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Master’s in Cybersecurity vs. Cybersecurity MBA: What’s the Difference?

Trying to decide whether a standard master’s in cybersecurity or a cybersecurity MBA concentration is best for you? Learn about the differences between these two graduate degree programs offered by Saint Leo University.

A photo of several cyber security professionals sitting at computers and working in an office who have earned either a master's in cyber security or a cyber security MBA

The cybersecurity field is growing rapidly. Case in point: jobs falling under the title of information security analyst are expected to increase by 32 percent by the year 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is more than six times as fast as the anticipated growth rate for all other occupations combined, which the BLS suggests is closer to five percent as a whole.

If you’d like to secure your spot in the cybersecurity world and are looking at master’s in cybersecurity programs, you may have noticed that you have two options. You can get a master’s in cybersecurity or you can earn your cybersecurity MBA. What’s the difference between the two?

Looking at the Master’s in Cybersecurity

Earning your master’s in cybersecurity tells potential employers that you have specialized, in-depth training in information security.

For example, Saint Leo University’s master’s in cybersecurity Program is a 36-credit hour program in which all of the higher-level classes focus on one specific aspect of information security. Examples of these specialized classes include:

  • Cybersecurity Risk Management – covers the threats and vulnerabilities of information systems as well as how to manage this risk
  • Cloud Computing Security – discusses different aspects of cloud computing, such as principles, foundations, and trends
  • Advanced Penetration Testing – students learn ways in which ethical hackers can access a computer system and how to employ the use of updated computer security resources to better protect the entire network
  • Advanced Networking & Protocols – this course is all about the layers of the OSI reference model, from the link to transport to application layers
  • Strategic Planning for Cybersecurity – demonstrates how security forecasting methods are applied, as well has how to create a comprehensive and strategic information security plan

These types of courses better prepare you for higher-level cybersecurity positions. That’s why it’s not uncommon for this type of degree to be required in management roles in cybersecurity or to work in a CSO (chief security officer) position.

Cybersecurity MBA Degree Program

MBA is short for master’s in business administration. Thus, while a cybersecurity MBA provides additional higher-level instruction in cybersecurity, many of the classes in this degree program are focused on other aspects of business as well.

Look at the degree requirements for Saint Leo University’s cybersecurity MBA and you will notice that five of the 13 classes required to earn this designation include topics within the information security field. For example, if you choose this degree program, you will be required to take courses such as Principles of Cybersecurity Management, Network Security Management, and Systems Security Management.

The remaining eight classes in the cybersecurity MBA program are designed to increase your knowledge in business. This involves taking courses which include Human Resource in Management, Financial and Managerial Accounting, Marketing, and more.

Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Graduate Degree Program for You

If you’re unsure whether you should earn your master’s in cybersecurity or if a cybersecurity MBA is best, it’s helpful to think about your career-related goals.

If your ultimate goal is to work in a top cybersecurity position within a company, a master’s in cybersecurity will better prepare you to provide these types of services. Conversely, a cybersecurity MBA is geared more toward those who are interested in running or owning a business. The additional courses in human resources, marketing, and accounting gives students a more well-rounded understanding of what it takes to operate a successful company.

Another factor to consider is how in-depth you want to go into the world of information security. If you want to spend all day, every day fortifying computers, software, and networks, a master’s in cybersecurity provides the education and skills necessary to do this. But if you are more interested in running a business and how a secure computer system is critical to achieving this goal, a cybersecurity MBA will likely be the best degree program for you.

Saint Leo University Offers Both Cybersecurity Degree Options

Whether you want to earn your master’s in cybersecurity or a cybersecurity MBA, Saint Leo University offers both graduate degree programs, each of which consists of 36 credit hours.

Our master’s in cybersecurity will help prepare you for information security positions within a company, which includes holding job titles such as:

  • Security software developer
  • Security engineer
  • Security architect
  • Cryptographer
  • Security auditor

Take Saint Leo’s Cybersecurity MBA instead and you will learn the core management functions required in a business setting. You’ll also study effective business communication techniques while learning more about how to be the best leader possible while also creating a collaborative team.

Still Unsure Which Master’s-Level Track is Right?

Choosing a college-level program is a major decision. So, if you’re still unclear whether you should earn your master’s in cybersecurity or if a cybersecurity MBA is right for you, Saint Leo’s trusted and compassionate staff is here to help.

Contact our admissions team today and, together, we will walk through your interests and desired career goals, which will help decide which program is best for you.

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