The field of cyber security is experiencing a great deal of expansion right now. The Pentagon and Homeland Security are short of people to fill vital positions and military contractors are feeling a great need for those who can implement security plans and technologies in a timely fashion.

In response to the demand, universities are striving to create degree programs from within their existing computer science, business and engineering departments. New cyber security courses are being developed by academics in response to real world needs both in the public and private sectors.

If you are in an information technology program, it could be beneficial to take courses in security, and to consider specializing in the field of cyber security. If you are a student or an academic in a technology field, it might be beneficial to investigate Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Workforce Framework that seeks to provide context and a your course of study and implementation.


Currently, one of the key terms used in determining the best security program is interdisciplinary. With that in mind, students should look for cyber security courses in computer science, engineering and management. In fact, cyber security courses are most likely to be found in one of these college departments: engineering, computer science, interdisciplinary studies, or business and management departments that focus on information technology.


It is important to research universities prior to enrollment and make sure that their programs will provide the very best courses and education. While undergraduate programs are likely to have their own unique approach to core curriculum requirements, you might want to make sure you'll find subjects similar to the following in your school's degree program:

  • Operating Systems
  • Network Security
  • Information Assurance
  • Digital Forensics
  • Computer Ethics and Privacy
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Project Management

Your coursework should feature plenty of projects that you'll work on with fellow students as well as faculty. It will be vital to form good working relationships to maximize the educational value of the experience, and to form contacts that may be of mutual benefit after you graduate.


If you choose to extend your learning to the master's level, your coursework will be more intense and focused. Sometimes these cyber security courses are found in MBA programs through the business department, though they are more frequently in the computer science, library science or engineering departments. Some graduate level courses you might take include the following:

  • Computer Forensics
  • Cyber Law
  • Introduction to Data Mining
  • Telecommunication Systems
  • Secure Software Design
  • Risk Analysis


When you research programs and courses, consider whether you would prefer to study online or in a traditional classroom. Both have their positives and negatives, and each are suited to particular types of students. For instance, a working parent might find the flexibility of an online program allows her to continue working and caring for her child while taking classes and making strides towards career advancement. Others might be able to attend classes during standard working hours. For them, the question is whether or not they need the added structure and interaction of a traditional course or not.

Though many opt for online courses due to the flexibility in scheduling, there are some online programs that require that students log in at particular times to participate in chat room-based studies or to virtually attend a lecture. Keep in mind that if you are working on a group assignment that your classmate might be in different time zones and find that scheduling times to collaborate is difficult. Before you enroll, it will be beneficial to discover how the school addresses these types of issues.


One aspect of a cyber security program that you may wish to research is the background of its faculty members. Try to discover how many of the professors have hands on experience in the field, and how they have interacted with government agencies such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be important to see how diverse the faculty is at your school, as one of the key attributes of the most successful programs is an interdisciplinary focus.