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Doctor of Philosophy
in Cybersecurity
(PhD-CY)

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Home » Programs » Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY)

Prepare for a Leadership Role Protecting an Organization’s Computer Networks and Systems

In today’s data-dependent world, every organization needs senior level experts with the knowledge and training to monitor its networks for vulnerabilities and security breaches and use tools like firewalls and data encryption programs to protect sensitive information. National University’s online Doctor of Philosophy of Cybersecurity (PhD-CY) degree program takes an applied approach to cybersecurity theory and research. 

NU’s curriculum challenges you to explore advanced topics, learn the very latest concepts, and prepare for anticipated risks in the field of cybersecurity. It’s designed to prepare researchers with technology strategies that are applicable to leading positions in both the private and public sectors. Our program offers four specializations that allow you to tailor your studies and research to match your interest in a specific area of cybersecurity.

In this rigorous curriculum, you’ll explore governance, compliance, leading frameworks, models, and standards to reduce threats and vulnerabilities. You’ll also create a portfolio of valuable capabilities, addressing internal and external issues through the intelligent manipulation of data while completing your doctoral studies.

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Course Details

Degree and Course Requirements

The PhD program requires a minimum of 60 credits. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

The PhD in Cybersecurity requires eight foundation/core courses, five specializations, two research, a pre-candidacy prospectus, and four dissertation courses for a total of 60 credit hours. 

*Students select one pair of research methods and directed research courses based on their own research proposal. 

The PhD in Cybersecurity requires the following courses for every specialization:

Course Name

Program at a Glance

Total Credit Hours: 60 Credit Hours
Courses: 20 Courses
Recommended Completion Time: 40-44 Months
Next Start Date: Every Monday
Classroom Size: One

Specializations

The Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), General and Technology specialization degree builds on the core computing principles and cybersecurity best practices, frameworks, and models. The degree provides a broad overview, adding governance and strategic views to compliment forensic, software development cloud, and systems certification content. Students use firsthand experience, explore advanced topics, learn the latest and anticipated concepts, consider the evolution of risks and mitigation, learn advanced threat detection, and propose their own research. The degree is designed to prepare researchers, consultants, and technology strategists capable of leadership roles and executive positions in private and public sectors. 

Specialization Courses – 15 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

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The Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), Global Policy and Operations specialization builds on the core program general principles, best practices, frameworks, and models. The specialization adds specific global solutions through an integrated strategy and leadership capabilities to establish global operations. 

The focus is on solving challenges of multi-time zone, multi-continent, and a range of laws, languages, and cultures. Specific considerations include diverse technologies, challenging support structures, and cyber target domains. The complication of widely distributed infrastructure, diverse political influences, and complex supply chains form part of the predictive strategy and the creation of operational excellence.

Specialization Courses – 15 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

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The Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), Governance, Risk, and Compliance specialization combines the four knowledge areas to complete research or synthesize cybersecurity solutions for enterprises subject to national exposures and global threats. The combined resolution of risk, compliance, audit, and privacy will enable graduates to create enhanced solutions while limiting the need for resources. 

The specialization investigates current and anticipated needs and solutions within all four areas, addressing key issues for larger organizations while providing improved strategic alignment. It includes important access control, and threat discovery across complex environments. The specialization includes an emphasis on preempting future losses.

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The Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), Secure Cloud Computing specialization builds on best practices, frameworks and models to synthesize unique solutions that optimize organization outcomes. The specialization investigates current and anticipated needs and solutions emphasizing the cloud computing. Learning and research adds practical and strategic insights to enable reduced risks for cloud computing and multi-cloud cybersecurity solutions. 

The degree is designed to prepare researchers, consultants, and technology strategists capable of leadership roles and executive positions in private and public sectors where advanced or complex cloud computing is important. Competencies include complex secure data communications, identity management, and access controls.

Specialization Courses – 15 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

The Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), Global Policy and Operations specialization builds on the core program general principles, best practices, frameworks, and models. The specialization adds specific global solutions through an integrated strategy and leadership capabilities to establish global operations. The focus includes an emphasis on solving challenges of multi-time zone, multi-continent, and a range of laws, languages, and cultures. Specific considerations include diverse technologies, challenging support structures, and cyber target domains. The complication of widely distributed infrastructure, diverse political influences, and complex supply chains form part of the predictive strategy and the creation of operational excellence.

Learn More

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity (PhD-CY), you’ll be able to:

  • Advance theory and practical applications of cybersecurity
  • Formulate cybersecurity governance, policy, risk, and compliance
  • Assess internal and external threats and vulnerabilities to reduce organizational cyber risk
  • Evaluate tools, data, and processes to enhance protection and foster resilience
  • Facilitate the protection of critical information resources from current and future loss

The most demanding jobs in the field of cybersecurity require experienced professionals with advanced, industry-current knowledge and skills to develop security standards and best practices for their organization. It’s also a career that’s in high demand. For example, about 16,300 openings for information security analysts are projected each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they’ll be well compensated for their expertise – the BLS also states the median annual wage for IS analysts was $102,600 in May 2021, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $165,920.*

NU’s online PhD in Cybersecurity incorporates technical and organizational strategy, architecture, and data science, as well as important areas within artificial intelligence (including machine learning and deep learning). Our curriculum also offers a choice of career-focused specializations, allowing you to focus your studies on a specific area of interest, including:

  • General and Technology 
  • Global Strategy and Operations 
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance 
  • Secure Cloud Computing

*SOURCE: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-1

NU’s Doctor of Philosophy in Cybersecurity opens the door to a wide range of important, in-demand careers for dedicated professionals with polished skills in communication, management, operations, leadership, and infrastructure. Some of the top job titles* posted in this field include:

  • Information Security Analysts
  • Systems Engineers
  • Security Engineers
  • DevSecOps Engineers
  • Cloud Security Engineers
  • Solutions Architects
  • Systems Administrators 
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Postsecondary Administrators

Employers of senior-level cybersecurity professionals are spread across every industry, including: professional, scientific and technical services, finance and insurance, manufacturing, information services, healthcare, and administrative support services.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

**SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: May 13, 2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.  Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

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PhD in Cybersecurity Program FAQs

A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation. At National University, faculty members assist every doctoral student with a systematic process designed to ensure the completion of a high-quality dissertation. 

A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.

National University is dedicated to assisting students in the achievement of their academic aspirations and helping them become valuable contributors to their community and profession. To accomplish this, we now offer a dissertation completion pathway for students who have successfully completed their doctoral coursework and achieved doctoral candidacy at a previous institution but were unable to complete their dissertation.  

Our Dissertation Completion Pathway (DCP) offers a unique opportunity for students to complete their doctorate in one of the doctoral programs offered at NU (excluding the PhD in MFT, DMFT, DNP, and DHA). Students successfully meeting the entrance and application requirements will complete a minimum of 23 credit hours to earn their doctorate.

The vision for the Dissertation Completion Pathway is to provide “all-but-dissertation” or ABD students a structured approach for completing their dissertation and help them achieve their academic goals in obtaining their doctorate. This pathway provides a student-centered, high touch, and structured pathway that recognizes past academic coursework while providing the student with the preparation and guidance to earn their doctoral degree.

National University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. The median time to completion for this program is 44 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most NU students are working adults, balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic and finance advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

Students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 40 months.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

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