The information technology field is rapidly evolving, and a master’s degree in the subject gives professionals the foundation of knowledge and skill set to face these changes. Prospective students considering careers in information technology should make sure their research includes current information. The list below offers the most current ranking of master’s in information technology programs, a crucial starting point or addition to any IT degree search.
Further down the page, readers can find information on ranking methodology, information technology courses, funding, career opportunities, and advice for finding the right program.
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What You Should Know About the Master’s in Information Technology Program
What Is a Master’s in Information Technology Degree?
Students pursuing a master’s in information technology can enhance their programming skills, apply computer-based solutions to company challenges, and develop their knowledge of cybersecurity and information systems. Core courses cover advanced computer principles, with specializations including information security, systems development and management, and project management. Students with master’s degrees can develop leadership and critical-thinking skills and a thorough understanding of systems infrastructure.
Students should research their chosen career paths to make sure they select a program that aligns with their career goals.
- Title and Curriculum: Prospective students should note the differences between various IT-related master’s degree options. The focus of a master’s degree in IT involves hands-on problem-solving and technical abilities. A master’s in information management focuses on storing, delivering, and protecting user information, and it may emphasize critical inquiry into the societal implications of data management. A master’s in technology management, a business-focused degree, prepares students to strategize in the technical arena, whether they begin as engineers or businesspeople.
- Department Strengths: Degree focus differs depending on whether the master’s degree is offered by a school of business, engineering, or computer science. Students should consider department goals when selecting a program and ensure they understand whether the program takes a business or technical focus. Applicants should seek out departments featuring labs, exciting faculty projects, and various types of project centers.
- Class Profiles: Most programs provide information about current students and alumni either publicly or upon request. Prospective students should consider whether a program’s students are recent college graduates or mid-career professionals.
Master’s in Information Technology Curriculum
There’s no standard template for an online master’s in IT or information management. Universities tend to split these programs into required courses, concentrations, and electives, but a few online MSIT degrees offer no electives whatsoever. Many programs include a capstone project, thesis, or the equivalent; some offer the option to pursue an internship for credit.
Take a look at the curriculum section in our rankings to better understand:
- Required Courses: Decide whether the IT foundation courses suit your level of expertise, as you don’t want to be stuck revisiting elementary principles. Ask to monitor an online course. Talk to the program coordinator about your skill sets, and don’t be afraid to contact alumni about their course experience.
- Electives and Concentrations: Choose a concentration and/or electives that closely match your career goals. Cybersecurity is always a popular category in online MSIT programs, but there are plenty of other concentrations and tracks on our list (e.g. game development, business intelligence, project management, software design, IT infrastructures, etc.).
- Interdisciplinary Options: Find out if any courses are taught by faculty from other departments or adjunct faculty with real-world jobs. A strong interdisciplinary program provides learners with all kinds of marketable skills (e.g. psychological understanding of user experience) and helpful business contacts.
Degree requirements, course titles, and syllabi differ between programs, so students should contact their programs of interest to learn more about available curricula. Still, prospective IT master’s students can find some common ground as they research schools.
- Network and System Administration: Students build strong foundations in computer network fundamentals, including design and management. Topics may include automatic system administration, hosting, communication including wireless and mobile networks, architecture, and service configuration. Business-focused programs may emphasize how to build networks to answer the needs of their organizations.
- Systems Security: Though some offer security-specific tracks, many information technology master’s programs include cybersecurity foundations among their core courses. Security courses may explore systems auditing for risk management, best practices, evaluation, troubleshooting, decision-making, and implementing fixes when a breach occurs.
- Software Design: Students learn the fundamentals of software design by studying existing systems and analyzing those structures to create their own. Topics include an overview of popular software structures and architecture, programming tools, notation styles, and design and implementation.
- Data Mining: In this course, students learn to parse the flood of data received through mobile applications, websites, social media, medicine, and finance. The course covers topics in data mining techniques including algorithms and analysis, plus basic statistics, software tools, data classification, and identifying outliers.
How Much Does a Master’s in Information Technology Cost?
Several factors go into tuition rates for online MSIT and online IT management programs:
- Total Credits: Universities usually charge per-credit tuition rates, meaning a 30-credit MSIT typically costs less than a 36-credit MSIM from the same school.
- Public vs. Private University: Generally speaking, private universities charge more than public universities. On the other hand, private universities may offer superb scholarships and corporate sponsorship deals to bring costs down.
- In-State vs. Out-of-State: At some public universities, in-state residents pay considerably less than out-of-state residents. Other public universities charge flat tuition rates for online graduate degrees, regardless of residency.
- Additional Fees: On top of tuition, universities may tack on various fees, such as distance learning and materials fees. Follow the tuition links in our profile to understand each program’s complete cost rather than just the estimated tuition rate.
How to Pay for an Online MSIT
Students can take advantage of a variety of resources to help fund their online master’s degrees in information technology. Aid resources include federal loans, employer assistance, and professional scholarships. Students can fill out a FAFSA to qualify for federal grants, scholarships, and loans available at a low, fixed interest rate of 6.8%. The FAFSA calculates how much a student can borrow based on financial need and qualifies students for work-study.
Some companies offer full or partial tuition benefits for their employees. They may expect these employees to enroll in degree programs related to their current positions, in which case their education may benefit the organization going forward. They may also set minimum GPA requirements and other stipulations.
Students may seek out scholarship and grant opportunities through professional organizations, regional groups, and private foundations.
- Women Techmakers Scholarship for Computer Science and Gaming: Women enrolled in accredited bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. programs in computer science or related fields qualify for this Google-funded scholarship. Amount: $10,000
- Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship: A merit-based award for students planning to enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program in the next 12 months, the Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship requires a brief essay on applicants’ career goals. Amount: $1,000
- Ralph W. Schrader Graduate Diversity Scholarship: Full-time women and minorities in at least the second semester of accredited graduate degree programs in information technology or other STEM-related fields qualify to apply. Amount: $3,000
What Can I Do With a Master’s in Information Technology?
Master’s in Information Technology Jobs
Graduates with master’s degrees in information technology can choose from a range of positions, including IT managers, software developers, computer and information research scientists, and database administrators. Analytical, communication, and detail skills are commonly associated with these positions, and a master’s in IT can help students obtain the knowledge they need.
Salary ranges differ by location and experience, but the BLS offers salary data on these and other IT-related jobs. The bureau reports a range of annual mean salaries from $82,050 for computer and information systems administrators to $142,540 for IT managers.
To learn more about master’s degrees in cybersecurity, check out this website.
Information Technology Certifications
By pursuing certifications related to their areas of interest, IT professionals can hone their skills and boost their resumes to better qualify for jobs or promotions.
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control: With CRISC, professionals can validate their knowledge of cybersecurity risks in four areas: identifying IT risk, assessing IT risk, risk response and mitigation, and risk and control monitoring and reporting.
- Project Management Professional: Offered by the Project Management Institute, PMP certification validates program management knowledge in the areas of project initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer: Professionals can earn MCSE credentials in business applications, core infrastructure, data management and analytics, mobility, or productivity, all focused on the implementation of various technologies.
Earn A Ph.D. in Information Technology
Higher education boosts a graduate’s chances in the job market, and students who complete a Ph.D. in information technology may find a wealth of career opportunities. Because a Ph.D. is often research-focused, students can pursue deep knowledge of a particular area of information technology, qualifying them as experts in the field.
Students seeking higher education careers may pursue doctorates, qualifying them for professorships and other research-based positions. A Ph.D. can also lead to executive leadership in areas like systems analysis, IT management, and computer network architecture.
Students may pursue general IT degrees to prepare for executive management, teaching, and consulting. Research focus may involve software development, network architecture, or work with a particular industry. A Ph.D. focused in cybersecurity prepares students for high-level IT risk management, while one in project management emphasizes strategy and business.
Prospective students should engage in careful research before enrolling in a Ph.D. program to ensure their program of choice holds regional accreditation, which ensures that it meets certain minimum standards.
To learn more about Ph.D.s in cybersecurity, check out this website.
2021’s Best Master’s in Information Technology Colleges
West Lafayette, IN
Founded in 1869, Purdue's main campus is in West Lafayette, Indiana. The school also operates four satellite campuses in the state, bringing total undergraduate enrollment to more than 33,000.
Purdue offers a master's in online technology. Students in this program choose from three concentrations to customize their degree plan and specialize their expertise. Concentrations include business intelligence and analytics, information security and assurance, and project management. This program requires 60 credits. Students with professional experience and applicable skills may expedite their degree.
Applying to Purdue
Students must complete a bachelor's degree before enrolling in a master's program. Learners should provide transcripts and do an interview with an admissions advisor. Some graduate students must provide resumes prior to the interview.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: HLC | Tuition: $420/credit | Required Credits: 60 credits | Delivery Format: 100% online
Founded in 1971, Liberty is one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world. The physical campus is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, but most learners study online.
Liberty offers its master's in information technology through the School of Business. Liberty's appeals to students with transfer credits and who appreciate a religious aspect to technology science. Liberty allows students to transfer up to 50% of their credits.
Students in this program can specialize in network design and security or software design and management. Learners also complete a capstone course, where they showcase knowledge gained throughout their degree coursework.
Applying to Liberty
Applicants should demonstrate a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in their undergraduate degree and proof of English proficiency. They should also submit typical documents, such as transcripts. The $50 admission is deferred until financial check-in.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private | Accreditation: SACSCOC | Required Credits: 36 credits | Program Length: 1.5 years | Tuition: $565-$615/credit | Delivery Format: 100% online
Named after the Virginia planter and founding father, George Mason, the school began as a northern branch of the University of Virginia. George Mason became an independent institution in the 1970s.
Students in the master of information technology program at George Mason learn to analyze local and global impacts of emerging areas of information science and technology. Concentrations include cybersecurity, data analytics and intelligence, and IT management. This degree entails 30 credits.
Applying to George Mason
Students must hold a bachelor's degree, prepare a goals statement and a resume, submit two letters of recommendation, and pay a $75 application fee. Applicants for the online program should apply online, and applicants for the on-campus program should visit the Volgenau School of Engineering for more information.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: SACSCOC | Required Credits: 30 credits | Program Length: 18 months | Tuition: $950/credit | Delivery Format: 100% online
Montclair State University
The second-largest university in New Jersey, Montclair State was established in 1908 and is a notable research university.
Montclair State offers a master's in information technology with an applied IT concentration, which provides learners with an enterprise perspective. Students focus on the management and implementation of information technology to support today's business, industry, and government work environments.
Graduation requires 33 credits. Students seeking a career change or who have limited or no background in this field of study may pursue the bridge program.
Applying to Montclair
The online program does not charge an application fee. Students must create an account and be prepared to provide transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $617/credit | Required Credits: 33 credits | Delivery Format: 100% online
Carnegie Mellon University
Founded in the early 20th century by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, this Pittsburgh-based institution has long been known for its world-class, interdisciplinary programs.
Carnegie Mellon offers a widely recognized master's in information technology. Students in this program choose from four concentrations, developing skills for their particular area of interest. Concentrations include cybersecurity, information technology management, business intelligence and data analytics, and information security and assurance.
Applying to Carnegie Mellon
This program serves working professionals. The student mix in MSIT combines high-performing early career professionals and seasoned executives. All admitted MSIT students hold at least three years of relevant professional experience. Many incoming students have eight or more years.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public | Accreditation: MSCHE | Tuition: $535-$710/credit | Required Credits: 33 credits | Delivery Format: Hybrid
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