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2021 Computer Information Systems Degree Guide

If you enjoy working with computers and figuring out how things work, a career in Computer Information Systems is for you.

Computer Information Systems is a growing field that allows graduates to work with companies' IT systems, analyze issues within the systems, and ensure all systems are kept up to date and working well. While working towards this degree, students will take classes in computer science, numerical analysis, software and hardware, and robotics. These classes will equip students with strong computer skills and teach them to perform such tasks as developing software for a certain task or programming a robot.

Although you may choose to major in the broad field of Computer Information Systems, some students prefer to specialize in certain areas. Some available areas of specialization include Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Informatics.

Computer Information Systems Degrees On The Rise

#10 Most Popular Major
76.5k Degrees Awarded
2.7% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, computer information systems was the 10th most popular major nationwide with 76,482 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 2,028 over the prior year, a growth of 2.7%.

Approximately 1,236 colleges in the U.S. offer a computer information systems degree of some kind. This year's Best Colleges for Computer Information Systems ranking compares 293 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of CIS programs later in this article.

Computer Information Systems Degree Requirements

Students who major in Computer Information Systems often have a strong background in computers and an understanding of software. Other necessary skills include mathematical and analytical skills, organizational, and communication skills. Professionals within this field must solve problems within information systems, so they must have the ability to analyze problems and efficiently create solutions.

Professionals within the Computer Information Systems field work full time in an office setting. However, a large percentage of professionals state they usually work over 50 hours a week. Since much of the business world is managed through computers, professionals must be available to solve problems and create more efficient programs.

Although internships are not necessary, they may be beneficial because they will give students hands-on experience working with computers and fixing problem within systems. This experience will make students more efficient once they enter the work force.

Getting Accepted Into a Computer Information Systems Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most CIS degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific CIS careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Computer Information Systems Degrees

CIS degree levels vary. Computer Information Systems programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest CIS degree you can get. The type of CIS degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to CIS, with approximately 50.9% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for CIS workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 51.3%
Master’s Degree 16.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.6%
Some College Courses 5.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate 4.9%

About 79.0% of workers in careers related to CIS obtain at least bachelor's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in computer information systems have received.


This of course varies depending on which CIS career you choose.

Career Opportunities for CIS Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$51.6k Average Starting Salary
15% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Graduates with a degree in Computer Information Systems often pursue careers in business, management, computer support, or computer systems analysis. Since computers are a huge part of business, a degree in Computer Information Systems will lead to many job opportunities. The skills you acquire while working towards this degree will be beneficial to employers making you an ideal candidate.

Graduates should find many job openings after graduation. This career is growing at an average pace since many companies are working towards upgrading and improving their IT systems.

High Growth Projected for CIS Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your CIS degree? Computer Information Systems careers are expected to grow 15.3% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to computer information systems.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Software Applications Developers 1,086,600 30.7%
Computer Systems Analysts 654,900 9.1%
Systems Software Developers 472,100 11.1%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 415,300 6.1%
Computer and Information Systems Managers 411,800 12.0%

CIS Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated computer information systems students earned an average of $51,576 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $12,800 to as high as $153,300. As you might expect, salaries for CIS graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid CIS Careers

Salaries for computer information systems graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers CIS grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers $152,860
Computer and Information Research Scientists $123,850
Systems Software Developers $114,000
Computer Network Architects $111,130
Software Applications Developers $108,080

Getting Your Computer Information Systems Degree

With over 3,195 different CIS degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased CIS school rankings to help you with this.

One of 10 majors within the Computer & Information Sciences area of study, Computer Information Systems has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to CIS

Related Major Annual Graduates
Computer Science 47,906
Information Technology 33,399
Information Science 17,779
Computer Systems Networking 14,055
Computer Software & Applications 12,793

View All CIS Related Majors >


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