Ph.D. in Cybersecurity: Step by Step Guide to getting a Ph.D. in cybersecurity in 2022

One of the major benefits of pursuing a study in cyber security is the increase in demand for professionals of this field, and there are new opportunities rising for students who are interested in getting a Ph.D. in this field.

Now that we have more areas of study in cyber security, not just the science aspect, cyber security is also diversifying into areas like, policy, management, networking, law and many others. Student now have a wide range of varieties to select from.

phd in cybersecurity

In this guide, we would be discussing the step by step guide on everything you need to know on having a Ph.D. in cyber security

What is cyber security?

Cyber security refers to the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Cyber security may also be referred to as information technology security.

Ph.D. in cyber security like any other technological field has been a field that was only reserved for specialized positions in either the government sector or very large corporations. But now upcoming and startup companies are filling up positions that require Ph.D. in cyber security.

It is required now for cyber security engineers to be vast and up to date in threats because we have various new threats and vulnerabilities that are being exploited by cyber criminals and hackers. At a time when committing a cybercrime required a high level of skill, now with the right tools and software’s, one can achieve virtually anything.

This means training in cyber security Ph.D. programs will give students the chance to become vast in various layers of study.

Ph.D. requirements for cyber security

The upside with having a Ph.D. in cyber security will expose the candidates to more employment opportunities and can lead to a very interesting and profitable career. But the downside is that it requires a considerable amount of time and dedication, one that we have discovered that not many prospective candidates have.

You have to dedicate four to five years pursuing a Ph.D. in cyber security and investing a great deal of finance into it, this is one of the things that do stir candidates away.

But there are scholarship opportunities for candidates and example is the CyberCorps: Scholarships for service program.

This scholarship program was established by the National Service Foundation, Ph.D. students are eligible for a $34,000 yearly scholarship and a professional stipend of $6000 to attend conferences in exchange for agreeing to work as a cyber security engineer for government agencies after their Ph.D. program.

There are things required to before considering pursuing a Ph.D. in cyber security, but there are specific degree requirements that may vary across programs. There are also two ways in which students can obtain a Ph.D. in cyber security which are the on campus programs and the online programs.

Here are the requirements needed for a Ph.D. program in cyber security:

  • Providing an undergraduate and graduate transcript
  • GRE scores
  • A statement of intent
  • Letter of reference
  • Application fee
  • Online application
  • Curriculum Vitae and Resume outlining professional and academic accomplishments.
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The above requirements are just the basic requirements that a candidate needs to prepare for, but each program and colleges have their own requirements.

Step by step guide to preparation

There a few things that a prospective candidate or student studying a doctorate degree in cyber security should do that would help them easily navigate through their experience in this field, from networking with other students or professionals in the field searching for opportunities that would help them grow in the field.

Below are the things to consider that help guide you through this field of study:

  • Sign up to cyber security organizations with professional networks

The advantage of joining such organizations is that it would expose a candidate to latest news and updates in the cyber security world. They publish latest news and information that would be of benefits to cyber security professionals.

Such organizations include the SANS institute and also the Center for Internet Security (CIS). They help train cyber security professionals and encourage collaboration among them. These organizations provide information on the latest threats and how to counteract them.

  • Make use of Social Networking

There are social networking sites that are great for news and updates relating to cyber security. We have social networking sites like LinkedIn which has job opportunities and individuals that are professionals in their fields. We also have Twitter where we can find latest news on information relating to cyber security that is coming directly from top leading industries and professionals.

This will really be a great place for a prospective candidates or students to be involved in.

  • Internships

Internships are one of the tested ways in gaining professional knowledge. Students taking their doctorate degree in Cyber security can apply for internship in top leading cyber security industries or related industries and gain the experience needed to elevate them in the field.

Cost for a Ph.D. in cyber security

Obtaining a Ph.D. in cyber security can be quite expensive and requires a great deal of investment. But balancing the cost with the benefit of later becoming a professional in the field can be rewarding.

Campus based programs for Ph.D. in cyber security can cost between $1300 and $2000 per credit hour. And the degree requirements are usually completed in 60-75 hours, so that means the total cost be in the six figures range.

The upside is that there are funding options for Ph.D. candidates that provides a full scholarship by the academic departments or the university.

19 best Ph.D. programs in cyber security

Here are the best Ph.D. programs in cyber security, their location and link to their websites.

They are located in Golden Colorado. They offer a doctorate program in Philosophy in computer science-Cyber security.

Arizona State University is located in Tempe Arizona. They offer Ph.D. in Computer Science- Cyber security.

Indiana University Bloomington is located in Bloomington Indiana and they offer a Ph.D. program in Computer Science and a minor in Security Informatics.

Carnegie Mellon University is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They offer a Ph.D. course in ECE: Mobility Research Center.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is located in Worcester Massachusetts and they offer a Ph.D. course In Computer Science- Cyber security Focus.

They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina. They offer a Ph.D. course in Computing and Information Systems.

Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg Virginia. They offer a Ph.D. course in Computer Science with Cyber security Track.

The University of Missouri Columbia is located in Columbia, Missouri and they offer a doctorate in Computer Science with a focus in Information Assurance.

They are located in Moscow, Idaho. They offer a doctorate in Computer Science- Information Assurance.

They are located in Champaign Illinois. They offer a Juris Doctor Degree- Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program.

University of Colorado is located in Colorado Springs. They offer a Ph.D. program in Engineering- concentration in Security.

University of Arizona is located in Tucson Arizona. They offer a Ph.D. program in MIS with Emphasis in Information Assurance.

They are located in Davis, California. They offer a doctorate in Ph.D. in Computer Science- Information Assurance Focus.

They University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. They offer a Ph.D. in Computer Science- Cyber security.

They are located in West Lafayette, Indiana. They offer a doctorate in Computer Science with an Info-Security Focus.

They are located in Rochester, New York. They offer a Ph.D. in Computing and Information Sciences- Computer Security Focus.

Naval Postgraduate School is located in Monterey, California. They offer a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

They are located in Mississippi State, Mississippi. They offer a Ph.D. in Computer Science-Computer Security Concentration.

Iowa State University is located in Ames, Iowa. They offer a Ph.D. in Math with a focus on Information Assurance.

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How many credits do I need to complete a Ph.D. in cyber security?

  • This depends on the college you are apply to, but the average amount of credit is 71 to graduate with a Ph.D. in cyber security

What kind of exams will I take during the course of a Ph.D. program?

  • Exams can vary and schools have the various methods on the kind of exams they set, but you usually have a qualifying exam you write at the beginning of the program, and a preliminary exam during the course of your study and your final exam which is usually based on your research.