Those in the field of information technology help design, create, implement, and monitor systems designed to, for example, garner and retain client information. According to Payscale, those who graduate with a master’s degree in information technology earn an average of about $85,000 per year. On the lower end, a systems administrator might make just above $60,000 per year; at the higher end, an information technology director might make almost $120,000 per year. Other positions include business analyst, senior software engineer, and project manager for information technology.
This list below includes the best on-campus master’s programs in information technology. While online learning suits those who need to work at a slower pace, on-campus degrees cater to individuals who want to learn full time and who hope to network with both peers and faculty alike. These programs also offer more in the way of structured learning, helping students keep pace with the program requirements.
That’s the result of the growth of cloud computing, “big data,” and the spread of mobile computing. Median pay can start in the six figures, but there’s a trick to it: you’ll need a master’s degree or higher.
We’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of the best master’s programs in computer and information technology in the United States. Some of them specialize in computer science, some of them in information technology, and some of them you’ll earn only on the way to a doctorate, but they all have one thing in common: they will help get you to the next level in your career.
What are the Best Master’s in Information Technology Degrees?
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. You can’t go wrong with any of them, of course, but these schools are leading the way.
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.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 100
Average Tuition: $48,140
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a master’s in information technology with courses that cover topics such as software and computation for simulation, computer modeling: from human mobility to transportation networks, computational methods for flow in porous media, and computational geometry. Admission requires that incoming students fill out the application form and submit it online. They also need GRE scores and a minimum IELTS score of seven for individuals who speak English as a second language. Students must complete 36 units in the core subjects, 12 units in unrestricted electives, 24 units in the restricted electives, and a thesis (36 units).
University of Washington
College Choice Score: 99.85
Average Tuition: $20,276
To earn a master’s in information technology from the University of Washington, students must apply with their resume, a completed application, transcripts from previously attended schools, and an application fee. The admissions committee accepts students based on general intellectual talent, their academic achievements and managerial ability, and their ability to clearly and persuasively communicate. Students take courses such as information technology and organizational strategy, operations and business process management, and business data analysis. The program offers coursework in the summer, fall, winter, and spring, and students on campus enjoy the benefits of networking with both professors and peers.
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
College Choice Score: 99.61
Average Tuition: $26,058
Students who complete the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus’ professional master of computer science take classes in formal methods, programming languages, and software engineering and artificial intelligence. Classes that constitute the master’s in information technology aspect of the degree include work in architecture, compilers, and parallel computing and database information systems. Students must complete a total of 32 credits in order to graduate, with 12-16 credits in the core, 12 credits in advanced courses, and the remaining credits in electives. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate and must complete at least 24 credit hours at the school; that is, only 12 total credits may transfer in from other institutions.
University of California Berkeley
College Choice Score: 99.59
Average Tuition: $32,930
The University of California Berkeley offers a master’s in information technology that emphasizes information management and systems. The program takes students two years to complete and constitutes a total of 48 units. Students take courses that cover topics such as Python fundamentals for data science; information technology economics, strategy, and policy; software prototyping for data science and information management; and information law and policy. Most students complete summer internships that allow them to apply what they learn in class to actual, real-world experiences. Students also complete final projects that see them design a prototype system or perform substantial research.
University of Texas at Austin
College Choice Score: 99.59
Average Tuition: $18,464
A master’s in information technology from the University of Texas at Austin requires the completion of coursework in advanced programming and app development, IT and supply chain management, strategic IT and change management, and user generated content analytics. In order to graduate, students must also complete a capstone project where they combine all that they learn into a single experience. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Though admissions does not require prior work experience in the field, those with leadership experience and qualities receive priority.
Carnegie Mellon University
College Choice Score: 99.57
Average Tuition: $43,000
Carnegie Mellon University offers three tracks in its master’s in information technology: strategy, privacy engineering, and software engineering. Students in the privacy engineering track take between 12 and 16 months to complete the program, while those in the software engineering track take approximately 12 months to complete the program. Those in the strategy concentration graduate prepared to assess cyber security threats and develop management solutions for information systems; students in this track can select one of four concentrations in data analytics, software networked systems, information security, and politics and strategy. The privacy engineering track caters to students hoping to become privacy engineers or managers, and the software engineering track caters to students with less than two years of professional work experience in software engineering.
University of Michigan
College Choice Score: 99.56
Average Tuition: $21,673
Admission to the University of Michigan’s master’s in information technology requires that students already be in possession of a bachelor’s degree approved by a higher education authority in the U.S. They must boast a 3.0 GPA. Students in the program must complete all 48 credits required to graduate. This usually takes about two years of full-time study, or between three and four years of part-time study. Hopeful graduates must complete either the ‘mastery course’ or a thesis project in their final year of study. Courses include intensive Python programming for information students, information and control, managing organizational information assets, and crisis informatics.
Georgia Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 99.39
Average Tuition: $30,904
The master’s information technology degree from Georgia Institute of Technology is a business administration degree that deals with the intersection of business and tech. Hopeful graduates must maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA to remain in good standing. Students take classes on select weekends, with a total of four residencies and two trips abroad. Students may apply and earn admission into the program any time of the year; students whose portfolio and application fail to convince the admissions office may be assessed using their GMAT scores. The program requires a total of 50 credit hours to complete.
College Choice Score: 98.2
Average Tuition: $45,320
Princeton University offers a master’s in information technology curriculum through its master of science in computer science. Students take courses such as introduction to programming systems; networks: friends, money, and bytes; information technology and public policy; and advanced programming techniques. Those hoping to gain admission to the program should note that they can only apply for fall admission. GRE test scores, a completed application, and a processing fee, are required for admission. Those who do not speak English as a first language also need to submit their TOEFL or IELTS scores in order to be considered.
University of California San Diego
College Choice Score: 98.16
Average Tuition: $27,850
The master’s in information technology coursework at the University of California San Diego comes through classes in the program’s computer science track. International students must supply their TOEFL scores for admission, and all students must supply their GRE scores and boast a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Incoming students must also have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA. Hopeful graduates must complete either a thesis or a comprehensive exam. Students in the program enjoy all of the advantages associated with on-campus learning, including networking with other students and faculty and the school’s student support services.
College Choice Score: 97.97
Average Tuition: $63,108
Stanford University’s master’s in information technology comes as a concentration option in the computer science master’s degree. The information management and analytics concentration deals with the applications side of social media, applying data mining algorithms and techniques, networking, bioinformatics, and many other areas. Example classes include transaction processing and distributed databases, database systems principles, and advanced topics in database systems. The admissions office requires students to submit three letters of recommendation from former professors or employers, transcripts from previously attended postsecondary institutions, and GRE scores. International students who speak English as a second language also need to provide their TOEFL scores.
University of California Los Angeles
College Choice Score: 97.92
Average Tuition: $31,427
The University of California Los Angeles’ master’s in information technology curriculum derives out of the master’s in computer science. The school is renown for studies in the computer sciences. The most competitive applicants possess a minimum 3.5 grade point average for their undergraduate studies, though the school boasts an average 3.6 grade point average of applicants it accepts. At minimum, students must hold a 3.0 grade point average. Other requirements include the submission of GRE scores and either TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students. To apply, prospective students should submit three letters of reference, preferably from professors who can attest to the student’s ability during their final two years of undergrad.
College Choice Score: 97.76
Average Tuition: $28,804
The master’s in information technology from Purdue University offers a focus area called “Foundations of Information Security”. Totalling 30 credits, students can complete the degree in one year of full-time study that includes two summer courses. Students take foundational courses, core courses, and elective courses. They study topics such as social, economic, and legal aspects of security; data security and privacy; software security; and security analytics. To apply, students should submit transcripts from previously attended colleges and universities and write a statement of purpose outlining their intentions for joining the program. International students should also submit their English proficiency scores.
College Choice Score: 97.65
Average Tuition: $50,712
The master’s in information technology curriculum from Cornell University can be accessed through the school’s interdisciplinary professional information science program. Students can develop a course of study expected of someone with a degree in information technology. Coursework includes studies in topics such as the structure of information networks; information, technology, and society; interactive information visualizations; and language and information. Prior to graduating, students must complete a capstone project designed to apply all of what they have learned into one experience. Common jobs that graduates find upon completing the program include software engineer, systems administrator, business technical analyst, and usability analyst.
College Choice Score: 97.44
Average Tuition: $44,592
Columbia University offers master’s in information technology-level curriculum through its master of science in technology management program. Students must complete a total of 36 credit hours to graduate, and they may finish the program on either a part-time or a full-time basis. Full-time students typically complete the program in three terms and part-time students typically complete the program in two years. The school only admits students in the fall, so applicants should keep that in mind while gathering materials. Students take core courses and electives in studies such as technology in the business environment, accounting and finance for technology, operations management, and analytics for technology management.
University of Maryland College Park
College Choice Score: 97.42
Average Tuition: $35,040
The master’s in information technology from the University of Maryland College Park requires that students complete 30 total credits. Students working full-time through the program can complete the degree in as little as 9 months, though most students take about a year and a half to finish their coursework. Students take courses in business, tech, and analytics. Classes include strategic and transformational IT, data networks and infrastructures, data models and decisions, and managing digital business markets. Students must also complete 12 credits in electives. Graduates go on to work in a variety of different settings, including as consultants for Fortune 500 companies.
College Choice Score: 97.33
Average Tuition: $43,296
The master’s in information technology at Harvard University expects graduates to garner an understanding of the most recent information management tech and to develop their understanding of the relationship between business and growing technologies. Students take a total of 12 courses and have the option of earning a certificate as part of the program in fields such as data science, software engineering, or cybersecurity. All students must complete a capstone project prior to graduating. Course examples include advanced scientific computing: Stochastic methods for data analysis, inference, and optimization; technologies and applications; fundamentals of website development, and dynamic web applications.
University of Virginia
College Choice Score: 97.24
Average Tuition: $26,182
The University of Virginia’s master’s in information technology requires the completion of 30 hours of coursework. Students complete the program in one year starting in September and moving through August of the following year. Learners take four different modules: enterprise architecture, enterprise IT and emerging technologies, project and product management, and strategic management. Graduates of the program enjoy multiple advantages upon entering the workforce, including a network of peers and faculty who can introduce them to jobs or serve as references, a portfolio that hiring companies can use to determine a graduate’s worth, and an intellectually mature mind capable of engaging today’s tech problems.
College Choice Score: 97.07
Average Tuition: $39,800
Students in the general computer science track at Yale University can design their program to match what one might find in a master’s in information technology degree. To earn the degree, students must complete at least eight courses at the 500 level. Students unsure of whether they want to go onto Ph.D. work can begin the master’s program and later move into the Ph.D. upon graduation — should they decide to further their education. The on-campus environment also fosters a sense of comradery between faculty and students, enhancing the amount of networking that students can partake in. Prospective students should hold a BS/BA in computer science prior to applying.
University of California Irvine
College Choice Score: 97.03
Average Tuition: $22,440
Earning a master’s in information technology from the University of California Irvine means participating in a program dedicated to placement support, excellence, networking opportunities, and diversity. Students must opt for either the thesis or the comprehensive exam option, taking required courses such as distributed computer systems, high-performance architectures and their compilers, introduction to embedded and ubiquitous systems, and computer and communication networks. Applicants to the informatics program must make sure to select that specific track during the application process. Those who select the computer science masters will likely be overlooked. Applications should include transcripts, TOEFL or IELTS scores, and GRE scores.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
College Choice Score: 96.87
Average Tuition: $25,853
Students earning the computer science degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst can select master’s in information technology coursework to reflect their interests. Learners must complete a total of 30 credits, of which no more than 18 can derive from 500-level coursework. Grades of a “C” or lower will not count toward the degree, and students may only transfer in a maximum of 12 credits. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA average. Admission to the program requires a filled out application, GRE scores, and a background related to the field. Only 10% of students earn admission to the program, making it a highly selective degree option.
University of North Carolina
College Choice Score: 96.46
Average Tuition: $26,854
The University of North Carolina’s master’s in information technology offers specializations in data governance and user experience, user interface design, human computer interaction. Students take courses that cover topics such as programming for information professionals; proposal, preparation, and presentation; the organization of information; and information retrieval. In total, students will complete 48 hours of coursework, 28.5 in core coursework and 19.5 in elective coursework. To gain admission to the program, students must possess at least a 3.5 bachelor’s-level GPA. Prospective students should provide an updated resume, transcripts from previous schools, and three letters of reference from individuals familiar with their academic ability.
University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 96.24
Average Tuition: $51,932
The University of Pennsylvania offers its master’s in information technology to students on either a part-time or full-time basis. Full time students should finish their degree within two years; students may not, however, take longer than seven years to complete the degree. Students must take a total of 10 classes, six in the core and four in electives. Examples of classes include introduction to software development, data structures and software design, database information systems, and internet and web systems. Prospective transfer students should possess at least a 3.7 if they hope enter the program.
University of Minnesota
College Choice Score: 96.22
Average Tuition: $29,306
The master’s in information technology from the University of Minnesota enables students to continue working full time while earning their degree. The program typically takes students 21 months to finish and class sizes are never more than 30. Learners take courses such as managing organizations in a technological environment, technology foresight and forecasting, project and knowledge management, and pivotal technologies. This master’s of technology degree requires applicants to possess at least 5 years of prior work experience in a related area. Some 34% of graduates go on to take executive positions at organizations worldwide.
College Choice Score: 96.17
Average Tuition: $50,400
Students in Rice University’s computer science program can select master’s in information technology classes through the available curriculum. Graduates go on to work at big companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. Students typically take three full-time terms to complete the degree, completing the 30-credit program in about a year and a half. Those hoping to transfer in credit must ensure that the coursework they hope to bring in closely matches Rice’s course descriptions and requirements. Students should note that the school does not offer financial aid to computer science master’s students. To apply, students should fill out the online application form.