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Master of Science in Management Information Systems | Context - Context
Online Master of Science in Management Information Systems
Master of Science in Management Information Systems In Context

The Master of Management Information Systems teaches students to apply information technology (IT) to improve business processes and solve problems. These programs are often offered on campus or online through a university’s business school.

Management of information systems is vital in supporting daily operations of businesses across the world. In areas including operations, analysis, and communications, business practices have been revolutionized thanks to MIS advancements during the past decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be a 15% increase in the employment of computer and information systems managers from 2014 to 2024. [1]

Master of Management Information Systems Degree overview

Whether you take an on-site or online MSMIS program, you can expect to develop skills to pursue careers in technology and IT in a broad range of sectors. You can also refine your studies to focus more on managerial or technical management information systems aspects.

The degree focuses on the latest MIS technologies being utilized in the business world, including enterprise application platforms, healthcare informatics, business analytics, supply chain management, business process redesign, corporate IT management, IT consulting, and information systems security.

Is a Master of Management Information Systems right for me?

The MSMIS degree is designed for both active IT managers and students with knowledge of information systems who would like to develop an advanced knowledge of how IT is used for business. The degree also appeals to professionals and students with a background in other business functions such as accounting, marketing, and finance who wish to learn about information systems.

It should be noted that an MSMIS differs from a master’s in computer science and focuses more on the technical aspects of IT, such as data structures and algorithms. An MSMIS prepares students for careers in fields like software engineering, IT consultant or database administrator.

An MSMIS can be a stepping stone to a Ph.D. in MIS or equip you for jobs such as:

  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Computer network architect
  • Computer systems administrator
  • Information security analyst
  • Network administrator
  • Web developer
Why earn an MIS Degree?

Many students enroll in an MSMIS program due to its higher earning potential, with many graduates earning six-figure incomes. Forbes ranks the MSMIS as the sixth-best master’s degree for jobs, with average early career earnings of $64,000, rising to $118,000 at mid-career. [2]

An MSMIS degree can help IT professionals advance their career into a more managerial role or a position which is more business-minded than roles such as computer systems analyst or web developer. Similarly, students with an academic background in IT may use the MSMIS to prepare for IT-related roles in the business world.

How do I choose an MSMIS program?

With the wide-ranging curriculum offered by an MSMIS, prospective students should ensure that they choose a program that covers the area in which they hope to specialize. This might be a degree that offers concentrations such as programming, entrepreneurship or network administration.

Other important considerations include:

  • Accreditation by one of the following three bodies: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
  • The school’s reputation and academic ranking
  • Online, on-campus, or hybrid program delivery
  • Number of credit hours/program length
  • Tuition, fees, and expected additional costs
  • Success of alumni
What is management information systems?

Management information systems roles are often key processes that help steer a company’s operations. These systems are used by the majority of modern businesses, and often spread across different departments.

MIS take information from other systems such as a transaction processing or executive information systems and use this data to create reports to increase efficiency and improve outcomes of management decision-making and problem-solving. At their core, they facilitate information and report generation. [5]

The MSMIS provides students with MIS technical skills so they can understand how to optimize and navigate robust database systems. It also helps graduates develop project development skills. The goal: to equip graduates with a broad range of business knowledge from finance to marketing and human resources, and provide essential context for MIS tools.

Departments that commonly use management information systems as part of their everyday functions are:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • IT
  • Marketing
  • Operations
What will I learn during my MS in MIS program?

MS in MIS students can expect to learn how a commercial or public organization’s structure and behavior can be driven by technology, as well as best practices for management of computer and information systems in business. Curriculum tends to focus on both the organizational and technical aspects of management information systems. MSMIS graduates emerge knowing how to apply computer skills, administrative knowledge and quantitative techniques to solve complex business problems.

MSMIS areas of practice

According to an Information Technology Association of America study, more than 90% of MIS professionals work outside of the IT industry. [7] MIS professionals can work in a wide range of organizations, including:

  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies
  • Health systems and organizations
  • Nonprofit agencies
  • Private corporations
Master of Science in Management Information Systems Career Advancement
Today, there are very few business processes that cannot be refined and enhanced by computer technology. At the heart of this development are management information systems, which allow a new degree of operational efficiency in many different sectors. What’s more, the field of information systems management is projected to grow, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expecting 15% more jobs to be added between 2014 and 2024. [8]
Popular MSMIS careers

Below are some common career paths for those graduating with an MSMIS. Median salaries and projected job growth are based on data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [9] in May 2015.

Computer and information systems manager

Not only do computer and information systems managers evaluate the technologies that can benefit their organization, but they are also tasked with making recommendations for upgrades. The technologies covered in the MSMIS, along with insights into how to implement them, can equip graduates for this role..
Median salary: $131,600
Projected job growth (2014-2024): 15% (much faster than average) [10]

Network and computer systems administrator

Network and computer systems administrators have an important role in many public and private organizations, overseeing installation and management of computer networks. MSMIS graduates can gain experience troubleshooting issues and finding solutions, enhancing their skills and qualification for this role.
Median salary: $77,810
Projected job growth (2014-2024): 8% [11]

Computer systems analyst

Developing information systems to enhance efficiency is one of a computer analyst’s main responsibilities. The MSMIS teaches students to apply computer systems to business processes, helping graduates to qualify for this role.
Median salary: $85,800
Projected job growth (2014-2024): 21% (much faster than average) [12]

What jobs require an MSMIS?

Job specifications will vary according to the position, and while some openings may specify a preference for a master’s in MIS, others will accept work experience or certifications. Below is a sample of jobs which typically require an MSMIS or equivalent experience/qualifications:

  • Data network security administrators
  • Systems analysts
  • Project managers
  • Network administrators
  • Web developers
  • Software engineers
  • Technical consultants
  • Interface designers
  • Revenue management analysts
  • Computer and information research scientists
  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Computer network architects
  • Computer programmers
  • Database administrators
  • Information security analysts
  • Management analysts
  • Network and computer systems administrators
  • Operations research analysts
  • Software developers
Master of Science in Management Information Systems Curriculum
The curriculum for MSMIS programs varies, depending on the school. Most schools require a mix of core courses and electives, usually requiring the completion of 30 to 40 credits to graduate.
MSMIS core courses

The core courses for an MSMIS program will vary by school. Below is a sample of typical core courses, based on an analysis of several programs:

  • Business Communications
  • Business Data Communications and Networking
  • Business Foundations for IT
  • Database Management
  • Information Systems Analysis and Design
  • Management of IT Projects
  • Production and Operations Management
  • Software Design and Integration
  • Web Computing and Mining
MSMIS common electives

Based on an analysis of management information systems programs, typical electives for an MSMIS program include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Database analytics
  • Data mining
  • IT Project Management
  • Systems & Networking
What is the MSMIS capstone course?

The capstone for many MSMIS degrees requires you to design your own management information system and implement it, in some cases in a real-world setting. The capstone brings together many of the fundamentals learned in the various courses, bringing into play the knowledge garnered from the program and challenging students to apply it. The capstone is intended to allow you to demonstrate everything you’ve learned in one project.

MSMIS concentrations

Concentrations provide students with more choices to align the curriculum with your career goals. Below find a selection of common concentrations for Master of Science in Management Information Systems programs.

  • Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
  • Information Security
  • IT/Business Management
Master of Science in Management Information Systems Program Length

The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.

Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.

You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.

Master of Science in Management Information Systems Admissions Requirements

While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.

In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.

For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.

Master of Science in Management Information Systems Alternative Degrees/Fields of Study
In the field of information systems, there are few alternative degrees to consider in place of the MSMIS. Consider the following:

If you are a full-time employee working with management information systems and have a background in computer science, you may wish to enroll in an MBA program, which can provide you with new business and management skills.

If you already have a business background and wish to further your IT expertise, a Master of Computer Science (MCS) can fill this knowledge gap. This degree focuses more on technical aspects of IT, and often leads to careers such as a software engineer, IT consultant, or database administrator.

There are a number of certifications that information systems managers can achieve. These include Microsoft’s Certified Systems Administrator certification, Certified IT Consultant (CITC) from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP), the PMP (Project Management Professional) from the Project Management Institute, and the Certified Information Systems Auditor from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.

Master of Science in Management Information Systems Accreditation

Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.

Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

You can learn more on this topic at our regional accreditation page.

Is there any other accreditation I should look for?

Most institutions offering MSMIS programs are accredited by one of the following three organizations:

  • AACSB: Many of the top business schools offering MSMIS programs are AACSB accredited — 780 in total in 53 countries. [4]
  • ACBSP: This global accrediting body accredits business programs at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree levels.
  • ABET: The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s Computing Accreditation Commission
Master of Science in Management Information Systems Certification/Licensure

If information systems managers can demonstrate the required experience and skills, employers do not necessarily require specific licensure or certification. Earning an MIS master’s degree is seen as a sufficient qualification for many MIS-related roles.

However, there are several certifications open to information systems managers that can enhance your resume. These include:

  • Microsoft’s Certified Systems Administrator certification is intended for managers with between one and 12 months experience.
  • The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) provides Certified IT Consultant (CITC) and Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) certifications.
  • The Project Management Institute offers the PMP (Project Management Professional), which requires project management experience totaling 4,500 hours, 35 hours of project management education, and completion of a certification exam.
  • The International Institute of Business Analysis offers Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP) certification, which requires 7,500 hours of work experience as a business analyst, 21 hours of professional development, and passing an examination.
  • The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) runs the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) program, which requires IS audit experience totaling five years. An IT master’s degree can be substituted for one year’s experience.
Master of Science in Management Information Systems Tuition and Fees

There are a number of factors that can greatly affect how much your education will cost. These include whether you attend a public or private institution; whether you attend as an in-state or out-of-state student; and whether you qualify for financial aid like grants or scholarships.

For a more detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other financial issues, please visit our tuition and fees page.