Mercyhurst ranked a top college for online Cyber Security program
Mercyhurst University has been ranked one of the best schools for online degrees in a public service field—in this case, its online Cyber Security master’s degree program—by Student Training & Education in Public Service (STEPS). Only 13 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. earned a spot on the rankings for the 2024 academic year.
The rankings list Mercyhurst 25th among the top 50 schools, including New York University, Johns Hopkins University, Auburn University, Boston College, and Fordham University.
"I am both humbled and elated by our Cyber program's inclusion in the top 50 national rankings,” said Dr. Chris Mansour, chair of Mercyhurst’s Computing & Information Science Department and co-founder of its Cyber Security program. “This recognition is a testament to our unwavering dedication, the ingenuity of our students, and the robustness of our curriculum. It underscores our commitment to excellence and to preparing our students not just to participate in the field of cybersecurity, but to lead it. Our unique approach, which marries rigorous academic instruction with real-world application, ensures that our graduates are not only proficient in the latest technologies and strategies, but are also imbued with the ethical framework necessary to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. As cyber threats evolve, so too will Mercyhurst University’s Cyber Security program, continuing to set the standard for excellence in education and research in this critical field.”
Mansour noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the job outlook for cybersecurity graduates through 2032 growing at a rate of 32 percent, far greater than average. The median salary for 2022 in the cyber field was $112,000.
“Our goal was to identify the best colleges with online degree programs where graduates can make a meaningful difference in their communities through education, public policy, and other career paths,” said Kyle Smith, a community outreach specialist at STEPS.
This ranking arrives at a time when enrollment in online degree programs remains high. The most recent data (Fall 2021) from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 60 percent of students take at least one class online and 30 percent are enrolled exclusively in online courses.
“As more and more students gravitate toward online education, identifying flexible, affordable and accredited degree programs that fit into students’ busy lives and make college more accessible is essential,” added Smith.
STEPS analyzed multiple datasets from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Key data points used to identify top schools include the following:
- Number of online programs in a given subject area.
- Tuition amount per academic year.
- Percentage of students receiving institutional financial aid and the amount awarded.
- Availability of academic counseling and career placement services.
STEPS vetted over 6,000 postsecondary institutions to create its rankings.
STEPS started in 2019 with the goal of connecting students with valuable and informative resources to help them get their degrees and find satisfying careers in public service. These free guides range from connecting students with online schools to breaking down options for affording a degree.