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.
- IS A MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORTH IT?
The Bureau of Labor statistics projects this field to grow between 2014 and 2024. The unemployment rate for many information systems and technology jobs is low. So graduates will be entering a strong job market. Read more here..
- WHAT IS A MASTER'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
An informations systems and technology program will explore the relationship between the methods and algorithms used in information management. Key subjects include data analysis, network administration, and information security and data management. Read more here..
- WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A MASTER'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
Professionals with a master's in information technology are prepared for many careers, including computer programmer, software developer, network architect, and network administrator. Read more here..
- WHO SHOULD GET A MASTER'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
This program is designed for students with an information technology background. Many applicants have an undergraduate degree in a related field. Read more here..
- HOW LONG DOES AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE TAKE ONLINE?
Most information technology programs consist of 32 to 48 credits, which can be completed in about a year and a half by full-time students. Read more here..
Choosing a Program
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.
Accredited Online Master's in Information Systems and Technology Programs
Johns Hopkins University
|Baltimore, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 93%||
The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University offers one of the country's most prestigious online master's in IT. Graduates of this top-ranked program are prepared to design and maintain sophisticated, large-scale systems that address real-world technological problems.
The MS in information systems at Johns Hopkins is designed for business experts and technical professionals looking to build their skills and advance their careers. The program's intensive curriculum explores topics like information security, distributed systems, and systems analysis. Learners also complete prerequisite courses in Java programming, data structures, and discrete mathematics, then enroll in foundational coursework in subjects like information assurance and software engineering. Johns Hopkins may accept learners whose prior coursework does not include these prerequisite studies under provisional status; they receive full admission once they complete these classes.
All students select an additional three-course track from topics that include engineering, cybersecurity, enterprise and web computing, software engineering, human-computer interaction, data engineering, network engineering, or information management. Alternatively, learners can design their own track through an independent study and enroll in classes they choose.
To qualify for graduation, students must complete 10 classes in five years and only one "C"-range grade can count toward the degree. Applicants should possess a related BS or MS degree, but Johns Hopkins may accept three years of professional experience in lieu of these credentials. Potential students should have also possess at least a 3.0 GPA in all previous coursework and submit official transcripts with their application for admission.
|Evanston, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
A standout among online master's programs in information technology, students in the MS in information systems at Northwestern University learn to develop and manage software projects in professional settings. The experiential, laboratory-oriented classes deepen one's understanding of emerging IT trends and practices, and prepares graduates to advance in their IT career or assume key roles within it.
The program builds learners' communication and leadership techniques to effectively oversee change management and innovation activities within an organization. Courses include database administration, object-oriented programming, and IT project management; meanwhile, a capstone project allows students to apply the software development lifecycle and related capabilities to create a large, multi-tier information system. Moreover, Northwestern's partnership with IBM means students enjoy access to the company's resources to support their academic and professional development.
All students declare one of eight specializations when they apply to the program. The health informatics specialization promotes patient-centered care through the marriage of data, medicine, and smart medical records; an artificial intelligence concentration incorporates principles in machine learning and traditional statistics. Additional options include database and internet technologies, project management, and data science.
Admission requires a bachelor's degree and an academic record that demonstrates ability in either computer science or information technology. Northwestern also recommends three to five years' professional experience. Applicants are not required to submit a GRE score, though it may bolster their likelihood for admission.
New York University
|New York City, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
New York University's School of Professional Studies prepares learners for workplace success by exploring how business intersects with technological innovations. The online master's degree in information technology positions graduates as in-demand managers who can manage resources and organizational structures while expertly developing and executing enterprise-wide computer upgrades.
This MS in management and systems marries business leadership capabilities with the in-depth aspects of information technology. As a result, graduates can strengthen an organization's marketplace performance by strategically aligning key business functions and management information systems. Delivered fully online, the curriculum explores financial management, quantitative models for decision-makers, and managing in a global economy. Moreover, students concentrate in one of four areas: enterprise risk management, strategy and leadership, database technologies, or systems management.
Students can complete the program in two years if they enroll full-time, and five years if they enroll part-time. Classes incorporate simulations and industry case studies to facilitate a robust academic experience. In addition, the mandatory capstone project allows students to practically apply their research to demonstrate a mastery of the subject matter. Alternatively, students may develop a business plan based on best practices in entrepreneurship.
To gain admission, prospective students must submit a personal statement that outlines the reason for applying to this program, a resume that details professional and public service experience, two letters of recommendation that describe professional achievements and academic successes, and official transcripts.
George Washington University
|Washington, DC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
The George Washington University offers two different online master's degree in information technology programs. Both prepare graduates to drive organizational success by leveraging data and innovation to meet business goals.
Established in 1980, GWU's master of science in information systems technology is one of the country's longest-running online programs of its kind. Coursework in 21-credit program examines the frameworks of web application development, as well as structured query language. Studies build critical thinking and team management skills to ensure on-time task completion. Additionally, students develop an awareness of social responsibility and sharpen ethical decision-making.
GWU's MBA with a concentration in information systems leverages the school's close affiliation with public, private, nongovernmental, and multilateral organizations thanks to its setting in the nation's capital. This specialty develops skills to lead contemporary business environments heavily dependent on digital information. Students must complete 12 credits in relational databases, information systems development, and electives that explore project management and security topics. The concentration requires a course in python programming as a prerequisite.
Prospective MS students submit an up-to-date resume, a statement that outlines their professional goals, official college transcripts, and two reference letters with their application. MBA applicants must submit a resume, a letter of recommendation, and either a GMAT or GRE score. They must also answer an essay question.
Carnegie Mellon University
|Pittsburgh, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 89%||
The part-time, asynchronous online master's degree in information technology at Carnegie Mellon University offers students a flexible program in order to balance career, academic, and personal demands. The program features a highly interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes data-driven management approaches, expert communication strategies, and technological thought leadership. Students represent diverse sectors and organizations to promote an exchange of knowledge with one another.
Attracting both early-career professionals and experienced executives, students in CMU's MS in information technology can select one of four paths of study. The information technology path strengthens technology skills, while developing the necessary management and strategic tools to achieve organizational goals. The information security and assurance path leverages cutting edge research by the university's Software Engineering Institute, and focuses on cybersecurity leadership, risk management, and data protection.
Learners in the business intelligence and data analytics path learn to help their organization amalgamate, analyze, and monetize big data as they drive business strategy. CMU offers its software design and management path in partnership with its School of Computer Science so experienced learners sharpen their software development, project management, and architecture abilities.
CMU delivers this program through its Heinz College. Applicants should possess a minimum of three years' professional experience. They must submit either a GMAT or GRE score in addition to two recommendation letters, a resume, and an essay on how admission will help them attain their goals. The university also encourages an optional video interview.
Illinois Institute of Technology
|Chicago, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
The School of Applied Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology offers a master of information technology and management. Learners can take advantage of nine specializations and more than 65 courses, with some specializations available entirely online.
This 30-credit online information technology master's degree requires students hold at least a 3.0 GPA to graduate. All learners complete a minimum of three core courses that prepare them to develop software applications using a contemporary programming language, as well as skills to deploy appropriate system technologies. Students can also specialize in an area of interest that aligns with their career objectives, such as management information systems, software development, system administration, or IT entrepreneurship and management.
Illinois Tech also encourages students to undertake projects as a way to apply and deepen their understanding of subject matter. Faculty serve as mentors throughout these learning experiences, which also help prepare learners for job interviews. Past project examples include examining Bluetooth to support HVAC systems and developing a smart, two-way mirror that displays information through various widgets.
Applicants submit a personal statement, resume, and academic transcripts. The school also requires two letters of recommendation from references who can attest to academic and professional potential. Illinois Tech requires either a GRE or GMAT score, but may waive it for applicants who earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA.
Stevens Institute of Technology
|Hoboken, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
The MS in information systems at Stevens Institute of Technology prepares graduates to incorporate emerging technologies in the workplace, and many go on to assume expert roles at advisers, strategists, consultants, and corporate executives. The program's array of concentrations allows students to customize their degree and meaningfully apply their lessons to their career.
This 36-credit online master's degree in information technology offers an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students learn to evaluate an organization's information systems needs, strategically manage projects that fulfill business goals, and sharpen their communication and teamwork skills. Core classes examine project management fundamentals, digital innovation, applied analytics, and process innovation.
Learners can enroll in four electives to specialize in an area for a deeper learning experience. Concentrations options include business process management and service innovation, as well as cybersecurity risk management. Students can also concentrate in business intelligence and analytics, software engineering, and project management.
Companies like Prudential, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS frequently hire Stevens alumni. Graduates also pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Admission requires an application, two letters of recommendation, and official college transcripts. Applicants also need to draft a personal statement that discusses their past experiences, how they have influenced their life, and why they wish to enroll in graduate school to prepare for their future. The School of Business, which delivers this program, also mandates either a GMAT or GRE score for those enrolling full-time.
|New Brunswick, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Rutgers University offers a master of information with a concentration in technology, information, and management that attracts learners interested in creating, organizing, and preserving information artifacts. One of the nation's best online master's programs in information technology, the flexible curriculum appeals to students with varying computational expertise. Learners with diverse academic experiences collaborate with classmates to analyze and solve problems that affect people, organizations, and communities.
All students must enroll in two foundation courses: human information behavior and organizing information. Furthermore, Rutgers mandates an introductory course in information technologies for those without previous classwork in this topic. The technology, information, and management concentration permits a deep dive into subject matter like data curation, competitive intelligence, knowledge sharing, and project management. As a result, students learn to apply, manage, and create information to optimize business performance.
The 36-credit, 12-course degree can be completed within three years. While learners may transfer a maximum of six credits from other areas of study at the school, those classes must align with their academic goals. Full-time students can complete their degree in 18 to 24 months, while those enrolled part-time generally take two to three years to graduate.
Rutgers delivers this program fully online. Applicants must submit a resume and official college transcripts, with at least a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies. The university also requires a GRE score unless applicants either earned higher than a 3.0 GPA in their bachelor's program or hold a master's degree.
University of South Florida
|Tampa, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
The College of Engineering at the University of South Florida offers a 30-credit MS in information technology. This non-thesis program prepares graduates to enter the workforce with strong problem-solving skills in order to achieve organizational goals through the strategic use of technology. Moreover, alumni possess a deep understanding of business functions.
USF's hybrid delivery of this online master's in IT requires both web-based and face-to-face classes. Core requirements examine ethical hacking techniques, database administration, and object-oriented programming. Electives allow learners to explore topics like data mining, software architecture, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. Students can also enroll in independent study if they receive permission from the graduate director, and an internship experience is optional.
USF requires a grade of B or better for satisfactory course completion. Learners must demonstrate proof-of-learning through a comprehensive exam one semester prior to graduation.
The university accepts applications for fall, spring, and summer admission. Those who apply by the priority deadline receive maximum consideration. All applicants to this program must include a GRE score with their admission materials unless they earned an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited institution, or possess at least three years of relevant work experience.
In addition, an applicant's bachelor's degree should be in a related field and possess at least a "B" in all courses in their final two years of undergraduate studies. Prospective students must also complete any required prerequisites prior to beginning their graduate school coursework.
|Waltham, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
The master of science in information security leadership at Brandeis University prepares learners to combat cybersecurity threats and attacks, as well as protect organizations and people from pervasive security risks that continue to evolve. This fully online program provides graduates with the technological skills necessary for risk mitigation and prevention.
Classes enroll no more than 12 students to encourage discussion, interaction, and peer collaboration in a seminar-like setting. Students possess a range of professional experiences, which allows them to benefit from one another's knowledge and perspective. Topics include information security management, security in complex organizations, and computer incident response and investigation. In total, students complete 10 courses and earn 30 credits, which they can complete in 15 to 30 months.
Students who earn this master's degree in information technology online come to the program hold careers such as software engineer, IT service desk manager, and director of information security. Moreover, experts in the field from respected organizations like the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Vanguard teach program courses and serve on the program's advisory board.
Prospective students must possess professional experience in addition to an undergraduate degree. They may also demonstrate complete coursework in computer science, computer security, and networking in lieu of work experience. Their application must include official transcripts, a resume, a 500-word statement of goals, and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor. An online admissions chat can help applicants prepare for this process. Brandeis admits students on a rolling basis.
Purdue University-Main Campus
|West Lafayette, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Purdue University offers two online information technology master's degrees: the MS in IT project management or the MS in IT business analysis. Learners in either program enjoy the convenience of fully online studies, and receive comprehensive preparation for leadership roles in business and industry.
The MS in IT project management builds an understanding of the project lifecycle by leveraging the Project Management Institute's "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge." Students learn concepts such as project scope, communication and risk management, schedule development, and aspects of portfolio management. The curriculum also deepens their understanding of monitoring and controlling projects by employing critical thinking skills. Coursework prepares learners to take the Project Management Professional certification exam.
Purdue's MS in IT business analysis prepares students to bridge business and IT functions by successfully articulating organizational needs to technical experts. The curriculum builds skills in identifying, documenting, and implementing the required technologies to overcome business obstacles. Learners can sit for both Project Management Institute and International Institute of Business Analysis certification exams.
The university delivers both programs in an eight-week course format. This allows learners to complete the required 34 credits in one to five years. Applications must include a resume, official transcripts, three reference letters, and a statement of purpose that details their professional goals and how graduate studies support those goals.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
The School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers an MS in information management that prepares professionals to use information to solve complex organizational and societal challenges. The flexible curriculum examines how technology, people, and information connect, and gives students practical skills they can apply in a range of workplace settings. Furthermore, the electives for this online master's degree in information technology allow students to customize their learning to pursue specific career pathways.
The university requires only three courses: sociotechnical information systems; information modeling; and data, statistical models, and information. This permits students to design their own study plan, or they can pursue one of the university's professional pathways in either data science and analytics, or knowledge management and information consulting. The former prepares learners to manage and interpret data for decision-making, while students in the latter learn to analyze, present, and manage information.
Online students connect with faculty and classmates in a virtual environment, and enjoy access to the same high-quality curriculum as their on-campus peers. In addition, they can easily access services like the school's career support team if they need assistance developing cover letters, drafting resumes, and preparing for interviews.
Applicants who earned at least a 3.0 GPA during their last two years of undergraduate study do not need to submit a GRE or GMAT score. The same holds true for those with a law, doctoral, or medical degree. All applicants must submit a personal statement, a resume, and three reference letters.
Florida State University
|Tallahassee, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Students who pursue Florida State University's MS in information technology can develop a solid understanding of information systems management, information architecture, and IT project management. Furthermore, they can build the technical writing and communication skills that employers value. The robust curriculum prepares learners for many careers and even allows students to combine this program with law school studies through FSU's Juris Doctor/MS joint pathway.
This 32-credit degree, which students must complete within seven years, requires core classes in managing information organizations, assessing information needs, and overseeing information systems. The remaining credits enable students to select electives of their choice, which may include information retrieval theory, website development, and social media management. In addition, learners can enroll in electives like project management and organizational communication theory through FSU's College of Communication and Information.
The university organizes courses for its online master's degree in information technology into programs of study and specialized interests to help students select classes that align with their career goals. These programs include user-centered design and large-scale data management. Most courses run synchronously, requiring a specific login time on weekday evenings.
FSU accepts applications for fall, spring, and summer start dates. Applicants should hold GPAs of at least 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies and must submit GMAT or GRE scores and official transcripts. Prospective students can create a status check account to monitor their application status online.
|Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Boston University offers one of the best online master's degrees in information technology in the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also recognizes BU as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research. Online students can pursue a variety of distance programs at BU, including an MS in computer information systems that boasts certification from the Committee on National Security Systems.
The university established this online degree in 2004 to prepare learners to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of technological innovation. Classes examine business data communication, information structures, and information systems analysis, allowing students to enter leadership positions in an array of sectors. Furthermore, learners can select a concentration to wed their technical know-how with managerial and organizational skills. These specializations include computer networks, health informatics, and web application development.
Graduation requires 40 credits, which most learners complete in 18-24 months. BU's introductory course on computer information systems explores business systems, the fundamentals of systems design, and basic software creation. Program graduates possess the advanced knowledge necessary to design and implement computer application systems. They also demonstrate proficiency in computing and software skills when developing and implementing database systems and data communications.
Applicants must submit three recommendation letters, a current resume, and an essay that describes their motivations for pursuing the program. BU admits students for September, January, and May start dates.
University of Dallas
|Irving, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
The Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas awards an MBA with a concentration in information and technology management that equips students with practical skills they can leverage to solve complex business challenges. With flexible courses ideal for working adults, learners can apply their lessons on the job even as they pursue their advanced degrees. UD delivers this online master's in IT fully online but also allows students who wish to combine online and on-campus courses to do so.
This 30-credit program typically requires 2-3 years through 10 classes that explore leadership and business concepts. The information and technology management concentration builds skills to implement the kinds of communication and information systems found in successful businesses. Hands-on classes examine concepts such as project management, enterprise architecture, programming, and governance and strategy. The concentration also focuses on leadership and ethics.
Expert faculty members with practitioner experience lead courses and adapt the curriculum as necessary to keep pace with the demands of modern business and industry. Upon program completion, MBA graduates in this concentration frequently enter careers like network architect, information systems manager, and web developer.
Admission requires a 2.0 undergraduate GPA and at least a 3.0 GPA in any graduate coursework. Moreover, the MBA program mandates prerequisite studies in marketing, management and strategy, and business economics. This concentration also requires previous work in IT management fundamentals.
University of Utah
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
The University of Utah's Master of Science in Information Systems combines technology and business studies. Industry-driven coursework and an emphasis on hands-on learning prepare graduates for positions in one of the fastest growing job sectors in the world.
This MSOS online degree is 30 credits. The core coursework (18 credits) ensures a broad background in information systems topics, and students choose electives (12 credits) from its four specialty areas: IT Security; Business Intelligence and Analytics; Software and Systems Architecture; and Product and Process Management. In addition, each student executes a capstone project near the end of their studies. The capstone project is an opportunity to integrate the knowledge gained in coursework to solve a complex information systems challenge.
Program flexibility allows learners to attend part time or full time. Most students enroll full time and complete the program in one calendar year. A part-time pace can be determined by the student; the university allows students up to four years to complete the degree. While students can complete the degree with fully online enrollment, it is also an option to combine online with on-campus courses.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies, GRE or GMAT scores, recommendation letters, essays, and a resume. The MSIS Online program has several options for waiving the entrance exam and reference letters, including waivers based on military service relevant work experience, undergraduate degrees in business from AACSB accredited schools, or applicants with an information systems degree from the University of Utah. See the website or complete the request information form for details.
Golden Gate University
|San Francisco, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Students can choose between two online master's programs in information technology at Golden Gate University: an MS in information technology management and an MBA with a concentration in information technology management. Thanks to instruction that guides the practical application of technologies in business and industry, both degrees prepare learners for career advancement.
The 36-credit MS program attracts those interested in professions like chief information officer and chief technology officer. Faculty members help learners develop practical skills as they study business analytics, social media, and cloud computing. In addition, students may choose either a business analytics or project management concentration, each of which require nine credits. Upon graduation, students can engage in managerial dialogues about strategic IT business goals and leverage their knowledge to support business planning and budgeting.
The MBA program emphasizes business fundamentals and soft skills like communication and teamwork. Students can complete their degrees in two years to enter careers in top firms, thanks to GGU's network of corporate partners. The degree requires 54 credits, with classes in management and leadership, economics, finance, and marketing. In particular, the information management concentration examines IT capabilities and the challenges IT managers face. Learners explore how to plan IT initiatives, strategically apply data analytics for problem-solving purposes, and thoughtfully align IT with business needs.
Admission to the MS program requires either at least 30 undergraduate credits in IT courses or three years' full-time work experience in the field. MBA applicants do not need to submit a GMAT or GRE score if they possess at least five years' professional experience.
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Both the MS in information technology management and MBA with a concentration in information technology at Western Governors University sharpen students' problem-solving capabilities to graduate as skilled strategists who can successfully enter senior roles. The programs build the critical thinking and analytical skills organizations require to remain competitive in today's global economy.
WGU's MS program develops learners' capabilities in risk planning, leadership, technology, and operations. Whether or not they enter with an IT background, the program helps them understand how to integrate business needs with IT solutions. Chief information officers from leading firms help design the curriculum, which includes classes in project management, technical communication, and IT sourcing and development. Ten courses comprise the program, which also earns students the Project Management Institute's certified associate in project management certification.
MBA students acquire the skills needed to lead teams that appropriately respond to IT emergencies and forecast future technology needs. Classes cover concepts in financial management, IT strategic solutions, and project management. Graduation also requires a capstone project that enables each student to apply lessons learned to an IT problem. Most learners complete this 11-course program in 6-18 months. They go on to enter careers like IT director and chief technology officer.
While the MS program does not mandate additional requirements in addition to WGU's general admission requirements, MBA applicants must submit a resume to verify at least three years of significant experience. Both programs require transcript submission and an interview with a WGU enrollment counselor.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
|Newark, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
The MS in information technology administration and security at the New Jersey Institute of Technology builds the competencies needed to administer and safeguard IT networks and systems. The program provides hands-on learning opportunities that equip students for careers as network, security, and database administrators, or leadership positions like IT department manager and enterprise application administrator.
This 30-credit online information technology master's degree includes classes in wireless networks and databases to help learners understand how to design and build them. Other courses examine network management, cryptography and security, forensic auditing, and distributed systems.
Moreover, the program allows enrollees to choose a professional management option. It requires an additional three credits through classes that strengthen students' managerial skills. Those who choose this option must also complete a one-semester project that aligns with their interests and integrates elements of all of their courses.
Each applicant should possess an undergraduate degree, with preference given to those with a bachelor's in computer engineering, information systems, computer science, information technology, or a related field. The program also requires bridge courses as a condition for admission if candidates need to complete prerequisites, but these courses do not count toward degree completion.
NJIT requires applicants to submit a GMAT score, but applicants with significant experience may request a waiver. If they wish, potential students may also submit reference letters, examples of research, or a publications record to complement their application.
Colorado State University Global
|Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
In addition to troubleshooting technology programs and recommending software and hardware solutions, students who earn online master's degrees in IT at CSU Global possess the ability to drive best practices that enable organizations to meet their business objectives. The university ensures learners successfully enter fast-paced, hi-tech environments with the ability to work both independently and collaboratively to efficiently implement IT operations.
The university's master's of IT management program emphasizes a deep understanding of technology within enterprises for graduates to advance professionally. Required classes include managing cloud and virtualized systems, IT assurance and auditing, and ethics in IT. This 24-credit program culminates with a capstone project, which allows each student to examine an organization's goals and design a full IT implementation plan. Those who enter the program with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA must also complete a fundamentals course in quantitative analysis.
CSU Global delivers this program fully online through asynchronous courses, so learners can attend class whenever and wherever best for their schedule. Classes begin monthly, allowing new students to start the program at their convenience. Lastly, the cost of attending never increases throughout students' enrollment.
CSU prefers graduate students enter with at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. A statement of goals and a current resume must accompany the application, along with results from the SmarterMeasure Assessment.
California State University - Fullerton
|Fullerton, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton offers an online master's degree in information technology that students can complete in under two years if they enroll in two courses each semester. The university's cohort-style instruction means learners progress through programs with like-minded peers, forming a support network extending beyond the classroom.
The 20-month, part-time only MS in information technology requires 30 credits of coursework passed with at least a 3.0 GPA. Classes allow learners to understand concepts in programming and e-commerce, develop cybersecurity skills, and build competencies in managing and budgeting an IT organization. Moreover, students sharpen their oral and written communication skills.
Cal State Fullerton also gives students the choice of two concentrations. Classes for the data science concentration examine topics like data mining for business applications and forecasting for decision-making. Those interested in the IT management concentration study privacy and security and security design and analysis. Both concentrations require a capstone project during the final semester of coursework.
Successful applicants to the program generally possess at least two years of practical experience in business and earned GMAT scores of at least 530. Each candidate submits an essay discussing why Cal State Fullerton should strongly consider their candidacy. Furthermore, those seeking admission must pass either an in-person or telephone interview that assesses their technology skills and readiness for online learning.
The University of Texas at Dallas
|Richardson, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
The Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas offers a professional MBA that competitively positions graduates for success in today's global marketplace. The program, designed to accommodate working professionals, enables students to choose an area of focus. The MBA with a concentration in information technology attracts learners who want to sharpen their analytical, communication, and decision-making skills.
Most online MBA candidates enroll in two courses per term while they continue to work full time. In total, they must earn 53 credits. Business core classes examine marketing management and economics, while electives explore supply chain software and global supply chain management.
The information technology concentration requires 12 credits. It prepares learners to help businesses leverage data to solve problems and gain a competitive advantage. Classes primarily address the supply aspects of the discipline for software management and IT consulting.
Students typically complete this online master's in IT in 16-72 months. On average, most possess seven years of work experience and a 3.6 undergraduate GPA.
Applicants should submit a GMAT score from the past five years. The school also accepts applicants' GRE scores. Those with a doctoral, medical, or law degree may receive an exam waiver. The same holds true for UT Dallas undergraduates who earned at least a 3.5 GPA and alumni of AACSB-accredited business schools who earned at least a 3.6 GPA.
|Poughkeepsie, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
Marist College's master of science in information systems prepares students to meet organizations' ever-growing demands for highly skilled professionals who possess both technical and managerial skills. The program particularly attracts those who want to lead change and innovate.
Learners select one of three concentrations that best align with their professional interests and goals. The information systems concentration offers a business application focus so students can apply this knowledge in the workplace. Upon graduation, they may pursue careers as systems analysts and project managers. The concentration is the foundation for professionals who aspire to become a Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Those who concentrate in business analytics gain expertise in data acquisition and manipulation using cutting-edge software and tools. This opens doors for careers in data science and analytics. Learners who choose the computer networks and security concentration understand how to investigate, design, and troubleshoot security technology, which leads to roles like IT administrator, internet engineer, and Chief Technology Officer.
Marist encourages learners to work together in teams to strengthen their systems thinking and communication skills. Many of the classes are client-based, which enhances enrollees' consulting skills.
Each applicant must submit transcripts, an up-to-date resume, and a personal statement that explains their professional goals and how a Marist education supports them. In addition, all future students must have completed an introductory course in statistics, while those who choose the computer networks and security concentration should have completed prior coursework in inter-networking.
University of Colorado Denver
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
The CU Denver Business School prides itself on preparing IT professionals whose knowledge places them ahead of the digital curve. Its MS in information systems marries technology and strategy with managerial training to prepare graduates to become leaders in the career of their choice. Furthermore, students can specialize in one of eight focus areas to make their studies relevant to their interests and goals.
This online master's degree in IT engages students in hands-on software projects through a 30-credit program. Delivered fully online for both part-time and full-time students, it attracts learners from various backgrounds, though most possess IT experience. The combination of technical and managerial courses engages learners in studies about databases, security, business strategy, and project management. Graduates may also apply for the university's optional 24-month practice training.
Students who pursue this degree can select to specialize in business intelligence systems, cybersecurity, and enterprise risk management. Some also decide on a dual degree option, which allows them to pair this degree with another master's in a field like health administration, global energy management, or accounting. All learners can take advantage of the school's Center for Information Technology Innovation, which hosts an annual tech-smart panel and convenes a cybersecurity consortium.
The university admits students for fall, spring, and summer start dates. To apply, potential students must submit college transcripts from all schools previously attended and either GMAT or GRE scores. Each candidate must also write four essays and include an up-to-date resume with their application.
Nova Southeastern University
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
The MS in information technology at Nova Southeastern University engages students in a 30-credit program that explores information systems, software methods, application technologies, and systems infrastructure. The program focuses on meeting organizational and societal needs through the identification, selection, application, and integration of appropriate computing technologies. Enrollees gain the practical skills necessary to solve IT problems.
Courses examine security and platform technologies and database systems through core instruction while allowing students to select their choice of concentrations. These include information assurance and cybersecurity management, data analytics, and application development. The university does not make learners choose a concentration, so those who do not may select a mix of classes as electives. In total, they complete 10 courses.
Full-time students typically earn their degree in 12-14 months; part-time students generally finish in 16-24 months. All faculty hold a Ph.D. and are known experts in the field. Upon graduation, students can articulate IT concepts and solutions as well as identify and summarize literature relevant to the field. They can also use current tools and platforms to ensure best practices. Program alumni frequently enter careers as web developers, information technology specialists, and software developers.
Each applicant for this online master's degree in information technology should have earned at least a 2.5 GPA in undergraduate studies but may submit a letter to explain their academic performance if they did not. While admission does not require a GRE score, applicants can submit them and other supplemental materials to bolster their application.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Information Technology and Systems Program?
While the specifics of any online master's in information technology program will vary according to the school and specialization chosen, programs in this field generally offer either a technical degree (for example, an MS in Information Technology) or a business degree with a technical focus (e.g., an MBA in Information Systems Management). Both types of degrees require completing foundational classes in computing and core classes in business systems and theory. The degrees are best suited for people with some background in computer programming or who have completed undergraduate degrees in computer science or engineering.
CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & SYSTEMS
|Concentration||Description||Careers This Concentration Prepares For|
|Data Analytics||This concentration trains students in probability theory, data mining, data visualization, and other techniques that will allow them to find solutions to business and societal problems by analyzing massive amounts of digital data.||Data scientists, analysts, and architects in a range of fields, including biotech and telecommunications.|
|Information Security||A cybersecurity focus prepares students to handle emerging digital security threats. In addition to database and network security concepts, this specialization generally provides advanced knowledge in biometric systems, cryptography, and risk management.||IT manager, information systems research scientist, and information security analyst.|
|IT Project Management||The project management concentration covers best practices for managing IT functions and business relationships, including resource planning, cost estimation, risk management, integration models, and agile software development practices.||IT project manager|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY
Program requirements for earning an information technology master's degree online will be different depending on the specialization and school. However, many programs share similar core classes; below is a sample curriculum:
- Financial Management of IT: This course introduces students to the basic technology, concepts, and tools used by financial managers to determine return on investment and make financial decisions, particularly regarding IT assets. Topics covered generally include budgeting, financial reporting, and proper use of accounting data. The skills learned in this course can be applied to careers as a IT financial manager, IT director, and chief information officer.
- Enterprise Data Management: The focus of this course is how to use data as a resource. Topics usually covered include emerging technology issues and development of database and repository administration skills. Some knowledge of database languages, such as Oracle or PL/SQL is often required. The skills developed through this course are used by data analysts and database managers in a wide range of fields, from large corporations and government agencies to small start-up technology businesses.
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Computing: This class explores the ethical responsibilities of programmers and the social and privacy concerns of citizens. Regulations affecting network operators are examined, as well as internal issues facing many technology companies, such as intellectual property and electronic marketing. The knowledge gained in this course is important for software engineers, software programmers, and IT leadership positions.
- Software and Security: This is typically a foundational course that reviews the concepts for overcoming insecure and vulnerable software. Coding techniques and programming languages are evaluated for effectiveness and deficiencies, providing a backbone of critical knowledge for all students interested in careers in corporate and small business IT departments.
- Capstone Project: Almost all master's programs require students to complete a written capstone project, which is similar in weight to a thesis. Capstone projects generally require research on a topic of the student's choosing and application of core concepts to a proposed solution to a problem. In some cases, a mandatory hands-on internship will take the place of a capstone project.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY?
The time it takes to complete master's in information systems online degree will depend on whether you choose to enter a program as a full-time or a part-time student. Most programs require anywhere from 32 to 48 credit hours. A full-time student can complete the required credits in a year and half, while some programs allow part-time students to take up to five years to earn their degree. The average completion time for most programs is between two and three years. Courses often allow learning at an individual pace, meaning you can log into classes on your own schedule. In some programs, cohort learning is a popular option. Cohort programs group students with similar career tracks together and put them on the same schedule of classes so they learn together.
CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER'S IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY PREPARES FOR
Depending on the concentration, many programs offering a master's in computer information systems online also prepare students for exams to earn professional credentials that can increase earnings. Two common certifications include the following:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Recognized by the Department of Defense and the U.S. National Security Agency, CISSP certification is often needed for positions such as security analyst, IT director, or chief information officer. In addition to passing an exam, earning a CISSP credential requires five years of work experience in a CISSP domain area, such as asset security or identity access and management. A master's degree in information systems and technology will reduce the required work experience by one year.
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): Issued by ISACA, an international professional association focused on information technology governance, CISA is a globally recognized designation for information systems audit professionals. In addition to passing the CISA exam, certification requires five years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security. An advanced degree in information systems can qualify as one to two years of the required work experience.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Information Technology and Systems Degrees
When choosing the best online master's in information systems, it is important to consider the school's accreditation status. Accreditation shows that the institution and the online master's in information technology have met rigorous standards set by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Both the DOE and CHEA are agencies that establish and implement educational policies and standards so that schools all across the country meet the same criteria for excellence. Each of these agencies hold educational institutions accountable and advocate for quality education, ensuring that your degree is worth the time and money you've invested.
Schools can be either regionally or nationally accredited. Programs with national accreditation are often considerably less expensive and will accept transfer units from a wider selection of schools. The majority of U.S. colleges are regionally accredited, and regional accreditation tends to have stricter qualifying standards, making it the accreditation type preferred by many licensing boards and employers. The best online master's in IT programs will have accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. For MBA programs in information technology, look for accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Institutional accreditation should be from an agency recognized by the DOE or CHEA. A list of all accredited schools can be found on both the DOE and CHEA websites.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Information Systems and Technology
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%|
|Computer Systems Analyst||2.6%|
|Computer Support Specialist||3.3%|
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|
|Computer Information Systems||$70,700||$110,000|
|Information Technology Management||$71,100||$110,000|
|Management Information Systems||$70,200||$108,000|
|Information Security and Assurance||$71,300||$98,300|
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)|
|Information Systems (IS) Manager||$61,379||$70,545||$83,945||$89,078|
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.
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)
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.
Financing Your Online Master's in Information Systems and Technology Program
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.