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For individuals aiming for senior-level positions in analyzing, storing, and securing vast amounts of complex data, choosing the right master’s in database management program is crucial to achieving your career goals. These advanced degrees prepare students for lucrative careers as database administrators, where the median salary is $112,120, and the top 10% can earn over $153,870.

Completing these programs takes 18 months to two years on average. They offer innovative curricula prepared to bolster your knowledge and skill level in the most essential sectors of database management. While the cost of obtaining this degree varies, the average tuition was $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

How to Choose a Master’s in Database Management Program

Choose your area of study

While database management is already relatively niche, you can further align your education with your career goals by choosing an area of study. Frequently called “specializations,” these options vary by institution but may include data analytics, cloud computing, information security, or database architecture.

Each of these areas centers around specific interests and career paths — for instance, data analytics is ideal for those interested in gathering insights from data. At the same time, cloud computing is best for individuals focused on modern storage solutions. Those enthusiastic about protecting data may thrive in information security, and students keen on designing efficient, scalable databases will excel in database architecture. Wherever your interests lie, identifying your specialization early on ensures your curriculum directly supports your future professional endeavors.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve chosen your specialization, you can research prospective schools and programs. Not sure where to start? Consider asking these questions to guide your research:

  • Is the program accredited?
  • What specific courses are offered in your area of interest?
  • What are the credentials of the faculty in this specialization?
  • How does the program support career advancement in this field?
  • Are there opportunities for hands-on experience or internships?

You can easily find this information by visiting program websites, attending information sessions or open houses, and speaking with admissions counselors.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you’ve shortlisted your schools for your graduate degree in database management, you’ll want to start gathering application materials early.

Request transcripts and secure letters of recommendation at least two months in advance, providing recommenders with precise deadlines and guidance. Consider enrolling in a test prep course for programs requiring GMAT or GRE scores. Be sure to start this process several months before your application deadlines so that you’ll be ready when test-taking time arrives. In addition, allocate significant time to writing your personal statement, reflecting on your goals and fit for the program.

By taking your preparation seriously, you’ll be able to confidently approach the application process, illustrating your dedication and suitability for graduate-level study in this sector.

Select your program

Receiving multiple acceptance letters is possible in situations where you apply for more than one program. This is a perfect moment to revisit your initial research criteria, prioritizing what matters most to you in a program. Reflect on the program’s focus areas, faculty backgrounds, and how each aligns with your career goals. Simultaneously, the total cost of attendance and financial aid opportunities should be considered closely. Carefully weighing these factors will guide you in selecting the program that best fits your aspirations and economic situation.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Earning your master’s in database management without accumulating substantial debt involves researching all financial aid options.

Seek out scholarships first, as these do not require repayment and are often awarded based on merit or how well you fit specific criteria. Next, look into institutional grants, which are frequently need-based. Consider assistantships, which provide a stipend and sometimes tuition remission in exchange for research or teaching duties — integrating work experience with financial support. Lastly, explore employer tuition reimbursement programs if you plan to remain with your current employer post-graduation.

These strategies, utilized effectively, can significantly offset the cost of your degree while minimizing reliance on loans.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Database Management Programs

Best Master's in Database Management Degree Programs

Touro University Graduate School of Technology

Northeastern University

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How we rank schools

This list covers graduate programs in database management that equip students with the specialized technical skills necessary to organize and manage large-scale data projects. Degrees offered include Master of Science in information technology, Master of Science in computer science, Master of Science in data science, Master of Science in information systems, and Master of Science in information technology management. Students can choose from on-campus, online, and hybrid learning formats.

All of the schools on this list are approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) or  Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the leading national accreditor for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Database Management Program?

Within a master’s in database management program, you’ll delve into topics such as database design, data modeling, data security, and information systems management — building towards an advanced education focusing on the storage, organization, and accessibility of data.

Innovative curriculums are designed to teach students the skills to manage complex databases, ensuring data integrity, availability, and security. In most programs, students complete graduation requirements after finishing a capstone course — a culmination of learned concepts. In the capstone, learners apply their knowledge to real-world database management challenges, demonstrating their expertise and readiness for professional roles.

Programs can be completed in 18 months to two years with full-time study, although those who opt for part-time enrollment are likely to see longer timelines.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in database management program

  • Advanced Database Management Systems: Frequently a core requirement, this course delves into the architecture, design, and implementation of complex database systems. Students learn about advanced data models, query optimization, transaction management, and integrating emerging technologies into database management.
  • Data Warehousing and Mining: Also considered essential in most curriculums, this course explores techniques for extracting, transforming, and loading data into warehouses, alongside data mining methods for discovering patterns and insights. The course covers concepts like dimensional modeling, big data analytics, and the application of machine learning algorithms to large datasets, preparing students to support decision-making processes.
  • Database Security: This course focuses on the principles and practices to secure databases from unauthorized access and threats. Students are trained in encryption techniques, access control mechanisms, audit trails, and security models, ensuring they can protect sensitive data across multiple database systems.
  • Information Systems Management: Offering a broader view, this course examines the strategic role of information systems in organizations. Participants become proficient in IT governance, project management, and aligning IT strategy with business objectives.

Master’s in Database Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in database management degree program?

To apply for a master’s in database management degree program, you should first make sure you meet basic admissions requirements. These can vary by institution, but many share the following criteria:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official academic transcripts
  • A personal statement outlining your goals and interest in the program
  • GMAT or GRE scores, if required

Programs offering an MBA focusing on this field also require relevant work experience and a minimum GPA from your undergraduate studies. Speaking with an admissions counselor before applying is highly beneficial, as they can offer personalized guidance and clarify any program-specific requirements — helping you strengthen your application.

How much does a master's in database management degree cost?

The average tuition for graduate degrees was $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year. However, the total cost of earning this degree encompasses more than just tuition — it includes books, supplies, and potentially room and board if you’re considered a traditional student. For those enrolled in online programs, costs can differ considerably. Online students often save on some expenses, like commuting and housing, but should still account for technology fees and course materials.

How long does it take to earn a master's in database management degree?

Earning this degree takes 18 months to two years for full-time students, while part-time students might take two to four years, depending on the program’s credit requirements.

Full-time study is often ideal for those who can dedicate significant time to their education, allowing for faster completion. On the other hand, part-time study suits those balancing their education with a full-time job or family commitments, offering greater flexibility but often taking longer to complete.

In addition, it’s crucial to consider the total number of required credits for your program, as this directly influences the time needed to complete your degree. The more credits required, the longer it’ll take you to graduate.

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