According to the Department of Homeland Security, information systems are continuously threatened by sophisticated cyberattacks which can impair, disrupt, or destroy essential services. Fortunately, acquiring a PhD in cybersecurity from an accredited university program can prepare you for a career in cyber defense.
A cyber security PhD program provides you with deeper insights, experience, and knowhow concerning the issues surrounding cyberspace, internet, and technology. This arms you with advanced skills to offer solutions in regard to human-computer interaction and cyber security at large.
As an aspiring cyber security PhD student, you should know as much as possible about any cyber security doctoral program before jumping in. In this article, we will examine some questions you may have.
First, Can You get a PhD in Cyber Security?
Yes, you can.
However, it's rare to find a cyber security program using this exact wording due to its relative newness. According to a 2019 post published on edtechmagazine.com, it is simple to find a master's degree in cyber security but it's PhD equivalent isn't nearly as common.
Similar university programs include: doctor of philosophy in information assurance, doctor of philosophy in computer science, doctor of science in cyber security, PhD in security management, PhD in information security, and doctor of information technology, cyber security concentration.
How Long Does it Take to get a PhD in Cyber Security?
A typical cyber security doctoral program requires between five to seven years to complete, depending on the research topics that compose your specific curriculum. Therefore, it is advisable to seek advice from your graduate advisor when planning your course.
During your degree program, you will perform rigorous research on your focused areas of interest. These may include embedded systems, cyber-infrastructure, human-computer interactions, and human-centered computing.
Most universities in the United States will divide your doctoral graduate program into two phases of degree requirements. The first phase is a two-year course of study that utilizes qualifying exams. The second phase would be a three to five year independent research program that requires you to develop a cyber security PhD thesis that culminates in a doctoral dissertation.
Some of the units you can expect in the first phase of the graduate program include:
Computer systems architectures and networks
Furthermore, most universities will allow you to transfer unit credits if you did them at master's degree level.
In the second phase, you will be required to develop and defend a dissertation proposal before a committee. This is to ensure that your research adds value to the existing body of knowledge in the field.
How Hard is it to Gain Acceptance to a Top PhD Cyber Security Program?
This is dependent on your qualifications. Therefore, proof of your previous academic excellence performances in specific research disciplines related to the program is essential. Some of the standard admissions requirements include:
A bachelor's degree from a recognized institution
An undergraduate of 3.0 or above
Above-average GRE scores
Suitable professional experience
At least three recommendation letters
A statement of purpose
Previous publications and other academic research work
Additionally, international students must submit their TOEFL examination results to the university admission board before acceptance.
You can also access other learning opportunities from different avenues. For instance, you can enroll in a genuine online cyber security PhD program, which might save you significant amounts of time and money.
How Do You Finance or Pay for a PhD in Cyber Security?
You can utilize several methods to fund your doctorate in cyber security. First, you can opt to offer cyber security services to your learning institution. In return, the college can deduct part of your wages to settle your tuition fee.
Secondly, you can apply for scholarship opportunities as a doctoral student at institutions that offer such programs. However, keep it in mind that scholarships are very competitive, and they require excellent records and performance. Alternatively, you can look for a private sponsor to finance your education.
Thirdly, you can enlist yourself in a cyber security PhD online program that allows you to study while working. By doing so, you can use part of your salary to pay your tuition fee while studying at your own pace.
If you are a government employee, you can also check out the government's policies regarding employee development. Some governments offer partial payments for those pursuing education for issues that affect the public domain significantly, such as internet security.
What are the Career Options for Someone with a PhD in Cyber Security?
A PhD in cyber security presents you with several career options.
Having reached the highest level of education concerning your career, you can pass the same knowledge to learners. Therefore, as a PhD holder in cyber security, you can consider a tutoring position in an institution of higher learning as a professor. Faculty positions often suit those who enjoy research and working with students.
Information security manager
With a cyber security PhD, you have a good chance in becoming an information security manager. Some of the duties performed by this role include overseeing the creation, implementation, and enforcement of cyber security procedures.
Chief information security officer
As one of the most senior roles for cyber security in the government or in the private sector, a chief information security officer oversees the creation, implementation, and enforcement of all aspects of cyber security in an organization.
Furthermore, a chief information security officer can take part in crucial decision making processes such as the budget-making process, hiring of employees, and working with appropriate security apparatus in case of a threat, among other duties.
What Can You Earn with a Doctorate in Cyber Security?
According to payscale.com, the average salary for a person with a Doctor of Philosophy in cyber security degree is around $145,000 per annum. Professionals with this type of qualification are eligible for positions such as the chief information security officer and can earn a yearly average of around $300,000, or more, according to Forbes.
As the demand for cyber security expertise continues to rise, salaries will also continue to grow. Those seeking to expand their knowledge in this field are likely to find lasting value from their PhD degree.
Find New Opportunities with a PhD in Cyber Security
Pursuing a doctoral degree in cyber security can open doors to new and exciting career opportunities. An advanced graduate cyber security program will enhance your mastery of the discipline and build your capacity to lead and solve complex cyber security issues that you will face.
If this is something that interests you, then you should start scouting for a graduate school program that suits your needs. Be sure to look out for essential details such as admission requirements, length of the course, who the tutors are, and how you will finance your program before you enroll.