The 50 Best Universities for Cyber Security and Information Assurance
Cybersecurity and information assurance are among the most important challenges of the 21st century. How do individuals and organizations protect their valuable data? How do government agencies keep classified information classified? The issue ranges across everything from bank statements to voting booths. The digital revolution has brought numerous opportunities as well as unprecedented risks.
Needless to say, cyber professionals are in nearly record high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Systems Manager jobs are expected to grow 12% over the next decade; Information Security Analyst jobs are expected to skyrocket 28% (or about four times the national average). Each role earns a salary in the six-figure range, but the most telling statistic is 0% — i.e., the projected unemployment rate for cybersecurity professionals for the foreseeable future. Not only is the job market in high demand, it’s also suffering a massive talent shortage.
Fortunately, colleges and universities are leading the effort to catch up. Undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs for cybersecurity have become standard offerings, and the US is home to many of the best cybersecurity centers in the world. How to choose? We’ve got you covered. Below are our ranked fifty best universities for cybersecurity in the US, all of which are NSA-designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. So whether you’re an experienced professional looking for a master’s or an aspiring student looking for a bachelor’s, keep reading to find the best cybersecurity program for your needs.
1) University of Southern California
Founded in 1880, USC is a private research institution with an enrollment of 44,000, the majority of which consists of graduate students. USA Today, The Princeton Review, Forbes, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities rank it among the best schools in the country. U.S. News ranks USC in the top 25 nationally, highlighting overall value, veteran services, and innovation in education. The 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio is exceptional, especially for its size, and helps to combine the resources of large research university with the small, personalized classes of a liberal arts school. Sixty percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. Additional benefits include online education, placement and employment services, and academic and career counseling opportunities.
USC’s Center for Computer Systems Security offer both undergraduate and graduate coursework, including programs in Computer Science, Systems and Software Engineering, Information Sciences, Electrical Engineering, and Information Technology. The center’s distinguished faculty features nationally recognized academics and professional experts in cybersecurity. In particular, the CCSS works closely with DETER, a general-purpose cybersecurity project which performs tests and experimentation to emulate real-world cyber risks and attacks, and CCSS students specializing or interested in cybersecurity have full access to the project. All programs emphasize practical, hands-on learning, and students are encouraged to pursue out-of-classroom experiences to enrich courses of study.
2) Johns Hopkins University
Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is a private institution with a total enrollment of 24,000. As a founding member of the Association of American Universities, Hopkins is recognized as one of the most prestigious universities in the world by Forbes, Times Higher Education World University Rankings,Princeton Review, and US News, which also highlight’s the university’s affordability. The 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio is as good as it gets, supporting tailored instruction and a tight-knit educational community. Over 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Additional benefits include distance education, weekend and evening classes, dual credits, placement services, and career and academic counseling.
John Hopkins’s Whiting School of Engineering offers multidisciplinary graduate-level coursework in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology, and Management and Policy, as well as core infosec courses in Security and Privacy, Cryptography, Computer Forensics, Software Vulnerability Analysis, Intrusion Detection, Cloud Security, Rights in the Digital Age, and Financial Issues in Managing a Secure Operation. Whiting’s flagship program is the MS in Security Informatics, an immersive degree track that students can complete in as little as three semesters. For those interested in additional coursework, Hopkins offers a PhD track with research areas in Health and Medical Security and Cryptography & Privacy. In addition to world-class faculty, students also benefit from JHU’s professional network, which includes federal agencies, key R&D institutions, and diverse industrial sectors.
- Other Highlights
- Hosts the Annual Cybersecurity Conference for Executives.
- Scholarship partnerships with the National Science Foundation CyberCorps and Department of Defense Information Assurance.
3) Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University, founded in 1900, is a private institution with a total enrollment of about 14,000, as well as an active alumni network of over 100,000. Widely considered one of the premier schools in the country, US News ranks Carnegie Mellon in the top 25, with additional high marks for overall value and veteran services (7th). With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, CMU combines a tight-knit learning community with collaborative instruction. Nearly 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and Carnegie Mellon offers placement services, online education opportunities, and academic and career counseling.
Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute is a global research leader in the field, with over 300 faculty and graduate students, 20 corporate partnerships, 50 courses in security and privacy, and 4 “World Series of Hacking” victories. As part of its outreach programs, Cyblab has trained over 75,000 people in security and privacy. Nine master’s degrees are offered, including in Information Security, Information Technology, Information Networking, and Security Policy and Management. PhD tracks include Human-Computer Interaction, Machine Learning, Computer Science, and Societal Computing, among others. Available coursework runs the gamut of modern cybersecurity, integrating the discipline alongside studies in engineering, computer science, public policy, and business.
- Other Highlights
- Partnered with 3M, Facebook, Symantec, Siemens, Aetna, LG Electronics, and more.
4) Georgetown University
Founded in 1789, Georgetown University in Washington, DC, is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the country with a total enrollment of about 19,000. Forbes, Washington Monthly, and The Fiske Guide to Colleges all rank Georgetown among the best US colleges and universities, and US News highlights overall value (26th) and military vet services (4th). With an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes promote tailored, individualized instruction and a tight-knit learning community. Further, Georgetown offers online education, weekend and evening classes, placement services, and financial aid programs that grant 40% of full-time undergrads a full ride.
Georgetown’s Institute for Law, Science and Global Security hosts a unique Cyber Project, covering a wide range of intersectional disciplines and specializations, including Cybersecurity Law and Policy, Technology Solutions, Cyber Deterrence, Supply Chain Security, Cyberwarfare, and Information Sharing. Government-related coursework includes International Law, International Organization, International Law & US Foreign Policy, Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law, and Multipolarity & Arms Control, among others. The Institute is also home to an annual cybersecurity conference which attracts some of the world’s leading infosec experts to discuss the present and future state of the industry, particularly from an international relations perspective.
5) United States Military Academy
Founded in 1802, United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, is the country’s first service academy. US News ranks West Point #1 among public schools in the country, #2 among high school counselor rankings, and #12 among national liberal arts colleges. With a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio, West Point provides a uniquely intimate educational environment that combines tailored instruction, collaborative learning, and world-class resources. Nearly all classes have fewer than 20 students, and tuition, room, board, medical and dental care are covered by the US Army.
West Point’s Cyber Research Center is located within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Core courses include Information Assurance, Information Warfare and Forensics, and additional coursework is available in Software Systems Design, Computing and Information Technology, Information Technology for Military Applications, Cryptography, and Networked Systems Administration. Capstone projects provide cyber students with hands-on experience. The staff is made up of civilians and five field grade officers, including the Director, with at least 15 years of service and graduate degrees in Computer Science. In particular, CRC research spans Information Operations/Information Assurance, Information Technology, and Education. The National Security Agency, Army IA Directorate, FBI, NRO, and Air Force Labs are sponsors of the center.
6) United States Air Force Academy
Founded in 1954, United States Air Force Academy is a public institution with a total enrollment of about 4,300. US News places Air Force on three best-of lists: #3 Top Public Schools, #2 High School Counselor Rankings, and #26 National Liberal Arts Colleges. With a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Air Force fosters a highly collaborative, immersive education, founded on academic, military, and athletic excellence. Nearly 70% of classes have less than 20 cadets, and all tuition and associated costs are covered.
The Air Force’s Academy Center for Cyberspace Research (ACCR) performs basic and applied cybersecurity research “to advance warfighting and industry capabilities within the field of Computer and Cyber Sciences in support of the Air Force, Department of Defense (DoD) and other government and commercial sponsors.” Research focus areas are System Security Analysis, Immersive Environments, Artificial intelligence & Autonomy, and Business Process Automation. Among the world-class list of resources include access to cyber experts, extensive resourcing on projects (between $300-400K per year), augmented/virtual reality technology, and more. Cadets’ capstone programs are year-long inter-departmental projects, and a summer research program includes hands-on work with industry and government partners.
- Other Highlights
- Partnered with National Reconnaissance Office, U.S. Northern Command, CyberWorx, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Transportation Command, Twenty-Fourth Air Force, National Security Agency, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and commercial organizations.
- Recently completed projects include jam resistant radios, data exfiltration weaponeering, provably secure DNS, Red Team assessments, and ICS/SCADA threat detection.
7) Boston University
Founded in 1839, Boston University has a total enrollment of 32,200, making it one of the largest private schools in the country, with students from all 50 states and 133 countries. Newsweek, Times Higher Education, US News, Forbes, and Washington Monthly also rank Boston one of the top universities in the country. US News points out a bang-for-your-buck factor: 36% of full-time students receive some form of financial aid, and the average percent of need met is 88%. Considering its size, Boston’s 12:1 student-to-faculty is unique, allowing for a combination of small classes and world-class resources. Nearly 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students and just 14% have 50.
BU’s Center for Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security mission is to promote system reliability and information security through a multidisciplinary approach, combining secure computations, engineering, economics, ethics, and law. At least four master’s degrees with cybersecurity specializations are available: Computer Science (2), Computer Engineering, and Computer Information Systems. Ranked among the top five IT schools in the country, each program is available fully on-campus or in a hybrid delivery format with select online coursework for maximum flexibility. Over 100 students and 22 faculty study and research at the RISC, with ongoing projects in cryptology, network and software security, software safety, data base security, secure file sharing, and more.
8) Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology, founded in 1870, is a private research-intensive school in New York with a total enrollment of 6,300, evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students. US News ranks SIT among the best value schools in the country, a top 70 national university, and 75th on high school counselor rankings. In particular, the university is known for its engineering, science, and management programs, as well as entrepreneurial initiatives. The 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters an intimate educational community, and 40% percent of classes have fewer than 20 students and only 9 percent have 50.
Stevens’s Center for the Advancement of Secure Systems and Information Assurance focuses on six goals: basic and applied research in secure, dependable, and sustainable computing and communications systems; information assurance and cybersecurity; the cultural effect of innovative technologies; education of professionals and non-technical users; and public-private partnerships. In addition to a bachelor’s in Cybersecurity, Stevens offers master’s degrees in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Security and Risk Management, Networked Information Systems, and related disciplines. Doctoral candidates can pursue CS and CE tracks. A half-dozen graduate certificates are also available.
- Other Highlights
- Recent research initiatives include Mobile App Security Research, Cybersecurity in a Post-Quantum World, Enhancing Battlefield Wireless Security, Innovation Advances Wireless Networks, Establishing a New Internet Security Protocol, and Streamlining Defense Data
9) New York University
Founded in 1831, NYU is a private institution with a total enrollment of about 50,000. Forbes, Washington Monthly, Academic Ranking of World Universities, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and US News rank NYU among the best schools in the country. According to the Princeton Review, the university ranked 1st in America’s “Dream Schools” for four straight years. The 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes a highly collaborative, tight-knit learning atmosphere, and over 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Additional benefits include credit for life experiences, online education, placement services, and academic and career counseling.
NYU’s Center for Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary research institute and collaboration between NYU School of Law, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and other NYU schools and departments. Master’s degrees are available in Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Risk & Strategy for Executives. Doctorate tracks are offered in CS and Electrical Engineering. The center also provides a variety of scholarship opportunities for students interested in cybersecurity, including the Cybersecurity Service Scholarship, the NYU Cyber Scholars Program, the Latham & Watkins Award in Technology and Law, and scholarships and fellowships for PhD applicants in Cybersecurity. In addition to training future cybersecurity professionals, the center is dedicated to shaping public discourse and policy, and hosts numerous events throughout the year, including public and private conferences, workshops, and roundtables.
10) Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private institution with a total enrollment of 6,600. As a national leader in engineering and technology school, US News
highlights academic quality, affordability and value, and numerous individual programs. WPI’s 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports an intimate learning community, as well as individualized instruction and small classes: over 65% have fewer than 20 students, and just one in five have 50. Additional benefits include dual credits, placement services, online education opportunities, and academic and career counseling.
WPI’s Cybersecurity program offers master’s and doctoral degrees in cybersecurity specializations, as well as an online graduate certificate. With a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes faculty across engineering, computer science, social sciences, and management, Worcester’s course selection covers software security, analysis of security policies and protocols, network security, embedded system security, cyber-physical system security, cryptography, and online privacy. The institute’s research facilities are among the best in the country, and students have the opportunity to participate in specific research projects, from the Vername Group to Applied Logic and Security (privacy, network security, software engineering, software verification, security, and programming languages.) For students interested in financial aid, the National Science Foundation funds a Scholarship For Service program for cybersecurity students, covering full tuition, an annual stipend, and more.
11) Northeastern University
Northeastern University, founded in 1898, is a private research university with a total enrollment of 25,000. Northeastern has been ranked among the best schools in the country by Forbes, Princeton Review, and Bloomberg Businessweek, among other publications. US News highlights academics and overall value. Degrees are optimized for dynamic, interdisciplinary, and entrepreneurial-focused education, with an emphasis on professional development, and the university offers extensive study abroad opportunities across the world, including Scotland, South Africa, France, England, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Greece, and Antartica, among other countries. The 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a tight-knit community, and nearly 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Northeastern’s award-winning Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute is one of the leaders in applied cybersecurity and privacy research and education, comprising faculty, research scientists, students, and public and private officials. Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees are offered in Cybersecurity, and graduates have gone on to careers at Facebook, Google, Amazon, Raytheon, IBM, and the US Department of Justice and National Security Agency, among other organizations. PhD candidates can pursue a Information Assurance degree, or, for high-level professionals, Northeastern offers a variety cybersecurity workshops in areas like cyber attacks, cyber risks, liability and insurance, and case studies. Cornell University, MIT, Yale University, and Cal Berkeley are among the Institute’s academic collaborators.
12) Southern Methodist University
SMU is a private research university in Dallas, founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South. It conveys undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees through schools of Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, Arts, Education and Human Development, Theology, Business, and Law. Over 11,700 students attend SMU, which has a 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio (meaning small classes, individualized instruction, and collaborative learning opportunities). The school is regularly ranked in the top 100 universities in the country by Forbes and U.S. News & World Report, offering online education, study abroad, evening and weekend classes, and academic and career counseling.
SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security emphasizes the science, policy, application, and education of cybersecurity via basic and problem-driven, interdisciplinary research. In particular, the Institute focuses on four main research areas: Hardware and Network Security Engineering, Software and Systems Security, Economics and Social Sciences, and Policy and Law. At the undergraduate level, SMU offers multiple bachelor degrees in Computer Science as well as a BS in Computer Engineering. Master’s degrees are offered in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Security Engineering, and Software Engineering (three of which include a dual MBA option). All but Security Engineering are available on a PhD track.
13) Virginia Tech
Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech is a public research university in Blacksburg, Virginia. With a total enrollment of over 30,000, VT’s 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a vibrant, collaborative learning community that combines tailored instruction and world-class resources. VT offers a wide variety of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, in addition to post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates. In 2016, US News ranked Virginia Tech 70th among national universities and tied for 26th among public universities. Its electrical and computer engineering was ranked 15th in the nation. It has also been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and DHS.
Virginia Tech’s cybersecurity reach is extensive. On the undergraduate side, bachelor’s degrees are available in Computer Engineering with specializations in Cyber Operations and Networks and Cybersecurity. Graduate degrees are offered in Computer Science with Cybersecurity Track (MS and PhD), Computer Engineering with Cybersecurity Track (MS, MEng, and PhD), and Information Technology with Cybersecurity Tracks (MS). From there, graduate certificates, minors, and unique infosec programs and scholarships are also available. VT is also home to a half-dozen cybersecurity research centers and labs, and its faculty rank among the most distinguished scholars and researchers in the field. With expertise in Cyber-Physical System Security, Cybersecurity Policy and Governance, and Wireless Communications and Networking Security, VT funds $15M per year in research grants and contracts, and supports
150 grad students per year.
14) University of Tulsa
Founded in 1894, University of Tulsa has a total enrollment of about 4,600. US News ranks it among the best colleges and universities in the country, with additional high marks for overall value and military vet support. With an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Tulsa promotes a tight-knit educational community, with an equal focus on tailored instruction and collaborative, hands-on learning. Over 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and nearly half of students receive some form of financial aid, with an average need met of 80%. Additional benefits include online degrees, study abroad, and academic and career counseling services.
Tulsa’s Cyber Corps accepts students interested in computer science, computer engineering, chemical engineering, applied physics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering physics, or math. About 70% of Cyber Corps grads have gone on to careers at the NSA or CIA, while others are working at organizations such as the DHS, FBI, NASA and the Department of Defense. Undergraduate students are eligible for two scholarships: NSF’s Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense’s Information Assurance Scholarship Program, each of which cover tuition, room and board, and a paid summer internship in Washington, DC. At the graduate level, Tulsa offers two master’s tracks in cybersecurity as well as a PhD in Computer Science.
- Other Highlights
- Hands-on program has allowed students to work alongside US Secret Service members, FBI agents, and local police officers to solve active criminal investigations.
15) Purdue University
Purdue University, founded in 1869, has a total enrollment of 40,500, which make it the second-largest school in Indiana. Princeton Review has ranked Purdue’s alumni network of 450,000 11th in the country, and the Wall Street Journal ranks Purdue 4th in preparing students for the workforce. US News places it among the top fifty, with high grades for earnings potential, value, and veteran support. The 12:1 student-to-faculty is exceptional for a schools of its size, combining the resources of a large research university with the personalized instruction of a smaller liberal arts school. Forty percent of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than twenty percent have 50.
Purdue’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) is a worldwide leader in cyber and information security, leveraging a multidisciplinary approach to technical, ethical, economic, and other issues in the field. CERIAS focuses on six research areas in particular: Assured Identity and Privacy; End System Security; Human Centric Security; Network Security; Policy, Law, and Management; and Prevention, Detection, and Response. Graduate students can select from a wide variety of cyber tracks, including standard MS and PhD degrees as well as an Interdisciplinary Program in Information Security. CERIAS industry partners include major organizations such as Boeing, Caterpillar, Citi, Deloitte, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Intel, Northrop Grumman, and others.
- Other Highlights
- Recent news articles highlight a $6 million grant to improve IoT security, a new “Design for Security” program (in collaboration with Intel), and numerous other funding-related press releases.
16) University of Denver
Founded in 1864, University of Denver is the oldest private college in the region, with a student enrollment of about 11,800. Washington Monthly, Forbes, and US News rank Denver among the best colleges and universities in the country, with the latter highlighting its veteran services and overall value. The 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio is exceptional for a university of its size and promotes personalized and tailored instruction. Over half of classes have fewer than 20 students and just five percent have 50. Additional benefits include employment and placement services, academic and career counseling, online education, study abroad opportunities, and weekend and evening classes.
Denver offers at least five relevant study programs for cybersecurity students, including graduate certificates in IS Security and Technology Management, a course in Cloud and Internet Law, and master’s degrees in Telecommunications Technology and Information Systems Security. The latter consists of accelerated 10-week course blocks and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Core courses are ICT Business Foundations,
ICT Technical Foundations, Enterprise Architecture, and a capstone project or seminar. From there, students complete infosec studies in Web Enabled Information Systems, Principles of Information Security, Computer and Physical Security, and Network Security with Lab. Free electives allow students to customize the degree to areas of professional interest.
17) Drexel University
Founded in 1891, Drexel University is a private school in Philadelphia with a total enrollment of about 22,000, including 8,000 graduate students. US News ranks the university among the best colleges in the nation, and places it on other best-of lists for veteran services, value, and innovation in education. Its online programs are included in six US News rankings. With a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Drexel emphasizes a student-centered instructional approach, with tailored teaching and collaborative learning opportunities. Sixty percent of classes have less than 20 students and fewer than 10 percent have 50. Additional benefits include credit for life experiences, weekend and evening classes, online education, and academic and career counseling.
Drexel’s Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute conducts cutting-edge research in the field and collaborates with cybersecurity experts in government, military, and the private sector. At the undergraduate level, bachelor’s degrees are available in CS with a Computer Security concentration as well as Computing and Securing Technology. A master’s in Cybersecurity integrates coursework from both the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) in the College of Engineering (CoE) and the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI). (Specializations available in CS, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Information Systems.) PhD tracks are also available for students in advanced cybersecurity research. Current research topics at Drexel include active authentication on mobile devices; malware detection, classification, and mitigation; and network anomaly detection.
- Other Highlights
- The Drexel CyberDragons student group (open admission) meets bi-weekly to train students in practical technical cybersecurity skills.
18) George Washington University
Founded in 1821, George Washington University has a total enrollment of about 26,000, including students from 50 states and 130 countries. US News, Princeton Review, Forbes, and Washington Monthly all rank GW among the best colleges and universities in the country. The Carnegie Foundation categorizes it as Tier 1 research research school, and GW is regarded as one of the most politically active schools in the country. US News highlights GW’s overall value and military friendliness. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes are kept intimate and personal to promote individualized instruction and peer-to-peer learning. Over half of classes have fewer than 20 students.
The Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at GW bills itself as a “think and do tank,” conducting research, analysis, and policymaking in homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity issues. At the undergraduate level, GW offers a bachelor’s in Cybersecurity that combines technical, hands-on learning with collaborative learning opportunities at government agencies, private companies, and in the military. Designed for students with an associate’s or non-related bachelor’s, the program can be completed in as little as two years. Graduate students can pursue a 36-credit Master’s of Cybersecurity Strategy & Information Management that can be completed in 16 months. Other options include a MEng in Cybersecurity Policy & Compliance, online MPS degrees in Cybersecurity Strategy & Information Management and Security & Safety Leadership, or a variety of graduate certificates.
19) Pennsylvania State University
Founded in 1885, Pennsylvania State University is a public institution with a total enrollment of 48,000. Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Ed, and Washington Monthly all rank it among the best schools in the country. US News ranks Penn State among the top 50 nationally and top 15 among public schools, with additional high marks for overall value. The 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio is excellent for its size, promoting a vibrant, collaborative learning community with individualized instruction. Other benefits include credit for life experiences, online education opportunities, weekend and evening classes, and academic and career counseling services.
Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate coursework for students interested in cybersecurity. A bachelor’s in Security and Risk Analysis features studies in Networking and Telecommunications, Network Security, Computer and Cyber Forensics, and Information Security Management, in addition to elective options that allow for customization. Related majors include Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations, Information Sciences and Technology, and Data Sciences. At the graduate level, master’s and PhD students are able to build a unique curriculum according to their professional and academic goals, with a range of potential infosec tracks. Certificates for Enterprise Architecture (12 credits) and National Security Agency (28 credits) are also available.
20) University of Pittsburgh
Founded in 1787, University of Pittsburgh is among the oldest universities in the country, and as a member of the Association of American Universities, one of the most prestigious public universities in the country. Kiplinger’s and Princeton Review highlight Pitt’s affordability, and US News ranks it as a top-70 school nationally. Pitt is also in the top ten recipients of federally sponsored research funding and has nearly $1 billion in research and development expenditures per year. With a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes are kept small and intimate (40% have fewer than 20 students), allowing for tailored instruction and a tight-knit community. Numerous scholarships and grants are available, and half of all undergrads receive some form of financial aid.
The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security — also known as Pitt Cyber — is an interdisciplinary research center designed to address current issues in the field in both public and private settings. Undergraduate programs include bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science, Information Science, and Computer Information Systems and Technology, with available concentrations in Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. Graduate students have an even greater selection: master’s in Intelligent Systems, Telecommunications, and Computer Science; doctorate degrees in Library and Information Science, Information Science with a concentration in Telecommunications, and more. Recent Pitt Cyber research projects and publications cover Promoting Security in Wireless Technology, Social Media and Morality, Microgrids and Resilience, Artificial Intelligence and Legal Analytics, and Task-driven programming pedagogy in the digital humanities.
- Other Highlights
- The Institute hosts monthly cyber events across a range of topics and featuring world-renowned experts, with a recent focus on election security and cyber defense.
- The annual AFA CyberCamp prepares future cyber professionals with workshops and a final competition.
21) University of Maryland – College Park
Founded in 1856, University of Maryland – College Park is a public institution with a total enrollment just under 40,000. In addition to high rankings by Princeton Review and Forbes , US News ranks Maryland 61st in the country and 29th for veteran support services. The 17:1 student-to-faculty is top-notch for a research university of its size and supports a vibrant, collaborative educational environment. Over 45% of classes have fewer than 20 students, meaning personalized instruction, and scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available across the board. Academic and career counseling services, online education opportunities, and study abroad options are also available.
The Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) focuses on research, education, and outreach to advance tech development and infosec capacity. Using a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity, MC2 combines economics, social sciences, human-computer interaction, and engineering to study specialization areas such as cryptography, programming-language and software security, behavior and security, and cybersecurity economics. The undergraduate Honors College offers the unique Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) program, consists of a citation (15 credits) or minor (16 credits). Graduate students can pursue a MEng in Cybersecurity or MS/PhD in Computer Science/Electrical and Computer Engineering with security-focused concentrations. For those interested, a graduate certificate in Cybersecurity is available, as well.
- Other Highlights
- Corporate partners include Cisco, Cyberpoint, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, Leidos, ASD, and Northrop Grumman.
22) Syracuse University
Founded in 1870, Syracuse is a private institution with a total enrollment of about 22,000. In addition to being ranked among the top 60 schools in the country by US News, Syracuse has been cited by Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes, Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly for its overall value and veteran support. Experiential learning, interdisciplinary studies, and entrepreneurial initiatives are major emphases. Almost 90% of faculty hold terminal degrees, and many are considered leading experts in their discipline. While the campus reflects its reputation as a large research institution, the 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters an intimate classroom setting, and 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
The College of Engineering & Computer Science offers numerous cybersecurity tracks for both experienced professionals and infosec novices. While not a full bachelor’s degree, undergraduates can apply to the 18-credit undergraduate Cybersecurity Semester to learn the basics: identification and analysis of vulnerabilities, systems risk assessment, secure systems development, and more. To pick up hands-on experience, you’ll also complete an internship and leadership development requirements. Syracuse’s MS in Cybersecurity is a 30-credit degree including coursework in Computer Security, Internet Security, Assurance, Operating Systems, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, and a block of electives to tailor the track to professional interests. Finally, an online Cybersecurity program and Certificate of Advanced Study in Cybersecurity are also available if the above tracks don’t suit your needs.
23) Howard University
Howard University, founded in 1867, is a private institution with a total enrollment of 9,000. Bloomberg Businesweek and Princeton Review rank it among the best schools in the country, and US News places it on a half-dozen best-of lists, including 2nd among HBCUs. The 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio translates to small class sizes (over half with less than 20s students), personalized instruction, and a tight-knit, collaborative learning community. Nearly 80% of full-time undergraduates receive financial aid, and numerous scholarship and grants are available across the board. Additional benefits include academic and career counseling, study abroad offers, online programs, and military support services.
Howard’s Data Science and Cybersecurity Center is designed to promote faculty research and student learning in cybersecurity tech innovation, ranging from cyber-event forecasting and threat intelligence to cyber resiliency, defense, and data science. While no formal infosec degree exists, coursework is available — Data Systems & Security, Wireless Network & Security, Advanced Operating Systems — and 15-credit graduate certificate is available to students holding a bachelor’s in Computer Science, students with a minimum of 6 eligible credits, or otherwise students who have received approval. A year-long course covers all aspects of cybersecurity, and a capstone project provides a hands-on, real-world learning experience. Faculty and students come from a diverse, multidisciplinary background, and specialize in a variety of applied cyber emphases.
24) University of Washington
Founded in 1861, University of Washington is a public institution with campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Botthell. Seattle, the main campus, is ranked among the top 50 colleges and universities in the country by US News and lands on additional dozen lists for public schools, value, veteran support services, and programs such as business and computer engineering. The balanced student-to-faculty ratio creates a dynamic, collaborative learning environment that combines the resources of a large research institution with the intimate class sizes of a smaller liberal arts school. Academic and career counseling, weekend classes, online education, and study abroad opportunities are also offered.
All three Washington campuses are NSA-CAE designated centers of academic excellence in cyber security. Botthell’s Center for Information Assurance & Cybersecurity combines studies in tech, business, policy, communications, psychology, and strategic problem-solving to create a unique curriculum designed to tackle current issues in cybersecurity. Designed for working professionals, the MS in Cybersecurity Engineering includes bi-weekly classes, self-paced coursework, and full- and part-time enrollment options. At the Tacoma campus, a unique Master of Cybersecurity & Leadership (MCL) consists of 40 credits covering Networking and Internet Security, Leadership and Team Dynamics, Strategic Organization Change, and Information Assurance, Risk Management & Security Strategies, among others. Last but not least, UW Seattle offers a Certificate in Information Systems Security that can be completed in three quarters.
25) James Madison University
James Madison University, founded in 1908, is a public institution with a total enrollment of 21,000. US News ranks JMU 7th among regional colleges, 4th for undergraduate teaching, and in the top 60 for overall value. With a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, James Madison fosters a tight-knit educational setting, combining personalized instruction, collaborative learning, and extensive academic resources. A third of classes have fewer than 20 students, and numerous support services are available: employment and placement services, academic and career counseling, military support, study abroad opportunities, and online education.
James Madison’s Center for Forensics and Info Security has three goals: introducing students to Digital Forensics and Information Security, encouraging students to pursue careers in these fields, and supporting faculty research via collaboration and external partnerships. A bachelor’s degree in CS offers an Information Security certificate with coursework in Fundamentals of Information Security, Cyber Defense, and Selected Topics in Information Security. For those interested, DoD approved certificates (Senior System Manager Certificate, System Administrators, Information Systems Security Officers, and System Certifiers) are also offered over the summer. At the graduate level — though currently delivered online — JMU offers an MS in Information Security.
- Other Highlights
- Faculty research specialties include Network Security, Applied Cryptography, Computer Security, Software Engineering, IoT Security, VLSI Layout and Routing, and Interconnection Networks and Parallel Architectures.
26) University of Dallas
University of Dallas, founded in 1956, is a private Catholic institution with a total enrollment of about 2,400 students, half of whom are in graduate programs. US News ranks Dallas among the top 15 colleges and universities in the region and 4th for overall value. The 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes individualized instruction and collaborative learning, and over 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students and just 3% have 50 or more. Additional resources include academic and career counseling services, employment and placement services, study abroad opportunities, and online education options for undergraduate and graduate students.
Dallas offers a 30-credit MS in Cybersecurity that covers data protection, legal and compliance, operational and strategic cybersecurity management, penetration testing, and digital forensics, among other areas, with graduates pursuing careers in network security, penetration testing, threat analysis, cyber defense, and digital forensics. Designed for maximum flexibility, the master’s is available both on campus and via 100% online delivery to fit students’ needs. Entry dates occur three times per year (including multiple start dates per term), and students can complete course blocks in accelerated 6- or 12-week blocks. (The master’s has been recognized by the NSA for 14 consecutive years.) Alternatively, Dallas offers an MBA in Cybersecurity (42 credits) and a graduate certificate in Cybersecurity.
27) University at Buffalo
Founded in 1846, University at Buffalo — SUNY is a public institution with at total enrollment of 30,000. US News ranks SUNY Buffalo among the top 50 public schools in the country, and places it on at least a half-dozen other lists for value, veteran support, high school counselor rankings, and business and engineering programs. The university’s 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio is excellent considering its size, balancing Buffalo’s extensive academic resources with small, intimate classes (a third of which have fewer than 20 students). Other benefits include academic and career counseling, study abroad opportunities, and undergraduate and graduate online degrees.
In recent years, University at Buffalo has made a concerted effort to increase cybersecurity research and education through the Information Security Office, which includes ongoing information security projects and a Forensics for Compliance program. At the undergraduate level, UB offers a BS in Computer Engineering as well as BS, BA, and BS/MS Computer Science Tracks. Well-respected master’s and PhD computer science tracks are available as well. For students interested in a cyber-specific module, an Advanced Certificate in Information Assurance consists of 14-15 credits and the option to specialize in a Technical or Managerial track. To further customize the curriculum, electives are offered in Operating Systems Internals, Data Mining, Secure Wireless Sensor Networks, Fraud Prevention and Detection, Digital Forensics, and Database Management Systems, among others.
28) Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology, founded in 1890, has a total enrollment of 7,700. US News ranks Illinois Tech among the best universities in the nation and in the top 40 for overall value. With an emphasis on hands-on learning and research opportunities, graduates have pursued successful careers at leading engineering and technology companies in the world. Notable alumni include Victor Tsao, founder of Linksys, and James Roche, former secretary of the Air Force. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, IIT fosters a tight-knit educational community that combines personalized instruction, experiential learning, and small class sizes: over half have fewer than 20 students. Weekend and evening classes, academic and career counseling, and study abroad opportunities are also available.
The IIT Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education is a collaborative effort of business professionals, government officials, academic experts, and security professionals. In particular, the Center’s objectives include: education and research on cyber security technologies and management, information assurance, and digital forensics; improve practices in information assurance; sponsor, organize, and conduct conferences in cybersecurity and forensics; and more. At the undergraduate level, IIT offers a Bachelor of Industrial Technology and Management with coursework in Systems Security, Networking and Communications, and System Administration, among others; as well as bachelor’s degrees in Information Technology and Management, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, and other areas. At the graduate level, infosec students can pursue master’s in specializations like Cyber Forensics and Security, Cyber Security Management, and Cyber Security Technologies.
- Other Highlights
- Partnered with Cisco, IBM, KPMG, Microsoft, Motorola, CompTIA, the FBI, and more.
29) Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Citadel Military College of South Carolina, commonly known as The Citadel, was founded in 1842 and has a total enrollment of about 3,600. Money and The Economist each highlight affordability, value, and average graduate earnings among other metrics. US News ranks The Citadel 4th among colleges and universities in the region, 2nd for military support, and 20th for value. With a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Citadel supports a dynamic, vibrant environment that balances individualized instruction and collaborative learning. Nearly 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and The Citadel offers academic and career counseling, weekend and evening classes, and study abroad opportunities.
The Citadel offers two graduate tracks in cybersecurity: an MS in Computer and Information Sciences and a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity. The master’s track includes core coursework in Data Modeling and Database Design, Foundations of Software Engineering, Object-Oriented Design Patterns, and Distributed Computer Systems Architecture. From there, students can customize the curriculum through a specialization in Cybersecurity with studies in Advanced Operating Systems, Privacy and Security Issues, Data Communications and Networking, and Advanced Cybersecurity. (An Information Systems specialization is also available). On the other hand, if you prefer a shorter track, the graduate certificate is essentially the master’s specialization without the core coursework and capstone project.
30) Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology, founded in 1829, is a private institution with a total enrollment of about 15,300. Ranked among the best colleges and universities by US News, RIT has also been cited for overall value, military support services, and multiple notable programs. The 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters a tight-knit educational atmosphere, with a balance of manageable class sizes (half with fewer than 20 students), personalized instruction, and collaborative, hands-on learning opportunities. Over 70% of full-time undergrads receive some form of financial aid, and numerous scholarships and grants are available to undergrad and graduate students.
RIT’s Center for Cybersecurity uses a multidisciplinary approach to tackle real-world problems in cybersecurity and educate the future leaders of the field. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a bachelor’s in Computing Security that covers both technical and policy-related studies, including Cryptography, Cyber Security Policy and Law, Authentication and Security Models, Web Application Security, Systems Administration, and more. Capstone projects provide an experiential component, and free electives allow for customization. (Students with previous associate or bachelor’s credits can accelerate the track.) The MS in Computing Security is a 30-credit program featuring advanced coursework as well as certificates in Enterprise Security, Advanced Computer Forensics, Computer System Security, and Network Security.
- Other Highlights
- Qualified students should consider both the Scholarships for Service Program and the Cybersecurity Research Scholarship.
31) University of Minnesota — Twin Cities
Founded in 1851, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities is a public institution with a total enrollment of 52,000, 60% of which is undergraduate. Forbes, Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and US News rank it among the best schools in the region, with the latter also highlighting veteran support services and value. The 17:1 student-to-faculty fosters an intimate, tight-knit learning community, and a third of all classes have fewer than 20 students. Academic and career counseling services are available, as well as credit for life experiences, weekend and evening classes, online degrees, and on-campus daycare for students’ children.
Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute offers a 32-credit MS in Security Technologies that includes concentrations in all 16 critical infrastructures and cybersecurity. Coursework includes Critical Infrastructure Protection, Psychology/Behavior Intelligence for Homeland Security, Information and Cyber Security, Communication of Risk and Security, Dynamic Systems Modeling and Simulation Tools, and Cyber Threat Intelligence, among others. Built-in electives allow for customization, and capstone projects add a real-world experiential learning component. Designed for working professionals, the master’s program meets 2-3 a week in the evenings, and students can complete the degree in as little as 14 months. For those interested in abbreviated programs, minors are available in Cybersecurity and Security Technologies.
- Other Highlights
- Regular events include the annual Cyber Security Summit, the Rochester Signature Series, and a monthly presentation series.
32) Indiana University – Bloomington
Indiana, founded in 1820, has a total enrollment of about 50,000 and is ranked among the best public schools in the country by Washington Monthly, Forbes, and US News, among others. US News also cites the school’s veteran support and undergraduate faculty, and Kiplinger’s Finance ranks IU in the top national 50 for overall value. The 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio is great for a school of its size, support small class sizes (a third with fewer than 20 students), tailored instruction, and hands-on collaborative learning. Additional benefits include credit for life experiences, online education, study abroad, academic and career counseling, and on-campus daycare for students’ children.
Indiana’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort by the Maurer School of Law, the Kelley School of Business, the School of Informatics and Computing, REN-ISAC, the University Information Policy Office, and the University Information Security Office. Undergraduates can pursue relevant bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems Engineering, each of which include dual-degree accelerated master’s tracks. Standalone graduate degrees include master’s tracks in Information Science, Secure Computing, and Intelligent Systems Engineering, as well as PhDs in Computer Science, Informatics, Information Science, and Intelligent Systems Engineering. Both master’s and doctoral students have access to a wide range of financial aid and scholarships.
- Other Highlights
- Among the Center’s current projects are Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure, an initiative to improve the cybersecurity of NSF science and engineering projects, and the Scientific Workflow Integrity with Pegasus, dedicated to enhancing the security and integrity of scientific data via cryptography provenance information.
33) University of California – Irvine
Founded in 1965, University of California – Irvine is a public institution with a total enrollment of about 33,000. Regularly ranked among the country’s best universities, including top 50 national rankings for more than 40 academic programs, US News highlights its overall value and military support services. The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes a dynamic, vibrant learning environment, and manageably sized classes, over half of which have fewer than 20 students, allow for individualized instruction. Additional benefits include on-campus daycare for students’ children, academic and career counseling, and online degree availability.
The UC Irvine Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute is a collaborative, multidisciplinary initiative that includes faculty from seven colleges to research the intersection of infosec and private and civil liberties, law, and business. Current research projects focus on cyber attrition as well as cybersecurity and the supply chain. For adult learners and working professionals, UC Irvine offers a Cybersecurity certificate program that can be completed in as little as 9 months and prepares students to sit for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) exam. Coursework covers Secure Systems, Security Architecture & Design, Host and OS Security, Database Security, Network Security, and Computer Forensics.
34) The University of Texas at Austin
Founded in 1881, the University of Texas — Austin is a public research institution and the flagship university of the University of Texas System. Princeton Review, Forbes, and Washington Monthly rank UT Austin among the colleges and universities in the country, and US News places it on two dozen lists, including for innovation (15th), public schools (18th), business (5th), and engineering (11th). Even with a student body of 52,000, UT maintains an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, providing students with a tight-knit learning community that’s both vibrant and personalized. A third of all classes have fewer than 20 students.
UT’s Center for Information Assurance and Security takes a holistic approach to research, with an emphasis on national and collaborative initiatives in information security research and education. While no formal cybersecurity degrees are available, the university’s computer science program is one of the best in the country, and undergraduates can pursue a 12-credit Cybersecurity Concentration that includes courses such as Network Security and Privacy, Wireless Networks, Cryptography, Information Assurance and Security, Ethical Hacking, and Real World Information Security, among others. Specific faculty research emphases and interests include access control (e.g., authorization models, information flow control), intrusion detection and prevention, distributed systems, cyber-physical systems security, and more.
- Other Highlights
- Computer Science faculty and students have received A. M. Turing Awards, Research Excellence Awards, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellowships, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships, and more.
35) DePaul University
DePaul University is a private university in Chicago, Illinois, founded by the Vincentians in 1898. With a total enrollment of about 23,000, the school is the 13th largest private school in the country, including students from 60 countries across the world. Princeton Review has ranked DePaul #1 in the nation for diversity, and the school’s unique service-learning model has earned recognition from a number of publications. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, classes are kept small to promote an intimate, collaborative learning environment. Most important, nearly 90% of undergraduate and graduate students are employed or continuing their education within 6 months of graduation. DePaul also offers credit for life experiences, study abroad, weekend and evening classes, and online programs.
Depaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media offers an MS in Cybersecurity deigned to train professionals to design, implement, and manage secured IT infrastructure and risks for an enterprise. Available online or on campus, possible core requirements include coursework in Distributed Systems, Object-Oriented Software Development, Network Security, Governance Policies in Information Assurance, and Information Security Management. From there, students have the opportunity to tailor the degree via concentrations in Networking and Infrastructure, Computer Security, and Government, Risk Management, and Compliance. Multiple entry dates per year accommodate students’ schedules, and courses are designed for maximum flexibility for adult learners and working professionals.
36) University of Detroit Mercy
University of Detroit Mercy, founded in 1877, is a private Catholic institution with a total enrollment just below 5,000. US News ranks Detroit Mercy in the top 20 colleges and universities in the region and cites it for value and veteran support. Offering over 100 degrees and programs, UDM emphasizes hands-on learning experience as well as rigorous in-class instruction. The 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio translates to an intimate learning environment where half of all classes have fewer than 20 students and less than 3% have 50. Credit for life experiences, dual credits, academic and career counseling, study abroad, and online education opportunities are also available.
The university’s Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies combines software management, criminal justice, and IT expertise to create a unique research hub. As a leader in software engineering, Detroit Mercy has been designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education since 2004 and provides a variety of cyber education tracks. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a bachelor’s in Computer and Information Systems with a major in Cybersecurity, which can be turned into a 5-year master’s degree with specializations offered in Information Assurance or Intelligence Analysis. For working professionals interested in standalone graduate programs, UDM offers master’s degrees in Security Administration, Computer and Information Systems (cybersecurity major), Information Assurance (cybersecurity major), and Intelligence Analysis.
- Other Highlights
- The Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies also offers a lab with digital forensics workstations, portable data acquisition devices, threat analysis software, and other world-class technologies.
- A study abroad program, previously in London and Leicester, provides students experience in global infosec issues and problem-solving.
37) Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, Ohio State is the third largest school in the United States, with over 60,000 total students enrolled. (In addition to its flagship campus in Columbus, satellite campuses are located in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, Wooster, and online.) Ohio State is also the state’s only public school member of the Association of American Universities, and is ranked highly by Forbes, Washington Monthly, US News and Times Higher Education, among others. The 19:1 student-to-faculty is great for a school of its size, and a third of all classes have fewer than 20 students. Among its 475,000 alumni include Fortune 500 CEOs, members of the Forbes 400 list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, and recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and Medal of Honor.
Ohio State’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers several potential cybersecurity tracks. Undergraduates can pursue a BS in Computer & Information Science with a specialization in Information and Computation Assurance, featuring coursework ranging from Computer Networking & Internet Technologies to Information Security and Network Security. Minors are available in Computer and Information Science and Computational Science and Engineering. To promote hands-on learning, numerous CS organizations are available — including for ethical hackers, web developers, open source developers, and more — and career counselors help students plan co-op and internship opportunities with some of the field’s leading organizations. The department offers several year-long scholarships every February, and half of full-time OSU undergrads receive some form of financial aid.
38) George Mason University
Founded in 1949, George Mason is the largest public research university in Virginia. GMU is known for its business, economics, law, and computer science programs, which have all been recognized as top research programs by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and it has consistently been highly ranked both nationally and globally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Forbes, and US News. The 16:1 student to faculty ratio is excellent for its enrollment total (34,900 students), and promotes a vibrant educational setting that combines individualized instruction with collaborative learning.
George Mason’s Center for Secure Information Systems was established in 1990 and consists of some of field’s leading experts and researchers. At the undergraduate level, students can pursue a BS in Cyber Security Engineering which includes requirements in Systems Engineering, Operating Systems and Lab, Computer Networking, Discrete Events Systems Modeling, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Cyber Physical Systems, and more. For those interested, GMU allows motivated students to pair the bachelor’s to an accelerated master’s program to research advanced topics and bolster career prospects. Standalone master’s tracks are also available in Information Systems, Management of Secure Information Systems, Information Security and Assurance, and Digital Forensics, among others.
- Other Highlights
- Federal security and defense agencies — as well as private companies such as Northrup-Grumman, Lockheed, Google, and Amazon — all have major offices within driving distance of George Mason, giving students a career edge.
39) Hampton University
Hampton is a private, historically black university based in Hampton, Virginia. It was founded in 1868 during Reconstruction after the Civil War to provide freedmen with higher education options. With a total enrollment of 4,600, Hampton boasts an 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio that guarantees small and intimate classes, half of which have fewer than 20 students, and promotes tailored instruction. It’s also the first and only HBCU to have 100% control of a NASA mission. Additional benefits include credit for life experiences, dual credits, academic and career counseling services, online education opportunities, study abroad, and military support.
Hampton’s Information Assurance and Cyber Security Center is a multidisciplinary effort dedicated to education, research, and training. In addition a full graduate and undergraduate degrees, the center supports curriculum development, individual courses, workshops, outreach, and extensive tech resources. A bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity covers Programming Languages, Database Management, Computer Forensics and Incident Handling, Homeland Security, Risk Management, and Computer Viruses and Malicious Software, among other areas. (A bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems is also available.) At the graduate level, the MS in Information Assurance is designed for professionals with a bachelor’s in Computer Science or relevant academic experience.
- Other Highlights
- The Cybercorps: Scholarship for Service program offers financial support for the final year of a bachelor’s students and two years of the MS in IA program.
40) Georgia Tech
Founded in 1885, Georgia Tech is a public institution with a total enrollment of 27,000. The university is commonly ranked among the 10 best public universities in the nation, and is particularly well known for their programs in computing, business administration, engineering, and other tech-related fields. Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center and VentureLab have launched numerous successful startups — enough that the university had produced the 4th most startups and 9th most patents of any school in the nation. The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports tailored teaching and small classes, nearly 40% of which have fewer than 20 students.
The Institute for Information Security & Privacy at Georgia Tech combines government, industry, and academic experts to solve cyber challenges. In addition to graduate and professional degrees, the Institute offers world-class lab facilities, comprehensive research, and a variety of license-able IP. A 32-credit master’s in Cybersecurity offers three potential tracks: Energy Systems, Policy, and Information Security. If you’re interested in online delivery, Georgia Tech’s interdisciplinary OMSC has been nationally recognized both for excellence (ranked in the top 10 US News) and affordablity (less than $10k total tuition). Students interested in doctorate tracks can pursue PhD programs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering. Last but not least, Tech’s Professional Education Certificate in Cyber Security is a great option if you’re in need of flexible, accelerated training in cybersecurity fundamentals.
- Other Highlights
- Current IISP research projects include topics from smart cities (“Adaptive Management and Use of Resilient Infrastructure in Smart Cities”) to Threat Attribution “Attributing Cyber Actors Through Tensor Decomposition and Novel Data Acquisition.”
- Regular events include symposia, Cybersecurity Demo Day, the Cybersecurity Lecture Series, the bi-annual Distinguished Lecture, and the annual Cybersecurity Summit.
41) Florida Institute of Technology
Founded in 1958, Florida Institute of Technology is a private university with 6,500 students, half of whom are enrolled in graduate programs and include students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. i>Forbes, Wall Street Journal, US News, and Washington Monthly rank Florida Tech among the best schools in the country. And ff you’re trying to get the biggest bang for your buck, PayScale, the Brookings Institution, and Barron’s cite the university’s return-on-investment potential. With an approach called “High Tech with a Human Touch,” Florida Tech focuses on professional and career development as well as individualized instruction. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1, and nearly half of classes have under 20 students.
Florida Tech offers a 33-credit MS in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity that prepares students to address a wide range of pressing cybersecurity challenges. Available online and on-campus for maximum flexibility, the interdisciplinary curriculum covers core coursework in Computer and Information Security, Host and Application Security, Secure Operating Systems, Secure Data Communications and Networks, Biometric Authentication Technologies, and Cryptography and Information Hiding. From there, students can customize the degree through electives, and a thesis projects provides a hands-on component. Upon completion of the master’s, you’ll be able to execute high-level infosec tasks such as: plan and implement security strategies; establish emergency protocols; manage software installs, firewalls and data encryption programs; and conduct and analyze penetration tests.
42) University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Founded in 1863, The University of Massachusetts – Amherst is a public research university with a total enrollment of 30,000. US News ranks UMass among the top 30 public universities in the nation and places it on lists for overall value, veteran support, and high school counselor rankings. Washington Monthly, Forbes, and BusinessWeek have ranked the university highly, as well. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, UMass fosters collaborative, close-knit learning community, and half of all classes consist of fewer than 20 students. For those interested in financial aid opportunities, 55% of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance, and the average need met is over 75%.
The University of Massachusetts Cybersecurity Institute is a collaboration of five colleges, and partners with government, industry, and academia to develop cyber solutions. No cyber-specific degrees are offered, but undergraduate students at the College of Information and Computer Sciences can pursue a bachelor’s in Computer Science with a concentration in Security & Privacy that includes courses in Information Systems, Computer Networks, Operating Systems, Digital Forensics, Applied Cryptography, and Advance Information Assurance, among others. Alternatively, UMass offers undergraduate and graduate certificates in Information Security, each of which are 15 credits and can be completed in as little as a year.
43) University of Oregon
Founded in 1876, University of Oregon is a public research institution with a total enrollment of 23,500. Princeton Review, Forbes, and Washington Monthly rank it among the best colleges and universities in the country, and US News cites Oregon’s value, veteran support services, and public school ranking (46th). With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the university balances a large and vibrant campus with an intimate learning environment: 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students and just one-in-five have 50. Additional benefits include dual credits, academic and career counseling services, on-campus daycare for students’ children, study abroad, and online programs.
Oregon’s Center for Cyber Security and Privacy is the school’s primary hub for cyber research and education, combining faculty from the School of Law, College of Business, Computer and Information Science, Computer Science and Engineering, and Department of Philosophy. Current research emphases cover Internet Content, Traffic, and DDoS; Internet Routing and Infrastructure Security; Online Social Networking Security; Internet of Things Security and Privacy; and Privacy in Digital Age. Oregon undergraduates can pursue a bachelor’s in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Computer Security, which includes instruction in areas like Computer and Network Security, Cryptography, Computer Ethics, Machine Learning, and Modeling and Simulation.
- Other Highlights
- The annual Oregon Cyber Security Day features distinguished speakers from the public and private sector, and students can enter competitions for the Outstanding Poster Prize or Outstanding Demo Prize.
44) University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
Founded in 1867, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the state’s second oldest university, with a total enrollment of about 47,000. i>Times Higher Education, US News, and QS World University Rankings each cite Illinois as one of the best schools in the country, and the university is commonly listed among the “public ivies.” With a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Illinois promotes a vibrant, peer-to-peer learning environment, and 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Additional benefits include on-campus daycare for students’ children, academic and career counseling services, online education, and study abroad opportunities.
The Illinois Center for Information Assurance Education and Research is a member of the Information Trust Institute and coordinates all cybersecurity education and research across the campus. While no specific degrees are available (though a bachelor’s in Digital Forensics is currently in development), numerous information assurance-related undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Individual cyber courses include Computer Security, System Programming, Database Systems, Distributed Systems, Data Mining, Applied Cryptography, Cyberspace Law, and more. For those interested, Illinois also offers a unique Cyber Security Scholars Program, which includes full tuition, a generous stipend, and the opportunity to work in a government agency as a security professional for two years.
45) Lewis University
Lewis is a Roman Catholic university founded in 1932, in Romeoville, Illinois. Serving over 6,500 students in over 80 undergraduate majors and 22 graduate programs, Lewis began as an aviation technology school for men, but evolved into co-ed school of science and technology. Recently it’s been recognized as a premier college and ranked in the midwest region by Princeton Review and US News. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, nearly 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students, allowing for a tight-knit learning atmosphere and tailored instruction. It has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the NSA and DHS.
With a focus cybersecurity in business, Lewis offers a wide variety of degrees and programs for students interested in cyber. At the undergraduate level, a bachelor’s in Information Security and Risk Management offers specialized coursework in Security Management Practices, Network Security, Cryptography, Security Architecture and Models, IT Operations Security, Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning, and Computer Forensics, among other areas. From there, an accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s track is offered, or students can pursue the standalone MS in Information Security (with concentrations in Management and Technical Skills), which hones students technical skills and knowledge base in preparation for the CISSP Certification Exam. Finally, a 100% online master’s as well as on-campus tracks in Data Science and Computer Science are available.
- Other Highlights
- Many Lewis students earn internships through the school’s collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, and there are at least four student-run CS clubs and organizations.
46) University of California – Davis
Founded in 1905, UC Davis is a public university and one of 10 campuses in the University of California (UC) system. Currently UC Davis serves nearly 36,500 students while maintaining a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, offering the resources of a large research institution with manageable class sizes of liberal arts school (40% have fewer than 20 students). US News ranks Davis among the top 50 schools in the country and cites veteran support services, undergraduate teaching, value, and public school rankings (12th). Academic and career counseling services, dual credits, employment and placement services, study abroad, and online programs are available, as well.
UC Davis’s award-winning Computer Security Lab is a national leader in infosec research, with current projects on areas as varied as E-Voting Research, Vulnerabilities Analysis, and Distribution Grid Security. While no formal undergraduate tracks are available in cybersecurity, graduate students can pursue an MS or PhD in Computer Science with an Information Assurance. The master’s takes 2-3 years to complete and requires 6 graduate courses, 12 research units, additional coursework, and an approved thesis. The PhD takes 4-5 years, 10 graduate courses, a dissertation, qualifying exam, and more. Each program is designed for students with previous computer science credits, but students with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, or otherwise have been accepted.
47) University of South Carolina
Founded in 1801, The University of South Carolina is the state’s flagship university, with a total enrollment of 35,000 and an active alumni base of 250,000. In addition to holding numerous best-of rankings by US News, USC programs have been recognized by Washington Monthly, The Financial Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and the National Research Council. The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports manageable class sizes, collaborative learning opportunities, and tailored instruction in a vibrant academic setting. Academic and carer counseling, military support, online education, and weekend and evening classes are also offered.
USC’s College of Engineering and Computing hosts the Center for Information Assurance Engineering, which is the state’s only institution designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, and focuses on Secure Information Management, Cyber Damage Estimation and Response, Secure Network-Level Protocol Implementation and Development, and Reliable Wireless Communication, among other areas. Undergraduate students interested in the field can pursue a bachelor’s degrees in Computer Engineering, Computer Information Systems, or Computer Science, and add a Information Assurance and Security Certificate. Alternatively, grad students can pursue a standalone 30-credit master’s in Information Security or follow a PhD track in Computer Science and Engineering.
48) Towson University
Towson University, founded in 1866, is a public institution just outside Baltimore with a total enrollment of about 22,300. US News places Towson on a half-dozen lists, including for regional universities (41st), public schools (10th), and value (57th). The 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters a close-knit learning community and enables individualized instruction and manageable classes, with a third having fewer than 20 students. Credit for life experiences, academic and career counseling, on-campus daycare for students’ children, and generous financial aid opportunities are available. Over half of full-time undergrads receive some form of aid.
Towson’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences is home to the first undergraduate cybersecurity degree in the state. The university is also one of only 19 institutions in the nation to receive the NSA/DHS Cyber Operations designation. Students can choose between four unique tracks: BS in Computer Science with Computer Security, MS in Computer Science with Computer Security, an MS in Applied Information Technology (Information Security and Assurance specialization), or an Information Security and Assurance Certificate. All cover the pressing current cyber issues and are taught by an award-winning faculty that specializes in everything from cyber-physical systems to the smart grid.
- Other Highlights
- In addition to formal degree programs, Towson offers monthly cybersecurity seminars, a Cyber Defense Club, and a nationally ranked Cyber Defense Team.
- Advisory board members include leaders from T. Rowe Price, The State of Maryland, National Security Agency, General Dynamics Information Technology, and OnTrajectory.
49) Auburn University
Founded in 1856, Auburn is a public research university with an enrollment of over 27,000 students. Ranked among the top 50 public universities for more than two decades, the university has received high marks from Forbes, Washington Monthly, Peterson’s Guide, and US News, among others. US News cites veteran support, value, high school counselor rankings, and Auburn’s top-50 public school ranking. The 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio reflects a dynamic campus setting, balancing manageable class sizes (31% with fewer than 20 students) and the university’s world-class resources as a research institution. With an alumni network over 300,000, distinguished grads include Apple CEO Tim Cook and Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales.
Auburn doesn’t currently offer an undergraduate cybersecurity track, but students can complete a BS in Computer Science and integrate relevant infosec coursework. Graduate students, on the other hand, can apply to the Master of Cybersecurity Engineering program (available on campus and online), featuring core requirements in Digital Forensics, Computer and Network Security, and Advanced Computer and Network Security. From there, students can customize the degree through a range of cyber electives and complete the degree with a capstone project to gain real-world, hands-on experience. Designed for industry professionals and research experts, applicants should have earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a related field. GRE scores are not required.
50) Regis University
Founded in 1877, Regis is a private Catholic university in Denver with a total enrollment of 11,500 students. As a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, US News ranks Regis among the top 30 schools in the region, including recognition for veteran services and overall value. The 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a close-knit atmosphere with collaborative learning, tailored instruction, and small classes (60% have fewer 20 students). Credit for life experiences, weekend and evening classes, study abroad, and online programs are available, as well.
In addition to Computer Information Systems, Computer Networking, and Computer Science, Regis undergrads can pursue a BS in Cybersecurity that consists of 48 major credits in Operating Systems Design and Analysis, Cyber Threats and Defense, Computation Theory, Network Forensics, Digital Forensics, and Intrusion Detection and Response, among other subjects. All courses are delivered in accelerated 8-week course blocks, and new start dates begin six times a year. For advanced students and professionals, Regis’s MS in Information Assurance includes high-level coursework as well as prep for certification exams for (ISC)2, Cisco, ISACA, and Electronic Commerce Council. Related tracks include graduate certificates in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance Policy. All programs are available on campus and online for maximum flexibility.