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Degree Overview: Graduate Degree Programs in Computer Information Systems

Majors Overview July 9, 2015

This article talks about graduate degree programs in computer information systems and their education requirements, coursework, and job and wage outlook.

Information on Computer Information Systems Programs

Individuals with a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Information Systems or a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems can aspire to become computer information research managers or scientists. Some schools also offer combined master’s programs in business administration and information systems; a master’s degree is obtainable as part of the doctoral curriculum by some doctoral students in the field.

The focus of both doctoral and master’s programs in information systems is on research. Coursework may include some traditional courses in information technology and advanced business management topics. Master’s programs can result in a thesis project while dissertations are expected to be completed by doctoral students. Undergraduate coursework in information technology and computer science is usually entailed by admission to either program, though only students with master’s degrees can get into some programs.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Computer Information Systems

In the coursework of a master’s degree program in computer information systems, technology education is combined with studies of the principles of management and business organization. Students are trained to design and understand computer networks and systems, and become adept at managing teams of technical employees. A graduate certificate is also available at many schools in aspects related to information technology. After they complete this intensive, though abbreviated, program, students may gain a master’s degree. A combined master’s degree program in both computer information systems and business administration are available at some colleges.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any major, even if it’s not a related field. However, a level of competency working with computer systems will have to be demonstrated by students. Prerequisite courses in computer programming and computer science may have to be completed by incoming students. A certain amount of work experience is also a requirement for admission to some programs.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to give students a grasp of the minute aspects of a computer system and the larger issues related to project and networks management. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Telecommunications design
•Network management
•Database systems
•Technology’s legal and ethical issues
•Software and hardware implementation and selection

Job and Wage Outlook

Computer and information systems managerial professionals can expect an average job growth rate of fifteen percent (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $120,950 (BLS).

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Computer Information Systems

Current professionals in the field, who seek a deeper grasp of systems, while learning teaching and research methods, would benefit from earning a doctorate. At many schools, students are also offered the chance of earning a master’s degree simultaneously with a doctoral degree.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to complete graduate-level prerequisite coursework. An applicant without a specialized master’s degree can either complete the prerequisite coursework or waive the condition with work experience.

Coursework

Much of the focus of the doctorate program is on research and writing of either a thesis or dissertation. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Communication networks’ algorithms
•Foundations of machine learning
•Advanced database systems
•Analyzing and designing system security
•Computer and human interaction

Job and Wage Outlook

Individuals who want to pursue careers as high-level computer scientists would benefit from earning a Ph.D. Computer and information research scientists can expect an average job growth rate of 15% (BLS). In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $102,190 (BLS).

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