Online Computer Information Systems Degree Program Options

Learn about online degree programs with computer information systems courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Computer information systems degree programs at the associate level may be available online, though they are more commonly offered in a traditional, on-campus format. In some cases, programs are offered mostly on campus, but with some online course options. In other cases, internships may be required, which can't be completed online.

Similarly, bachelor's degree programs in computer information systems are available online, but such programs are not as common. Also, when programs are offered online, they may require completion of an internship. Online programs will require a capable computer graphics card, webcam, and media player.

At the master's degree level, 100% online programs may be available. A relevant bachelor's degree is typically required for admission, and these programs may be more widely available in closely related fields, such as computer science.

Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems

Through an Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems, participants study computer programming, computer languages and network management techniques. Students gain skills that help them manage computer networks and keep systems running smoothly. The only admission requirement for such a program is that the student has a high school diploma or the equivalent. There are many on-campus programs in computer information systems available at the associate degree level, though only a handful of online programs are available.

Information and Requirements

An Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems takes around 18-24 months to complete. The courses are available completely online, and the curriculum typically matches on-campus versions. Students also complete internships, which must be completed in person.

In addition to having reliable Internet access and a computer, each student must also be able to stream audio and video with the appropriate Web plug-ins. Students complete virtual labs through the online programs and will need certain software, such as Adobe Flash Player, to complete the programs.

Course Topics

Students who complete an associate degree program in computer information systems (CIS) complete core courses and elective courses in the field. They also complete general education courses.

Computer Languages

Students explore various computer-based languages, so they can edit and create computer programs. Languages such as Java and C++ are studied.

Network Management

This course introduces students to the operations of systems networking. They learn to organize, maintain and manage various computer networks.

Computer Programming

Students study the basics of creating computer programs and developing computer software. This course teaches students programming for software and for Web applications.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems

Through an online bachelor's degree program in computer information sciences, students complete courses and labs related to the field. They analyze and manage computer systems. A computer information systems program, which is intensive to the sciences, requires that students have high school diplomas. Online bachelor's degree programs in computer information systems are not common, although a few are available.

Information and Requirements

Online bachelor's degree programs in computer information science take about four years to complete and are available completely online. However, students are commonly required to complete in-person internships. Students access the school's educational server to complete their courses. There, they follow lectures, access assignments, compete lessons and interact with other students.

This program requires that each student has a working computer and access to the Internet. Students also need to have webcams to communicate with professors and fellow students, media players to watch lectures and computer graphics cards for programming.

Course Topics

Students completing bachelor's degree programs in computer information systems also complete general education requirements unless they've previously completed associate degrees. The bulk of the major coursework deals with information systems management and computer programming. Programs at this level also offer a number of electives.

Operations and Production Management

Students examine the design, operation and control of manufacturing and production processes for computer systems. They work to meet certain standards and quality control systems.

Managing Information Systems

Students examine common concerns in information technology and information systems. They study management problems, learn to control them and analyze risk management.

Programming Fundamentals

Students learn to develop and program computers using various computer concepts and the programming language Java. They use computer graphics cards and different types of programming.

Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

Through an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, students learn concepts pertaining to computer networking, databases, information security and the various business concepts related to information technology. Through these courses, students obtain practical degrees that allow them to plan, organize and control computer information systems, use systems for business purposes and address technical concerns.

Students who have bachelor's degrees in any field are eligible for an online master's degree program, though a background in computer science or a related field is helpful. Several online master's degree programs are available in computer science.

Information and Requirements

Typically, it takes 1-2 years to complete an online master's degree program in computer information systems, depending on whether students take classes full-time or part-time. Although all of the courses are available online, they match the on-campus components, so students can choose to take courses on campus, although on-campus visits are not typically required. They may need to complete other in-person requirements, such internships. Students access the online programs through the school's website, where they have access to course notes, pre-recorded lectures and interactive learning labs. Through the schools' online servers, users can interact with other students and professors.

Course Topics

Programs are around 30-36 credit hours in length, and they include core computer information systems courses and courses for the students' chosen concentrations.

Database Systems

Students examine principles relating to the design and analysis of database systems, including their structures and development trends in the field.

Information Structures

In this course, students learn to write computer programs using Java. They study program design concepts and advance to creating user interfaces.

Management Information Systems

Students examine the basics of keeping information systems running, such as hiring the right personnel, establishing budgets and developing related policies. They gain practical experience setting up and running an information system.


Career Information for Graduates

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, many employers require that individuals pursuing careers in computer information systems have bachelor's degrees. However, the BLS adds that some employers might be willing to hire an individual with an associate degree if that person has practical experience. Some entry-level positions include network and computer systems administrators. The median annual salary for these positions was $77,810 in 2015, though with only an associate degree, an individual could earn well below the median.

Upon completion of a bachelor's degree in computer information systems, a student can pursue many different career options. According to the BLS, career possibilities include database administration, computer information systems management and computer programming. In 2015, the median salaries for positions in these areas were $81,710 for database administrators and $79,530 for computer programmers.

Upon completion of a master's degree program in computer information systems, a graduate could find a position as a computer analyst or computer information systems manager. According to the BLS, employers often look for individuals who have master's degrees in computer information systems or in business administration with emphases in computer information systems. The median annual salary for computer systems analysts was $85,800 in 2015, while information systems managers made a median of $131,600.

Continuing Education Information

Online and on-campus doctoral degree programs are available in computer information systems. For most jobs, employers want to see students keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the field. This can be accomplished through attending industry seminars in computer information systems.

In the field of computer information systems, the only 100% online degree programs are typically found at the master's level, though students can complete associate's and bachelor's level coursework online as long as they are willing to complete possible internships or other on-campus requirements.

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