2021 Best Online Masters in Information Systems Programs

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Pursuing an online masters in information systems can help you learn innovative technology, communications, and business practices and skills that are applicable in a variety of industries.

Best Online Masters in Information Systems Programs

Due to the broad nature of this program, there is less coding than a computer science degree and a greater focus on the larger implications of working with technology systems.

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In an information systems masters program, you can enhance your problem-solving abilities while you study working within the technological structure of an organization.

Online Masters in Information Systems Programs

Online Masters in Information Systems Programs

A Master of Science in Information Systems is a combination of study that includes business, communications, and computer sciences. Pursuing this degree can help you enhance your skills in the technology and business sector.

As you learn about software principles, development, and information distribution, you can become well-versed in adapting to and solving technological changes and issues in an organization.

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You can also learn to maintain a well-functioning electronic system for employees and to ensure any impact on the business is handled professionally and efficiently. This hands-on program focuses on problem-solving and analytical analysis of real-world business issues.

This degree is valuable in a variety of sectors. Graduates may pursue careers in records management, project management, technology consulting, information systems management, or IT management. With a masters in info systems, you also have the ability to choose a specialization to accompany your degree.

Computer Information Systems

Computer Information Systems programs

This specialization focuses on aligning the skills of business leadership and advanced programming. Computer information systems programs put a greater focus on the computer science aspect of the degree.

This specialization is highly applicable to management careers that focus on maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of a technological system in an organization. These types of managers can upgrade the systems through advanced programming or manage the IT sector of the workplace.

The courses in a computer information systems specialization focus on programming, project management, computer networking, information security, and database design. If you prefer a technical-focused learning experience, you might consider a masters in computer information systems.

Management Information System

Management Information System program

A management information system specialization has a greater focus on the business, communications, and database management aspect of information systems. This specialization also emphasizes relationship-building and communications.

You can learn how to efficiently maintain the software that oversees the operations of an organization and how to gather information from these systems. Using that information, you can report data and make decisions on how to improve the planning and control of an organization. You can also learn how to efficiently store this information.

This program typically has courses that focus on communications, data management, business ethics, hardware and software foundations, data security, and information retrieval.

Information Systems Careers and Salaries

Information Systems Careers and Salaries

Because of the diversity and broad focus of this degree, you may find yourself working in a multitude of industries. Information systems managers, for instance, are required in nearly every sector.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 10% through 2029. This is much faster than the average growth for all occupations.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers, Information Sector $166,770
Computer and Information Systems Managers, Computer Systems Design and Related Services $157,580
Computer and Information Systems Managers, Finance and Insurance $155,760
Computer and Information Systems Managers, Management Companies $152,480
Computer and Information Systems Managers, Manufacturing $150,930
Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830
Top Executives $107,680
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators $98,860
Management Analysts $87,660

These occupations involve extensive communications, business management, and technological skills. There is a growing need for experts in the domain of computer and information technology, especially as businesses continue to switch to digital platforms and digital information storage.

Master’s in Information Systems Curriculum

Master’s in Information Systems Curriculum

The courses you may encounter in information systems graduate programs can be diverse, with a focus on communications, business, computer sciences, and technology studies.

You may encounter the following types of courses in an online master’s in information systems program:

  • Business Communications: You’ll learn about the methods and functions necessary for communication in the business sector.
  • Healthcare Information Systems: If you’re looking to work in the healthcare industry following graduation, this course can help you learn the ethics and practices of managing and maintaining healthcare information systems.
  • Platform and Software Design: You’ll learn how to build working models for information storage, integration, and retrieval. This course has a greater programming focus.
  • Business Foundations for IT: You’ll learn the necessary solutions to solve IT issues within business organizations. This course also supports skill-building in developing business strategies that are supported by the technology systems of the organization.
  • Security Management: This course looks at information security and how to implement secure practices across various technology platforms and software. You’ll also learn the skills necessary for system administrators and technical managers.
  • Enterprise Data Management: This course looks at database design and development for enterprises. You’ll learn some basic programming and web design as well as how day-to-day operations can be supported through these databases.
  • Operations Management: Organizations require specific operations to reach their objectives, and this course focuses on preparing you to better develop, manage, and integrate operations from a management point of view.
  • Advanced Logistics: If you wish to be involved in the management, control, and flow of processes in a company, this course may interest you. Using information organization and studying relationships of procurement, you’ll learn how to be better prepared for a logistics role following graduation.
  • Big Data Technologies: Through this course, you’ll learn about collecting, storing, and managing data for businesses and large institutions. You can also learn how data dashboards are used in business and how to store and distribute data for business growth.
  • Strategic Management of Information Systems: This course helps you develop the necessary analytical skills to solve information systems issues and use IS efficiently in a business setting.

In addition to core courses, some programs also require an internship or the creation and presentation of a project.

How to Choose an Online Information Systems Graduate Program

Online Information Systems Graduate Program

Choosing the information systems graduate program that’s right for you can require research and consideration. Here are some things to consider when choosing which program to enroll in:

  • Distance. Is the program online or in-person? Do you need to travel to attend the program? Is there a cost required for travel?
  • Specialization. Is there an information systems specialization that interests you? Does your prospective school offer it?
  • Accreditation. Is the school accredited? Will your degree be credible and recognized nationally?
  • Financials. What fees are involved in applying? Does the school offer scholarship opportunities? Will you be able to get financial aid?
  • Flexibility. Are you able to take a part-time or full-time courseload? Can you schedule your classes according to your own personal obligations?
  • Networking. Will there be networking opportunities at this school? Does this school have any agreements with employers for internship opportunities? Does the school offer faculty support for students?
  • Additional requirements. Does this school require an internship, a thesis, or a final project? Are you able to commit to this part of the programming?

Your reason for choosing a school and program is personal, and it’s strategic for you to have answers to your questions prior to enrollment.

Admissions Requirements

Masters in Information Systems Programs admissions

Though admission requirements vary from school to school, you may encounter some standard expectations when you are searching for an M.S. in Information Systems program to apply to.

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 is generally required
  • Official transcripts from previous schools
  • Letters of recommendation or statement of purpose

Some schools ask for your resume or work experience. If you are looking for a specialization in computer information systems, you may be asked to present competency in this domain.

Accreditation

Masters in Information Systems Programs accreditation

The accreditation status of your school of choice is an important factor to consider. Regional accreditation ensures that a school is credible, and it is often a qualifier to determine transfer credits’ eligibility. In addition, employers often look to hire graduates from accredited institutions since accreditation is a sign of high quality education and training.

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The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has a directory of accrediting organizations as well as a directory of accredited schools. Institutions accredited by any of these organizations meet the high standard of quality education expected by CHEA.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Masters in Information Systems Programs financial aid

If you are planning to pursue financial aid for your graduate program, there are a few options you can consider.

Firstly, your school may offer scholarships or credit for exemplary grades in your undergraduate degree. If you are working, there’s a chance your employer may offer financial assistance to help advance your skill set with a graduate degree. You may also find aid through federal aid or state aid programs.

It’s helpful to begin your journey by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you complete the FAFSA, you’ll be given an overview of the steps involved to get government aid for your school year, depending on your eligibility. It’s also strategic to keep any application deadlines in mind.

Information Systems Professional Organizations

Information Systems Professional Organizations

Being a part of a professional organization can be an excellent resource to have. It may offer networking opportunities as well as free workshops and professional growth events. It can also help connect you with aid and assistance for your professional life.

If you graduate with an online masters in information systems, here are a few professional organizations you may want to be a part of:

While there are numerous benefits to becoming a member of a professional organization, it is not mandatory.

Is Information Systems a Good Masters Degree?

Information Systems Masters Degree

Yes, information systems is a good masters degree for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10% job growth for computer and information systems managers through 2029, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations.

The job market for computer and information technology professionals in general is growing as well. These occupations are expected to experience 11% growth over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

With an information systems masters degree, you can develop dynamic and broad skills and knowledge in this field. This degree can open the door to job opportunities in a variety of industries and sectors.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Information Systems?

Masters in Information Systems careers

A masters in information systems is a very dynamic degree, and info systems professionals are needed in nearly every sector and industry.

Roles in this domain include information systems manager, information security analyst, records manager, database administrator, chief information officer, and technical consultant manager.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for individuals with advanced training in information systems is growing faster than average as the demand for digital platforms and cybersecurity increases.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Information Systems Online?

Masters in Information Systems Online

If you are attending a 36 credit hour program as a full-time student, then it may be completed in 1 year if no thesis is required. In order to complete this type of program in 1 year, summer enrollment may be necessary as well.

A thesis requirement can add some additional time to completion. Attending part-time can also take longer. A masters in information systems program that involves additional credit hours may take longer to complete as well.

What’s the Difference Between Information Systems vs. Computer Science?

Here are some key differences between information systems and computer science:

Information Systems Computer Science
  • Greater focus on practical problem solving
  • Often implements IT solutions
  • Studies involve lots of business knowledge, analysis, and theory
  • Heavier focus on theory, mathematics, and programming languages
  • Often designs IT solutions
  • Studies involve lots of coding, programming, and software and database design

Both degrees can lead to career paths with similar salaries.

What’s the Difference Between an MS in Information Systems vs. Information Technology?

Here are a few differences that can help you determine which degree is the best choice for you:

MS in Information Systems MS in Information Technology
  • Focuses on the systems that manage databases
  • Involves studying theory, design, records management, and problem-solving using data
  • Applicable to database administration, records management, and business analyzation
  • Focuses on the technology within the systems themselves
  • Involves studying databases, software, hardware, and technological networks
  • Applicable to IT management and cybersecurity roles

Your individual strengths and career goals can help you decide which is the best degree path for you.

Is Getting a Masters in Information Systems Worth It?

Getting a Masters in Information Systems

Yes, getting a masters in information systems is worth it for many professionals. This degree can help you gain advanced knowledge and a competitive edge in an ever-growing industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 10% over the next ten years. This is much faster than the average growth predicted for all occupations.

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Experts in this field are needed in nearly every sector. Graduates tend to pursue careers as chief information officers, computer and information research scientists, database administrators, and information systems managers, making an information systems degree worth it for many graduates of these programs.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Information Systems Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Information Systems Management. The program requires students to complete 30 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, GMAT or GRE test scores, and 2 letters of recommendation.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University

Bellevue University offers a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. Students must choose one of the following concentrations: Database, Software Development, Data Science, or Cybersecurity. To graduate, students must obtain 36 credit hours. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado State University

Colorado State University

Colorado State University offers a Master of Computer Information Systems. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours. A maximum of 12 qualifying credits may be transferred into the program. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and GMAT or GRE scores.

Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel University offers an online Master of Science in Information Systems. The program requires students to complete 45 credit hours to graduate. Classes are 10 weeks long.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. A letter of recommendation, official transcripts, and an essay must be submitted when applying.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Georgia College

Georgia College

Georgia College offers an online Master’s in Management of Information Systems. Students must complete 30 credit hours to graduate.

Those interested in the program must have an undergraduate degree from any field. GMAT or GRE scores are typically required, but students may apply to have them waived if they already have a master’s degree or significant professional work experience.

Georgia College & State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Marist College

Marist College

Marist College offers a Master of Science in Information Systems. Students may add a specialization in Business Analytics, Information Systems Management, or Computer Networks and Security. Those interested in the program must submit college transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement about their career objectives.

Marist College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a Master’s in Information Systems. The program requires students to pick between eight different specializations and to complete a final capstone project in order to graduate.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and need to submit 2 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

Northwestern University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. To graduate, students must complete 33 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and either a GMAT score of 550 or a GRE score of 305.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Strayer University

Strayer University

Strayer University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Information Systems. To graduate, students must complete 12 courses that are 11 weeks long. Students may also add a concentration to their degree. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher to be eligible for the program.

Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Alabama – Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama—Birmingham offers an online program for a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. The program can often be completed in a year.

Students can add a concentration in Cyber Security Management, IT Management, or Business Analytics. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, a personal statement, and 3 letters of recommendation.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers a Masters in Information Systems. To graduate, students must complete 33 credit hours.

A concentration in Business Intelligence, IT Organizational Management and Leadership, or Project Management may be added. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.0 or higher to receive conditional admission.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Michigan – Dearborn

University of Michigan Dearborn

The University of Michigan—Dearborn offers a Master of Science in Information Systems. The program consists of 7 core courses and 3 electives.

The school offers rolling admission, allowing applicants to apply at any time. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and GMAT or GRE scores from a test taken no later than 5 years ago.

The University of Michigan – Dearborn is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Master’s in Information Systems Security program.

The program consists of 31 credit hours focused on Cyber Security and Information Assurance. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be submitted to the school.

The University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wilmington University

Wilmington University

Wilmington University offers a Master of Science in Information Systems Technology. The program requires students to complete 12 courses that can be taken online.

A number of concentration options are open for students to choose from. Those interested in the program must submit official transcripts and a code of conduct policy form with their application.

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Wright State University

Wright State University

Wright State University offers a Master of Information Systems. The program is designed to allow students to finish the degree within a year. While classes are offered online, students are required to spend 4 weekends on campus. Interested applicants may apply online with official transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores.

Wright State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Masters Degree in Information Systems Online

Masters Degree in Information Systems Online

Earning your masters degree in information systems online, whether it’s an online MIS degree or an online CIS degree, can often enable you to complete your program at your own convenience. The flexibility of online programs can also enable you to structure your course load around your professional and personal obligations.

Professionals with a masters in information systems are essential to nearly every sector and industry. If you’re ready to further your training in this in-demand sector, you can start by exploring online information systems masters programs from accredited universities.

The sooner you find the program that best aligns with your professional goals, the sooner you can begin advancing your expertise in this growing, lucrative field.

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Claudia Amendola Alzraa
WRITTEN BY
Claudia Amendola Alzraa
Claudia has a Master's in Library and Information Studies, a Bachelor's in Education, and a Bachelor's with Honors in English and Philosophy. With a history working in Special Education, Claudia is an advocate for diversified and equitable education, and student success initiatives.