Best Online Information Technology Master's Degree Programs

Explore the best schools with online information technology (IT) master's degree programs. Learn what courses you'll take, how long programs last, and what types of jobs you can pursue after graduation. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Top Schools for Online Information Technology Master's Degrees

When choosing a school for an online information technology master's degree program, you should consider factors such as cost, admissions requirements and program length. The top 30 schools with online information technology master's degree programs are listed below.

1. Endicott College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Beverly, MA $12,191

Endicott College employs more than 450 faculty and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The school offers an online Master of Science in Information Technology program that consists of 36 credit hours and has a tuition rate of $761 per credit. Students are not required to complete a graduate entrance exam and have the ability to add a concentration in health and medical informatics. The MSIT program includes courses in software engineering, managing security, cloud computing and database administration.

2. University of Maine

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Orono, ME $9,106

The University of Maine is known internationally for its research and employs faculty who are experts in their fields. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and offers an online Master of Science in Information Systems. The program consists of 30 credit hours and includes courses in programming, information systems regulation and systems design. Students have a tuition rate of $450 or $563 (out-of-state rate) and can customize their course of study by choosing electives that meet their interests for half of the required curriculum (15 credits).

3. Towson University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Towson, MD $10,062

Towson University is home to more than 3,000 graduate students and over 1,700 faculty. The school has an online Master of Science in Applied Information Technology program that consists of 33 credit hours and has a tuition rate of $612 (in-state) or $1,104 (out-of-state) per credit hour, which includes fees. Students select a concentration for the program, which also leads to a certificate in their concentration, and also have a chance to choose the remaining coursework from available electives. The wide range of concentrations available to students of the MSAIT program include:

  • Health information technology
  • Computer forensics
  • Database management systems
  • Information systems management
  • Information security and assurance
  • Software engineering
  • Networking technologies
  • Internet application development

4. Purdue University Global

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Indianapolis, IN $11,414

Purdue University Global offers an online Master of Science in Information Technology program that has a tuition rate of $420 per credit hour. The program consists of 60 credit hours, which are completed through flexible 6-week course terms. Students take courses such as systems design, network security, project management and computer forensics. In addition, students can select one of three concentrations within their program to better prepare for their career goals:

  • Information security and assurance
  • Business intelligence and analytics
  • Project management

5. George Mason University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Fairfax, VA $15,138

George Mason University has more than 2,700 online students and provides them with one-on-one advising, social opportunities and connections to employers. The school offers a Master of Science in Applied Information Technology with a cybersecurity concentration. The program consists of 30 to 36 credit hours and includes courses in database management, procession, data structure and systems security. Students have a tuition rate of $797 (in-state) or $1,575 (out-of-state) per credit hour and are prepared for IT roles such as analyst and administrator.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ $13,044
7 Creighton University Omaha, NE $17,376
8 The College of Saint Rose Albany, NY $15,248
9 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ $12,837
10 Murray State University Murray, KY $9,114
11 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Stillwater, OK $8,460
12 La Salle University Philadelphia, PA $25,020
13 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA $11,116
14 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT $7,790
15 National University La Jolla, CA $15,480
16 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA $15,060
17 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI $13,804
18 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI $20,406
19 Wilmington University New Castle, DE $8,636
20 Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon, WI $10,848
21 Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville, TN $10,004
22 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL $11,553
23 Florida International University Miami, FL $11,097
24 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ $23,374
25 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL $10,428
26 Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA $5,152
27 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA $8,333
28 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA $7,226
29 Fairfax University of America Fairfax, VA $13,268
30 Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ $37,250

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Choosing the Right Online Information Technology Master's Program

There are several factors to compare and review when choosing an online information technology master's degree program.

Admissions

Some programs are open to students with any bachelor's degree and work history while other programs require students to have a related bachelor's degree and work experience. Many will ask for letters of recommendation, specific undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA.

Cost

The cost of online IT master's degree programs varies, with the largest expense being tuition. Tuition can range from around $400 to $1,600 per credit hour. Ask your admissions counselor about any cost savings that are available, such as flat-rate tuition, military rates or discounted distance tuition; remember that you can qualify for several types of financial aid including federal aid, student loans and grants.

Transfer Credits

Many schools allow you to earn credits toward your IT master's program through transfer courses (classes completed previously), knowledge assessments and other means (such as having certification in a certain area). You should ask each of your candidate schools which, if any, of these options are available to you.

Program Length

Although many online IT master's programs include a similar number of courses and take around the same amount of time, some programs include more coursework or can only be completed through a set schedule. Ask your admissions counselors about the average program length, and if the programs allow you to finish faster or slower.

Practical Requirements

Some programs include an internship within the curriculum that enables you to practice the learning objectives through real-world applications. Consult with your schools to find out if these hands-on components are required and if they will be feasible with your schedule.

Thesis

A thesis is required for graduation by some online IT master's degree programs. Although a thesis can be extremely beneficial, it can also be challenging. If you feel you don't need one to advance your career, you might want to find a program in which it's not a requirement.

Overview of Online Information Technology Master's Programs

Online information technology master's degree programs vary by school but typically consist of similar courses and learning objectives. Some schools allow students to choose concentration options within their IT curriculum, such as healthcare informatics, cyber security, software technology and database management. Key characteristics of online IT master's degree programs are discussed in the sections below.

Program Length

Online information technology master's degree programs vary in length, especially for students who do not have prior IT coursework and/or work experience. Many students who are not required to complete prerequisites or bridge courses can complete these programs in around two years of full-time study. The time it takes to complete IT master's programs depends on how many courses students take each year and how many are required within programs.

Full-time graduate students can complete 18 to 36 credit hours of coursework each year, although a 36-credit-hour year is extremely time-intensive. So if a program requires 36 credit hours, students can potentially finish in 1 or 2 years, as long as the school allows students to take that many courses. If a program consists of 60 credit hours, it will take 2 to 3 years of full-time study to complete the required coursework. Students interested in part-time study should consult with their school to find out what the maximum time to complete their program is, and if there is a predetermined order or schedule for their program. Part-time students may have up to around 6 years to complete their program.

Common Courses

The courses required for online IT master's degree programs vary by school and student prerequisites, but many programs include some of the courses listed below.

  • Database Management - Students review the fundamentals of database management, including systems such as Oracle, as well as topics like designing and implementing databases.
  • Systems Design & Analysis - This course examines methods of designing and analyzing information systems and includes topics such as display and design functionality.
  • Information Security Management - In this class, students review components of information security and methods for assessing and improving security measures.
  • Business IT Management - Students explore the structures and processes of information technology in business organizations and environments.
  • Project Management - This course explores key methods and tools that are used to manage IT projects and teams, such as planning, budgeting and assessing.
  • Information Systems Regulation - In this class, students learn about the ethical ramifications, legal implications and regulations that apply to IT operations, such as privacy.
  • Database Design - Students learn about key reasons and methods for designing databases as well as topics such as data modeling and relationship diagrams.

Accreditation for Online IT Master's Degree Programs

Accreditation is an important part of an online IT master's degree student's journey, because it shows that a school meets various standards for quality. Accreditation can be awarded to a school from almost a dozen different organizations. In addition to representing quality, accreditation of a school also means that students are eligible for federal financial aid (students who attend schools that aren't accredited are not eligible).

Master's Degree Comparison: Information Technology vs. Cyber Security

Master's degree programs in information technology and cybersecurity have some similarities but are notably different. The table below highlights key similarities and differences of the two types of master's degree programs.

Information Technology Cyber Security
Focus *Managing information systems
*Efficiency of network
*Ensuring data security
*Identifying and resolving weaknesses
Skills *Analytical skills
*Problem-solving
*Analytical skills
*Problem-solving
Careers *Systems analysts
*Software developers
*Network architects
*Database administrators
*Cryptographers
*Cyber security analysts
*Computer forensics

Certifications for Online IT Master's Degree Graduates

Certification isn't necessarily a requirement for information technology master's degree graduates, but those who obtain certification in their areas of expertise may have better employment opportunities. Because technology is ever-evolving, having certification in specific areas shows employers that candidates are up-to-date.

Information technology graduates and professionals can obtain certification through a number of organizations. The list below summarizes some of the certifications that are available from two organizations: CompTIA and IEEE Computer Society.

  • CompTIA:
    • IT Fundamentals
    • Network+
    • Cloud+
    • Security+
    • Project+
  • IEEE:
    • Associate Software Developer
    • Professional Software Engineering Master
    • Professional Software Developer

There are also a number of vendor-specific certifications in the IT field that show proficiency with a company's software or a particular program. These might include certs from Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco.

Careers for Graduates of Online IT Master's Programs

Graduates from accredited online IT programs are equally prepared and qualified as their on-campus counterparts and can pursue a variety of careers, such as those listed below.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

These managers are sometimes referred to as IT managers and are responsible for overseeing the computer and related operations of organizations. Their duties can include coordinating IT staff, staying up to date with technology changes and determining and implementing needed changes to organizational computer and information systems. The educational requirements for these positions vary from a bachelor's degree to a master's degree, but candidates typically need to have work experience in a related IT position.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts act as systems consultants, assessing organizational computer processes and making recommendations for improvements. Their duties can include creating cost estimates, designing and installing systems, testing systems and training users. Although these analysts can begin some entry-level positions with a bachelor's degree, employers often prefer candidates who have a master's degree in a field relating to computer science or business administration.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists create and revise computing methods to improve efficiency and solve problems. Their duties can include inventing new programming languages, improving existing software, designing and assessing experiments and publishing their results. Although educational and work experience varies by position, many employers prefer or require candidates to have a master's degree in a field related to computer science and knowledge of the specific industry they work in (for example, a professional working on banking systems should have an understanding of operations and software applicable to banking).

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts work to ensure that the computer systems and networks within organizations are protected, by creating and implementing various security procedures. Their duties can include assessing security through testing, staying up to date with security technology trends, training users when needed and preparing reports of security events. Information security analysts may be hired with a bachelor's or master's degree, but a master's degree in a field such as information systems can be required by some employers.

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects are responsible for building and creating networks for communication within organizations. They may work on wide area networks, local area networks and other types of networks. Their duties often include devising network layouts and plans, presenting their proposals to organizational leaders and upgrading network hardware when necessary. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master's degree with courses in both information systems and business administration.

Database Administrators

Database administrators oversee databases and their processes. Their duties typically include ensuring appropriate users have access to data, making sure organizational data is safe from unauthorized users, ensuring databases run efficiently and merging databases when applicable. Database administrators have varying educational requirements, but many have certification in the software that they work with (such as SQL). Companies with larger systems can prefer candidates with a master's degree in information technology or a related field.

Software Developers

Software developers create systems software or application software that enable users to complete various tasks and processes. Their duties usually include assessing user and organizational needs, creating proposals, designing and building software and testing software for efficiency. They typically work either with applications, such as gaming software, or systems, such as operating systems. Software developers often have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, but some employers require applicants to have a master's degree and a strong understanding of computer programming.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators oversee regular operations of organizational networks and systems. Their duties can include assessing technical needs, updating and maintaining network and systems components, training system users and maintaining security. Educational requirements for these administrators vary significantly by position and employer, but candidates need to have extensive knowledge of programming, systems design and networking. As with all positions in information technology, these professionals must stay up to date with technology trends.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Computer and Information Systems Managers $142,530 11%
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 9%
Computer and Information Research Scientists $118,370 16%
Information Security Analysts $98,350 32%
Computer Network Architects $109,020 5%
Database Administrators $90,070 9%
Software Developers $105,590 21%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $82,050 5%

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations for Online IT Master's Degree Graduates

There are multiple professional organizations available to graduates of online information technology programs. These organizations offer various types of memberships and benefits. Becoming a member of a professional organization can be extremely productive for IT professionals because they are able to maintain professional connections and up-to-date knowledge through the various benefits. Some of the organizations available to online information technology master's degree program graduates are listed below.

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) - ACM offers membership to students and professionals, and enables members to join specialty groups within the organization. ACM has almost 100,000 members who have access to volunteer opportunities, publications, online databases and discounts.
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) - NCWIT promotes the education and participation of women in information technology from K-12 to higher education. The organization offers membership to organizations and schools and provides a variety of program options and awards.
  • IEEE Computer Society - IEEE is the largest organization in the world for technical professionals who are committed to improving technology. Members have access to events, including conferences, publications, chapter groups and specialized focus groups.
  • CompTIA - CompTIA offers membership to professionals and students, including those with or without certification. Members have access to certifications, events, chapters and scholarships for educational programs.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »