10 Best Online Masters Degrees in Database Systems and Design

Database experts are in high and increasing demand as every industry now seeks IT professionals with advanced training. Thus, getting an MSCS with a concentration in database technology will largely increase your marketable skills.

An online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in database technology prepares students to manage data warehouses and administer, program, and design database systems on a large scale within the field of information technology. More generally speaking, students learn about database systems, applications and management techniques and how to apply them to the real world.

The masters in computer science with a database concentration is mainly designed for professionals already in the field looking to advance their careers in a broad range of computer fields. It is estimated that there will be a heavy and continuous need for technicians with deep analytical skills such as managers and analysts with expertise in how to process big data. There is a strong demand already in database management as organizations across all industries now rely on information technology to run their business. Computer and system managers earn a median annual salary of $130,000, while computer system analysts earn an average of $85,800. The master’s degree programs reviewed below are accelerated programs offered online, and take between 15 months and 2 years to complete. However, the range of credit hours needed greatly varies between programs. The following programs surveyed were specifically selected for their overall best possible investment. Only schools with a proven track record are reviewed. Degree programs were ranked by three metrics:


  • Affordability (1/4): the average estimated out-of-state (if applicable) tuition per credit hour.
  • Number of Specializations (1/4): the number of focus points, specializations, or ways in which students may customize their degree.
  • Time Until Degree (1/4): the time until degree for students who elect to accelerate their coursework.
  • Academic Prestige (1/4): the academic prestige of the program and parent institution, as noted in other rankings of note.

1. University of Denver

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is a private coeducational University set in Denver, in the beautiful Rocky Mountain Region. It is relatively small, with a total of about 12,000 enrolled equally divided between undergraduate and graduate students. According to US News, it is ranked 86th overall with many of its colleges ranking in the top 20 in the nation. Denver University was one of ten universities to receive an award as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education from The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Although coeducational, female students can also enroll in the schoolճ Womenճ College. Technology changes constantly and rather than taking multiple challenging certification tests every couple of years, investing in this masterճ program is the way to go. The information communications technology program is like a continuous certificate as it gives the student a broad and long lasting view of the discipline thus, increasing their proficiency and marketability. Designed for working adults, this continuing professional education offers a flexible learning format delivered in 10 week terms. Courses are taught by a combination of full-time faculty and active professionals in relevant fields of studies. This program is among our top 3 selections in terms of academic prestige.

The curriculum comprises 4 core courses, 4 electives and a Capstone project. When selecting a concentration in Database Design and Administration, the focus is on Web Enabled Information Systems, Database Administration, Database Design & Programming, and Data Warehousing Design. One of the perks is that the academic plan is customizable as students can mix and match courses based on their concentration area. In terms of the quality of academic life, slightly over 53% of classes have fewer than 20 students and the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, which is extremely low. Thus, it made it our top choice overall and is among the best options for its flexibility. GMAT and GRE are not required for admission.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $628
  • Program Length: 48 credit hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

2. Southern New Hampshire University

Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University was founded in 1932 and is a private non-profit institution. With great leadership, what started as a small school has greatly expanded and is now offering over 200 online programs. Today, SNHU is one of the largest universities in the country enrolling 34,000 online with a total enrollment of 63,000 (student-faculty ratio is 15:1). SNHU is known for its innovative background offering for instance, a bachelorճ degree in business administration in only 3 years, the first of its kind. On top of their distance-learning program, they have an international campus as well. Southern New Hampshire University is ranked #101 in Regional Universities North. Another aspect that makes SNHU an attractive option is that they greatly undercut competing programs on tuition. Ahead of its time, SNHU became the state first carbon-neutral college in 2007.

The masterճ in database design program focuses on expanding knowledge and skills in interface design, object-oriented design, data management and data security. From this program, the student will look thoroughly at the latest IT advancements and applications in the field. It is especially designed for working professionals seeking to advance their careers in the field of computer science. The program is flexible, efficient, and can be completed in as few as 15 months, with two courses per 10-week term thus, it made our top list for flexibility. Programs are accredited by multiple governing agencies, including regional accreditation. GMAT and GRE are not required for admission.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $627 (Active duty Military and their Spouses: $470)
  • Program Length: 15 months
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

3. Boston University

Boston University was founded in 1839 and has a long tradition recognizing Womenճ rights and Civil Rights, as it was the first university to open all its divisions to female students, and the first to award a medical degree to a black woman. With over 33,000 students enrolled, Boston University is an international, private research university, committed to making higher education accessible to all by encouraging diversity and global education. Both on campus and online programs from Boston University ranked #39 in the nation and #32 among Best Global Universities by News & World Report. Online students have access to the latest interactive technology that incorporates simulations, video, audio, multimedia, and peer activities such as discussion boards. Need-based financial aid and grants are available as well as merit awards, some covering full tuition. Last year alone, BU awarded $58 million in aid. Part-time students can benefit from lower tuition rates than the traditional full-time in-state programs.

The Computer Information Systems concentration in Database Management & Business Intelligence is offered entirely online. The flexible digital learning format consists of 10 courses– a total of 40 credit hours, and can be completed within 18 and 24 months. BU ranked among our first pick in terms of overall flexibility-enhancing components. 20 hours of core courses are in business data communication and network, database design and implementation, information systems analysis and design, IT strategy and management and information structures with either Java or Python. Also required are 20 credit hours of concentration courses such as database management and security, advanced management, and quantitative methods for information systems. Additionally, students can choose from a large selection of electives, allowing them to tailor classes to their future career goals.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $830
  • Program Length: between 18 and 24 months
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: many certifications available

4. Regis University

Regis University is a coeducational Jesuit university first established in 1877, in New Mexico. Soon after, it relocated to its present location in Denver, Colorado. Regis University offers a highly flexible format that allows students to start at various times during the year and choose accelerated and evening courses. Furthermore, Regis University is a community-oriented, military-friendly University recognized for its strong student support services, high quality education and prestige in the marketplace. Students can benefit from small student-to-faculty ratios and personalized attention. Regis University is consistently ranked among the top universities overall, including recognition by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Colleges and Universities in the country and Best Online Graduate Computer technology Programs. One of schoolճ strong points is its generous transfer credit policy offering up to 90 credit hours transferable from regionally accredited universities making it one of the most flexible programs on our list. Last year, Regis University awarded over $134 million in federal, state and institutional sources.

Regis Universityճ Master of Science in Database Technologies degree equips students with the essential knowledge to manage databases and to develop database technologies. More specifically, the program prepares future database administrators and software developers to the internal structures and architectures of database management systems. Curriculum centers on 9 credit hours of course work, 6 credit hours of degree course requirements, 9 credit hours in database technologies electives, and 9 credit hours of general electives. A DB Practicum, Capstone or thesis is required for degree completion as well. Tuition rates for this program are fairly low for a private university and on par with the public colleges reviewed, making this program a great value all around.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $710
  • Program Length: 36 Credit Hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

5. University of Maryland University College

The University of Maryland University College was founded in 1947 and is located in Adelphi, Maryland. UMUC is a public research university with a long tradition in educating active-duty military personnel. It has a total enrollment of slightly over 50,000 with a student-faculty ratio of 22:1. UMUC offers affordable tuition rates and qualifying students can have access to interest-free monthly payment plans and employer tuition assistance. The school is also saving you a lot by offering most of their books at no cost when taking online courses. With more than 680 courses taught online, they are definitely one of the largest public providers of online education in the country. Hybrid programs options are also available. UMUC is a top-ranked military and veteran trusted school and offers reduced tuition rates for members of the military and federal government employees. UMUC accepts up to 90 credits for prior college coursework and experience including military experience and training. Students can easily estimate their transfer credits using the online Transfer Credit Tool. Over the years, many of its faculty members have received awards for excellence in teaching.

The Master of Science in Database Systems Technology specialization program can be taken entirely online and is the most affordable option from our list. Subject matter includes structured query language (SQL), NoSQL, Oracle 11g, and UNIX and how to apply those skills to the work environment. With 4 core courses, 7 specializations, and a capstone course in database system administration, the program equips students to maintain, administer, analyze and design many types of database systems on a large scale. Students can learn about how to integrate fundamental concepts in larger Web-based applications such as using Amazon public data and predict real-world outcomes and their consequences on society. Moreover, the program prepares you to earn highly thought after IT credentials such as Oracle Certification. 36 hours are required and up to 6 credit hours are transferable toward the program. With such low tuition, the program is a solid investment and is top of our list in terms of affordability.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $458
  • Program Length: 36 Credit Hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

6. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology was founded in Melbourne, Florida in 1958. Florida tech is ranked a Tier 1 for Best National University by U.S. News & World Report, named one of Americaճ ҂est ValueӠuniversities by Forbes, and recognized as one of the best colleges in the Southeast by The Princeton Review. Nearly 90% of full-time faculty members hold a doctorate degree or highest degree relevant to their field, making Florida Tech rather prestigious. Florida Institute of Technology is a fully accredited university by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

The Masters of Science & Information Technology consists of a total of only 11 classes to complete (33 credit hours total). The MSIT mainly centers on core and major related courses, including a Capstone course and 9 hours of directed electives. Sample courses include Financial Accounting and Corporate Finance, Information Systems, Information Security Management and Global Information Technology Management. A flexible asynchronous schedule with weekly assignments using discussion boards, chat rooms and an overall interactive media-rich experience, makes this program overly attractive. Classes are divided into 8 weeks per term and up to 12 credits or 4 classes can be transferred into a graduate program. Furthermore, criteria for credit eligibility is based on that student earning a minimum ҂Ӡletter grade and that classes were completed within 6 years at a regionally accredited institution.

The application process is free.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $777
  • Program Length: 24 months
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated

7. Bellevue University

Bellevue University was founded in 1966 in Bellevue, Nebraska and has been a leader in adult education ever since. Bellevue is a private, non-profit, regionally accredited institution serving over 13,000 students. Since 1996, Bellevue University has offered online degree programs, and it was the first in the country to offer an online MBA. Today, the school has campuses throughout the American Midwest. As one of the most affordable online options, Bellevue offers many financing options such as financial aid, need-based scholarships and loans, eligible to part-time students. To make it easier, students can use the simple credit transfer search engine to determine their credit eligibility. Bellevue will also save you time and money via accelerated and cohort-based learning formats. Bellevue University has received countless of accolades and has set the standards of excellence in a variety of categories relating to performance and results. To highlight just a few pertinent awards, the school was named among the most innovative universities and ranked #1 for Most Generous Credit Transfer Policy by Online Course Report in 2017. Moreover, it was ranked in the top 25 for ҂est Affordable Online Masters in Computer ScienceӠfrom OnlineU.org, and Best Online Masterճ in Computer Science &IT Programs in 2015 by SuperScholar.org. Bellevue University has received specialized accreditation for its MBA through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education.

Major Requirements take 36 credit hours to complete including 27 core credit hours and one area of concentration such as Databases, Software Development, or IT Security. The aim of this program is to prepare students for careers in a variety of fields such as systems development, information systems management, software development, project management, database analysis and design, information systems security, and other state-of-the-art information technologies. Relying on a mix of extensive hands-on experience and applied learning with theory, the curriculum will help students to gain skill and expertise in organizational information systems, application technologies, storage systems, software methods and technologies, and systems infrastructure. A generous transfer policy and a low tuition rate make this school a great overall choice.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $545
  • Program Length: 36 credit hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Lenient Transfer Policy

8. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University is a private for-profit institution with campuses in Colorado Springs and Denver. Since its beginning in 1965, Colorado Technical University has been serving career focused adults by promoting industry-relevant higher education and fostering the development of their professional goals. With a total 23,000 students enrolled, the school provides real world, industry-current programs in a variety of subjects. CTU’s Virtual Campus was recognized as the ҂est of the BestӠin the Education and Academia category of the Computerworld Honors Program in 2009. For the third year in a row, CTU’s online Master of Science in Computer Science degree programs were ranked among the 2017 Best Online Programss U.S. News and World Report while the Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs was ranked #38. CTU strives to help students find the best way to save money and time. For instance, students can save up to 30% on tuition and time using a free assessment module called Fast Track. By taking an exam, you can earn college credit hours for what you already know and thus, potentially graduate earlier. The school also strongly supports military personnel and offers different learning pace options as well as credit for experience and service. Furthermore, with what they call Experimental Learning Portfolio, CTU recognizes that relevant learning experiences may also be used toward credit. Adaptive learning is part of CTU’s culture and with their award winning personalized learning system, called intellipath every student can learn their way, or in other words, based on their unique knowledge and learning styles. In terms of prestige, most faculty members are leaders in their fields and have advanced degrees. There is a rolling application deadline.

The Master of Science in Computer Science Database Systems requires 48 credit hours including 28 credit hours of core courses. The aim of this program is to give students a solid knowledge in operating systems, networking, and competencies in computer system architecture and software system engineering. Concentration areas include software engineering, security, and database management systems that will prepare you for designing, configuring, and managing data warehouses. To succeed in this program, students must have a strong foundation in mathematics, computer science, as well as proficiency in programming language such as C++ or Java. A resume and an entrance essay are required for admission. A student-to-faculty ratio of only 11:1 provides a supportive learning environment while the schoolճ countless ways to save time and money make this degree extremely flexible.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $585
  • Program Length: 48 credit hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

9. Northwestern University

Northwestern University School of Professional Studies (SPS) was founded in 1851 in Evanston, IL, and has now additional campuses in Chicago and in Qatar. As a leading research university, SPS is recognized nationally and internationally and is ranked #12 by U.S. News & World Report. It has been a leader in continuing and professional education since 1995. SPS’s renowned part-time graduate programs are taught by award-winning faculty members. As a matter of fact, faculty members include Tony Award winners, Guggenheim Fellows, and MacArthur Fellowship Recipients to name a few. What further sets this school apart is the part-time learning format geared towards fully working adults with busy lives. This is the current version of Үight school where students lead full professional lives in the daytime and take classes in the evening. The part-time, fully-accredited MSIS program prepares students in information systems methodologies with an emphasis on design, implementation, and evaluation of software applications and theoretical models, as well as other rapidly evolving technologies. Courses are taught by experts in the industry and include hands-on projects based on real world scenarios. Students may choose to take some or all classes online, and can select specializations that will improve their employment opportunities and advancement in their career. Students can also take advantage of the strong peer community to cultivate networking outside the classroom.

In order to complete the MSIS program, 3 core courses, 6 electives related to area of specialization, a leadership course, and a capstone project are required. One of the perks is that a wide selection of electives allows MSIS students the flexibility to tailor their curricula to specific career goals. Students can choose electives from the following specialization areas: database and Internet technologies, information systems management, project management, information systems, analytics and business intelligence, among others. This program is the priciest one on the list but in return, you get a top-notch faculty and high job market reputation.


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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $1136
  • Program Length: 36 Credit Hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Part-Time

10. DePaul College of Computing and Digital Media

DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the country and was founded in 1898, in Chicago. 23,110 students are enrolled and can choose among over 300 undergraduate majors and graduate program. DePaul was one of the first Catholic institutions to enroll women back in 1911. It is ranked among the nationճ Most Innovative Schools (2015). Moreover, it was ranked #124 in National Universities, and ranked #70 for Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report (2017). Indeed, 69% percent of full-time undergraduates received need-based financial aid and 7.6% of students received full assistance. The majority of courses are taught by professors which is a sign of academic excellence. Students can choose between on-campus, online, and hybrid classes making the learning experience highly flexible. To show their commitment to their adult studentsՠpopulation, DePaul has created a school called The School for New Learning that caters entirely to adult learners.

In order to obtain an MSCSI degree, students must complete a minimum of 52 graduate credit hours in addition to any required introductory courses in their chosen field. Curriculum centers on 4 foundation courses, 7 major electives, 1 open elective, and a Capstone in Information Systems Policies and Strategies (May require in-person class for capstone project). Concentration areas include business analysis/systems analysis, business intelligence, database administration, IT enterprise management, and standard. When selecting the database administration concentration, you will gain knowledge and expertise in the design and implementation of operational databasesѡs well as related management skills needed as a database administrator. Overall, you will gain technical skills using relational database system models, as well as strategic and organizational expertise of information systems into the business world.

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  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: $815
  • Program Length: 52 credit hours
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A