Master of Science (MS): Computer Information Systems Degree Overview

Master of Science (MS) in Computer Information Systems degree programs teach students how to design, test and maintain hardware and software in business settings.

Essential Information

MS programs in computer information systems include coursework and practical training in topics such as data analysis, engineering and programming. Students learn to create networks and improve computer information system efficiency in business settings. They are also trained to improve database protection by implementing network security measures. Students may be expected to complete a thesis or capstone project during their last semester, which gives them hands-on experience.

Applicants to master's programs in computer information systems are required to complete a bachelor's degree program with prerequisite coursework in programming, technology and mathematics. They must also submit GRE scores. Once enrolled, students are expected to become familiar with computer languages and security methods.

Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

These 30- to 33-credit-hour programs delve into system design, data analysis, component engineering, programming and network communications. Students learn how to maintain quality, meet deadlines and stay within budget, and they learn to design software that meets the needs of their organizations. They also analyze, test and maintain information systems and implement changes to improve productivity in the workplace. Common courses include:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Operating systems
  • Programming
  • Databases
  • Data structures

Popular Career Options

Computer information systems graduates have the computer development and systems analysis skills to obtain a variety of mid-level positions within organizations and businesses. Prospective job titles for graduates include:

  • Communications manager
  • Systems analyst
  • Database developer
  • Network architect
  • Project manager

Salary Outlook

In January 2016, the salary website indicated that most communications managers earned between $38,808 and $92,054 per year. The majority of database developers, according to the site, saw yearly salaries within the range of $46,640 to $100,194 at that time.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2015 that computer systems analysts generally earned an annual wage of $51,910 to $135,450, while most network architects made between $56,230 and $155,250 that year. Further data from the BLS reflects a general annual salary range of $45,320 to $129,700 for all other computer occupations in 2015.

Continuing Education

As graduates progress through their careers, they can keep up with the latest changes in the field by enrolling in graduate certificate programs in computer information systems. They can also enrich their knowledge and expand their opportunities by participating in certificate programs in related fields, such as telecommunications, software engineering or computer networking. Individuals with an interest in research, methodology or academia can pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems.

By earning a MS in Computer Information Systems, students gain advanced technological skills so that when they graduate, they are ready for upper-level employment in the IT field. Graduates may also pursue professional certifications or enroll in a doctoral program.

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