Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

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Updated January 9, 2023

A master's in information systems can set you up for leadership roles in business and technology. Read on to learn about the best information systems master's degrees.

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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 earned a median annual salary of $159,010 in 2021, projecting faster-than-average growth for this career from 2021-2031. High demand for these professionals is fueled by increases in cybersecurity measures and cloud computing. Organizations need skilled computer and information technology professionals to help expand and maintain 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 can work in various computer and information technology jobs, including information manager roles. Other potential careers include information security analyst, computer and information research scientist, and computer systems analyst.

The BLS projects faster-than-average growth 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, over $10,000 more than 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 tuition of $19,741 for the 2020-21 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.

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

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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 helps prepare students for in-demand, high-paying computer and information technology jobs. Computer and information systems managers earn a median annual salary of $159,010 in 2021. Computer and information research scientists earn $131,490 in median annual salary.

The BLS projects a 35% growth rate from 2021-2031 for information security analysts, which is six times the rate of 5% for all jobs. BLS projections also indicate that computer systems analysts should see average job growth in that same timeframe.

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 (2021-31): 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. 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 (2021-31): +21% | 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 (2021-31): +9% | 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 (2021-31): +35% | 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.

Top Five Master’s in Information Systems Degrees

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

#1 Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

New York University

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1831, NYU now enrolls more than 53,500 students and boasts an alumni base of 500,000-plus former students. 

Master of Science in Information Systems

New York University's master's degree in information science combines business and computer science courses to create a 13-course program to prepare future technology leaders. 

Courses include data mining for business analytics, robo advisors and systemic trading, introduction to cryptography, and natural language processing. The degree concludes with an information technology project in which students solve real-world business problems using IT solutions.

New students may transfer into the program from other computer science programs if they maintain current enrollment in good standing. To graduate, each enrollee must hold a 3.0 GPA or above and complete all academic requirements within five years of enrolling.

Applying to NYU

Applicants need excellent scores on the quantitative and analytical portions of the GRE. In addition, they must have As or Bs in all business and computer science courses and at least one year of relevant, real-world experience.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $18,666/term
  • Required Credits: 39
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$52,204
Out-of-state
$52,204
Retention Rate
90%
Admission Rate
21%
Students Enrolled
52,775
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins began as America's first research university. Today, the institution performs more than $3 billion worth of research in medicine, science, and engineering each year.

Master of Science in Information Systems

At Johns Hopkins, students can enroll in a STEM-designated master's program that blends business with technology. The program's classes meet at the school's Washington, D.C., location near Dupont Circle.

Students complete 10 business credits, 14 computer science credits, and 12 elective credits. They may take courses such as statistical analysis, AI: principles and business applications, big data machine learning, and deep learning with unstructured data.

Learners may also participate in extracurricular experiences like case competitions or consulting lab work. Upon completing the one-year program, graduates can pursue jobs as analysts, consultants, or developers. 

Applying to Johns Hopkins

Prospective applicants should attend an event or connect with an advisor online. On average, candidates hold an undergraduate GPA of 3.335 and less than one year of experience.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $2,215/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 1 year
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$54,160
Out-of-state
$54,160
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
11%
Students Enrolled
28,890
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

Boston University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in the heart of the city, BU enrolls more than 36,000 students from 130-plus countries in 300 programs. The school maintains about 10,000 faculty and staff members across its 17 colleges.

MS in Computer Information Systems

BU's master's program focuses on the business side of technology to prepare students for technology leadership roles in manufacturing, healthcare, or educational settings. 

Enrollees can pursue one of seven optional concentrations, including security, health informatics, or web application development. The school's center for reliable information systems and cybersecurity also offers students collaborative research opportunities.

This program requires strategy and management, business data and communication, and database design and implementation for business courses. Learners work on case studies and real-world projects in interactive settings. Students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher may conclude their program with thesis projects. 

Applying to BU

Each candidate should submit transcripts and two letters of recommendation, along with a personal statement, resume, and $85 application fee. BU does not require the GRE or GMAT for this program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition: $955/credit
  • Required Credits: 40
  • Program Length: 12-20 months
  • Delivery Format: Online, on campus, or hybrid
Average Tuition
In-state
$56,854
Out-of-state
$56,854
Retention Rate
92%
Admission Rate
20%
Students Enrolled
32,718
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#4 Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

FIU began in 1972 with 5,667 students — the largest-ever opening enrollment of a U.S. university. Since then, the school has grown to a total enrollment of 56,000 students and has achieved recognition for its diversity and research.

Master of Science in Information Systems

FIU's master's program prepares graduates to work at the intersection of technology and business administration. Applicants must already have backgrounds in one or more object-oriented programming languages. Once enrolled, students take a series of core courses and then choose one of three specialization tracks — business cybersecurity, business analytics, or digital transformation.

Courses include project management, information security management, and information systems strategies and government. The program concludes with a project-based capstone. Students proceed through the curriculum as a cohort and thus cannot transfer credits from other degrees.

Applying to FIU

Each applicant needs a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university. Prospective students with four-year business degrees, four years of professional experience, or graduate degrees with qualifying GPAs may opt out of the GRE or GMAT requirement.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $455/credit (non-resident), $990/credit (resident)
  • Required Credits: 33
  • Program Length: 12-14 months
  • Delivery Format: Hybrid (online and on campus)
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,836
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Master’s in Information Systems 2023

Northeastern University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Northeastern operates 14 campuses across Canada, England, and the U.S., plus an online learning component. Along with its academic programs, Northeastern supports extensive research in science and technology.

Master of Science in Information Systems

Aspiring technology leaders can enroll in Northeastern's master's degree, which combines business practices with technological advances. The program welcomes applicants with experience in business technology and offers a bridge option for non-STEM majors.

Once enrolled, students can choose concentrations — user experience, big data systems and analytics, general information systems, smart contracts, or intelligent systems. They may also combine their degrees with the Gordon Engineering Leadership certificate. This three-way mentoring program emphasizes engineering leadership from concept to market.

Students may enroll in up to nine credits per semester, but the program does not accept transfer credits. 

Applying to Northeastern

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field, submit a resume, and provide a statement of purpose. Northeastern does not currently require the GRE for admission to this program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Tuition: $1,740/credit
  • Required Credits: 32
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$54,360
Out-of-state
$54,360
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
20%
Students Enrolled
22,905
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

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 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 to pursue advanced 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 helps prepare 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.

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