James Madison University Online Master of Computer Science – Information Security

Why James Madison University?

James Madison University, a public research university in Harrisonburg, Virginia, offers a long-running online Master of Computer Science – Information Security aimed at working professionals. Applicants to the program should hold an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, or demonstrate ample work experience, with skill in C++, computer organization, data structures, and discrete mathematics.

Standardized test scores are not required, although the GRE is recommended. There is no required undergraduate minimum GPA to apply.

Program Snapshot

University Name James Madison University
Location Harrisonburg
State Virginia
Niche.com Grade A
Name of Degree Master of Computer Science – Information Security
School or Department Administering Program School of Computer Science
Credits 33
Cost per credit $775.00
Tuition for Entire Program $25,575.00
Test Requirements GRE recommended
Minimum GPA None
Campus Visit Required? No
Typical Time to Complete 5 semesters plus summer course
When Can Students Start the Program? Spring
Program Concentrations None
Synchronous Classes No
Required Courses ·   Operating Systems

·   Computer Security

·   Ethics, Law and Policy in Cyberspace

·   Secure Programming

·   Networks and Network Security

·   Computer Forensics

·   Cryptography: Algorithms and Applications

·   Advanced Network Security

·   Secure Operations

·   Thesis or Comprehensive Exam

Does the Program Include a Capstone? Optional thesis or comprehensive exam
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? No
Other Features that Make the Program Unique tuition assistance for most students; small class sizes with one-on-one attention from professors; state of the art, remotely accessible cyber security labs; program has existed since 1997; strong network of associated initiatives; cohort based with classes in a prescribed sequence; optional Preparatory courses in computer science that are encouraged but do not count towards the degree
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) Develop professional cyber defense skills, including cryptography, digital forensics, and incident response. Discuss common institutional practices, security policies and protocols. Plan, organize, design, configure and manage security solutions.
Program Description Requiring students to complete 33 credits, this degree focuses on skills and techniques based in computer science. This is a generalist program with no concentrations offered. Students can choose to complete an optional capstone experience, taking the form of a thesis or comprehensive exam. The program follows a traditional course schedule


What will I Learn?

The cybersecurity Master’s degree at James Madison University teaches students professional cyber defense capabilities such as cryptography, digital forensics, and incident response. Students and instructors can discuss common institutional practices, security regulations, and protocols because class sizes are smaller. Graduates are capable of predicting, organizing, designing, configuring, and managing security solutions.

Required courses are: Operating Systems, Computer Security, Ethics, Law and Policy in Cyberspace, Secure Programming, Networks and Network Security, Computer Forensics, Cryptography: Algorithms and Applications, Advanced Network Security, and Secure Operations. Students can choose to complete a thesis or comprehensive exam.

JMU also offers non-mandatory preparatory computer science courses adapted to the needs of incoming students. Students are encouraged to take these courses, but the credits do not count toward the degree requirements.

Established in 1997, the JMU cybersecurity master’s has access to a wide network of alumni and associated initiatives and projects that enrich the student experience. Students have access to a state-of-the art remotely accessible lab environment, and receive one-on-one attention from professors. 

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 5 semesters plus summer course and pay $775.00 per credit for a total of 33 credits, or $25,575.00 in total. Tuition assistance is offered to most students.

How does the program fit into my life?

All courses are asynchronous, meaning that students complete coursework on their own schedule each week, including watching pre-recorded lectures and participating in online discussion. No campus visit is required. Most students complete the program within 5 semesters plus one summer course.

The program offers small class sizes. This is a cohort-model program in which all students take all the same courses in a prescribed sequence.


This well-regarded university offers a cohort-based cybersecurity program emphasizing computer science approaches. The cost is in the middle of the range for similar programs. The program follows a traditional course schedule, with a cohort-based course sequence.  Featuring small class sizes, one-on-one attention, and generous tuition assistance, this is one of the most well-established cybersecurity programs in the country.