The Information Age has necessitated the development of an entirely new industry, namely the cybersecurity and digital forensics industries. Given how interwoven technology is within so many elements of daily life, the need for professionals trained in cybersecurity is projected to continue growing robustly in the coming decade.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) projects forensic science technician jobs will grow by 14 percent between 2020 and 2030. This growth rate is greater than the average growth rate across sectors and thus suggests graduates of digital forensics and cybersecurity programs will enter a hot job market.
Those pursuing academic training in digital forensics customarily complete coursework in criminology, operating systems, and investigative techniques. Some academic programs feature additional requirements such as internships. Such requirements only further enhance a graduate’s competitiveness in the job market.
Those seeking to become skilled digital forensics professionals will typically be well-compensated in their chosen professions. With a median salary of $103,590, this profession was previously named in CNNMoney’s list of the “Best Jobs in America” as one of the “top 100 careers with big growth, great pay, and satisfying work.”
Graduates of such programs will indeed find several opportunities where they can apply their skills. Some elect to work in positions within local, state, or national law enforcement agencies. Others may choose to work for national companies in the private sector or become self-employed consultants.
The cybersecurity industry tends to be especially welcoming to individuals with current or former military backgrounds.
Those interested in pursuing a career in digital forensics can select from many programs throughout the United States offering an online bachelor’s degree in digital forensics or a related field such as cybersecurity.
American InterContinental University offers a 180-credit bachelor of science degree in information technology in one of two concentrations. These concentrations are digital investigations and information assurance and security.
Students seeking to become digital-crime professionals may seek the digital investigations concentration, while the information assurance and security concentration is suitable for those pursuing opportunities in fields such as digital security, information collection, and the construction of security systems.
Both concentrations feature requirements that include 58.5 general education credits, 58.5 core education credits, and 45 elective credits.
Students with eligible transfer credits or qualifying work/military experience may ultimately apply such experience toward this degree program. Those who transfer the maximum allowance of 75 percent of the total credits of the program may ultimately complete the program in just nine months.
The American Women’s College of Bay Path University offers female students a 120-credit-hour bachelor of science in cybersecurity. The program consists of 42 credits of American Women’s College core courses, 39 credits of major requirements, and 39 credits of general electives. Students may choose one of three majors: digital forensics and incident response, information assurance, and risk management.
The digital forensics and incident response major provides students the training necessary to become certified as Digital Forensic Examiners. Students who pursue the information assurance major become trained to work as information assurance specialists. Finally, risk management majors develop the problem-solving, leadership, and technical skills to work in roles tasked with the creation and implementation of risk management strategies.
Named the best private online college by Intelligent.com, Champlain College offers a 120-credit-hour bachelor of science degree in computer forensics and digital investigations.
The program consists of 63 credits of professional courses, 30 credits of general education courses, eight credits of general electives, six credits of technical electives, and a collection of other courses designed to enhance skills in writing and scientific literacy as well as comprehension of human behavior. Alumni of this program work in various settings, including corporations, law enforcement, the public sector, and municipalities throughout the United States.
Champlain holds the distinction of being a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity and digital forensics education. For example, since 2006, it has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by both the United States National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. It is also a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence.
ECPI University offers a 121-credit bachelor of science degree in criminal justice with a concentration in digital forensics. The curriculum consists of the core curriculum, arts and sciences, digital forensics concentration requirements, digital forensics concentration electives, and six credits of self-integration.
Course topics include cybersecurity principles, mobile technology, programming, networking, hacking, and fraud examination. Employing a practice-based approach, this program provides an overview of constituent elements of the United States justice system, such as law enforcement, corrections, and the court system.
Graduates ultimately may choose positions within the public and private sectors, including law enforcement within federal, state, and local government entities, emergency management, the U.S. military, and corporate environments.
Keiser University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in digital forensics and incident response (DFIR). DFIR is a segment of information security focused on applying forensic methodology to address issues including data breaches, malware, and other cybercriminal activity. Given the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity technology and threats, a robust demand for individuals with this particular training is anticipated in coming years.
Keiser University also offers a bachelor of science degree in cyber-forensics or information security. It is specifically designed as a “completion program” for graduates who completed an associate of science program in a computer-related field. Students seeking to complete this bachelor’s degree must complete 60 upper-division credits. Of this total, 51 must be completed in courses focused on the major of cyber-forensics and information security. The remaining coursework consists of general education courses.
Keiser University provides a “student-first” environment to ultimately attract students seeking a quality education designed to provide them with the skills necessary to pursue successful careers. The online learning model is designed both for students starting their careers and those seeking to advance them.
Mercy College (Cybersecurity)
Mercy College offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. The curriculum comprises 60 credits of general education requirements, 39 credits of cybersecurity core coursework, nine credits of major electives, and 12 credits of open electives.
Successful graduates will be well prepared to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification exam.
Students interested in broadening their career options may elect to complete the BS/MS cybersecurity program within a period of five years. This dual program is well suited for those wishing to pursue leadership roles within business and government.
The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designated Mercy College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.
Middle Georgia State University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science in information technology with two distinct concentrations of interest for aspiring cybersecurity professionals. These concentrations are cybersecurity and cyber-forensics. In addition to a core curriculum and other requirements, students of the cybersecurity concentration complete 27 credits specific to that concentration; cyber-forensics concentration students complete 21 credits specific to this focus.
The curriculum consists of lower-level division and upper-level division courses. Students may complete eCore and MGA courses to fulfill lower-level requirements. All upper-level courses are provided through the School of Information Technology.
Students may also seek credit for prior learning after completing a prior learning assessment.
The US National Security Agency recognizes the cybersecurity concentration as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) designated program.
Norwich University offers a 120-semester-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity with a concentration in computer forensics and vulnerability management.
The curriculum is designed to accommodate the needs of working adults and consists of general education, foundational and core courses, and a six-credit capstone project. Through this varied coursework, students develop the critical thinking, research, and analytical skills ultimately necessary to become successful cybersecurity professionals. Students may transfer up to 90 credits from their prior education. The program features a 30-credit entry requirement.
The US National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designated Norwich University as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
The Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology offers a 121-credit bachelor of technology in information technologies with a cybersecurity and digital forensics concentration. The curriculum consists of 51 credits of foundational general education requirements followed by 33 credits of lower-division, and 37 credits of upper-division program requirements.
The program features experienced faculty well versed in current best practices founded on industry standards. Students also benefit from hands-on learning experiences such as internships. Successful graduates of this program possess skills in data protection, communications, cybersecurity issue analysis, cybercrime investigation, and the application of best practices to serve their employers’ needs.
Pace University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science in professional technology studies with a concentration in computer forensics. A portion of the credits used to fulfill requirements may be transferred from past education. The curriculum consists of 20 credits in the foundation of IT, 20 credits of career focus courses, 45 credits of art and science electives, 20 credits of open electives, and 16 credits of required courses designed to enhance skills in mathematics and writing.
The US National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated the Pace University Seidenberg School as a National Center of Academic Excellence in cyber defense education.
The Robert Morris University School of Informatics, Humanities and Social Sciences offers a 123-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. Students may select one of two concentrations: cybersecurity or digital forensics.
Noteworthy features of the program include its interdisciplinary quality, the use of hands-on learning, the strong research backgrounds of its faculty and the quality of its coursework that enables graduates to obtain additional certifications post-graduation to enhance both skill and earning potential.
The U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have recognized Robert Morris University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE). The U.S. Air Force Association has also designated Robert Morris University as a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence.
Stevenson University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and digital forensics. It was the first university in Maryland to offer such an online program. Successful graduates apply policy and analytical skills to develop protective infrastructure for their clients’ assets and investigate and prepare forensic reports.
Students already possessing significant work or other experience before entry may ultimately complete their degree more quickly by participating in the university’s Credit for Prior Learning Program. Students can earn up to 30 credits for past work and life experiences such as military training, formal and informal education, certificate coursework, or training from non-collegiate institutions. Stevenson University also accepts a maximum of 70 undergraduate transfer credits from a regionally accredited community college and 90 undergraduate credits from a regionally accredited four-year institution.
Furthermore, working students may obtain a preferred tuition-reduction if their employer is a participating partner in the Stevenson University Online program.
Students already living in Maryland may find this program appealing due to the University’s geographic proximity to multiple federal government, military, and private sector contracting entities in the Washington, DC area. Given the many opportunities to be found among these employers, prospective students residing in Maryland may find this program especially appealing.
Strayer University offers a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice with a computer forensics concentration. The program features a total of 40 courses of 11 weeks in duration. The curriculum teaches students various skills, including problem-solving, innovative thinking, relationship building, and self-awareness.
For those interested in cybersecurity, Strayer University offers a bachelor of science in information technology with a focus in cybersecurity. This program also features a total of 40 courses of 11 weeks in duration.
The University of Advancing Technology (UAT) offers a 120-credit bachelor of science in technology forensics. The National Centers of Information Assurance Education designated UAT as a National Center of Academic Excellence. Also, the program’s network security curriculum is also certified by the U.S. National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation program.
In addition to successful completion of required coursework, students must complete a Student Innovation project, an internship, and a portfolio while simultaneously maintaining a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
Graduates of this program possess the technical, presentation, and analytical skills and experience to serve as technology forensics specialists in various settings, including military, corporate, law enforcement, and legal environments. The program is designed to prepare students not just for the technology challenges of the present but also to train them to anticipate new and emerging technologies that are an omnipresent feature of working in the continually evolving discipline of computer forensics.
The University of Michigan Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science offers a 123-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and information assurance. Students of this online program watch recorded lectures, may participate in synchronous discussions, and use Canvas, the UM-Dearborn learning management system, to complete and submit assignments. However, this is not a self-paced program; students must meet deadlines set by instructors.
Two concentrations are available: cybersecurity and privacy or digital forensics. The cybersecurity and privacy concentration offers a curriculum focused on computer and information science and extensive material focused on various security applications. Students of the digital forensics concentration develop the skills necessary to examine and analyze varied computer technologies and preserve data for subsequent investigations of a civil or criminal nature. Students develop skills through coursework as well as internship, research, and study abroad opportunities.
Utica University has been previously named a “Top 200 Regional University” by U.S. News & World Report. Major institutions that recognize the quality of Utica University’s programs include, among others, the U.S. National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.
Utica University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. Students may select from one of four specializations: cyber-operations, cybercrime and fraud investigation, information assurance, and, network forensics and incident response. This program also has the distinction of offering RangeForce, a cloud-based training platform in which students experience immersive experiences designed to simulate real-world cybersecurity conflict. RangeForce was created by the same team that built the cyber range of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center.
The Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center has designated the school as a Center for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence.
Western Governors University (Cybersecurity & Information Assurance)
Western Governors University offers a bachelor of science in cybersecurity and information assurance. The curriculum consists of 34 courses as well as a required capstone project. Courses focus on various topics including, but not limited to, IT fundamentals, web development, data management, and information assurance, as well as general education coursework.
This program, designed to meet current Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency guidelines, earned WGU the designation of being a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense through the year 2026. The program also offers fourteen different certifications designed to build a student’s skills and earning potential.
American Public University (Cybersecurity)
American Public University offers an online bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. This 120-credit program features eight- to sixteen-week courses that begin monthly and may transfer up to 90 credits. Students can choose digital forensics as their concentration among five different concentration options that are offered. Each of these concentrations comprises a total of 15 credits.
The U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designated the American Public University System as a Center of Academic Excellence – Cybersecurity (CAE-C).
Students who are National Guard members, Reservists, U.S. active-duty service members, and their spouses/dependents receive a tuition grant that caps their per tuition at $250 per hour. Another grant provides no-cost textbooks and ebooks for students of this undergraduate program.
Bellevue University (Cybersecurity)
Bellevue University offers a 127-credit bachelor of science in cybersecurity.
The program comprises 37 integrative general education credits, 39 major requirement credits, and 51 elective credits. Students completing this curriculum learn how to utilize open source and commercial tools for various purposes, including security planning, threat analysis, and cybercrime investigation.
Students of this program have the added flexibility of completing courses in any sequence and may choose to take as many courses as is suitable to their current life circumstances. The program is also especially suitable for beginners in the industry as there are no prerequisites to complete beforehand. Those seeking a faster course of study may opt to choose an accelerated cohort format for their studies.
Capella University (IT & Cybersecurity)
Capella University offers a bachelor of science in information technology in information assurance and cybersecurity. Program requirements feature eight to thirteen general education courses, fifteen core courses, nine specialization courses, five to nine elective courses, and a capstone course. Students have two options for completion. They may pursue a FlexPath and complete coursework totaling 90 program points or choose GuidedPath, in which they complete 180 quarter-credits.
The program offers several features, including immersive lab environments, vouchers to complete certification exams such as CompTIA, Cisco, and SAS, and a gamified training environment called Project Ares in which students can engage with simulations of real-world cybersecurity threats.
Capitol Technology University (Cybersecurity)
Capitol Technology University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. The curriculum includes programming and computer technology, information assurance, management, and mathematics, as well as more general education in subjects including English and the social sciences.
Coursework is designed to prepare students for successfully completing industry certification exams such as A+, Network+, the Certified Ethical Hacker exam and the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. Such credentials can prove valuable in enhancing a student’s marketability upon graduation.
Capitol Technology University holds the distinction of being one of the first schools in the nation to be designated a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the school received the SC Media 2020 Award for Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program.
Drexel University (Computing & Security Technology)
Drexel University, consistently ranked as a top university by U.S. News & World Report, offers a bachelor of science degree in computing and security technology. Students choose a concentration in either computing security or computing technology; both concentrations feature 21 credits of required courses.
This program offers courses in four 10-week quarters as opposed to a more traditional model of two semesters per year and thereby allows students to complete more coursework in a shorter period of time. Graduates complete a total of 185 quarter credits; a typical semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.
This program also recognizes the valuable experience some incoming students may already hold under their completion of IT certifications. Students who obtained certifications from companies such as CompTIA, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, and others may be eligible to receive additional credits towards their degree.
Eastern Oregon University (Cybersecurity)
Eastern Oregon University offers three distinct bachelor’s degree programs in the field of cybersecurity. These are the bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, and bachelor of applied science degree programs.
All three programs consist of a curriculum featuring 60 courses for a total of 180 credits. Up to 135 credits of previous college coursework may be transferred into EOU. Students may also seek credit for work experience and on-the-job training through Agency Sponsored Learning (ASL). In addition, with faculty assistance, students may seek an Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) to obtain course credit and reduce tuition costs.
The program is designed to provide graduates a practical education consistent with industry standards. The curriculum features labs, case studies, hands-on assignments, and course material focused on operations. This program also features small class sizes, which thereby allow faculty to provide quality attention, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities.
Excelsior College (Cybersecurity)
Excelsior College offers a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. Students choose one of two concentrations, either general cybersecurity or cyber operations. This 120-credit program allows for the transfer of up to 113 credits from prior coursework. In addition, some military and professional training can also be converted into credits for the requirements of this program. Furthermore, graduates holding an AAS in Technical Studies from Excelsior can transfer all 60 credits from this program towards the bachelor’s program. This program curriculum also prepares students to take several certification exams, including CISSP, CEH, Security+, Network+, CHFI, SSCP, and ESCP.
The U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security designates Excelsior College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
Kennesaw State University (Cybersecurity)
Kennesaw State University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. Graduates of this program complete a combination of coursework consisting of 42 credits of general education requirements, 18 credits of lower-division major requirements, and 60 credits of upper-division major requirements.
Kennesaw State also offers the Double Owl Pathway program. This program allows students interested in later pursuing a master of science degree in cybersecurity to complete coursework that will count towards both their bachelor’s and master’s degree program requirements.
This new program is a member program of the eMajor program, a degree completion partnership with the University System of Georgia’s eCampus initiative. It is designed as an affordable degree to fulfill the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals in Georgia and beyond.
Maryville University (Cybersecurity)
Maryville University offers a fully online 128-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. Students choose one of three tracks, namely (general) cybersecurity, offensive cybersecurity, or defensive cybersecurity.
The curriculum includes topics such as digital forensics, ethical hacking, and incident response. In addition, students utilize the Maryville University Virtual Lab. This lab serves as both a vehicle to provide course material and a training site for students seeking the hands-on practice necessary to develop the technical, hacking, and analytical skills vital to become effective cybersecurity professionals.
Old Dominion University (Cybersecurity)
The Old Dominion University School of Cybersecurity offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. The curriculum features coursework from various disciplines, including computer engineering and science, criminal justice and information technology. Students may transfer credits from prior education but must complete at least 30 credits from ODU to be granted a bachelor’s degree by this institution.
Purdue University Global (Cybersecurity)
Purdue University Global offers a 180-quarter-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity featuring several optional concentrations. These concentrations are CISSP Certification Preparation, Cloud Computing, Data Management, Game Development, Programming and Analytics, and Supply Chain Management and Logistics. This program has earned Purdue Global designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).
Purdue offers students a variety of supports to provide a rewarding and competitive education. For example, students may apply work experience, transfer credits, and military experience toward up to three quarters (75 percent) of the degree
Requirements. Eligible students may also select a competency-based option called ExcelTrack, in which they work at a self-directed pace each term and pay a significantly lower total tuition over their education. U.S. military servicemembers may qualify for reduced tuition rates.
Those seeking to pursue an advanced degree may, pending sufficient performance in their bachelor’s degree program, obtain entry in an abbreviated version of Purdue Global’s master’s degree program in information technology or cybersecurity management. Such an option allows students to pursue an accelerated education at a lower total cost.
Saint Leo University (Cybersecurity)
Consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the “Best Regional Universities for the South Region,” Saint Leo University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. The curriculum consists of 72 credits of major requirements, 42 credits of university explorations, and four credits of introductory material for first-year students that must be completed on-campus. Students further develop professional qualifications through internships and the use of two computer labs.
Successful graduates have developed cyber prevention, detection, recovery methods, and forensics skills necessary to become effective cybersecurity professionals.
Southern New Hampshire University (Cybersecurity)
Southern New Hampshire University offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. The curriculum consists of 57 credits of major courses, 42 credits of general education courses, and 21 credits of free electives.
Two concentration options are available: data analytics and project management. Those pursuing one of these concentrations complete 15 credits of concentration coursework which ultimately count as part of the necessary free elective coursework.
The program is designed to instill in students a “security mindset” through applying systems thinking and adversarial thinking such that graduates hold the skills to effectively construct secure systems and ultimately empower their employers to effectively manage both information assets and related risk.
University of Arizona (Cyber-operations)
The University of Arizona College of Applied Science and Technology offers a 120-credit bachelor of applied science in cyber-operations. Content focuses on both offensive and defensive cybersecurity. The program allows for the transfer of up to 60 credits from a regionally accredited institution. This degree offers three emphases, namely engineering, defense and forensics, and cyber law and policy.
Some students of the cyber law and policy emphasis may be eligible to complete the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) offered by the College of Applied Science and Technology. This program allows qualified students to complete their undergraduate degree and a master of legal studies in as few as three years.
The U.S. National Security Agency designated the program as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). Such a designation indicates the program meets robust academic and technical requirements. In 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked the program among the best colleges for veterans.
University of Charleston (Cybersecurity)
The University of Charleston offers a 120-credit bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. This degree completion program is specifically designed for individuals who hold an associate degree and, in recognition of the needs of working adults, may be completed on a full or part-time basis. The curriculum follows the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and consequently features material in seven categories of cyber operations.
Required coursework consists of 24 credits of foundational courses, 33 credits of cyber courses, 18 credits of minor electives, and 45 credits of general electives. Among intended program outcomes, graduates are prepared for industry certification exams such as CCNA, A+, and Network+.
University of Maryland Global Campus (Computer Networks & Cybersecurity)
The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in computer networks and cybersecurity. The curriculum consists of 41 credits of general education courses and 46 credits of minor and elective courses. Students may transfer up to 90 credits towards the requirements for the degree. Those interested in a career in digital forensics may choose from a selection of upper-level courses for a total of nine credit hours.
Students seeking to pursue additional education at the graduate level within UMGC may use a “vertical pathway” between the school’s graduate and undergraduate programs. Such a pathway allows students to reduce their total coursework obligation and save time and money.
UMGC is a designated National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE). Students may complete CDFAE Certificates of Completion at UMGC to ultimately substitute for U.S. Department of Defense forensics certifications. Such certifications are necessary when working for the federal government or federal contractors.
University of North Dakota (Cybersecurity)
The University of North Dakota (UND) College of Engineering and Mines offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity. This degree program is recognized as consistently ranking among the best in the nation in terms of metrics such as quality of education, affordability, and post-graduate outcomes. UND ranks among the best online colleges in the nation in terms of affordability, retention rate, graduation rate, and student outcomes.
This program provides students with an education featuring both skills and knowledge specific to the cybersecurity industry as well as foundational training in liberal arts. In addition, students are provided opportunities to engage in cybersecurity research and may be able to work in the UND Secure Cyber Physical Energy Systems & Data Sciences Laboratory. Students may also customize their course of study to focus on issue areas of particular interest.
University of the Potomac (Cybersecurity)
The University of the Potomac offers a 120-credit bachelor of science degree program in cybersecurity. Five concentrations are offered: government contract management, healthcare management, information management, international business, and management.
The program consists of upper- and lower-division requirements and includes, among other things, management courses, cybersecurity and computing courses, electives, and general education requirements. Students may transfer up to 84 credits towards the requirements for degree completion.
Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science, and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected]