Cybersecurity Degrees in Massachusetts — Your Guide to Choosing a School



This guide provides a quick overview of Massachusetts’ cybersecurity colleges. Other cybersecurity training resources, such as online degrees and certification programmes, are included in the guide.

Massachusetts is best known for Boston, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard, but the tiny northeastern state has much more economic clout than its small size suggests.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, also known as The Bay State, has by far the largest economy in New England. While its centuries-old and thriving shipping industry contributes to its strength, the state has reinvented its economy many times over the years.

It now has vibrant business communities in the fields of technology, finance, healthcare, education, and tourism. The Boston metropolitan area, which includes world-class healthcare and higher education institutions, accounts for roughly 80% of the state’s economy.

State authorities have long assumed that Massachusetts will play a leading role in whatever social and economic patterns are shaping society as a whole. It was technology and healthcare in the late twentieth century. Later on, the state was at the forefront of environmental reform and, most recently, universal healthcare insurance.

One of the state’s main goals right now is to become a leading force in cybersecurity, both in terms of its own planning and in terms of attracting the best cybersecurity minds and businesses to call Massachusetts home. Although Massachusetts’ long and illustrious past is often discussed, its present and future in the field of cybersecurity appear to be very promising.

Growing importance of cybersecurity in Massachusetts

Healthcare and financial services have long been two of Massachusetts’ most powerful economic powers. They’re also one of the most common targets for cyber criminals these days. The state of Massachusetts is home to 12 Fortune 500 firms. State Street Corp., Liberty Mutual, and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company are three of the financial intermediaries. In addition, the state is a hotbed for venture capitalists.

In the late twentieth century, Massachusetts made a concerted effort to attract technology companies of all kinds and establish itself as a technology hub. The efforts yielded positive results. General Electric, Boston Scientific, Raytheon, Biogen, and Thermo Fisher Scientific are among the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Massachusetts.



In recent years, the state government has made efforts to educate government employees and people about the dangers of information security. It has also provided educational services to assist local governments in protecting their structures and data. In September 2017, it also launched MassCyberCenter. Its goal is to ensure that citizens and businesses in the state are prepared for cyber threats, as well as to nurture the state’s cybersecurity ecosystem and place it as a leading provider of information security services and study.

Cybersecurity education in Massachusetts

As the state government works to place Massachusetts as a cybersecurity pioneer, new educational opportunities are emerging. The number of high-quality higher-education institutions in Massachusetts, especially in the Boston area, is one of the major draws for students. Several prestigious universities, including Harvard, Worcester Polytechnic, and Northeastern, are located in this area. All three of these universities have established cybersecurity degree programs.

Although the number of degree and credential programs available in Massachusetts is not overwhelming, students do have a lot of choices. Both Harvard and Northeastern are completely committed to training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. There are also a number of other well-known institutions in the mix.

Whatever degree path students select, they will enter a rapidly expanding job market with an insufficient number of eligible applicants for open positions.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE

The cybersecurity job market is rapidly changing, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in higher demand than ever.

Associate’s degrees, on the other hand, have a place in the sector, thanks to a lack of trained cybersecurity practitioners. There are many entry-level work opportunities that only require an associate’s degree, which can help those who don’t have the time or money to complete a bachelor’s degree get a foot in the door.

Associate’s degree coursework can be applied as credit for a bachelor’s degree, reducing the time and resources needed to complete a four-year degree.

Campus-based associate’s degrees in Massachusetts

At the moment, four colleges deliver associate’s degrees in cybersecurity through campus-based programs. In the table below, these are mentioned.

School City Program Website
Bristol Community College Fall River Associate in Science in Computer Information Systems
Cape Cod Community College West Barnstable AS IT: Cybersecurity Concentration
Middlesex Community College Bedford Associate in Science in Liberal Studies Information Technology – Cybersecurity Transfer
MassBay Community College Framingham Cyber Security Associate in Science Degree
Quincy College Quincy Computer Science: Cyber Security Associate in Science Degree

 



Online associate’s degrees in Massachusetts

Associate’s degrees in cybersecurity are also available online for those who prefer a more flexible option than attending classes on campus. However, in Massachusetts, there are currently only two such choices.

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

Bachelor’s degrees are now necessary for the majority of information security jobs. Although a degree in almost any technology or STEM discipline is usually appropriate, cybersecurity degrees give applicants an advantage. And, as master’s degrees and Ph.D.s become more in demand from cybersecurity employers, a bachelor’s degree is usually needed to apply for postgraduate degrees.

Campus-based bachelor’s degrees in Massachusetts

At the time of publication, five different Massachusetts colleges offered five different bachelor’s degree programs. Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Northeastern University are the frontrunners in this party. The complete list can be found below.

School City Program Website
Assumption College Worcester Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Bay Path University Longmeadow Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity – Digital Forensics
Northeastern University Boston Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst BS in Computer Science with Security & Privacy Track
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester Computer Science (BS)- Cyber Security Concentration

 

Online bachelor’s degrees in Massachusetts

There is currently only one online choice for obtaining a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Massachusetts. This Bay State University program offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a focus on digital forensics and cybersecurity.

MASTER’S DEGREE

Master’s degrees in cybersecurity are becoming more popular, and for senior cybersecurity practitioners in a corporate environment, they are unquestionably the preferred route. Many employers are also demanding master’s degrees for advanced information security positions, such as Chief Information Security Officer. Master’s degrees are also widely recommended for careers in cybersecurity consulting, academia, or study for those destined for non-corporate environments. Continuing on to a Ph.D. would, of course, help advance an infosec career even more.

Campus-based master’s degrees in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has six campus-based cybersecurity master’s degree programs, as shown in the table below. Boston University offers four of these options. Northeastern University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute offer the other two programs. The table below contains more detail on these degree choices.

School City Program Website
Boston College Chestnut Hill Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance
Boston University Boston Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Concentration in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity
Boston University Boston MS in Computer Information Systems with Concentration in Security
Boston University Boston MS in Computer Science with Concentration in Security
Boston University Boston MS in Computer Science with Specialization in Cyber Security
Northeastern University Boston Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester MS in Computer Science – Specialization in Security

 

Online master’s degrees in Massachusetts

Master’s degrees in cybersecurity are also available via online delivery at Massachusetts colleges. There are currently six online options available from reputable institutions, the most well-known of which is Harvard. For more detail and links, see the sections below.

School City Program Website
Bay Path University Longmeadow Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management
Boston University Boston Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Concentration in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity
Boston University Boston Online MS in Computer Information Systems with Concentration in Security
Brandeis University Waltham Master of Science in Information Security Leadership
Harvard University Cambridge Online Master of Liberal Arts in Information Management Systems – Cybersecurity Certificate
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell Online Master of Science in Security Studies: Cyber Security Concentration

 

Ph.D. DEGREES

Currently, only one Massachusetts university offers a cybersecurity Ph.D. program. A Ph.D. in computer science with a cybersecurity emphasis is available on campus at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. There are currently no Ph.D. programs for cybersecurity practitioners offered by Massachusetts institutions.

CERTIFICATIONS

Some cybersecurity certifications are intended to include an introduction to information protection and, in some cases, a foot in the door, or at the very least, a stepping stone toward a degree. Other credential programs are designed for cybersecurity professionals who want to advance their education or even replace a full advanced degree. Massachusetts learning institutions offer all types of qualifications, with a focus on specialized certificates.

Campus-based cybersecurity certifications in Massachusetts

Massachusetts colleges offer seven different cybersecurity certification options. For more statistics, see the table below.

School City Program Website
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills Cyber Security Certificate
Middlesex Community College Bedford Advanced Certificate in IT Cybersecurity
Middlesex Community College Bedford Entry-Level Certificate in IT Cybersecurity
Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner Cyber Security Certificate
Northeastern University Boston Graduate Certificate in Information Security Management
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester Information Security Management Graduate Certificate
UMass Amherst Amherst Graduate Certificate in Information Security

 

Online cybersecurity certifications in Massachusetts

Massachusetts colleges offer nine certification programs that can be completed entirely online. The following are some of them:

School City Program Website
Boston University Boston Online Graduate Certificate in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity
Boston University Boston Online Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics
Boston University Boston Online Graduate Certificate in Information Security
Harvard University Cambridge Online Cybersecurity Certificate
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills Advanced Cyber Security Certificate
Metropolitan State University Saint Paul Certificate in Information Assurance and Information Technology Security
Quinsigamond Community College Worcester Certificate in Computer Systems Engineering Technology – Cyber Security
Worcester Polytechnic College Worcester Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

 



Cybersecurity jobs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts and New York stand out as cybersecurity hotspots in the Northeast United States. Massachusetts makes up for its lack of physical size with economic clout. One of the reasons for the importance of cybersecurity is the economy’s emphasis. According to research conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and education organizations were by far the biggest employers in the state in 2019. Because of the vast amount of personal and sensitive information they collect and store, healthcare organizations have become a favorite target for hackers. Technical and business services, which are also abundant sources of confidential data, are Massachusetts’ second largest job market.

The state of Massachusetts, like the rest of the world, is suffering from a cybersecurity skills shortage. According to Cyberseek, Massachusetts had just over 25,000 people working in cybersecurity-related jobs from October 2018 to September 2019, with around 13,400 cybersecurity work vacancies posted by Bay State employers. More than 11,600 of those jobs were in the Boston metropolitan area. Boston is home to a large number of health and educational institutions, as well as being the Northeast’s second-largest financial hub after New York City.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity analysts in Massachusetts receive an average hourly wage of $52.11 and an annual income of $108,400 as of May 2018. Both wage rates are far higher than the national average. The high cost of living and high tax burden in Massachusetts are the only drawbacks. Both are among the country’s best. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of lucrative job opportunities in Massachusetts, especially in the Boston area, for many years to come.

The following job titles are at the top of the list of cybersecurity job titles in Massachusetts:

      • Cybersecurity Engineer
      • Cybersecurity Analyst
      • Cybersecurity Administrator/Manager
      • Software Developer/Engineer
      • Cybersecurity Consultant
      • Penetration Tester/Vulnerability Assessor
      • Network Engineer/Architect
      • Systems Engineer
      • IT Auditor

Cybersecurity in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has always defied its small scale, even when it was a colony, and has been a major economic power. Despite the apparent benefit of having access to the Atlantic Ocean, the citizens of Massachusetts continue to adopt a leadership mentality. Today, the Commonwealth is focused on becoming a cybersecurity pioneer, and there is no reason to suspect that it will succeed.

There are plenty of highly respected, if not prestigious, colleges and universities in the state that can train and educate tomorrow’s cybersecurity leaders. And the government is fully committed to developing the technologies and capabilities needed to protect Massachusetts’ data. There is still a shortage of skilled professionals, as there is anywhere else, and demand is increasing rapidly.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.