Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems

by TBS Staff
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Computer information systems majors use computer technology to solve organizational problems, support business operations, and bolster managerial decision-making.

Positioned at the intersection of business and technology, a bachelor of science in computer information systems (CIS) trains undergraduates in network design, data analysis, and information systems. Undergrads can pursue concentrations in data validation and decision-making to harness data sets and help organizations improve efficiency and make business decisions.

With a CIS degree, graduates can pursue high-paying, in-demand careers in database management, information security analysis, business analysis, and data analytics. This degree also leads to opportunities in growing fields like machine learning, data virtualization, and artificial intelligence.

This page ranks the top online bachelor's programs in computer information systems to help prospective majors find the best fit for their needs and career goals. This guide also compares computer science and information systems, introduces common CIS courses and concentrations, and provides salary data for CIS careers.

Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems 2021
#1 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
#3 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#4 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
#5 Regis University Denver, CO
#6 Upper Iowa University Fayette, IA
#7 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
#8 Champlain College Burlington, VT
#9 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
#10 Charleston Southern University Charleston, SC

Featured CIS Schools

The Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems

Southern New Hampshire University true View School Profile Manchester, NH 54% 68% 93% New England Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1932, SNHU offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems. Students can choose from three concentrations: data validation and decision-making, networking and security, and project management.

Required courses include enterprise information systems and object-oriented analysis and design. Then, students complete concentration-focused courses. The program also includes competitions and trainings from organizations like the National Cyber League.

The school allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Fort Hays State University true View School Profile $$ Hays, KS 44% 39% 83% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1902, FHSU offers an online bachelor of science or arts in information networking and telecommunications with a concentration in information systems.

Required courses include informatics options like an introduction to web development and concentration courses like programming with Python. Students also take foundational courses such as cybersecurity and computer networking, as well as electives from cross-departmental subject areas.

Applicants need one of the following: a minimum high school GPA of 2.5 or an ACT composite score of 21 (SAT combined score of 1080).

Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Oregon State University true View School Profile $$$ Corvallis, OR 67% 43% 43% Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Founded in 1868, OSU offers an online bachelor of arts or science in business information systems. Students can also choose from several online minors to complement the 180-quarter-credit degree, including computer science and organizational leadership.

Required courses include business telecommunications and networking, information systems security, and business data management. Students also learn project management and study various business-related topics as well.

Students can apply for four start dates per year. Applicants need a high school diploma with a preferred GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students do not need to send standardized test scores.

Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Its business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Davenport University true View School Profile Grand Rapids, MI 45% 59% 73% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1866, Davenport offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems. Students can choose from four concentrations: database and data analytics, programming, secure software development, and web and mobile development.

Required courses include database design, introduction to programming, and principles of project management. From there, students focus on concentration-related courses and open electives from departments like math, engineering, or science. Students do not need training in computer science to start.

Applicants need a high school diploma to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Regis University true View School Profile Denver, CO 69% 47% 63% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1877, Regis offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems. Students complete 120 credits in convenient eight-week formats.

Required courses include foundations of programming, systems analysis and design, and enterprise systems architecture. A senior capstone experience allows students to demonstrate skills mastery and tackle real-world challenges in the field.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and evidence of work experience or transferrable credit to apply for the program. Students can apply as soon as two weeks before their desired start date.

Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Programmatic accreditation is through the Computing Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Upper Iowa University View School Profile Fayette, IA 43% 52% 74% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1857, UIU offers an online bachelor's degree in information systems. Students focus on just two courses per eight-week term.

Students take foundational infrastructure courses such as systems analysis and design, enterprise architecture, enterprise systems and integration, and IT security and risk management. A senior capstone project allows students to demonstrate skills mastery and address challenges in the field.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores. The school allows students to transfer up to 90 semester credits toward their degree to graduate faster, including credits for certifications or military experience.

Upper Iowa University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Bellevue University View School Profile Bellevue, NE 40% 85% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1966, BU offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems.

Required courses include an introduction to programming using C#, information technology project management, business telecommunications, and structured system analysis and design. Students can choose from four areas of emphasis: networking, cybersecurity, business intelligence, and application development.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores. The school allows students to transfer up to 60 credits toward their degree, including credits for certifications or military experience.

Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Champlain College View School Profile Burlington, VT 64% 54% 52% New England Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1878, Champlain offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems. Students focus on just two courses per seven-week term.

Professional courses include networking fundamentals, enterprise database systems, information systems analysis and design, and relational database management and SQL. Students can also earn specialized certificates in C++ programming, software development, web design, and web programming.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree from prior college studies, certifications, or military experience.

Champlain College is regionally accredited by the Northeast Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Saint Leo University View School Profile Saint Leo, FL 45% 55% 74% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1889, Saint Leo offers an online bachelor of science in computer information systems.

Required major courses in the 120-credit program include information technology and project management, database concepts and programming, introduction to information security, and systems analysis and design. Students must also complete a selection of business courses, including principles of financial accounting, principles of macroeconomics, and essential business skills.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GEO equivalent to qualify for admission. Students can apply for one of six yearly start dates. The school accepts transfer credits from professional certifications and military experience.

Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Charleston Southern University View School Profile Charleston, SC 42% 77% 39% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern offers an online bachelor of arts in computer information sciences.

Required courses include user interface programming, mobile and wireless networks, principles of marketing, and data structure analysis. Students must also complete a senior capstone project designed to demonstrate skills mastery.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Charleston Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

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Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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What Is an Online Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems Degree?

A bachelor of science (BS) in computer information systems prepares graduates for entry-level roles in the computing and technology sectors. Most colleges offer BS in computer information systems degrees. Unlike a bachelor of arts (BA), which requires more humanities and foreign language courses, a BS emphasizes analytical coursework. CIS majors complete general education courses in the social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences.

After earning CIS degrees, graduates can pursue careers in information systems management, database management, and data analytics.

CIS programs combine technology and business. The coursework builds technical proficiency in database management, network architecture, and information security systems while also training undergrads in data analysis and decision-making. Specialized courses in data visualization, massive data management, and machine learning prepare majors for focused career paths.

In addition to building advanced data analysis and management skills, computer information systems majors strengthen their critical thinking and analytical, organizational, and communication skills through projects and assignments. Many programs incorporate an internship to gain hands-on experience and build a professional network.

Earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems typically takes full-time students four years. CIS majors often choose a specialization while earning their degree.

Computer Science vs. Computer Information Systems

A computer science degree strengthens theoretical and practical tech skills, with a focus on programming languages, software development, and software engineering. In a computer information systems major, undergraduates blend technical training with a business focus to help organizations manage their information needs.

CIS majors often take some computer science courses, including database management, network architecture, and cybersecurity. However, the major focuses more on applied computing and networking. While graduates with bachelor's in computer science degrees can pursue careers as software developers, network architects, and software engineers, CIS majors typically work in data analytics, systems analysis, and information security.

Choosing an Online CIS Program

With a growing number of online bachelor of science in computer information systems programs, how can prospective students narrow down their choices? Consider factors such as cost, program length, concentration options, and course format when researching online programs. The links below offer more information on choosing the right online degree.

What to Expect From a Computer Information Systems Major

A computer information systems major trains students in data analysis, system design, and security. Undergraduates often take information technology and computer science courses to build the technical and business skills necessary for careers in CIS. This section introduces common CIS concentrations and courses.

Computer Information Systems Concentrations

Artificial Intelligence

CIS majors with artificial intelligence concentrations study machine learning, intelligent software development, and data mining to prepare them for a career in this growing field.

Cybersecurity

This concentration combines business and technology with a focus on information security. Coursework emphasizes network security design, cybersecurity best practices, and data recovery after breaches. Enrollees also learn to design secure networks, implement data security procedures, and create information security policies.

Data Analytics

In a data analytics concentration, learners study data processing, data presentation, and the relationship between data and management decision-making. The concentration prepares graduates for data analysis and data science jobs.

Data Validation and Decision-Making

With a data validation and decision-making concentration, majors learn to use data in business environments effectively. This concentration emphasizes data analysis, privacy, and validation.

Information Technology

This concentration emphasizes information and technology decision-making in business settings. Enrollees earning a concentration in information technology strengthen their IT skills and add technology-focused business training to the broad knowledge of database management and network architecture of their degrees.

Project Management

Every organization relies on information systems, and project managers draw on their CIS skills to manage technology and information projects. Students in this concentration learn to manage information operations, resolve business technology problems, and recommend upgrades. The specialization prepares graduates for careers in CIS project management.

Computer Information Systems Curriculum

  • Computer Network Architect: This course builds management and information security skills, as well as training in hardware and software for network design. Learners examine data communication networks and the architecture connecting different systems.
  • Information Security Analysis: This course approaches information security from a systems management perspective by covering systems design, information systems security, and risk management.
  • Information Visualization and Virtualization: CIS professionals often analyze or present data visually. This course trains majors in effective visualization techniques and visually encoding information for easier interpretation.
  • Massive Data Management: Enrollees learn to manage large data sets, process big data, and create programming frameworks for data use.
  • Networking and Database Systems: This course introduces students to network design, database management, and systems operation. Enrollees examine the structures and constraints of networks and databases and learn to implement information systems through databases.
  • Programming Languages: CIS majors study different programming languages, including Java and Python. Most tech professionals know several programming languages and continue their education after earning their degrees.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Computer Information Systems?

With this versatile degree, CIS majors can work as computer network architects, computer engineers, database administrators, software developers, and web developers. These career paths offer above-average salaries with the potential to increase earnings after completing graduate degrees or accruing work experience. For example, a master's or Ph.D. in computer science opens doors to supervisory, research, and academic careers.

The following information presents common careers for students with computer information systems degrees, including median annual wages for 2020.

Career Median Annual Salary (2020)
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150
Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830
Computer Network Architects $116,780
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators $98,860
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Questions About the Computer Information Systems Major

true Is CIS a Good Degree?

Yes. A bachelor of science in computer information systems prepares graduates for in-demand, high-paying careers. This major trains learners in computer systems management, information technology, and computer science.

How Much Does a CIS Major Make?

Graduates with a bachelor of science in computer information systems can work in careers that pay median salaries of over $100,000 per year, such as computer systems analysts, network architects, and database administrators.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get With a Computer Information Systems Degree?

Computer information systems graduates can work as computer systems analysts, database managers, and tech consultants. They can also pursue careers as software engineers and web designers.

Should I Major in CS or CIS?

Computer science, computer engineering, and computer information systems degrees prepare graduates for overlapping careers in tech. Students should consider their interests and career goals to find the best fit for their needs.

Computer Information Systems Organizations

Computer information systems majors can join professional organizations to network with early career and experienced CIS professionals and access mentorship opportunities and job boards. Many organizations offer professional development support, educational resources, and career advancement tools.

Undergraduates and graduates can research organizations like the Association for Information Science and Technology and the Association for Information Systems. Other professional associations include the International Association for Computer Information Systems and (ISC)².

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