California

Information Assurance and Cyber Security Degrees in California

California abounds with bright cyber security opportunities. The state is home to Silicon Valley and boasts fifth-largest economy in the world, and even new graduates holding cyber security degrees can expect to earn lucrative salaries. California is home to 18 institutions that award cyber security degrees, one of the highest numbers in the nation. Of these, 15 are recognized by the NSA as “National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security”.

California Cyber Security Jobs

California’s economy is the largest in the nation by a wide margin, and the state is home to over 10% of Fortune 500 companies. From tech giants to startups, Silicon Valley is home base for the majority of the state’s cyber security jobs, though San Diego is close behind. Outside of these tech-centric cities, a great number of cyber security jobs revolve around big businesses in aerospace and defense, communications and finance. The state has the second-highest number of cyber security professionals in the nation. California also pays the fourth-highest annual mean salary, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts at $108,780 per year. When adjusting for the cost of living, Property Casualty cites Los Angeles as the #2 city in the nation for “Cities with the Best-Paying Cyber Security Jobs.”

Cyber Security Degrees in California

Associate’s Degrees in cyber security are offered by just three California schools: Sacramento City College, Cuyamaca College, and the California Institute of Arts & Technology.

Bachelor’s Degrees in cyber security are offered by three institutions in California: Mt Sierra College, California State University- San Bernardino, and California State Polytechnic University- Pomona. The latter two are designated by the NSA as “National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security” (CAEs).

Master’s Degrees in cyber security are widely available in California. A total of seven schools offer graduate-level cyber security degrees, of which four are recognized by the NSA as CAEs.

Certificates and Doctoral degrees in cyber security are offered by a number of institutions. A total of 10 schools offer certificates. The University of California-Davis and the Naval Postgraduate School offer Cyber Security as a concentration within Computer Science Ph.D. programs. Both are considered CAEs by the NSA, and are nationally well-regarded schools.

The 5 Best Cyber Security Degree Providers in California

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are many high quality cyber security (and related field) degree providers in the state of California. We’ve taken a look at all cyber security degree providers in the state (and you can too in our directory below) and pulled out the top programs based on our detailed ranking methodology. Factors in the ranking of a school include whether they are an NSA Center of Academic Excellence, the range of cyber security-related degrees offered, and a wide range of metrics checking out academic quality, affordability, return on investment, and student satisfaction. For a detailed rundown of our ranking methodology as well as national cyber security degree rankings, check out our rankings page.

1) University of Southern California

USC is California’s oldest research university and was founded in 1880. It’s one of the most popular schools in the country, currently serving over 43,800 students and offering a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. 95 undergraduate majors and 147 academic and professional minors are offered. The graduate program is classified as “comprehensive” and offers 134 master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees through 17 professional schools. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked USC’s combined departments of engineering and computer sciences as 10th in the world in 2015.

USC Online offers a Master of Science Cyber Security Engineering, in which students learn to develop, engineer and run secure information systems. Students will learn the modern challenges in “secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography and key management.” The program also tackles how a security policy directs technology decisions. Graduates will be prepared to work in areas like Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis, Computer Architecture, and much more. Sample courses include Policy: The Foundation for Successful Information Assurance, Secure Systems Engineering, and Applied Cryptography. The program includes hands-on projects that simulate real world scenarios in extensive laboratory work created by current and former information security practitioners.

  • Homepage
  • Average Net Price Undergrad: 15th-$32,932

Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs:

  • Master of Science Cyber Security Engineering

2) Stanford University

Stanford is a private, research university in Stanford, California. It was founded in 1891. It’s an extremely prestigious academic institution that is known for its close ties to the tech industry and selectivity. Nearly 17,200 students attend Stanford, which has a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It’s comprised of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate and graduate level and four professional schools with graduate programs in Law, Medicine, Education and Business. It’s consistently ranked among the top 5 schools in the world by a variety of sources.

Stanford offers an online Advanced Computer Security Certificate through its Center for Professional Development. The program has open enrollment, and encompasses six courses covering cutting edge research, practices and more from top cyber security professionals and Stanford faculty. You’ll learn how to, “protect networks, secure electronic assets, prevent attacks, ensure the privacy of your customers, and build secure infrastructures.” It costs $495 per course, which takes approximately 6-8 hours to complete, other than Software Security foundations, which takes approximately 11 hours. Students will complete each course within 30 days to maintain pacing for the certification. This program is suggested for students with a BS in Computer Science, its equivalent, or a background in security.

  • Homepage
  • Average Net Price Undergrad: 12th-$16,695

Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs:

  • Advanced Computer Security Certificate

3) University of California-Irvine

UC Irvine is a public research university located in Irvine, California. It’s one of 10 campuses in the University of California (UC) system. It offers students 80 undergraduate degrees and 98 graduate and professional degrees. Over 32,700 students attend UC Irvine, which has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked UC Irvine tied for 39th among national universities and 9th among public universities in America. This year, Forbes ranked it 4th among its 300 Best Value Colleges, based on return on investment.

UC Irvine offers an online certificate in Information Systems Security. It takes 9-24 months to complete, and its average cost is $5,900. You’ll learn to design, create and manage environments with secure information systems. Topics covered include, “access control, application development security, business continuity and disaster recovery planning, cryptography, information security governance and risk management, legal, regulations, investigations and compliance, operations security, physical (environmental) security, security architecture and design, and telecommunications and network security.” Students will be prepared to sit for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) exam through this program.

  • Homepage
  • Average Net Price Undergrad: 10th-$13,780

Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs:

  • Information Systems Security Certificate

4) California State University-Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton is a public research university in Fullerton, California. It’s the largest of the 23-members of the California State University system with over 40,200 students and a 25:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It offers students 109 degrees: 57 bachelor’s degrees and 52 graduate degrees, including three doctorates from schools of the Arts, Business and Economics, Communications, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Health and Human Development, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. CSUF generates around $2.26 billion for California, and sustains 16,000 jobs.

CSUF offers certificates in Crime and Intelligence Analysis, Computer Forensics, and Cybersecurity Analysis. The Computer Forensics certificate can be completed online, in 8-10 months, with 92 hours of lectures and hands-on experience (for approximately $3,390). The Crime and Intelligence Analysis certificate is completed on CSUF’s campus, and takes 12-18 months to complete ($3,800), including an internship and certificates from the California Department of Justice among other certifications. There isn’t current information on the Cybersecurity Analysis certificate available, but CSUF has a dead link to one that existed at some point.

  • Homepage
  • Average Net Price Undergrad: 6th-$8,170

Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs:

  • Computer Forensics certificate

5) University of California-Davis

UC Davis, or Davis), is a public research university and one of the 10 campuses of the University of California (UC) system. It was founded in 1905. Currently UC Davis serves nearly 36,500 students while maintaining a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Carnegie Foundation classifies UC Davis as a comprehensive doctoral research university with very high research activity. Davis has 104 undergraduate majors and 96 graduate programs through colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, Letters and Science, and then seven graduate schools. USNR ranked Davis 46th among National Universities in 2017.

UC Davis offers a Master of Science in Computer Science with an Information Assurance Focus and a PhD in Computer Science with an Information Assurance Focus. The former takes 2-3 years to complete and requires 6 graduate courses, 12 research units, additional coursework and an approved thesis. The PhD takes 4-5 years, 10 graduate courses, a dissertation, a qualifying exam and more. The programs are intended for students with a record of computer science academic achievement. However, students with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, or other exceptional students have been accepted.

  • Homepage
  • Average Net Price Undergrad: 11th-$16,039

Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs:

  • None

Cyber Security Resources in California

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Other Resource: nonprofit resource center

Cyber Security Degree Providers in California

Below we’ve included some of the most pertinent information for choosing a cyber security degree program. Affordability looked at the average in-state tuition rate (where applicable) and divided the range of tuition rates into five bins. Each bin contains a roughly $8,000 jump in tuition. So one $ contains schools from roughly $1,000 in in-state tuition to $9,000, $$’s contains schools from >$9,000 to $17,000, and so forth. Retention rate is one of the best predictors of undergraduate education quality. While the NSA/CAE designation marks programs deemed excellent by the NSA.

California Institute of Arts & Technology

San Diego, California
N/A
Financial Aid Recipients
N/A%
Retention Rate
N/A%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems – Cyber Security

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Pomona, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
71%
Retention Rate
89%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Computer Information Systems Undergraduate Program: Information Assurance Track

California State University-Fullerton

Fullerton, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
74%
Retention Rate
89%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Certificate in Computer Forensics I Certificate in Crime and Intelligence Analysis Certificate in Cyber Security Analysis

California State University-Sacramento

Sacramento, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
82%
Retention Rate
81%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Certificate in Information Assurance and Security

California State University-San Bernardino

San Bernardino, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
92%
Retention Rate
85%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • B.A. Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis, Technical Proficiency Cyber Security B.S. Administration – Information Assurance & Security Management (Cyber Security) Concentration B.S. Information Systems & Technology – Cyber Security Intelligence Certificate in Cyber Security Master of Arts in National Security Studies – Cyber Security concentration Master of Public Administration – Cyber Security Concentration Masters of Business Administration, Concentration: Cyber Security Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) Certificate

City College of San Francisco

San Francisco, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
55%
Retention Rate
72%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Network Security Certificate

Cuyamaca College

El Cajon, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
80%
Retention Rate
72%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Associate in Science – Networking, Security and System Administration

Los Medanos College

Pittsburg, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
63%
Retention Rate
74%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Networking and Security (Advanced) Certificate Networking and Security (Basic) Certificate Networking and Security AAS

Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
66%
Retention Rate
69%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Cisco Networking and Security Professional certificate program

Mt Sierra College

Monrovia, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
100%
Retention Rate
71%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Bachelor Degree Program in Information Technology with a Concentration in Information Security

National University

La Jolla, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
51%
Retention Rate
75%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance

Naval Postgraduate School

Monterey, California
N/A
Financial Aid Recipients
N/A%
Retention Rate
N/A%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Cyber Security Adversarial Techniques graduate certificate Cyber Security Defense graduate certificate Cyber Security Fundamentals graduate certificate Information Systems Security Engineering (ISSE) Certificate MS in Computer Security – Computer Systems & Operations (CSO) Track Ph.D. in Computer Science (may elect Computer Systems and Security specialization)

Sacramento City College

Sacramento, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
77%
Retention Rate
64%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Associate in Science in Information Systems Security Info Sys Security Certificate of Achievement Program

Stanford University

Stanford, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
66%
Retention Rate
98%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Advanced Computer Security Certificate

University of California-Davis

Davis, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
70%
Retention Rate
93%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • MS in Computer Science – Information Assurance Focus PhD in Computer Science – Information Assurance Focus

University of California-Irvine

Irvine, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
68%
Retention Rate
92%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Information Systems Security Certificate Program

University of San Diego

San Diego, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
81%
Retention Rate
87%
NSA Designated
No
Degrees
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
$ $ $ $ $
Financial Aid Recipients
64%
Retention Rate
96%
NSA Designated
Yes
Degrees
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering