What is an MBA in Information Security?

As big data becomes more and more important, professionals who can reliably protect that data have become more valuable. With an online MBA in information security, you can be that professional. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the information security field to grow by 28% through 2026.

The BLS projects the information security field to grow by 28% through 2026.

An online MBA in information security will teach you how to protect and administer your company’s network. While there isn’t a drastic difference between entry-level pay for professionals with a bachelor’s degree and those with an MBA, the gulf widens over time, as you can see in the table below.

Comparison of Information Security Master’s Degrees

There are a variety of master’s degrees in information technology. Earning an MBA in information security online prepares students for careers in network security, while related programs train students for careers in adjacent fields. The table below breaks down a few common degrees related to information security.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master’s Degree in Information Technology Management The master’s degree in information technology management prepares IT professionals to manage complex IT networks. This degree is a great opportunity for IT professionals with prior experience to advance to management positions. $70,000 18 Months–2 Years
Master’s Degree in Computer Science (CS) & Engineering Unlike an IT or network security-specific program, the master’s degree in CS and engineering provides a broad foundation in computer science theory, including programming, computer systems, and artificial intelligence. This degree helps working professionals advance their careers. $65,000 2–2.5 Years
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Security The MBA in information security teaches both a broad business foundation and specific network security and IT skills, which is ideal for helping IT professionals transition to the business side. This degree prepares graduates to lead company teams in information security endeavors. $60,000 2 Years

Graduates of an information security MBA online program acquire an advanced skill set in network security and IT. Though programs differ in teaching methods and coursework, they all impart core competencies. Below, we’ve listed a few sample classes that you’ll find in most MBA IT curriculums.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
IT Security & Infrastructure Design and improve security of complex networks and IT systems. TITLE: Security Consultant
SALARY: growth of 8%
Security Risk Management Create firewalls and other security mechanisms. Proactively prepare for security breaches. TITLE: Information Security Engineer
SALARY: growth of 1%
Security Testing and Auditing Test, implement, and audit new technologies to protect networks. TITLE: Information Security Analyst
SALARY: growth of 4%

MBA in information security online graduates work in a wide range of positions within the field. Below, we’ve broken down a few popular career options.

Information Security Engineer Median Salary: $91,524
  • IT Departments
  • Computer Banks
  • Home
Information security engineers design and manage security protocols that ensure the safety and integrity of a company’s data. Engineers may travel between a company’s locations or work from home.
Information Security Analyst Median Salary: $70,126
  • IT Departments
  • Computer Banks
  • Offices
Information security analysts research, gather data, and create strategies to protect data and maximize productivity. They also respond to breaches and provide customer service. Analysts generally work in an office.
Security Operations Center Analyst Median Salary: $67,500
  • IT Departments
  • Computer Banks
Security operations center analysts work from a security center to create protocols and manage the protection of a company’s data. They also respond to breaches in a company’s network.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Bellevue University

Location Bellevue, NE Tuition Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 44% Student Population 9,760 School Type Private

A nonprofit, open-access university, Bellevue offers a fully online MBA in information security. This 36-credit program equips graduates with the skills required to operate and manage security technologies. Coursework includes computer forensics, security architecture and design, and information warfare.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with a minimum 2.5 GPA from their most recent 60 credits of undergraduate coursework, or a 3.0 GPA in previous graduate work. Bellevue does not require the GMAT for entrance. Online learners pay the same tuition rate as students enrolled in on-campus courses, regardless of state of residence.

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Fort Hays State University

Location Hays, KS Tuition Tuition $12,527 % Receiving Financial Aid 41% Student Population 15,100 School Type Public

Fort Hays offers a 34-credit MBA in information security online that trains its graduates for careers securing computer systems and protecting software and hardware from threats. The information assurance concentration requires courses in information system security, management of information security, and information risk management and disaster recovery.

Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or better on their most recent 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Fort Hays requires the GRE or GMAT, but may waive test scores for bachelor degree holders in business from a regionally accredited school with an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.

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James Madison University

Location Harrisonburg, VA Tuition Tuition $37,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 38% Student Population 21,227 School Type Public

James Madison's online information security MBA combines 10 core business courses with four courses in information security designed for the specific needs of business management, for a total of 42 credits.

Using a blended format, a cohort of 25 students or less completes all 14 courses together over 28 consecutive months. Online course delivery includes both asynchronous and synchronous learning, as the program requires the cohort to meet on campus in McLean, VA once every eight weeks, at the beginning and end of each course. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a GMAT score above 500, and at least two years of professional work experience.

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Oklahoma State University

Location Stillwater, OK Tuition Tuition $19,908 % Receiving Financial Aid 42% Student Population 25,930 School Type Public

Oklahoma State delivers its online MBA in information security in a completely asynchronous format, with video lectures available for download from the online platform Brightspace. Most students finish this self-paced, part-time program in 3.5 years. This 42-credit MBA concentration in information assurance includes coursework in technology forensics, information systems security, and information assurance management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year school with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a competitive GMAT or GRE score. Work experience and a background in calculus and quantitative methods, while not required for admissions, may prove beneficial.

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Saint Leo University

Location Saint Leo, FL Tuition Tuition $25,920 % Receiving Financial Aid 60% Student Population 15,800 School Type Private

A private, four-year institution established in 1889, St. Leo has offered online education since 1998. Students can complete this information security MBA online in one year through a flexible, asynchronous delivery format, taking up to two courses each eight-week term. This 36-credit degree requires 21 core MBA credits and 15 credits in cyber security management courses.

Applicants must possess two or more years of professional work experience. Saint Leo does not require GMAT scores if the applicant has an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last 60 credits taken.

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Lewis University

Location Romeoville, IL Tuition Tuition $28,620 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 6,544 School Type Private

From its beginnings in 1932 as a technical school, Lewis grew into a comprehensive postsecondary institution providing over 80 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs. Its fully online MBA in information security requires a minimum of 35 credits. Coursework focuses on computer forensics, information security strategies and risk management, ethical hacking, and disaster recovery and business continuity planning.

Students enroll in five eight-week sessions: two in the fall semester, two in the spring, and one session during the summer term. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher.

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If you’ve decided that an MBA in Information Security is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school within 100 miles of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy being able to visit campus. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area can help you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When viewed side-by-side, this information provides a glimpse at program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Multiply the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and factor in the time you will not spend earning an income. Also compare financial aid options; different schools may offer better financial aid packages or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be aware of all time commitments, and be sure they fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your MBA in Information Security is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending school that is well connected with local businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Information Security program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Search Programs by Concentration

While an online MBA in information security increases a professional’s skill set and employability, certain positions in IT require additional proof of competency. This proof comes in the form of certificates, which can be earned through extra coursework and by passing an exam. Below are two industry-standard certificates.

License Description
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) The CISSP is issued to professionals who have demonstrated exceptional competency in network security. The certificate is ideal for security analysts, security consultants, security managers, and IT managers.
Certified CISO (CCISO) The CCISO is issued to elite security executives and is ideal for those pursuing security management roles.

A variety of scholarships are available to those pursuing graduate degrees in information security fields. Some are merit-based, while others have prerequisites, such as chapter membership. Many scholarships are awarded to underrepresented groups in the field, such as women or ethnic minorities. Below, we’ve highlighted a few prominent options for financing your online MBA in information security.