What Are the Best Cyber Security Schools in California? (2022)

Table of Contents
Find Your Bootcamp Match How to Choose a Good Cyber Security School in California Career Goals Reputation of School Specialization Options Flexibility and Format Employment Opportunities California Cyber Security School Rankings: What Schools Have the Best Cyber Security Programs in California? California Cyber Security Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Cyber Security Schools in California Best Cyber Security Schools in California Explained Best Undergraduate Cyber Security Schools in California Best Cyber Security Associate Degree Schools in California Best Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Programs in California Best Online Associate Degrees Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees Best Graduate Schools for Cyber Security in California Best Schools for Master’s in Cyber Security in California Best PhD in Cyber Security Universities in California Best Online Master’s Degrees Best Online PhD Programs Admission Requirements for Cyber Security Schools in California Cyber Security Schools in California: Undergraduate Admission Requirements Cyber Security Schools in California: Graduate Admission Requirements Is It Hard to Get Into a School for Cyber Security in California? Easiest Colleges to Get Into in California for Cyber Security How to Get Into the Best Colleges and Universities Best Online Schools for Cyber Security in California The Most Affordable Colleges for Cyber Security in California How to Attend the Top Cyber Security Schools in California With Financial Aid Best Cyber Security Scholarships for California Students California Employment Outlook for Cyber Security Highest-Paying Cyber Security Careers in California Best Cyber Security Jobs in California Explained Does It Matter What Cyber Security School in California I Go To? Additional Reading About Cyber Security Best Cyber Security Schools in California FAQ

The best cyber security schools in California happen to also be some of the best in the academic institutions in the world. With the state being one of the largest tech hubs in the country, attending one of the top cyber security schools in California is a great way to boost your chances of securing a high-paying job at one of the largest tech companies in the world.

In this article, we’ve put together a detailed list of the best cyber security schools in California, their top programs, and the best-paid jobs you can get with them. Guided by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education’s school rankings, our California cyber security school rankings will help you learn about the wide range of educational institutions that can kickstart your career in cyber security.

What Are the Best Cyber Security Schools in California? (1)

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How to Choose a Good Cyber Security School in California

To choose the best cyber security school in California for you, you should consider your career goals, the school’s reputation, the specialization options available, the flexibility of its programs, and employment opportunities for graduates. Knowing what to look for before you even start looking will help you tremendously in the long run. Below is a breakdown of the factors you should consider.

Career Goals

Having a solid idea of what your career goals are is extremely important when choosing a degree program. This is because it will help you determine whether or not the programs you are considering actually offer courses that will teach you the wide variety of foundational skills needed to work in a technical field like cyber security.

Reputation of School

Graduates from schools with a good reputation are more likely to become employed soon after and sometimes even before graduating. They are also more likely to earn higher wages and to have a higher acceptance rate in future programs. A number of reasons contribute to this, but this is primarily due to degrees from higher-ranked schools holding more value in the job market.

Specialization Options

There are many fields of specialization in cyber security. Whether you want to specialize in national security defense, cryptography, artificial intelligence, or the development of new technologies for online payments, you’ll want to make sure that the school you choose offers the specialization track you want.

Flexibility and Format

You can often save time and money by attending online courses instead of commuting to campus. If enrolling in an online program is ideal for you, pick a cyber security school that offers a distance learning option so that you can study remotely and on your own schedule. Some schools also offer flexible hybrid programs on top of on-campus and online programs.

Employment Opportunities

Cyber security professionals are in high demand but some schools offer a wider range of career services than others. Whether it’s through internship opportunities, career fairs, or partner programs, try to pick a cyber security school that has good connections to employers across both the state and country.

California Cyber Security School Rankings: What Schools Have the Best Cyber Security Programs in California?

Cyber Security School Top Undergrad Program Top Grad Program US News Ranking
Stanford University Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Master of Science in Computer Science 2
University of California-Berkeley Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) 2
California Institute of Technology Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science 11
University of California-Los Angeles Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science 11
University of California-San Diego Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Science and Engineering 11
University of Southern California Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Master of Science in Computer Science (Computer Security) 23
University of California-Irvine Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Master of Science in Networked Systems 28
University of California-Santa Barbara Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science 28
University of California-Davis Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Master of Science in Computer Science 43
University of California- Riverside Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science 60

California Cyber Security Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Cyber Security Schools in California

To rank the best cyber security schools in California, we used US News & World Report’s breakdown of the best computer science program as a guide. We also took into consideration the subject-specific rankings conducted by Times Higher Education, as well as factors such as graduation rate, acceptance rate, and affordability.

Best Cyber Security Schools in California Explained

In this section, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the ten best cyber schools in California along with their top undergraduate and graduate academic programs. These universities are among the best computer science schools in the nation according to the US News & World Report.

Stanford University | Palo Alto

Stanford University first opened its doors in 1891 and is currently home to around 17,000 students. Located in Silicon Valley, the school offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as online college certificates. Stanford University has a five-to-one student-to-faculty ratio and has produced 20 Nobel laureates.

Stanford University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 5%
  • Graduation Rate: 96%
  • US News National Ranking: #6
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #4

Stanford University Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $18,491/quarter (full-time, flat rate)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $18,105/quarter (11 to 18 units, flat rate)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #2
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #2

Stanford University Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students need to earn a total of 180 units from general, specialization, and major-specific coursework as well as a capstone project to complete this four-year program. The degree’s Theory Pathway offers classes in cryptography as well as computer and network security.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. Part-time students take an average of three to five years to complete this graduate program’s required 45 units. Students interested in cyber security take the Computer and Network Security specialization. This program is available on-campus and online.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Students must complete 135 units and successfully defend their dissertation to earn a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Usually taking four to five years to complete, students interested in cyber security can choose Computer Security as their research focus.

University of California-Berkeley | Berkeley

The University of California-Berkeley was founded in 1868 and currently has around 42,300 students. Located in Silicon Valley, the school offers a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs in the fields of science, technology, arts, and humanities. Science students at Berkeley often get the chance to participate in exciting NASA research projects.

University of California-Berkeley Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • US News National Ranking: #22
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #8

University of California-Berkeley Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $9,006.75/semester (in-state, full-time); $23,883.75/semester (out-of-state, full-time)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $14,255.75/semester (in-state, full-time); $20,378.25/semester (out-of-state, full-time)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #2
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #8

University of California-Berkeley Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS). This undergraduate degree’s 120 required credits can be completed in four years when attending on a full-time basis. Some of its core courses include Computer Security, Cryptography, and Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems.
  • Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS). This is an online, part-time, graduate program for students who want to work in leadership positions in the tech industry or for military and government organizations. Students can complete the 27-credit program in 20 months.
  • Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS). This online, part-time program teaches students how to gain insight from real-world data for better decision-making. Offering courses such as Behind the Data: Humans and Values, and Privacy Engineering, the program’s 27 required credits can be completed in 20 months.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Information Management and Systems. This extremely competitive two-year program only accepts three to seven students per year. Students are required to complete 24 units of coursework, write a research paper and give a public presentation on a dissertation in order to graduate.

California Institute of Technology | Pasadena

The California Institute of Technology, often referred to as CalTech, was founded in 1891 and currently has a student body of about 2,400 students. While CalTech offers a selection of great undergraduate degree programs, most of its students are enrolled in the school’s graduate programs.

California Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • US News National Ranking: #9
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #2

California Institute of Technology Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $56,364/year
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $58,467/year
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #11
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #13

California Institute of Technology Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students can complete this program in four years after earning 486 units. Some of the program’s courses include Quantum Cryptography, Error-Correcting Codes, and Introduction to Feedback Control Systems. This program is only offered on-campus.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. This on-campus program requires two years of coursework and the presentation of a thesis. The program is meant to prepare students for the school’s computer science PhD program. Some of its courses include Power System Analysis and Control and Optimization of Networks.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. This PhD program typically requires at least three years to complete, the first two of which are primarily focused on coursework. Students learn different ways of addressing problems at the cutting-edge of computer science such as advanced methods for system protection.
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University of California-Los Angeles | Los Angeles

Originally established in 1881, the University of California-Los Angeles currently offers an immense range of undergraduate and graduate academic programs as well as online college certificates to over 46,000 students. In 2018, Forbes ranked UCLA as the best value university in the country.

University of California-Los Angeles Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 14%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • US News National Ranking: #20
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #20

University of California-Los Angeles Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $13,225/year (in-state); $42,217/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $17,756/year (in-state); $32,858/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: 11% (Computer Science graduate programs)
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #11
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #11

University of California-Los Angeles Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students can graduate from this on-campus program in four years after completing 180 units. This program begins by teaching them the foundations of computer science, allowing them to later specialize in systems and network security.
  • Master of Science in Engineering – Computer Networking. Students can complete this program in two or three years. The program’s required 36 units include courses like Computer Security, Queuing Systems, and Intelligent Transportation Networks.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. The majority of students complete this program within 18 quarters, which is equivalent to six years, after passing both the oral and written examinations. The wide variety of courses offered in the program equip students with the skills needed to work as security vulnerability detection specialists.

University of California-San Diego | La Jolla

The University of California-San Diego, often called UCSD, is a public research university that was founded in 1960 in La Jolla. UCSD has approximately 42,900 students enrolled in its various undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2021, UCSD received over $1.5 billion in sponsored research funding.

University of California-San Diego Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 37%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • US News National Ranking: #34
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #34

University of California-San Diego Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $15,276/year (in-state); $46,302/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $17,005/year (in-state); $32,107/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #11
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #33

University of California-San Diego Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students can complete this 131-credit program in four years. Only offered on-campus, the program’s courses in security, cryptography, and computer architecture equip students with a solid foundation of essential computer science skills.
  • Master of Science in Computational Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. This program’s required 38 credits can be completed in two years. Some of the courses offered in this program include Neural Networks for Pattern Recognition and Big Network Data. This program is offered on-campus only.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Science and Engineering. To earn this PhD, students need to complete the program’s course, breadth, elective, research exam, teaching assistant, dissertation, and defense requirements. This usually takes four years for full-time students.

University of Southern California | Los Angeles

The University of Southern California was founded in 1880 and today houses over 49,500 students. Located in the heart of Los Angeles the university offers a huge number of online and on-campus undergraduate and graduate programs across a wide range of fields of study. Accepted students from families earning $80,000 or less attend tuition-free.

University of Southern California Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 16%
  • Graduation Rate: 93%
  • US News National Ranking: #27
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #63

University of Southern California Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $30,223/semester (full-time)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $30,223/semester (full-time)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #23
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #43

University of Southern California Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. This four-year, on-campus program requires a total of 128 units to complete. Some of the program’s core courses include Cryptography as well as Secure Communication and Computation, which teach students some of the basic concepts of cyber security.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science (Computer Security). Students can typically complete this 32-credit program in less than two years. Available on-campus and online, this master’s degree offers a concentration in Cyber Security Engineering which further develops its students' understanding of the field.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. To earn this doctoral degree, students need to complete at least 60 units and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students typically complete this program within four years and take courses such as Security and Game Theory as well as Security Systems. This program is offered on-campus only.

University of California-Irvine | Irvine

The University of California-Irvine, often shortened to UCI, is a public research institution that was founded in 1965. Currently, over 37,000 students are enrolled in its 222 degree programs. UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences has a Security, Privacy, and Cryptography research area.

University of California-Irvine Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Graduation Rate: 87%
  • US News National Ranking: #36
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #98

University of California-Irvine Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Required, no minimum score.
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $15,902.23/year (in-state); $45,656.23/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $18,116.96/year (in-state); $33,218.96/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: 25% (master’s programs); 20% (PhD programs)
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #28
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #83

University of California-Irvine Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students in this four-year program are required to complete a total of 180 credits to graduate. The program’s curriculum covers topics such as bioinformatics, visual computing, architecture and embedded systems, and algorithms.
  • Master of Science in Networked Systems. To earn this degree, students must complete 12 courses, two of which are related to their thesis research. This program, offered exclusively on-campus, can be completed in 2 years and offers courses in urban transportation networks, usable security, and privacy.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Networked Systems. Students can earn this doctoral degree in six years by completing 13 courses and a dissertation. This is an on-campus program offering courses such as Applied Cryptography and Wireless Communications.

University of California-Santa Barbara | Santa Barbara

The University of California-Santa Barbara began its operations in 1921 and currently has around 26,200 students. The school offers more than 200 total majors, degrees, and credentials across the fields of biological sciences, fine arts, and engineering, among many others. UC Santa Barbara has six Nobel Prize laureates among its faculty.

University of California-Santa Barbara Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 37%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • US News National Ranking: #28
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #68

University of California-Santa Barbara Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $14,416/year (in-state); $44,170/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $13,581/year (in-state); $28,693/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #28
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #55

University of California-Santa Barbara Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science. UC Santa Barabara offers a joint bachelor’s and master’s program that can be completed in five years. The dual-degree program requires a total of 180 units to graduate and offers a wide range of courses covering advanced computer security topics.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. This graduate program can be completed in two years. To earn the degree students, must earn a total of 42 units from graduate courses and defend a thesis. Students learn about contemporary network computing, access control, and privacy issues along the course of their studies.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Students with only a bachelor’s degree can complete this on-campus program in five years, while those with a master’s degree can finish it in four. The program’s curriculum includes a comprehensive collection of courses on security and cryptography.

University of California-Davis | Davis

Founded in 1908, the University of California-Davis offers a total of 107 majors and 101 graduate degree programs to its over 38,300 students. The school is a research-oriented institution, providing its full-time students the opportunity to conduct research early into their undergraduate studies and often co-author papers published in professional journals.

University of California-Davis Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 46%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • US News National Ranking: #38
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #67

University of California-Davis Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $13,104/year (in-state); $44,130/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $40,309/year (in-state); $55,411/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: 10% (graduate)
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #43
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #101-125

University of California-Davis Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Full-time students can usually complete this 180-credit program in four years or less. The skills that students learn during their undergraduate studies allow them to work for large tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Lockheed Martin.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. This two-year graduate program requires students to earn a total of 36 units to graduate. The program offers a wide variety of classes on intrusion detection and information security taught by experienced professors.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Students can earn this PhD in four to five years after completing their dissertation and passing the Qualifying Examination. The program requires students to take ten graduate courses and complete a total of at least 299 research units.
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University of California-Riverside | Riverside

The University of California-Riverside was established in 1954 and currently has 26,000 students enrolled in its bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs which span a wide range of branches of study. UC Riverside computer science students have access to its Center for Research and Education in Cyber Security and Privacy (CRESP).

University of California-Riverside Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • US News National Ranking: #83
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: #251–300

University of California-Riverside Cyber Security Overview

  • Cyber Security Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
  • GRE Requirements for Cyber Security Grad Students: Not required
  • Cyber Security Undergraduate Tuition: $3,814/year (in-state); $13,732/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Graduate Tuition: $3,814/year (in-state); $8,848/year (out-of-state)
  • Cyber Security Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • US News Computer Science National Ranking: #60
  • Times Higher Education Computer Science World Ranking: #176-200

University of California-Riverside Cyber Security Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science. Students can earn this four-year bachelor’s degree by completing a minimum of 180 units. Graduates from this program have been employed by organizations like IBM, Microsoft, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science. This program is only offered on-campus and requires 48 units to complete. Students can earn their degree in two years after completing their thesis or a research project in addition to their core and elective courses.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. This on-campus doctoral program is typically completed within five years. A total of 44 units, which can be earned from courses such as Data Mining Techniques and Network Routing, are required for graduation.

Best Undergraduate Cyber Security Schools in California

The best undergraduate cyber security schools in California offer degree programs that allow students to successfully launch their careers as cyber security specialists. It takes around four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, while an associate degree can be earned in just two. Below is a list of the best cyber security associate and bachelor’s degree programs in California.

Best Cyber Security Associate Degree Schools in California

  1. Cypress College | Cyber Defense Associate in Science. Students can earn this degree by completing a minimum of 60 units. The program teaches students how to identify cyber security threats and implement procedures for asset protection. This associate degree works well for part-time students due to its flexible schedule.
  2. Long Beach City College | Associate of Science in Computer Security & Networking. Students in this 60-credit program learn how to install, configure and troubleshoot security and networking parameters through courses such as Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures, and Computer Forensics and Investigation.
  3. Ohlone College | Associate of Science in Information Technology. Students need to earn at least 60 credits to complete this associate degree program. A great option for part-time students, the program includes courses like Oracle Database Administration and Cloud Security Fundamentals.
  4. City College of San Francisco | Associate of Science in Computer Networking and Information Technology. The City College of San Francisco’s two-year, 60-credit program offers a specialization in cyber security that equips its students with the skills needed to work as network administrators and security specialists.
  5. Coastline Community College | Associate of Science in Cybersecurity. Students can earn this associate degree after completing 60 units. With this degree, graduates can get jobs as cyber security specialists and information security analysts.

Best Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Programs in California

  1. Stanford University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Stanford University offers this exclusive program at its Palo Alto campus. It offers a specialization pathway that includes cyber security courses like Introduction to Cryptography, and Computer and Network Security.
  2. University of California-Berkeley | Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS). Students in this program acquire a variety of skills in computer science and cyber security engineering. Throughout their studies, they gain a deeper understanding of cyber security for large-scale infrastructures.
  3. California Institute of Technology | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Students can earn this degree from CalTech in as little as four years. Graduates of this program have found employment in government agencies like the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security.
  4. University of California-Los Angeles | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. This bachelor’s degree program can be completed in four years. Students can who graduate from it can smoothly transition into UCLA’s computer science PhD program.
  5. University of California-Riverside | Bachelor of Science in Data Science. Students from UC Riverside have access to the school’s Center for Research and Education in Cyber Security and Privacy (CRESP), which is located on its campus.

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Best Graduate Schools for Cyber Security in California

The best graduate cyber security schools in California offer fantastic programs filled with courses in cryptography, network security, and intrusion detection that will equip you with the skills you need to excel in this competitive field. In the following section, you’ll find a list of the best schools for master’s and PhD programs for cyber security in California.

What Are the Best Cyber Security Schools in California? (2)

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Best Schools for Master’s in Cyber Security in California

  1. University of California-Berkeley | Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS). The Master of Information and Cybersecurity program offered by the University of California-Berkeley allows students to earn their graduate degree in less than two years. Its graduates can easily work for any of the top companies in the world.
  2. University of California-Berkeley | Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS). Students can complete this two-year master’s program at their own pace through the school’s online learning platform. The program’s courses equip its graduates with the ability to adapt to a constantly evolving industry.
  3. California Institute of Technology | Master of Science in Computer Science. The California Institute of Technology is home to one of the most well-known and prestigious computer science graduate programs in the entire world. Earning this degree can easily set you apart from the competition.
  4. University of California-Los Angeles | Master of Science in Engineering – Computer Networking. This master’s program’s curriculum includes a wide range of advanced courses on network security and infrastructure integrity. Students can use the credits they earn from it towards the school’s PhD program.
  5. University of Southern California | Master of Science in Computer Science (Computer Security). This Master’s Degree in Computer Science offers a computer security concentration option, making it one of the most specialized programs available for prospective cyber security professionals.

Best PhD in Cyber Security Universities in California

  1. Stanford University | Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Students can earn this doctoral degree by completing a total of 135 units. This program usually takes approximately four years to complete and can be tailored toward the study of cyber security.
  2. University of California-Berkeley | Doctor of Philosophy in Information Management and Systems. Students in this program have the opportunity to join interdisciplinary research teams and work on the development of cutting-edge cyber security and regulation technology.
  3. California Institute of Technology | Doctor in Philosophy in Computer Science. CalTech doctoral students can graduate from this program after just three years of residence. PhD students in it learn the skills they’ll need to work the most demanding jobs in the field of cyber security.
  4. University of California-San Diego | Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Science and Engineering. Graduates from this program have the ability to solve problems in cyber security, including cyber threats to urban infrastructure and critical online systems, using the latest cutting-edge technology.
  5. University of California-Irvine | Doctor of Philosophy in Networked Systems. Graduates from this program are qualified to pursue a career in research, academia, or working in the cyber security divisions of large organizations to identify cyber vulnerabilities on large-scale networks.

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Admission Requirements for Cyber Security Schools in California

The basic admission requirements for cyber security schools in California are different for undergraduate and graduate students. Freshman applicants often only require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Graduate programs typically require applicants to meet a minimum GPA requirement as well as submit letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

Cyber Security Schools in California: Undergraduate Admission Requirements

  • A high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Your official transcripts
  • A nonrefundable application fee
  • Completed online application
  • SAT and ACT scores have not been required during COVID-19

Cyber Security Schools in California: Graduate Admission Requirements

  • A statement of purpose or interest
  • Your official transcripts from all attended postsecondary institutions
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • A completed online application
  • GRE scores have not been required during COVID-19
  • A copy of your resume

Is It Hard to Get Into a School for Cyber Security in California?

Yes, it is hard to get into a school for cyber security in California. Schools like Stanford University and UC Berkley have some of the lowest acceptance rates in the country. There are a few schools with open admissions and good cyber security programs but a degree from one of them often has less value in the job market than one from a more prestigious institution.

Easiest Colleges to Get Into in California for Cyber Security

  1. MiraCosta College | Acceptance Rate: 100%. MiraCosta College has an open admissions policy for Californian students and the tuition cost for its cyber security programs is very affordable. Its associate degree program can, in some cases, be completed in under a year.
  2. Cypress College | Acceptance Rate: 100%. The credits earned from Cypress College’s cyber security associate degree can be transferred to the bachelor’s program offered by a university. The school’s tuition is also quite affordable.
  3. Coastline Community College | Acceptance Rate: 100%. Credits from the cyber security associate degree program offered by Coastline College can easily be transferred toward a bachelor’s degree at another college. This college offers open admission to Californians.
  4. Palomar College | Acceptance Rate: 100%. This school’s open admissions policy allows students of all types of backgrounds to further their education. Students who graduate from its cyber security associate degree program can take two years off of a bachelor’s degree program offered by a university.
  5. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona | Acceptance Rate: 65%. This Californian university has one of the highest acceptance rates among four-year institutions in the state. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science which can be completed in four years.
» MORE: Engineering Certificates: Best Undergrad and Grad Engineering College Certificates

How to Get Into the Best Colleges and Universities

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Best Online Schools for Cyber Security in California

The best online schools for cyber security in California are Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley. The table below includes a list of five of the best schools offering online cyber security programs in this state. Information concerning their graduation rates was sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics.

School Graduation Rate Top Online Cyber Security Program
Stanford University 96% Master of Science in Computer Science
University of California-Berkeley 93% Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS)
University of California-Los Angeles 92% Master of Science in Engineering – Computer Networking
University of Southern California 93% Master of Science in Computer Science (Computer Security)
Coastline Community College 19% Associate of Science in Cybersecurity

The Most Affordable Colleges for Cyber Security in California

The most affordable colleges for cyber security in California are MiraCosta College, Palomar College, Los Medanos College, and Coastline Community College. These accredited colleges offer programs in cyber security, some of which can be completed in less than a year.

MiraCosta College | Average Annual Cost: $3,995

Located in Oceanside, MiraCosta College offers over 600 hybrid and fully online programs. The Computer Science Department offers an Associate Degree in Computer Science which prepares its graduates to launch their careers in cyber security and online systems management.

Palomar College | Average Annual Cost: $4,982

Located in San Marcos, California, Palomar College has around 18,000 students enrolled in its various programs. The Computer Science and Information Technology Department offers an Associate of Science in Computer Science program. Students need to complete 60 total credits to earn this degree.

Cypress College | Average Annual Cost: $6,000

Home to almost 14,000 students, Cypress College offers a Cyber Defense Certificate and an Associate of Science in Cyber Defense. Students can earn this associate degree after completing a total of 60 credits, 27 of which come from core and elective courses. This is a great school for part-time students thanks to its flexible program schedules.

Los Medanos College | Average Annual Cost: $6,154

Los Medanos College offers degree and certificate programs in computer science such as an Associate of Science in Information Technology, which requires 60 credits to earn. Most of these credits can be earned through online courses. Most students at Los Medanos are enrolled as part-time students.

Coastline Community College | Average Annual Cost: $9,000

Located in Fountain Valley, Coastline Community College has approximately 7,700 students. It offers associate of science degree programs in the fields of computer networking and of cybersecurity. Graduates from this college can become computer security consultants and digital forensics specialists thanks to the skills and knowledge they acquire.

How to Attend the Top Cyber Security Schools in California With Financial Aid

There is financial aid available for students who want to enroll at the top cyber security schools in California. The federal and Californian governments offer different types of financial aid, including loans, grants, and work-study programs. There are also numerous cyber security scholarships available for students in California. Below are examples of some of these scholarships.

Best Cyber Security Scholarships for California Students

  • CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) | Amount: Three years of tuition and a $25,000 yearly stipend. This scholarship is for full-time students in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program related to cyber security. Recipients can be awarded the scholarship up to three times.
  • DoD Cyber Scholarship Program | Amount: Tuition, books, and a stipend to cover room and board. Applicants must be enrolled in a participating cyber security program on a full-time basis. This scholarship covers the tuition, books, and expenses of students interested in working for the US Department of Defense after graduation.
  • CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program | Amount: Up to $32,733. This scholarship is given to students demonstrating financial need. Applicants must be full-time students willing to work during their summer breaks for the CIA.

California Employment Outlook for Cyber Security

The California Employment Outlook for cyber security jobs is extremely positive, as it’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. The increasing reliance on online systems and networks keeps the demand for cyber security specialists growing much faster than the average for all jobs, making a degree in this field highly worthwhile.

Most jobs in cyber security allow professionals to work remotely and offer a high salary. Cyber security professionals are in high demand across all industries, including state and federal government agencies. These professionals are required to commit to a lifelong learning mindset due to cyber technology developing at an increasingly fast pace.

Highest-Paying Cyber Security Careers in California

Cyber Security Job Cyber Security Degree Average Salary in California
Computer and Information Systems Managers Bachelor’s degree $193,500
Information Security Analyst Bachelor’s degree $135,200
Software Quality Assurance Analysts Bachelor’s degree $115,420
Database Administrator Bachelor’s degree $106,250
Network and Computer Systems Administrator Bachelor’s degree $105,770

Best Cyber Security Jobs in California Explained

The best cyber security jobs in California include computer and information systems managers, information security analysts, software quality assurance analysts, database administrators, and network and systems administrators. In the following section, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of their responsibilities, what they earn, and more.

Computer and Information Systems Manager | Average Salary: $193,500

Computer and information systems managers ensure that the information systems of an organization stay online and functional. They prevent unauthorized access and create policies for information management. Attending a cyber security school in California to get a Master of Information and Cybersecurity will help you meet the minimum requirements for the job.

  • Average Salary in California: $193,500
  • Employment in California: 92,880
  • Overall Job Growth: 11%
  • Best California Cyber Security Program: Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) at the University of California-Berkeley.

Information Security Analyst | Average Salary: $135,200

Information security analysts assess, manage, and solve security risks for systems and are responsible for making sure that there are no information leaks or data corruption issues in said systems. Attending a cyber security school in California to earn a Master’s Degree in Computer Science will help you meet the requirements for this job.

  • Average Salary in California: $135,200
  • Employment in California: N/A
  • Overall Job Growth: 33%
  • Best California Cyber Security Program: Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) at the University of California-Berkeley.

Software Quality Assurance Analyst | Average Salary: $115,420

Software quality assurance analysts make sure that digital products and services don’t compromise the privacy and safety of their users and providers. They ensure compliance of these products with privacy and safety industry standards. While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for this position, a master’s degree can give you a leg up.

  • Average Salary in California: $115,420
  • Employment in California: 34,050
  • Overall Job Growth: 22%
  • Best California Cyber Security Program: Master of Science in Computer Science (Computer Security) at the University of Southern California.

Database Administrator | Average Salary: $106,250

Database administrators organize the digital information of organizations and departments. They ensure that this information is well-organized and easy to access for the users that need it. Earning a computer science bachelor's or master’s degree in computer science will allow you to meet the education requirements for this job.

  • Average Salary in California: $106,250
  • Employment in California: 8,200
  • Overall Job Growth: 8%
  • Best California Cyber Security Program: Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) at the University of California-Berkeley.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator | Average Salary: $105,770

Network and computer systems administrators are tasked with the installation, management, and updating of the wide range of data communication systems used by organizations. Professionals in this field of work typically only need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for this job.

  • Average Salary in California: $105,770
  • Employment in California: 28,790
  • Overall Job Growth: 5%
  • Best California Cyber Security Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the California Institute of Technology.

Does It Matter What Cyber Security School in California I Go To?

Yes, it does matter what school in California you go to for cyber security. While some schools take a holistic approach to computer security, others lean towards cyber security engineering and infrastructure, the early identification of threats and data breaches, or the development of policies and standards for cyber security.

In addition to having different areas of specialization being offered by different schools, some schools are more prestigious than others and can place you above other applicants when on the job hunt. These schools often have better-equipped facilities, professors with more industry recognition, and more student services.

Additional Reading About Cyber Security

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Best Cyber Security Schools in California FAQ

Do you need to go to college to learn cyber security?

No, you don’t need to go to college to learn cyber security. The best cyber security bootcamps offer you the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience needed to get a job in cyber security without a college degree. That being said, getting a college education is usually held in higher regard by employers in the tech industry.

How long do you have to go to school for cyber security?

You typically have to go to school for four years for cyber security. A four-year bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most positions in this field, but many choose to extend their studies and earn a master’s so that they can open themselves up to a higher earning potential.

What skills do you need to get into cyber security?

The main skills you need to get a job in cyber security are a basic understanding of computer science and database management. You also need strong analysis, problem-solving, and programming skills in order to work in this field.

What skills does a cyber security analyst need?

The essential skills a cyber security analyst needs to have are the ability to quickly identify and eliminate threats and data breaches. Other skills they need often depend on the type of cyber security jobs they occupy.

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