Top 5 Online Master’s in Information Technology

Top 5 Online Master’s in Information Technology

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Earning an online master's in information technology (IT) can open doors to exciting careers in cutting-edge fields like software development, information security analysis, and blockchain technology.

As businesses increasingly rely on computer technology, the demand for qualified information technology professionals is on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% job growth for information security analysts and 22% growth for software developers from 2020 to 2030 — far outpacing the national average for all occupations.

By earning an online master's in information technology, students can acquire the qualifications for securing lucrative roles across a variety of industries, sometimes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional on-campus information technology master's.

This guide ranks the top online master's in IT programs and explores what to expect from an online information technology master's degree.

What Is a Master’s in Information Technology Degree?

Online IT master's programs focus on teaching learners to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot the operations of an organization's IT environment, including software applications, operating systems, and computer networks. A typical information technology master's curriculum covers topics like software design, cybersecurity, computer programming languages, and computer networks.

Many computer science, business administration, and engineering programs offer information technology as a concentration. Common courses for online IT master's programs include network and systems management, software design, systems security, data mining, regulatory compliance, and blockchain analysis.

Most online master's in information technology degrees comprise 30-60 credits and take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete. Learners hoping to finish more quickly should explore accelerated programs.

The cost of an online master's degree in information technology varies with school prestige, type, and location. But attending a school that offers a discounted tuition rate for distance learners can lower expenses. Learners can also take advantage of federal and school-based financial aid.

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Admission Requirements for Master's in IT Programs

Admission to an online information technology master's program generally requires a bachelor's degree. Some programs may prefer applicants with prior coursework in computer science or information technology. Engineering programs may require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in engineering.

To apply, students must typically submit an online application packet, along with materials such as a resume, official transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, letters of recommendation, personal essays, a statement of purpose, and a nonrefundable application fee.

A minimum 3.5 GPA and standardized test scores in the 95 percentile usually boost admission chances.

Minimum GPA requirements for online information technology master's programs vary with factors such as school prestige, degree type, and program location. A minimum 3.5 GPA and standardized test scores in the 95th percentile usually boost admission chances.

Master's in Information Technology Degree and Concentration Options

Many online IT master's degrees are offered as a specialization for computer science, engineering, or business administration degrees. Some schools may provide additional concentration options for information technology master's students, including focuses in software development, cybersecurity, or blockchain technology.

Learners interested in pursuing a master's program in IT online can choose from several types of master's degrees. Below, we list three options.

  • Master of Science (MS) in Information Technology: An MS in information technology focuses on cultivating foundational knowledge in computer and information technology and expertise in areas like cybersecurity or information systems management. Many MS in IT programs prioritize candidates with previous computer science coursework.
  • Master of Engineering (MEng) in Information Technology: An MEng in information technology prepares learners for engineering roles such as information security engineering, hardware engineering, and blockchain engineering. MEng programs usually only accept applicants who hold a bachelor's in engineering.
  • MBA in Information Technology: MBA programs in information technology cultivate proficiencies in business administration alongside specialized skills in information technology. Many MBA programs prefer applicants with prior coursework in business administration.

Top Online Master's in IT Courses

There is no standard template for an online master’s in information technology degree. The curriculum typically includes required core courses, concentration courses, and electives. Many programs include a capstone project or thesis. Some schools offer for-credit internship opportunities.

Since degree requirements, course titles, and syllabi differ between IT master's programs, students should contact their programs of interest to learn more about available curricula. Still, prospective students can find some common ground as they research schools.

Common courses for online master's in information technology programs include:

  • Network and System Administration: Information technology master's students build strong foundations in computer network fundamentals, including design and management. Topics include automatic system administration, hosting, and service configuration. Business-focused programs may emphasize how to build networks for corporate organizations.
  • Systems Security: Though some programs offer security-specific tracks, many online information technology master's programs include cybersecurity foundations among their core courses. Security courses explore systems auditing for risk management, informed decision-making, and implementing fixes when a breach occurs.
  • Software Design: Information technology master's students learn software design fundamentals by analyzing existing systems to create their own structures. Topics include an overview of popular software structures and architecture, programming tools, notation styles, and design and implementation.
  • Data Mining: In this course, participants learn to parse data from mobile applications, websites, and social media. The course covers topics in data mining techniques, including algorithms and analysis, plus basic statistics, software tools, data classification, and blockchain technology.

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How Much Does a Master’s in Information Technology Cost?

The typical cost of an online master's degree in information technology varies with factors such as school prestige, type, and location. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a graduate program in the 2019-20 school year was $19,792. A 2017 U.S. News & World Report article found that tuition and fees for graduate degrees ranges from $20,000 to $80,000.

To determine the total cost of an online master's in information technology, students should also factor in expenses for internet, course materials, and hardware/software requirements.

An online IT master's program may offer greater affordability than a traditional on-campus degree. Many public schools charge in-state tuition to distance learners, regardless of state residency. Other institutions, including some private schools, offer remote instruction at a lower rate.

To offset the costs of pursuing a master's program in IT online, students can explore financing options, such as grants, scholarships, and fellowships.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master’s Degree in Information Technology?

Graduates with master's in information technology degrees can choose from many positions, including IT managers, software developers, computer and information research scientists, and database administrators. In addition to the specialized knowledge required for these positions, successful IT professionals often demonstrate strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Salary ranges differ by location and experience, but the BLS offers salary data on these and other IT-related jobs. For example, the BLS reports network and computer systems administrators earned an annual median salary of $84,810 as of 2020, while IT managers earned an annual median salary of $151,150 as of 2020.

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How to Choose an Online Master's in Information Technology Degree

Our rankings of the top online master's in IT degrees provide a good starting point when looking for the right program. Below, we review four factors that can affect the quality of a program.

  • Accreditation: Accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies indicates a postsecondary institution meets stringent educational standards. Attending an accredited school enhances job prospects, credit transfer, and financial aid opportunities. Some top online IT master's programs also hold programmatic accreditation from ABET, which verifies whether a degree prepares graduates for careers in the field.
  • Cost: The cost of an online master's degree in information technology varies significantly across schools. To lower the cost of your education, consider attending a university that offers a discounted tuition rate to remote learners. To further offset educational expenses, you can take advantage of financial aid opportunities.
  • Career Services: The best schools offer a variety of career preparation resources, including networking events, career workshops, and mock interviews. Before committing to a program, ensure that online students can access these opportunities.

Why Attend an IT Master's Program Online?

As distance learning continues to prove successful, schools increasingly offer remote education alongside traditional in-person programs. Due to their focus on computers and information technology, IT master's programs are particularly well-suited to the online learning environment.

Online IT master's programs may offer synchronous or asynchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction mirrors the on-campus learning experience with live online lectures and peer discussions. Asynchronous programs allow students to access pre-recorded lectures and course materials at their convenience.

The asynchronous format may prove advantageous to learners with prior daytime commitments. Synchronous instruction, by contrast, may hold greater appeal for students seeking greater face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers.

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Top Online IT Master's Degree Programs

Below, you can explore our list of the top online IT master's degree programs. All the schools on our list hold regional accreditation. Several programs on our list also boast programmatic accreditation from ABET. All five schools offer discounted tuition rates to remote learners, along with financial aid options for qualifying students.

View our ranking methodology

1. University of South Florida-Main Campus

University of South Florida is one of the nation’s leaders in online learning. Graduate students in the accredited master's in information technology program build advanced knowledge through completing a rigorous curriculum with expert faculty. 

Like on-campus students, distance learners work with advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff. In online graduate classes, students interact with faculty and peers in a virtual learning environment.

Distance learners across all programs pay a per-credit average of $907. Financial aid such as scholarships and loans helps grad students afford the degree. The admission rate is 48% for prospective students across all programs.

University of South Florida Fast Facts:

  • Total Online Student Enrollment: 24,241
  • Online Master's Program Totals: 27
  • Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,350 in-state; $19,048 out-of-state
  • Average Aid Per Learner: $11,181
  • Average Annual Cost: $9,787

University of South Florida-Main Campus is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting agency.

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2. Florida State University

Florida State University offers several online graduate programs, including a master's in information technology. The public institution enrolls students on its Tallahassee, Florida campus and also offers distance learning programs. The university supports distance learners through academic advising and career counseling.

In the master's degree in information technology, students gain an advanced understanding of the field. Master's students complete a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on industry-relevant issues. The program's flexible schedule appeals to busy students, including those balancing graduate school with work.

After earning a master's degree, graduates pursue advanced information technology careers. Online master's students pay for their degree with federal loans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can learn more about admission requirements, deadlines, and start dates by visiting the program website. The total number of online students is 19,802.

Florida State University Numbers:

  • Online Master's Program Count: 13
  • Total Number of Online Learners: 19,802
  • Average Annual Price: $12,568
  • Students Awarded Financial Aid: 97%
  • Students Receiving Loans: 35%
  • Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional accrediting body.

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3. Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers master's programs that prepare students for new job opportunities and career advancement. This institution offers a wide variety of online graduate degree programs, including a master's in information technology. Prospective students can use test scores to bolster their application. 

The school provides advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff to help distance learners. The virtual classroom setting lets learners interact with faculty and peers through a distance learning format.

Learners can apply for grants and scholarships to reduce the financial burden of earning a degree. According to the school, 34% of students take out loans.

Northcentral University Numbers:

  • Number of Online Master's Options: 26
  • Graduate School Tuition Rate: $16,983 in-state; $16,983 out-of-state

Northcentral University has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting agency.

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4. Walsh College

At Walsh College, graduate students can earn their master's in information technology in an online format. With multiple online graduate programs, the private institution ranks among the top online universities. Graduate students benefit from online student services, including academic advising, library access, and career counseling.

In the program, enrollees strengthen their understanding of information technology. The rigorous curriculum draws on industry-relevant events and issues. The program's flexible schedule benefits busy students, such as those working while earning a graduate degree.

A master's degree helps professionals advance their information technology careers. At the accredited institution, online master's students qualify for federal loans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid. Visit the program website to learn more about admissions requirements and deadlines. The total number of online students is 1,733.

Walsh College At a Glance:

  • Online Master's Program Count: 5
  • Number of Students Enrolled Online: 1,733
  • Percentage of Learners Awarded Student Loans: 34%
  • Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

Walsh College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting agency.

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5. Liberty University

Liberty University, a leader in online learning, offers a comprehensive catalog of programs. The accredited master's degree in information technology provides advanced training through its curriculum taught by experts. Graduate students learn through video lectures, assignments, and class discussions. The program typically takes two years for full-time students. Part-time enrollment gives students more time to complete the degree.

The school charges an average of $750 per credit across all programs. Students can also use grants and scholarships to cover tuition costs. Master's programs help learners gain the knowledge and skills necessary to secure positions in their field.

Liberty University At a Glance:

  • Number of Online Students: 78,511
  • Online Master's Program Count: 67
  • Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,980 in-state; $7,980 out-of-state

The school has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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Questions About Online Master's in Information Technology

Can you get a master's in information technology online?

Yes. Many schools offer a master's in information technology online. Most online IT master's programs exist as concentration options within engineering, computer science, or business administration programs.

How long does it take to get an online master's degree in information technology?

A typical online master's degree in information technology requires 30-60 credits and takes 1-2 years of full-time study to complete.

Are the top online IT master's programs hard to get into?

Whether a typical online IT master's degree is hard to get into depends on factors such as school prestige, degree type, and school location. A minimum 3.5 GPA and standardized test scores in the 95th percentile can boost admission chances.

What is the highest degree available in information technology?

The highest degree available in information technology is a doctorate (Ph.D.) in information technology.

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