Information Technology — also commonly known as information systems or systems administration, is the study of utilizing existing operating systems, software, and applications to elegantly and efficiently solve business problems. Perhaps the most innately applied degree that is (broadly) in the computer sciences, information technology often also includes courses in business, management, and decision making.
Particularly at the masters level, degrees in IT can provide comfortable paychecks. Information security analysts, network architects, and database administrators (all positions for which a masters in information technology would be a good fit), can all easily earn over $85,000 a year. If you find yourself thinking about how to solve complex business problems with the use of technology, or are already in the field and want to climb up the ranks of your organization, masters in IT degrees can be a great fit. Check out our ranking below!
- Specializations (1/4): the number of emphases, specializations, or customizable tracks in a program.
- Program length (1/4): the minimum number of months required to complete the program.
- Affordability (1/4): the estimated out-of-state cost per credit hour.
- Academic Prestige (1/4): the placement and rank of the program in other prestigious rankings.
1. Boston University
Boston University is a private nonsectarian research university offering bachelors through doctoral degrees to some 30,000+ students. Classified as a very high research activity university by the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education, and as one of the largest employers in Boston, it should be no surprise that BU plays a vital role in technology and research in the city. Since its founding in 1839 the university has counted seven Nobel laureates, twenty three Pulitzer Prize winners, and nine Academy Award winners among its faculty and alumni. BU is perennially ranked as a top 100 institution of higher education in the world, and much higher ranked when just considering the United States.
Boston University comes in at the top of our ranking due to being one of the most affordable programs surveyed, being one of the most flexible, and being one of the most elite programs surveyed. The master of science in Computer Information Systems degree offered by Boston University is presented through the university’s Metropolitan College fully online. Courses are taught by PhD-level full-time faculty, as well as professionals currently in the field. Currently seven concentrations are available in the degree, including computer networks, data analytics, database management and business intelligence, health informatics, IT project management, security, and web application development. A wide range of optional graduate level certifications are also available. Students may take as few as one course and as many as five in a semester, with the entire degree achievable in 18 months. The program is also one of the most affordable surveyed, coming in at $435 per credit hour.
2. University of Denver
The University of Denver is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain Region, and currently enrolls around 12,000 students at the bachelors through doctoral levels. The main campus is a designated arboretum, and within view of the Front Range of the Rockies. For students on campus and in the region, the University of Denver is regularly lauded as one of the fittest campuses (in one of the fittest regions) in America. Particularly strong departments in the University include international studies and business. Two other notable features about the university include the highest rate of undergraduate students studying abroad in the nation for doctoral and research universities (70.2%), as well as the fact that over half of the school is composed of graduate students.
DU’s Univiersity College of professional and continuing studies offers their masters in information and communications technology in both certification and master’s program denominations. The master’s-length program requres 48 credits or 12 credit hours, broken into 10-week terms. Offerings like short terms, no GMAT or GRE requirement and a vast range of concentrations help to rank DU’s program high in our flexibility metric. The University also ranks as the 9th most affordable program of those surveyed, coming in at an estimated cost of $628 per credit hour. Concentrations include:
- Database Design and Administrations
- Geographic Information Systems
- Information Systems and Security
- Mobile Application Development
- Project Management
- Software Design and Programming
- Technology Management
- Telecommunications Technology
- Web Design and Development
Any concentration offered by the program may be completed in as little as 15 months, and all require the same 48 credit hours for completion.
3. University of Maryland – University College
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a public research university located in Adelphi, Maryland. The University is known as one of the largest distance learning providers in the world, serving some 90,000 student worldwide, as well as for their innovative 100% acceptance rate for undergraduate programs. Over 120 programs are offered by the university at bachelors through doctoral levels. UMUC has an established track record in distance education, even offering online education through dial-up, television, and corrospondence courses in the past. The University also educated 50,000 active-duty service members at over 130 military installations, with campuses in deployment locations in Afghanistan and Djibouti. The University was ranked #1 by The Military Times “Best for Vets” ranking in 2015.
UMUC’s Master of Science in Information Technology is offered fully online and requires 36 credit hours for completion. The degree may be completed in as little as two years, which is slightly longer than other programs ranked. But a wide range of specializations are avialable to tailor your degree. Specializations include:
- Database Systems Technology
- Homeland Security Management
- Information Assurance
- Project Management
- Software Engineering
- Systems Engineering
- Telecommunications Management
Curriculum for all specialziations centers around 15 credit hours of core coursework, and 21 credits in a chosen specialization. A 3-credit capstone course is required of all specializations. Related tracks include certifications in cybersecurity policy, information assurance, and project management, as well as a dual-degree MBA and MS in IT program.
4. Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is a public, comprehensive university that is part of the University System of Georgia. KSU is located in Dalton, Georgia, and home to some 33,000 students. The university offers academic programs in particular practical and career-centered disciplines including business, education, nursing, crimninal justice, and sports management. KSU is also host to the largest Department of Continuing Education in the United States. And has recently been listed by US News as a particualrly innovative school on their “up-and-coming” list.
Online courses offered through Kennesaw State University are monitored for quality through their Quality Matters Rubric, an internal peer review process designed to ensure the quality of online courses. Courses are re-certified every three years, or if instructors change more than 15% of the content in a course. KSU’s Master of Science in Information Science is no different, and may be completed in as little as two years fully online. Besides academic quality, other reasons for KSU’s rank include the program’s relative affordability and number of concentrations. Currently the program costs an estimated $408 per credit hour, the second more affordable of programs surveyed. Three concentrations are avialable: IT security, health information technology, and databases and networking.
5. University of Massachusetts – Lowell
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is an urban pbulic research university that is home to some 17,500 students. The University is part of and the second largest member of the University of Massachusetts System, a system known for a wide array of online offerings. The University offers a wide range of bachelors through doctoral degrees, and is particularly well known for engineering, criminal justice, education, music, and technology disciplines. The University is routinelly a nationally ranked university, and one of only a handful to advance in US News rankings every year since their inclusion in 2010.
UMASS Lowell offers a fully online Master of Science in Information Technology that can be completed in 10 courses spread over 24 months. Students may also work towards their masters by taking courses towards IT certifications in Systems Models and Management, and Network Security.Courses are practical, and divided topically into system infrastructure, network infrastructure, and software management. For students wishing to study Cyber Security or Information Assurance, UMASS Lowell has been certified by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security as a center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research through 2021.
6. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University is the first for-profit college in our rankings, but also a well established institution of online education. Currently around 25,000 students are enrolled in the University that is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with over 70,000 students worldwide. Many online students are members of the military or veterans. While there is an investigation into the parent company of Colorado Tech — Career Education Corporation — regarding alleged decelptive recruiting and job placement information, Colorado Tech is regionally accredited (the most highly regarded form of accreditation).
Colorado Technical University’s fully online Master of Science in Information Technology requires 48 credit hours, over 24 months to complete. Flexibility-granting aspects of the program include students’ ability to craft their own specialization, and work and life experience credits. There are also many start dates yearly, allowing students to join the program at their own convenience. Self-chosen specializations include four credit hours from 600-level business, computer sceince or IT courses, 16 credit hours from a select group of electives, and an information technology capstone project. With an estimated per-credit hour tuition of $585, CTU’s program is the 7th most affordable of programs surveyed.
7. North Carolina A&T State University
The North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public historically-black, research university located in Greensboro, NOrth Carolina. The University is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina and with an enrollment of over 10,000 students is the largest historically black university in the nation. The University if particularly lauded for their college of engineering, which has long ranked first as the leading producer of African-American engineers with masters and doctorate degrees.
The fully online Master of Science in Information Technology offered by A&T is a great fit for students looking for a wide range of specializations. Research areas students may choose from include Cloud Computing, computer and network secutiy, enterprise computing, high performance computing, information retrieval, knowledge discover and data mining, and wireless networking. For on-campus or students within the region, a number of masters-level students are able to partially fund their education through graduate assistanceships. The program is also regularly lauded as one of the best graduate information technology programs for veterans.
8. Arizona State University
Arizona State Univeristy is a public research university with five campuses throughout the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. The University is home to some 80,000 students including those online and at subsidiary campuses, making the university the largest research university in the nation. ASU is also regularly lauded as one of the most innovative colleges in America. According to teh Center for Measuring University Performance, ASU is the 31st top public research university, based on research output, innovation, development, research expenditures, number of awareded patents, and awarded research grant proposals. Unsuprisingly, this has led to acclaimed faculty in scores of disciplines making the university their home.
While ASU’s Masters of Science in Information Managment is offered through their business school, it is a STEM-Designated program according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforecement agency. This allows students from abroad to extend their VISAs by up to 36 months in an optional practical training extension while looking for work. That said, the course of study does couple technical application with the latest techniques and tools for managing information systems. The online program begins twice yearly and may be completed in as little as 16-months. This makes the program the 5th fastest of programs surveyed. Currently the estimated cost per credit hour is $889.
9. Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology is a private research university centered in Melbourne, Florida. Areas of study at the university are centered around six complementary disciplines: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and aviation. The University is home to some 9,000 students, 3,500 of whom are online students. The university also offers specialized graduate degrees at a number of locations throughout the US, largely centered around aviation, military, and space research hubs. Overall, Florida Tech is seen as a top technical institution, and a “best buy” among US colleges for students of STEM or aviation science.
The Master of Science in Information Technology degree offered by Florida Tech requires 33 credit hours, that may be completed in as little as 24 months. While the program of study is centered on infomration technology, a number of courses of more general business interest are also required, including financial accounting, organizational behaviour, and corporate finance. FIT’s information technology degree is the 13th most affordable of those surveyed, and the cheapest of private degrees surveyed with an estimated cost per credit hour of $777.
10. Virginia Tech University
Virginia Tech Universiity is a preimanent, public, land-grant, space-grant, sea-grant, and senior military college located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The university is home to over 30,000 students. VT is among three public universities in Virginia in the top 30. With particularly lauded programs in engineering, the sciences, business, architecture, and natural resources. Many standard of living indexes also rate VT as a top school in teh nation, with the Princeton Review ranking it in the top 5 in the nation for happiest students, best campus good, quality of life, students who love their colleges, town-gown relations, and best alumni network.
Virginia Tech’s fully online Masters in Information Technology is a combined degree and certificate program offered collaboratively by VT’s top engineering and business colleges. the program blends study through eight wide-ranging modules, though only offers one track. The eight modules include health information systems, software development, information security, business information systems, decision support systems, and networking and telecommumunications. The program is the second ranked program on US News’ rankings, though ranks slightly lower in our rankings due to the 17th lowest affordability measure of $900 per credit hour.