With the growing rate of cyber attacks, the demand for cyber security professionals and their services has increased. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that there will be a 33 percent growth rate for information security analysts within the decade. Earning one of the best PhDs in Cyber Security is the best way to prepare yourself for senior-level cyber security jobs.
A cyber security PhD is a prestigious degree that teaches students the advanced topics and skills needed to become cyber security engineers. If you would like to prepare for advanced research positions in the tech field, this guide informs you about the best cyber security PhD programs and jobs.
What Is a PhD in Cyber Security?
A PhD in Cyber Security is a degree program focused on the fundamentals of hardware and software security required for top cyber security jobs. Common courses include computer hardware and system security, software vulnerabilities and security, compliance management, and assurance controls. This degree usually takes four to five years to complete and requires 48 to 75 credits.
How to Get Into a Cyber Security PhD Program: Admission Requirements
The requirements to get into a cyber security PhD degree include a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in Cyber Security, Computer Science, or a related field. Other admission requirements may include a minimum GPA of 3.0, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, transcripts from your graduate coursework, writing samples, and satisfactory GRE scores.
Note that some schools have course prerequisites for their cyber security programs that must be met to qualify for admission. A good example of additional admission requirements is proficiency in a specific programming language.
PhD in Cyber Security Admission Requirements
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field
- Master’s degree in a related field
- Average GPA of 3.00
- Letters of recommendation
- Application fee
- Proof of English proficiency
- Resume or CV
- Writing samples
- GRE scores
Cyber Security PhD Acceptance Rates: How Hard Is It to Get Into a PhD Program in Cyber Security?
It can be difficult to get into a PhD program for cyber security as it is the highest level degree a student can achieve. A study by Duke Graduate School shows that the acceptance rate for their most recent computer science PhD cohort was 15.74 percent.
How to Get Into the Best Universities
Best PhDs in Cyber Security: In Brief
|Arizona State University
|PhD in Computer Science (Cybersecurity)
|PhD in Computer Science and Software Engineering
|PhD in Cybersecurity
|Michigan State University
|PhD in Information Technology Management
|PhD in Cybersecurity
|Nova Southeastern University
|PhD in Cybersecurity Management
|Portland State University
|PhD in Computer Science with a Specialization in Networks and Security
|University of Colorado Colorado Springs
|PhD in Security
|University of Rhode Island
|PhD in Computer Science with a Specialization in Cyber Security
|University of Tennessee
|PhD in Computer Science with a Concentration in Cyber Security
Best Universities for Cyber Security PhDs: Where to Get a PhD in Cyber Security
The best universities for cyber security PhDs offer flexible programs and teach all the in-demand skills for successful careers in the industry. If you’re wondering where to get a PhD in Cyber Security, consult the list below for details about course content, tuition, and admission requirements.
Can You Get a PhD in Cyber Security Online?
Yes, you can get a PhD in Cyber Security online. If you prefer the flexibility that comes with online programs rather than the traditional on-campus lectures, then you should opt for one of the best online PhDs in Cyber Security. Asynchronous courses allow you to view and take your lectures when it’s convenient for you. However, there will be deadlines for assignment submission and for taking exams.
Some online PhD programs in cyber security are more affordable than on-campus programs, while others offer hybrid programs which feature both online and in-person academic activities. Below are some of the best online PhD programs in the cyber security field.
Best Online PhD Programs in Cyber Security
|Online PhD in Information Technology
|Capitol Technology University
|Online PhD in Cybersecurity
|Colorado Technical University
|Online PhD of Computer Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
|Online PhD of Science in Cybersecurity
|Online PhD in Technology and Innovation Management – Cybersecurity
How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Cyber Security?
It takes three to seven years to get a PhD in Cyber Security. The number of credits, intense research requirements, and dissertation can be very lengthy endeavors. You will spend time demonstrating your ability to practically apply your knowledge in cyber security, conducting research, and contributing theories in your field. The exact length varies based on the specific program and individual.
Is a PhD in Cyber Security Hard?
Yes, a PhD in Cyber Security can be hard. If you are willing to put in the required effort and time, your degree will be easier. Although cyber security doesn’t necessarily involve math, which makes it easier to navigate than most other tech fields, it does involve programming languages.
The program can be challenging and rigorous as it is tailored to prepare you for research-based jobs such as corporate researchers, policy advisors, and college professors. It is the final educational component of the field and will require you to complete multiple hands-on projects.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a PhD in Cyber Security?
It costs $19,314 per year to get a PhD in Cyber Security, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The cost of PhD in Cyber Security programs varies by school, but students can apply for fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships to reduce costs. This PhD will cost you an average of $12,171 per year at a public institution and $25,929 per year at a private institution.
Some of the factors that determine the cost of a PhD in Cyber Security include the type of university you attend, whether you pay out-of-state tuition or in-state tuition, and the format of your program.
How to Pay for a PhD in Cyber Security: PhD Funding Options
The PhD funding options that students can use to pay for a PhD in Cyber Security include scholarships, loans, grants, research fellowships, and graduate assistantships. While most schools offer partially-funded programs, some schools offer fully-funded doctoral programs in the cyber security field. This way, you can earn your degree without paying any tuition.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
What Is the Difference Between a Cyber Security Master’s Degree and PhD?
The differences between a cyber security master’s degree and a PhD are the entry requirements, the duration of the program, the courses taught, graduation requirements, and the number of credits required. Master’s degrees require a bachelor’s degree for acceptance, while PhD programs often require both a bachelor’s and a master’s.
A master’s degree program takes one to two years, requires 30 to 36 credits, and requires you to complete a capstone or thesis to be awarded your degree. A PhD in Cyber Security takes four to five years, requires 48 to 84 credit units, and requires students to complete a doctoral research dissertation to be awarded a degree.
Master’s vs PhD in Cyber Security Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for cyber security master’s degree positions such as computer and information research scientist is projected to grow by 22 percent, which is much faster than average. Meanwhile, the job outlook for PhD positions such as computer science professors is projected to grow by 12 percent.
Difference in Salary for Cyber Security Master’s vs PhD
As reported by PayScale, you can earn an average salary of $172,000 with a PhD in Cyber Security in top roles in the field such as director of operations, education program director, head of business continuity planning, chief information security officer, and cyber security architect.
PayScale also states that Master’s Degree in Cyber Security holders can earn an average of $94,000 per year. Some cyber security master’s degree positions include senior engineer, risk manager, and enterprise architecture.
Related Cyber Security Degrees
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Why You Should Get a PhD in Cyber Security
You should get a PhD in Cyber Security because you will develop the relevant technical skills and experience required to qualify for professional opportunities in this fast-growing industry. The outlook for jobs in this field grows is high and most of the relevant positions have very high salaries. PhDs in Cyber Security also allow you to do extensive research and make a difference in the field.
Reasons for Getting a PhD in Cyber Security
- Job security. With the increase in cyber threats and attacks, the demand for professionals in the field of cyber security has far outpaced the supply. A position in this field gives you job security. Professionals in this field receive competing offers from multiple companies.
- High salary potential. Cyber security professionals are among the most highly-paid employees in the technology sector due to the severe shortage of skilled workers. According to PayScale, the average salary of a cyber security engineer is $97,766.
- Fast-growing career options. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for professionals in this field is growing at a rate of 33 percent, which is faster than the average growth of other lines of work. It has vast opportunities with job openings in almost every sector.
- Research opportunities. A PhD in Cyber Security gives you an opportunity to focus on a particular research topic or question that is faculty-mentored. This allows you to chase your interests, challenge yourself, and hone your technical, research, and problem-solving skills.
Getting a PhD in Cyber Security: Cyber Security PhD Coursework
Getting a PhD in Cyber Security will require you to complete courses that will help you hone the necessary skills required for the job market ahead of you. The on-campus curriculum differs slightly from that of an online cyber security PhD. The PhD coursework consists of classes in information privacy, information security risk management, and information protection.
This course typically covers common privacy issues and how they relate to information systems. Technological and theoretical-based systems may also be topics of discussion. Methods to maintain the necessary level of privacy for the purpose of the safety of systems will also be discussed.
Research Seminar in Cyber Security Management
This course covers the basic research topics that are associated with cyber security. Relevant literature will also be reviewed and discussed by students in the course of study. It may also cover technical and human-centric topics.
Students will be introduced to and discuss various threats and protections to host-based systems. The course also covers the various methods of malicious activity, with the discussion of networks and mobile systems.
Secure Systems Analysis and Design
Topics related to the analysis and assessment of security systems are covered in this course. The scope of the course will also cover vulnerabilities and potential threats. Research opportunities and possible future threats may also be looked at.
Information Security Risk Management
This course will cover theories of risk management in the IT field. Most times, the course is research-related and may cover topics such as theories, best practices, and frameworks in risk management. Students will learn about current issues and how to practically access what future directions may follow in the cyber security environment.
Best Master’s Degrees
How to Get a PhD in Cyber Security: Doctoral Program Requirements
If you’re wondering how to get a PhD in Cyber Security, find out more about graduation requirements below. The doctoral program requirements for cyber security include credit hour completion, satisfactory comprehensive examination performance, dissertation submission, and successful dissertation defense. Some schools may demand residency, publication in a journal, or paper submission.
Potential Careers With a Cyber Security Degree
PhD in Cyber Security Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job outlook for computer and information research scientists will grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Due to the growing threat of hacking and the risk of data breaches, there is a growing demand for cyber security engineers to secure networks.
What Can You Do With a PhD in Cyber Security?
With a PhD in Cyber Security, you can land senior-level and high-paying jobs in the field. Due to the surge in cyber attacks, you can also land openings in healthcare, government, software and networking, and financial services.
A PhD qualifies you for jobs such as chief information security officer, cyber security architect, lead software security engineer, penetration tester, information security analyst, information security manager, information security director, and security researcher.
Best Jobs with a PhD in Cyber Security
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Cyber Security Architect
- Lead Software Security Engineer
- Penetration Tester
- Information Security Analyst
What Is the Average Salary for a PhD in Cyber Security?
The average salary for a PhD in Cyber Security graduate is $91,000, according to PayScale. Professionals with this degree can earn between $51,000 and $154,000 per year. These numbers will vary depending on your level of expertise, position, location, and the company for which you work.
Highest-Paying Cyber Security Jobs for PhD Grads
|Cyber Security PhD Jobs
|Chief Information Security Officer
|Cyber Security Architect
|Lead Software Security Engineer
|Information Security Analyst
Best Cyber Security Jobs with a Doctorate
The best cyber security jobs with a doctoral degree include chief information security officer, cyber security architect, lead software security engineer, penetration tester, and information security analyst. They are jobs that require three to five years of experience. These roles are senior-level roles in the cyber security field.
Is a PhD in Cyber Security Worth It?
Yes, a PhD in Cyber Security is worth it. If you have a passion for the security of computer systems and are willing to put in the required time and dedication, you will find it challenging but exciting. Although you may run into a few hiccups, advisor support, dedication, and hard work will get you through.
There are a wide variety of exciting opportunities for cyber security professionals. Companies are looking for cyber security engineers to secure their networks. A PhD in Cyber Security will help you develop a combination of soft skills and technical skills that will enable you to land a job in cyber security across different fields.
Additional Reading About Cyber Security
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PhD in Cyber Security FAQ
Yes, a cyber security PhD will require prior knowledge in coding. As a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required for a PhD in Cyber Security, it is likely you will have already learned those skills in your previous degrees.
Yes, cyber security is in high demand. Not only will this degree prepare you for the highest-paying jobs in the field, but these skills are also transferable to a multitude of career paths. Graduates are sure to find a stable job after school.
If you’re interested in protecting your data, defending computer systems, and staying up to date on the latest in cyber protection, then you should get a PhD in Cyber Security. Learning cyber security opens up several career opportunities, many of which are in high demand and very lucrative.
Cyber security can sometimes be more difficult than programming because it includes many different elements, including programming itself. Students must understand how to code, infiltrate code, and prevent infiltration. This is one of the most difficult aspects of cyber security.
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