Atlanta Information Systems Graduate Programs & Grad Schools

Business information systems graduate programs are for professionals who want to develop their knowledge and skillset in the area of business information systems. An information system, as you may already know, is basically an organized system that collects, organizes, stores, and communicates information. It comprises the information, hardware and software of the system and the people and organizations that collect, filter, process, create, and distribute data.[i] The information system is the information and communication technology (ICT) that a small, medium, or large organization uses to support operations, management, and decision-making.[ii] Business information systems professionals essentially design and manage those systems to help businesses succeed.

When you pursue your certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree in business information systems, you may learn about this dynamic discipline and how to apply its theories and principles to affect change in small, medium, and large businesses. Graduate programs in business information systems may give you just the advanced knowledge you need to pursue or enhance your career in this excited field.

Types of Business Information Systems Graduate Programs

There are three basic types of business information systems graduate programs—certificate, master’s, and doctorate. Students in these programs study subjects such as systems analysis and design, computer networking, information security, database management, and decision support systems. They often choose between management and technology tracks amongst others. Schools typically offer these programs through their business, technology, or information sciences colleges.

The Master of Science in Information Systems

The Master of Science in Information Systems, sometimes referred to as the MSIS, is a specialized degree program. To earn a master’s degree in information systems, students generally complete a collection of core and elective coursework over the course of one to two years of fulltime study. To conclude their programs, they typically defend a thesis and take a comprehensive exam.

The core curricula in this type of degree may emphasize subjects such as systems analysis, systems design, data communication, database design, and project management. Students may also learn how to collaborate with others and navigate the subtle nuances of information systems ethics. Elective coursework typically enables students to focus their learning in a particular area of business information systems such as enterprise systems, business intelligence and analytics, enterprise risk management, information ethics, or implications of information systems. In some programs, students may also be able to focus their studies on various applications of information systems in business, education, or engineering, for example.

Some students opt to earn a different information systems graduate degree—the Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in information systems. The MBA in information systems typically requires students to engage in a traditional MBA core curricula and offers a specialization in information systems through elective coursework.

The Doctorate Degree in Information Systems

Information systems doctoral programs are also specialized degree programs. They are typically research-intensive and require fulltime study for four to six years depending on the program. Student pursue their doctorate in information systems through a combination of core and elective study in subjects similar to those of a master’s program and may opt to focus their studies on technology (sometimes referred to as electronics) or management (sometimes referred to as organizational). To conclude their programs, doctoral students typically produce research, defend a dissertation, and take a comprehensive exam.

The Graduate Certificate in Information Systems

A graduate certificate program in information systems generally consists of three to five classes that most students complete in one year of fulltime study. It gives students a general overview of information systems components such as databases, networking, and information security. Programs like these help students with a bachelors degree in computer science and other related fields develop their knowledge and skillset in the area of information sciences without having to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree.

You can pursue a certificate-, master’s-, or doctorate-level business information systems graduate degree through on-campus, online, or hybrid formats.

Who Might Pursue a Business Information Systems Graduate Degree?

People with backgrounds in business, computer science, information technology, engineering, and even the social sciences might pursue a graduate degree in business information systems. In most cases, students must have a bachelors degree in business information systems or related field to pursue a graduate certificate or master’s degree, and in some cases, students must have a master’s degree (not a graduate certificate) to pursue a doctorate degree. Some certificate programs offer credits transferable to master’s programs, and some doctorate programs have built-in master’s programs which enable students to pursue their master’s and doctorate through one program. Students may emerge from business information systems graduate programs prepared to work in small, medium, and large businesses across industries.

What Skills Might I Develop in an Information Systems Graduate Program?

Depending on their program and track, students pursuing a degree in information systems may develop their knowledge and skills in:

  • Management (knowing how to manage systems to promote business success, for example)
  • Technology (knowing how to innovate technology and systems, for example)
  • Data analysis (knowing how to use information systems to collect and analyze data and support decision-making in business, for example)
  • Conducting research and contributing to knowledge in the growing and evolving field of business information systems

Employees in the field of business information systems typically must have the following skills:[iii]

  • Analytical skills
  • Business skills
  • Communication skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Organizational skills

Through the content and rigor of coursework in graduate-level IS degree programs, students might enhance their skills in these critical areas.

Next Steps

While only you can decipher what the best information systems graduate programs are for you, we can help you explore your options. Gradschools.com puts accredited business information systems graduate programs at your fingertips. Simply browse our Information Systems Graduate Programs listings below or refine your search on the left to explore options by program level (certificate, master’s, or doctorate), format (hybrid, online, or on-campus), or location (city, state, and even country). Why not begin your search today? Your enhanced education and career await you!

Fast Fact: Computer and information systems managers earned a mean annual income of $131,600 in 2015 with bachelor’s-level education,[iv] and research shows that having a graduate degree may enhance your career or increase your pay.[v] Across all occupations, workers with a master’s degree earned a median annual wage of $68,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, professionals with a bachelor’s degree earned $12,000 less annually ($56,000).[vi]


Sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_system | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_system | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm#tab-1 | [v] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm | [vi] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm

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