Best Master’s in Information Systems (MIS) Online Degrees

If you want to take your knowledge of business, computers, and information technology to the next level, a master’s degree in information systems online might be a great fit for you. This page highlights the best programs for 2021 and the rewarding careers they can lead to.

Online Information Systems Master’s Degrees

If you are reading this, you are likely someone who has an interest in computers, technology, or information systems in general. What you may not know is that it is possible to receive a degree for your passion that can take your career to the next level. Pursuing an online master’s degree in information systems can be daunting, and you may have a bunch of questions about the admissions process, costs, curriculum, and which schools can provide you with the training to land that dream job when you graduate. While these are stressful things to consider, have no fear. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about online master’s in information systems (MIS) programs, including some of the best programs for remote learners in 2021. Keep reading if you’re ready to get on your way toward a rewarding career in a quickly growing field.

College Spotlights: Best Online Master’s in Information Systems Programs in 2021

There are many great master’s in information systems online programs out there, but our list of three top-programs here will help you narrow your search and get you started. We’ve included only accredited and affordable MIS online degree programs so you can advance your career without taking on a serious financial burden. We also picked programs that offer you convenient flexibility so you can continue to handle a job, a social life, and familial obligations while completing your degree. This list is a preview of our full school rankings page for online master’s in information systems, which will be arriving shortly in 2021. Please check back for the updated list of top programs.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

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CMU offers one of the best online master’s degrees in information systems today. Students can take courses part-time or full-time, either completely online or in hybrid formats. This curriculum helps students develop advanced knowledge of strategic and innovative management tools that use the latest technologies to help businesses achieve their goals.

Core classes at CMU include telecommunications management, object-oriented programming in java, IT project management, database management, and e-business technology and management. Distance students can tailor the program to further fit their academic and professional needs with an extensive list of electives.

Prospective CMU information technology master’s students need to submit an online application form, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and an updated resume. Applicants may also submit optional supplemental materials such as a video interview, additional essay, and GRE or GMAT scores. CMU master’s students typically take 18 units per semester at $535 per unit. Degree-seekers need 144 units to graduate.

Florida State University

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FSU offers one of the top master of science in information technology programs in the country, where students develop strong foundations in essential IT areas, including user experience design, information systems, data management, information architecture, and mobile information systems.

This flexible degree requires 32 semester hours for graduation, including 12 semester hours of core classes and 20 semester hours of electives. Available electives at FSU that will help you shape this degree to fit your needs include advanced online searching, design, and production of networked multimedia, and website development and administration.

Prospective students must have prior related coursework and work experience, as well as a supportive technology-focused academic course history. Applications must include a current resume, statement of purpose, official transcripts. The GRE is optional for students applying for spring, summer, and fall 2021 semesters. Distance students pay $1,076 per credit at FSU.

Drexel University

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Online learners today can take advantage of the online master’s in information systems program at Drexel University. Required classes include web systems and architecture, human-computer interaction, and software project management. Learners also choose for electives such as prototyping the user experience, managing health informatics projects, and security engineering.

Prospective online MIS students must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Applications must include official transcripts, one letter of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an updated resume. Incoming students may transfer up to nine credits toward this degree to save time and money. In total, degree-seekers need to complete 45 credits for graduation. Unless students receive alumni or military discounts, online learners pay $1,342 per credit.

Advantages of Earning a Master’s in Information Systems Online

When it comes to understanding strategic business strategies and organizational behavior, an online MIS degree program will help you develop a skill set that may be far beyond what you can get from a bachelor’s program. Graduate programs offer a unique combination of business, management, and technology training that will position you to advance in your current role or make the jump to another career path.

Whether you have a bachelor’s degree in a technology-based field or not, a master’s degree in information systems online will allow you to develop advanced skills in IT project management, database design, network communications, and information security. The great news is that most, if not all, of your degree requirements, can be completed remotely from home or just about anywhere with an internet connection. The flexibility and convenience of an online master’s in information systems can get you on a path to a successful IT career in less time than you may think. Let’s take a look at two of the best advantages of earning an online master’s degree in information systems.

  1. Salary and Job Prospects

    Professionals with high-level management and director roles in the IT world typically need a master’s degree and substantial work experience to be contenders. A master’s in information systems can position you for jobs in computer and information systems management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earn a median annual wage of $146,360. The outlook for information systems professionals in 2021 looks especially bright, too. According to CIO.com, information systems professionals who specialize in information security are among the top 10 most in-demand tech professionals. These professionals can also earn as much as $213,000 per year.

  2. Career Building and Advancement

    If you’re already working in an information technology role, a master’s degree will help you become a more credible authority in your area with advanced problem-solving, team leadership, and management training. You’ll be more likely to advance in your current role, secure a leadership or management-level position, and increase your earning potential without having to make significant career changes.

What You’ll Learn in a Master’s in Information Systems Program

Generally speaking, a master’s in information systems will help you bridge two often separated worlds: information technology and real-world, practical business applications. To do this, both core and elective courses in these graduate programs offer a combination of advanced training in information management, telecommunications technology, business savvy, data analytics, and network administration. You’ll also develop useful knowledge in areas like web analytics, digital forensics, social media, and project management.

Aside from foundational knowledge in the field, the particular information systems program you attend will have its own strengths that make that particular program unique. In this way, your training and understanding of the field will be shaped by those qualities. Here’s a list of common classes for online information systems master’s students so you can get a good idea of what to expect in terms of curriculum and content.

Core Courses in Online MIS Degree Programs

  • Application Development and Engineering

    Students in this course learn how to solve real-world issues using the latest software engineering tools and methods. Professors ensure that master’s students study a variety of UX techniques, data models, visual interface design principles, programming languages, and productivity tools to handle some of the most complex issues that crop up in app development.

  • Python Programming and Data Science Engineering

    Using the Python programming language, students study a variety of essential tools and techniques commonly used in the field today. The course covers space efficiency, linear and nonlinear regression, numerical optimization, fixed data types, vector manipulations, and more. Python is also used to explore math and science algorithm manipulations, time series forecasting, text analytics, big data processing, and social network analysis.

  • Data Management

    Learners explore the construction of information systems while focusing on data for business applications. Professors typically cover other major components in this area from a data perspective, including entity-relationship and object approaches, alternative data models and relational design, personal computer application design, Internet databases, and data normalization.

  • Ethics, Teamwork, and Collaborations

    This business-minded course helps students focus on how leaders can create effective teams within organizations. Learners focus on ethical outcomes in personal and organizational projects as well as building teams based on individuals’ skills. The ultimate goal of the class is to help master’s students develop the ability to create, monitor, and shape collaborative teams that serve the organization and projects at hand in business settings.

  • Business Analytics and Intelligence

    Professionals in business today must make informed decisions based on all available data. This class teaches you how to utilize real-time analytics to get further insight into business performance with hands-on learning experiences and widely used analysis tools. The course helps learners develop a foundational understanding of predictive analysis tools, big data, visualizations, and data management.

Specialization Paths for Your Online MIS Degree

There are many specializations available to you within information systems and information technology. Which concentrations your school offers depends on their faculty’s strengths, departmental history, and access to resources. Concentrations help you develop a more focused skill set within a particular field and can help your resume stand out from the crowd in the competitive job market. Here’s a quick description of five common concentrations for master’s students in information systems programs.

  • Business Intelligence and Analytics

    A concentration like this is one of the best ways for you to prepare to be a technology-focused professional with a successful career in the business world. You’ll learn how to make business-minded, analytical decisions based on relevant data and industry-adopted tools. You’ll also develop advanced skills in areas including predictive analytics, big data, visualizations, and various sources of metrics.

  • Digital Enterprise Systems

    This concentration helps you develop essential IT skills that are useful in the business world, including big data analytics, next-generation ERP, and cloud systems. You’ll also acquire analytical skills using visualizations and data management. Many schools also incorporate into this specialization some instruction in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and more.

  • Risk Management and Enterprise Security

    Intended for students planning to pursue careers in government or business, this concentration provides you with leadership skills needed for the top jobs in the risk, security, and assurance community. Coursework typically includes instruction in crisis management and business continuity, operational and financial risk analysis, and enterprise risk assessment and mitigation.

  • Health Informatics

    Online information systems master’s students in this concentration focus on the processing, collection, and storage of health data. Using the latest health electronic applications, learners develop the necessary skills working with biomedical databases, health records privacy standards, and related medical technologies. Required coursework includes topics in information systems analysis and design, information structures with Python and Java, and IT management and strategy.

  • Web Application Development

    With this specialized curriculum, you’ll acquire fundamental and advanced skills to work with client- and server-side web applications. Students focus on cutting edge technologies and programming languages, including CSS, Ruby on Rails, HTML5, AJAX, jQuery, and more. Upon completion of a master’s in information systems with a concentration in web application development, degree-holders can continue to learn and adapt to new and emerging systems, standards, and technologies that are developed in their area of the field.

Accreditation Standards for Online Master’s in Information Systems Degrees

The college or university you decide to attend should hold accreditation at the regional or national level. In sum, accreditation is awarded by a recognized reviewing agency for those academic institutions that meet their educational standards for excellence. Accreditation ensures that the credentials you earn will help you advance your career and be worth your hard–earned tuition dollars. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) offers a complete list of regional accrediting organizations.

Regional accreditation is considered the gold standard and is usually awarded to academically focused schools that offer a wide range of degrees in traditional academic majors. National accreditation is more career- and skills-centered and commonly possessed by vocational and trade schools. In your case, whichever program you choose for a master’s in information systems online, be sure that your school has regional accreditation.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Information Systems

Graduates with an online master’s degree in information systems find themselves in IT leadership positions across all areas of the field. Degree-holders can locate employment in nonprofits and the public and private sectors, including roles with the government, higher education institutions, IT consultancy firms, software houses, telecom companies, and charity organizations.

The combination of managerial and organizational training, coupled with technical skills in information systems, readies you for high-paying jobs as IT managers, web developers, database administrators, computer systems analysts, and many more. Many professionals today earn $90,000 or more per year, depending on their position and level of work experience. Most of the higher-level positions require you to hold a master’s degree and are out of reach for graduates with training at the bachelor’s level. Here is a list of different career options you can choose from when you earn a master’s degree in information systems.

Computer Systems Analyst

Sometimes referred to as systems architects, computer systems analysts develop solutions for organizations’ computer systems, hardware, and software, and infrastructure to make them more efficient. An online master’s degree in information systems helps these professionals acquire the necessary business and IT knowledge to make the best financial and technological decisions for their companies.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$55,180 $90,920 $147,670

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Computer and Information Systems Managers

These managers, sometimes called information technology managers, serve as information technology project managers in business settings. They determine the technology needs and goals of an organization and develop the necessary plans to make it happen. In addition to advanced technology and business sense, they need excellent interpersonal skills so they can communicate their strategies to other employees and top executives.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$87,480 $146,360 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Computer Network Architect

These professionals design and build data communication networks. They may focus on building smaller projects, like local area networks or complex cloud infrastructure that serves dozens of customers at once. Architects also make sure that computer networks work smoothly and may need to troubleshoot issues as customers encounter problems. These roles typically require you to be an excellent communicator with strong presentation skills, especially when working within larger organizations. While a bachelor’s degree may help you qualify for entry-level positions in this area of the field, many employers prefer network architects to possess a master’s degree with some business training.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,770 $112,690 $168,390

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Web and Application Developer

One of the fastest-growing areas of the IT field, web and application development is a popular career choice for master’s degree-holders in information systems. While many employers are open to hiring developers with a high school diploma or bachelor’s, a master’s degree ensures that you have the business knowledge and technology skills to handle top-tier management and leadership roles in this area. You could be leading development teams that focus on software for products in just about any consumer market imaginable.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$39,550 $88,240 $142,080

Source: PayScale, 2019

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

These administrators are often focused on cloud-based systems. Both small businesses and large corporations rely on these professionals to manage their servers, manage telecommunication networks, determine their needs for software and hardware, upgrade and repair networks, and optimize their network’s performance. Master’s degree-holders have an advantage in these roles, as many employers expect their administrators to possess essential business knowledge and technological skills to keep up with the latest advancements in cloud-based systems and business-centered networks.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$52,370 $88,240 $132,520

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Your Online Master’s in Information Systems

Pursuing a graduate degree can be a costly endeavor for just about anyone. Every prospective student needs to come up with some kind of financial plan so they can make smart choices and avoid taking on too much debt. Thankfully there are many financial aid options available to you. From private and school scholarships to fellowships, work-study programs, and employer tuition assistance, there’s likely a reliable financial path that will help you reach your academic goals.

Many master’s programs today offer their students merit- or need-based scholarships through graduate school. On the other hand, some master’s programs only accept the number of students to which they can offer full or partial funding for their degrees. It’s important that you spend some time checking out the financial aid options through your school before looking for external funding options. For more information on financial aid options and funding your master’s program, check out our financial aid page.

What Your Online Master’s in Information Systems Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

30

$907

$27,460

Purdue University Global

60

$420

$25,200

University of Cincinnati Online

30

$761

$14,902

Q&A with an Information Systems Expert

Tiffany Kayar is a public relations professional with nearly ten years of experience across sales, branding, marketing, and media. She holds a master of information technology from the iSchool and an honors bachelor of science with distinction in cognitive science and media technology from the University of Toronto.

Q. For those with master’s degrees in information systems, what is one of the major or most vital roles you see these professionals doing today and in which industries based on your experience? In other words, what can our readers expect to get into professionally in the coming years after they earn this degree based on what you’ve seen?

A. Most vital roles I see today are UX/UI design, mobile applications, coding, social media, data privacy and policies, dissemination of information to the public with new technologies (think outside the traditional realm of IT in terms of infrastructure support and corporate tech solutions). Readers can expect professionally over the next coming years to get into the new realms of media and be prepared for understanding the bridge of new technologies.

Q. What are you working on today in your current role/job that this degree has prepared you to take on? What kinds of skills specifically are at use in your day-to-day work-life?

A. Right now, I am in Public Relations. Prior experience includes technology in digital and social media. The degree has prepared me to understand all the implications of IT from traditional to digitization, hardware to software, and system support to system creation. In day–to–day work–life, understanding the transmission of data and how information is stored, communicated, transmitted, utilized is a critical component of how I develop Public Relations strategies, including wire releases, digital communications, and also recommendations/analysis of policy and if data utilized is respecting governing policies.

Q. What is something you wish you knew going into this master’s program in terms of course content, academic expectations, or the application process?

A. I wish I knew there would be a heavy focus on Library Sciences in the IT realm, as that does not interest me as much. I also recommend looking for modern approaches to this program as well, again making use of the perspective of digitization. There is also a lot of creativity involved in IT if you are working on design (UX, UI), development (coding), or even architecture solutions in the traditional sense. Don’t feel boxed into the conception of IT and think about the widely applicable broad use of the subject matter because it will be critical and an expanding area of focus over the next 5-10 years.

Q. What was your hybrid learning experience like when you were working on this master’s degree? Any degree-specific or online learning tips for our readers who will be enrolling in a similar program soon?

A. Hybrid learning is really beneficial, with the remote aspect to connect with many students across a wide geographic range. And if you are also professionally working at the same time, the flexibility is invaluable. You also get hands-on with IT in a real-world independent setting online, so that’s an advantage as well. Having a mix of being in-person is also supportive for collaboration, engagement, and getting the full experience of leveraging the dynamic of the class and organic fluid conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Master’s in Information Systems Programs

What are the admissions requirements for the online master’s in master’s in information systems?

The specific admissions requirements that you’ll need to apply for a master’s in information systems will vary from school to school. Be sure that you know the exact details for each application you submit, as many schools will discard applications if you fail to include the required documents. Some master’s programs may require you to submit transcripts that reflect a course history containing particular areas of study, while others may ask that your undergraduate degree is in a certain field like computer information systems.

  • All college transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • An updated resume or CV
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official English proficiency exam results (for international students)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (requirements vary among programs)
  • Interview (requirements vary among programs)

How long will it take to finish my master’s in information systems online?

Most online master’s in information systems require you to complete 30-60 credits. While that might seem like a big difference, most full-time online learners complete their programs in two years or less. This online program at Boston University requires learners to finish 40 credits, which takes their graduate students 18-24 months to complete. Part-time students, like those at the University of Missouri-St. Louis can expect to spend three or four years finishing their degree. Online programs may offer a self-paced or accelerated learning format, which can often help students complete course requirements more quickly than if they were in a traditional, on-campus program.

Can I earn a master’s in information systems 100% online, or will I need to go to campus periodically?

As you search for online master’s programs in information systems, you’ll come across both fully online and hybrid programs. Some schools may require you to complete a for-credit internship at an approved location before you graduate, therefore requiring an in-person component. In other cases, online students may not need to set foot on campus and complete all their requirements remotely. In these cases, you might need to complete a final capstone project or a traditional master’s thesis, in addition to all required coursework, remotely in order to graduate.