Information is a vital part of modern communication and interaction, a cornerstone of business and an increasingly important player in healthcare. CNN reports that information technology (IT) workers currently enjoy the highest wage increases and the lowest unemployment rates. Furthermore, the demand for highly educated and qualified technology workers outpaces the supply.
Given IT’s wide range of applicability, industries that aren’t normally thought of as tech heavy are now in need of IT help, often spearheaded by someone on staff with a graduate degree in the field. And with the emergence of relatively cheap and stable technologies like cloud computing, small and medium-sized business of all stripes require a dedicated IT staff. And again, graduate-educated IT professionals are prime candidates to head such teams.
An online master’s degree in information technology is an ideal degree for anyone interested in landing a secure technology job with a great company. Generally aimed at practicing professionals already employed in the tech industry, the online master’s in particular is a convenient distance program that can be taken part-time or full-time and often with a custom schedule set by the student. For established professionals, such a graduate degree can mean quick advancement with their current employer or it can qualify them for all sorts of outside opportunities.
Of course, finding the ideal online master’s degrees in IT can be daunting, so we made a list to simplify your search. Below is our ranking of the best online IT master’s programs, along with thorough profiles of each program and its respective online interface.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
Carnegie Mellon University
|Pittsburgh||5000 Forbes Avenue|
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Carnegie Mellon has offered distance education master's degrees in IT since 2001. Their IT degrees are available in three different specializations: information technology management; information security and assurance; business intelligence and data analytics.
Online courses at CMU, delivered through Blackboard, feature recorded lectures from campus-based courses, ensuring distance learners have access to the same faculty and rigorous curriculum. Ideal applicants are expected to have three years of relevant professional IT experience.
Courses are delivered asynchronously, with archived online lectures and all assignments and course materials easily accessible at any time. Some courses are supplemented with live components, such as student presentations and online group conferences.
Each degree requires 144 total coursework credits, 60 of which are core courses related to your specific concentration, while elective courses comprise the remaining 84 credits. Elective coursework can include 12 units of independent study and 24 transferred credits from previous graduate studies. Respective Fall, Spring and Summer application dates are July 1st, November 1st and April 1st.
Illinois Institute of Technology
|Chicago||3300 S Federal St|
Chicago, IL 60616
The Illinois Institute of Technology's online programs include an MS in Industrial Technology & Operations (MITO) with four concentrations: industrial facilities, industrial logistics, supply chain management or manufacturing technology & management. MITO is a specialized degree for IT professionals seeking a career in industry rather than traditional information technology employment.
IIT describes this master's of information technology online program as a 'hybrid' degree, as it combines technology focuses with managerial skills rather than focusing solely on one. As a result, MITO is not recommended for students pursuing a career in academia or research. Online courses at IIT are accessed through Blackboard.
Degree completion for the online master's in information technology requires 30 semester hours, generally obtained through ten courses. Course structure is tailored to the individual student's desire. With the help of an advisor, students will craft a mix of general MITO courses and specialized electives.
All applicants are expected to have two or more years of college credit and related job experience. Exceptions can be made on the basis of a phone interview with admissions officers.
University of Denver
|Denver||2199 S. University Blvd|
Denver, CO 80208
University of Denver's online Master of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can be obtained with one of nine different concentrations. With such a varied selection of specializations available, the University of Denver allows students to tailor course and curriculum structure to best suit their needs.
The program's available concentrations are as follows: Database Design and Administration, Geographic Information Systems, Information Systems Security, Mobile Application Development, Project Management, Software Design and Programming, Technology Management, Telecommunications Technology and Web Design and Development.
Each concentration features 12 required credits of Professional Foundation courses: these are designed to give students a baseline understanding of ICT before delving into core and elective courses. Students will choose four courses from a pool of electives and complete either a four credit capstone project or seminar to demonstrate their mastery of the cumulative course topics. Denver's online courses are accessed through the Canvas learning management system.
Completion of the online master's in information technology program requires 12 courses for 48 total credit hours; 12 ICT foundational credits, 16 concentration credits, 16 elective credits and four capstone credits.
Nova Southeastern University
|Fort Lauderdale||3301 College Ave|
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
Nova Southeastern University's master's of information technology online covers a wide range of IT topics, including information systems, application technologies, software methods and technologies and systems infrastructure. The curriculum is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in science, math, engineering or business and a working knowledge of relevant programming knowledge and computer organization. Students have three concentrations to choose from: application development, database or system administration.
Full-time students can finish the program in 12 months, while part-time students will complete their degree in 16 to 24 months. Nova Southeastern's online courses are archived and accessed through SharkLearn, NSU's version of Blackboard.
All told, the online master's degree in information technology program requires 36 total credit hours: six credits in pre req courses, 12 credits in core courses, nine credits in concentrated courses and nine credits in electives.
Loyola University Chicago
|Chicago||1032 W. Sheridan Rd|
Chicago, IL 60660
Loyola's MSIT degree program is optimal for present and future professionals in developing, implementing, maintaining and managing information systems across various facets. Students in this program will leave with a broad technical understanding of current and emerging industry-related technologies, a working knowledge of systems engineering and a foundational familiarity with net-centric computing. Concentration tracks are available, allowing students to personalize the course structure and degree direction to best suit their needs. Loyola's online courses are archived and accessed through the Sakai learning management system.
A total of 10 courses for 30 credit hours are required; six elective courses, three specialization courses and one course addressing ethical and social issues in computing. Four specialization tracks are available; enterprise information management, technology management, information assurance or enterprise networking.
Prospective online master's in information technology students are expected to have a solid understanding of data-structures and object-oriented programming prior to enrolling in this program. Loyola offers prerequisite courses covering necessary information for students seeking an MSIT degree but lacking in experience or knowledge.
California State University - Fullerton
|Fullerton||800 N State College Blvd|
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599
CSU-Fullerton offers an online MSIT program consisting of 30 credit hours designed to be completed over a 20 month period. Students are grouped into cohorts throughout the duration of the program, where they participate in online lectures, discussions, chats and course readings. In addition to participating in about six hours of weekly discussions and readings, students are expected to complete six to ten hours of homework per week. Discussions, readings and assignments are available through Moodle.
The goal of this program is to give grads a firm understanding of nine overarching principles:
The final required course for the master's in information technology online consists of a portfolio project through which students will link their theoretical IT knowledge to a practical application, intended to serve as demonstration of their culminated studies.
Successful applicants will have acceptable GRE or GMAT scores and a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. A phone or face-to-face interview is also required. Students are admitted for fall semester only. The application deadline is April 1st.
Concordia University - Wisconsin
|Mequon||12800 N Lake Shore Dr|
Mequon, WI 53097-2402
Concordia University's master's in information technology online is tailored to professionals who currently work in information technology and wish to expand their abilities and credentials. Course subjects are designed to develop a strong understanding on how to manage and maintain database and information systems, using digital technology to address real-world problems. Students will begin with introductory and foundational informatics courses, touching on ethical issues in computing before moving onto specified courses on database management, networking and system administration. Core courses include a cumulative capstone project where the student will address a preapproved IT problem with comprehensive programming and framework solutions.
Concordia's distance learning courses are accessed through Blackboard and are delivered asynchronously. The degree totals to 36 total credits, 18 of the credits are considered core courses, while the remaining 18 are comprised of electives.
|Beverly||376 Hale Street|
Beverly, MA 01915
Endicott College's master's of information technology online degree program is a 36 credit course sequence designed for practicing IT professionals. There are two available course tracks for students to concentrate their studies: general IT and health informatics. Both tracks will begin with five courses aimed at refining foundational skills for students. These courses include systems architecture, software engineering, database and security management and business intelligence mining. Endicott's online courses are compiled and accessed through Canvas.
Both tracks require a final project and professional management course emphasizing leadership and business skills in an IT setting.
Murray State University
|Murray||218 Wells Hall|
Murray, KY 42071-3318
Murray State University's MS in Information Systems promises courses built around the latest industry standard software in an accelerated online format. This program can be completed in 15 months for students with a proper IT background or relevant experience. The curriculum consists of seven core courses and three electives chosen with the assistance from the program director. Students lacking in an IT or business background will be required to take foundational courses in database system management, basic programming, information systems analysis and statistics and accounting.
Courses are accessed through the Canvas learning management system.
|Nashua||420 South Main St|
Nashua, NH 03060
Rivier University offers online MBAs with three concentrations, one of which focuses on information technology management. This option is ideal for IT students who seek to maximize their leadership skills and business intuition while refining their technological abilities. Concentrations are comprised of nine total credit hours; the IT specialization covers computer security, leadership projects through virtual environments and database management systems. Since this is an MBA program, core courses center around business subjects; accounting, economics, risk management and global finances are just some of the areas covered in Rivier's MBA studies. Courses are archived and accessed through the Blackboard learning management system.
Franklin Pierce University
|Rindge||40 University Drive|
Rindge, NH 03461-0060
Franklin Pierce offers four MBA's, one of which centers around Information Technology. This online program emphasizes a hands-on project-based curriculum to immerse students in coursework. Project work is done in virtual team settings to mirror real-world business practices. 39 total credits are required: a 21 credit business core, nine credits in information technology and a remaining nine credits from a pool of elective courses. Out of 13 total courses, only three focus on IT. Franklin Pierce's online courses are available through the eCollege learning portal.
Ten of Glassdoor’s top 25 Best Jobs in America are tech-related, several of which require a master’s degree in IT or multiple years of applicable experience. The earning potential for high-level technology jobs comfortably hovers around the six-figure mark; for example, software engineers and database administrators each earn an average salary of about $98,000, while IT project managers bring in just over $103,000. A growing economy means growing wages ― for the IT field, wages increase at an impressive 5.1% per year.
Since IT is a wide industry with many facets, it’s important for prospective students to identify a particular area of interest to focus their studies. The highest-paying IT jobs generally require highly specific skillsets that go beyond the general education core of most IT programs. Concentrating on a narrow area such as database administration, mobile development, database science or IT project management, rather than a broad foundational approach to IT, can be immensely beneficial in the long run.