Almost anyone familiar with higher education will tell you that an online master's degree in information security and assurance can lead to many lucrative career choices. Degrees that combine a knowledge of computers and networks with cybersecurity are especially valuable to governments and large corporations. Earning a master's degree in this area can help ambitious professionals get a leg up on the competition, and may even assist them in landing a top job with an elite organization.
If you have a bachelor's degree in IT or computer science, chances are you already have a full-time job in software engineering, programming, network administration, or a similar position. If you have been considering returning to school for a graduate degree, you might not think you have time in your day. The truth is, you can apply to an online program and change almost nothing about your schedule, earning credits and completing homework assignments on your own time.
Cheap Online Master's in Information Assurance and Security Degree Program Ranking
Another benefit to online colleges is their affordability. Many schools provide online degrees at a price point of $15,000 a year or less. In fact, all of the schools we listed below meet that criteria! We did all the research so you don't have to do anything but scroll down this web page. All these colleges offer online master's degrees in information assurance and security, plus are also accredited, reputable, and affordable. The ranking below is a selection of the most affordable among these institutions, based on information gleaned from the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator database. Take a look!
14. Strayer University
Online Master of Science Degree in Information Assurance
The Master of Science Degree in Information Assurance is a perfect fit for individuals who are passionate about keeping businesses safe from terrorists and hackers. This regionally accredited degree program offers coursework in Computer Forensics Planning, Cryptography, and Theories of Security Management with 12 courses necessary for graduation. Graduates are prepared to hone their cyber security leadership skills and take the Certified Informations Systems Security Professional Exam. This flexible online master's degree in information assurance and security provides students with multiple yearly start dates and a success coach, and acclimates students with the technology most used in the field, such as Toolwire live labs. Business Research Guide named Strayer to its top 10 list of Best Programs for a Masters in IT and Computer Security.
13. Our Lady of the Lake University
Online MS Information Systems and Security
This NSA-certified online master's degree in information security and assurance is perfect for individuals interested in computer network security, database management, or systems analysis. Busy adults enjoy the flexibility and affordability of this completely online program that allows them to work and attend college simultaneously and pay for it with available scholarships. The university offers a one-semester boot camp of five classes for students who have an undergrad in a different field preparing them for success in the online master's degree program. Graduates are qualified to advance to leadership positions in information security and have worked for the Department of Defense, businesses, universities, and state government. Colleges Niche reported students were especially satisfied with the university's professors and job assistance services.
12. Capella University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security: Network Defense Specialization
The NSA and Department of Homeland Security have designated this online master's degree in information security and assurance as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity. Students gain real-world experience in a virtual lab environment where they practice responding to real security breaches. This program is very accommodating to the needs of working adults, offering year-round start dates, 10-week courses, and the ability to complete the program in as little as 15 months or up to three years depending on schedule. Armed with the knowledge of industry standards and practices, graduates are prepared to sit for the Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exams. Online Military Education ranked Capella the #2 Best Online College for its master's programs.
11. University of Advancing Technology
Master of Science in Information Assurance Online
The MS in Information Assurance and Security at UAT offers many benefits, such as faculty with professional experience, access to the technology used by leading employers, and engaging and interactive online courses that promote networking. Hands-on classes focus on activities and assignments rather than traditional lecture, ensuring students learn the technical skills necessary to succeed in the field. UAT offers small class sizes and extensive student services, such as graduate advising and career assistance, which have helped graduates to land leadership positions in organizations such as the Department of Defense, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and PayPal. UAT was designated a Military Friendly School.
10. Walden University
Information Assurance And Cyber Security Specialization – M.S. in Information Technology Online
Walden's accredited online master's degree in information security and assurance offers a specialization in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity for working adults interested in this growing field. In addition to core courses like Database Design and Principles of Programming, the curriculum also includes specialized courses such as Network Architecture and Computer Crimes. Students learn how to both protect against and respond to security breaches and have the opportunity to create their own computer programs, evaluate new approaches to information technology, and practice skills in virtual laboratories with peers from all over the world, preparing them for careers in engineering, security, systems architecture, and programming. Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked Walden #9 for master's degrees conferred to minority students.
9. Stratford University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance
Stratford University's affordable online master's degree in information assurance and security equips students with the latest industry knowledge, and the skills that employers desire in this fast-changing field. Information-technology managers or computer professionals can use the program to learn how to better protect their agency's assets from cyber threats. The curriculum covers computer forensics and IT security, as well as ethical and legal issues, so graduates emerge ready for key positions in government, academic, or the private sector. Diverse Education ranked the school as one of the Top 100 Graduate Degree Producers for All Disciplines in 2009.
8. Davenport University
Online Master's Degree in Security and Information Assurance
Students looking for a future-ready education can turn to Davenport University's online master's degree in information assurance and security program. Certified by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence, Davenport strives to prepare students to meet constantly evolving threats. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of security and information assurance jobs is expected to increase by 28% by 2020. Graduates can qualify for careers as security consultants, regional incident response managers, senior security analysts and more, with salaries estimated at $108,000. Colleges Niche gave Davenport an A grade for technology based on student satisfaction surveys.
7. Regis University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance
In an increasingly connected and online world, employers are seeking candidates who understand how to protect valuable data. Students can gain that knowledge at Regis University through its top online master's degree in information assurance and security program. Regis employs hands-on training in order to prepare students for work in corporate governance, disaster recovery, audits and more. Students may specialize in either Cyber Security or Policy Management. The degree qualifies graduates to take highly desired exams for industry certification. What's more, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school as one of the top master's-level universities in the West for 19 consecutive years.
6. National University
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
National University's program in Cyber Security and Information Assurance is one of the best online master's degrees in information assurance and security available, and is designed for students who seek to protect data and computer infrastructures from hackers and viruses. Courses include Wireless and Mobile Security, Cyber Security Ethical Issues, and Net Defense & Countermeasures. In addition to taking core courses – which are designed to mesh with various levels of work experience — students may specialize in Computer Forensics, Ethical Hacking & Pen Testing, Health Information Assurance, or Information Assurance and Security Policy. TheBestSchools.org ranked National's program 12th on its list of The 25 Best Online Master of Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs.
5. Dakota State University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance
Demand for well-educated professionals in cyber security grows each year, but the federal government reports many jobs going unfilled. Dakota State University seeks to reverse that trend by offering a master's degree in information assurance and security online. Students take classes in intrusion detection, computer forensics, and hacking, among others. The curriculum is designed to empower students to assess all aspects of networks and design effective security plans. Dakota State students can take courses entirely online, allowing them great flexibility in completing their degree. The Desire2Learn course management system allows students to work in a virtual classroom, as well as get assignments, lecture notes, and exams. GetEducated.com ranked Dakota State among the most affordable online universities.
Tuition: $5,450/yr (In-state) $11,537/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Wilmington University
Online Information Systems Technologies Master of Science: Information Assurance Concentration/Career Track
Wilmington University offers an online master's degree in information assurance and security, which is built around a focus on information systems technologies. This military-friendly university is committed to giving online students the same quality services, such as Blackboard assistance, online tutoring, library resources, and advising, while also offering benefits like affordable in-state tuition, credit for previous learning, and multiple yearly start dates. Graduates of the program are prepared for leadership positions in information technology fields, and have specific knowledge in homeland security issues, white collar crime, and how to respond to Web security issues. Online Schools Center ranked this regionally accredited university the #2 Most Technologically Savvy Online School.
3. Sam Houston State University
Online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security
This cheap online master's degree in information assurance and security is designed for students with a major or minor in information systems, computer science, or another technical field, combined with related work experience. Students may enroll in either fall or spring and typically complete their degree in one to two years. In addition to specific coursework in Operating System Recovery, Database Security, and Disaster Recovery, among others, networking opportunities are available through internships. Graduates are prepared for management opportunities in both industry and government and will be equipped to secure network systems, execute risk assessments, and to both prevent and respond to security breaches. US News & World Report ranked Sam Houston #7 for graduate online information technology programs.
Tuition: $4,410/yr (In-state) $10,782/yr (Out-of-state)
2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Online Master of Information Security & Assurance
With an increase in businesses looking for leaders in the field of information assurance to protect their valuable assets, Embry-Riddle has responded with this high quality and completely online master's degree in information assurance and security. This program offers a great balance of technical skills and business management principles and includes three specializations: Protecting Business Intelligence, Information Assurance in a Global Context, and Information Systems Security. Embry-Riddle offers rolling start dates, personalized education plans, and gives students the option to complete coursework on Canvas and also to attend live interactive lectures on EagleVision. This affordable program was ranked #1 on College Choice's Best Online Colleges and Universities list.
1. Western Governors University
Online MS in Information Security and Assurance
WGU's Online MS in Information Security and Assurance program not only prepares its graduates to become experts in the field, but has the added bonus of including both the EC-Council Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures and the EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certification exams as part of the university's already very affordable tuition. The Best Schools website named WGU one of the 30 Best Online Colleges, and offers a unique approach to education. Rather than taking a prescribed number of classes, students work with an assigned mentor to write papers, complete assignments, and take exams proving competency. Students who demonstrate the required knowledge can then graduate with an online master's degree in information security and assurance.
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates' careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.
This concludes our ranking of the top cheap online master's in information assurance and security degree programs.