Online Business Information Systems Graduate Programs & Grad Schools

Online business information systems graduate degree programs—whether at the certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree level—are designed for people who are already immersed in a full-time career but want to move up the corporate ladder or enhance themselves by integrating a knowledge of business and technology.

Earning your business information systems degree or certificate online means that you can choose the school or program that’s perfect for you without having to worry about it being too far from home.

What Exactly Is “Business Information Systems”?

Business Information Systems (BIS) is essentially a combination of business analysis and technology application. BIS professionals utilize concepts of management, operations and information systems theory, along with computer science and engineering methods and technologies.

The overall purpose of BIS is to manage an organization’s data in order to protect and advance the business.

A Graduate Degree in Business Information Systems addresses:

  • How to understand the informational needs of an organization
  • Their business processes that generate and consume information
  • What roles people and working groups play in these processes
  • How efficient these processes are

Throw in a solid grasp of available technologies, and a Business Information Systems professional can design and build a set of technical and managerial tools that solve a business problem or help an organization to realize a business opportunity.

What Is the Difference between Information Systems and Information Technology?

Business Information Systems degrees focus on teaching people to manage and refine computer networks to support business operations and protect data. Information Technology degrees, on the other hand, focus on front-end development, programming, and managing teams of software developers.

Top Online Business Information Systems Degrees

Choosing the Right Type of Business Information Systems Graduate Degree For You

When considering a Business Information Systems graduate degree, you will want to determine what kind of degree best meets your needs and professional aspirations.

In addition to deciding whether to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree versus a graduate certificate, you may also want to focus on a particular track such as management or technology. Most schools offer their business information systems program through their college of business or college of technology or information sciences. Many of them offer the same curricula as on-campus programs but in an online format.

Following are some of the types of degrees you might pursue through an online business information systems graduate programs.

Graduate Certificate in Information Systems

Earning a Graduate Certificate in Information Systems may be your best bet if you want to increase your knowledge and potential marketability quickly and don’t currently have the time or money for a full master’s program. The Graduate Certificate in Information Systems is meant for people who have clients or customers in technology fields, work with information technology (IT) departments, or who want a broad introduction to information systems.

Some key areas of study include:

  • Looking at ways information systems can support business functions
  • Understanding how businesses manage information to maximize efficiency and profit
  • Determining a company’s information needs and specifying systems requirements accordingly
  • Using data to solve problems, make better decisions, and find new opportunities
  • Learning how to analyze IT and make it work better for a business

A Graduate Certificate in Information Systems requires far less time than a Master’s Degree in Information Systems. What’s more, you can often apply some or all of your credits toward a Master’s Degree program, should you decide to pursue a formal degree down the road. Credits and transfer policies vary by institution, so be sure you know your school’s policy if this is something you’re interested in.

Master of Science in Information Systems

To earn a Master of Science in Information Systems, or MSIS, you must be committed to completing approximately 30 to 36 credit hours, which amounts to one to two years of full-time study (or several years of part-time study). Program lengths vary by institution. In addition, you will likely be expected to write a thesis or complete a capstone project.

Many MSIS programs require you to choose a particular area of focus, such as Information Assurance, Technology Management, Project Management, Information Systems Security, and more.

Business Information Systems classes usually cover topics such as:

  • Data Management and Analytics
  • Systems Analysis
  • Network Security
  • Systems Design
  • Data Communication
  • Database Design
  • Project Management

Elective coursework may focus on more specific topics, such as:

  • Enterprise Systems
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Information Forensics
  • Business Simulation
  • Modeling

Master of Business Administration – Information Systems

Some schools offer an MBA with an Information Systems concentration rather than an MSIS.

Courses focus on:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Ethics
  • The Global Economic Environment
  • Financial Accounting
  • Operations, Negotiation
  • Leadership
  • Human Capital
  • And more!

The MBA – Information Systems degree is similar to a Master of Science in Information Systems, though it may have more of a business focus than an MSIS. Programs are usually around 30 to 36 hours and can often be completed at a pace that suits you.

Doctorate in Information Systems

If you are interested in a more research-intensive program, a Doctorate in Information Systems (sometimes referred to as a Doctor of Business Administration – Information Systems, or DBA) might be for you.

Program lengths vary by school, but you can plan on spending four to six years of full-time study (or longer if pursuing the degree part-time) and will likely have to write and defend a dissertation.

In your information systems doctorate program, the core curriculum is usually similar to that of a master’s program, but more in-depth. Plan to spend a lot of time conducting research or developing research questions.

What Can I Do With a Business Information Systems Graduate Degree?

Earning a Graduate Certificate or Advanced Degree in Information Systems may open doors to different kinds of jobs, including those in upper-level management. Some common jobs that people pursue when they’ve earned a Graduate Certificate or Degree in Information Systems are listed below, along with the 2017 median annual salary:

  • Network Systems Administrator: $81,100i
  • Systems Manager: $139,220ii
  • Database Analyst/Computer Systems Analyst: $88,270iii
  • Information Security Analyst: $95,510iv

With an advanced degree, such as an MSIS or MBA with a concentration in Information Systems, along with several years in the industry, you may have what it takes to pursue a career as an IT Director, Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer. The median salary for these types of upper-level jobs is $139,220.v

Did You Know?

The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $139,220 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $83,860, and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000.

Top States for Employment for Computer and Information Systems Managers
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New York26,520$168,760

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Computer and Information Systems Managers
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$188,19011,950
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$178,74013,280
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$175,67032,100
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$161,89017,910
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$158,8500

Bureau of Labor Statistics offers 28 Online Business Information Systems Graduate Programs

If you have an interest in business as well as technology, and you’re ready to increase your career potential, an Online Business Information Systems Graduate Program may be just what you’re looking for!

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about each school, such as common courses, when the next starting date is, and how to apply.

Sources: i ii iii iv v vi

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  • Grand Canyon University

  • Southern New Hampshire University

  • Walden University

  • Purdue University Global

  • Full Sail University

  • Liberty University Online

  • Northcentral University

  • Dakota State University

  • University of Michigan - Dearborn

  • Oklahoma State University

  • Aspen University

  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe University