Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership

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At a Glance

Earn your master’s degree online in just 20 months to position yourself for success.

Summer, Fall and Spring Start Dates

20 Months
30 Units
September 3
August 2

Questions & Answers

Each course lasts a total of seven weeks with the only exception being introductory courses, which last a total of 14 weeks.


Become a Leader in Cybersecurity Operations

The career-building online Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership program is ideal for bachelor-prepared students who are currently working in a wide range of cybersecurity roles, as well as those interested in pursuing professional opportunities in cybersecurity.

Learn state-of-the-art techniques and technologies to defeat adversaries from both theoretical and tactical perspectives. Develop the ability to lead organizations in cybersecurity operations and effectively communicate mission-critical cybersecurity needs and priorities. Collaborate with important stakeholders in the cybersecurity community to explore ways to realize your potential as a cybersecurity leader and lifelong learner.


The average salary for cybersecurity professionals (3x the national median income).


Percentage of people that strongly agree that they are happy as a cybersecurity professional according to surveys conducted by ESG and ISSA.


Earning potential for top cybersecurity executives (CISOs), according to LinkedIn.


Inside the University of San Diego Cybersecurity Degree Programs

Who Enrolls in the Cybersecurity Operations and LEadership Master’s Degree Program?

Designed for career-focused professionals interested in gaining a deep understanding of cybersecurity concepts, topics and theories, along with leadership skills, the online MS-CSOL program attracts graduate students from a wide range of backgrounds, including:

usd student Success Stories

One of the reasons my boss hired me was because of that (USD) master’s degree, and he told me that. He said, ‘You know, a lot of employers are sometimes afraid to hire students fresh out of school. But I am of the theory that you are already learning the newest avenues of how to do things, and that anything you come here for we can just teach you right off the bat and it’s a big plus.

Lynn H. Hoffman said she gained “a wealth of information” not only from the professors and the cutting-edge curriculum, but also from interacting with fellow students using USD’s robust online educational portal. Earning her master’s degree in cybersecurity at the University of San Diego set Lynn H. Hoffman on a course to start her own San Diego-based cybersecurity company — Cibernetika.

How to apply

Get a closer look at the application process with detailed instructions about on how to apply for your career-building cybersecurity master’s degree program.

Reach out to a helpful enrollment advisor for answers to all of your questions.

Cybersecurity Careers

The global epidemic of cybercrime has triggered a worldwide effort to beef up cybersecurity at organizations across all industries. The cybersecurity job market is booming, with employers paying top dollar for cybersecurity leaders and operations specialists who possess the needed skills, experience and education.

Information Security Analyst

  • Avg. Salary:
Penetration Tester

  • Avg. Salary:
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

  • Avg. Salary:
Security Architect

  • Avg. Salary:

Salary data from employment websites including Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, PayScale, Salary and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

academic calendar

Degree candidates are admitted throughout the year to begin their degree during one of three semesters (spring, summer and fall). Students take two courses during each 14-week semester, focusing on one seven-week course at a time. Most of our master’s degree programs can be completed in five semesters (20 months).

cutting-edge Curriculum

The USD Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership program features an innovative curriculum dedicated exclusively to critical aspects of cybersecurity.

In addition to cybersecurity leadership skills, students are taught theory and how to turn that theory into practice, gaining specific knowledge and skills in the areas of technology, law, policy, compliance, governance, intelligence, incident response and management. The program places significant emphasis on immersive experiences, which gives students the real-world exposure they need to be truly effective in the field.


Where Our Graduates Work

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Program Goals

Core program goals for the University of San Diego’s online Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership include:


The University of San Diego’s high-quality academic programs are regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Funding Your Graduate Degree

Your graduate degree is an investment in your future that pays for itself. Tuition is competitive with other top institutions and federal financial aid can help you fund your degree program.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Find helpful information on tuition and financial aid.

Scholarships & grants

Discover possible additional sources of funding to help pay for your degree.

expert faculty

The instructors in the MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership program are experienced cybersecurity practitioners who hold advanced degrees in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, Information Technology and Information Assurance/Cybersecurity. Many have been recognized as pioneers and leaders in the domain.

Headshot of Danny T. Barnes
Danny T. Barnes, DSc
Adjunct Professor
USD logo
Donald Beidermann, MS
Adjunct Professor
Headshot of Mark Heckman
Mark Heckman, PhD
Professor of Practice
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Penelope Brooks, PhD
Adjunct Professor

Frequently Asked Questions

Are classes scheduled to accommodate working professionals?

Yes. The 100% online MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership degree program is designed specifically with working professionals in mind. Online courses can be completed on your own schedule (as long as deadlines are met). It is important to note that all of our professors are industry practitioners, meaning that they have a significant amount of experience and are often well-respected leaders within the cybersecurity industry.

Does the degree have to be completed within 20 months?

The program is designed to be completed in 20 months. The curriculum schedule functions on a rotational system, meaning that if a student skips a course they will have to wait for the rotation to complete before jumping back in. We encourage individuals who are interested in the program to speak with an enrollment advisor, or to work with their program coordinator, who is available to help every step of the way.

Is the cybersecurity master’s degree offered fully online or are there some on-campus requirements?

The MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership degree program is fully online. The University of San Diego offers two master’s degree programs in cybersecurity. The Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership is 100% online and the Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering is available on campus or online.

How long is each course?

Each course lasts a total of seven weeks with the only exception being introductory courses, which are 14 weeks. Students take two courses each semester, focusing intensively on one course at a time.

Will my degree be conferred differently from an on-campus program?

The degree conferred is identical to that earned by campus-based students. The online courses embody the same learning outcomes and high levels of academic excellence, educational rigor and content delivery.

Does the Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership require applicants to take the GRE or GMAT?

No. The admissions committee takes a comprehensive approach when reviewing applications. A GRE or GMAT score is not necessarily a good indicator that someone is, or will be, a successful cybersecurity leader/professional.

Who will benefit the most from this program?

The program was designed specifically to help foster the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, whether they are currently working in cybersecurity roles or launching a career in this vitally important, fast-growing field.

Many of our students are current cybersecurity professionals who are looking to take the next step in their careers. For those students, our degree program offers the security concepts, topics, theories and leadership skills necessary to be considered for C-level positions. For students with less experience, who may be at an earlier juncture in their cybersecurity career, or for those switching careers from more traditional IT roles, our degree program offers the education required to quickly advance into your desired career.

What is the total tuition cost for the MS-CSOL program?

The total tuition cost for the MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership is $28,950.

Is it true you offer the MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership online for students in India? What is the difference?

Yes! We are proud to offer the MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership to students who wish to study online in India. These students will get the same credential as an on-campus student or an online student in the US. The curriculum is just as rigorous and holistic as it is on campus, however it is globalized for the Indian audience so that the coursework applies to both Indian and the international job markets. In addition, to minimize language and cultural barriers the instructors are all from India and hired at the same standard as our campus faculty – with real-world experience and impressive academic backgrounds.

Position Yourself for the Future with a Career in Cybersecurity

Download free eBook: Everything You Need to Know About a Career in Cybersecurity