The Best Online Master's in Information Technology 2020

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Earning a master's degree in information technology online prepares students for leadership roles in diverse industries such as computer networking, cybersecurity, IT management, software design and development, and system analysis.

Professionals who earn an information technology master's degree online can pursue lucrative, in-demand careers. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for computer and information systems managers will grow 11% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earn a median salary of $142,530 per year. 

Top 10 Online Master's in Information Technology 2020

#1 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
#2 George Washington University Washington, DC
#3 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
#4 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
#5 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
#6 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
#7 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
#8 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, IN
#9 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
#10 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA

Best Online Master's in Information Technology Programs

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4

Purdue University-Main Campus 

West Lafayette, IN

About this school

Purdue University's Polytechnic Institute hosts programs geared toward the digital age, including a fully online master of science in IT business analysis. The curriculum, built for working professionals, centers on organizational operations, policies, and structure. Students can complete the 34-credit program in 17 months. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.

All students in this program take business analysis and professional research and communication. Additional coursework covers IT data analytics, economics, and project management, along with preparation for optional certification in professional business analysis and competency in business analysis.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a 3.0 GPA. Purdue prefers at least two years of IT work experience. Applicants submit an application and a fee, statement of purpose, resume, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants with professional experience who lack a 3.0 GPA should still apply and explain their circumstances in their statements of purpose.

The program accepts up to 12 transfer credits. All distance learners pay in-state tuition.

Graduation Rate
81%
5

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 

Cincinnati, OH

About this school

The University of Cincinnati offers nearly 30 online master's degrees for working professionals, including a master of science in information technology. The 30-credit program covers mobile applications, network forensics, and user experience design, along with cybersecurity and social media technologies. Students work with a student success coordinator and can finish the program in one year.

The program's asynchronous delivery and entirely online courses provide flexibility. The curriculum encompasses nine core credits, 15 credits of electives, and a six-credit capstone or thesis. Core courses cover IT infrastructure sustainability, IT research methods, and technologies for mobile applications.

Students who choose to write a thesis work with a faculty member on a publishable research paper that solves an IT issue. Capstone project students also work with faculty to address an IT problem, developing a career track or basis for starting a new business.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants submit a $65 fee, transcripts, a resume or CV, three reference letters, and a goal statement. The program waives GRE scores for qualified applicants.

Incoming students who lack an IT background or a 3.0 GPA must take 12 credits of bridge courses in computer programming with java, database management with SQL Server, information security and assurance, and system administration.

Graduation Rate
68%
6

Florida State University 

Tallahassee, FL

About this school

Florida State University's School of Information is one of the country's first iSchools, offering fully online master's degrees. The school's master of science in information technology offers five concentrations: large-scale data management; leadership and management; technology and networking; user-centered design; and web design.

This 32-credit, fully online program includes four core courses: information behavior, information systems management, management of information organizations, and usability analysis. The extensive list of elective options includes directed independent study and an on-site internship.

A competitive admissions process requires prior academic experience and IT coursework or professional experience, along with GRE, MAT, LSAT, or GMAT scores. Graduate admissions may waive standardized testing requirements for applicants with a master's, JD, MD, or Ph.D. from a regionally accredited college or university; two years of professional experience in IT and a 3.0 upper-division, undergraduate GPA; or status as a former FSU undergraduate, with a 3.2 upper-division GPA in IT and an overall minimum 3.4 GPA.

Applicants submit a graduate application, a current resume, transcripts, and a statement of purpose.

Graduation Rate
83%
7

George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA

About this school

Virginia's largest public research institution, George Mason University, offers an online master's program in applied information technology with a cybersecurity concentration. Students prepare for careers leading multidisciplinary teams in the federal government and private sector that focus on big data analytics, cyber-human interaction, cybersecurity, and data analytics in social media.

The program's curriculum consists of 30-36 credits. All students complete core courses in algorithms and data structures; database management; computing platforms; and information representation, processing, and visualization. Four cybersecurity concentration classes and two electives round out the curriculum.

Online classes use email, discussion boards, blogs, and social media to foster collaboration among students and faculty. Students can enroll part or full time, and the program has no in-person requirements.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree with several years of relevant professional experience. Candidates should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 during their 60 highest-level undergraduate credits. Application materials include an application and $75 fee, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of academic and professional goals.

Graduation Rate
70%
8

Indiana University-Bloomington 

Bloomington, IN

About this school

In partnership with edX, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington offers an online master's in information technology management for IT professionals.

This 30-credit program seeks to meet the increasing need for IT leaders, and distance learners can earn the degree in 21-36 months. Graduates emerge prepared to integrate business functions with technology, lead teams of people, manage IT systems, and support decisions with data and visualization. The fully online curriculum includes courses in big data, gigital ecosystem infrastructure, digital technologies in marketing, and digital technologies in operations management.

IU prefers applicants with undergraduate degrees in business, computer science, engineering, or information technology. However, official prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and at least one college-level course or demonstrated knowledge of computer programming in a high-level language, such as C, C++, Java, or Python.

Interested candidates submit a personal statement, resume, academic or professional recommendation, and either GMAT/GRE scores, or a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA with two or more years of relevant professional experience.

Graduation Rate
78%
9

Tulane University of Louisiana 

New Orleans, LA

About this school

Tulane University's School of Professional Advancement brings renowned faculty and IT business leaders together to offer programs like its online master's in information technology management. Designed for students with extensive IT experience, the 30-credit program culminates with a capstone project. Full-time students can finish in one year, but many students keep their full-time jobs and study part time.

The program offers three concentrations: cybersecurity, emergency operations, and homeland security. It requires attendance at monthly online synchronous sessions. To graduate, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Admission requires either a bachelor's degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics with at least a 3.0 GPA or significant and relevant professional experience and a bachelor's degree in a non-STEM field. Transfer applicants may bring up to nine approved credits with them when they enroll. Active-duty military, veterans, firefighters, police officers, and paramedics receive a 20% tuition discount.

Graduation Rate
85%
10

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 

Blacksburg, VA

About this school

The 100% online master of information technology at Virginia Tech takes an interdisciplinary approach. Jointly administered by the College of Engineering and the Pamplin College of Business, the program boasts a 17-year history of training future leaders in technology.

Most students complete the 33-credit program in 30 months. Learners can also pursue an accelerated program that allows them to graduate in 15-18 months. All students create a plan of study to submit to the graduate school and can specialize in up to three modules. Options include courses in analytics and business intelligence; big data; cybersecurity; health information technology; networking; and software development or engineering.

The program includes both synchronous and asynchronous elements. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a 3.0 GPA and proficiency in a high-level programming language -- preferably Java. They should also have taken statistics or probability mathematics. The program prefers applicants with at least 1-2 years of professional experience. Candidates working in different fields who wish to transition into IT careers should take a Java programming class.

Graduation Rate
84%
11

Illinois Institute of Technology 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Illinois Institute of Technology offers two graduate degrees, with one delivered as an in-person/online hybrid: the master of information technology and management. The program's online courses include both asynchronous and synchronous learning experiences. Examinations take place at local testing centers.

The 30-credit curriculum features a long list of electives learners can take to customize their curricula. There are also nine specializations, some of which can be completed 100% online. These include specializations in computer and information security; data management; information technology infrastructure; IT management and entrepreneurship; and software development.

With mentoring from faculty, students complete final, professional projects that they can take with them to job interviews.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. If they did not major in technology, applicants should demonstrate computer experience and a 3.0 GPA. Candidates submit an application, personal statement, and two references. IIT's online master's in information technology program does not require GRE or GMAT scores from applicants who meet the GPA threshold.

Graduation Rate
72%
12

Stevens Institute of Technology 

Hoboken, NJ

About this school

Stevens Institute of Technology trains the next generation of technology leaders in its online master's in information systems program. Graduates pursue careers as systems consultants, IT auditors, and project managers.

The program consists of 36 credits, with two core courses in business -- project management fundamentals and financial decision making -- and six in information systems, covering topics like data management, digital innovation, and information technology strategy.

The program offers five concentrations: business intelligence and analytics; business process management and service innovation; cybersecurity risk management; project management; and software engineering. Interactive course delivery follows a primarily synchronous format of weekly discussions, lectures, and presentations. Students can communicate with instructors through postings or emails.

Admission requires a 3.0 GPA, a resume, GRE or GMAT scores, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants may receive an invitation for a pre-admission interview. Stevens offers a 25% tuition discount for competitive distance learners based on their professional and academic records.

Graduation Rate
87%
13

University of Maine 

Orono, ME

About this school

Maine's flagship institution, the University of Maine, seeks to serve not only its state but also the nation and world. UMaine meets this mission through programs like its online master of science in information systems. This program delivers coursework both asynchronously and synchronously with no on-campus requirements.

The 30-credit curriculum focuses on organizational, policy, and technical issues in information systems. Designed for students with diverse undergraduate degrees, the curriculum's core courses introduce information science and systems along with applicable laws and humam-computer interaction. Students submit a program of study that includes core courses and electives for review by the graduate program steering committee. Electives include coursework in business, digital curation, and cybersecurity.

Applicants to the information technology master's degree online program must hold a bachelor's degree and submit three references, transcripts, and GRE scores. All applicants must have already completed a college-level algebra course.

Graduation Rate
60%
14

University of Denver 

Denver, CO

About this school

The University of Denver's online master's degree in information and communications technology serves students seeking advancement in their current jobs or those preparing for a career change.

The program offers a variety of concentrations in areas like cybersecurity management; database design and administration; geographic information systems; information systems security; mobile application development; and telecommunications technology.

Students graduate with the skills to integrate business and IT solutions, employ strategic approaches to achieve global-market advantages, and communicate effectively with team members and end users. The program takes 18 months to complete. Distance learners can study 100% online or take some classes online and some on campus in the evenings.

Program prerequisites include a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA, a master's degree, or graduate coursework with a 3.0 GPA. DU's online master's in information technology program does not require GRE scores for admission. Candidates can apply for admission in November, February, April, or July. Applicants must also submit a fee, official transcripts, two references, and a personal statement.

Graduation Rate
77%
15

University of South Florida-Main Campus 

Tampa, FL

About this school

The University of South Florida's 30-credit, hybrid master of science in information technology prepares graduates to help organizations achieve their operational, strategic, and technological goals. Students take three core courses -- advances in object-oriented programming for IT, penetration testing for IT, and advanced database management -- and seven electives. Graduation requires a 3.0 GPA and passing a comprehensive examination.

All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in IT, computer science, or a related major with a 3.0 GPA during their final 60 undergraduate credits. Applicants with bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields must complete prerequisite coursework in database systems, IT data structures and algorithms, programming design and fundamentals, and object-oriented programming.

Applicants must also submit GRE scores of at least 161 on the quantitative portion and 150 in the verbal section. USF may waive the GRE requirement for candidates with undergraduate degrees from an ABET-accredited program or at least three years of professional IT experience. Other admission requirements include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and official transcripts.

Graduation Rate
73%
16

Loyola University Chicago 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Grounded in the Jesuit educational tradition, Loyola University of Chicago offers more than 20 graduate programs online, including a master of science in information technology. Geared toward both aspiring and current IT professionals, the program provides a foundation in emerging technologies; system engineering concepts; and the converging IT, media, and telecommunications sectors. Graduates pursue careers in cybersecurity, data architecture, database administration, and project management.

Students must select one of four tracks, each totaling 30 credits: enterprise information management; enterprise networking; information assurance; or technology management. All students take a course in computing ethical, legal, and social issues, plus six electives, including an optional independent project or internship. Students can earn their degrees entirely online. Most courses follow an asynchronous format, but some may include synchronous sessions.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. Loyola's online master's in information technology program does not require GRE scores for admission.

Depending on the program track, prerequisite coursework may include object-oriented programming, data structures, discrete structures, or introduction to computer systems. Applicants lacking these courses can take them at Loyola at a lower cost than degree-seeking students by registering as non-degree undergraduates.

Graduation Rate
74%
17

Montclair State University 

Montclair, NJ

About this school

Recognized for its affordability and diversity, Montclair State University offers seven online graduate degrees. The 33-credit master of science in information technology curriculum trains students in the design, development, implementation, and support of computing and communications applications. The program prepares graduates for careers as IT leaders in business, government, and industry.

Tailored for both working and aspiring IT professionals, the program eliminates all in-person requirements except for an on-site internship. Students can finish their degrees within two years. Core courses cover computer networks, computer security, cyberlaw, and database systems. Students round out the curriculum with two of the following electives: advanced database systems, mobile computing, operating systems, or software engineering,

Successful applicants to the information technology master's degree online program bring experience or an educational background in computer science, engineering, or mathematics. Students with backgrounds in other fields can still apply and complete any missing coursework under conditional admission. Prerequisites include computer systems principles, data structures, discrete mathematics in computing, and Java programming.

Interested candidates submit an application, official transcripts, a resume or CV, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants to Montclair's online master's in information technology do not need to submit GRE scores.

Graduation Rate
71%
18

Towson University 

Towson, MD

About this school

Towson University is the second-largest school in Maryland's university system. TU's online, 33-credit MS in applied information technology helps students enhance and update their skills in business analysis, IT project management, and systems development.

Students can complete post-baccalaureate certificates while also completing their online master's in information technology. Certificate options include computer forensics, database management systems, health information technology, information security and assurance, internet application development, and software engineering.

Most certificates take a year to finish; students must then complete six additional graduate-level courses for their MS degrees. These courses cover business data communications, risk analysis, software security, and web programming and development. Learners can also gain work experience as graduate assistants. Most part-time students graduate in two years.

TU welcomes applicants who hold bachelor's degrees in non-IT fields but work in the industry, along with candidates interested in career advancement. Applicants must submit evidence of a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA for full admission. Applicants with 2.75 GPAs can apply for conditional admission. Accepted students may transfer up to 50% of earned credits toward their certificates or degrees with approval from the program director.

Graduation Rate
73%
19

University of North Carolina at Greensboro 

Greensboro, NC

About this school

Offering high academic quality and flexibility through distance learning programs, including a master of science in information technology and management, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro caters to working professionals. The entirely online and asynchronous master's in information technology and management program prepares graduates for managerial and technical careers solving complex business problems.

The 30-credit curriculum includes four core courses: organizing data for analytics, app design and programming, designing secure completer and IoT networks for business, and project management for dynamic environments. The program culminates in a capstone thesis or non-thesis option centered on project management. The program offers concentrations in business analytics, cybersecurity, and supply chain management.

Applicants can apply for fall, spring, or summer entry by submitting a graduate application and official transcripts. Additional requirements include a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and GMAT or GRE scores. UNCG waives the test score requirement for Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society members, accelerated degree admittees, applicants with 3.3 undergraduate GPAs and five years of relevant work experience, or graduate certificate holders with 3.0 GPAs.

Online students pay lower tuition than on-campus learners. The program spans 1-5 years, depending on course load. Students can take advantage of career services, including summer internships, resume reviews, mock interviews, and advice from a graduate student professional development specialist.

Graduation Rate
53%
20

The University of Texas at Dallas 

Richardson, TX

About this school

The online master of science in information technology and management at the University of Texas at Dallas seeks to effectively respond to changing technologies in business in a global society. Its hybrid course delivery combines online and on-campus courses, which are both offered primarily in the evening.

Core courses in the 36-credit program address foundations of IT and management practices at the intersection of business and technology. An extensive list of electives includes big data, cloud computing, digital forensics and incident management, and programming for data science. The program also offers concentrations in business intelligence and analytics; cybersecurity management, enterprise systems, healthcare systems, and IT consulting and services management.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. UT Dallas prefers GMAT scores, but accepts GRE scores. Other required materials include at least one letter of recommendation, a resume, and a personal essay detailing academic goals and interests.

Graduation Rate
72%
21

Endicott College 

Beverly, MA

About this school

Endicott College offers numerous master's programs for working professionals, including an online master of science in information technology. The 36-credit program trains future IT leaders through a curriculum focused on emerging technological trends and systems and collaborative communication skills. Students can also specialize in health and medical informatics.

The program's curriculum includes coursework in advanced cloud computing, database management, and security management. Students may also participate in an optional internship or field study seminar with permission from the program director. The program delivers coursework synchronously through professor-led discussions and interaction with classmates. Instructors may assign documentaries, lectures, and online resources to round out learners' educational experiences.

Students can complete the program entirely online and have access to tutoring services, a writing center, 24/7 technical support, library staff, and a personal academic advisor. Distance learners can also opt for a blended program of online courses and in-person classes at Endicott's seaside campus just outside of Boston.

Applicants submit an online form and application fee, two references, transcripts, and a statement of goals. The program director may invite candidates to interview. Endicott's online master's in information technology does not require GRE scores.

Graduation Rate
76%
22

Central Michigan University 

Mount Pleasant, MI

About this school

Central Michigan University offers 14 online master's programs, including its online master of science in information systems program (MSIS), which serves students without prior degrees in information systems or computer science. The program prepares graduates to become IT industry professionals, instructors at community colleges, or doctoral students. Full-time students can earn their degrees in two years, even if they opt for a 57-credit dual MSIS/MBA degree.

MSIS core courses comprise 21 credits and provide an introduction to information systems, application development, communication in professional contexts, database management for business, and systems analysis and design. Students also complete six credits of business electives, which can include an on-site work or internship experience. The curriculum concludes with a comprehensive exam and a capstone information systems project.

The program includes four specialization options: business data analytics, cybersecurity, enterprise systems, and project management.

Requirements for full admission include a bachelor's degree with a 2.7 overall GPA or a GPA of 3.0 during the last two years of a bachelor's program. CMU also admits students who do not meet that criteria on a conditional basis, provided they work with an advisor to fulfill regular admission requirements.

Graduation Rate
62%
23

Sam Houston State University 

Huntsville, TX

About this school

Sam Houston State University offers several programs through distance learning, including an MS in information assurance and security. The 36-credit program focuses on protecting information through securing network systems, preventing network damage, assessing risk, and planning for disaster recovery.

Students take five required, core courses: business continuity management, database security, network and cybersecurity, operating system security, and principle and policy information assurance. They also complete a directed management and development project and take six electives. Graduation requires students to earn a 3.0 GPA in their core courses and pass a comprehensive written exam. This fully online program delivers course content asynchronously through Blackboard.

SHSU prefers applicants with educational or professional backgrounds in computer science, management information science, or related fields. Applicants with degrees or experience in other fields can apply but may need to take additional STEM courses.

Applicants submit an online graduate form and application fee, official transcripts, a resume, GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation. Preference goes to applicants with GPAs of 3.0. SHSU may waive the GRE requirement for applicants with MS degrees or at least five years of applicable work experience.

Graduation Rate
52%
24

Concordia University-Saint Paul 

Saint Paul, MN

About this school

Concordia University, St. Paul offers more than 20 online master's programs, including an online master's in information technology management. Designed for IT professionals, the 36-credit curriculum trains responsible and ethical leaders. Program graduates can earn promotions to positions like chief technology or information officer, computer systems analyst, and IT consultant. CSP reports that 95% of its graduates receive job offers within a year and that CSP graduates earn 44% higher salaries than the national average.

The 100% online curriculum covers business strategy, project management, and leadership theory, along with data analytics, information security, and IT innovation. Admitted students complete an online orientation prior to their first class and can access technical help and library resources 24/7. The program culminates in a capstone project.

Prospective students submit a free online application, official transcripts, and a 400-1,000-word personal statement. Applicants to the online master's in information technology do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. CSP also provides a transfer credit evaluation free of charge and pays the costs of applicant transcripts.

Graduation Rate
59%
25

University of Massachusetts-Lowell 

Lowell, MA

About this school

Distance learners at the University of Massachusetts Lowell can choose from more than 50 online master's degrees, including a master of science in information technology. The program's 10-course curriculum trains IT professionals for high-level positions in large-scale application deployment, network and systems administration, virtual systems management, and operating systems management.

The information technology master's degree online program teaches practical skills on Apple, Linux/UNIX, and Windows platforms, along with general IT principals. Course topics include cloud computing, data recovery, forensics, and wireless network security. Students with graduate IT certificates in cybersecurity or systems models and management may count previously earned credits toward their master's degrees.

The program's 100% online, asynchronous course delivery features audio and video lectures, chat rooms, discussion boards, and access to class materials. Interaction with professors and classmates takes place through email and online discussions. Faculty also provide individual evaluations of assignments and keep scheduled, virtual office hours.

UML prefers applicants with programming familiarity and a background in mathematics that includes discrete structures, pre-calculus, and statistics. Admission requires an online application and $50 fee, a transcript showing completion of a bachelor's degree, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and a statement of purpose.

Graduation Rate
63%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Master's in Information Technology Programs Ranking Guidelines

Best Online Programs - Master's in Information Technology

We selected the programs based on the quality of the program; the types of courses offered; and the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation of the school — including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online programs.

What is a Master's in Information Technology Degree?

A master’s in information technology degree provides students with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to pursue high–level careers in the IT field. Students also prepare to act as leaders in the field, overseeing other IT personnel.

Master’s in information technology degrees typically focus on a variety of IT issues, including database management, IT project management, programming, software and hardware engineering, information systems design and architecture, and IT security. In addition, the degree combines theories of management and business administration.

With numerous specializations available among many different programs, students may focus their studies on areas like web design, network security, IT project management, IT governance, and more.

Online Master’s in Information Technology Programs

Online programs offer students flexibility and accessibility. Students arrange their coursework around work or family obligations, with many programs designing their degree for working IT professionals. Depending on the program, students may take classes synchronously or asynchronously.

Online IT programs incorporate lectures, homework, and tests through online learning technologies.

Synchronous classes meet at a set time, often in the evening to accommodate working students, and offer the benefits of a live classroom experience. Asynchronous classes let students complete lectures, projects, and tutorials on their own time. Online IT programs incorporate lectures, homework, and tests through online learning technologies. Graduate students also connect with members of their cohort through discussion boards and group projects.

Many students prefer the accessible nature of an online program. Established professionals can attend the top programs in the country without relocating or leaving their jobs. Online students complete their graduate coursework, choose a concentration area, and work with a faculty advisor to earn their degrees. Many continue working while enrolled in a graduate program. For some students, an online program provides a convenient path to career advancement. However, prospective online students must be self–motivated and driven. Admissions advisors can help prospective students decide whether an online program best fits their needs.

Earning a master’s degree in information technology helps professionals advance their careers and qualify for job titles like computer and information research scientist.

Earning a master’s degree in information technology helps professionals advance their careers and qualify for job titles like computer and information research scientist. With a master’s degree, IT professionals pursue opportunities as IT managers, senior computer systems analysts, and systems architects. A graduate degree also meets the qualifications for management–level positions within an IT department. After earning a bachelor’s degree, professionals qualify for entry–level positions in IT, but a graduate degree leads to advanced career opportunities.

Graduate degrees let IT professionals increase their salary potential. While professionals with a bachelor’s degree in IT earn $70,000 a year on average, a master’s degree allows them to seek high–paying, supervisory roles. According to Payscale, professionals with a master’s degree make $14,000 more a year than those with a bachelor’s degree. Many master’s–level IT jobs offer even higher salaries, with computer and research scientists earning nearly $115,000 in median annual salary.

The Advantages of a Master's Degree in Information Technology

Earning a master’s degree in information technology helps professionals advance their careers and qualify for job titles like computer and information research scientist. With a master’s degree, IT professionals pursue opportunities as IT managers, senior computer systems analysts, and systems architects. A graduate degree also meets the qualifications for management–level positions within an IT department. After earning a bachelor’s degree, professionals qualify for entry–level positions in IT, but a graduate degree leads to advanced career opportunities.

Graduate degrees let IT professionals increase their salary potential. While professionals with a bachelor’s degree in IT earn $70,000 a year on average, a master’s degree allows them to seek high–paying, supervisory roles. According to Payscale, professionals with a master’s degree make $14,000 more a year than those with a bachelor’s degree. Many master’s–level IT jobs offer even higher salaries, with computer and research scientists earning nearly $115,000 in median annual salary.

Average Salary by Degree Level

Master's Degree in Information Technology Salary Information

A master’s degree in information technology prepares graduates for many in–demand career paths. With a master’s, IT professionals work as IT managers, computer network architects, and database administrators. Some careers, such as computer and information research scientist, require a master’s degree, while others like IT manager prefer candidates with a graduate degree. IT professionals work in several industries, including tech, healthcare, government, and business. These career opportunities provide above–average salaries with growth potential.

IT Manager

IT managers, also known as computer and information systems managers, oversee IT departments. They plan and direct an organization’s information technology strategy and needs, implementing plans to reach the organization’s goals.

Median Annual Salary

$142,530

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists study complex problems in computing. They also invent and design solutions to computing challenges, including innovating uses for current technology.

Median Annual Salary

$142,530

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects design networks for organizations, including enterprise–level networks. They can specialize in cloud infrastructure or other emerging technologies. Network architects analyze an organization’s goals to create a network that advances its business plan

Median Annual Salary

$109,020

Projected Growth Rate

5%

Database Administrator

Database administrators manage an organization’s data and files, including medical records, financial information, or customer records. They maintain the security of the database and prevent unauthorized access

Median Annual Salary

$90,070

Projected Growth Rate

9%

What is an IT Manager?

An IT Manager oversees a team or department of IT personnel with the purpose of ensuring the group operates efficiently and meets company goals. Working with network security professionals, web designers, and software engineers, IT managers organize and direct their teams through a combination of IT and administrative expertise.

Choosing an Online IT Graduate Degree Program

A growing number of colleges and universities offer online master’s in information technology programs. Prospective students may feel overwhelmed by the number of choices. Choosing the right IT graduate program can shape your career prospects for decades, so make sure to research each program before submitting an application. Key considerations, including the program cost, the length of the degree, and on–campus requirements, can help certain programs stand out. Prospective students often choose in–state programs, for example, as the most affordable option. However, some public universities offer in–state tuition to all online students. By researching the options, students can find the best fit for their interests and career goals.

Program Cost

The cost of a master’s degree varies widely. In general, public, in–state universities charge the lowest tuition rates, while private schools charge the highest rates. In addition to tuition, prospective students should research technology fees, the cost of books, and other expenses.

Transfer Policies

Students with some graduate credits need to research transfer policies at their potential programs. Some graduate programs let students transfer in credits toward their degree, while others require students to complete their coursework at the degree–granting institution. A generous transfer policy can save money and help you earn a degree faster.

School Size and Type

Some students prefer a large university with an expansive cohort of other information technology graduate students. Bigger institutions may also feature wider alumni networks. Other students prefer a smaller class size with more focused attention from their professors. Students can research class size, school size, and the type of institution — public versus private — to find a school that fits their needs.

Program Length

While most master’s programs in IT require 30–36 credits of coursework, program length can vary from 1–3 years. Programs may also require an internship or practicum, which can add to the program’s length. Prospective students should research program length, including part–time or accelerated options.

On–Campus Requirements

Many online master’s in IT programs offer the degree fully online with no on–campus requirements. Some programs, however, require mandatory on–campus experiences, including weekend residency requirements or an orientation. Students considering programs in other states may prefer a program with no on–campus requirements, while online students at local universities may prefer on–campus opportunities.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

The program requirements for a master’s degree in information technology vary. Programs may include a master’s thesis or project at the end of the degree, while others include an internship or other work requirement to gain hands–on experience.

Accreditation for Online Information Technology Master’s Degrees

Prospective information technology graduate students should always choose an accredited college or university. Accreditation recognizes institutions that follow the best practices in education. Independent accrediting agencies grant accreditation after an extensive evaluation, which considers the school’s student learning outcomes, graduation requirements, and faculty qualifications. Accreditation also benefits graduate students. Students at accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid and typically meet the requirements for professional certifications. Some employers only hire candidates with an accredited degree, meaning accreditation status affects job prospects after graduation.

Some employers only hire candidates with an accredited degree, meaning accreditation status affects job prospects after graduation.

At the institutional level, colleges and universities can hold regional or national accreditation. Generally, regional accreditation evaluates liberal arts and research institutions, while national accreditation reviews technical and vocational schools. Overall, regional accreditation remains the highest standard. Programs can also hold programmatic accreditation from specialized agencies. For example, business schools, teacher preparation programs, and social work programs typically hold programmatic accreditation. In information technology, graduate programs earn accreditation through the institution rather than a programmatic accrediting agency.

Both the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) validate accrediting agencies and maintain lists of regionally accredited institutions.

Prospective students should look for a regionally accredited institution. Both the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) validate accrediting agencies and maintain lists of regionally accredited institutions. Students can check the ED website or CHEA website to see whether a college or university holds regional accreditation.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Information Technology?

Earning a master’s degree in information technology usually takes two years for full–time students. Most IT master’s programs require 30–36 credits of coursework to complete the degree, which includes advanced courses in the student’s concentration area. Programs may offer a part–time option, which often takes three years, or an accelerated pathway to the degree, which can take as little as 15–18 months. These enrollment options can affect the cost of a master’s degree, depending on whether the university charges a per–credit rate or a flat fee per term.

Each program sets its own graduation requirements, potentially affecting the length of the degree, and includes an internship or a practicum to gain hands–on experience. Graduate students may need to complete a master’s thesis or final project at the end of their programs.

Courses in an Online Master’s in Information Technology Program

Advanced Information Technology

Many graduate programs begin with a course providing advanced knowledge and skills in IT. The class may cover databases, web and software development, hardware management, and telecommunications. The course introduces graduate students to specialties within IT, preparing students for advanced work within their IT concentration.

Systems Analysis

Classes on systems analysis train students to design efficient systems and evaluate systems for their effectiveness. Graduate students gain familiarity with system design, functional design, and system requirements while learning common software programs for systems analysis. Most systems analysis courses incorporate projects to measure student learning.

Database Design

Database design courses prepare students for careers in database management or database architecture. Graduate students learn database design through diagramming tools, data modeling, and functional dependencies. The course also trains graduate students with database management skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles in the field.

Network Security

Courses on network security teach graduate students to protect networks and computer systems. Students learn about cybersecurity methods, malicious software, and security systems like firewalls. The class may also cover encryption methods and file security. Graduates pursue careers in network security or information assurance.

Data Analytics

A growing field, data analytics courses prepare students to work as data scientists or in any field of analytics. Students learn about data identification, analyzing data sets, and software for data analysis. Graduate students may also apply programming language skills to solve data analytics problems by designing their own programs.

Information Technology Manager Certifications

Information technology professionals can choose from numerous certifications to help advance their career, including:

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert

Cisco offers the CCIE credential with several concentrations, including security, wireless, data center, and service provider. Candidates must take a written exam and a hands–on lab exam to earn the credential.

Certified Associate in Project Management

An entry–level certification, CAPM recognizes candidates with at least 23 credits in project management education. Candidates do not need professional experience in project management to take the exam.

Certified Information Security Manager

Information security specialists qualify for the exam with a master’s in IT and three years of information security work experience. Candidates must pass the CISM examination, and scores remain valid for five years.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional

A credential for professionals in information system security, candidates must pass an examination to earn the CISSP designation, which remains valid for three years.

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

Specialists in risk management qualify for the CRISC credential with at least three years of work experience in two of the four CRISC domains. Candidates must also pass the certification exam.

Certified IT Architect Professional

IT architects qualify for the CITA credential depending on their education and experience. At the professional level, candidates demonstrate industry leadership in the skills taxonomy, a primary specialization, and a subspecialization.

CompTIA Project+ Certification

A CompTIA credential for professionals with project management skills, the certification tests project management knowledge, management abilities, and project documentation abilities through a 90–minute exam.

ITIL Expert Certification

At the expert level, candidates demonstrate advanced skills in information technology infrastructure library management. Candidates complete ITIL modules and demonstrate their knowledge through an examination.

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer

Microsoft offers multiple MCSD specializations, including in cloud, mobility, core infrastructure, and data. Credentialled MCSD professionals maintain their certifications by taking the recertification exam every two years.

Oracle Certified DBA Professional

Database administrators can earn the OCP certification by passing an SQL exam and database administration exam. Oracle offers multiple levels for its OCP credentials.

Project Management Professional

The Project Management Institute offers this certification for candidates with experience as project managers. Candidates pass an examination on project management concepts and must complete continuing education requirements every three years to maintain the credential.

Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt Certification

Six Sigma recognizes professionals with quality improvement, analytical, and problem–solving skills. Green belts must hold three years of work experience, while black belts must hold three years of experience plus complete a Six Sigma project.

Information Technology Membership Associations

IT students and professionals benefit from the resources offered by professional organizations. These organizations host conferences and events with networking opportunities, offer scholarship opportunities and in–demand certifications, and connect job seekers with opportunities through their career centers. Professionals also stay up to date in their field with the publications and technical resources provided by professional organizations.

Association of Information Technology Professionals

AITP represents IT professionals and provides research on IT salaries, in–demand professional skills, and technical research. Members rely on AITP for training videos, networking opportunities, IT awards, and local chapters. The association also runs technology events and offers career resources for members.

Association for Computing Machinery

ACM connects computing professionals with educators and researchers. Members attend conferences with networking opportunities, join special interest groups, and benefit from the association’s research publications. Students can join student chapters, use the association’s resources to advance their careers, and win awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair.

CompTIA

In addition to granting IT certifications, CompTIA also offers membership opportunities and resources for IT professionals. Members receive resources on the IT industry and attend events to network with other IT professionals. CompTIA also offers trainings, webinars, and podcasts so that IT professionals can stay current in their field.

Network Professional Association

An association for IT professionals, NPA publishes articles and interviews about the field. The association’s regional chapters host events that offer networking opportunities, and NPA delivers the certified network professional credential. NPA also runs a job board and provides career strategies for job seekers.

Association of Software Professionals

IT professionals and students who work in software development or any software–related tech field benefit from the ASP blog, newsletter, and developers’ tools. Professionals can submit articles for publication in the newsletter. The association also sells software and hosts discussion groups to solve software problems.

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