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Cyber Security Course in The USA: A Course Guide for International Students

Cyber Security Course In The USA

The United States hosts several prestigious educational institutes that provide a high standard of education and top-notch opportunities for students to advance their careers. Furthermore, pursuing a cyber security course in the USA provides aspirants with the facilities and provisions to explore their potential and capabilities.

For international students, learning about the procedure for moving abroad involves inspecting the course structure, offered programmes, eligibility, admission process, cost of studying and future scope, among many other aspects. All of these are discussed in detail in our guide below. Continue reading to learn more!

Why Study in Cyber Security in The USA?

The United States is one of the most popular countries to pursue higher education, and it continues gaining popularity over the years. Not only does it offer a high standard of education, but it also has a high quality of student life. Some of the top reasons for pursuing cyber security courses in the USA for international students are listed below.

  • The US has some of the best universities across the globe, as rated by QS World Rankings and Times Higher Education.
  • Studying here would offer students an exceptional learning experience and world-class facilities.
  • Universities have diverse course options, so students can explore different programmes and select the ones that align with their professional requirements the most. Additionally, they have a flexible curriculum which allows students to choose from several specialisations and minors.
  • International students can acquire scholarships and other types of financial grants through the universities, government or other NGOs.
  • Cyber security graduates are usually hired by finance and insurance companies, which offer them ample opportunities for career growth.
  • The average annual salary of a cyber security graduate is $99,730, which grows exponentially with experience.

Types of Cyber Security in The USA

Cyber security in the USA is a computer-based degree which covers topics related to communication networks, technologies, legal intricacies and ethical issues. Universities in the United States offer cyber security courses for bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, online or even part-time degrees.

The most popular of these among international students are the first three. The programmes typically begin with courses focusing on cyber security threats to college students so they are acquainted with the field. For any of these, the involved  curriculum covers a few common topics as follows.

  • Business Data Communications & Networking
  • Information Security
  • Engineering of Secure Systems
  • Data Mining for Business Intelligence

A Bachelor’s Degree

An undergraduate degree for a cyber security course in the USA aims at creating a solid foundation in principles and ethical practices of cyber security. Some of the common topics of the curriculum are network security, ethical hacking, digital forensics and risk management. Moreover, this programme focuses on practical training and first-hand experience. Since the curriculum in American universities is quite flexible, most institutes require students to choose their major in the second or third year. Thus, students can explore different areas of study and choose the one that works for them the most.

A Master’s Degree

A postgraduate degree explores more advanced topics, like cryptography, software development, cyber threat intelligence and incident response. Three of the most popular programmes for a cyber security masters course in the USA are described below.

  1. MS in Cyber Security: Students are typically introduced to concepts of designing and analysing algorithms, computer systems, and advanced software paradigms.

  2. MS in Information Technology: Along with cyber security, graduates of MS in IT have expertise in knowledge of information systems and information technology.

  3. MS in Computer Science with a Cyber Security Specialisation: As the name suggests, this course is primarily designed for graduates of computer science, but they get the opportunity to explore a cyber security course in the USA as an elective.

Doctoral Courses

Doctoral programmes, like a PhD, provide in-depth knowledge of the different specialisations and sub-topics that would generally come under any cyber security course in the USA.

Students get the opportunity to conduct separate research on a topic of their choosing and collaborate with faculty members, independent scholars and other experts in the same field. As they find significant research content in their topic, students can publish their research as theoretical papers or research articles in journals and other publication sources.

Top Universities Cyber Security in The USA

The choice of university is crucial for any student since each institute has different facilities and opportunities. Most educational institutes focus on extensive hands-on cyber security training in the USA to ensure students are well-equipped for their professional careers. Some of the best colleges in the United States are listed below.

CourseUniversityQS University Rankings (Global)
UGCarnegie Mellon University52
Georgia Institute of Technology97
Massachusetts Institute of Technology1
Stanford University2
Purdue University54
PGUniversity of California, Berkeley27
Tufts University501 – 550
George Washington University362
California State Polytechnic University201 – 250
New Jersey Institute of Technology651 – 700

Eligibility & Admission Requirements

One of the most significant aspects to consider is the eligibility. Even after finalising the institute, if you don’t fit their eligibility criteria, there’s no point pursuing it ahead. Although each university offering a UG, PG, PhD, or even a diploma in cyber security in the USA will have varying requirements, we can derive a common list of prerequisites for international students. Consider the following criteria of eligibility to analyse which ones you fulfil.

  • Official academic transcripts of all previous degrees.
  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or another relevant field. (for masters in cyber security USA)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.
  • Scores of English proficiency tests
  • Scores of entrance exams, like the GRE.
  • Work experience (may be optional)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • CV/Resume
  • Financial documents
  • Visa documents

The minimum required scores in the entrance exams are as follows.

ExamMinimum Required Score
TOEFL79
IELTS6.5 – 7.0
GRE320

Despite the requirements mentioned above, each university may have varying eligibility criteria and admission requirements depending on the selected course. Thus, students should go through the university’s website thoroughly and analyse the prerequisites. 

Visa Requirements

Source: Unsplash

International students are required to apply for an F-1 student visa without exceptions. Although a long process, it is quite easy to follow. The necessary documents required for the visa are listed here. Students are advised to compile and keep the list prepped beforehand to avoid any delays or discrepancies in the later stages of granting the visa.

  • Valid passport
  • Bank balance
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of scholarships
  • Eligibility forms (I-20)
  • SEVIS fees – $200

Admission Process for A Cyber Security Course in The USA

The first step of the admission procedure is to evaluate the list of requirements and ensure that you have all of them. To simplify the process, we have made a step-by-step guide to the admission process for students to follow. Again, this procedure may differ from college to college depending on the course and programme, so it is advisable to verify the admission process on the university’s official website.

  • Explore the different universities and the courses offered by them to shortlist a few of them that align with your professional and personal interests.

  • Analyse their eligibility criteria to ensure you fulfil the admission requirements.

  • Fill out the application form, usually available on the university’s page, by adding your personal and educational credentials.

  • Upload the required documents. Upload the letters of recommendation, personal essay, and financial documents.

  • You may be required to pay an application fee. However, some universities offer an exemption if necessary.

  • You may be called in for an interview with the faculty members, Admissions Team, or alumni, depending on the university’s screening process.

  • Based on your application, you may receive an offer letter or a conditional one. Fulfil the requirements mentioned by the Admissions Team to secure your spot.

  • You may be asked to pay a fraction or the complete amount of the first-year fees.

Cost of Studying

The cost of studying encompasses all the expenditure that is required for pursuing a cyber security course in the USA. This typically includes the tuition fees and the cost of living. However, you may also consider pre-arrival costs, that is, the expenses you incur before migrating to the United States. Consider the following sections for a detailed breakdown of these costs.

1. Pre-Arrival Costs

Pre-arrival costs are the expenditures you must fulfil before you move to the university campus. These usually include the application fees. Check out the following table to comprehend an average of what you must spend on applications. These costs may vary based on the programme you choose.

ExpenditureCost
IELTS$185 – $190
TOEFL $160 – $250
Visa Application$160
Course Application$100 – $200

2. Cost of Tuition

Next, the cost of attendance comes into the picture. The average tuition fee for a cyber security undergraduate degree in the USA comes to approximately $53,925. On the other hand, the average cost of pursuing an MSc cyber security in the USA is around $51,656. You can get a better idea by analysing the cost of tuition in the best universities through the following table.

UniversityAverage Cost Of Tuition
Carnegie Mellon University$62,260
Georgia Institute of Technology$35,615
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$59,750
Stanford University$82,000
Purdue University$30,000
University of California, Berkeley$69,984
Tufts University$51,530
George Washington University$33,750
California State Polytechnic University$48,956
New Jersey Institute of Technology$54,060

3. Cost of Living

The cost of living is one of the most crucial factors as it directly affects the day-to-day of every student. Accommodation, transportation, food, groceries, and utilities are some of the significant factors that contribute to living expenses. The average annual cost of living in the United States is $18,048. Consider the following table for a detailed breakdown of this figure.

ItemEstimated cost per month
Off-Campus Accommodation$525
On-Campus Accommodation$871
Food$572
Transportation$70
Utilities$180
Entertainment$48
Groceries$52
Clothes$102
Total Cost Of Living With Off-Campus Accommodation$1,504
Total Cost Of Living With On-Campus Accommodation$1,850
Annual Cost Of Living$18,048

Scholarships for a Security Course in The USA

After comprehending the above expenses, it is quite evident that abroad education, especially in the United States, is quite expensive. Fortunately for international students, the government offers many types of financial aid, like scholarships, grants and academic awards. These are typically awarded based on academic record, merit, and financial background. Check out the following list to get a better idea.

ScholarshipsAwarded Amount
Hubert H. Humphrey FellowshipFlexible amount
Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship50% amount is granted as a scholarship, and the other 50% is granted as a loan.
Inlakhs Shivdasani Foundation Program Flexible amount
Women Techmaker’s Scholarship$9,422
Stokes Educational Scholarship $28,280
NSF CyberCorps Scholarship for Service$47,137

Career Prospects

After completing your degree, the obvious next question is, what next? Cyber security training and placement USA is quite sorted for international students since universities typically provide the required facilities and opportunities for career growth. Moreover, the United States is one of the largest markets for cybersecurity-related jobs, making up 35% of the global market.

The industry is expected to touch $360 billion by the end of 2023. Furthermore, graduates are in high demand in international companies and their global offices. They can expect an average annual salary of $1,10,000. Some of the most popular job profiles are listed here with their average salaries.

Job ProfileAverage Annual Salary
Chief Information Security Officer$1,21,843
Security Administrator$60,313
Cryptographer$94,258
Network Security Systems Manager$91,696
Security Assessor$84,837
Data Security Analyst$80,687
Web Security Administrator $80,494
Forensics Expert$66,923
Penetration Tester$76,356

FAQs

Q1. Can anyone apply for a master’s degree in a cyber security course in USA university if his/her previous degree was not in computer science?

Ans: Currently, applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a relevant course for applying for a master’s degree in any US university.

Q2. Is it mandatory to know Python to apply to the master’s programme in cyber security in the USA?

Ans: Students must know Python to apply to the master’s programmes in cyber security in the USA.

Q3. What is the average cost of tuition for a cyber security course in the US?

Ans: The average tuition fee for a cyber security UG degree in the USA comes to approximately $53,925. On the other hand, the average cost of pursuing a master’s in cyber security in the USA is around $51,656.

Q4. How much does a student with a degree in Masters in Cyber Security in the USA earn?

Ans: Cyber security graduates earn an average annual salary of $1,10,000.

Q5. What are the best universities in the USA for studying cyber security?

Ans: The University of California, Berkeley, Tufts University, George Washington University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are some of the best universities in the USA for studying cyber security. 

Q6. Can you do an MS in cyber security in the USA without a GRE?

Ans: Several universities accept applications without GRE scores, too. However, they may have other course requirements to compensate.

Thank you for reading our guide to pursuing a cyber security course in the USA! Let us know your thoughts or queries in the comments section below!

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Cyber Security Course In The USA

Cyber Security Course in The USA: A Course Guide for International Students

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