The Best Online Master’s in Information Systems & Technology Programs

Information systems are a cornerstone of 21st century management and administration. An information system is designed as any set of tools used to collect, interpret, record and organize any type of data. Most of today’s information systems are computer-based models with hardware, software and network components. Information systems and technology is an academic field that explores the relationship between the methods and algorithms used in information management and the technology platforms that drive these systems.

Online information systems and technology master’s programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college education.

Students seeking a master’s in information systems and technology will gain a broad understanding of this field. The curriculum incorporates key subjects like data analysis, network administration, information security and data management, as well as software development, computer science and other STEM areas. These master’s programs often culminate in a capstone course, allowing students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have gained with a comprehensive research project. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their online master’s in information systems and technology online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities for successful graduates. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s in information systems and technology and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Most online master’s in information systems and technology degree programs take a multidisciplinary approach. Some courses cover the algorithmic and technological processes that guide information systems, while others deal with the role of information management and technology within modern society. Many master’s programs allow students to narrow the focus of their studies with a degree specialization in information security, database administration and other niche areas of information systems and technology.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online information systems and technology master’s programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also enables them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY?

Those who graduate with an online master’s in information systems and technology will be prepared for a wide range of professional roles. Tech-savvy students often find work as computer programmers, web developers or IT analysts. Other popular career paths include database and network administrators, network architects, information analysts and cybersecurity specialists.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s in information systems and technology programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in information systems and technology, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Enrolled Online Location Description
1Columbia University in the City of New York86.772/571%New York, NY

Columbia offers a top ranking online master's degree in information technology. The master of science in information and knowledge strategy (IKNS) is designed to develop a cadre of graduates who are knowledge and analytics leaders and entrepreneurs of digital products at leading companies in positions such as knowledge managers, senior business process analysts, and consultants.

The online program is designed for students working to balance their careers and academic life. The program lasts 16 months with online coursework delivered once a weeknight per course. Students collaborate and engage in discussions virtually, and attend three five-day residencies on campus. Students can specialize in areas such as social media, information visualization, and digital products.

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2Carnegie Mellon University77.134/550%Pittsburgh, PA

A top university founded by Andrew Carnegie in the 1900s, Carnegie Mellon University is notable for its excellence in the arts and sciences, including affiliations with 19 Nobel Laureates, 12 Turing Award recipients, and 98 Emmy Award recipients.

The master of science in information technology (MSIT) program at the university’s Heinz College is recognized as a top master's in information technology online. Programming is asynchronous with a delivery model that allows students to take courses on their own schedule. Students can pursue any of three MSIT degrees part-time and online:

MSIT – Information Technology Management, MSIT – Information Security and Assurance and MSIT – Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. Each program requires students to earn 144 credit hours and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. Online programs feature multimedia video lectures and personalized faculty-student interaction. The online services allow students to register for courses, view/update student information, and use library and computing resources.

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3Illinois Institute of Technology69.423/563%Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology is a Chicago-based, technology-focused research university with degree programs in engineering, architecture, science, design, science, human sciences, applied technology, and law. The school prepares professionals who are technologically sophisticated, innovative, and entrepreneurial. The institution’s faculty and alumni have been pioneers in a number of areas, such as cell phones, magnetic recording, and architecture.

The master of information technology and management (ITM) has 11 specializations and more than 65 courses. Specializations may be completed full time or part time and entirely online. Specialization require 30 credit hours of work; students are not required to specialize. A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be maintained to stay in the program.

Online master’s in information technology specializations include: computer and information security, data center operations and management, data management, digital systems technology, and IT management and entrepreneurship. Core topics include: programming, application development, information systems technologies, and information technology architectures.

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4Northeastern University Global Network67.563/540%Boston, MA

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is based in Boston with undergraduate and graduate programs offered through its nine colleges and schools. The university’s reach is global with experiential learning opportunities available on seven continents through collaborations with about 3,100 partners

Northeastern offers two online master's degree in information technology programs: the MS in information assurance and cyber security and master of professional studies in geographic information technology (GIS). The information assurance degree focuses on information technology, social sciences, law, criminology, and management; it requires 32 credit hours. Graduates learn how to assess information security risks and develop solutions; students can customize a program with courses designed to meet their professional needs.

Students in the online geographic information technology program learn core competencies such as project management, system implementation and database design; it requires 45 credit hours. Students learn technical expertise in areas such as raster-based GIS, geospatial information, and GIS modeling.

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5George Mason University60.143/534%Fairfax, VA

George Mason offers distance learning with hybrid or 100% online classes in a number of areas, including an online master's degree in information technology. The online master of science in applied information technology (AIT) cybersecurity concentration prepares professionals to design, develop, manage, and sustain mega-systems in the private and federal sectors. The areas of study are big data systems, managing IT programs in the federal sector, and emerging threats and countermeasures in cybersecurity. A capstone seminar course is required during the last semester; the program takes 30 credit hours to earn a degree.

Virginia’s largest public research university, George Mason is recognized for its innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, and commitment to accessibility. Students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from the institution’s 12 schools and colleges in many areas of study. 80% of graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

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6Florida State University58.963/522%Tallahassee, FL

FSU’s portfolio of distance learning options is extensive, and includes a 32-semester-hour MSIT with several specializations, including: technology and networking, large-scale data management, and user-centered design. Core courses must be taken in Management of Information Organizations, User Needs Assessment, Information Systems Management, and Usability Analysis. Many of the courses have a synchronous element to them. Students must be available to attend a class online at least once a week during the allotted time, usually in the evenings. Learners have seven years to complete the program; most can complete this online information technology master's degree in approximately six semesters (two years).

FSU is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, creativity, and service to the community. Many of the school’s degree programs are ranked among the nation’s top 25 public universities, including physics, chemistry, statistics, meteorology, information, business, and law. FSU’s arts programs—dance, film, music, and theatre—are also highly ranked worldwide.

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7Creighton University58.804/550%Omaha, NE

The school’s master of science in business intelligence and analytics has an online option that prepares students to work as IT managers and directors, business and technology consultants, project managers, and senior business analysts. Graduates will master skills like: shaping information technology to drive business success, management and leadership skills, the concepts of business information processing systems, and how to apply business ethics and leadership. The online master’s in information technology requires students to earn 33 credit hours in approved electives and core classes.

Nebraska-based Creighton University offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit tradition through its 100 academic programs, degrees, and majors in the arts and sciences, law, and business. The school is consistently highly ranked for innovation, value, and for its online MBA, educational leadership, and graduate nursing programs. Creighton is a strong research university recognized by U.S. News & World Report for “creative and innovative undergraduate research projects.”

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8California State University – Fullerton52.371/514%Fullerton, CA

CSUF is a nationally ranked institution. It offers 57 undergraduate and 52 graduate degree programs. The school’s MSIT degree is 100% online. Students take two courses per semester in the 20-month-long, year-round, 30 credit hour program. New students are only admitted during the fall quarter. Areas of study for the master’s degree in information technology online include accounting and managerial aspects of an IT organization, systems development, data needs of an organization, programming concepts, and e-commerce. Students are grouped into cohorts throughout the program and are expected to spend 6-10 hours weekly on each class in addition to their online lectures, course readings, discussions, etc. A capstone that incorporates research and a practicum is required along with an electronic portfolio of culminating experiences. There are optional on-campus review sessions; exams must be taken on-campus. The deadline to submit an application for the fall 2017 quarter is May 31st.

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9Oklahoma State University52.082/522%Stillwater, OK

OSU provides high-quality education and affordable tuition. Their highly ranked programs include interior design and hospitality; its Entrepreneurship Club is ranked 9th globally.

OSU’s school of business offers the online master’s in information technology 100% online. It focuses on business processes/concepts and design and maintenance of information systems to give graduates the business, technical, and leadership skills to face business’ technological challenges. Areas of study include: advanced systems analysis and design, data warehousing, internet-based app development, and project management. The program includes professors’ virtual office hours, Web boards, and threaded discussion groups to facilitate learning in the online classroom. It’s a 33 credit hour program. Applicants must have maintained a 3.0 overall GPA in undergraduate classes and a 3.25 GPA in their major area.

OSU notes that its online graduate degree programs are known for affordability. The institution also awards more than $250 million dollars in scholarships annually.

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10Nova Southeastern University50.444/581%Fort Lauderdale, FL

Located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, NSU is recognized for its rigorous curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and highly ranked graduate programs in areas such as medicine, law, psychology, and business.

The MSIT is offered 100% online and spans the areas of organizational information systems, software methods and technologies, application technologies, and systems infrastructure. Program graduates learn practical skills they can apply to real-world information technology challenges facing businesses today. This online master’s in information technology has three concentrations: application development, database, and system administration. In order to graduate, students must complete four core courses (12 credits), one concentration (nine credits), and 15 approved elective credits. The overall undergraduate GPA must be 2.5 or higher with at least a 3.0 GPA maintained in the major courses. The program is delivered via Blackboard/SharkLearn learning management system. A resume of students’ academic background and professional experience is required to be admitted into the program.

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11Concordia University – Wisconsin49.283/544%Mequon, WI

Concordia offers more than 50 different online degree programs. The school’s 100% online MBA graduate program has 15 different concentrations, including the management information systems MBA for professions such as information technology manager, information technology director, project manager (IT), and business analyst manager (IT). The core curriculum focuses on areas such as managerial economics, ethics and organizational leadership, applied statistical methods, and corporate finance. Concentration subject areas include management of information systems, oracle academy database design and programming, and data communications and network security. The graduate school does not require students to take the GRE or GMAT. Distance learners can start the 39 credit online master’s in information technology program at anytime.

As a Lutheran school, Concordia University is committed to helping students develop mentally, physically, and spiritually. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, and theology, with its top overall enrollment in health professions, business, and education programming.

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12Loyola University Chicago44.884/538%Chicago, IL

The information technology master’s degree online teaches students how to develop, implement, operate, and manage information systems within organizations. There are four tracks: enterprise information management, technology management, information assurance, and enterprise networking. Areas of study range from database programming and IT project management to cryptography and network management. A required course--focusing on ethical and social issues in computing--is required by all students. The online master’s in information technology program normally takes 16 months for full-time students to earn a degree, and two to three years for part-timers.

Chicago-based Loyola University offers rigorous programs in the Jesuit tradition for undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education students. With its four campuses and 11 schools and colleges, Loyola promotes excellence, justice, values-based leadership, and global awareness. The school has a portfolio of online offerings that are learner-centered and taught by Loyola faculty. Online students receive assistance to meet their academic needs, and support in the use of online technologies.

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13University of Massachusetts – Lowell42.322/525%Lowell, MA

UMASS-Lowell’s MSIT degree is fully online and designed for students who have completed a bachelor’s in IT or professionals seeking to pursue advanced graduate studies in information technology. There are 10 courses on designing, managing, and deploying networked systems of computers. It’s a 30 credit hour program. Courses cover areas like general system administration, virtualization technologies, core networking, security analysis, and regulatory compliance. The courses for this online information technology master's degree are delivered using the Blackboard learning management system.

Giving students opportunities to learn through experience is at the heart of the UMASS-Lowell’s philosophy, which students do alongside world-renowned faculty and professionals. UMass-Lowell is a national research university offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs through its six colleges. The institution’s distance learning opportunities span a number of fields; some of its online programs are nationally recognized, including MBA, graduate education, and graduate business.

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14Lawrence Technological University40.964/530%Southfield, MI

Lawrence University offers a number of online degree programs, including a MSIT. The online master’s in information technology curriculum covers finance, engineering, manufacturing, and more. It hones students’ knowledge and skills in information technology and systems. It’s a 30 credit hour program that requires students to have earned at least a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies. In addition to foundational coursework in business application programming and enterprise information technology, students study topics like project management, systems analysis and design, network security, and project risk and quality management. Each student in the program has access to a personal faculty advisor and is part of a learning environment that fosters global thinking.

Henry and Edsel Ford helped launch the experiment that would become Lawrence Technological University. Located in Michigan, Lawrence Tech is one of the nation’s best institutions for learning in the fields of engineering, architecture, science, and applied technology, with a curriculum that seamlessly blends theory and practice.

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15Murray State University38.732/520%Murray, KY

Ranked one of the best colleges in Kentucky, Murray State offers 11 associate, 64 bachelor’s, and 42 master’s and specialist programs through its academic colleges and schools. Their college of business offers an online master’s in information technology designed to give students real-world skills in core information systems (IS) knowledge and integration of IS and business knowledge. Courses include Software Methodologies, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence, Telecommunications Principles, and Project Management. Students with an IT or CS background can complete the program in 15 months (or three semesters). The program is 30 credit hours and includes seven core courses, along with three electives. A current resume and GRE (or GMAT) score report must be submitted before being considered for the program. Many international students receive discounts on tuition fees, however, if they are non-native English speakers they must prove proficiency in the language through TOEFL or IELTS scores.

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How Long Is an Online Master’s in Information Systems and Technology Program?
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$25,000 to $50,000
Concentrations
Computer Science, Software Engineering, Systems Engineering, Network Administration, Network Architecture, Information Security/Cybersecurity, Health Information Security and Technology, Business Technology, Education Technology
Accreditation
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Job Placement: Master’s in Information Systems and Technology

As technology continues to play a vital role in modern business and organizational management, the 10-year job outlook for information systems and technology professionals is exceptionally strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the computer and information technology sector as a whole is projected to grow 12% between 2014 and 2024; this figure represents nearly 500,000 new jobs.

Unemployment rates for tech professionals are also quite favorable. The table below looks at the unemployment rates for nine of the most popular IT occupations. Each entry on the list was included in the ‘Best Technology Jobs‘ ranking published by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Information Security Analyst 1.4%
Information Technology Manager 1.8%
Computer Systems Administrator 2.0%
Database Administrator 2.0%
Computer Programmer 2.5%
Software Developer 2.5%
Computer Systems Analyst 2.6%
Computer Support Specialist 3.3%
Web Developer 3.4%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Of the nine jobs listed, the average unemployment rate is 2.4%. By comparison, the national unemployment rate for all industries currently sits at 4.6%.

Earning a Living

In addition to a strong job outlook and low unemployment rates, those with a master’s in information systems and technology also enjoy relatively high earning potential. However, individual salary expectations slightly vary by one’s specific master’s degree pathway. The following table explores salary projections at two career benchmarks for students who earn master’s degrees in different information systems and technology fields.

Master’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) with a Master’s Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) with a Master’s
Information Systems $67,800 $113,000
Computer Information Systems $70,700 $110,000
Information Technology Management $71,100 $110,000
Information Security $74,100 $108,000
Management Information Systems $70,200 $108,000
Information Technology $66,000 $102,000
Information Security and Assurance $71,300 $98,300

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

All seven degree subjects reported salary growth of at least 37.9% between the entry-level and mid-career stages. However, in addition to master’s degree field of study, the salary growth for information systems and technology professionals will also depend on his/her specific job title. The next table examines expected salary growth and earnings for five of the most common careers in information systems and technology.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Computer Programmer $51,422 $65,169 $72,883 $76,986
Software Developer $62,448 $76,168 $86,399 $90,105
Network Architect $86,246 $100,535 $117,277 $120,178
Information Systems (IS) Manager $61,379 $70,545 $83,945 $89,078
Network Administrator $49,466 $56,158 $61,904 $65,313

Source: PayScale

Of the five occupations listed, computer programmers reported the highest career salary growth: a 49.7% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Information systems managers placed second with 45.1% growth after 20 years on the job, followed by software developers with 44.3% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s in information systems and technology will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like company size and city/state of employment. Four of the most common career pathways in healthcare management are detailed below.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators: These administrators oversee the daily operations of their organization’s different networks and systems. They are often responsible for creating, installing and modifying networks, as well as monitoring activity and maximizing security.

Information Security Analysts: IS analysts develop and implement different tools designed to boost information security. Their programs target different types of security threats, from hackers and computer viruses to power outages, equipment failures and other technical issues.

Database Administrators: Database administrators collect, evaluate and organize different types of organizational data, such as financial statements, employee records and customer shipping receipts. They also implement programs to ensure sensitive data is secure from outside users and not susceptible to technical issues.

Computer and Information Systems (IS) Managers: Also known as IT managers or IT project managers, these professionals oversee the different computer-based programs and activities at a given company or organization. They regularly meet with organizational leaders to discuss technology goals, and then help implement tools and systems to ensure these objectives are reached.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Growth (2014-24)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $77,810 8% (+30,200 jobs)
Information Security Analysts $90,120 14% (+14,800 jobs)
Database Administrators $81,710 11% (+13,400 jobs)
Computer and Information Systems (IS) Managers $131,600 15% (+53,700 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to information systems and technology is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for information systems and technology professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Association of Information Technology Professionals: Founded in 1951, the AITP is considered one of the largest global organizations for IT managers and personnel. The association hosts 55 U.S. chapters across nine regions of the country, and also sponsors college chapters at postsecondary institutions in 36 different states.
  • Association of Software Professionals: The ASP is a trade organization dedicated to software developers and engineers who design programs, apps and networks. The website features an extensive calendar of upcoming conferences and events, as well as full issues of the ASPects monthly newsletter.
  • Network Professional Association: The NPA supports computer networking personnel through advocacy, professional development and networking events. The association’s website features information about the CNP certification credential, as well as an online career center, an electronic journal and an events calendar.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.