School and Ranking Information
While there are no schools based in Reston, VA, that have information technology programs, students seeking an education in this subject can choose from several public, private and for-profit institutions within 25 miles of the city. Based on graduation rates, levels of study and national rankings, the following schools are considered the top three for information technology degrees in the Reston area:
- Winner: George Mason University tops the list because of its nationally ranked information technology programs and because the number of information technology degrees it awards far exceeds that of the other two schools. It is also the largest of the three schools and has the most program diversity: it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates in the field.
- Runner Up #1: Having the highest graduation rate, the highest overall national ranking and the second-highest student population earns Georgetown University the first runner up spot. The schools offers a master's degree in information technology.
- Runner Up #2: Catholic University of America's comparatively low number of degrees awarded in the field and its distance from Reston makes it the third choice among the schools. It does have a graduation rate and national ranking slightly higher than George Mason University. Students can earn a certificate, bachelor's degree or master's degree in information technology.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||George Mason University||Georgetown University||Catholic University of America|
|Rankings|| #63 nationally among the best graduate computer science programs in 2010*
#20 nationally for the best online graduate computer information technology programs in 2013*
#141 among national universities in 2014*
#72 among the best national public schools in 2014*
|#20 among national universities in 2014*||#121 among national universities in 2014*|
|Location||Fairfax, VA (about 8.3 miles from downtown Reston)||Washington, District of Columbia (about 14.8 miles from downtown Reston)||Washington, District of Columbia (18.5 miles from downtown Reston)|
|School Type||4-year; public||4-year; private not-for-profit||4-year; private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees 2012-13|| $9,620 (in-state, undergraduate),
$27,764 (out-of-state, undergraduate);
$11,690 (in-state, graduate),
$27,620 (out-of-state, graduate)**
|$40,680 (graduate)**|| $36,820 (undergraduate);
|Information Technology Degree Award Levels Offered||Certificates, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees||Master's degree||Certificates, bachelor's and master's degrees|
|Information Technology Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-12||345**||39**||26**|
|Most Popular Information Technology Program 2012-13||Bachelor of Science in Applied Information Technology (268 awarded)**||Master of Professional Studies in Technology Management (39 awarded)**||Certificate in Information Technology - Health Information Technology (19 awarded)**|
|2006 Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time)||66%**||93%**||67%**|
|Noteworthy||Information technology was tied as the second most popular major for 2012 graduates*||Management-focused program prepares IT professionals for executive and upper-level manager positions||Offers specialized IT programs for the healthcare industry|
Sources: *U.S. News and World Report, **NCES College Navigator.
Winner: George Mason University
- Houses several information technology-related centers and laboratories, such as the Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship and the Center for Secure Information Systems
- Largest public university in Virginia, enrolling almost 33,000 students in 2012, according to the NCES
- 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio as of 2012, according to the NCES
George Mason University offers a Bachelor of Science in Applied Information Technology, which can be pursued as a standalone degree or as part of an accelerated B.S./M.S. program. Master's degree options for the accelerated program include applied IT, information security and assurance, information systems and computer forensics, among other fields of study. Course topics in the B.S. program include IT problem-solving, applied IT programming, computer hardware basics, databases and information security. Five areas of concentration are available: Web development and multimedia; information security; network and telecommunications; database technology and programming; and healthcare IT. Undergraduates can also consider earning a minor or a certificate in information technology.
At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Science in Applied Information Technology or a Ph.D. in Information Technology. The capstone to the 30-credit M.S. program is a seminar in which students work in teams to analyze real-world case studies of computer systems. The interdisciplinary Ph.D. program offers concentrations in information security and assurance, information systems and software engineering. Doctoral students must pass qualifying exams and complete a dissertation.
Runner-Up #1: Georgetown University
- 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio as of 2012, according to the NCES
- Nation's oldest Catholic and Jesuit university
- #24 best value school nationwide in 2014, according to U.S. News and World Report
Georgetown offers a 30-credit Master of Professional Studies in Technology Management. This program prepares individuals for leadership positions in IT by combining business management training with advanced technological knowledge. Students learn to analyze key business requirements, oversee changes in business technology and ensure network and system security. The program has a flexible pace, with part-time and accelerated study options available. Concentrations are offered in information security, project management, health information technology and systems design and management.
Runner-Up #2: Catholic University of America
- 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio as of 2012, according to the NCES
- University was founded by U.S. Catholic bishops
- 94% of incoming full-time freshmen received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to the NCES
The Catholic University of America offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in health information technology, as well as a certificate. The undergraduate degree program, which is offered through the university's Metropolitan School of Professional Studies, provides students with the skills needed to manage and support IT in healthcare operations. Topics covered include IT hardware and system software, database management, systems analysis and design, electronic health records and data communications. The certificate follows an abbreviated version of this curriculum, requiring only 21 credits of study; however, applicants must already hold either an associate's or bachelor's degree in a non-IT field to be admitted to the certificate program. The master's degree program, offered through the School of Library and Information Science, trains students for leadership roles in information systems used in the healthcare industry.