So you’ve gotten yourself all set up to do put in some serious
web browsing and gaming study time at your local coffee shop. You fire up your browser and . . . the WiFi isn’t working! Major letdown. The barista called the cable company, but they can’t come out for another hour or so. Now what?
Let’s take it a step further. Now you’re in the emergency room after you broke your ankle skateboarding. The doctor just needs to get some of your medical records from your physician . . . but their servers are down! Better get comfortable—it’s going to be a long wait!
One more. You’ve landed an exciting, fast-paced stock trading job in New York City. It’s highly competitive, and things change by the second. You’ve got a client on the phone who is ready to make a pretty big buy . . . and all of a sudden your network goes out! You lose the client . . . and the commission.
Get the picture yet? Almost everything we do is now connected in some way to an electronic network, whether that’s the internet service at your local coffee shop or a complex, high-security internal computer network at a Fortune 500 company. These networks, large and small, need managers, and the need has never been greater!
This is where degrees in Management Information Systems, or M.I.S., come in. Computer networks are the nerve centers of businesses, hospitals, governments, cities, schools, and yes, coffee shops too. M.I.S. managers work closely with other management personnel to structure and secure internal and external networks according to the organizations’ goals.
Graduates in M.I.S. can expect no shortage of need for their expertise, and while salaries currently start in the $50,000 range, experienced managers can expect to make six figures. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects the field to grow by at least 15 percent in the next decade, with some industries expected to grow by more than 25 percent.
Many of the best schools in the country are offering training in this area, and some schools have even created entire departments dedicated to the field. Some schools offer systems training in particular, some offer programs that emphasize the technology and engineering side of things, and others feature a combination of these and other emphases. Whatever your specific goals and interests might be, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 bachelor’s degrees in information systems that will get you started off on the right track.
The first thing we want to know, like you, is the bottom line: how much is this going to set me back? So we’ve included the annual tuition for each school right up front for you. We’ve also included our College Choice Score, which is computed based on each school’s reputation in the field and its return on investment. The end result is a list of schools that balance cost, reputation, and, ultimately, what they can do for you and your unique goals.
The rankings you’re about to read are based on a few important sources. The first source is actual college freshman polled during a nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. These students rated academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost of school, and the survey also took into account graduate success rates on the post-college job market. These factors were weighed equally alongside data from other publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.
Hey, the internet’s back up—back to work!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CC Score: 100
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is arguably the best university in the country for STEM degrees. It is here where IS professionals who wish to specialize in information technology come to learn about their career. Although the university does not currently offer any M.I.S. degree, it does offer an undergraduate degree through the Sloan School that covers IT courses as a special concentration.
MIT’s 15-1 undergraduate degree is a flexible degree that is only offered through Sloan. This degree allows students, like those who wish to pursue a career option in IT, to cluster like-minded courses while simultaneously pursuing other subjects that may be useful to them in their career path. While students will be required to major in either Management, Business Analytics or finance, these majors are just a starting point for any subject that might be interesting.
Students can pick from seven different courses for the information technology interest within the degree. Topics include Enterprise Transformations in the Digital Economy, The Economics of Information, and Software and Internet Entrepreneurship. Students are advised to meet with an advisor to ensure that their chosen degree path will help them graduate on time, as these courses may not fill the requirements of their chosen major.
University of Minnesota
CC Score: 99.90
The University of Minnesota has an M.I.S. degree program that was designed to prepare students for a career as an IS professional. The program incorporates all the issues that may face an organization in the realm of technology and pairs it with a foundation in business for an interdisciplinary curriculum that creates expert IS graduates.
UMN encourages students to take a semester abroad to partner schools to take courses at different business schools all around the world. This helps students learn to work with people of various cultures as an IS professional as well as gives them the opportunity to experience a new educational experience.
The school requires 120 credit hours to graduate with this degree, including 26 credits from the Major Core Curriculum. Courses include Analysis and Modeling for Business Systems Development, Information Security, and Independent Study in IS. Other topics, such as business analytics and social media, are also present in the course curriculum.
Georgia Institute of Technology
CC Score: 99.59
Unlike other schools on this list, the Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology offers a unique alternative to the common information systems management degree. The university offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology Management, a program designed for students who want to become computer and information systems managers who specialize in consultation.
The information technology management, or ITM, concentration focuses primarily on the creation and development of systems used in businesses and organizations worldwide. Students who choose to take on this concentration will become expert programmers in a variety of computer languages as well as be able to implement new and evolving technology strategies as a way to build a web presence for the organizations they work for. It is an exciting field that is continuing to grow in popularity, leading to a demand for graduates with this concentration.
Georgia Tech requires at least 120 credits for completion, including 18 alone from the ITM concentration. After students finish the University Core Curriculum, they will move on to the courses required by their specialization. Courses include business programming, technology strategy, emerging technologies and more. Most of the courses focus on the digital application of business, allowing students to focus on the technical aspects of the business workplace.
University of Arizona
CC Score: 98.89
Students at the University of Arizona will be happy to learn that the Eller College of Management offers a management information system major for their undergraduate business degree. Studying at UA will give students a competitive advantage, especially as they near graduation.
A unique feature of studying at Eller is the Zipperman Scholars Program. This is a competitive program open to pre-business majors and allows them to build their professional resume and get some real-world experience in the IS profession before they even graduate. Some of the program’s features include internship opportunities in an IS-related field, optional IT training sessions, and special networking events.
Students will be required to complete at least 120 credits for graduation, including a capstone project. Some subjects that will be covered in the curriculum include management information systems analysis and design, using and managing IS, and basic operations management. Other requirements include at least one course focusing on gender, race, ethnicity or a non-Western area of study.
University of Maryland
CC Score: 98.66
The University of Maryland offers a major in Information Systems with a specialization in business. This replaces the undergraduate degree that was formerly known as Decision and Information Sciences. It is offered through the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The IS major was designed for students who wish to focus on system design, web design, and implementation skills as it pertains to a business setting. Both computer and communication skills are learned through this degree, ensuring that a student understands and has mastery of the required subjects that a business expects from an IS professional.
The University of Maryland currently requires a minimum of 120 credit hours for this degree. This includes both the University Core Curriculum as well as 18 credits for the major alone. Some courses included for the major include Designing Applications for Business Analytics, Database Systems, and Systems Analysis and Design.
University of Texas at Austin
CC Score: 98.52
The University of Texas at Austin has one of the best undergraduate management information systems degree programs in the country. It is consistently nationally ranked as first in all public programs of this nature by U.S. News and World Report. The MIS BBA program at UT is also nationally recognized as a leader in how this field is taught in colleges today.
UT requires 120 credits in order for students to graduate. This includes the University Core, the Business Core, and the Major Core. Some courses students will participate in include Strategic Information Technology management, Introduction to Problem Solving and Programming and Web Application Development. Students will also be required to take a practicum that will ensure that they are mastering the subjects they are being taught in the classroom.
Students at UT will be taught by a world-renown faculty, most of which have real-world experience in their field while others focus on research. This makes for an amazing educational environment, which includes lectures and special presentations by industry professionals.
Carnegie Mellon University
CC Score: 98.51
At Carnegie Mellon University, students are treated to a team-based format when it comes to their undergraduate information system degree. The BS-IS degree offered at this school is different from the rest on this list in that the degree focuses on four key areas and is centered on giving students real-world simulation practices that ground their education with practical teaching methods.
Students are educated in four key areas, including General Education, Disciplinary Core, Professional Core, and a Content Area. Each area focuses on a specific set of skills that prepares students for becoming true professionals before they even graduate from Carnegie Mellon with a degree.
The school also ensures that students in the IS major learn first-hand what it’s like to work in teams, simulating the work environment that IS professionals generally work in. The courses all culminate in two semester-long team projects during their junior and senior years. In both cases, students will be required to work with real clients to offer solutions and actual working systems. These team-building exercises not only prove a student’s competency in educational areas, it also gives them the beginnings of a portfolio that they can showcase to potential clients.
Brigham Young University
CC Score: 98.35
Brigham Young University houses a BSIS program at the Marriott School. This program, which can only be applied to after the University Core Curriculum is completed, is competitive and one of the best in the nation. It is one of the only BSIS degrees on this ranking.
The BSIS requires an IS Core and a Management Core. These classes are offered in lock-step format, meaning that the classes must be taken within the designated semester. Students are encouraged to speak to an advisor to ensure that they schedule their classes correctly.
BYU requires 120 credit hours for the BSIS, which includes teamwork and a capstone project. Students will be treated to a rigorous, world-class education from an award-winning faculty who have experience in the field. Some courses students will partake in include Enterprise Application Development, IS Project Management and Business Process and Controls.
CC Score: 97.91
Temple University has one of the strongest BBA-MIS programs in the country. This program is nationally ranked in the top ten by TechRepublic and in the top 15 by U.S. News and World Report. It is also the only public undergraduate degree of its kind to be ranked in the nation.
This program, which is housed at the Fox School of Business and Management, has a great reputation for placing graduates. In fact, 100 percent of all graduates from this program find employment within three months of graduation. This degree is also a STEm program that provides access to exclusive scholarships for its students.
One of the most intriguing aspects of attending Temple is the Professional Achievement Program, which was designed to help students obtain the necessary skills and experience they need to become successful after graduation. Students participate in professional development activities, such as internships and creating a portfolio, which can then be showcased at the program’s career fair.
At Fox, students graduate based on portfolio points, not credit hours. This is different from any other program on this list, but it is an effective tool for students. Not only can students finish their degree in less time, provided they collect the portfolio points, but they also graduate with a body of work to show prospective employers.
University of California Irvine
CC Score: 97.78
At the University of California at Irvine, students can earn a degree in Business Information Management. This program is very similar to a management information systems degree. It is offered jointly with The Paul Merage School of Business.
Students who choose the B.S. in Business Information Management focus on three key areas. These include the fundamentals of computing and programming, business, and analytical methods used in both programming and business. UCI offers a broad range of electives in all three areas, allowing students to create a personalized degree that fits their career needs.
Case studies and projects are a big part of this degree. Students will find that these required aspects of the degree will serve as a solid foundation for a portfolio while also offering them a glimpse as to what their career objectives will be once they graduate.
UCI faculty is one of the major reasons students choose to study here. The school is well-respected for their innovative teaching methods, and many of the faculty are IS professionals themselves. This ensures that students are taught IS topics by the people who understand the field well and can give them insight that will be invaluable in the field.
University of Pennsylvania
CC Score: 97.76
The University of Pennsylvania does not offer a full degree in IS, but it does offer an optional track as part of its Operations, Information, and Decisions curriculum. This undergraduate degree, which is offered through the Wharton School, offers a strong foundation in all key areas of the IS profession, including management science and operations management.
This undergraduate degree was created for students who wish to become consultants in the IS profession, working with organizations and businesses to strengthen and improve their digital business and internal systems as the world moves more into the virtual space. Graduates often move into digital leadership roles in manufacturing companies, accounting firms, banks, or even open their own businesses.
The IS track for this degree has a requirement of 15 credit hours, with the undergraduate degree requiring a total of 120 credit hours. Students have the option to choose from a variety of topics, including Computer Simulation Models, Data Mining for Business Intelligence and Advanced Topics in Information Strategy and Economics.
Courses are subject to change between semesters, highlighting a unique feature of this degree, which is that the faculty, the majority of whom have worked in the IS field, have the option to update the curriculum of courses to reflect the changes in the profession.
Georgia State University
CC Score: 97.74
Georgia State University is unique in this ranking in that it is one of the few schools that has a department that is dedicated to the education of IS professionals. The school’s Department of Computer Information Systems houses a BBA with a major in IS. Georgia State University’s undergraduate business degrees, including the CIS program, is currently ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report.
Students who study within this department are known as CIS students. This differentiates them from both business students and computer science students, as the degree encompasses both fields. In this case, CIS students focus more on how technology affects business, and how technology can be used to improve businesses worldwide.
GSU requires a total of 120 credit hours for graduation. Included in that number are the 21 credit hours needed for the IS major. Some of these courses include systems analysis, database management systems, and IT project management. CIS students will also be required to participate in either a field study or a system development project.
GSU students are also encouraged to take part in the study abroad exchange program. CIS students can study at the University of Nantes’ Institut D’Economie Et De Management. Up to 12 credit hours can be earned through this program. It is also a great way for students interested in working in multinational companies to experience their field in a different country.
Indiana University Bloomington
CC Score: 97.65
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University—Bloomington houses the Department of Operations and Decision Technologies. This is where prospective students can earn a BSB with a major in IS. This program is currently one of the highest-ranked business programs in the nation.
The BSB-IS was created for students who are interested in learning how management, technology, and business all work together. The ODT department takes special care to provide students with not only a great education in the IS field, it also makes it possible for students to dual major, effectively increasing their chances of getting the job of their dreams.
The IS major at Kelley was designed specifically to address IT and systems issues for businesses and organizations, from start-ups to multinational corporations. Students spend most of their time learning how to analyze and strategize for a multitude of IS issues through team projects and lab simulations.
At Kelley, students have access to a variety of new and exciting subjects in the IS major. Most of these topics are current trends in the field, allowing students to have an up-to-date education as soon as they graduate with their degree. Some subjects include web and social media analytics, information systems security, and visual basic for applications and application integration.
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
CC Score: 97.64
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a strong College of Business that has taken an interest in providing students with an undergraduate degree in IS. This degree, the BBA in Information System and Information Technology, known as ISIT, is in demand from prospective employers. For this reason, it’s perfect for students who wish to become IS professionals.
The BBA-ISIT was designed to prepare students to take on the role of IS manager at an organization. The curriculum centers on the actual systems those companies use to collect and analyze data, as well as new and innovative technologies that will help organizations run more efficiently.
Majoring in ISIT at UIUC will require a total of 130 credit hours, 22 of which come directly from the major itself. Altogether, students will be expected to complete the University and Business Core curriculums along with the major curriculum. Some topics for the major include governance, individual behavior in organizations, and e-commerce applications and web-based systems.
Students also have the added benefit of taking on a study-abroad semester while completing their degree. The College of Business offers over 15 different opportunities for a semester-long stay at a top international business school, and 15 more for short-term stays.
University of Washington
CC Score: 97.52
The University of Washington is known for its excellent business programs, which are accredited by the AACSB. The school is also nationally ranked among the Best Business Schools by Bloomberg Businessweek. It is here where students can get an undergraduate business degree with an MIS major.
Because this degree is housed at the Bothell School of Business, students will graduate with a BABA in this major. This is perfect for students who wish to learn how business and IT work together and creates a strong professional who comes into the workforce understanding the relationship between the two fields.
UW requires 120 credits for graduation. This major also requires 25 credits and a capstone project. Courses include electronic marketing, the business of computing, and usability and user-centered design. While courses are subject to availability, they are all focused on providing students with theoretical and practical simulations that parallel the current IT industry’s issues.
University of Georgia
CC Score: 97.46
The University of Georgia houses their undergraduate management information systems degree at the Terry College of Business. This degree is well-respected and has even ranked in the top ten programs of its kind by USA Today. It is perfect for students who prefer hands-on learning.
UGA’s undergraduate BBA with the MIS major is a perfect marriage between lectures and practical learning. The faculty takes the time to ensure students understand the theory of the concepts before moving on to lab simulations, team projects, case studies, and even field trips. There are also presentations by current industry practitioners, which will help students understand how professionals in their field work with the current trends.
This degree requires 120 credit hours and an internship for completion. By the time students graduate they will have a firm understanding of business process management, data management, computer programming in business, and system analysis and design. These courses, when completed with the University Core and the Business Core, helps prepare students for a fulfilling career in IT.
University of Michigan
CC Score: 97.44
The University of Michigan does not offer a specific undergraduate degree in IS. Instead, the school confers the Bachelor of Science in Informatics. This degree is a new interdisciplinary program that is being offered in conjunction with several departments. It was created due to a demand from employers for students who understand the field of informatics.
This degree takes into account the role of informatics within the STEM fields. Core subjects include computer programming, mathematics, and statistics, with a strong foundation in social sciences and ethics. Students also have the option to choose courses that reflect their interests in medical, engineering and computing statistics and analysis.
While Life Sciences Informatics is currently the most popular track for this major, there is an option to pursue a Data Mining Information Analysis track. This track focuses a student’s education on research and analysis methods for digital data mining in a variety of fields. This gives graduates a firm foundation in how data mining can influence organizations and how they do business in the real world.
CC Score: 97.28
Rockhurst University does not currently offer an IS undergraduate degree, but it does offer the chance for students to take part in its IT program. The B.S. in Information Technology is one of its most popular STEM programs and is currently one of the most selective programs offered by this university.
The undergraduate degree in IT focuses on the software and programming aspects of a business. Students learn about software development, digital media, and web engineering. Although it is not an IS degree, Rockhurst does require several courses in business that are related to IT, ensuring that students graduate with an understanding of how business and technology works together.
Students will be required to complete 134 credit hours, 60 service hours, and an internship. Samples of courses that a student will take as part of the Core Curriculum include Software Engineering, Program Language Design and Implementation and Data Structures.
The internship is separate from service hours. Participation in the internship allows students to get a glimpse into what their prospective career path will look like after they’ve graduated. It also serves to help students build a strong portfolio that can be used to showcase their competency to future prospective employers.
Rochester Institute of Technology
CC Score: 96.96
The Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology offers an undergraduate M.I.S. degree to interested students. This program, which has been nationally ranked in the top ten best programs of its kind by U.S. News and World Report, is also one of the most interesting on this list. This program is accredited by the AACSB.
Students at RIT have a unique choice in that they can choose to earn their degree on the school’s campus in America or at Beijing Jiaotong University, which is also known as BJTU. Classes at either campus are taught in English and give students the chance to travel while earning their degree. This partnership, and the subsequent inclusion of this degree in the joint program has made RIT one of the most exciting places earn an IT degree.
The courses are the same, no matter what campus students decide to choose. All students must complete the University Core and the Business Core along with the major requirements, totaling 128 credits. Courses for the major include developing business applications, database management systems, and system analysis and design.
Students will also be required to finish a capstone project and a cooperative education experience. The cooperative education experience is a requirement that sees a student spend one or two semesters in a full-time employment position, totaling a minimum of 560 hours. Alternatively, students can choose to study abroad and fulfill this requirement.
New York University
CC Score: 96.80
New York University’s School of Professional Studies has been a leader in undergraduate degrees for over a decade. Among their offerings is the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management. This degree is perfect for students who are interested in pursuing a degree in the IT field, specifically as how it pertains to businesses and organizations.
This undergraduate degree has a liberal arts foundation, meaning that students are expected to first master critical thinking, communication and analytical skills before moving on to more specialized subjects. Creating an IT degree with this foundation has proven to be effective in graduating students who can analyze and identify systems as well as communicate solutions and strategies to organizations who need it.
NYU requires a total of 128 credit hours for completion of this degree. A graduation project is also needed. The majority of these credit hours are focused on the major’s requirements, including electives, which allows students to be well-versed in IT subjects and the relationships between them.
Students at NYU will be happy to know that all courses for this major are taught by faculty who have real-world experience in the field. This ensures that the curriculum is current with industry standards and gives students a competitive edge once they graduate, as they will have hands-on practice with IT systems prior earning their degree.
Santa Clara University
CC Score: 96.64
Santa Clara University may be one of the only universities to have an entire department dedicated to MIS majors. The department of OMIS is dedicated completely to this field and can be found housed in the Leavey School of Business. This is where students who are interested in a Bachelor of Science in Management Information System can find their perfect degree.
The OMIS department is dedicated to providing an education that is built around how technology facilitates, and indeed, guides business to success through organizational strategies and new IT systems. This department produces a firm foundation in this field by pairing theoretical lectures with practical learning, ensuring students master a system and its issues before moving on to another subject.
A unique feature of the Santa Clara OMIS department is its faculty. Many of the instructors who teach through the department have real-world experience in IT. Some have even founded companies, and still others are still working as researchers in business intelligence and other related fields.
The curriculum for this degree is rigorous. Students must complete the University Core Curriculum, the Business Core Curriculum and the major requirements. The major requires 21 credit hours on its own, making it a comprehensive undergraduate degree.
However, the requirements do pay off. Students will graduate with a respected degree and have a strong grasp about how OMIS affects businesses.
University of Notre Dame
CC Score: 96.63
The University of Notre Dame is a world-class institution that’s dedicated to graduating students with degrees that help them in their dream careers. As STEM jobs become more and more in-demand, the school has continued its focus in strengthening their undergraduate programs in these areas. That includes the BBA in Management Information Systems, which is currently aligned with the recommendations from the Association for Computing Machinery’s Curricula Report.
Students who choose Notre Dame will find that this degree will prepare them to function as IT professionals. The degree is also a great foundation for further education in the field at the graduate level. It was designed to help students bridge their critical thinking skills to IS problems and issues that arise in the business world.
Notre Dame requires that all students who major in this area complete the Business Administration Core Curriculum. An additional 24 credits are needed for this major. Courses include systems analysis, enterprise architecture, information technology infrastructure and more.
Loyola University Chicago
CC Score: 96.28
The Loyola University Chicago houses the Quinlan School of Business. This is where students who are interested in becoming computer and information systems managers will find the best degree for them. The BBA in Information Systems is fast becoming one of the most popular programs for the school, ensuring that students will get a quality IT degree from a world-class school.
The BBA-IS degree integrates academics with applied science and is focused on providing students with a strong foundation in data analysis and IS. The curriculum, which improves every year with the discovery and implementation of new IT in the workplace, teaches students about IS within the business environment. The advantage of majoring in IS through a general business degree ensures that students understand the dynamics that are at play in the real world, which make them high-quality candidates in the workforce.
Loyola Chicago has also endeavored to make system development environments, the same ones students would use at work after they graduate, available to students. Some of the systems that a student will have access to during their time at the school include Oracle, C#, VBA, and OLAP/BI Tools.
Aside from working with the actual systems comes a strong academic foundation. Loyola Chicago currently requires the completion of the Business Core along with 15 credit hours in IS-related subjects. Courses for IS students include business intelligence, systems analysis and design, and requirements analysis and communication.
CC Score: 96.15
Students interested in getting an undergraduate degree with an MIS major will be happy to know that Villanova has risen to meet that demand. The Bachelor of Business Administration provides this major, preparing a student to work in business organizations as an IT professional. Villanova is currently ranked first in the nation for its undergraduate business program by Bloomberg Businessweek.
To earn this major, students will be required to complete the Business Core along with six different courses in that particular field. While this may add time towards completion of the degree, it will give those who wish to have a solid IT background an advantage over students who do not participate in this major.
VSB requires 125 total credits for graduation. This includes both the Business Core and the major courses. Once a student has completed the degree, they will graduate with a firm understanding in not only how IT affects businesses and organizations, but why it’s important to research and improve organizational efficiencies. The skills a student learns at VSB will be important building blocks, should they wish to continue their education with a graduate degree.
CC Score: 95.80
Georgetown University does not offer any IS undergraduate degrees, but it is often the first stop for students who wish to get a graduate degree. The university confers a Master of Professional Studies in Technology Management through the School of Continuing Studies. It is a program that is designed for working IS and IT professionals who wish to become chief information officers or strategic IT executives.
This graduate degree requires 30 credits and a capstone project for graduation. It can be finished in as little as two years with part-time study, though some graduates finish in as little as 18 months by going to school full-time and all year round.
The core requirements for this degree include Ethics in Technology Management, Management of Technology and Financial Analysis for Technology Managers. Students can also take a variety of elective courses, with over 25 different courses to choose from.
Some students choose to create a specialization from their electives. Some specializations include technology policy, cyber security, healthcare informatics, computer forensics, and data analysis. While these specializations can be created by students, it is also encouraged that they meet with their advisors to ensure that the courses they choose will keep them on track towards graduating on time.