What Is an Online Master's in Management Information Systems Degree?
The field of management information systems (MIS) looks at how technology can be used to meet an organization's strategic needs and support various business processes. Many master's degree programs in management information systems are available in a fully online format and are typically offered as Master of Science (MS) degrees. These programs can hold science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) designations and are intended to prepare graduates for mid- to senior-level management and leadership positions within the field of information technology (IT). Several of these online degree programs offer different concentrations or specializations to allow students to further focus their studies and prepare for a specific career in the field. Despite being online, these programs still provide students with plenty of hands-on experiences working with different technologies. Find out more about these online master's programs below.
The Best Online Masters Degree Programs in Management Information Systems
|School||Tuition*||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid %||Placement Services||Career Services||Accepts|
|1||University of Detroit Mercy||$29268||77%||67%||100%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|2||Auburn University||$11504||81%||79%||72%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|3||University of Alabama in Huntsville||$11458||83%||58%||94%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|4||Central Michigan University||$17150||70%||61%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|5||Florida State University||$11553||36%||83%||97%||Yes||Yes||AP / ACE Credits|
|6||Wright State University-Main Campus||$14298||95%||45%||90%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
|7||Florida Atlantic University||$6693||63%||50%||82%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|8||University of Michigan-Dearborn||$13570||62%||56%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP Credits|
|9||Webster University||$13500||57%||58%||96%||Yes||Yes||AP / NCCRS Credits|
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit our ranking methodology page.
*Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Why Should I Get an Online Management Information Systems Master's Degree?
One of the greatest advantages of earning an online degree is the flexibility it provides for one's schedule, as well as the ability to study from any location with internet access. Students interested in business and technology may combine their interests to earn a master's degree in management information systems to help advance their career in IT and potentially qualify for additional types of positions. Earning a master's degree generally increases job prospects in this respect, and may also increase one's salary. According to PayScale.com, graduates with an MS in MIS made a median annual salary of $87,626, as of February 2021, while those with a Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc) in MIS made a median annual salary of $80,975 for the same time period.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Master's in Management Information Systems?
Students wishing to know how long it will take to earn a master's degree in management information systems should know that it depends on the program. Some programs offer full- and part-time formats, which can affect the time it takes to earn the degree. Some of these full-time programs may allow students to finish their program in as little as 1 year, while others programs may be designed to take 2 years. Other factors to consider when calculating how long it may take to earn the degree includes course load and a school's transfer policy if students have already earned prior graduate-level credits.
Curriculum for Online Master's Degree Programs in Management Information Systems
The curriculum for online master's programs in management information systems is designed to further develop students' business, communication, and leadership skills, in addition to their technical knowledge of information systems. Many of these programs require a total of between 30 and 36 credits of coursework. Typically, students will take core courses and then electives or concentration courses, depending on the set up of the program. Some programs may conclude with a culminating experience that allows students to use the knowledge they have obtained throughout the program. Read on to examine specific course topics that are included.
Management Information Systems Foundational Courses
Students are likely to take at least 18 credits or more of core courses in management information systems. These courses focus on major concepts and themes and provide the technical skills needed for a career in the field. They also provide opportunities for students to exercise and further develop their communication and leadership skills. Some programs may conclude with a capstone course or master's project that helps students review and apply the various skills and knowledge they have obtained throughout the program. Other core courses could include topics such as:
- Business foundations
- Information systems analysis
- IT strategy and policy
- Information security management
- Business intelligence
- Database development
- Project management
- Business data communications
- Information systems
Management Information Systems Specialist and Elective Courses
Students could take between 9 and 12 credits of elective courses or concentration courses to finish their degree, depending on the program. Either way, electives and concentrations are designed to give students an in-depth look at a specific area or topic within the field. Some of these courses help prepare students for a future career performing specific job duties. Elective courses and concentrations vary greatly by program, but some programs offer concentrations or specializations in areas such as:
- Business analytics
- Business administration
- Information security management
- Information technology project management
- Cloud computing
- Tech consulting
- Data analytics
- IT management
- Cybersecurity management
Licensure and Certification in Management Information Systems
In general, there are no licenses or certifications required for graduates in management information systems. However, due to the flexibility of the degree students may qualify for a variety of positions, some of which may have their own certifications available. For example, students interested in a career involving project management may consider earning the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Other students interested in becoming a business analyst may pursue their Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP) credential from the International Institute of Business Analysis. While specific requirements vary by certification, students typically have to meet education and experience requirements and then pass an exam.
Admissions Requirements for Online Management Information Systems Master's Programs
Students should carefully research the admissions requirements for their program of interest, as standards vary across programs. Usually, applicants to these online master's programs need to have at least a bachelor's degree and some programs require this degree to be in computer science, information technology, or a related field. Programs usually prefer that students have prior programming experience and may require additional coursework if they do not. Several programs also require applicants to have at least 2 years of work experience, excluding internships. Typically, this work experience needs to be in an IT-related position, but may be general work experience if student's hold a bachelor's degree. It is fairly common for these online programs to require applicants to meet a minimum GPA and to take the GRE or GMAT, although some programs may waive these test scores for work experience. Application materials for these degree programs may include transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation, or a personal statement/statement of purpose.
Choosing an Online Management Information Systems Master's Program
It is important for students to find the right online master's in management information systems program for them by considering several different factors. Students should begin with checking programs' accreditation. Although schools typically hold regional accreditation, some management information systems programs have additional program-level accreditation, such as accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This means that the program has met additional business-specific academic standards to ensure its academic quality. Some programs could have additional accreditation for specific concentrations, such as accreditation for the information technology project management concentration from the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC). More program-specific accreditation demonstrates excellence in the field and may be preferred by employers.
Other factors to consider for these online MIS programs include format, available concentrations, and cost of the program. Some students need to find a part-time program, while others prefer to enroll in a full-time program. Some students may also want to find a program that offers a specific concentration or electives that would allow them to prepare for a specific career. Finally, the cost of a program includes the tuition, fees, and books and materials. Students need to find a program that fits their budget and can check for additional financial aid options.
What Can I Do with a Management Information Systems Master's Degree?
The career information for a degree in management information systems is quite extensive as graduates are prepared for a variety of positions. Typically, these careers focus on different subfields within management information systems, such as some students becoming an information systems security engineer or an information systems security officer, while others focus on management as computer information systems managers or information systems managers. Usually, those with a master's degree in MIS can jump right into upper-level, advanced positions that take on additional responsibilities and leadership-based duties. These positions may have manager, officer, director, or other leadership descriptions in their title. While titles vary amongst organizations, graduates with their master's degree in MIS can pursue careers such as:
- IT consultant
- Information systems manager
- IT project manager
- IT security manager
- Business analyst
- Chief technology officer
- Senior data analyst
- Chief information officer
- Computer systems analyst
Job Outlook for a Master's in Management Information Systems
In general, the need and dependence on technology is growing in many different industries, so the need for professionals with advanced knowledge in IT is also growing. Job prospects should be positive overall for graduates with their master's in MIS, as they likely qualify for a range of positions. Although individual job outlooks vary by position and other factors, such as location, several positions have faster than average job growth. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that computer systems analysts had a job outlook of 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than average, while computer and information systems managers had a job outlook of 10% during the same time period, which is much faster than average.
How to Become a Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and information systems managers must have at least a bachelor's degree, but it is fairly common for these professionals to hold a graduate degree and some employers require it. These professionals usually have a degree in MIS or other computer- and IT-related areas. Most positions also typically require applicants to have so many years of related work experience. Students may begin their careers in lower-level management positions and work their way up. Experience usually needs to be in the same industry that students pursue a management position in, but these managers may have prior experience in a range of industries.
The BLS stated that computer and information systems managers made a median annual salary of $146,360, as of 2019. These managers include positions such as chief information officers, chief technology officers, IT security managers, and more. Specific job duties vary amongst these different job titles, but in general, these managers oversee the IT-related work in their organizations and help ensure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently. This often requires identifying computer-based needs, analyzing costs and benefits of projects, planning upgrades and maintenance of systems, and researching new technologies.
How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst
Education requirements for computer systems analysts vary, as many need at least a bachelor's degree, but some do not need a 4-year degree and others may be required to have a graduate degree. These analysts commonly have a degree in a computer-related field, such as computer science. Those with a graduate degree can have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a technical degree in a computer science field. Due to the consistent changes and advances in technology, it is important for computer systems analysts to be involved in continuing education to learn new technologies. It is also important for these professionals to have some background in the specific industry in which they work, such as healthcare or finance.
Per the BLS, computer systems analysts made a median annual salary of $90,920, as of 2019. These analysts include positions such as programmer analysts and software quality assurance analysts. Computer systems analysts are responsible for figuring out ways for an organization's procedures and computer systems to run more effectively and efficiently. This requires them to understand the IT needs of an organization, test and analyze systems, find new technologies to meet needs, upgrade existing systems, and educate users on the proper use and procedures of these systems.
Management Information Systems Professional Organizations
Graduates of MIS have a variety of professional organizations to choose from as there are some general MIS-related groups, as well as groups related to different subfields within MIS, such as business analysis groups. Many of these groups operate on an international level, and although specific goals vary, these groups typically aim to promote the field and support professionals in their careers. This is done through a variety of resources, including professional development opportunities, education, and professional standards. A couple groups that graduates in MIS may consider joining include:
- Association for Information Systems- The AIS offers a variety of communities for professionals and students to connect with one another, including chapters and student chapters. The group hosts conferences, provides access to multiple journals and webinars, and posts research-related information, such as policies, codes of conduct, and methods.
- International Institute of Business Analysis- The IIBA not only has the CBAP certification, but a range of other certifications in the field as well, including the Certificate in Cybersecurity Analysis (IIBA-CCA). The group also offers membership, career resources, workshops, webinars, global events, and advocacy initiatives.
Common Undergraduate Degrees for Management Information Systems
Many online master's programs in management information systems do not require applicants to have a specific undergraduate degree. However, some may require students to hold a degree in IT, computer science, or a related field and/or have programming skills that often come with a degree in these fields. Therefore, many applicants to these online master's programs hold a degree in a technology-related area. Students who do not may have to take additional courses, but students could also come from business-related disciplines and have an interest in IT.
Post-Graduate Options After Completing a Master's in Management Information Systems
Students who would like to continue their studies in MIS at the doctoral level can choose from many different Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in MIS. However, these programs are generally only offered on campus. These programs may also hold the STEM designation and help prepare students for even more advanced careers in leadership, research, and academia. Students are typically involved in research throughout their program and have to complete a dissertation. Students can also commonly individualize their degree through specializations or electives.
Financial Aid, Scholarships and Grants for Online Master's in Management Information Systems Programs
Students who need financial assistance to pay for their education have several options available, including loans, grants, and scholarships. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the easiest ways to check eligibility for federal or state loans and grants. Students can also search for scholarships that may be available from schools of interest or other outside organizations involved with one's desired area of study.
Students wishing to pursue a master's degree in MIS can choose from a variety of IT-related scholarships to apply to. These scholarships range in the amount awarded, renewability, and eligibility requirements. Some are available for specific programs, while others are available for specific subfields within MIS. Students may apply for scholarships such as:
- Texas A&M Departmental Scholarships- Each spring, the Mays School of Business offers undergraduate and graduate departmental scholarships through an application process. Graduates students in the MS in Management and Information Systems program are eligible, and the school does offer an online format of the program.
- (ISC)² Graduate Scholarship- Designed for master's or doctoral students pursuing a degree that has a focus in cybersecurity or information assurance, this award is given based on merit, financial need, and passion for the field. It is open to on-campus or online students enrolled full- or part-time.