. Networking and Infrastructure emphasizes network systems and how organizations protect them. This include learning and implementing features such as virtual private networks and firewalls.
Government, Risk Management, and Compliance takes an in-depth look in regulation and how information system security is established at the enterprise level. This also features topics in auditing process and disaster recovery when attacks occur. Computer Security is another concentration that focuses on securing devices and applications that are used.
Capstone project requires 10 weeks of applying protection skills to a real-world security problem. They look at risk analysis, detecting vulnerability, and other needs based on the concentration selected. 95 percent of graduates continue their education at the doctorate level or gain employment in six months after completing the degree.
University of Southern California
The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering is available fully online or on-campus. At least 28 total credit hours are needed to complete the degree. When earning this credit, at least a 3.0 overall GPA must be maintained.
16 total credit hours are based on a core curriculum with topics in computer system security and information security. Two out of four courses, worth eight credit hours overall, are needed from a list of chosen electives. These course topics include cryptography, computer forensics, system design, and system administration.
A final course is taken from one of the selected electives or an in-depth research project. Two credit hours can be applied to the degree from research approved by the faculty. There is a specific course that focuses on cyber security operations toward the oil and gas industry.
Incoming students must have an undergraduate degree in a related discipline. This should include courses in programming, mathematics, and foundations of computers and networking. Transcripts showing prior education and GRE scores are required in the application process.
Dakota State University
One of the unique doctorate-level programs offered online in cyber security is through Dakota State University. The Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Operations is a designated CAE. This offers advanced theory and research into the implementation of cyber security in a number of different fields.
This is not an exclusively online program. Residency is required for research seminars and completing the dissertation. Students must connect with faculty members directly and submit their proposal during these residencies.
21 credit hours are reserved for core subjects and the research portion of the degree. This includes advanced looks at reverse engineering, software exploitation, and reverse engineering. Reverse engineering provides a full understanding of how applications are built to identify potential security problems and what has transpired in the past.
Holding at least a Bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher is needed for admission. The prior degree should be received in a computer science discipline. Some courses are only available in certain semesters.
Undergraduate Programs in Forensic Cyber Security
Cyber security majors and minors are available at many institutions across the United States. Prospective students should review Computer Science and Computer Engineering curricula to determine if there is an ability to focus on cyber security topics. Accreditation at this level is often CAE-CDE as many undergraduate programs focus on defensive measures and how to eliminate unauthorized attacks.
St. John’s University
The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies offers a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security Systems. Numerous security topics are reached in this curriculum. This includes hardware compatibility and applications used for security and how it can make a network vulnerable.
Some unique security topics in the curriculum include the human aspect of security, such as how they attribute to security breaches and behavior that takes place in the process. A minor can be added to blend cyber security techniques with another emphasis, including digital forensics, homeland security, and criminalistics.
With completion of the degree, graduates have preparation for entry-level positions in network and information systems security. In addition to technical skills, eventual professionals will carry strong ethics when working with personal data. This can also open the door for further education with a Master’s degree in a similar discipline.
As an alternative, there is an Associate degree in the Computer Science discipline with cyber security topics. This is also ideal for entry-level job preparation in a shorter time span than a Bachelor’s degree. Core topics include composition standards, college-level algebra, and statistics.
Illinois State University
The Cybersecurity major is available through the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. This offers a general overview of how to protect organizational data through security measures and policy implementation. This includes sensitive data for workers and clients.
Core subjects in the major include technical writing, information assurance fundamentals, and penetration testing. Performing penetration testing ensures the quality of security measures that are in place by the organization. There is some customization to the curriculum, including software or hardware emphasis and various programming skills.
Students do not need to add a minor to their curriculum if they pursue the Cybersecurity major. 42 credit hours must be dedicated to the 200 or 300-course level. The Discrete Mathematics course is required to complete the program.
At least one course is required in various general education topics. This includes fine arts, humanities, social sciences, and United States traditions. Quantitative reasoning looks at numerical data that is used to solve security issues or influence regulation improvements.
Graduate Programs in Forensic Cyber Security
Master’s degrees and Doctorate of Philosophy programs feature cyber security education. These offer advanced skills in protecting information systems and building the architecture with security principles in place. Potential careers are wide-ranging and in demand, creating high-paying opportunities for engineers, administrators, and executives.
Around two years are needed to complete a Master’s degree, and this ranges from four to seven years for a PhD. Students already holding an undergraduate program in cyber security or a related computer science discipline may be eligible to add a Master’s degree for an additional year.
University of California-Berkeley
Available online, the Master of Information and Cybersecurity blends together live and on-demand course features. Students attend lectures through videoconferencing on a weekly basis. Additional coursework and assignments are available at any time to complete.
Core subject matter goes into an overview of cyber security and how it can protect organizations. Students learn how unauthorized intrusions poke through vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the framework of software programming and networking. This is also applicable to an organization’s information system and distribution methods.
27 total credit hours are needed to fulfill all curriculum requirements. This requires an average of 20 months to complete. Students must attend an on-campus residency on campus or an approved alternative.
Admission requires transcripts, professional resume, recommendations, and a personal statement. GRE or GMAT scores are accepted for consideration, but not required. Careers to consider with this degree include network architecture, software development, and information systems maintenance.
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity is offered both online and on-campus. The latter version requires 30 total credit hours in the curriculum. Typically, students can complete the degree in one and a half to two years of study.
Half of the curriculum features required courses that provide a general overview of computer and internet security. Technical skills span across nine credit hours worth of courses, including wireless network security and cryptography. The remaining six credit hours are electives that may be technical or nontechnical.
Examinations are given out after all main courses are completed. All examinations require at least a B- grade or higher to satisfy curriculum requirements. Full-time or part-time enrollment is offered in the program, but it must be completed in a span of four years.
Admission requirements include holding an undergraduate degree and submitting transcripts. Other needs include multiple letters of recommendation and GRE scores. Professional resume and 500-word personal statement should detail accomplishments in the field.
Top Courses in Forensic Cyber Security
Examine security measures and potential vulnerability issues with intrusion detection. Students understand how to mitigate damage due to unauthorized access and perform disaster recovery efforts. May go into theory and analysis of how to eliminate potential threats in the future.
Focuses on applications and how these can lead to vulnerabilities within an organization’s network. In many cases, incompatible or out-of-date software presents problems that leads to stability issues within information systems. These courses may also look at specific applications and tools used to help servers and transmission of data.
It is important that the network architecture features the latest technology and innovation to eliminate potential vulnerability. May dive into differences between architecture in small and enterprise-level systems, and how this process works internally and through a third party.
One of the techniques to protect sensitive information is to add cryptography when it is being transmitted online. When unauthorized access occurs, criminals do not have the key or other abilities to decipher information. Courses look into different types of cryptography and latest innovations in the field.
Viruses, trojans, and ransomware are examples of malware that can impact individuals and businesses. These are malicious programs that steal, delete, and/or damage important information. Students learn what the differences are between them and how to identify potential threats.
Wireless Network Security
Explores digital transmission of information through wireless technology. Topics frequently include the ability to set this up in an organization and how data can be intercepted in this process. Also, what security measures need to be in place to prevent hacking from taking place.
The process of examining digital crime that has taken place within a system. This could be identifying evidence from a cyber attack and tracing down the culprit. May also feature how to store evidence properly to avoid damage or corruption prior to a court of law.
Fundamental course of the duties and skills that an auditor requires when reviewing information systems. Often provides a broad overview of what is analyzed at an organization, which includes software and procedures. Auditors determine any vulnerabilities and make recommendations to what may be upgraded or any process changes.
Fundamentals of Information Assurance
While this term is interchanged with cyber security frequently, information assurance looks at security for both physical and digital data. This process reviews prior attacks and implements policy to prevent them from happening in the future. Cyber security can be looked at as a subcategory of information assurance and why some disciplines are labeled as “Information Assurance.”
Law and Policy
Students explore theory and application of regulation that is developed to help protect digital information. May look into the government’s role and what rules organizations must follow. Impacts of current regulations that may restrict proper security for a particular organization.
What Can You Do With a Forensic Cyber Security Degree?
Cyber forensics analysts blend concepts of forensic science and cyber security into one profession. They understand the architecture and security measures in place to identify criminal actions. In addition, analysts discover how these intrusions take place and perform any extraction and preparation of evidence.
These analysts will often prepare documentation and reports from their investigation process. They must understand the litigation process and be well-versed in regulations. When storing digital evidence, they must ensure that files are not corrupted or damaged to impact court cases.
According to Salary.com, the average pay for cyber forensics analysts is at $75,435 annually. This jumps to approximately $92,444 on average within the top 10 percent of professionals. A Bachelor’s degree and a few years of information technology experience is needed prior to entering most forensic analyst positions.
Information security analysts are a popular profession amongst cyber security professionals. Duties often include contributing to forensic investigations. This is due to their role in monitoring organizational systems and implementing the security software and hardware.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a quarter of security analysts are part of computer systems design. At least a Bachelor’s degree is needed to break into this particular profession. Based on 2019 estimates, the average analyst makes approximately $99,730 annually.
Breaking salary down across the country, the highest-paying opportunities are in the states of New York, California, and Virginia. Estimates are between $114,000 o $122,000 for average salary in these states. Both Virginia and Washington DC represent the highest concentration of options in the field.
Information security analysts have higher-paying salaries due to the rise in demand with the reliance of sensitive data being stored digitally. The job market is expected to grow by 31 percent between 2019-29. This is 20 percent higher than the comparable 11 percent for related computer occupations.
Forensic cyber security degrees are not limited to these professions. Outside of the box, it is important to consider security features in software development. This improves stability in programming and identifies potential exploits when reviewing code.
Cyber security consultants are also very popular for helping businesses implement security measures. They work with executives and management to install updated solutions that are compatible with their existing information systems. Often, they suggest recommendations as new hardware and software is needed to stay protected.
Along the consulting angle, third-party companies may help shift an organization to a cloud-based solution. This is ideal for small businesses that do not have the capability to host their own servers. Based on the cloud system selected, organizations may not have to worry about security measures themselves.