An online Master of Cyber Security program consists of 12-16 subjects and can be completed in two years of part-time study. The courses are designed for working professionals. Here's a selection of the best online masters degrees in Australia.
To say there's an undersupply of cyber security expertise would be an understatement. Globally and including Australia, unmet demand is reflected in thousands of advertisements for vacant specialist jobs. We don't have enough qualified people for an industry projected to grow at 12% annually out to 2030.
A Masters in Cyber Security is worth it not to just get a job but to get the type of job you want. The skills and qualification you gain put you in a position to select from a large set of different, high-paying roles. You're better placed to do the kind of work you're most interested in.
And that ambition is supported by the university degrees available in Australia. You can choose from different specialisations, with varying levels of technical demands and for distinct roles. Choose a cyber security course to best achieve your career goals.
Cybersecurity analysis is a major part of the industry. The job of a cybersecurity analyst is to protect a company's network, hardware and software from internal and external cyber threats. Data analysis, network monitoring and security configuration are some of skills required. You can train for this and other cybersecurity roles with a masters in cyber security analysis.
ECU Master of Cyber Security
The Master of Cyber Security course at Edith Cowan University offers a Technical Analysis specialisation. Students explore topics such as digital forensics, network security, networking technologies, data analysis and visualisation, and incident detection and response. The 100% online program is accelerated, allowing you to earn your masters over 24 months of part-time study. You're eligible if you have a bachelor degree (any discipline) or 5+ years of relevant experience.
Cybersecurity engineers are among the most sought-after technology professionals. They provide advanced technical skills to: troubleshoot cybersecurity problems, perform penetration testing, and design stronger systems to protect networks and data. You can launch or boost your career in this field with a cyber security master's degree in which you major in security engineering.
Master of Cyber Security at UNSW Online
The 100% online Master of Cyber Security from UNSW is a comprehensive program that allows for both managerial and technical training. In the Security Engineering specialisation, you study cloud security, penetration testing, advanced penetration testing, digital forensics, and reverse engineering. The skills you develop in this program will help leverage lucrative career opportunities in cybersecurity engineering. The 12 subjects, including core subjects and electives, are taken one at a time in 8-week blocks, allowing you to finish inside 2 years while working full-time.
Achieving strong cybersecurity relies on good management or governance from IT and business managers. You can build skills in this area with a masters in cyber security management. Online programs balance general security subjects with management-specific content on topics such as privacy laws, ethics and principles, enterprise risk and operations management.
University of Adelaide Master of Cyber Security
To be a trusted, capable and high-impact cyber security leader, you need to master both the technical and managerial aspects that underpin safe digital environments. The University of Adelaide's online Master of Cyber Security covers both the technical and managerial skills you’ll need to forge your own career path. Topics include handling business data, secure programming, human-centred security, applied privacy, and business information systems. The 12 subjects that make up the part-time program are delivered individually within six week teaching periods – with at least a two-week break in between.
ECU Master of Cyber Security
You can become a highly qualified cyber security manager with Edith Cowan University's Master of Cyber Security. The 100% online, 12-unit program offers a Governance study stream and is well connected to industry. Students typically study part-time while working full-time, completing a subject every 2 months. Topics include cyberspace governance, digital forensics, network security, project management, security ethics, and cyberspace law and policy. The exam-free masters is open to university graduates (any discipline) and experienced professionals. The degree has Cybersecurity Professional accreditation with the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
Master of Cyber Security at UNSW Online
The 100% online Master of Cyber Security program from UNSW is deep and thorough, providing managerial as well as technical instruction. The cyber security skills you develop will help create exciting career opportunities in cybersecurity governance. Your program will consist of 4 core subjects, 4 subjects in your specialisation, and 4 electives. Topics in the Management specialisation include cyber operations, cyber laws, security threats and crime, and cybersecurity management and governance. You can finish in 2 years while working full time with an accelerated learning model.
If you're a manager and want to learn about information technology beyond cyber security, a Master of Technology Management (MTM) may be ideal. The degree is flexible, allowing you to choose electives to match your learning preferences. You can gain a strong education in cyber security while also covering related topics such as data management or information systems.
UTS Online Master of Technology Management
The UTS Online Master of Technology Management is for future-focused professionals. Build analytical, communication and leadership skills to manage technology-driven activities. In the Cybersecurity Management specialisation, you study data ethics and regulation, cybersecurity analytics, visual data analytics, and cybersecurity management. What you study in the rest of the technology program is up to you, with a wide range of electives available in fields such as AI, machine learning, databases, and digital strategy. The 100% online course is compatible with full-time work.
UTS Online Executive Master of Technology Management
The UTS Online Executive Master of Technology Management is for professionals wanting to push their career up a level. The course offers an accelerated pathway if you have a technical degree and extensive, relevant work experience. Earn an executive masters by completing 8 subjects, compared to the usual 12 for a masters degree in Australia. A large set of technology management subjects is available to choose electives from, including in cybersecurity management. This course enables you to work full-time while building technology management skills.
Masters programs are quite comprehensive, consisting of 12 subjects that include overview and foundation topics. But you can also go deep into an area of specialisation, such as security engineering, technical analysis, governance, or management and leadership.
To illustrate course structure, here are example subject lists from three university programs. Further core subjects and electives are generally available.
Edith Cowan University
- Cyber Security
- Digital Forensics
- Ethical Hacking and Defence
- Network Security
- Networking Technologies
- Scripting Languages
Specialisations: Technical Analysis, Governance
- Cloud Security
- Cyber and the Law
- Cyber Security Ethics
- Data Security and Privacy
- Foundations of Cyber Security
- Principles of Security Engineering
Specialisations: Management & Leadership, Security Engineering
University of Adelaide
- Applied Privacy
- Business Data and Cyber Security
- Cyber Security Fundamentals
- Human-Centred Security
- Information Risks and Controls
- Introduction to System Security
Each student does an industry-based cyber security research project.
Learning outcomes from a cybersecurity masters depend on the orientation of the program, whether its towards technical analysis, software engineering, governance, or leadership and management. You should at least come away within strong contemporary knowledge and skills in your area of expertise. Common learning outcomes include the ability to do the following.
- Identify vulnerabilities and threats to assets, along with countermeasures.
- Analyse and make recommendations on issues of privacy, surveillance, and information misuse.
- Investigate different types of network and system attacks, including defensive measures.
- Design a secure network to guard against cyber crime and contemporary cyber attacks.
- Create and apply innovative cyber security solutions for businesses, government and individuals.
- Document response strategies for various types of cybersecurity incidents.
- Communicate policies and procedures on cyber governance to stakeholders in an organisation.
A Masters in Cyber Security is a strong qualification that puts you in the frame for many potential career paths. Jobs for cyber professionals have titles such as cyber security manager, cyber security analyst, security advisor, secure systems engineer, cyber security specialist, security consultant, and so forth.
Employment projections for the industry are extremely promising. In Australia, jobs for Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists are projected to expand by 39% to 104,000 over the 5 years to 2027.
The website cybersecurityeducation.org lists different career streams: Security Specialist · Incident Responder · Security Administrator · Vulnerability Assessor · Cryptographer · Security Manager · Security Architect · Chief Information Security Officer · Security Analyst · Security Auditor · Security Director · Forensic Expert · Penetration Tester · Security Consultant · Security Engineer · Source Code Auditor.
Entry requirements vary by university. But you can access most programs if you have an IT-related degree OR significant professional experience in cyber security or a related field. Embedded graduate certificate courses often offer easier pathways into the programs.
Here are examples of course admission requirements. Enquire for further details.
For course admission, you need a bachelor degree in any discipline OR five years of relevant professional experience.
Online degrees are unsuitable for international students who wish to study in Australia on a student visa.
Recognition of prior learning (advanced standing): For students with a related first degree (or appropriate experience), you can apply for a reduced course length of 12 subjects in total. A related discipline refers to any cyber security / ICT-related discipline.
2022 tuition fees are $51,450 (Governance) and $51,870 (Technical Analysis). FEE-HELP loans from the Australian Government are available.
To be eligible for the online degree, you need a Bachelor of Computer Science (or an equivalent IT degree) and a GPA of 4.5 OR relevant work experience of 3+ years in Computer Science or Cyber Security roles OR a diploma or above in networking and IT plus 2 years of relevant work experience.
All students require some experience with a programming language. If you lack this, the University offers the subject Foundations of Computer Science: Python A.
Course fees are $41,976 or $3,498 per subject (2022 pricing). FEE-HELP loans are available.
English language proficiency requirements apply to international students from a non English speaking background. The online program does not meet requirements for studying in Australia on a student visa.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with a WAM of 65+ OR four years of relevant experience with demonstrated leadership ability OR the Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security with a WAM of 65+ OR the Graduate Diploma in Cyber Security.
English language proficiency requirements if you are an international student with international qualifications.
For 2023 starters, the indicative fee for the full program is $56,880 for domestic students and $75,240 for international students. FEE-HELP Australian Government loans are available for eligible domestic students.
To be eligible for the master's program, you need a bachelor degree or higher qualification in Computer Science, Information Technology, Information Systems, Business Data Analytics, Software Engineering or similar. As well, applicants need to satisfy minimum professional practice of at least 2 years.
Applicants not meeting the entry requirements may use the successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Technology Management, Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence Management or Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Management as a pathway.
Fully online courses do not satisfy student visa requirements for international students who wish to study in Australia.
Is Cyber Security Hard? How Hard?
There are several reasons why demand is surging. One of the main reasons is the increasing reliance on technology and the internet in all aspects of life, including business, communication, and personal activities. In an increasingly digital world, the risk of online attacks and data breaches increases. This has led to a greater need for professionals who can help prevent and mitigate these threats.
Another reason is the complexity and sophistication of modern threats. Cyber criminals are constantly developing new methods for attacking and exploiting vulnerabilities, and organisations need skilled professionals who can help them stay ahead of these threats.
In addition, the regulatory environment is becoming more stringent, with laws and regulations being put in place to protect against cyber attacks and data breaches. This is also driving demand for people who can help organisations comply with these regulations and protect their systems and data.
Overall, the increasing reliance on technology, the complexity and sophistication of modern threats, and the growing regulatory environment are all contributing to higher demand.
A Masters in Cyber Security is 12-16 subjects long in Australia, though 12 subjects is the more common length. Twelve subjects equates to three semesters or 1.5 years of full-time study. The Australian academic calendar typically consists of two semesters, with full-time students completing four subjects each semester.
With accelerated online study, a cyber masters takes 24 months (2 years) of part-time study. Online students typically complete one subject every couple of months during 6-7 week study blocks. With six study periods per year, a 12-subject masters takes two years to do part-time.
Accelerated online study is compatible with full-time work and most online masters candidates are working professionals.
Cyber security masters programs vary considerably in terms of the percentage of technical content. A degree with an analytics or engineering specialisation, for example, is likely to be far more technically challenging that a specialist MBA or a technology management degree.
You'll need strong mathematical, logic and programming skills for technical degrees whereas management-orientated degrees rely more on communication skills and management experience.
If you choose the right course and comfortably satisfy entry requirements, the study demands should be highly achievable. To illustrate, a student who achieved solid grades in an information technology or computer science bachelor's degree can expect to also do well in a cyber security program focused on analytics or engineering. Likewise, an experienced technology manager should be able to comfortably handle the coursework in an MBA or technology management masters.
Finding the time to study could be biggest challenge. Most masters students are busy working professionals. Even as a part-time student, you'll need to set aside several hours or more of time for highly focused study each week.
You'll be able to choose from dozens, hundreds or even thousands of jobs in Australia with a Masters in Cyber Security. A quick check of job directories showed the term "cyber security" returned 4,546 job matches in Jora, 883 jobs in Indeed and 2,044 jobs in Seek (on 28 July 2022). The large number of unfilled positions in this country reflect a global shortage of cyber security professionals.
With a master's degree, you'll clearly be able to compete against anyone for jobs in terms of educational credentials. A masters is essentially the top qualification in the profession. The award is recognised at Level 9 in the Australian Qualifications Framework, only behind doctoral academic degrees.
Of course, professional experience and specific skills, including certifications, count for a great deal as well. When you're just starting out as a master's graduate with limited experience, you may have to be content with a modest-paying role that reflects a lack of demonstrated on-the-job achievement.
But a masters provides strong foundation skills for taking on roles for cyber security specialists. You'll also have education credentials that will help every time you apply for a promotion or new job. Across the span of one's career, the salary benefit of the degree could easily exceed the cost many times over.
The return on investment (ROI) for a cybersecurity education is high if you're determined to pursue a career in this field. A calculation in this Forbes article estimated a 20 times ROI after 20 years of working in the industry. While you might well disagree with the maths, the author makes a valid point. If you can increase your earnings by a significant amount and retain that advantage for years into the future, a cybersecurity degree will pay for itself many times over.
Job opportunities in cybersecurity are plentiful and you may be able to get started in the industry without a degree. But having that qualification helps ensure you achieve your maximum earning potential. A degree may help you secure one or two important job opportunities that you may otherwise have missed out on. That can easily translate to hundreds of thousands of extra income over time.
Advantages of getting your degree online
An online degree has just as much upside as a degree you earn at a campus. But, notably, the cost is lower.
Studying online is convenient and allows many working professionals to keep their job while studying at university. That means no lost wages and even the potential to be promoted while you study.
Even if you take on a full-time study load as an online student, eLearning reduces education costs. For example, you won't have to travel each day. You also won't need to relocate to somewhere closer to campus.