5 Free Online Cybersecurity Courses in US Universities


Many US institutions offer free online courses that anyone, including non-students, can access if they want to venture into the field of cybersecurity without investing too much time or money. There are also classes that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

The democratization of these courses is linked to the yawning gap in cybersecurity skills and talent in the United States and around the world. This is not only a talent shortage issue, but also a major concern for leaders around the world.

Indeed, according to a recent report, 80% of organizations worldwide have experienced one or more data breaches in the past year, which can be attributed to a lack of cybersecurity skills and/or awareness.

In fact, a 2021 analysis from Accenture indicates that the number of attacks each year increased by 31% to 270 between 2020 and 2021. There were 29 successful attacks on average per organization.

According to a 2022 study by Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of vacancies in cybersecurity has increased by 350%, from 1 million to 3.5 million since 2013. This booming field of cybersecurity offers a variety of entry points , including a master’s degree program, employer-sponsored training programs and certification programs.

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Some of the free and paid courses are listed below:

Western Governors University: Network and Security Fundamentals

This Network and Security Foundations course covers the elements of computer networks and fundamental network-related security principles. The course is recognized by Fortune as one of the best online master’s degree programs in cybersecurity in the United States.

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This introductory course also introduces students to the concepts and practices of network security, threat, risk mitigation, and security management. The course instructors are WGU College of IT Program Manager Gerri Light and WGU Instructor Michelle Watt.

Over the course of eight weeks, the self-paced course can be completed in as little as 10 hours per week. For $166.08, WGU also offers an unlimited-access version of the course that allows students to continue using the material even after the course ends. Students can also complete the course for free with temporary access to the materials.

New York University: Introduction to Cyber ​​Attacks

This four-week online course offered by New York University will educate you on cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities, and threats.

The courses are: Basic Security Frameworks and Cybersecurity Risk Analysis and Introduction to Cyber ​​Attacks. The next session this year will be led by Edward G. Amoroso, a professor and researcher at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. Amoroso founded and is the CEO of cybersecurity consultancy and consulting firm TAG Cyber.

Stanford University: Cryptography I

Cryptography helps in the secure communication only of the sender and the intended recipient. In other words, this critical cybersecurity measure helps prevent adversary interference. Students learn the inner workings of cryptographic systems and how to use them in practice.

Participants in this course organized by Stanford University will also have the opportunity to work on practical problems in the field. The course lasts approximately 23 hours over a seven-week period and has flexible assignment deadlines.

Cryptography I is taught by Professor Dan Boneh of Cryptography and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.

University of Michigan: History, Technology, and Internet Security

This 10-week course introduces students to the history, technology and safety of the Internet. The course is taught by Charles Russel Severance who will teach about web security and encryption to protect data. It will also cover an overview of the impact of technology on culture and society, as well as network technology and internet marketing.

University of Maryland: Physical Security

The University of Maryland’s online cybersecurity concentration program includes a course in hardware security that covers the basics of cybersecurity, as well as cryptography. The course is a 12 hour course that lasts over seven weeks.

The course enables students to understand the vulnerabilities of digital system design flows and the physical attacks on these systems.


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