A PhD in cybersecurity isn’t for everyone. But if you want to move into a high-level research position within government agencies or academic institutions, it is a good degree to get.
This article discusses how a PhD cybersecurity online degree can help leverage your career. If you’re thinking about a leadership role in strategic innovation or want to conduct research in government or academia, read on. Here you’ll find the 5 most affordable PhD in Cybersecurity online degree programs.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a unique field. It focuses on protecting computer and information systems and keeping them safe. You can break down the field into three major categories.
- Cloud security
- Network security
- Physical security
Cybersecurity professionals analyze, build, and test computer and information systems. They also keep data safe. They prevent external attacks and thwart efforts made by hackers to breach online security systems. They spend much of their time fixing weaknesses before attackers find them.
The top computer and information systems security experts have doctorate degrees. A PhD cybersecurity online degree arms you with the knowledge and skills needed to be on the frontier of policy and research in this unique field.
Most Affordable PhD Cyber Security Online Degree
Read on to find out which PhD in cyber security online can help you achieve your career and education goals.
1. Dakota State University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Defense
Dakota State University offers an affordable doctorate in cyber security online. Graduate students can earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Defense through online learning.
The program is open to anyone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a computer science or related discipline. Disciplines include:
- Computer science
- Cyber defense
- Cybersecurity management
- Homeland security
- Information security
- Information technology
While the online PhD cybersecurity program consists of online courses, there is an annual residency rule. The residency includes three research seminars. Students enrolled in the online ph.d program must attend these on site research seminars. But, the rest of your courses you can take online. These online ph.d in information security and cybersecurity courses cover topics such as:
- Compliance and audit
- Ethics and information technology
- Wireless security
Tuition: $470.45/credit, $28,697.45 (est. program cost)
2. Colorado Technical University
Online Doctor of Computer Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
Colorado Technical University is a good school for a doctorate cybersecurity online degree. You can earn a Doctor of Computer Science with specializations in cybersecurity and information assurance.
The school and its cybersecurity program has received recognition as a national center for academic excellence by the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
While enrolled in the online ph.D program, students take courses that cover a wide range of research and security topics. Courses include:
- Enterprise security architecture
- Enterprise tools
- Information assurance
- Security management
You take most courses online, but there are some in-person symposium experiences. The program is flexible. It offers many start dates throughout the year so you can jump in at any time and begin your degree. The program takes about three years to complete.
Tuition: $598/credit, $59,800 (total tuition cost)
3. Northcentral University
Online PhD in Cybersecurity
Northcentral University is an affordable school for an online PhD in cybersecurity. It offers an online ph.d with a specialization in cybersecurity.
The degree and specialization prepare students for technology leadership roles in government and private organizations. The program teaches students how to stay one step ahead of security breaches and threats.
As a cybersecurity PhD online student, you take courses that cover topics in cyber operations and information security. You learn how to examine theories of ethics and risk management. You also study how to form strategies for technology and innovation management. You graduate prepared to handle security risks and establish information security for data-driven systems.
The online doctorate takes about 50 months to complete.
Tuition: $1,094/credit, $68,365 (est. tuition cost)
4. Marymount University
Doctorate in Cybersecurity
Marymount University is a good school for an online cybersecurity PhD. Its online programs include the Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity.
The program is for students seeking high-level leadership roles in cybersecurity and computer and information systems security. You take most courses online, though some hybrid and in-person classes are part of the program.
Students study cyber threat intelligence and learn how to manage cybersecurity risk. You take courses that cover topics like:
- Applied research in cybersecurity
- Digital systems security
- Information assurance research literature
- Information security research
- Information technology security
- Malware analysis
- Quantitative research methods
Students graduate prepared to go to work in a leadership position within a government agency or in private practice. Graduates of the online doctor program have taken roles as chief information security officers and chief technology officers.
5. Nova Southeastern University
Online PhD Cyber Security Management
Nova Southeastern University offers cyber security PhD degrees online. Students can earn a PhD in Cybersecurity Management.
The program has received recognition as a national center of academic excellence in information assurance education by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It prepares students for leadership positions in:
- Academia (higher education)
Online doctorate students complete at least 51 credits (MS to PhD) or up to 66 credits (BA/BS to PhD). Both pathways include coursework, research methods, and a dissertation. Affordable online courses cover topics in:
- Analytics and business intelligence
- Computer and information systems security
- Cyber operations and network security
- Data mining
- Enterprise security risk management
- Informations systems security
Tuition: $1,346/credit hour, $68,646 (est. tuition cost)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with a Ph.D. in Cybersecurity?
Professionals with a PhD in cybersecurity tend to focus on research. They find careers as computer information systems and security professors. They also go to work with private companies and government agencies.
Top level information assurance companies hire online doctoral degree holders. They hire professors and researchers. Major telecom corporations like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, and Verizon look for researchers to conduct cutting edge research. Their job is to make their network as secure as possible.
DARPA, the Department of Defense, NSA, CIA, and all branches of the military also hire cybersecurity researchers as consultants and employees. They hire experts in computer information systems and security and information assurance.
Colleges and universities, such as Capitol Technology University, hire individuals with information systems security degrees. The point is that there are many different jobs you can take after earning an affordable online PhD. But some top research positions want candidates with up to seven years experience. They want information assurance and cybersecurity professionals with knowledge management and expertise.
The online PhD in Cybersecurity is a late-career degree that can help you transition into a top research and development role.
What courses will I take in a cyber security PhD online program?
Affordable online ph.d. programs in cybersecurity explore advanced topics in the field. The courses vary depending on the program, but you can expect to study computer information systems and security. Common course topics include:
- Advanced risk management
- Computer information systems security
- Data analytics
- Database systems
- Information assurance
- Information security
- Professional research theory
Some cyber security phd programs online also require leadership and communication courses. You can take civil security leadership, while learning how internet security professionals handle threats and attacks. Other courses you can find in an affordable online computer or cybersecurity PhD program include human computer interaction and enterprise risk management. Ethics is another common course. Plan on taking legal and ethical practices in your online ph.d or online doctorate program.
You will also complete a research project or dissertation. Requirements depend on what your program demands.
What is the career outlook for Cybersecurity Ph.D. holders?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for computer and information research scientists is 21%. With 33,500 jobs in the current market, that’s a projected growth of 7,100 jobs between 2021 and 2031. This is a much faster growth than the average for all other occupations, even those in information security.
Why the strong growth in jobs?
Many openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire or transfer to different jobs. But growth will also result from an increase in research and development efforts. Demand for new technology and information assurance increases. With this growth comes a need for more information systems experts.
Government agencies and private organizations will hire more information technology and information security professionals. The industry needs experts with computer information systems security degrees. These include:
- Computer information systems experts
- Data information systems managers
- Faculty members
- Information systems managers
Why choose accredited online programs in information systems and security?
Every school featured on our list meets accreditation requirements. Many of these schools also offer accredited cybersecurity programs. Accredited programs have an added value.
In cybersecurity, the highest recognition comes from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These two agencies name certain cybersecurity programs as national center of academic excellence in information assurance education. This recognition means the program meets standards that ensure its value in the cybersecurity field.
If you’re looking for an affordable online ph.d program, your school search should include programs with this recognition. You can also look for the colleges and schools commission stamp of approval. This recognition helps students planning for careers in government agencies or an international secure systems lab.
How do I finance my Cybersecurity Ph.D.?
There are three ways to finance an online cybersecurity Ph.D. degree. The first one is through financial aid programs such as federal grants and loans. There is less aid available from FAFSA for online doctorate (doctoral degree) programs. But if your school offers grants, you can save a lot of money.
Another option for financing a doctoral degree is teaching students. Many universities hire graduate students to teach. In some cases, you can earn credits while working as a teaching assistant or instructor. Look for courses that align with your degree. These higher education subjects can include:
- Computer information systems
- Computer networks security
- Computer science
- Cyber defense education
- Cyber security
- Cyber threats in business administration
- Disaster recovery efforts
- Security risk analysis
Another way to finance your online ph.d in cybersecurity or computer information systems and security is employer reimbursement. Some employers invest in the growth and development of their employees. But they don’t always advertise this benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if there is a continuing education benefit available to you.
You can pay out of pocket if you have no other options. But check with financial aid from FAFSA and other funding sources first.
Is online learning right for me?
Online learning is a convenient way to earn an online doctor degree (online doctorate). But it’s not for everyone. If you work full-time, earning your degree online can help you keep your work life balanced. While online doctor degrees do exist, they aren’t common. So, there are few to choose from.
But if you’ve decided to go after your online cybersecurity PhD, you should ask yourself some questions before you move forward.
- Are you the type of person who can learn by watching videos?
- Are you comfortable taking tests online?
- Are you self-motivated and disciplined?
- Can you handle not having any face-to-face interaction with your professors and fellow students?
Online education is a powerful option, but it’s not ideal for all students. But on the flip side, most Ph.D. students are self-driven, motivated learners. This makes online learning suitable for them.
If you are unsure about enrolling in an online program, there are free online college courses from trusted partner programs. Think of services like Coursera or another advertising supported site. It might be a good idea to try out one of these free courses to test the waters and see if an online format feels like a good fit.
Do I have to major in cybersecurity to work in the field?
The short answer is no. You don’t have to major in cybersecurity, but you need to take classes that relate to the discipline. There are many different majors that can lead to a career in cybersecurity or homeland security. Different areas current and former professionals have majored include:
- Computer information systems
- Computer science program
- Database systems
- Information systems and security
- Innovation management
- Network security advances
Other schools that offer an online ph.d in information security or cybersecurity:
- Capitol Technology University
- Other Southern Association accredited schools
This concludes our article on affordable online cybersecurity PhD programs.
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