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.
Why Should You Get an Online MBA in Information Security?
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|
Online MBA in Information Security Curriculum
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%
What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Information Security?
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|
||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|
||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|
||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.|
Schools Offering an Online MBA in Information Security
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
How to Choose an Online MBA in Information Security Program
The decision to attend graduate school often requires students to evaluate their personal needs and professional goals. When selecting an online information security master's in business administration (MBA) program from the myriad of options available, learners should consider a variety of factors. The list below includes some things to consider before committing to a school.
Search for Schools in Your Area
Although online learning often makes physical distance from the school a nonfactor, some students prefer to enroll in a school in their area. Living within 100 miles of the institution creates opportunities to network through career fairs, student groups, and alumni associations, and local students can visit campus for athletic and cultural events. Students who attend school near where they plan to work also benefit from name recognition by potential employers.
Ensure the School's Admission Requirements Match up With Your Expectations
Admission requirements for master's programs can vary widely among schools. Applicants pursuing an online MBA in information security must typically submit GMAT scores. Students who do not wish to take the GMAT or who earned poor scores on the exam should consider schools without this requirement. Learners should also review each prospective school's educational and work experience requirements and should ensure their bachelor's degree fulfills all prerequisites.
Compare Student Outcomes Data
Many programs provide online data reports on student outcomes. This data may include program graduation rates, employment rates of former students, and even salary data. Programs with a small number of students may not offer extensive, detailed data reports. However, most programs at least provide a list of potential careers for graduates, such as information security analyst or information systems manager.
Estimate the Expected Costs of Your Program
No matter one's field, attending college in the U.S. is, unfortunately, an expensive endeavor. Before you apply to a program, explore financial aid options, calculate your out-of-pocket costs, and determine what level of expense your budget can handle for the next few years. If your bank account is stretched thin, for example, you might do better to explore options at a public university rather than a private institution.
Check That Classes Will Fit in With Your Schedule
Most online courses and programs follow an asynchronous learning format, meaning students can access coursework any time and never need to log in at a set time for lectures or class meetings. If your prospective program does require synchronous elements, however, make sure they fit within your schedule. Also research part-time and full-time enrollment options, class lengths, and the number of available start dates.
Look for Partnerships With Local Businesses
After completing an information security MBA online, many students apply for jobs in the local area. To make securing a job easier, learners can begin building relationships with local employers while earning their degree. Students should choose a program that allows them to customize program requirements to fit their career goals. For example, a learner who plans to work in a healthcare facility may complete a capstone project focused on the methods of protecting patient data.
Make Sure the Program Is Accredited
While no IT-specific programmatic accrediting agencies exist, students pursuing an MBA in information security online should choose a school with regional or national accreditation from a legitimate agency. Accreditation ensures that an institution meets set standards of quality related to faculty credentials, student services, academic programs, and the allocation of university funds.
Talk to Current Students and/or Recent Alumni
One of the best ways to become familiar with a school or program involves speaking with current students or recent graduates. Students who live near their prospective school's campus can visit the IT department and talk to current students. Learners can also connect with student social media groups and the school's alumni association.
What Certifications and Licenses are Needed for a Career in Information Security?
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.
|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.|
Resources for MBA in Information Security Students
Information Security Scholarships
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.
- EWF/CMU Fellowship: Amount varies
- ISACA Scholarships: Amount varies
- ISSA Education Foundation Scholarships: $2,000
- Cisco Systems Information Assurance Scholarship: $2,500