Master’s in IT Management: 2024 Degree Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what you can expect from an advanced IT degree, including common coursework, tuition, and the type of jobs associated with these programs.

[Featured Image] A graduate student earning a master's in IT management is studying at her desk and looking at her computer.

Similar to a master’s in information technology (IT), a master’s in IT management is for aspiring IT leaders skilled in developing, implementing, and maintaining computer and network systems. Beyond the technical aspects of the field, IT management degrees typically incorporate more specific project management and leadership skills.

IT management degree

A master’s in IT management is a type of IT master’s degree—often a Master of Science (MS)—designed to encourage management skill development in addition to a deep understanding of advanced IT skills.

IT management may refer to either project management or people management, so these degree programs may include coursework in common IT work streams, leadership, and finance, in addition to technical skills such as data management systems, information security, and emerging technologies.

Some master’s in IT management programs are designed for individuals who already have a background in IT and are eager to move into management positions, while others are more open to admitting students without that technical experience, making this a viable path for people looking to advance their careers or change their careers. Be sure to look at the admission requirements for your desired programs to make sure you meet their specific guidelines.

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Master’s in IT vs. IT management

A master’s in IT management is distinct from a master’s in IT, and the right degree for you will depend on your experience and goals. A master’s in IT management program is more likely to focus on project management, or guiding IT projects from the idea phase through execution, whereas a master’s in IT will likely feature more technical coursework.

Still, some programs do both. For example, the Master of Information Technology from Illinois Institute of Technology centers on deepening your technical IT skills, while also encouraging effective management practices.


Tuition and degree length

The amount of money and time you spend earning your degree can vary depending on the specific program you choose. Generally, the length of master’s degree programs is between one and three years, depending on the program and whether you are completing classes on a full-time or part-time basis.

The cost of a master’s degree in the US typically ranges from $56,000 to $75,000, depending on the school [1]. However, there are less expensive and flexibly priced IT programs. Public colleges and universities tend to offer lower tuition to residents, and some schools charge on a timed basis, enabling you to spend less money if you complete your coursework faster.

Online programs also tend to have lower tuition due to fewer overhead costs related to on-campus resources. For example, Illinois Tech’s online Master of Information Technology costs a total of $15,000, with a pay-as-you-go structure, so you only need to pay for the courses you are currently enrolled in.

Learn more: Is a Master's Degree Worth It?

IT management coursework

The courses you’ll take to meet your IT management program requirements will vary depending on the school you enroll in. Generally, you can expect to take a mix of core and elective courses, such as:

  • IT management and leadership

  • Project management

  • Financial management

  • Technical communications

  • Data management

  • Business analytics

  • Emerging technologies and IT innovation

  • Cybersecurity and risk management

Many IT graduate programs will culminate in a capstone project, which is a single project that incorporates all or many of the topics you explored during your coursework. Upon graduation, you may decide to highlight your capstone project on your resume or in your portfolio to demonstrate your expertise.

IT project management certificate

If you want to build your project management skills without heavily focusing on technical IT skills—for example, if you already have professional experience in an IT environment—you may not need to enroll in a full degree program in order to reach your goals. A less expensive and time-consuming option could be to enroll in a certificate program. With IBM’s IT Project Manager Professional Certificate program, you can learn the skills and tools IT project managers use to guide their teams and track projects throughout the project management lifecycle, and can earn your employer-recognized certificate in about four months.


What can you do with a master’s in IT management?

Master’s in IT management programs are built to prepare graduates for leadership roles in IT. Depending on your background and the type of program you enroll in, you may feel prepared to pursue people management, project management, or business management.

Explore some of the job titles and salaries typically associated with this degree:

Job titleAverage US base salary*
IT manager$108,126
IT project manager$87,623
Information systems manager$120,867
IT product manager$152,287
IT program manager$129,499
IT director$146,818

* Salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of June 2024.

A long-term career goal for people pursuing this degree may be chief technology officer (CTO) or chief information officer (CIO). However, depending on your background, it may make more sense to pursue an advanced business degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), in order to progress to the executive level.

Learn more: Why Get an MBA? 6 Reasons to Consider an Advanced Business Degree

Is IT management right for you?

To know whether an IT management degree is right for you, it’s important to consider your past experience and your future career goals. You may be able to gain the experience you need to advance your IT career through other avenues. Some popular options include:

  • Professional certificates or certifications: Certificate and certification programs enable you to explore and demonstrate your expertise in a particular IT niche. Industry-recognized IT certifications are available for people with all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced.

  • Individual courses: If you want to build a specific skill, you may be able to lay the groundwork for your growth with a single course. Explore popular online courses available on Coursera, or look for offerings at your local community college.

  • Projects: Similar to the capstone project you’d do at the end of your degree program, completing independent projects and building a portfolio is one way to practice and demonstrate your skills. Get some ideas for IT projects with Guided Projects on Coursera.

Keep learning

A master's in IT management can help you gain the technical and leadership skills to excel in IT leadership roles. These programs combine advanced IT skills with project management and business knowledge, helping you prepare for a variety of IT management positions. While a master's is not always required, it can accelerate your career advancement and open doors to leadership opportunities, potentially culminating in CIO or CTO roles. Consider your background and goals to see if an IT management degree aligns with your career aspirations.

Continue exploring IT and IT project management on Coursera. Learn the skills IT project managers use with the IBM IT Project Manager Professional Certificate, or deepen your IT knowledge with a Master of Information Technology from Illinois Tech, a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Sign up for Coursera for free to start learning today.

Article sources

  1. Education Data Initiative. “Average Cost of a Master’s Degree,” Accessed June 17, 2024.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.