Cyber attacks aimed at colleges have seen a major spike since the coronavirus pandemic began. And cybercrime can have a significant impact on a college’s ability to provide a high-quality education. It can also lead to significant ramifications for students and other college community members. For instance, some colleges, such as the University of Utah, have paid cybercriminals significant sums of money following attacks. Others, such as the University of Colorado, have seen cybercriminals access personal information such as social security numbers and medical information. But certain colleges have been successful in preventing cybercrime. Some have even improved the entire cybersecurity industry. This article highlights the 30 best colleges for cyber security that have robust systems and centers in place.
Students should not have to worry about the impact of cybercrime during their college career. Sadly, this is not the case for many. But some students know that their colleges have invested in cyber security systems to keep their information safe. Of course, no college can ever be 100% secure from a cyber attack. Yet, some colleges can show that they have prioritized cyber security.
Cybercrime is constantly evolving. That means that a college’s cyber security efforts need to be evolving similarly. Some colleges are able to prove that they are doing this. Others can show that they are not just protecting their communities from cybercrime. They’re also leading the fight against cyber criminals before they can act. These colleges have been given the highest rankings on this list.
The colleges below are all strong choices for a student who wants to get an education in an institution protecting its community from cyber attacks. Still, it’s also possible that none of the colleges below are right for you. If that’s the case, then this ranking can still be a vital resource. If you are looking to save a little money, consider attending a community college, either local or out of state. Every entry has a detailed summary of how the college is taking cyber security seriously. These have been included for you to contrast and compare their efforts to your own college options. If any of your potential colleges is taking cyber security as seriously as the colleges in this ranking, take note. That’s a strong sign that it’s a college worth attending!
To create this list, we used several ways to identify colleges that have been proactive or inactive when it comes to cyber security. Initially, we found many sources highlighting cyber-attacks that have taken place on college campuses. This served as a means to discount colleges from the final ranking or to assess the improvements that colleges had made since a cyber attack.
We also wanted to identify top colleges for cyber security that had not been reported in news updates. We found these colleges by analyzing lists of the best colleges with cybersecurity majors. We also consulted a list of the most technically advanced cybersecurity colleges in America.
Lastly, we conducted further research into the colleges that we sourced. This was done to ensure that the college cybersecurity efforts were still up to date and that the colleges were meeting the rising challenge of preventing cyber attacks. Our final ranking uses the following criteria:
- Evidence of a strong cyber security system
- Efforts to fight cybercrime in innovative ways
- Combined ranking on the methodology lists
Our final ranking, from 30 to one, is below:
30. University of Hartford
Thanks to a range of safeguards in data communications, the University of Hartford is among the best universities for cyber security. For example, the college can pull a student’s access to the internet if they detect a virus on one of their devices. The college also helps students with the removal of viruses from their computers and operating systems. In late 2020, the college increased its cybersecurity activities. For instance, it formed a cybersecurity club. It also presented the first-ever Regional Cyber Security & Tech Virtual Career Exposition event. The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed one of the University of Hartford’s cyber security professionals to discuss how colleges can prevent cyber attacks. A minor in cybersecurity is also available through the school’s Department of Computer Science.
29. Chatham University
In late 2020, Chatham University formed a partnership with the Mission Critical Institute for Cybersecurity. This is an organization that “launched the first performance-based, employer-driven, Department for Homeland Security and practitioner-taught certificates for risk management and cybersecurity framework.” This partnership allowed the college to offer a certificate in cyber security risk management focused on protecting the healthcare industry. Today, the college offers three different 8 to 10-week boot camp programs. These programs help those who enroll earn strong salaries in the field of computer sciences upon completion. Chatham University is considered one of the top 25 most technologically advanced in terms of computer and information sciences, making it one of the best cybersecurity universities.
Related: 30 Best Online Certificates
28. Villanova University
Several centers within Villanova University are currently working to improve cyber security. One of these is the Center of Excellence in Enterprise Technology. The center is currently working on a DARPA-funded project that analyzes and mitigates the cybersecurity risks to The Internet of Things. But the center with the most proactive focus upon cybersecurity is the Security & Cryptography Lab. This lab is researching how a range of emerging technologies can be used to improve computer security. For example, it is investigating post-quantum cryptography for security analysis. Villanova University is a private university that has been considered the 17th most technologically advanced, which makes it on of the best cyber security universities. The school’s cybersecurity bachelor’s degree is a minor undergraduate program in cybersecurity engineering.
27. Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
The cybersecurity team at Princeton University is proud of how it has integrated its mission into the culture of the college. The team did this in several ways. Examples include:
- Hosting weekly roundtable discussions
- Creating guidance papers
- Providing training for cybersecurity skills
Currently, one of the college professors who is innovating the cyber security industry is Amit Levy. Levy has the goal “to improve the security and reliability of the small electronic devices that we’re carrying around these days.” Princeton University has been named the 15th most technologically advanced college. Its Department of Computer Science is home to one of the nation’s largest security and privacy research centers. This makes Princeton one of the best colleges with cyber security majors for both undergraduate and graduate students.
26. Maryville University
St. Louis, Missouri
Maryville University’s Cyber Fusion Center is “one of the most technology-rich spaces” on campus. It exists to provide free cyber security solutions. These solutions are designed for non-profits, charities, schools, and small businesses. It has a range of cutting-edge technology, such as a telepresence robot. The college also organizes a range of events that aim to improve the cybersecurity workforce. For example, in 2021, it held a panel that discussed supporting and empowering women in cybersecurity. Cyber Defense Magazine names Maryville University as the 19th best college for cybersecurity. The school hosts online bachelor of science degree programs and master’s degrees in cybersecurity through its Department of Computer Science.
25. Georgetown University
The leadership at Georgetown University is taking the increased risk of a cyber attack seriously. In 2020, it announced that every student must install protective software on their devices before accessing any university system. The primary home for the college’s cybersecurity development efforts is the Center for Security and Emerging Technology. This center focuses on artificial intelligence, advanced computing, and biotechnology. It produces data-driven research for the policy community. In 2021, the college’s Cyber SMART Research Center was able to gain $1 million in funding to expand cyber research in a multidisciplinary manner. Cyber Defense Magazine names Georgetown University at 18th among the best colleges for cyber security. The school is also home to a master’s degree program–the master of science degree in cybersecurity risk management for graduate students.
24. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana
The research into cyber security at the University of Notre Dame is focusing on a range of developing technologies. For example, one professor is conducting research into attacks upon iris recognition software. The Center for Research Computing also has a range of cybersecurity projects in progress. It also collaborates with a wide range of industry partners, such as IBM. Besides partnering with companies, the college has also teamed up with Purdue University to create cybersecurity solutions for the US military. The University of Notre Dame has been named the 22nd most technologically advanced college.
23. United States Military Academy
West Point, New York
Tuition: Not Available
The Cyber Research Center at United States Military Academy traces its origin to 1985. It was originally named the Office of Artificial Intelligence Analysis and Evaluation. In 1997, it decided to focus heavily on cyber security. The college is also home to the Army Cyber Institute. This institute is performing a wide range of research into the challenges that the US Army will face in the cyber domain over the next decade. One example is the Jack Voltaic Cyber Research Project. This project develops critical cyber infrastructure from the bottom up. Cyber Defense Magazine names the United States Military Academy the 21st best college for cyber security.
22. University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
In-State/Out-of-State Tuition: $16,736/ $55,334
One of the University of Michigan’s latest cyber security achievements is the development of a secure chip. The chip is so secure that over 500 cybersecurity researchers were unable to hack it during a recent hackathon. The public institution is home to the Center for Computer Security and Society. This center investigates a range of emerging cybersecurity threats. It is currently working on a range of cybersecurity initiatives. For instance, it recently developed a smart speaker that is much more secure than other devices currently on the market. The University of Michigan is a public research university that’s considered one of the top 20 most technologically advanced and one of the best cybersecurity universities.
21. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has gained generous funding for its cyber security initiatives in recent years. In 2020, it managed to gain $4.9 million for cybersecurity scholarship programs. And in 2021, a professor was awarded $500,000 to develop cyber defense systems. The home for cybersecurity at the college is the Cake Lab. The National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and Google Cloud support Cake Lab’s research. Cyber Defense Magazine considers Worcester Polytechnic Institute the 12th among the best cybersecurity colleges. Its robust master’s program in cybersecurity prepares students for leadership roles in cybersecurity and computer science.
20. University of Maryland Global Campus
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $7,848/ $12,336
The Center for Security Studies at the University of Maryland Global Campus “works with industry and government to meet cybersecurity and homeland security needs for our nation.” It does this via research, advice, specialized courses, teaching tools, conferences, and much more. The center’s industry partnerships include information assurance and cybersecurity professionals from Cisco, Microsoft, the National Security Agency, and the US Department of Justice. It also runs a virtual summer camp for high school teachers. The camp helps teachers incorporate cyber security for computer systems into their curriculum for cybersecurity students. Cyber Defense Magazine considers the University of Maryland Global Campus the 10th best cybersecurity college. Notably, it is home to a top online master’s program in computer forensics, a master’s in database management systems, as well as other online programs in cybersecurity and software security. The school has its flagship campus in College Park.
Tuition: Not Available
In 2009, the Naval Postgraduate School decided to create the Center for Cyber Warfare. This center focuses on problem-solving research with an interdisciplinary team to protect computer systems and promote national security. It also collaborates with a range of other colleges and companies. However, the Center for Cybersecurity and Cyber Operations is also based at the college. It has its roots in a program that the college offered in computer and network security in 1990. Cyber Defense Magazine names Naval Postgraduate School at seventh best among the top colleges for cyber security and information assurance.
18. Seton Hill University
In 2018, Seton Hill University’s cyber security efforts received a major boost. It partnered with the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance. This brought high-quality internships and research opportunities for information security analysts to the college. When this partnership was announced, the college’s provost said: “Seton Hill students will have a real edge with real-world opportunities.” These internships have been documented as converting into jobs. Seton Hill University is considered the 20th most technologically advanced college in America. Cyber Defense Magazine names it the 28th among the best universities for cyber security. International students are welcome to apply to Seton Hill, and nearly all of those admitted receive some sort of financial support.
17. University of Minnesota
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $15,859/ $35,099
In 2021, the University of Minnesota focused its attention on cyber attacks that affect the food and agriculture supply chain. The public institution is doing this via its veterinary college’s Food Protection and Defense Institute. In 2019, the college received a major boost to its information assurance and cyber security program. This was thanks to a $250,000 donation from the retailer Target. Much of the college’s cyber operating systems come out of the Technological Leadership Institute. This institute has been in existence since 1987. The University of Minnesota is considered the sixth most technologically advanced college. This makes it one of the best schools for cyber security in America.
16. Kansas State University
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $10,448/ $26,519
The Center for Information and Systems Assurance at Kansas State University has managed to gain some strong achievements in the last few years. In 2020, the National Science Foundation renewed the college’s CyberCorps program with a $3 million grant. And in 2019, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security redesignated the college as a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense research. The college’s cyber defense programs also collaborate with a range of industry partners such as Microsoft Research and HP labs. They also work with a range of government entities such as the US. Army Computer Networking and Electronic Warfare Proponent and the Food and Drug Administration. Cyber Defense Magazine names the college the fifth best cybersecurity college with a strong undergraduate degree program in cybersecurity. International students are encouraged to apply to this public institution.
15. Drexel University
Researchers at Drexel University were selected in 2021 to join a $220 million study into utilizing artificial intelligence in a range of key industries. A significant part of this project is cyber security. And since 2014, Drexel University has run the Cybersecurity Institute. This institute “conducts state of the art cybersecurity research, aids in the coordination, improvement, and expansion of Drexel’s cybersecurity degree programs, and facilitates engagement with government, military, and industry cybersecurity partners.” Cyber Defense Magazine names Drexel University the 17th best cybersecurity college. Noodle states that the college has some of the best online cybersecurity programs, including a top master’s in network security as well as an undergraduate degree in cybersecurity.
14. Johns Hopkins University
A website launched by Johns Hopkins University in late 2020 showcases which nations are most likely to launch cyberattacks against one another. The predictions are based on previous attacks and a range of other factors. The college’s School of Engineering also runs the Information Security Institute. The institute has been in existence since 2001 and was one of the first college research centers to focus on information security and information assurance. Additionally, the college provides cyber security advice for computer science, software development, and engineering professionals. Cyber Defense Magazine considers Johns Hopkins the 14th best college for cybersecurity programs. Noodle lists it among the top cyber security colleges with a standout master’s in network security degree.
13. California Institute of Technology
The Center for Technology and Management Education at California Institute of Technology is rapidly addressing the demand for increased cybersecurity. It is doing this by running a 100% online cybersecurity boot camp. In as little as 12 weeks, people can become qualified to take on an effective cybersecurity role. The college is also fighting cybercrime in other ways. For example, it has partnered with the Los Angeles Cyber Lab to develop critical workforce cyber security skills. The California Institute of Technology is considered the third most technologically advanced college in America with a world class computer science department.
12. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Two different departments within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focus on cyber security and information assurance. The Lincoln Laboratory has developed Keylime, a cloud security software which, in 2021, was adapted into IBM’s cloud fleet. The Sloan School of Management hosts an interdisciplinary consortium for improving cybersecurity infrastructure. Many leading businesses have partnered with this consortium. Some of these include Microsoft, Exxon, Cisco, Google, NASDAQ, and Mars. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been named the 12th most technologically advanced college. Cyber Defense Magazine considers it to be the 37th among the best cyber security colleges with an innovative computer science program. Financial aid may be available to eligible students.
11. Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $15,558/ $39,502
In late 2020, Clemson University announced a major advancement of its cyber security activities. It became a managing partner of the $111 million public-private Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Part of the college’s role in this organization is to produce cutting-edge information assurance and cybersecurity programs for the manufacturing sector. Even before this announcement, Clemson University had been an active participant in improving cybersecurity for over 10 years. This is thanks to its Cybersecurity Center. Clemson University is considered the fifth most technologically advanced college in America. In addition to its programs for undergraduate students, the school offers a graduate degree in computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity.
10. The University of Texas, San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $8,945/ $21,253
The University of Texas, San Antonio, is celebrating 20 years of The Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security helping to prevent cyber attacks. This center is known for running leading cybersecurity competitions. One example is the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which has been running since 2005. And in early 2021, the college received a $1.2 million grant from The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The funds will go into a program that helps different parts of the American Government identify critical assets to protect from cyber-attacks. The University of Texas, San Antonio, is considered the 18th most technologically advanced college. Cyber Defense Magazine names it the 11th best cyber security and digital forensics college. The school is home to a popular bachelor’s degree program in information systems security. Interested students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.
9. Arizona State University
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $11,618/ $30,592
Thanks to the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, Arizona State University is one of the leading colleges in the fight against cybercrime. This center’s focus on utilizing cross-disciplinary personnel to boost cyber defense is part of what makes it so innovative. In fact, faculty members from the law, business, engineering, psychology, public service, social sciences, and criminology departments collaborate upon solutions. This center also partners with some of the largest technology companies in the world, such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Paypal, and Samsung, ensuring that its information assurance solutions have a real-world impact. Arizona State University is considered the second most technologically advanced college in America. The school is also home to one of the nation’s best master’s in cybersecurity management program.
8. Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The closest thing that Wake Forest University has had to a cyber attack is a 2020 Zoom meeting interrupted by hackers. This event resulted in no private information being stolen or held to ransom. Wake Forest University has prevented major attacks, possibly because of its leading researchers. In 2012, the college’s researchers were pioneering a computer program that could repel cyber attacks as they took place. Wake Forest University is considered the most technologically advanced college in America with a strong cybersecurity program.
7. New York University
New York City, New York
The Center for Cybersecurity at New York University results from a collaboration between the college’s schools of computer science, law, engineering, and other departments. Thanks to this center, the college has created the largest student-run cybersecurity and information assurance conference. It also leads a range of network security research projects and has produced security systems for leading tech companies. In 2021, this center is researching a range of important technologies. For instance, researchers have recently identified that generative adversarial networks, which use machine learning to remove personal identity from the internet, actually leave significant amounts of data online. Cyber Defense Magazine considers New York University to be the 16th among the top cybersecurity colleges. Noodle states that it has some of the top online cyber security programs. Financial aid is available to qualified students.
6. Carnegie Mellon University
The CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University allows “experts from a variety of disciplines across the university to collaborate on cutting-edge research and educate the next generation of security and privacy professionals.” In fact, the institute has 30 core faculty members and 60 more affiliated faculty members from 20 different departments, including computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering. In the 2019 to 2020 academic year, the institute partnered with some of the top technology businesses and cybersecurity experts globally. This included Boeing, Facebook, IBM, LG, Microsoft, and Siemens. Cyber Defense Magazine considers Carnegie Mellon University to be the second-best cyber security college. It’s been named the seventh most technologically advanced college in America and houses a cybersecurity engineering research center called the Software Engineering Institute. It is also home to a standout master’s in information security program as well as a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering program with an emphasis in cybersecurity. A cybersecurity certificate program in data science is also available.
5. Indiana University
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $11,447/ $39,120
The cybersecurity technology at Indiana University has been innovating the sector since 2003. In that year, it opened the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. Over the course of its existence, the center has become “distinctive in interweaving technical and policy expertise.” Currently, the center is working on several cutting-edge cybercrime projects. This includes collaborating with the Rochester Institute of Technology to create ASSERT, which uses machine learning to categorize cyber attacker behavior. Cyber Defense Magazine names Indiana University the fourth-best college for cyber security and information security. Inside Higher Ed references the college in its article on cyber extortion. The reference is a quotation from the college’s senior information security analyst on the challenge of securing colleges from cyber attacks. The school is also home to several undergraduate degree programs related to cybersecurity, including a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and global policy. A master’s degree in risk assessment is also available for graduate students. Interested students are encouraged to apply for financial aid.
4. Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $9,992/ $28,794
Purdue University is home to the Center for Education Research in Information Assurance and Security. This is “the world’s foremost interdisciplinary academic center for cyber and cyber-physical systems.” In fact, it employs over 100 information security researchers. The college’s online division also runs a cybersecurity center for internet security. This center focuses on broadening the college’s cyber security scope by engaging with the cybersecurity community. This includes industry engagement, producing faculty articles, performing community outreach, and providing education. Purdue University has been called the fourth most technologically advanced college in America. Noodle lists it as one of the best cybersecurity schools. Cyber Defense Magazine names it the 39th best cybersecurity college. In terms of academic programs, the school offers a top-rated undergraduate cybersecurity degree from its Department of Computer and Information Technology. Graduate programs in cybersecurity are also available.
3. Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York
The years 2020 and 2021 have both seen major strides forward in Rochester Institute of Technology’s cyber security infrastructure. In 2020, the private institution opened the 52,000 square foot Global Cybersecurity Institute. In 2021, IBM announced that it was providing $3.3 million to make this institute even better. 2021 also saw students of the college win the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition. This tested students’ ethical hacking skills and improved cybersecurity systems by encouraging the participants to find weak spots in computer networks. Cyber Defense Magazine considers Rochester Institute of Technology the ninth-best college for cybersecurity. Noodle names it one of the top cybersecurity schools. The higher education institute is home to an undergraduate degree in computing security for students interested in this career path. Financial aid may be available for eligible students.
2. California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
In-State/Out-of-State Tuition: $7,486/$19,366
In late 2020, the Department of Homeland Security designated California State University, San Bernardino the location for the National Center of Cybersecurity Education. It also gave the higher education institution a two-year $10.5 million grant to help increase the nation’s output of cyber defense experts. The college’s Cybersecurity Center had already gained a reputation as a pioneer of cyber security education. In fact, the government designated it as a center of academic excellence in information Assurance in 2008. Cyber Defense Magazine names California State University, San Bernardino the best college for cybersecurity programs. The school is home to an undergraduate degree program in information technology and security.
1. Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
In-State/ Out-of-State Tuition: $19,835/$38,651
According to the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, Pennsylvania State University took strong action after a 2015 cyberattack affected their college of engineering. The Chronicle of Higher Education references the college’s chief information-security officer in one of its articles about cyber attacks. It has been considered the 10th most technologically advanced college with a strong computer science department. Noodle states that the college has one of the top online cybersecurity programs. Cyber Defense Magazine names the college the eighth-best for cyber security. Pennsylvania State University is leading the fight against cybercrime at the LIONS Center. Since 2002, it has published over 400 pieces on cybersecurity. In 2020, one of its professors, in collaboration with professionals at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, managed to gain a $1.2 million grant to focus on security for the Internet of Things as it develops. As one of the colleges with cyber security majors, it is also home to a popular certificate program in information systems security as well as graduate certificates in enterprise architecture.
- Top 50 Affordable Master’s Emergency Management Online
- Homeland Security Degree Online: Top 15 Values
- Most Affordable PhD in Computer and Information Systems Security Programs Online
- 20 Most Affordable PhD in Computer Science Programs Online
- Inside Higher Ed, Cyberextortion Threat Evolves
- Inside Higher Ed, Colleges a ‘Juicy Target’ for Cyberextortion
- The Chronicle of Higher Education, Why Colleges Are Ripe Targets for Cyberattacks – and How They Can Protect Themselves
- The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cyberattacks Are Spiking. Colleges Are Fighting Back
- Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, Cybersecurity Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- Noodle, The Top Cyber Security Schools Can Prepare You for a Recession-Proof Career:
- Cyber Defense Magazine, Top 100 Cybersecurity Universities