MBA Information Systems vs. MIS

White and red concrete building.jpg

Students who have completed their bachelor's degrees and are interested in studying information systems in graduate school have many degree options. Two possible degree options are a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems, which focuses on the business aspects of information systems, and a Master of Information Systems, which focuses on information system infrastructure, enterprise models and other information system technologies.

1 MBA Information Systems

A Master of Business Administration in information systems is a degree program that is typically offered by the university’s school of business and teaches students about the business, management and administration of information systems. To cater to many different types of students, including recent college graduates and midcareer professionals with full-time jobs and family obligations, universities make this degree program available in many different formats, including full-time, part-time, evening, weekend and online. Graduates with MBA degrees in information systems pursue a variety of different careers such as system analysts, supporting agents, agents of change and managers.

2 MBA in Information Systems Coursework

Most MBA programs in information systems require students to complete 45 to 60 credits of coursework over two years. During the first year, students typically take foundational courses in business and management that give them a broad introduction to the field of business administration as a whole. Examples of possible foundational courses are microeconomics, accounting 1 and 2, marketing and principles of finance. During the second year, students take required courses and electives in information systems. Examples of possible required courses are database and knowledge management systems, data communications and electronic commerce. Examples of possible electives are systems analysis, systems design, strategic information systems management and information systems project.


A Master of Information Systems is a degree program that focuses exclusively on the study of information systems, including its infrastructure and emerging technologies. Like MBA programs, Master of Information Systems degrees are also available in many different formats, including full-time, part-time and online programs. Students who graduate with this degree pursue careers in information systems departments working as data administrators, network administrators, information systems project managers, internal consultants, infrastructure managers and system analysts.

4 MIS Coursework

Most Master of Information Systems programs require students to complete one to two years of coursework. Requirements vary, but many programs require students to take 36 to 45 credits in both foundational courses and electives. Approximately 18 to 24 credits of coursework is taken up by foundational courses and the rest by electives. Examples of possible foundational courses are business systems 1 and 2, information technology organizational behavior, information technology infrastructure, enterprise models, emerging technologies and database management. Examples of possible electives are security and ethics, information systems integration and strategic management.

Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.