A Cybersecurity Master's Degree That Prepares Leaders for Any Challenge
Cyber crimes are a very real risk to global economic security, costing the world economy trillions of dollars. Every day, hackers and cyber criminals launch new, sophisticated computer viruses, malware, and scams that threaten the data our society relies on. WGU's Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance prepares you to expand your arsenal to better protect invaluable data at top organizations, and can increase your earning potential and opportunities for leadership and advancement in the field of cybersecurity and information systems.
WGU’s online Master of Science Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree program is closely aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and was designed with input from cybersecurity experts and leading IT employers to meet the most recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and National Security Agency (NSA) guidelines.
70% of students finish within
WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance as soon as you're ready. The result: You may finish faster.
Tuition per six-month term is
Tuition charged per term—rather than per credit—helps you control the ultimate cost of your degree. Finish faster, pay less! Plus, you can earn valuable industry certifications for no extra cost.
Income growth after 2 years
Just two years after graduation, WGU students report earning $18,200* more per year. Four years after graduation, they report earning $25,900 more than before they enrolled.
*Source: 2021 Harris Poll of 1,252 WGU graduates
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COURSES & COMPETENCIES
Courses in the Cybersecurity Master's Degree
This cybersecurity program is composed of the following courses. You will typically complete them one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. You’ll work through each course as quickly as you can study and learn the material. As soon as you’re ready, you’ll pass the assessment, complete the course, and move on. This means you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost.
The M.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program is an all-online program that you will complete through independent study with the support of WGU faculty. You will be expected to complete at least 8 competency units (WGU's equivalent of the credit hour) each 6-month term. (Each course is typically 3 or 4 units).
The WGU M.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance online degree program was designed, and is regularly updated, with input from the experts on our Information Technology Program Council, ensuring you learn best practices in systems and services, networking and security, scripting and programming, data management, and the business of IT. The experts who make up the WGU IT Program Council know exactly what it takes for a graduate to be successful in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of information technology.
Cybersecurity Management I - Strategic focuses on the strategic and long-term alignment of an organization's information security program to regulators and ensures that it is appropriate for the company culture and management organization. This course introduces the Basel Committee's four lines of defense model to appropriately implement separation of duties and information security roles and structures. Additionally, this course covers big-picture items (e.g., how risk management will be performed institutionally and how compliance to information security requirements will be managed). Finally, this course helps students apply strategic decision making as companies adapt to new technologies, processes, and people practices related to processing, managing, and protecting information resources.
Information Security and Assurance explores the many facets of the information security landscape. Recognizing that there are no universal solutions to issues related to information security and assurance, this course covers the durable security principles that help to drive sound decisions. Additionally, this course introduces well-accepted risk management principles that help to appropriately secure information assets. Finally, the course illustrates how a comprehensive library of policies, standards, and procedures are used to secure assets and provide the required levels of regulatory compliance. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Cybersecurity Architecture and Engineering prepares students to implement and manage security engineering tasks and processes using secure design principles grounded in positive security engineering. It covers the fundamental concepts of confidentiality and integrity security models along with applied cryptography for implementation of these models. Additionally, this course helps students assess and mitigate vulnerabilities found in security designs, architectures, and solutions. Finally, this course introduces techniques to design and implement physical security controls for data centers and other large implementations of IT. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Secure Network Design covers topics for designing and protecting computer networks. Course topics emphasize secure physical and logical network architecture design for both wired and wireless networks. Secure Network Design provides students the opportunity to recognize secure network characteristics, apply techniques to securely configure network devices, propose network segmentation strategies, perform root cause analysis, and recommend mitigation approaches based on industry best practices. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Cybersecurity Management II - Tactical provides students the opportunity to examine tactical cybersecurity management, which is the practice of addressing near-term cybersecurity goals within an enterprise. The tactical management process enables organizations to address unique cyber requirements throughout the organization. It deals with the people, processes, and technologies that are in use, and it primarily centers on the current operations of the enterprise. A range of cybersecurity tactical management topics are introduced in this course, including the tools, techniques, and concepts used to develop an effective cybersecurity program within organizations.
Secure Software Design focuses on the variety of elements needed to address and implement secure software acquisition and development throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC). It covers the end-to-end principles and addresses people, technology (tools), and processes to design and develop consistently secure applications. Additionally, this course underscores the importance and value of the defense in depth principle across the entire SDLC. Finally, this course introduces techniques to adapt common security activities to modern software development practices, including Agile/Scrum and DevOps. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Ethical Hacking helps students build the skills necessary to protect an organization's information system from unauthorized access and system hacking. Topics include security threats, penetration testing, vulnerability analysis, risk mitigation, business-related issues, and countermeasures. Students will learn how to expose system vulnerabilities, find solutions for eliminating and preventing them, and apply hacking skills on different types of networks and platforms. This course prepares students for the following certification exam: EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker exam. This course has no prerequisites.
Forensics and Network Intrusion builds proficiency in detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks. Topics include computer forensics in today’s world; media and operating system forensics; data and file forensics; audits and investigations; and device forensics. This course has no prerequisites.
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (MSCSIA) Capstone project allows students to demonstrate their capability to establish a durable cybersecurity and information assurance program. The capstone project challenges students to integrate skills and knowledge from all program domains into one project that deals with a significant real-world cybersecurity problem.
Program consists of 9 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.
Special requirements for this program
Using knowledge acquired through your studies at WGU, you will complete a final assignment that challenges you to propose a solution to a real-world business issue relevant to today’s IT industry.
After graduation, WGU graduates report earning $18,200 more per year. Are you ready to make more money?
On Your Schedule
No class times, no assignment deadlines. You are in charge of your learning and schedule. You can move through your courses as quickly as you master the material, meaning you can graduate faster.
The cybersecurity master's degree at WGU is 100% online, which means it works wherever you are. You can do your coursework at night after working at your full-time job, on weekends, while you're traveling the world or on vacation—it's entirely up to you.
One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.
Additionally, as an AWS Academy member institution, WGU has access to a computing curriculum developed and maintained by AWS.
3rd Party Certifications Included
These valuable industry certifications can help you boost your résumé as soon as you earn them, even before you finish your degree. Exam costs covered by your low, flat tuition and fees include two EC-Council certifications.
WGU Ranked #3 Best Online Cybersecurity Master's Program
Fortune.com ranked WGU's Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance as the third best online master's program for cybersecurity in the country.
COST & TIME
An Affordable Cybersecurity Master's Degree
By charging per six-month term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.
A College Degree Within Reach
There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:
Competency-Based Education Puts Working IT Professionals in the Driver’s Seat of Their Education
This online master’s degree is designed for industry professionals who are ready to move to the next level. This cybersecurity master's degree allows you to earn while you learn, allowing you to continue to work full-time and keep up with your responsibilities while getting a degree online. Competency-based education (CBE) allows you to set the speed of your progress—no waiting for other class members to catch up or for a new semester to start.
Taking a course covering concepts you’ve been using for years at work? Review the course material, take the assessment, and move on. Taking a course in a subject you’ve never tried? Maximize all available resources to ensure you’re comfortable with the material by the time you take the assessment..
Become a Leader in the Dynamic and Lucrative Cybersecurity field Where you can Outsmart Criminals
Every day, we share data, socialize, and complete transactions in cyberspace, making the need for experts who can protect our information ever more critical. The knowledge, techniques, and certifications you’ll be able to earn as you complete your cybersecurity and information assurance degree will prepare you to successfully fill the ever-growing demand for information security specialists.
Top industries and government agencies have sensitive data that cybercriminals are after. A master's degree in cybersecurity prepares you to lead teams in fighting cybercrime, strengthening systems, and creating a safer environment for this vital information. Every day is different in this lucrative field as you work to beat attackers, prevent threats, and create stronger systems. A master's degree in cybersecurity can prepare you for many exciting jobs in this industry.
Return on Your Investment
Our Cybersecurity Master's Degree Alumni Are Making a Real Difference in Protecting Data and Information
Our M.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance alumni have great jobs and satisfying careers:
- Information security manager
- Risk manager
- Cyber security consultant
- Private business
- Law enforcement
- Higher education
- National Security Technologies (NSTec)
- City, county, and state governments
WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers
Admissions Requirements Unique to The Cybersecurity Master's Program
To be considered for enrollment in this program, you must:
1. Possess a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, a business degree (Quantitative Analysis, Accounting, Economics, Finance), or degree with a similar quantitative focus.
2. Possess any bachelor’s degree PLUS one of the following:
- Two years of related work experience
- Relevant and current IT certification
- Related IT coursework
NOTE: You do not need to take the GRE or GMAT to be admitted to this program. Learn why we don't require these tests.
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Get Your Questions Answered
Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.
FAQs about Cybersecurity Master's Programs
- General IT Program Questions
- Cybersecurity Master's Program Questions
You should speak with an Enrollment Counselor. WGU can often provide advice or resources to help a prospective student fulfill enrollment prerequisites.
When you enroll in a WGU degree program, our goal is to see you through to graduation. Admission requirements are designed to increase your likelihood of success. Years of data and experience with the nontraditional students WGU serves have shown us how various types of academic and professional experience can be highly important in helping a student persist to graduation. Industry certifications are one of many ways a student can meet eligibility.
WGU has an obligation to our graduates—and their current and future employers—to ensure WGU alumni have mastered the most up-to-date, current competencies and skills needed in the workplace. Recency of certifications helps us ensure that students have demonstrated competency in skills as they are needed in today's working world.
As a full-time student, you will be required to maintain a minimum pace of 12 competency units (CUs) per term for undergraduate programs or 8 CUs per term for graduate programs. However, there is no maximum speed—once you complete a course, you move immediately to the next, and you complete a course not by waiting for the syllabus, the professor, or the rest of the class. You progress by learning the material and proving it—so you can move through your coursework at the speed of your own learning and experience.
Instructors are highly educated, experienced experts in the subject matter of a course. Unlike in a traditional university where going to class means listening to an instructor lecture while you take notes and try to learn in a group setting, WGU's Instructors provide one-on-one instruction and support when you need it—tailoring the instruction to your precise needs when you need it. Instructors also provide additional resources, lead topical discussions in online communities, and find countless other ways to bring a specific course to life for students.
If you currently work in IT or security, a cybersecurity master's degree can help you be prepared to take the next step in your career. It can prepare you to move forward to positions such as a CISO, CIO, CTO, cybersecurity manager, cybersecurity director, and more.
A master's degree in cybersecurity can be ideal for those who are looking to move up the career ladder, earn more money, and be qualified for additional responsibilities. A master's degree in cybersecurity can help you move into a more security focused field, increase your earning potential, and add on your current skills to make you more valuable to employers.
Some jobs that are available with a master's degree in cybersecurity include:
- Chief information security officer (CISO).
- Chief technology officer (CTO).
- Computer information systems manager.
- Computer network architect.
- Cybercrime analyst/investigator.
- Cyber security analyst/consultant.
- Cyber security architect.
- Cyber security director.
- Cyber security engineer.
Earning a master's degree in cybersecurity can be well worth the time and effort. Many graduates will see an increase in earning potential, promotion opportunities, and increased job stability as a result of their higher education.
There are a wide variety of career paths you can pursue with the help of a master's degree in cybersecurity. You can move up the ladder and become a cybersecurity senior analyst, a cybersecurity architect, a cybersecurity consultant, a cybersecurity manager, or even a CISO with the help of this advanced degree.
Those who are looking to advance their professional career in information security or cybersecurity analysis may want to earn a cybersecurity master’s degree. Those who are feeling they lack upward mobility in their current role may be interested in pursuing an advanced cybersecurity degree. Those who enjoy solving complex problems are good candidates for a master’s degree in cybersecurity.
For the best jobs in cybersecurity, you will want to earn a Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. The more education, experience, and certifications you have, the more qualified you will be for advanced positions with higher influence and salary potential. A master’s degree in cybersecurity may prepare you for jobs including chief information security officer and information security manager.
If you’d like to pursue a career in cybersecurity, the best degree might be a specialized cybersecurity bachelor’s or master’s degree. In these types of degree programs, you’ll learn about basic computer science, information security, cybersecurity architecture and engineering, and secure network design.
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