Best Master’s in Information Systems 2022

| ComputerScience.org Staff Modified on May 20, 2022

Best Master’s in Information Systems 2022
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Information systems professionals manage, plan, and analyze computer and information systems activities for organizations. A master's in information systems prepares graduates to become computer and information systems managers, computer systems analysts, information security analysts, and computer and information research scientists.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer and information systems managers earn a median annual salary of $159,010, projecting faster-than-average growth for this career from 2020-2030. The BLS links this promising outlook to an increased demand for cybersecurity measures and cloud computing. Organizations need skilled computer and information technology professionals to help transition their operations online.

This guide explores reasons to earn a master's in information systems, what to expect from a typical program, and job opportunities for graduates.

Why Get an Information Systems Master's?

Information systems professionals work in many computer and information technology jobs, but the BLS reported 482,000 computer and information systems management jobs in the U.S. as of 2021. Other potential careers include information security analyst, computer and information research scientist, and computer systems analyst.

The BLS projects faster-than-average growth from 2020-2030 for computer and information technology occupations in general, driven by the demand for information security, cloud computing, and data collection and storage.

Prospective students may wonder, "Is a master's degree in computer information systems worth it?" Earning a master's in information systems takes energy, time, and money, but it also helps graduates stand out from the competition. A graduate degree can launch a new career for students with different academic or professional backgrounds.

Popular among people seeking a fast route to careers in computers, coding bootcamps take less time to complete than a master's degree. However, bootcamp graduates rarely qualify for the specialized jobs open to master's degree-holders. Below, we describe the benefits of earning a master's in information systems.

  • Career Growth: A master's in information systems qualifies students for advanced technical positions using specialized skills. It also opens the door to management and administrative positions with greater responsibilities.
  • Salary Potential: A graduate degree in information systems can lead to higher salaries. Payscale reported that information systems master's degree-holders earned an average annual salary of $87,000 as of May 2022, compared to $78,000 for those with bachelor's degrees in information systems.
  • New Skills: Master's in information systems programs develop in-demand enterprise data management, analytics, and information security skills. Many programs also provide a foundation in general business and management.

What to Expect From Master's in Information Systems Programs

Master's in information systems programs focus on information security, data analytics, business strategy, and cloud-based systems. Students gain decision-making, critical thinking, analytical, and technical data management skills.

How many years is an information systems master's degree? Most programs take two years or less to complete, typically requiring 30-45 credits. Cost expectations for the degree vary depending on school type, residency status, program length and format, and prestige. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that graduate students paid an average of $19,9792 for tuition and required fees in the 2019-20 academic year.

A typical curriculum includes core, elective/concentration, and project/capstone courses in enterprise data management, data mining for business intelligence, big data technologies, and strategic management of information systems. Some programs offer concentrations like business intelligence and analytics, security and information assurance, managing business operations, and project management.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from a master's in information systems degree.

Admission Requirements

Admission criteria for master's in information systems programs vary by school. Each applicant typically needs a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Programs may specify that candidates must possess undergraduate degrees in information systems or other related fields, with some requiring students to complete prerequisite courses.

Taking undergraduate information systems classes can increase applicants' chances of admission even if the program does not explicitly require them. Some schools prefer applicants with relevant professional experience in information systems.

Other common requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and acceptable GRE scores. Master's in information systems programs often request college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume or CV. Some programs require each finalist to complete an in-person or telephone interview.

Degree Options

Most master's in information systems programs offer a master of science (MS) in information systems. Some schools offer master of arts (MA) or master of business administration (MBA) degrees. MA and MS programs usually apply similar curricula to prepare learners for the same careers, while MBA in information systems programs focus more on business skills and theory.

Many master's in information systems programs offer concentrations in security and information assurance, business intelligence and analytics, and managing business operations. Some students pursue master's degrees in general computer science instead of specializing in the subfield of information systems. A general computer science master's degree offers a broader foundation in the field.

Comparing Information Systems and General Computer Science Degrees

While master's in information systems and general computer science master's degrees share some similarities, they also differ in some key ways. Computer science and information systems both fall under the computing discipline.

Students interested in a practical program focused on data organization, analysis, and storage may benefit from an information systems degree. A computer science degree provides a general foundation in advanced computer theory and may offer more varied career opportunities.

Below, we compare master's in information systems and master's in computer science programs to help prospective students choose the right degree.

Master's in Information Systems Master's in Computer Science
Length About 2 years About 2 years
Admission Requirements Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, acceptable GRE scores Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, acceptable GRE scores
Types of Classes Big data, data management, data mining, management of information systems Software architecture, machine learning, artificial intelligence
Skills Data analysis, data management, information systems management Programming, algorithms, software development
Potential Careers Computer and information systems manager, computer and information research scientist, information security analyst Computer and information research scientist, computer and information systems manager, software developer, programmer

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Popular Information Systems Courses

The curriculum for a master's in information systems degree varies by school. Most require core, elective/concentration, and project/capstone courses. Some common information systems classes include:

Data Mining for Business Intelligence
This class teaches data mining techniques to extrapolate valuable knowledge from big data. Topics include association rule mining, classification, visualization, and prediction using WEKA and XL miner software.
Enterprise Data Management
Students learn the foundations of database analysis, design, and execution. The course covers relational design, SQL, the entity-relationship model, and web-based database design using Oracle. Learners develop practical experience with database management systems and tools.
Strategic Management of Information Systems
This class explores strategic information systems knowledge in corporate settings. Students learn about strategic decision-making and analysis, along with critical and creative thinking for businesses.
Big Data Technologies
This practical course develops big data collection, storage, management, and processing skills. Issues include data management with SQL and NoSQL, distributed data storage, machine learning systems, and big data collection for business.
Information Systems Master's Project
Master's candidates research and write faculty-supervised reports relevant to current problems in the information systems field. Students can work with local organizations and may need to give oral presentations.

How Much Will a Master's in Information Systems Cost?

Prospective students may wonder, "Is a master's degree in computer information systems worth it?" Earning a graduate degree usually requires a significant financial investment. Each student needs to decide if earning a master's aligns with their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Master's in information systems tuition varies by school. Factors to consider include type of school (public or private), residency status (in state or out of state), program format (online, hybrid, or on campus), and level of prestige. Attending a public university and paying in-state tuition usually delivers the most affordable option. Private, prestigious schools often charge the highest rates.

When creating a budget, consider costs other than tuition, like textbooks, technology upgrades, and housing and transportation. Financing options for master's in information systems degrees include scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans. The following link provides more information about financial aid for computer science.

Jobs for Master's in Information Systems Graduates

A master's in information systems prepares students for in-demand, well-paying computer and information technology jobs. Computer and information systems managers earn a median annual salary of $159,010. Computer and information research scientists earn $131,490.

The BLS projects a 33% growth rate from 2020-2030 for information security analysts, another career path for master's in information systems graduates. BLS projections also indicate that computer systems analysts should see average job growth from 2020-2030.

The following careers require a bachelor's or master's degree. Earning professional certifications can also lead to career advancement.

These professionals coordinate and oversee organizations' computer-related issues. Each candidate needs a bachelor's degree at minimum, but many employers prefer applicants with graduate degrees. Computer and information systems managers need excellent business, analytical, decision-making, and organizational skills.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +11% | Median Annual Salary: $159,010

These positions require master's degrees in computer science or related fields. The BLS projects faster-than-average job growth for computer and information research scientists from 2020-2030. Typical duties may include solving advanced computing problems, developing software systems, designing and analyzing software experiments, and publishing research findings.

Required Education: Master's degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +22% | Median Annual Salary: $131,490

Professionals in these positions study computer systems and find ways to improve them. Sometimes called systems architects, computer systems analysts design new systems, analyze costs and benefits, test systems, and continually devise ways to improve efficiency. Many hold bachelor's degrees in computer-related fields.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +7% | Median Annual Salary: $99,270

The BLS projects faster-than-average growth for these professionals from 2019-2029. Information security analysts protect computer systems and networks from cyberthreats and cyberattacks. They need expertise in data encryption, security trends, and penetration testing. Major industries include computer systems design, finance, and insurance.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Job Outlook (2019-29): +33% | Median Annual Salary: $102,600

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

FAQ About Information Systems Master's Degrees

Is a master's degree in computer information systems worth it?

It takes time, effort, and money to earn a master's in information systems, but it can pay off. Payscale reported that as of May 2022, graduates with MS degrees in information systems earned an average annual salary of $87,000.

Can a master's in information systems degree get you a mechanical job?

A master's in information systems prepares graduates for information technology and computer jobs. Mechanical engineering graduates can pursue careers in information systems, but information systems graduates typically do not qualify for mechanical engineering positions.

What can I do with a master's degree in information systems?

Earning a master's in information systems prepares students for computer and information technology careers as computer and information research scientists, information security analysts, computer systems analysts, and computer and information systems managers.

How many years does it take to earn an information systems master's degree?

The time it takes to complete a master's in information systems varies by school, but a typical program takes two years or less. Some degrees take as little as 12 months.

Top Master's in Information Systems for 2022

Ranking the top master's in information systems programs requires identifying factors for prospective students' success. Our methodology considered academics, affordability, program availability, and reputation. Check out our rankings and the methodology linked below.

#1 Online College in Florida

University of South Florida-Main Campus

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in the heart of Tampa Bay, the main campus of The University of Southern Florida is highly innovative. USF is recognized as one of the most prolific patent producers in the nation. Over 50,000 students pursue degree programs at a USF campus. 

Master's in Business Analytics and Information Systems 

The master’s degree in business analytics and information systems is hosted under the USF school of information systems and management.

This degree is best for those seeking a career in project management, general management, and HR. Prospective students often have an extensive background in either business-related coursework or information systems. 

Full-time working professionals in Florida can take advantage of the Weekend Executive program program, while the Online Global program is offered synchronously, with classes occurring virtually in real-time.

Applying to USF

Official academic transcripts and standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT) are required, as well as a bachelor's degree. 

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: This program is accredited by theSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.
  • Tuition: $467/credit (in state); $913/credit (out of state)
  • Program Length: The Weekend Executive program is 16 months, Global Online program is 12 months.
  • Delivery Format: Weekend Executive is in-person, Global Online is 100% online, synchronous
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 35
#2 Online College in Florida

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Florida (UF) is located in Gainesville, the birthplace of Gatorade. The school’s mascots are named Albert Einstein Gator and Alberta Gator. 

Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations Management 

The Master of Science in Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) prepares students for jobs in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The four concentrations offered by the program are business analytics, data science, information technology, and supply chain management. Each of these concentrations comes with a choice of a business degree minor. The program offers students two options: a traditional master’s and a combination degree. 

The traditional master’s is an on-campus program that learners can complete in under two years. The combination degree is open to current UF undergraduate students, who may enroll with 16 dual credits that are counted as dual credits. 

Applying to UF

UF's traditional masters program takes both GMAT and GRE. The minimum GMAT score is 465. The overall UF minimum for GRE is 295. Learners need a cumulative 3.0 GPA and at least 60 credit hours to apply for the combination degree. 

Program at a glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $12,744/semester (in state); $30,130/ 24 credits (international)
  • Program Length: Two years or less
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 22
#3 Online College in Illinois

DePaul University

School Information
Location Chicago, Illinois
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

DePaul University is located in Chicago and has the distinction of being the nation’s largest Catholic university. The school is private, and its mascot is the Blue Demons or DIBS, which stands for Demon In a Blue Suit. DePaul uses a quarter-based academic calendar.

MS in Information Systems

MS in Information Systems is a degree from the college of computing and digital media (CDM). The program focuses on equipping students to bridge the disconnect between business and workplace IT operations.

The program provides the choice of four major electives from the following:

  • Project Management and Business Analysis
  • Analytics-Driven Decision Making
  • IT Governance and Legal Responsibilities
  • Data Management
  • Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • IT Leadership and Operations

Some of its degree completion requirements include maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and earning a C- grade minimum on all the courses of the degree program.

Applying to DePaul

Applicants need to send official transcripts showing a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale from an accredited college. International students must provide an English proficiency test.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $900/credit
  • Program Length: Program length not provided
  • Delivery Format: Students can choose 100% online, 100% on-campus, or a blended hybrid.
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 54
#4 Online College in Florida

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Florida International University (FIU) is a top-ranked public research university. It also serves a diverse community of students. FIU’s main campus is in Miami.

Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)

The Master of Science in Information Systems provides students with the technical skills for an IT career, and the business knowledge to attain high-level management roles. 

The program provides students with three tracks to choose from:

  • 12-month accelerated MSIS program
  • 14-month business analytics track
  • 14-Month business cybersecurity track

MSIS provides a hybrid format through a combination of weekend and online courses. Students do not need a technical undergraduate degree to be accepted. 

External learning opportunities with real-world projects are provided through FIU’s ATOM Think Tank.

Applying to FIU

Applicants are required to have a minimum upper-division GPA of 3.0 from a bachelor’s degree or equivalent obtained from an accredited four-year U.S. university. 

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $456/credit (in-state), $989/credit (out of state and international)
  • Program Length: 12 months or 14 months, depending on track
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid 
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 29
#5 Online College in Illinois

University of Illinois at Springfield

School Information
Location Springfield, Illinois
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 54%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in the heart of the Midwest, the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) is a public institution that prides itself on active learning, research, and civic engagement. The school's mascot is mythological hero Orion.

Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS)

The master of science in Management Information Systems is designed for managers and administrators to gain technical expertise. Students will also learn how to apply information technology to solve business problems.

Learners will explore System Development Life Cycle, supply chain logistics and risk mitigation strategies, process innovation, database design theory, and data mining for effective decision-making. 

MIS’ curriculum provides students with the following career opportunities upon graduation:

  • Data Analyst
  • Business Systems Administrator
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Database Administrator

The program is flexible; it can be taken on campus, online, or a combination of both.

Applying to UIS

Applicants need a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Undergraduate GPAs above 3.0 or a graduate degree from an accredited school exempt applicants from submitting GMAT or GRE scores.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $14,970/program (online)
  • Program Length: 12 months or more
  • Delivery Format: online, on campus, or hybrid.
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 44

Featured Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

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