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.
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).
- Essential knowledge in both business fundamentals and information systems. Basic knowledge can be demonstrated in several ways, including:
- a bachelor’s in information systems;
- a bachelor’s 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.
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, the application of information technology in organizations, and the role of information technology professionals in developing, acquiring and managing information systems;
- 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 information systems; 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.
Ronghua Shan, Program Coordinator
Omar El-Gayar, Cherie Noteboom, Jun Liu, Chris Olson, Insu Park, Renae Spohn, Bhaskar Rimal, Kevin Streff, and Julie Wulf-Plimpton
The program requires 30 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:
- Six core courses (18 credit hours)
- Option A (project) or Option B (coursework);
- A three-course sequence (9 credit hours) in a career track specialization. Specializations include data management, application development, healthcare information systems, information systems cyber security, or network administration & security. Students may also opt for a general specialization that is comprised of taking one course out of the data management, application development, 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 6 additional hours of coursework added to their program of study.
Courses supporting the MSIS program
Knowledge Support Courses
These courses may be required of students who do not meet the knowledge requirements in business and information systems. They are also recommended for students wishing to refresh their knowledge or reinforce what they have gained through experience.
Required Core Courses (18 Credits)
Required courses are to be taken by everyone admitted to the program, they include six core courses (18 credit hours), three specialization courses (9 credit hours), and Option A or Option B (3 credit hours). Core courses build upon the knowledge support courses or appropriate experience. The project (Option A) course should be taken after the majority of core courses have been taken and the specialization started.
Specializations (9 Credits)
The specialization courses build upon the core courses and should be taken after the majority of core courses have been completed. Students must select a specialization of three courses (9 credit hours). Career tracks include application development, data management, information systems cyber security, network administration & security, healthcare information systems, or general. The general specialization is comprised of taking one course from the Application Development specialization, one course from the Network Administration & Security specialization and one course from the Data Development specialization. Students may choose to take additional electives and more than one specialization.
Data Management Specialization
Healthcare Information Systems Specialization
Information Systems Cyber Security Specialization
Network Administration and Security Specialization
Students select one course from the Analytics Specialization, one course from the Network Administration & Security Specialization and one course from the Data Management Specialization to obtain the General Specialization.
MSIS Option A and Option B (3 Credits)
Complete a masters project. The masters project serves as a final research activity conducted by students under the direction of the faculty. 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 Karl Mundt Library for binding and archiving.
A suggested sequence of events, descriptions of each stage, and detailed project guidelines are available in the DSU Portal.
Students completing the project are required to complete the comprehensive exam.
Take a 700-800 graduate-level three credit course and successfully pass the comprehensive examination. The course must be in the College of Business and Information Systems or Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences and must be equivalent to three credit hours. The course cannot be a required course in the plan of study or already used in the specialization. For a list of courses please review the rotations and course summary in each graduate program in those colleges. The comprehensive exam covers the MSIS core. Students completing the additional three credit course option must successfully pass the comprehensive exam.
All candidates for graduation must participate in an assessment activity. The Graduate Coordinator will provide specific information to MSIS students during their final semester. Students choosing the project option (option A) are required to complete the comprehensive exam. Students choosing the coursework only option (option B) are required to successfully pass the comprehensive exam. The exam must be completed prior to graduation.
The results of the exam are used as one means of evaluating the MSIS curriculum by providing information to the faculty who teach the courses.
Course Grades are used as an indirect measure of student attainment of specific program goals and objectives. DSU Program Guidelines require students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the program, receive no grades below a C, and have no more than 2 grades of a C. If you do not maintain the required “B” average you will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to raise your GPA to 3.0 within the next nine credit hours. If you do not raise your GPA to 3.0 you will be suspended from the program. If you receive more than 6 credits of “C” or any grade lower than a “C” you will be suspended from the program. You may appeal the suspension. If students have questions regarding grading, they should review the “Satisfactory Progression” Program Guidelines or speak with their advisor.