Master’s in Computer Information Systems Degrees & Schools Guide

Master's Degree in Computer Information Systems Career Options & Salary

Why Earn a Master’s in Computer Information Systems?


While a bachelor’s is an entry-level degree in the computer information systems or information technology field, a master’s will allow you to advance as far as possible in your career. Whether you want to move into research or management, a master’s can get you where you need to go, while also providing you a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest. While there are things you need to consider before starting your master’s degree, you’re likely to find that earning the degree will help you achieve your goals in the long run.

Computer Science Degrees & Career Paths


PROS

  • By earning a master’s, you will gain more earnings
  • Most employers prefer a master’s degree over a bachelor’s
  • You will have a wide array of opportunities available
  • You can advance to earn a PhD
  • This degree holder will be in high demand soon
  • You can choose to take a dual degree program and obtain your master's degree much faster
  • You will earn more respect by holding a master's degree in Computer Information Systems

CONS

  • There is some competition for computer information systems
  • It is quite costly to obtain this degree
  • It takes longer to acquire than a bachelor’s
  • You can get many jobs with just a bachelor's degree
  • The enrollment process is quite daunting with so much to submit and exams to pass

Overview of a Master's in CIS


What Computer Information Systems Master’s Degrees are Available?


  • Master’s in Data Science Programs
    This degree program is available in over 30 universities and offers students an education that covers computer science and mathematics topics. Some of these degree programs offer specializations like data engineering, artificial intelligence, or analytics. Graduates will have an understanding of both the application and theory of data science techniques.
  • Online Master’s in Business Analytics
    A Master of Science in Business Analytics is a STEM graduate degree that combines concepts from statistics, data science, information theory, business intelligence, and computer science geared towards commercial applications.
  • Master’s in Information Systems (MSIS)
    A MSIS is a specialized master's degree program designed to teach students the business savvy and technical expertise necessary to design, maintain, analyze, manage, and deploy information systems in government, industrial, and non-profit settings.
  • Master’s in Computer Science (MCS)
    The MCS is a professional master's degree designed specifically for computer science professionals who are currently working in government, business, or another role in the industry and would like to advance their careers.
  • Master’s in Computer Engineering
    Computer Engineering blends the academic disciplines of computer science with electrical engineering to create new computer systems. Graduates combine their knowledge of software with computer hardware to create new computer components and improve existing designs.
  • Master’s in Cybersecurity
    A Master of Science in Cyber Security is typically a type of professional postgraduate master's degree that focuses on the study of cybersecurity. Universities award this master’s degree in many countries.

Admission Requirements


While some colleges make it very easy to apply for a master’s degree program, others may make it more difficult. The following are some of the things that may be required to enroll in a Master’s of Science Computer Information Technology program:

  • Must hold a bachelor’s degree (most schools prefer a bachelor’s from a regionally accredited university or college)
  • Possess general knowledge of computer programming and computer network basics (some schools may require students to take an MIT 300 test).
  • Prerequisite courses may be suggested for those without a bachelor’s degree in CS/IS or relevant work experience.
  • Some schools may ask students to submit their graduate examination SAT or ACT scores.

How long does it take to earn a Computer Information Systems Master’s?


Earning a master's degree in computer information systems requires that students complete 30 to 40 credits, which can take an average full-time student 1.5-2 years to earn; although some may take longer depending on many factors, including their schedule restrictions. When you consider the length of time it takes to earn a bachelor's, it should take approximately between 5 and 7 years to earn your master’s degree. There are dual-degree programs for those who wish to earn their master’s, which combine both bachelor’s and master’s programs and can be completed in as little as 5 years.

Potential Careers in Computer Information Systems with a Master’s


  • System Administrator, Computer / Network
    The responsibilities of a computer/network system administrator are to maintain organizations technological systems. A system administrator must be able to manage various tasks; be flexible; install, configure, upgrade, and maintain server operating systems and applications; develop and document the standards and procedures; have good communication, both written and verbal; and troubleshooting skills. They are also responsible for handling confidential data and information. There are even certain government positions that require a security clearance.
    Average Salary - $59,900
  • Computer Systems Analyst Salary
    Computer systems analysts use computers and other digital systems to automate functions for manufacturing, distributing, and other similar functions. These professional analysts use their excellent analytic skills to use computer technology to streamline processes and achieve maximum efficiency and accuracy.
    Average Salary – $67,500
  • Computer Network Architects
    Network architects are in charge of designing and reviewing network capabilities and requirements for their organization. They are also responsible for developing or utilizing high-level design plans for optimal network implementation. These architects must pay close attention to detail and have excellent organizational skills to prevent network incompatibility and issues. They report escalated issues and their progress to either the network administrator or the supervisor of their department as needed.
    Average Salary – $118,300
  • Software Developer
    Software developers are experts in developing computer applications for users to perform specific tasks on computers or other devices. In addition, they may also develop, utilize, or customize existing systems that control networks or run devices. A software developer generally works in an office setting.
    Average Salary – $69,900
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists
    Computer and information research scientists complete computer-related and information reports while overseeing research efforts on behalf of their organization. They also help process data and complete investigative tasks to gather information, and therefore, should have a good eye for detail.
    Average Salary - $110,000

Options to Advance


To work in the computer information systems industry, all that is really required by most employers is a bachelor’s degree. However, a master’s is always better to have for advancement and should increase your earnings. Advancing to earn a Ph.D. often isn’t worth the time or money to earn unless you are considering teaching, conducting research, or becoming a computer scientist. Other positions you can advance to are; Software Engineer, Research Scientist, and Senior Software Engineer.

Best Master’s of Science in Computer Information Systems (CIS) Programs


  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
    Newark, NJ

    The New Jersey Institute of Technology offers CIS graduate degree programs for students interested in an advanced degree. They also have graduate degree programs for anyone interested in continuing their education after obtaining a four-year degree.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Computer and Information Sciences
    • Master’s in Engineering Technologies
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    Atlanta, GA

    If you wish to major in Computer Information Systems, Georgia Institute of Technology’s main campus is a popular choice, where roughly 458 students are enrolled in classes to obtain this degree. The setting is located in a large urban center that is perfect for young people seeking excitement, networking, and exploration.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Analytics — Online Degree (OMS Analytics)
    • Computational Science and Engineering – Online Degree (MS)
    • Computer Science – Online Degree (OMSCS)
    • Cybersecurity — Online Degree (OMS Cybersecurity)
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Carnegie Mellon University is a great choice for those who want to study Computer Information Systems in a large city. Graduates who earn their master’s degree in computer information systems from Carnegie Mellon University make 22.6% more than the average CIS graduates.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master’s in Information Networking
    • Master’s in Information Security
  • University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA

    Students interested in Computer Information Systems should check out the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania offers CIS graduate degrees and is one of the largest schools in Pennsylvania.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer and Information Science
    • Computer and Information Technology (MCIT)
    • Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT)
    • Applied Mathematics and Computational Science
  • James Madison University
    Harrisonburg, VA

    James Madison University is a great choice for students pursuing a master’s in Computer Information Systems. Students who obtain the CIS degree make around $60,600 in the early stages of their career and roughly $104,100 at the mid-career level. Harrisonburg, Virginia is ideal for people who enjoy the fast-paced urban lifestyle.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer Science: Information Security (MS)

Traditional Schools Offering a MS in Computer Information Systems


  • Northwestern University
    Evanston, IL

    Northwestern University, in Evanston, occupies a campus set on 240 acres that overlooks the beautiful Lake Michigan. There are currently 21,000 students enrolled in 12 institutions.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science - Information and Knowledge Strategy
    • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science
    • Master of Science (MS) in Computer Engineering
    • Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT)
  • New York University (NYU)
    New York, NY

    NYU is ranked as one of New York’s largest private colleges, with institutions in Brooklyn, Washington Square Park, and Greenwich Village. The school also hosts international campuses in Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and additional sites around the world that have study abroad programs. In 1831, NYU’s inaugural class had only 158 graduates. Today, the student population has reached over 59,000.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer Engineering (Engineering)
    • Computer Science (Arts & Science/Courant)
    • Computer Science (Engineering)
    • Computer Science Education (Steinhardt)
    • Computer Science & Economics (Arts & Science)
    • Computer Science & Mathematics (Arts & Science)
  • The University of South Florida
    Tampa, FL

    The University of South Florida is based in Tampa, occupying the former Henderson Air Field's bombing range area. USF ranks as one of Florida's largest institutions, with 50,577 students enrolled in over 40 graduate school programs at 14 colleges. The online master's degree program in information technology is made available by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and encompasses 30 credits. The curriculum spans 21 elective courses and nine core credits. To earn this degree, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and pass a comprehensive exam.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Computer Engineering
    • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Boston University (BU)
    Boston, MA

    BU sits alongside the Charles River, in the heart of the city, serving a student population of over 33,000 in 17 institutions. In 2002, BU started offering online programs and since then students have been completing many degrees online. The master's in computer information systems was developed in 2004, with those who worked full-time in mind. The program prepares students for careers in computer networks, health informatics, data analytics, IT project management, database management, and security.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer Engineering (BS, MEng, MS, Ph.D., minor)
    • Computer Information Systems (MS)
    • Computer Networks (GRAD Cert)
    • Computer Science CAS/GRS (BA, BA/MS, minor, MS, Ph.D.)
    • Computer Science MET (BS, accelerated degree completion program, UND Cert, MS, GRAD Certs)
  • Iowa State University
    Ames, IA

    ISU’s Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering have two options available for aspiring information security tech professionals; a master of science or a master of engineering. Both programs require 30 credit hours of study, in an 18-hour core curriculum focused on security practices, networking, and computing ethics.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master’s in Computer Engineering
    • Master’s in Computer Networking [CRT]
    • Master’s in Computer Science
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