Computer Information Systems Degree Programs

You can study computer information systems as an undergraduate or graduate student. Learn about the curriculum for each level of these degree programs, as well as online study options. Check the prerequisites for enrolling in a program. Review the job outlook and certification options for computer information systems professionals. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Type of Degree Programs Are Offered in Computer Information Systems?

You can earn an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in computer information systems. Some schools offer certificate programs that can be used towards a degree program. As a graduate of a computer information systems program, you're qualified for employment in various settings, depending on the level of study you've chosen.

An associate's degree may qualify you for an entry-level position as a help-desk or support specialist, system analyst or network administrator. Many employers, however, prefer at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. After earning an associate's degree, you may choose to find employment in the field or transfer to a 4-year college where you can pursue a bachelor's degree.

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and online degree options are available
Common Courses Operating systems, digital forensics, computer programming, data mining, statistics
Prerequisites Requirements vary by program; a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for all associate's and bachelor's degree programs
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 15%* (for all computer and information systems managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

Several colleges offer online computer information systems degrees through distance learning programs. Online programs generally provide the same courses and faculty you'd find in a campus-based program. While some programs are 100% online, others may require some campus visits, so check your requirements prior to enrollment.

Courses are typically delivered via e-mail, online lecture, discussion boards and course management systems. You need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address. Although they offer flexibility, online programs do not always allow you to learn at your own pace.

What Will I Learn?

As a computer information systems student, you'll develop skills in database management, programming and network administration. You'll also learn all aspects of software and hardware installation and configuration, while developing analytical and problem-solving skills. On-campus programs provide you with a curriculum that combines coursework and hands-on computer experience. Computer information systems degree programs may require you to complete a capstone project at the end of some courses. The capstone project may be a research paper or group project demonstrating your knowledge of computer information systems.

At the associate's degree level, you'll develop an understanding of computer technology, including programming, basic computer science and network security. Your studies lead more towards management and administration. Courses in a computer information systems associate's degree program may include the following topics:

  • Computer programming
  • Desktop publishing applications
  • Business database applications
  • System development life cycle
  • UNIX operating system
  • Electronic drawing with CADD

Bachelor's and master's degree programs provide a more in-depth study of computer information systems, including advanced networking, project management and database management. If you're in the master's degree program, an internship may be part of your requirements. Your topics of study may include:

  • Probability and statistics
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Digital forensics and investigative tools
  • Software engineering phases
  • Data mining and investigation
  • Information systems technology in business

Are There Any Prerequisites?

The requirements you'll need to meet will vary by level of study. An associate's or bachelor's degree program may only require you to have a high school diploma or the equivalent, while a master's degree program requires prior completion of a bachelor's degree.

How Will a Degree Help My Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that computer and information systems managers could expect an employment growth of up to 15% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Employment opportunities will vary by level of study. While some employers may hire you with an associate's degree and on-the-job training, typically a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or a related field is required.

As an addition to your degree, you may wish to earn certification to add to your credentials. Certification is earned by passing an exam on a certain area of expertise. There are various industry certifications available from product vendors and independent certification organizations. Some employment positions you may qualify for include security consultant, security systems engineer, director of security and network architect.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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