The goal of the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program is to produce graduates with excellent technical, management, and communication skills–i.e., graduates who can understand, implement, manage, and explain information technologies in organizational settings. The program provides professionals with the knowledge needed to manage information technology effectively and support organizational decision making. The program also exposes information systems professionals to the latest technologies and methods for using them to solve organizational problems. Finally, the program emphasizes the skills needed to succeed in the business community, including teamwork, leadership, and the ability to communicate effectively.
Who Should Take the MSIS Program?
The MSIS program allows students with bachelor degrees in information systems and computer science to further their knowledge of information systems. The program also allows students with bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines to complete the program by taking additional undergraduate or graduate courses to enhance their knowledge of business in general and IS in particular. Also, to accommodate students with full time work commitments, the MSIS program can be completed entirely through evening classes. However, working students should be aware that they are unlikely to complete the entire program in a single year of study.
Program Components and Credit Hour Requirements
The MSIS program consists of four major components: (1) the information systems core (5 courses), (2) the business core (2 courses), (3) the required IS 789 policy and strategy capstone course (1 course), and (4) additional courses in either the thesis or non- thesis option. The following describes each of these components in greater detail.
Information Systems Core (15 units, 5 courses)
The information systems core consists of five required courses. Their purpose is to help students develop technical, analytical, and managerial skills as well as to learn how to apply those skills in common business settings.
Business Core (6 units, 2 courses)
Information system professionals must be familiar with a number of business-related topics to perform their IT jobs, particularly if these jobs involve supervising others. Recognizing that each student may have individual interests or business-skill needs, the business core requires students to choose two courses from the following list to expand their current knowledge of business. Students with an undergraduate major in business should choose two core business courses beyond the scope of their undergraduate courses.
Choose 2 courses from the following:
Policy and Strategy Course (3 units, 1 course)
Students graduating with a master’s degree in information systems should understand how the various concepts in the IS and business cores help managers achieve global organizational objectives. The purpose of the policy and strategy course is to integrate these concepts with the strategic planning of a business or governmental entity.
Non-Thesis and Thesis Options (8 units for non-thesis option; 6 units for thesis option)
Option 1: Non-Thesis
Under the non-thesis option, students should take three courses (8 units) in a specialization area, one of which must be an IS class. The purpose of specialization electives is to encourage students to develop skills and conceptual knowledge in an area of personal interest. To satisfy these elective classes, students can take courses from the Master’s of Accountancy (MAcc) program, courses from the business core listed above (offered in the current MBA program), or approved elective offerings at the 600 or 700 level in IS. In addition, students can take elective courses outside of the College of Business Administration–for example, courses in computer science.
Option 2: Thesis
Completing a master’s thesis allows a student to work closely with UNR faculty to develop an area of research beyond that available in standard courses. Students who are considering a career in academia or who are interested in topic areas outside those offered in standard courses at UNR are encouraged to undertake this option. A student following this option will: (1) identify an area of interest, (2) develop a proposal, (3) form a thesis committee, (4) perform the research, (5) write an appropriate thesis, and (6) orally defend the thesis in a public presentation. Under this option, a total of 6 credits of graduate thesis will be applied to the graduation total.
General Program Entry Requirements
The MSIS program requires students to satisfy the following:
Graduate School Requirements:
- A grade point average (GPA of 2.75 on a scale of 4.0, or an average of 3.0 or higher for the courses taken during the last half of the undergraduate program.
- A baccalaureate (or an advanced) degree from an accredited four-year institution; any major is acceptable.
ACC/IS Department MSIS Requirements:
- GMAT Requirement. Applicants should complete the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) with a minimum score of 500. Students must also place in the 20th percentile or higher in each portion (verbal, written, and quantitative) of the exam. [These minimum scores are subject to change.]
- General Computer. Ability Applicants should be proficient in word processing and the general ability to use computers to analyze and solve business problems using software such as spreadsheets, statistical packages, and databases.
- Proficiency in English. International students must achieve a minimum score of 500 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) indicating the ability to speak, write, and understand the English language. International students may also be required to complete additional Intensive English courses during their first semester in the program.
Specific Program Prerequisites
A bachelor’s degree in business or information systems is not required for admission. Students without such degrees can earn an MSIS degree by completing additional courses. The following courses outline specific program prerequisites.
- Background in Information Systems and Computing Applications. An applicant should understand the basic components of hardware, software, telecommunications, networking, and transaction processing. He or she should also understand the systems development life cycle and how organizations use computers to solve business problems. Finally, students should have advanced competencies using microcomputer application software. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS 101 , IS 201 , IS 301 , and IS 495 . An example of a graduate-level course that would satisfy part of this prerequisite is BADM 750R .
- Programming Ability. An applicant should have experience using a procedural programming language. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS 350 (Visual Basic) and CS 135 (C++).
- Database Design Prerequisite. An applicant should understand the concepts of database design and implementation. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS 475 (database design and implementation) or CS 457 (database management systems).
- Project Management Prerequisite. An applicant should understand the basic concepts of project initiation, planning, and management. An undergraduate course that could satisfy this prerequisite is IS 445 .
Students without the prerequisite knowledge should enroll in the recommended undergraduate courses to gain the knowledge necessary for the MSIS program
The following guidelines outline general policies for the MSIS program. For specific requirements or needs, students should consult with the director of the MSIS program.
Course Waiver Policy
Specific course requirements can be waived for those students who have taken similar undergraduate or graduate courses at other institutions. In addition, students may be able to waive specific prerequisite courses by successfully completing proficiency examinations for them. However, credit for graduate courses in the program cannot be granted for undergraduate courses taken at UNR or other four-year institutions.
Limitation on Transfer Credit
Students seeking to transfer credit (not waive classes) from other institutions must seek the specific approval of the director of the MSIS program and the dean of the graduate school. Students may apply up to nine graduate credits earned in other graduate programs or earned as a graduate special student at UNR.
S/U Graded Courses
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory course grades are not permitted in the MSIS program. This policy applies to both undergraduate prerequisite courses as well as all graduate courses.
Academic Standards and Probation
Students in the MSIS program who do not maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in all graduate courses will be placed on probation. Students on probation may be prohibited from further enrollment if they rail to raise their overall GPA to at least 3.0 by the end of their first probationary semester. Exceptions are made only at the discretion of the MSIS director and the dean of the graduate school, and may then be made only for a single semester. Additional information on graduate academic standards, including general UNR policies on academic misconduct and similar matters, may be found in other sections of this catalog.
Continuous Matriculation and Leaves of Absence
MSIS students are required to maintain continuous enrollment during their participation in the program. “Enrollment” means registration in one or more courses for credit in the MSIS program, and begins when a student registers for his or her first courses in the MSIS program. A leave of absence may be granted in special circumstances, but must be obtained in writing from the director of the MSIS program. MSIS students who discontinue enrollment for more than one year will generally be required to reapply for admission to the program, and must meet the program requirements set forth in the catalog for the year of readmission. Additional information on graduate matriculation requirements may be found in the Graduate School section of this catalog.
To apply for admission to the MSIS program:
- Submit the following to the Graduate School:
- A completed and signed Application for Admission form
- A $60.00 non-refundable application fee ($40 non-refundable fee for UNR Graduates)
- Two official transcripts from each college or university where work has been completed or is in progress.
- The official report of the GMAT
- International students should refer to the ” Admission for International Students” section of this catalog for additional information.
- Submit the following to the Office of Graduate Programs in the College of Business:
- A current, detailed resume, including all education and work experience.
- A personal statement expressing your career interests and indicating why you wish to obtain an MSIS degree.
- If plan to continue your current employment in the region, a letter of support from your immediate supervisor.