Today the need to understand and effectively use information is critical. Information Technology, which encompasses all aspects of managing and processing information, provides the tools and techniques that enable information to be gathered and used for strategic advantage. The Masters of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) is an advanced degree designed to prepare graduates for leadership positions in the information technology field. The program combines the technical foundations of computer science with key business concepts and applications. MSIS coursework focuses on the integration of information technology with business problems and opportunities, enabling information systems professionals to understand technological issues as well as business concepts and fundamentals.
Goals and Objectives
The MSIS program will prepare individuals for leadership positions in the information technology field. It will meet the needs of those individuals who are seeking to enhance their computer-specific knowledge by learning advanced technical and managerial concepts to facilitate professional enhancement. It will also meet the needs of those individuals who seek professional cross training in order to take advantage of new opportunities in the growing computer information systems field.
The MSIS will prepare individuals who will:
- Translate user requirements into effective computer-based systems and networks.
- Effectively manage existing information systems projects.
- Demonstrate knowledge of information systems, telecommunication protocols, and computer network theory, hardware, and practice.
- Understand and apply current and emerging computer software technologies including CASE (Computer-Aided Software Engineering), DSS (Decision Support Systems), Object Oriented programming, database management, electronic commerce, Internet applications, and network operating environments.
- Implement managerial techniques to measure and improve information systems efficiency and effectiveness.
- Provide leadership in the organizational efforts to adopt new technologies.
Courses in the MSIS program are offered using a variety of instructional delivery methods:
- Face-to-face on site in Madison, SD in a traditional classroom setting;
- Using interactive video-conferencing via the Dakota Digital Network offered at multiple sites in South Dakota (sites arranged to meet student need);
- At a distance via Internet, using a combination of both live and/or encoded streaming videos of classes, interactive course web boards, course web sites, and e-mail. All courses are web-enhanced.
The program can be completed on a full or part-time basis, with classes offered in three academic terms, fall, spring, and summer. Time to complete really depends upon the number of credit hours taken per semester and the number of knowledge support courses needed. Full-time students (9 credit hours per semester) can complete the program in four semesters (assuming two knowledge support courses are required). Students must complete the program within 5 years of the semester of their admission.
Admission Requirements Specific to the MSIS
The Dakota State University Masters of Science in Information Systems program seeks highly motivated individuals with education and professional credentials that will enable them to be successful graduate students. Admission to the program is based upon a combination of the following requirements:
- Baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education with full regional accreditation for that degree. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree that is the equivalent to a four-year undergraduate degree in the U.S.
- Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.70 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent on an alternative grading system).
- Satisfactory scores on the GRE and the test must have been taken within the last five years. The test can be waived if one of the following conditions is met:
- A cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.
- Official admission into and demonstrated success in a regionally accredited graduate program in the U.S. Demonstrated success is defined as grades of A or B in at least 9 hours of graduate work;
- Graduation from a regionally accredited college/university in the U.S. at least 15 years ago or more.
- Essential knowledge in both business fundamentals and information systems. Basic knowledge can be demonstrated in several ways, including:
- BS in information systems;
- BS in business administration combined with information systems work experience; or
- A combination of any baccalaureate degree and appropriate work experience. Students who cannot demonstrate basic knowledge may be admitted unconditionally to the program if they meet the other minimum requirements, and the program committee is convinced their credentials indicate potential for success. These students may be required to take additional knowledge support coursework.
- Other factors (such as student maturity, references, or special expertise) also may be used to determine admission to the program.
Entry-Level Knowledge Requirements
Knowledge requirements include:
- understanding of the behavior of individuals and groups in a business organization such that they can analyze organizational systems and take appropriate action with particular business structures, particularly overcoming resistance to change;
- knowledge of the different types of information systems (IS), the application of IT in organizations, and the role of IT professionals in developing, acquiring and managing IS;
- knowledge of management concepts as they relate to the management of information systems including: setting a direction for information resources, managing technology resources, and managing the information systems function;
- knowledge of computer hardware, software, communications, and operating systems (Windows and UNIX);
- ability to use spreadsheets for computations and analysis;
- ability to create spreadsheets that support problem-specific decision-making activities; and
- understanding of the principles of programming and the ability to program.
The knowledge requirements can be met in a variety of ways, including: an undergraduate degree in MIS; specific undergraduate or graduate work that covers required knowledge; appropriate, verifiable IS/IT or management experience. Students using experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be required to demonstrate competency in the subject.
Students who have not had appropriate coursework or acceptable experience to meet the knowledge requirements will be admitted to the program if they meet the other minimum requirements. However, these students will be required to meet the knowledge requirements by satisfactory completing the specified knowledge support courses as part of their program of study.
Specific Application Information:
- Application deadline: All application materials must be received by June 15th for fall and November 15th for spring. Applicants who are requesting an assistantship must submit both their application to the program and their application for assistantship so that they arrive at DSU by June 15th for consideration for the following fall semester and November 15th for the spring.
- Entry Semesters: Students may enter the program in fall or spring semesters. Applications will be reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis as they arrive. Due to the restrictions on the size of some classes, particularly distance classes, and potential space limitations, applications should be sent as early as possible.
Richard Christoph, Amit Deokar, Omar El-Gayar, William Figg, Steve Graham, Tom Halverson, Stephen Krebsbach, Wayne Pauli, Surendra Sarnikar, Ronghua Shan, Zixing Shen, Kevin Streff, Daniel Talley, Manghui (Michael) Tu, Dianxiang Xu
The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:
- Six core courses (18 credit hours), including a capstone policy & strategy course;
- Option A (project) or Option B (coursework);
- A three-course sequence (9 credit hours) in a Career Track specialization. Specializations include Data Management, Electronic Commerce, Healthcare Information Systems, or Network Administration & Security. Students may also opt for a General Specialization that is comprised of the first course in the Data Management, Electronic Commerce, and the Network Administration & Security specializations.
Students who do not meet the business and information systems knowledge requirements as specified for admission may have up to 9 additional hours of coursework added to their program of study.
The MSIS project is a scholarly, integrative experience. Students must design, plan, and implement a real-world information systems project synthesizing the skills and knowledge learned throughout the program. Students are expected to apply the theoretical concepts learned in their coursework to an actual computer systems problem.
The MSIS Project is a two-semester sequence of courses, INFS 788 : Project Planning and INFS 788 : Project Implementation, during which students must:
- design, plan and implement an IT project demonstrating the skills and knowledge learned in their coursework;
- prepare a detailed structured written report describing their projects and deliverables;
- make a formal presentation to their committee and other students; and
- submit the approved reports to the Mundt Library for binding and archiving.
A suggested sequence of events, descriptions of each stage, and detailed project guidelines are available online.