MIS vs. Data Science – What’s the right choice?

The journey to your dream university starts with the question –

‘why do you want to pursue your graduate studies?’

Some of us want to do an MS to take our UG studies forward (say after B.Tech in Computer Science, one could go on to pursue an MS in CS). Others want to change their field and cross over to an entirely new field of study (for example, moving from BSc Physics to a programme in law).

Then there are those who want to pursue more streamlined and often inter-disciplinary programmes (like from B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering to MS in Automobile Engineering). These programmes offer interesting and unique concentrations and specializations and are fast gaining popularity among those planning their graduate studies abroad.

MS in Management of Information Systems (MIS) and MS in Data Science (DS) are two such streamlined programmes. These programmes cater to specific academic interests and career goals among students of engineering and/or management. They sound similar and have some common ground between them.

Read on to know more about these interesting courses offered abroad and which one is best suited for you.

About MS in MIS

MS in MIS is a course designed to train you in the employment of computer-related technology in business functions. You may have heard from your friends and well-wishers that this is a course that is somewhere in between an MS and an MBA. In a way that is true, but that description does not do complete justice to the intensity and uniqueness of the programme.

The core objective of this interdisciplinary course is to catapult you into managerial positions mainly in the field of IT. You will learn to use web technology and computerized information systems to solve business problems and maximise the output of business processes.

A glance at some of the popular technical and managerial courses covered by this programme will shed light on how this course is designed:

There is no uniform curriculum for this programme. So, some Universities offer courses that focus more on the technical subjects, implying that they are suitable for students who are from the IT background seeking to step into managerial roles. While other courses focus on the managerial aspect and target business professionals who seek to specialize in IT.

In fact, depending on the composition of the curriculum you have more courses that are different amalgamates of management and engineering courses. These include:

  • MSTM -MS in Technology Management
  • MSIS – MS in Information Systems

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About MS in Data Science

MS in Data Science is another popular programme which is a relatively recent addition to the list of courses offered by universities abroad. This course is the result of universities adapting their programmes to the industry’s demand for more Data Scientists and ‘Big Data’ Specialists.

MS in Data Science focuses on quantitative courses and is an intersection of Computer Science and statistics. The programme aims to train students in the practical tools and techniques to work with large-scale data.

Simply put, there is a lot of data generated across industries, from telecom to the internet or social media. Through a degree in Data Science, you will hone your ability to make patterns and meaning out of the routinely generated data lumps across sectors.

If we take a look at the curriculum commonly offered under this degree, we can understand that it requires some command over fields like mathematics, statistics, and coding.

Here is a list (not exhaustive) of some courses offered under this programme:-

  • Statistical Methods of Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Information Visualisation
  • Programming
  • Data Mining
  • Data Modelling

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MS in MIS vs. MS in Data Science: What’s the difference?

So, how are these two courses different from each other?

The table below will give you a better picture of what they offer and which one is more suitable for you.

Then, what’s business analytics and how is it different from MIS or DS?

Read our special feature on Business Analytics!

Who should opt for MS in MIS?

Most MS in MIS programmes is suitable for students with basic exposure to computer science and the motivation to learn the key aspects of leadership and business management. It can yield good career prospects for a student with the right set of hard and soft skills.

Often, universities offering this programme look for students with some relevant practical experience or a strong inclination to pursue management studies in the domain of IT. So, you will have to prepare well and communicate your interests persuasively to make it into this programme.

[READ]: How to research and select best universities for MS in MIS according to your profile?

Who should opt for MS in DS?

MS in DS requires the applicant to have strong quantitative abilities and prior training in mathematics (calculus and Algebra), Statistics and Programming is appreciated.

Most universities offering the MS in DS programme have good industrial tie-ups to give practical exposure and networking opportunities to their students. As a research-intensive and evolving field, the competition in Data Science is quite high.

Understandably, a high level of qualifications in this domain (e.g. Ph.D.) enhances your career prospects substantially. This is not to rule out employment prospects for young graduates, but to suggest the advantage of studying further in this field after MS.

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Now that you have an idea about these relatively new programmes, do you think one of these courses is meant for you? If yes, then time to get cracking!

Tailoring your admission process specifically for such programmes is surely a task of mammoth proportions.

But you need not shy from thinking big! With proper guidance, information and the right plan of action you can surely make it to your dream programme.

If you have any questions regarding MS in MIS or Data Science or even admission process in general, just comment below and we’ll be happy to get back to you at the earliest!

Good Luck!

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7 Responses

  1. Binod says:

    I m MBA having specialization in Finance and Working in Research Department as Research Analyst and I m highly interested to grab data science exposure and would like to move into depth of this field. How I should pursue career in this field. Can I be eligible to apply for MS or Phd in Data Science?
    Is there better way to earn the skills and expertise combining both finance and data science field? Please suggest

  2. Shalini Yadav says:


    Thanks for difference. Can you make blog on Business Analytics? How it is different from data science and MIS? Also include career prospects of Business Analytics.


    Can you tell me the possibility of getting an admit in top 100 universities in USA , who aimed at MS in DATA SCIENCE but his undergraduate field was Mechanical Engineering ?. This question is applicable to me . My UG is Mechanical Engineering and I wanted to pursue Data Science Master’s Program. For that, currently I didn’t have any internships related to Data Science but rather Certifications from Coursera , EDX. could please suggest me how it effects my admit chances?

  4. Roja Priya says:

    Thanks for your article. It is very easy to understand from beginner level user..Thanks for sharing this post.
    Best data science course in chennai

  5. Mukunth says:

    I’m a fresh graduate in the field of mechanical engineering. Is there a possibility for me to get into MS in Data science or Information systems

  6. priya sri says:

    how data analytics and data science and MIS are different. Ho job oppurtunies are ,what skills are tested -please elucidate

  7. In-depth data science course says:

    If you are willing to join the field of data science you should be very careful regarding what kind of course should be adored. There are many courses are available in this field of data science. Thanks for explaining the difference regarding mis and data science. Thank you. I would like to see more good posts on this.
    In-depth data science course

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