Since information systems covers a lot of ground, there are multiple disciplines that can be studied to fulfill related positions. Typically, colleges and universities will offer a Master of Science in Information Systems and Management Information Systems.

While information systems is a broad overview of types of data and the hardware and software utilized in these careers, the latter will focus more on the internal aspect of the organization and it will use information to form decisions.

What to Expect in an Online Master's of Information Systems Program

There will usually be specializations for students to customize their degree, like topics in business intelligence, enterprise, computer security, mobile programming, and IT management.

Due to the nature of working with hardware and software in information systems programs, there are many online opportunities to pursue a degree. This makes it easier for those that already hold an undergraduate degree to further their education while maintaining their full-time job.

Many programs offered by universities will let students complete coursework at their own pace as long as they meet deadlines, or there is an ability to also take on-campus courses if the student chooses and they are located near the university. Other programs to look for are Master's degrees within computer science or business administration that have an information systems or information management concentration.

Featured Online Data Science Programs

Master of Science in Applied Data Science Program at Syracuse University Syracuse University
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MS in Data Science and Policy Program at Johns Hopkins AAP Johns Hopkins AAP
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Online Master's Programs

George Washington University

Master of Science in Information Systems Technology

This Master's degree from the College of Business is geared toward solving problems and creating long-term strategies within information technology. As it is a graduate degree, the focus will be more on managerial and supervisor roles, so students looking to advance in their career should consider this program. It is recommended that prior coursework in database management and programming have been completed, but there is an ability to credit for those classes before taking the full Master's program. This is a hybrid program, meaning students can either take courses online or on-campus as the curriculum is the same.

There is a half-day residency for the program at least one week prior to beginning. Students looking to transfer into the program can utilize up to six credit hours. Part-time students will typically take one to two classes each semester, and those interested in taking on-campus courses will typically have them scheduled in the late afternoon or evening hours. 33 total credit hours are needed to complete the program, and it typically takes from 30 months up to four years for part-time students and 18 to 24 months for full-time students.

University of Illinois at Springfield

Master of Science in Management Information Systems

The MIS department has a graduate degree that can be taken traditionally on-campus, online, or a combination of the two. Faculty has real-world experience working with information systems, and the curriculum is identical in either format. Not all courses can be completed in each semester with only a handful available in the summer. Students will take many of the same courses, but there is an elective in Data Mining for Business Analytics or Information Security. There are two ways to finalize the program - students either complete a Master's thesis or they will have a graduate project to complete.

After completing the program, students will be able to design, analyze, and manage information systems, show proficiency in using computer systems and various software tools, and they will be able to implement these skills in various organizations. There are graduate certifications available in Business Analytics, Business Process Management, and IT Project Management for those that do not want to take the full program, but they can use these credits to transfer over into the full Master's degree. Prospective students should have prior coursework in accounting, operations management, statistics, college algebra, and computer programming.

Oklahoma State University

Master of Science in Business Analytics and Data Science

The Spears School of Business combined the old MS in Management Information Systems degree with the MS in Business Analytics. This provides a combination of business and big data education into one program, with an option to pick a concentration in a variety of options, such as advanced data science, marketing analytics, health analytics, and cyber security analytics. 33 credit hours are needed to complete the program online, and an additional four are needed on-campus. There are no prerequisites required, but the school recommends that students have familiarity with database management, programming, and statistics. 90 percent of students received job offers within three months of graduation.

Programs used in the curriculum include R, Python, SAS, Tableau and TensorFlow. Example core courses needed in either program format include Predictive Business Analytics, Business Intelligence Tools and Techniques, and Programming for Data Science and Analytics. Admission takes place in the spring and fall semesters for the online version with requirements including three letters of recommendation, updated resume, statement of purpose on strengths, weaknesses, and why this degree is being pursued, and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores that have been received in the past five years.

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering

The Viterbi School of Engineering has an information systems program with a heavy focus into engineering. Education in this program will prepare students in various job opportunities that require creating and working with complex systems. This is a program that is equal between the online and on-campus versions. There are required courses available for all students, and they will need to complete an elective within technical management, general tech, and a group of courses within a specialization - for this category within data science, there is Computer and Information Systems.

Students are able to be administered into the program during the fall and spring semesters. Requirements needed are holding an undergraduate degree within the disciplines of engineering or math from an accredited university, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE test scores, resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Professional experience is helpful, but not required. Graduates completing the program have gone on to related opportunities in construction, manufacturing systems, software process architecture, and artificial intelligence and neural networks.

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering

The Viterbi School of Engineering has an information systems program with a heavy focus into engineering. Education in this program will prepare students in various job opportunities that require creating and working with complex systems. This is a program that is equal between the online and on-campus versions. There are required courses available for all students, and they will need to complete an elective within technical management, general tech, and a group of courses within a specialization – for this category within data science, there is Computer and Information Systems.

Students are able to be administered into the program during the fall and spring semesters. Requirements needed are holding an undergraduate degree within the disciplines of engineering or math from an accredited university, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE test scores, resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Professional experience is helpful, but not required. Graduates completing the program have gone on to related opportunities in construction, manufacturing systems, software process architecture, and artificial intelligence and neural networks.

Typical Coursework

Strategic Management

Developing a business strategy is very important to eliminate variables and gain an advantage on the competition. These courses will frequently look at examples of companies that have thrived with successful plans and unsatisfactory plans that ultimately led to failure. In some instances, this will be broken down in multiple courses and offered as a concentration.

Engineering Theory

Explores the history and evolution of how information systems came to be, making students very familiar with different hardware and software tools available. This course will frequently touch on the many ways that information systems can be created in various industries, and the course may be specialized based on the degree being pursued.

Database Management

Easily the most popular course found in the curriculum of management information systems, and can also serve as a specialization. These courses will teach students how to manage and update information stored within an organization’s database, query information with software like SQL, and using tools to move and secure data and information within the database. Specialized courses with other vendor-based applications will typically be available.

Enterprise Systems

A common course that is also often known as Enterprise Resource Planning Systems and will prepare students for using and implementing these in an organization. This will explore potential processes in the business planning system and how they will be best utilized by various software that is available. This software will be used across the entire organization instead of specialized in a certain department.

Emerging Technology

It is very important to keep up with the latest innovative technology for information systems. Updating hardware and software can be an important tool in gaining a competitive advantage and securing information that is stored in a database. This course can also discuss methods to easily implement new technology into an established system.

Careers and Salaries

Employment in computer and information systems management offers some of the highest-paying jobs within data science with a median pay of $142,530 annually according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. New York and California are at the top of this list and significantly higher than the average at over $180,000 each, and other states that are near the top of the list include Texas, Colorado, Washington, and many Northeastern states, such as New Jersey, Virginia, and Delaware. This trend will only continue to rise with the growth rate jumping 11 percent between 2018-28. The growth rate for information systems management is on par with all information technology jobs in general, adding over 546,000 jobs overall across the country.

Popular job titles related to information systems include system administrator, network engineer, IT support, and software development. A typical system administrator will maintain an organization’s server, or a client if they offer third-party solutions. They will oversee network activity and will look into any problems that can arise or make recommendations on potential improvements in the future. These workers must be very fluent in working with networking and cloud-based technology, and sometimes certification is necessary with the vendor being used, such as Microsoft or Cisco.

The highest level of management within information systems is becoming a chief information officer, or a similar form of the title. They have the most responsibility in terms of managing the information technology sector of the organization. Typical duties include making the final decisions when it comes to implementing new hardware and software, discussing new strategies with other executives, and ensuring that all data and information stored is secure. Depending on the size of an organization, these duties can be separated into other roles, such as chief technology officers and IT directors.