Best Information Technology Degrees 2021

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Students pursuing an information technology degree can expect exciting, well-paying career opportunities following graduation.

Information technology (IT) refers to the design, implementation, and maintenance of computer systems and networks for data processing and distribution. Data may include graphics and statistics, along with facts that require analysis, storage, or presentation.

IT professionals need highly developed technical acumen. Advances in the IT field often occur quickly. Information technology professionals undergo continuing training and education to keep up with field developments. IT positions also require strong analytical and critical thinking skills, and these professionals must apply creative problem-solving techniques.

Information technology roles involve close collaboration with peers and management teams. Professionals may also be responsible for specific project segments. The best information technology programs help learners develop the time-management and organizational abilities necessary to succeed in the field.

Top 10 Best Information Technology Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
2 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
3 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
4 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
5 Brigham Young University Provo, UT
6 University of Washington Seattle, WA
7 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
8 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
9 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
10 University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK

FAQ


  • What is information technology?

    Information technology refers to the development and design of computer systems, software, and networks for the purpose of gathering, storing, and analyzing data.


  • How long does it take to earn an information technology degree?

    Bachelor’s programs in information technology typically comprise 120 credits. Most full-time students graduate in four years.


  • What kind of information technology degree can I get?

    Schools offer information technology degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.


  • What is the difference between information technology and computer science?

    Computer science focuses on programming, which involves artificial intelligence, software, and graphics. Information technology deals with the operation and utilization of computer systems and networks.


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Career and Salary Outlook for Information Technology

Graduates of accredited IT programs can qualify for a variety of jobs in the computer sector and other professional fields. Information technology degree-holders often pursue roles in business, healthcare, and finance. Companies and organizations in many fields hire IT professionals as project managers, database administrators, and security analysts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in the computer and information technology sector to increase 11% from 2019 to 2029, which translates to more than 530,000 new jobs. This projection, compared to the 4% projected growth rate for all occupations, demonstrates the robust nature of the IT and computer sector. According to the BLS, IT professionals earn an above-average median salary of $88,240 per year.

IT specialists often pursue additional education to expand their career options. Individuals can earn a master’s degree or a doctorate in a specialized field such as digital forensics, data analytics, software development, or network administration. Most postgraduate programs take at least 1.5 years to complete. IT professionals can also obtain professional certificates, which generally take less time to complete than degrees. Additional training and advanced credentials can qualify professionals for leadership positions and higher earning potential.

CareersLowest 10%Median Annual SalaryHighest 10%
Computer Support SpecialistsLess than $38,990$63,460More than $106,420

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Information Technology

Educational accreditation attests to the quality and rigor of a school’s offerings. Some accrediting agencies accredit entire institutions, while others evaluate specific programs. Nonprofit degree-oriented institutions usually receive regional accreditation, while for-profit sectarian and vocational schools often earn national accreditation. ABET awards accreditation to computer and information technology programs.

Only students at accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid, including federal grants and scholarships. Many private scholarship programs also require applicants to attend an accredited institution.

Courses in an Information Technology Program

Classes in the best information technology programs help learners develop technical knowledge and soft skills. Students prepare to handle new tasks created by rapid developments and advances in the field. Degree-seekers hone skills in critical thinking, programming, and collaboration. IT curricula often require internships, exams, individual and class projects, and research papers.

The list below includes a few courses common to many of the best information technology programs.


  • Algorithm Design and Analysis

    The course introduces enrollees to advanced design and algorithm analysis techniques. Students develop the skills necessary to perform multifaceted tasks, such as designing efficient algorithms using complex data structures. Enrollees also learn about advanced graph algorithms, methods for routing data through a network, and approximation algorithms.


  • Computer Architecture

    This course explores foundational concepts related to the organization and design of computer systems. Topics include processor design, interrupts, micro-coding, and timing issues. Students also examine parallel techniques that enhance performance, such as pipelining, superscalar execution, and branch prediction. The class culminates with a lab project, which allows learners to demonstrate mastery of design and organization concepts.


  • Database Management Systems

    Enrollees learn how to create, manage, and maintain database systems. Through hands-on training, enrollees learn to design data models and use SQL to interface with multiuser data-management systems. This course introduces the characteristics, classifications, and terminology embedded in various database systems.


  • Foundations of Networking

    Students develop a basic understanding of networking fundamentals. Coursework covers topics such as the Open Systems Interconnection model, transmission control protocols, and wireless local area networks. Learners become familiar with networking devices including routers, switches, and network interface controllers.


  • Principles of System Analysis and Design

    The course explores object-oriented approaches, designer use and system interfaces, and risk and resources management. Learners also examine analysis, model, and evaluation requirements. Students learn about information analysts’ roles in various workplace settings. Degree-seekers learn how to analyze, enhance, and safeguard organizations’ operations and processes.


Scholarships for Information Technology


IT students often qualify for STEM scholarships from colleges and universities. They can also apply for scholarships from professional associations, private nonprofits, and corporations. Information technology students at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels can qualify for financial aid. Some awards support IT students in certain specialization areas.


  • Foundation for IT Education Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: These awards support full-time undergraduate degree-seekers who are studying computer science or a related field, such as information technology. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of their program and need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Amount: Varies



  • Richard B. Fisher Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Morgan Stanley offers this scholarship to minority sophomores and juniors. Applicants must be pursuing an information technology degree at an accredited four-year college or university. Recipients complete a summer internship with the company.

    Amount: Up to $10,000



  • Stantec Equity & Diversity Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: This award from Stantec supports undergraduate students pursuing a degree in a STEAM field, an area of science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics. Applicants must belong to a historically underrepresented group and demonstrate financial need.

    Amount: $1,500-$10,000



Best Information Technology Degrees 2021



The list below ranks the nation’s best information technology programs. Factors that influence this ranking include program cost, faculty credentials, specialization options, and financial aid opportunities. The list serves as an excellent starting point for students researching the most affordable information technology programs.

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Location

    Troy, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, located in Troy, New York, is committed to bringing the application of science to the common areas of life. Founded in 1824, RPI is known as the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world. Rensselear’s IT programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Web Science, cover topics such as trust, privacy, and future Web development. Students in the BS program are required to complete several core courses in the development and management of information technology. More than 20 concentration options are available, including areas like arts, medicine, and artificial intelligence. The degree requires 128-130 credit hours, including ITWS core courses, concentration courses, and university-wide course requirements. In addition to growing in knowledge of various types of technology, students in the program develop creativity, problem-solving skills, communication abilities, leadership, and teamwork skills. Rensselaer also offers a variety of extracurricular opportunities for undergraduate students, including research experience and involvement in Science Ambassadors or the Gamma Nu Eta honor society. Students can pair their IT degree with another field of study to form a dual major. The most common degrees completed in conjunction with the ITWS program are Management and Computer Science, both of which can be completed as a dual degree in four years.

  2. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cornell, an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, was founded with the intention of providing educational options in all fields of study. Today the university offers degrees in more than 100 fields of study. One of Cornell’s newest and fastest growing areas is the Faculty of Computing and Information Science, which offers several options for undergraduate degrees in Information Science. Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Information Science through the College of Arts & Sciences, a Bachelor of Science in Information Science through the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, or a Bachelor of Science in Information Science Systems and Technology through the College of Engineering. Each of these degree options has its own admission and completion requirements. The most distinct of the three options is the College of Engineering’s BS-ISST degree, which focuses on the intersection of information science, technology, and management, offering specializations in Management Science and Information Science. The BA and BS in Information Science challenge students to apply information technology to a social context. Students in these degree programs choose a primary and a secondary track to further customize their educational experience. Track options include Human-Centered Systems, Information Systems, and Social Systems.

  3. Lehigh University
    Location

    Bethlehem, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded by businessman Asa Packer, Lehigh University is a private institution in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The university’s 7,000 students form a curious and creative research culture. Lehigh’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science offers several study options in Information and Communication Technologies. Undergraduate students can complete a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in such areas as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science & Business. These degrees emphasize math, computing, and physics, and design in order to instill skills necessary for a range of careers in information technology. Research opportunities are available for IT undergraduates at Lehigh, allowing curious and ambitious students to complete projects such as establishing multi-tier network models to bring technological services to underserved regions, or developing systems that can help police search for concealed weapons. Specific research focus areas include artificial intelligence and robotics, computer engineering, bioinformatics, databases and information systems, networking and security, web systems, and computer vision and pattern recognition. The college includes several laboratories and institutes that perform ongoing research in their respective focus areas. The technology and computer science degree programs offered at Lehigh are designed to prepare students to adapt and contribute to a constantly evolving discipline.

  4. Purdue University
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, enrolls around 30,000 undergraduate students in more than 200 majors. Through the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, undergraduates can pursue a degree in Computer and Information Technology. With team-based labs and research opportunities alongside experienced professors, the Purdue IT program nurtures a culture of innovation, critical thinking, and creativity. The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer and Information Technology can be further focused by way of a concentration in Network Engineering Technology or Systems Analysis and Design. The Network Engineering Technology concentration provides a thorough background in hardware and software as well as problem-solving within the field of networking. The Systems Analysis and Design concentration combines business practices with technological knowledge. Students in this concentration track are encouraged to minor in another field such as finance, agriculture, or healthcare to further prepare them for the specific industry in which they hope to work. The degree requires the completion of 120 credit hours, regardless of concentration. The degree is designed to be completed in four years, with students taking 15 credit hours each semester. In addition to major courses, the degree program requires courses in areas such as communications, accounting, economics, statistics, professional writing, and professional speaking.

  5. Brigham Young University
    Location

    Provo, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Provost, Utah, Brigham Young University is a private research institution operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU’s Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology seeks to develop men and women of faith, character, and technical ability, preparing them to be leaders throughout the world. The Fulton College’s School of Technology offers various programs of study, including both a minor and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. The BS in Information Technology requires the completion of 77 credit hours, including courses in areas such as computer programming, physics, information security, and global leadership, as well as university requirements in religion, citizenship, writing, and arts. In BYU’s IT program, theoretical coursework and practical application are combined to include the three aspects of technological education: knowing, thinking, and doing. Students in the program are taught to be lifelong learners, always seeking to understand, adapt to, and take advantage of new technologies as they become available. In addition to gaining knowledge and proficiency in computing systems, students are also trained to understand and communicate with users. The university also holds its students to high moral and ethical standards, resulting in IT professionals who are prepared for influential leadership positions.

  6. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Washington, founded in 1861, is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast. The university is located in Seattle, with additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. The Information School at UW harnesses the potential of people and information for positive change. The School offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Informatics, which promotes analysis, problem-solving, and creativity. Informatics students at UW learn to design effective and easy-to-use systems, analyze information policy, and assure the security of information systems. Graduates are prepared to make a positive impact wherever they choose to bring their skills, having been trained in a degree program that draws not only from computer and information science, but also from sociology, psychology, design, and information management. Students can choose a concentration in Data Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Architecture, or Information Assurance and Cybersecurity. An individually designed concentration option is also available for those who want to further customize their learning experience. In addition to required courses such as Computer Programming, Design Thinking, and Information Ethics and Policy, UW’s Informatics curriculum also includes a capstone project and internship opportunities, allowing students to gain practice in the field and begin making a difference even before graduation.

  7. Illinois Institute of Technology
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Illinois Institute of Technology is a private research institution located in Chicago, with additional suburban campuses and online degree options. The School of Applied Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology combines hands-on practice in specialized fields with principles of management to prepare students for a competitive place in the global market. All students in the school put together a professional project portfolio to show future employers the problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills they developed at IIT. The Bachelor of Information Technology and Management offered at IIT incorporates mentored project-based learning, allowing students the opportunity to make presentations in class and at professional events. Students have the option of completing a general degree or specializing in one of seven concentration areas, such as Data Management, Networking and Communications, or IT Entrepreneurship and Management. The program’s courses are available during the day or evening in Chicago, at the Wheaton campus, or online. Students interested in completing a graduate degree can also pursue a master’s degree along with the undergraduate degree, earning both in as little as five years. Graduates of the program go on to work in fields such as application development, systems security, quality assurance and testing, and intelligent device development.

  8. New Jersey Institute of Technology
    Location

    Newark, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The New Jersey Institute of Technology is a public research university in Newark, currently offering around 50 undergraduate majors in addition to its graduate programs. NJIT’s Yung Wu College of Computing offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, allowing students to choose a degree specialization and apply their knowledge of hardware and software to a specific field. The IT core includes 10 courses, while 12 courses are required for a specialization in areas like criminal justice, gaming, systems integration, and architectural design. Experiential learning is an essential part of the degree program, as students have the opportunity to complete capstone projects and participate in co-ops, internships, and university-wide research. Students in the undergraduate IT program can also choose to double major in Applied Math or Applied Physics. IT students may complete these additional majors and still graduate within four years. The university has several IT labs, including the IT Systems Administration Lab, the Center for Information Protection and Cybersecurity Lab, and the Game Development Lab. Several support centers and professional networks form part of the NJIT community. One such center is the Murray Center for Women in Technology, which connects women students and faculty and provides the resources they need to succeed.

  9. Rochester Institute of Technology
    Location

    Rochester, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rochester Institute of Technology is a private university in the Rochester, New York area. The university enrolls more than 13,000 undergraduate students in nine academic colleges. RIT has been a pioneer in technological education for decades, having taught computing since the early 1970’s and opened the nation’s first software engineering and information technology programs. The B. Thomas Colisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at Rochester offers several undergraduate degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Technologies. The CIT degree emphasizes problem-solving and management skills, making graduates valuable assets for a wide variety of professional fields. CIT majors can choose a concentration in Database, Enterprise Administration, Networking and Communications, Web Administration, or Web Development. Graduates of the Computing and Information Technologies program work as analysts, administrators, and developers with companies all across the United States and around the world. The degree requires two co-op experiences, to be completed between sophomore and senior year. These paid experiences allow students to work with industry professionals as they put into action the skills they learn in the classroom. In addition to IT courses, concentration courses, and free electives, students also take liberal arts courses, which provide opportunities for integrative learning.

  10. University of Tulsa
    Location

    Tulsa, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1894, the University of Tulsa is a private institution historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. With 61 undergraduate programs and an average class size of 23, TU provides a highly personalized yet diverse education for all students. The Bachelor of Science of Information Technology offered by Tulsa’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and Tandy School of Computer Science includes basic computer science courses during the first two years, instilling essential skills such as programming, data structures, and computing ethics. The final two years of the degree program include primarily courses in mathematics and statistics, economics, a STEM or business option, and electives. Students often choose to minor or double major in another area within the Tandy School, such as Computer Simulation and Gaming or Computer Science. Some general education courses are also included in the BSIT’s 124 total required credit hours. BSIT students can choose to be involved in programs like Cyber Corps, the Institute for Information Security, and Make a Difference Engineering. Undergraduate IT students are also afforded the opportunity to engage in research alongside TU professors, who hold the highest possible degree in their fields. Graduates of the program are prepared to continue in professional growth and make significant contributions to the field.

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