10 Best PhD Cyber Security Online Programs [2021 Guide]

Home » 10 Best PhD Cyber Security Online Programs [2021 Guide]

We’ve identified the 10 Best PhD Cyber Security Online Programs for 2021. Compare career paths, degree programs, job growth, and salary data.

PhD Cyber Security Online

Getting an online PhD in Cyber Security arms you with the knowledge and skills required to keep everyone using the Internet safely, including all-important data.

Almost all business operate online these days. These businesses, as well as non-profit organizations, schools, and even government agencies, are vulnerable to online and insider threats.

Best Online PhD in Cyber Security Programs

Senior Software Engineer checking the data room

A Cyber Security doctorate is a valuable degree to have if your goal is to fully immerse yourself in the fascinating and complex world of information systems.

An online cyber security degree program encompasses classes and assignments that will allow you to create and evaluate IT systems and infrastructure. On top of that, as a cyber security graduate student, you will learn how to provide solutions to difficult technological problems and threats.

Cyber Security graduate students must have critical-thinking skills, the ability to create and apply data and codes, and the foresight to understand and reduce the risk of cyber threats. The ideal applicate for an online PhD in Cyber Security would be someone already well-versed in computer science, mathematics, and other like-minded disciplines.

Once you enter a graduate program for cybersecurity, you can expect tough, but engaging coursework in homeland security, advanced algorithms, advanced computation, artificial intelligence (AI), and information technology.

There is no doubt that these are hard courses, plus finishing a doctoral program requires an investment of several years of study, but the payoff is likely worth it.

A PhD in Cyber Security will make you valuable to employers in both the private and public sectors. Cyber Security specialists can work in a variety of roles, from cyber security analyst to IT and software developers. Those who love the discipline can also teach it at the college level as professors.

Cyber Security Careers & Salaries

Cyber Security Careers & Salaries

Unlike the lower level degrees such as a cyber security associate degree, a PhD in Cybersecurity prepares you for a fast-paced and growing career in the world of information technology (IT), business intelligence, software engineering, and so much more.

Cyber Security experts are top-notch, highly qualified individuals who are called upon to tackle some of the most complex digital challenges in the world.

Without the protections offered by cybersecurity experts, the basic infrastructures of the online business world (and general society at large) would be vulnerable to DDOS attacks, ransomware infiltration, identity theft scams, and other malicious activities that would put millions of dollars and lives in jeopardy.

Cybersecurity specialists are also on the cutting edge of digital forensics. When private or company data is attacked, it is often Cyber Security experts who are called in to salvage data and track and trace those guilty of the attack. A graduate degree in cyber security means that you will be a new kind of detective for the 21st century.

A PhD in Cyber Security will not only train you to face the challenges of today, but it will also equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to train future generations of aspiring Cyber Security specialists. This is a high-demand job with a large number of businesses on the lookout for qualified specialists.

Careers Average Annual Salary
Chief Executive Office (CEO) $204,000
Chief Information Officer (CIO) $203,000
Senior Systems Engineer $171,000
Security Consultant $149,000
Senior .NET Developer $114,000
Senior IT Solution Manager $113,000
Senior Software Engineer $100,000
Cyber Security Analyst $88,000
Assistant Professor of Computer Science $73,000
Project Manager $72,000

Salaries for Cyber Security doctorate holders range from $100,000 a year to $204,000 a year. Those with only a master’s in cyber security can make anywhere from $73,000 a year to $95,000 a year. Few Cyber Security positions are lower than $50,000 a year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that this is one of the fastest growing careers in the country.

Cybersecurity Curriculum & Courses

Cyber Security Analysts working together in the office

According to Cyber Degrees, the most common courses for graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. in Cyber Security are theory of computation, network security, network architecture, and many more.

  • Theory of Computation focuses on how to solve problems based on models of computations using advanced mathematics and algorithms. Students will be introduced to major concepts like Automata theory, Computability theory, and Computational complexity theory.
  • Computer Systems, Networks and Architecture shows students how to correctly design computer networks and build data communication systems, including Intranets.
  • Network Security equips students with the knowledge about different types of malicious software attacks and how they can be countered. Network Security coursework also teaches students how to properly protect online assets.
  • Applied Cryptography covers information security systems, as well classic cryptographic algorithms, symmetric cryptography, asymmetric cryptography, and other management and distribution models of cybersecurity.
  • Cyber Law goes into detail about the nuances and complexities of cyber law. No class better prepares students for Internet law than this one.
  • Security Risk Management focuses on implementing layers of security, threats and vulnerabilities to Intranets, ways to protect data, and ways to compose security risk models.
  • Homeland Security provides an up-to-date overview of homeland security issues, from online hazards, domestic and international terrorism, and technological calamities.
  • Advanced Algorithms is all about the fundamentals of advanced algorithms, including how they are designed and implemented.
  • Artificial Intelligence is currently one of the most exciting available right now. Artificial intelligence teaches students how to adapt human behaviors to digital networks.
  • Software Engineering instructs students on how to build and maintain reliable software, which means the course also goes in-depth about the science and mechanics of computer software.

While some programs vary, almost all will at some point require students to pass one or all of these classes.

Admissions Requirements

PhD in Cyber security student studying on her laptop

Some of the most common admission requirements for entering an online PhD program in Cyber Security include prior course work, a master’s degree, and letters of recommendation.

  • A master’s degree may be required, but not always
  • A GPA of 3.0 or better in computer science, math, and other related courses
  • Three letters of recommendation (varies depending on the school)
  • Professional experience in the field, although this is not always mandatory
  • A written Statement or Purpose or Personal Essay
  • GRE scores, although some universities no longer require this 

In general, if you are a dedicated student with good grades, solid letters of recommendation, and high marks in related coursework, then you will likely be a good candidate for this doctoral program.


PhD Cyber Security Online Accreditation

Regional accreditation is one of the most important aspects of a doctorate degree in cyber security.

Regional accreditation comes when colleges demonstrate that their degrees, both undergraduate and graduate, meet the minimum standards and requirements per one of the seven regional accreditation agencies in the United States.

If you are unsure whether or not a school is fully accredited in its region, a good place to start would be the U.S. Department of Education website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for PhD in Cyber security students

Regardless of the program or the school, paying for your degree is often an issue for aspiring graduates. The good news is that the federal government and state governments offer a number of financial aid packages.

A great place to start for any student applicant is the Federal Student Aid website, which provides awesome information about how and where to apply for loans, grants, and other aid options.

All students should complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Filling out a FAFSA will connect you with all the possible aid packages that meet your personal situation.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Cyber Security Online?

Senior IT Solution Manager giving instructions to an intern

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that some of the most exciting and widely available jobs for cyber security graduates include IT specialist, threat analyst, information security specialist, and others.

  • Information Technology Specialists
  • Information Security Specialists
  • Risk Managers
  • Risk Compliance Specialists

Cyber Security professionals have a projected job growth rate of 28 % from now until 2026. Better yet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median income for Cyber Security professionals is $98,350.

How Long Does It Take To Get an Online PhD in Cyber Security Cost?

Like any graduate school program, an online PhD in Internet Security or Cyber Security can take a significant amount of time.

The good news is that most online programs have a proven track record of providing excellent education in a relatively short amount of time.

  • A Master’s degree in Cyber Security usually takes two years.
  • A PhD degree in Cyber Security online usually takes anywhere from three to seven years. But this can change depending on whether or not you’ve earned your master’s degree prior to entry.

Becoming a well-educated and well-versed specialist in any discipline takes time.

Are There Any Affordable Online Cyber Security Doctoral Programs?

Yes, there are affordable online PhD in Cyber Security programs. Because it is such an in-demand industry, online degrees are plentiful and affordable. Tuition for online programs range from about $50,000 per year to as low as $9,000 per year. Most programs fall somewhere in the range between $10,000 and $15,000.

Again, if you want to lower the cost of tuition, be sure to complete your Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible so you can see what kind of loans, grants, and aid are available for you.

Is an Online PhD in Cyber Security Worth it?

Security Consultant presenting his work to his supervisors

Yes, a PhD in Cyber Security is worth it. With an average salary of $110,000 and 28% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in cybersecurity can help you launch a career in this cutting-edge industry. Common cyber security careers include IT Specialist, a Cyber Lead, a Cyber Security Engineer, and others.

Almost any degree level in this field is worth it. For instance, even an associates degree in cyber security is worth it because it takes the shortest amount of time and can potentially lead to an entry-level position. But if you are looking for a higher-end position, then a PhD may be a better choice.

Universities Offering Online PhD in Cyber Security Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University

With its Doctor of Global Security degree, American Public University offers a multidisciplinary approach to security issues face on a domestic and global level and teaches students the policies and standards that are expected in those areas.

The classes in this program have instructors that are familiar with the workings of the government agencies that utilize these skills.

  • Doctor of Global Security – Cybersecurity

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Capella University

Capella University

Capella University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology helps students acquire the knowledge and confidence to complete their dissertation by giving learners the support, structure, and resources needed to be successful in obtaining their degree.

Students will learn to data privacy, organizational requirements, and minimize risks that companies face every day.

  • PhD in Information Technology – Information Assurance and Cybersecurity

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Capitol Technology University

Capitol Technology University

Pursuing a Ph.D. in cybersecurity leadership from Capitol Technology University allows students to conduct intensive independent research in a wide range of areas relating to computer science, cybersecurity, programming, and logistics.

Learners looking to advance their abilities, cybersecurity, and leadership to the upmost levels and secure an internship or career in the field.

  • PhD in Cybersecurity Leadership

Capitol Technology University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middles States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University has a Doctor of Computer Science in cybersecurity and information assurance that is based on measurable techniques that are founded in research data to complete the dissertation process. CTU has a flexible program that can be achieved through distance learning and has multiple start dates to choose from.

  • Doctor of Computer Science – Cybersecurity and Information Assurance

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Dakota State University

Dakota State University

A Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems awarded from Dakota State University helps students to work in the fields of research, education, and commercial service. This is a multidisciplinary program that stresses the importance of applied research, administrative technologies, and management. DSU’s Ph.D. program takes about three years to complete.

  • PhD in Information Systems

Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Marymount University

Marymount University

Marymount University offers a Doctor of Science in cybersecurity that is rich in academics and mentorships to help students become a successful entrepreneur in the industry of computer science. MU’s D.Sc.’s takes into consideration new and future security threats to data and information in today’s society.

Networking, leadership, and ethical responsibility are key aspects of this program.

  • Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity

Marymount University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

New Jersey City University

New Jersey University

Obtaining a Doctor Of Science in civil security leadership, management, and policy from New Jersey City University is an excellent choice for students looking to study the areas of national, corporate, and informational security. This three-year program requires students to complete a two-week residency and four weekends per year.

  • Doctor of Science in Civil Security, Leadership, Management and Policy – Information Assurance/Cyber Security

New Jersey City University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University

Northcentral University gives students the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in technology and innovation management that gives them the skills needed to stop cyberattacks in the information systems area. NU teaches learners how to communicate effectively in various settings and discuss up-to-date theories and applications.

  • PhD in Technology and Innovation Management

Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University’s Ph.D. in Cybersecurity Management blends traditional learning with a dynamic online program to give students a minimum of sixty-seven credits to prepare them to work in a career in computer science and analytic data measures.

This degree allows learners to gain knowledge in multidisciplinary research to acquire a position with the government, corporate, and other related agencies.

  • PhD in Cybersecurity Management

NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

Earning a Ph.D. in information technology from the University of the Cumberlands allows students to enhance their ability to gain employment in a global community in cybercrime, data analysis, and information systems infrastructure.

This online program gives students the boost needed to make the next step in their future professional and academic careers.

  • PhD in Information Technology

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Doctorate in Cybersecurity Online

Doctorate in Cybersecurity student studying online

The reliance on digital technology and computers is not going to change anytime soon. That means that businesses, schools, organizations, and others need professionals who have the expertise to keep data, networks, and infrastructure secure. That’s where cyber security professionals enter the picture.

As a cyber security professional, especially one armed with a doctorate degree, you will be the frontline defense against all malicious online actions and attacks. It can be a rewarding and valuable job, and it’s in high demand. It is a job with outstanding growth potential in both the private and public sectors.