Updated: August 1, 2017
Are you someone who thrives in the complex web of data organization? Does implementing, configuring, and problem-solving complicated systems seem like the best kind of challenge? A job in database management may be a great fit for you! Database administrators not only hold high positions of authority and leadership, they also have strong intuitive relationships with database environments, optimizing system performances to bring success into their corporation, organization, or agency. That all to say, database managers take a lot of pride in what they do, as they should!
Database managers are needed in an array of industries and fields, from government work to healthcare, education to corporate finance, all communities are in need of savvy, creative, and ethical programmers. And as more information continues to be stored digitally, the need for these administrators is only going to continue its exponential rise. The jobs are literally waiting there for you!
Indeed, the demand for database managers, especially those holding advanced degrees, is projected to rise at least 11 percent in the next few years alone. Furthermore, the average salary of such administrators falls around 84k annually, though one has the potential to earn up to 110k annually. These numbers are just some of the reasons why the job satisfaction of database managers is above and beyond most other occupations, with most claiming high amounts of career happiness.
So, if you’ve thought about earning a master’s degree and advancing your career, now is a great time to consider distance education. Studying online is a flexible, affordable way to enhance your professional career without breaking the bank: most online degrees are more affordable than those earned “traditionally,” and many online schools do not have residency requirements. On top of its flexibility and affordability, online education is now considered an equal to “traditional” education, as many don’t even differentiate the two.
What are the Best Online MS in Database Management Degrees?
Though some of these database management programs emphasize data management and others software design, while some promote flexibility and others peer relationships, they all share one thing in common: they are the best online graduate programs in the country for those interested in data management. To narrow down to such a definitive list, we started first with the academic reputation of each online MS in Database Management degree in the nation. From there we looked at student retention—a reflection of student satisfaction—affordability, and the early salaries of graduates. What we concluded with, after such extensive research, are those programs that are the best in the nation at training and educating future database managers. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
College Choice Score: 100
Credit Hour Cost: $768
Boston University easily tops our list as the Best Online Master’s degree in Database Management. The private research institution not only has a respectable history that reaches back to 1839, but also towers above so many other schools for its impressive return on investment, its high retention rate, and its number 4 spot on US News & World Report’s ranking for best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology programs.
The online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems program at Boston University features a concentration in Database Management & Business Intelligence. Students use industry-relevant SQL tools like Oracle and other database management systems. Most students complete the 40-credit-hour program in about 18 to 24 months, though the online format allows for some flexibility. The curriculum consists of five core courses, a specialty course in Java or Python, and then five courses in the database management concentration. Some highlight courses include:
- Data Analysis and Visualization
- Advanced Database Management
- Data Mining
- Quantitative Methods for Information Systems
Boston University is widely known for its academic prowess. It ranks not only at a national level, but also globally! For example, Academic Ranking of World Universities places it 39th in the nation and 75 in the world. Part of what sets Boston University apart—in both its traditional and online classrooms—is its full-time, highly educated faculty. Students in the online Database Management program enjoy the one-on-one attention of 13 faculty members.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 96
Credit Hour Cost: $881
Located in beautiful Tampa, Florida, the University of South Florida is a large public research institution that was founded in 1956. With a total student body of 48,000, it holds a strong status as the fourth-largest university in Florida, and contains three separate campuses within its system: USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee.
The University of South Florida offers an online Master of Science in Information Technology, with highlight classes in Database Management. This degree requires 30 credit hours and draws from undergraduate experience and prerequisites in IT database systems and basic data structures/algorithms. Though USF offers a non-thesis format, students take a 3-credit-hour practicum that requires you to tackle a real-world problem in a database system. Additional database management classes include:
- Advanced Database Administration
- Data Mining
- Statistical Data Mining
- Enterprise Information Systems Management
University of South Florida ranks in the top 100 online Graduate Computer Information Technology programs in the nation (89th) according to US News & World Report, but that’s not all that it is known for as a school. The university has a rare gold rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and its campus reflects a commitment to clean energy and sustainability. This kind of intentionality and care is something you can also expect in your education at the University of South Florida.
Florida Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 95.75
Credit Hour Cost: $777
Another Florida-based school (this one from Melbourne), Florida Institute of Technology is a private research university that delivers degrees primarily in technology, engineering, aviation, and STEM. Florida Institute of Technology is known for its research activity, and its 6,000 students enjoy their proximity to the Kennedy Space Center and Florida Tech Research Park; nearly all degree programs incorporate academic research in hands-on ways.
At Florida Institute of Technology, the online Master of Science in Information Technology features a specialization in Database Administration. Within the 33 required credit hours you’ll experience a blend of information technology courses and business management courses. Most students finish the program in two years. The capstone project—Advanced Management of Information Systems—comes at the end of the program and prepares you for jumping directly into a database management position. Some of the highlight courses (each spanning eight weeks) include:
- Database Systems Management
- Topics in Advanced Database Management
- Corporate Finance
- Global Information Technology Management
Florida Technical Institute may have a specific academic focus in the sciences and technology, but its influence is wide-reaching. US News & World Report listed it as a tier-1 school in its list of Best National Universities in the country. In addition, you can be assured that you’ll get the best bang for your buck—Payscale recently ranked Florida Technical Institute #1 “Best Value College in Florida” for its quality return on investment.
University of West Georgia
College Choice Score: 95.5
Credit Hour Cost: $412
Held in high regard as a classified R3-Doctoral University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, the University of West Georgia is a public university that is located in Carrollton, Georgia. Originally founded as an agricultural and mechanical institution in 1906, the University of West Georgia is now a thriving, doctoral-granting university that caters to over 13,000 students, both in-person and online.
The online Master of Science in Applied Computer Science at the University of West Georgia features a number of courses related to database management while emphasizing project-based classes in software development. The program is designed to be completed in two years, with students taking two classes (6 credit hours) each semester. Some of the core areas of focus in this program are:
- Program Construction
- Web Technologies
- Database Systems
- Software Development
Widely respected by other area institutions, the University of West Georgia has made a respectable name for itself. Princeton University has named it among the “Best Southeastern Colleges” in the nation for a number of years in a row. In addition, it falls in the top 50 of US News & World Report’s “Best Online Graduate Computer and Technology” programs (it ranks at #37).
University of Maryland Baltimore County
College Choice Score: 95
Credit Hour Cost: $881
Located in the heart of Baltimore City, Maryland, you’ll find a nationally-known public research institute—the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). A large percentage of UMBC’s 13,000 students end up majoring in engineering or the sciences based on the school’s historical focus on industry. Students of University of Maryland Baltimore County enjoy numerous research opportunities through the university’s many impressive partnerships with NASA, the US Army Research Laboratory, and the Goddard Space Flight Center.
At the University of Maryland Baltimore County, you’ll find an online Master’s of Science in Information Systems program that is flexible, versatile, and academically rigorous. The program takes the form of 34 required credit hours in both core courses and advanced courses, all giving you a focus in managing and implementing database systems. Students have the option of completing their degree with a master’s thesis option or an independent study of their choice of topic. Some of the database management-related courses in this program include:
- Management Information Systems
- Database Management Systems
- Introduction to Data Mining
- Readings in Advanced Structured Systems Design
The University of Maryland Baltimore County is a quietly making huge strides in the world of higher education. For example, US News & World Report recently listed it #1 in its “Up-and-Coming Schools” ranking. As for its online graduate program in Computer Information Technology, UMBC ranks 19th in the nation, and it consistently falls in the top 50 list of Princeton Review’s “Best Value College.”
New Jersey Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 94.25
Credit Hour Cost: $1,034
Straddling the distance between New York City and Newark, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is an urban dynamo for engineering and science-minded thinkers. The public research university was founded in 1881 with an aim toward bolstering the northeast region with forward-thinking industrialists and inventors. History has proven to be true for the university; its 11,000 students excel in NJIT’s 50 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs.
New Jersey Institute of Technology’s online Master of Computer Science cuts through to the essential elements of the field by offering two speciality tracks: Databases/Data Mining and Networking. Additionally, you can also earn graduate-level certificates in Data Mining and Software Engineering, Analysis, and Design alongside your master’s degree. The 30-credit-hour program—designed by industry leaders and software business partners of NJIT—consists of 10 classes that are divided into core, speciality, elective courses. You can expect to take some of the following classes:
- Data Management System Design
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- Operating System Design
- Data Mining
New Jersey Institute of Technology gets a lot of love—as it deserves!—for both its return on investment and for its quality education. For instance, it lists among the top 100 schools in the world for its Computer Science program according to Academic Ranking of World Universities. It also recently claimed a number 1 spot for the “most underrated colleges in the nation” by Business Insider.
Colorado Technical University
College Choice Score: 93.25
Credit Hour Cost: $585
Located in mountainous Colorado Springs, Colorado Technical University is a for-profit institution that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in dozens of areas—among them, business, technology, engineering, criminal justice, finance, health, and, most notably, computer science. Despite its beautiful setting, over 90 percent of the students at CTU attend via the online programs, especially those majoring in information technology, criminal justice, and business.
Offered completely online, the Master of Science in Computer Systems degree at Colorado Technical University covers a breadth of information as it relates to managing and designing systems of all kinds. The program specifically focuses on software engineering, security, and database management systems. However, CTU also offers a unique specialization in Database Systems; the 48-credit-hour program is divided into 28 core credits and 20 credits related to a concentration. Some of the database-specific courses include:
- Database Design
- Database Administration
- Data Warehouse
- Distributed Databases
In the past number of years, Colorado Technical University has been praised for its online degree programs and for its notable strides in accommodating veterans. In 2016, Colorado Technical University was ranked among the “Best for Vets” 2016 list by Military Times, and US News & World Report recently ranked it 38th for “Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.”
University of Illinois Springfield
College Choice Score: 90.25
Credit Hour Cost: $363
Part of the larger University of Illinois system (one of three universities), the University of Illinois Springfield is a public institution that caters to around 5,400 each year. Its online program was established in 1999 and offers over 40 different degrees entirely online, ranging from philosophy to education to business to information systems.
Among its many online options, the University of Illinois Springfield offers a Master of Science in Management Information Systems, which is offered either in person, completely online, or as a hybrid program. The 36-credit-hour degree hones in on the essentials of managing large-scale data systems and design teams. The degree culminates in a thesis paper or a capstone project. Along the way, the curriculum is packed full of rewarding database management classes such as:
- Management of Database Systems
- Data Communications and Networking
- Data Warehousing
- Managerial Decision Support Systems
The University of Illinois Springfield has a lot of local pride to lean on. US News & World Report recently named it the 63rd “Best Regional University in the Midwest,” and it also landed a 8th spot on a list of “Top Public Schools” in the Midwest. Even more, the National Security Agency honored Computer Science department at the University of Illinois Springfield for its excellence in Information Assurance.
College Choice Score: 89.5
Credit Hour Cost: $1,137
Based in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University is a private research university with a history that spans back to 1851. This highly competitive school enrolls around 21,000 students each year. Though Northwestern’s main campus is located in Illinois, Northwestern is very much a global academic center, with an online division and satellite campuses in Qatar, Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
Northwestern University takes an interdisciplinary approach to database management through its online Master of Science in Information Design and Strategy. It draws from a number of different fields to encourage their graduates to be open-minded managers and astute strategists in the field of IT. Their Data Science and Analytics specialization is where the rubber meets the road in database management. Some of the classes involved in this 48-credit-hour degree include:
- Data Management Principles
- Data Visualization
- Data Collection and Analytics
- User-Centered Design
If you can afford the tuition (it’s the priciest school on our list) you certainly can’t go wrong with Northwestern University as it is one of the most highly respected and prestigious schools in the country. On a national level, it ranks 20th by Academic Ranking of World Universities, 15th by Forbes, and 12th by US News & World Report.
University of Denver
College Choice Score: 89
Credit Hour Cost: $660
Known as the oldest private higher education institution in the Rocky Mountains, the University of Denver was founded in 1864 and has a long history of educating both undergraduates and graduates in through many academic programs. Its University College of Professional and Continuing Studies houses their online division, offering programs that cover a range of topics, from environmental policy and management to database systems.
The Masters of Science in Information & Communications Technology degree at the University of Denver addresses the disconnect between business and technology head on by designing their program to emphasize hands-on application over theory, and one-on-one instruction by top-notch faculty members. The University of Denver features numerous concentration areas and certificates in their master’s program, one of which is the Database Design and Administration specialization. In addition to 4 core courses and 4 elective courses, this track offers 4 classes specifically in database management:
- Web Enabled Information Systems
- Database Administration
- Database Design & Programming
- Data Warehousing Design
The University of Denver has a lot going for it in terms of quality education and tuition rates. It’s one of the more affordable schools on our list ($660 per credit hour) and it receives high marks for its academic success. US News & World Report ranked it in the top 100 national universities—among both public and private schools—and it ranks in the top 50 in the country for its online graduate program in Information Technology.
College Choice Score: 88.75
Credit Hour Cost: $830
Known to be the largest Catholic university in the country, DePaul University is a private, religious institution that is based in Chicago, Illinois, having been established there in 1898 by Vincentian priests. DePaul University’s over 15,000 students attend classes in either of its two campuses: Lincoln Park or the Loop. The university also has a strong online program that hosts both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The Master of Science in Information Systems degree at DePaul University links business to information sciences by featuring five different concentrations: Business Analysis, Business Intelligence, IT Enterprise Management and Database Administration. In total, students must complete 52 credit hours to graduate, which are divided into Introductory courses, Foundation courses, Advanced courses, and Major Elective courses. Some of the stand-out classes in the Database Administration concentration include:
- Data Warehousing
- Database Administration and Management
- Database Programming
- Advanced Database Management
DePaul University is highly respected and lauded for its commitment to community service and for its student diversity. In fact, The Princeton Review recently named DePaul the #1 school in the nation for “Diverse Student Population.” Part of Depaul’s mission is to integrate a service learning component into their instruction; US News & World Report listed it among the top colleges in the United States for its community involvement.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 88.5
Credit Hour Cost: $694
Spanning the globe with its academic reach, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a public university with global ambitions. Though its headquarters are in Adelphi, Maryland, the university enrolls over 90,000 students each year largely through its online platform. UMUC is known for its presence overseas, particularly in Afghanistan and Djibouti, where it caters to US military personnel both on-site and online.
The Master of Science in Data Analytics degree at the University of Maryland University College sets out to tackle the most challenging data systems out there by covering all the bases—from analytics to predictive modeling to managing systems. The degree requires 36 total credit hours and ends with a final Data Analytics Practicum capstone courses in which students create a real-world prototype in relation to a set of data. Some of the core classes in this curriculum that lead up to the practicum include:
- Decision Management Systems
- Data Management and Visualization
- Data Mining
- Big Data Analytics
Based on its educational outreach presence in the Middle East, it’s no surprise that the University of Maryland University College is widely respected for its academic support of veterans and current military personnel. In fact, UMUC recently was listed as the #1 school in the country for The Military Times’ “Best for Vets Colleges.”
College Choice Score: 87.5
Credit Hour Cost: $730
A private university based in Denver, Colorado, Regis University was founded in 1877 by a group of Jesuit priests, and it still holds true to its Roman Catholic roots today. The university educates around 11,400 students each year through its five academic colleges, which cover health professions, liberal studies, computer and information sciences, and business and economics.
At Regis University, you’ll receive all the training you need to be a database administrator or a database software developer through the online Master of Science in Database Technologies degree. The 36-credit-hour program contains classes that are industry-relevant and thorough in their instruction. You can expect to become fluent in the areas of PL/SQL programming, Cassandra, MongoDB, Neo4j, and Oracle. Some highlight classes in database management include:
- Oracle Database Administration
- Database Architecture
- Database Performance Tuning
- Database Practicum I and II
Regis University is known as one of the top universities in its region. In fact, US News & World Report named it 23rd among all the universities in the western United States. More specifically, its College of Computer & Information Science, which houses the MS in Database Technology, has been praised over the years as a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education.
College Choice Score: 87
Credit Hour Cost: $565
Primarily aimed toward adult education—with nearly 80 percent of their students aged 25 and over—Bellevue University is a private university that enrolls close to 10,300 students annually. The university offers numerous degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level and its online program is nationally known for its excellence in offering affordable, versatile, cohort-based classes.
Taking a top-down approach to technology systems, the online Master of Science in Management Information Systems at Bellevue University gives students the chance to apply management tools to a technical field. The 36-credit-hour program covers subject matter that ranges from enterprise data to infrastructure systems, from information security management to business analytics. The Information Technology Project Management concentration addresses the fundamentals of database management through a number of core classes:
- Managing Enterprise Data
- Project Communications Management and Leadership
- Advanced Data Mining Applications
- Survey of System Development
Bellevue University is known for its ingenuity and for giving students not only a quality education, but also a sense of value in their role as a citizen of the United States. For example, all undergraduate students at Bellevue take part in the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, which is considered the “intellectual linchpin” of the Bellevue curriculum. This includes courses such as American Vision and Values, Tradition and Change, and Freedom and Responsibility.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 86.25
Credit Hour Cost: $627
Southern New Hampshire University, located in Manchester, New Hampshire, is home to six professional colleges and schools, one of which is the College of Online & Continuing Education. Out of the private university’s 60,000 total students, only about 3,000 students attend classes on the Manchester campus; the majority of SNHU’s students complete their degrees online.
The online Masters of Science in Information Technology program at Southern New Hampshire University offers seven unique concentrations within the degree to give students optimal flexibility and freedom to specialize in their area of expertise. Two of the concentrations—Database Analytics and Database Design—address the core principles at the heart of database management. SNHU makes it possible for masters students to finish this program in just 15 months. Some of the stand-out classes in this program include:
- Database Application Development
- Information Technology Project and Team Management
- Principles of Database Design
- Data Warehouse Concepts and Design
Southern New Hampshire’s Warrior Transition Technology Training (WT3) program is designed specifically to help out US military service members transition into technology positions and equip them with the necessary certifications. This program includes financial benefits (military personnel get 25 percent off of their tuition, for example), but also academic benefits; WT3 covers the expenses of certain certification exams like the Oracle Database 11g Administrator certification.