The online Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCYBR) degree program at North Carolina A&T State University – American’s largest HBCU – is designed to provide working professionals from multiple disciplines and industries with an understanding of and expertise in the core aspects of cybersecurity. Asynchronous online classes provide scheduling flexibility for distance learners. Students completing this program will be able to:
- Design systems that are inherently secure.
- Protect computer systems, mobile systems and computer networks against attacks in real-time and offline.
- Provide assurance of system security using quantitative techniques and approaches.
- Analyze and detect malware and other cyberattacks.
- Identify suspicious cyber behavior via data mining and anomaly detection.
- Use digital forensics to assess the damage, type and impact of cyberattacks.
- Develop policies and plans and/or advocate for policy changes that support organizational cyber initiatives or enhancements.
This program is a collaboration between N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering (COE) and College of Science and Technology (CoST), leveraging the strengths of COE’s Department of Computer Science and CoST’s Department of Computer Systems Technology to prepare students for careers in this area of national need. The Department of Computer Science is well-known and respected for its education and research in cybersecurity. N.C. A&T is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency. CoST’s M.S. in Information Technology program is consistently ranked in the Top 20 online IT programs by U.S. News & World Report.
Both the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Computer Systems Technology are major components of N.C. A&T’s Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education, and Outreach (CREO), which is poised to lead in education, research and advocacy within the national and international cybersecurity community.
Why Get an M.S. in Cybersecurity Degree?
There is a rapidly growing national and international demand for cybersecurity experts to protect businesses and organizations from the increased frequency of cyber threats and cyberattacks, and not enough skilled professionals to meet that demand. Trained professionals are needed to protect sensitive consumer, business, health and government data from hackers who seek to exploit network weaknesses. According to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 1,789 data breaches in the U.S. in 2021, with over 11 million records exposed. This program will prepare students to fight these breaches with advanced skills in in-demand areas, including computer security, information security, network security, secure software engineering, database management and data analytics. Graduates will be more competitive in the job market, more up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies, and with greater earning potential. Payscale.com indicates that workers with a master’s degree in information security had a 26% higher average annual wage than those with a bachelor’s degree.
- Credits required: 30
- Time to completion: 2 years if full-time
- Tuition: Distance Learning Tuition and Fees
Graduates of this program will be ready to help fill the significant local and national workforce gap in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity experts are needed across private industry, public organizations and government, in jobs including:
According to Cyberseek, there were 180,000 openings for information security analysts, one of the largest cybersecurity jobs, from May 2021 through April 2022, but only 141,000 workers employed in those roles. Employers requested cybersecurity skills for an additional 500,000 openings. This illustrates a large need for more skilled professionals to fill these jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for information security analysts are expected to grow by 35% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Median pay, information security analysts (May 2021): $102,600 per year (BLS.gov)
Students should have a bachelor’s degree and have completed a college-level computer programming course. A GPA of 3.0 is required. The GRE or GMT is not required. An applicant can take any necessary courses as a condition of admission if the required prerequisite courses are no more than three (3). Otherwise, the student may enroll in the online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Cybersecurity program first and apply to the online M.S. in Cybersecurity later. Course work cannot be substituted by work experience.
Find out more about graduate admissions and APPLY TODAY.
The program requires 30 credit hours. Students must take a set of two foundational and three cybersecurity core courses, plus electives approved by the student’s advisor that allow for flexible specialization based on the student’s interests and goals.
Foundational Core Courses (6 credits):
- COMP 670: Computer Architecture and Operating Systems
- CST 605: Principle of Computer Networking
Cybersecurity Core Courses (9 credits):
- COMP 620: Information Privacy and Security
- CST 615: Advanced Network Security Applications
- CYBER 650: Security Policy, Laws and Ethics
Funding Your Education
North Carolina A&T has established a number of financial support opportunities for outstanding graduate students in order to enhance research and graduate education. These include fellowships, scholarships, assistantships and out-of-state tuition supplements. Students who are pursuing the thesis option will receive tuition support and a monthly stipend.
For program-related questions:
|Kaushik Roy, Ph.D.
|Evelyn R. Sowells-Boone, Ph.D.
|Interim Chair and Professor
|Interim Chair and Associate Professor
|Department of Computer Science
|Department of Computer Systems Technology
|College of Engineering
|College of Science and Technology
For assistance with the admissions process:
The Graduate College
For online learning support and inquiries:
336-334-7810 or 888-498-6752 (Toll-Free)