Top 10 Information Systems Security Degrees Online (Bachelor’s) 2018

If you’re looking to online information systems security degrees it might at first seem there aren’t many out there. Degrees in information systems are becoming more and more specific. Many universities have begun to split the more general programs of IT and information systems into more and targeted degrees. So many of the programs in our ranking of the top degrees in information systems security aren’t necessarily called information systems security. But all of the online degrees ranked here do teach the methods and techniques necessary to secure information systems. As technology advances and becomes ever more integrated into our lives, information systems security becomes more crucial along with that advancement. The field of cybersecurity is growing, and considering you can’t go a year without seeing some major data breach in the news, it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. You can find information on our methodology and some answers to common questions at the bottom of this ranking of the top ten online information security degrees.

#1. Pennsylvania State University

B.S. in Security and Risk Analysis–Information Cyber Security Option

Rating: 20

Penn State-Top Information Systems Security Degrees Online

Lots of career opps with this online information systems security degree.


Penn State University ranks #52 among national universities, and Penn State World Campus, which delivers this program, is ranked #8 for best online bachelor’s programs. This program is designed for the student who wants to work as an applications security specialist, network security specialist, information security analyst, economic crime analyst, cyber-intelligence analyst, computer system auditor, or counterintelligence and counterterrorism threat analyst.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $421,000
  • Graduation Rate: 86%
  • Accolades: 4
  • Standout Features: 1
  • Tuition: $14,301

#2. Central Washington University

B.A.S. in Information Technology and Administrative Management with Cyber Security Emphasis

Central Washington University-Best Online Information Security Degrees

Consider CWU for a cyber security emphasis in your online bachelor’s.

Rating: 10


Central Washington University offers a bachelor of applied science in information technology and administrative management with an emphasis in cyber security. Students in the cyber security specialization will take courses like digital forensics, cybercrime, computer networks, cyber attack/defense, and IT risk management. One of the benefits of this program is that it accepts any applied/technical degree, even those that typically aren’t transferable. Central Washington University is ranked #45 in regional universities west, and #45 in best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News and World Report.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $330,000
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Accolades: 3
  • Tuition: $9,055.50

#3. Azusa Pacific University

Bachelor’s in Information Systems Cyber Security

Azusa Pacific-Best Online Information Systems Security Degrees

Azusa offers a decent tuition rate for their online information systems security degree.

Rating: 9


Cyber security is just one of five emphases offered by Azusa Pacific’s information systems online bachelor degree. The cyber security emphasis includes courses like ethical hacking, digital forensics, information security and compliance, enterprise risk management, and business information systems and ethics. Azusa Pacific is ranked #187 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $211,000
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Accolades: 2
  • Tuition: $12,750

#4. Immaculata University

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

Immaculata-Best Online ISS Degrees

Look at the career paths possible with Immaculata’s information systems security online degree.

Rating: 9


Immaculata University is ranked #165 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report. The online cybersecurity degree offers students courses in security governance, open source intelligence, hi-technology crime, cyber war and cyber peace, defense in depth, software design and programming, networks and infrastructure, fundamentals of discrete mathematics, group and organizational behavior, and vulnerability assessment and penetration testing.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $314,000
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Accolades: 1
  • Tuition: $35,210

#5. Saint Leo University

B.S. in Cyber Security

Saint Leo-Best Online Information Systems Security Degrees

Saint Leo’s online information systems security students have found quality internships.

Rating: 8


Saint Leo offers an online cybersecurity degree with a specialization in information assurance. Students at Saint Leo have interned with Verizon, Tech Data Corporation, and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department. Saint Leo University is ranked #59 in best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News and World Report and #61 in regional universities south. Students will take classes like network defense, penetration testing, principles of cybersecurity, computer forensics, system security, disaster recovery, and homeland defense.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $273,000
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Accolades: 3
  • Standout Features: 1
  • Tuition: $21,440

#6. Lewis University

B.S. in Information Security and Risk Management

Lewis University-Top ISS Degrees Online

Lewis’ ISS degree online presents many career possibilities.

Rating: 8


The online information security and risk management degree at Lewis University prepares students for important industry certificates like security+, certified information systems security professional, certified ethical hacker, certified information systems auditor, certified information security manager, and AccessData certified forensics examiner. A graduate from the program will be eligible for jobs like information security analyst, IT security project manager, information technology analyst, computer forensics investigator, information security engineer, and information security risk analyst. Lewis is ranked #23 in regional universities Midwest by U.S. News.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $210,000
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Accolades: 1
  • Tuition: $30,050

#7. Champlain College

B.S. in Information Systems-Digital Forensics

Champlain College-Digital Forensics Degree Online

Online digital forensics at Champlain is a very affordable degree path.

Rating: 7


Champlain College offers multiple options for those interested in digital security careers. The information systems degree offers a certification in computer forensics. There is also a bachelor’s in computer forensics and digital investigation, and a bachelor’s in cybersecurity. The bachelor’s in information systems with a certificate in forensics includes courses in anti-forensics and network forensics, operating system forensics, mobile forensics, white collar crime, cybercrime and file forensics. U.S. News and World Report ranks Champlain as #91 in regional universities north, and #148 in best online bachelor’s programs.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $152,000
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Accolades: 2
  • Standout Features: 1
  • Tuition: $7,680

#8. University of Nebraska at Omaha

B.S. in Management Information Systems

University of Nebraska-Management Information Systems Degree Online

This is a highly ranked MIS online degree worth a good look.

Rating: 7


The University of Nebraska at Omaha is ranked #24 in best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News and ranked among the top 300 national universities. This online management information systems degree comes with five concentrations, one of which is information assurance. Students in the information assurance concentration will take courses like information technology ethics, security administration-linux, security administration-windows, foundations of information assurance, computer security management, and business data communications.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $262,000
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Accolades: 3
  • Tuition: $19,124

#9. University of Illinois at Springfield

B.S. in Information Systems Security

University of Illinois at Springfield-Online ISS Degree

U of I at Springfield makes it into our top 10 online ISS degree programs for 2018.

Rating: 6


The University of Illinois at Springfield is ranked #54 in best online bachelor’s programs, and #64 in regional universities midwest by U.S. News and World Report. The University of Illinois at Springfield is a partner in the NSF Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA). The curriculum of the online degree in information systems security is certified by the CSSIA, and the computer science department at the university has been designated a national center of excellence in information assurance education by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $148,000
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Accolades: 3
  • Standout Features: 2

#10. Dakota State University

B.S. in Network and Security Administration

Dakota State-Network and Security Administration Online Degree

DSU has a very affordable information systems security degree online offering.

Rating: 5


Dakota State University is ranked #118 in regional universities midwest by U.S. News and World Report. Students in the network and security administration program will take courses like information security management, security fundamentals, linux/unix administration, defensive network security, scripting for network administrators, computer forensics fundamentals, offensive network security, and web software security. All students will have the opportunity to engage in either an internship or undergraduate research project.

  • 20 Year Net ROI: $272,000
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Accolades: 1
  • Tuition: $11,054

What does an information security professional do?

Information security is an umbrella term. Any technology professional responsible for securing information against breaches, or investigating breaches, is in information security. But there are a lot of roles, and the degrees in our ranking reflect this. Some degrees come at the problem from a computer science perspective, focusing on proper design of security protocols, proper implementation of encryption, and generally hardening the code to attacks. Others focus more on the strategic and human side of the equation. Security technology is good enough these days that many attackers focus on compromising the human element of their targets. Professionals concerned with this focus their attention on human/computer interaction. Then there are the investigators. Digital forensics specialists are the people you call after the breach. They focus on figuring out what information was compromised, and trying to catch the attackers after the fact. These are just three basic areas of information security, and even these have their own specializations.

Information Systems vs. Information Technology

Information Technology falls under the umbrella of information systems. Information technology concerns all computer-based information systems. Information systems generally can refer to computer-based or other systems of storage and transfer of information, though more and more it is almost impossible to separate computing technology from the storage and transfer of data. Information systems encompasses both the human and technological aspects of information systems. So information technology professionals are information systems professionals who concern themselves with the design, implementation, and administration of information technology. Cybersecurity, information systems security, digital forensics, and information technology are all part of the information systems ecosystem.

How to Fund Your Online Information Systems Security Degree

Paying for your online bachelor’s degree is exactly the same as paying for a traditional degree. Federal grants and student loans obtained through a FAFSA application are still the gold standard for paying for your bachelor’s degree, whether online or in-person.

Many community colleges are local and have quality programs in IT and information security. So one of the cheapest ways to attend college is to attend a community college near you first, and then transfer to the four-year school of your choice. Most community colleges are so cheap their tuition is covered by just one or two federal grants, meaning attending community college can reduce your student debt by half.

As long as you are attending a regionally accredited university online, you should be eligible for all the same grants and subsidized loans as traditional students. FAFSA should be the first place you turn when looking to fund your education. Financial aid can help you pay for supplies and living expenses even if you don’t live in dorms on campus. If you enroll in a school in your state, remember to explore the state-level resources as many states offer scholarships for citizens who attend college in-state. Scholarships and grants from your state are a valuable resource. If you did well in community college and have a good GPA, make sure you investigate merit-based scholarships that might also be available. Your school’s financial aid office should have some great resources to help you research your options.

Job Statistics and Information

The bureau of labor statistics puts the median pay of information security analysts at $92,600 per year with just a bachelor’s degree. Most information security analysts work for computer companies, consulting firms, and any company doing business online. The job is projected to grow 28% (much faster than average), adding approximately 28,400 jobs to the market between 2016 and 2026.

If you have management in your sights, computer and information systems manager median salary is $135,000 per year. Network systems administrators make $79,000, and database administrators make $84,000. So not only does information security pay well, but you will have high-paying options in many areas of the field.

Sources and Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics

National Center for Education Statistics (tuition and graduation rate)


Payscale (return on investment information).

U.S. News and World Report (national rankings)


20 yr net ROI

  • $100,000=1 Point
  • $150,000=2 Points
  • $200,000=3 Points
  • $250,000=4 Points
  • $300,000=5 Points
  • $350,000=6 Points
  • $400,000=7 Points
  • $500,000=8 Points

Graduation Rate

  • 55%=2 Points
  • 60%=3 Points
  • 65%=4 Points
  • 70%=5 Points
  • 75%=6 Points
  • 80%=7 Points
  • 85%=8 Points
  • 90%=9 Points


Points were awarded based on praise the school receives from reputable ranking organizations like Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, or the Financial Times.

Standout Features

Points may be awarded in this category for any particularly exceptional features or designations the program might have. This includes accreditation beyond the required regional accreditation and program features that go above and beyond those offered by the average program of its kind.

CSDH Staff
January 2018

This concludes our ranking of the best online information systems security degree programs for 2018.