Graduate Degree Programs in Computer Information Systems

Read about master's and Ph.D. degree options in computer information systems. Check the prerequisites for applying, the course topics you'd study and the availability of online learning options for these programs. Get info on careers for computer information systems graduates, including the outlook for the field. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Prerequisites for a Graduate Degree in Computer Information Systems?

Master's degree programs in computer information systems (CIS) require you to have an undergraduate major in computer science or a related field. Some graduate schools require an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher and 3.0 or higher in major-related courses. You should have a strong background in mathematics, problem solving, computer architecture and data organization. To enroll in a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program, you'll likely need a master's degree in CIS or a related field. Ph.D. programs may have higher entrance standards for GPA, and you'd ideally have strong proficiencies in network and database administration, programming and systems analysis.

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required for admittance into master's degree programs; doctorate degree programs may require a master's degree
Common Courses Website development, database design, java applications, graphical user interface (GUI), information technology security procedures
Technology Requirements A computer with Internet access that meets the specified hardware and software requirements
Possible Careers Information systems analyst, chief technology officer, requirements analyst, technical services manager, data processing manager

What Will I Learn?

Computer information systems graduate programs combine theoretical topics with hands-on practice. Upon completing a master's degree program, you'll have the knowledge to analyze an entire computer information system and determine what type of software and hardware need to be applied based on the company's needs. You'll then be able to communicate your findings and initiate appropriate solutions and designs, using software development tools and the latest technological platforms.

Some master's and doctoral degree programs carry concentrations, including information security, database management and information technology (IT) project management. You may also have the option to carry over some of the credits earned in a master's degree program toward a doctoral degree. If you're pursuing a doctoral degree, you'll take similar courses as in the master's degree program, but you're also required to do research and complete a dissertation. Topics of study may include:

  • Java applets & applications
  • Quantitative tools in information systems
  • Database design, operation and administration
  • Knowledge management in computer-based systems
  • Website development
  • Information technology security procedures
  • Graphical user interface (GUI)

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

To participate in online programs, you'll need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address. Your online courses are similar to what you'd have as an on-campus student. Some courses work in a synchronous fashion, requiring you to log in at specific times and participate in chat rooms and discussion boards or watch live lectures. Other courses are asynchronous, allowing you to complete the coursework at any time. Coursework is typically delivered through a Web-based learning delivery system, such as Blackboard or Angel. You may be required to download software pertinent to your program.

What Are My Career Options?

Upon completion of a computer information systems graduate program, you can pursue many employment occupations. Among your options are information technology manager, data processing manager, requirements analyst, chief technology officer, information systems director, information systems supervisor, strategic technology consultant and technical services manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer information systems managers was projected to increase up to 15% from 2014-2024 ( The addition of new technology in the workplace and the need for better Internet security make computer information systems managers highly in demand, resulting in the faster-than-average employment growth.

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:

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