Best online master’s in management information systems 2021: Top picks

Organizations use management information systems to collect, organize, and analyze data for operations management and decision-making purposes. These systems help organizations become more efficient and effective. Graduates with a management information systems master’s degree have some of the most advanced training available in this field. 

With organizations seeking every competitive advantage possible, professionals who can manage these systems will benefit from an increased demand in the job market. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 25% growth in operations research analyst positions between 2020 and 2030. This page ranks the best management information systems master’s programs and explores the discipline in more detail. 

The best online master’s in management information systems degrees

To provide the most reliable rankings, we use only publicly available and federally-reported data and expert insight. ZDNet’s ranking methodology also weighs various factors, including programmatic excellence, affordability, and reputation. 

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

About the program: FSU’s 33-credit hour online management information systems master’s program features 11 courses, including business intelligence, project management, and management of technology. 

  • Acceptance rate: 36%
  • Graduation rate: 80% 
  • Avg. annual net price: $9,789
  • Years to completion: Two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

About the program: Auburn’s 30-credit online information systems master’s program requires courses in database management systems and information systems analysis. Students can also concentrate in geospatial information systems, security, and technical skills.

  • Acceptance rate: 81%
  • Graduation rate: 76%
  • Avg. annual net price: $24,104
  • Years to completion: One to two 
  • GRE/GMAT: 60th percentile
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Auburn University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. Mississippi State University

Starkville, Mississippi

About the program: MSU’s online master’s in management and information systems features 30 credits in courses that include secure systems analysis, data analytics, and advanced database design administration.

  • Acceptance rate: 54%
  • Graduation rate: 60%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,173
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Mississippi State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of Michigan-Dearborn

Dearborn, Michigan

About the program: UM-Dearborn’s 30-credit hour online master’s in information systems features core courses in information systems quality, information technology policy, and enterprise architecture and networking.

  • Acceptance rate: 62%
  • Graduation rate: 55%
  • Avg. annual net price: $11,473
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 for preference
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: The University of Michigan-Dearborn is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Minot State University

Minot, North Dakota

About the program: MSU’s online master’s in information systems includes courses in knowledge management, systems design, and business network systems management. 

  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Graduation rate: 44%
  • Avg. annual net price: $11,898
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.75
  • Enrollment periods per year: Two
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Minot State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6. Wright State University

Bath Township, Ohio

About the program: Wright State’s online master’s in information systems includes training in information systems strategy, management of technical services, and business process management.

  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Graduation rate: 42%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,823
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Wright State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. Webster University

Webster Groves, Missouri

About the program: Webster’s 36-credit hour online master’s in information technology management features courses in information and communication systems networks, information and communications security, and procurement and contract management. 

  • Acceptance rate: 57%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Avg. annual net price: $22,768
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Webster University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

8. Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont

About the program: Champlain’s online master’s in information technology features training in databases, managing risk, and software engineering. The program also offers certificates in business management, data science, and digital forensics. 

  • Acceptance rate: 85%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Avg. annual net price: $33,561
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

9. National University

San Diego, California

About the program: NU’s 54-quarter unit online management information systems master’s program features courses in network services and protocols, project and program management, and systems integration.

  • Acceptance rate: 89%
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Avg. annual net price: Not publicly available
  • Years to completion: One to two
  • GRE/GMAT: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: National University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

10. Baker College

Flint, Michigan

About the program: Baker’s 36-credit online information systems master’s program includes courses in database design and management, information systems project management, and systems analysis and design. 

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,049
  • Years to completion: 1 ½ – two
  • GRE/GMAT: 2.5
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

What to expect in an online master’s in management information systems degree program

Students in an online management information systems master’s program gain an in-depth understanding of how data can help improve business practices. They learn how to design and manage the information systems that store and organize data and how to analyze information in various ways and for different purposes.

Coursework typically blends theoretical and practical training, culminating with a systems-focused capstone project. Learners may also complete lab work and internships throughout their studies to gain hands-on experience.

In more general technology management programs, students can pursue management information systems training through their course selections or concentrations. Online training at this level may require more commitment and determination than in on-campus programs. While group projects and collaboration still take place, online students should expect a heavy focus on independent work.

Master’s in management information systems courses

A management information systems master’s program blends business knowledge and practices with information science and management. Students learn how data can improve business operations and how to manage the technology that makes the information more accessible and useful. 

In addition to business training, students usually complete several required information systems courses. The topics below are some of the more common core requirements included in these programs. 

Data science 

Data science courses teach students to make sense of data. They learn to analyze information, use different models and algorithms, and make visualizations with it. 

Network management

In this course, students learn to use the most common network management technologies. They also explore strategies and tools for maintenance and security.

Systems design

Students in this course learn the most effective approaches to computer systems design. They study computer system architecture, programming, and digital systems design. 

Database design and management 

This course teaches students how to plan and design relational databases. Learners look at methods and tools for building effective and secure databases that provide easy access to information.

Management information systems degree levels

Prospective students can find management information systems training at every degree level. The depth of training and quality of postgraduate opportunities grows with each subsequent level. Below, we examine the different degree options available and explore some of the pathways they open for graduates.

Certificate in management information systems

  • Length: 2-12 months
  • Cost: Varies
  • Post-grad careers: Customer support specialist, computer systems administrator, computer support specialist

Prospective students can find management information systems certificates at various levels. The training may focus on fundamentals for entry-level careers or advanced graduate-level training for more experienced professionals. In general, these programs offer focused studies in an accelerated format. 

The type of training available depends on the level of certificate. Undergraduate programs may focus on the basics of digital systems, databases, and data analytics. Graduate certificates, conversely, may delve into specific management information system technologies, networks, and computer science.

Associate in management information systems

  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $11,389/year in 2018-19
  • Post-grad careers: Computer support specialist, computer programmer, computer systems administrator

Management information systems programs at the associate level provide students with foundational business and information science training. Learners gain entry-level computing and analytical skills that can provide value to many organizations. Graduates can also further develop their training and skills with professional experience or a bachelor’s degree.

Typically, these programs feature introductory lessons and practical explorations of basic systems operations. Students may also learn programming, systems administration, or even design principles.

Bachelor’s in management information systems

  • Length: Three to four years
  • Cost: $28,123/year in 2018-19
  • Post-grad careers: Operations research analyst, information security analyst, computer systems analyst

A bachelor’s management information systems degree qualifies graduates for many data-focused computer occupations. The programs provide broad exploration of management information computer systems and practices. Students learn how and why the systems work and how to manage them.

The training includes both theoretical and practical training, and students usually complete a substantial internship. Graduates can qualify for various systems administrator and analyst positions in many business and financial organizations.

Master’s in management information systems

  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
  • Post-grad careers: Information research scientist, information systems manager, computer network architect

Management information systems master’s programs expand on the fundamentals provided in undergraduate training. Students at this level learn to work with specific management information technologies and design new systems. They also learn how to conduct advanced analysis and help organizations achieve specific goals.  

The training includes extensive research and practical experiences. Graduates can qualify for many computer and business management and analyst positions. They can also continue their training with a doctoral degree for professional opportunities in research and academia.  

Doctorate in management information systems

  • Length: Three to six years
  • Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
  • Post-grad careers: Postsecondary teacher, information research scientist, top executive

A doctorate in management information systems is the terminal degree in the field. Doctoral graduates can explore teaching and research positions, along with most management and consulting positions in the field. 

The training at this level is highly specialized, giving students the opportunity to study in the areas that interest them most. In addition to researching more and better ways to support businesses, learners seek to improve existing technologies. They also look to support other industries.

In conclusion

Management information systems programs offer applicable training in business, computer technology, and information science. Master’s degrees in this field, like those ranked above, prepare graduates to support organizations using advanced data-based insight and analysis.

Prospective learners looking for more information on any of the schools listed one this page can contact the institutions and program departments directly.