Graduate degree programs in MIS train students to create, implement, and alter complex data systems. Master's degree programs are designed for students who want to pursue advanced careers in the field. Most programs require about 36 credit hours of study, which takes about two years, and they usually culminate in a capstone or thesis. Some programs are offered online. Applicants are required to have an undergraduate degree and may need to have taken certain undergraduate courses, such as accounting, management, business law, economics, and math.
Doctoral programs develop students' research and teaching skills through a highly individualized curriculum based on the student's particular area of interest. They usually take five to six years to complete. In order to apply, students must hold a master's degree in a related field. Some schools will waive this requirement if the student has significant work experience in MIS and additional master's level coursework.
Master of Science in Management Information Systems
Master's degree programs in the field focus on how people and businesses use information systems to accomplish short and long-term goals. They prepare students for work as systems analysts, a career in which they may install software, troubleshoot storage problems, identify security issues and perform other tasks to optimize a company's information networks. Courses cover basic computer hardware and software, basic principles, the design, implementation, and analysis of information systems, with the goal of making them more efficient, secure and user-friendly. Core courses may include the following:
- Analyzing and designing systems
- Managing data and systems
- Policies in business
- Computer science
- Organizing information
Doctor of Philosophy in Management Information Systems
Doctoral programs are research-focused and culminate in a final dissertation. Students can pursue advanced research in the theories and practical applications of topics such as:
- Data Structures and Operating Systems
- Enterprise Application Infrastructure
- Business Systems Analysis & Design
- Database Design and Management
Popular Career Options
Some of the career options available to graduates of MIS master's degree programs include:
- Business analyst
- Information systems analyst or designer
- Project manager
- Information systems auditor
- Computer trainer or support specialist
- Network administrator
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, as of May 2015, the average annual salary for computer systems analysts was $90,180. The BLS also predicts that employment of these professionals will grow by 21%, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024.
To summarize, graduate-level study in Management Information Systems (MIS) is offered at the master's and doctoral levels. Master's degree programs prepare students for high-level positions in the field, while Ph.D. programs are designed for students who want to direct their careers toward research.