Top 5 Online Master’s in Information Technology Programs

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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.

Explore This Page: What Is a Master’s in IT? | Admission Requirements | Popular Courses | Jobs for Graduates | Choosing Your School | Top Master’s Programs | FAQs

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.

Read more about master's in cybersecurity programs

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 95 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.

Learn more about IT certificate programs Explore top doctoral degrees in cybersecurity

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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Transition from general IT to cybersecurity Explore government cybersecurity careers

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. Purdue University
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Tuition

    $11898

    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

  2. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    Unconfirmed

    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

  3. George Mason University
    Location

    Fairfax, VA

    Tuition

    $19064

    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

  4. Montclair State University
    Location

    Montclair, NJ

    Tuition

    $17086

    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

  5. Carnegie Mellon University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    Unconfirmed

    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

Frequently Asked 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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Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Find the right education path to take advantage of this fast-growing industry and join the front-lines on technology and security.