Information Systems, MS

Contact Info

Department of Computer Science
George Mason University
4300 Nguyen Engineering Building, MS 485
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: (703) 993-1530

Email: csgrad@gmu.edu

This professional degree program focuses on the technical, managerial and policy issues associated with designing, building and maintaining information systems in organizations. Data, information, and knowledge are crucial to the modern enterprise, and this program addresses both the theoretical and engineering aspects of specifying, designing, implementing and managing large-scale information systems.

Find degree requirements in the university catalog.

2016-2017 Academic Year

The mission of the MS-ISYS program is to allow students, with diverse baccalaureate and professional backgrounds, to obtain a high-quality MS degree, which is designed to:

  • Provide students with the theoretical knowledge and hands-on project experience needed to analyze, design, build, deploy, maintain, and manage modern information systems
  • Prepare students for technical or managerial careers in information systems in large and small organizations in both industry and government.

Data, information, and knowledge are crucial to the modern enterprise. MS in Information Systems (MS-ISYS) addresses both the theoretical and engineering aspects of assessing user requirements; designing and building databases; specifying enterprise architectures; implementing large-scale information systems; and working with users to promote their effective organizational use.

The career paths open to graduates include technical and management positions. Technical positions include systems analyst, data administrator, database administrator, information architect, systems architect, decision analyst, data warehouse administrator, database programmer, web-based information systems designer and programmer, information engineer, and knowledge engineer. Management positions include chief information officer, chief knowledge officer, chief privacy officer, project manager, and webmaster.

An accelerated master’s option is available to students in the information technology, applied computer science, or computer science bachelor’s program. See each listing for specific requirements.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a four-year (120-credit) baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have earned a GPA of 3.00 or better in the last 60 credits. They also must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit the appropriate application with two letters of recommendation from people directly knowledgeable of the applicant’s professional and academic competence, a one-page goals statement, and a work résumé.
  • Complete the self-evaluation section of the online application. This information is used by the admissions committee to assess an applicant’s academic preparation for the MS program. Students with some deficiencies in preparation may be admitted provisionally pending completion of foundation courses required for the program.
  • The GRE is only required for those who have not earned a Bachelor’s degree from a US Institution.
  • International students must submit their English proficiency scores.

Foundation Requirements

To ensure students have an adequate background in mathematical methods, computer technology, and programming knowledge, the program requires the following foundation courses or their equivalents: INFS 501 - Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems, INFS 515 - Computer Organization Course and Operating Systems, INFS 519 - Program Design and Data Structures, and SWE 510 - Object-Oriented Programming in Java.

Prospective students are asked to complete a department self-evaluation form indicating whether previously taken courses may satisfy these foundation requirements. On acceptance, students are advised of the necessary foundation courses to be satisfactorily completed to meet this requirement. Foundation courses do not earn credit toward the MS degree; however, they must be successfully completed with a grade of B or better before enrolling in the core curriculum.

Students may test out to indicate they have the requisite knowledge for the foundations courses. The exams are given before classes begin in January and August, and can only be taken once. Registration is not required; students need only be present at the date, time, and location specified, and bring some form of photographic identification. Detailed information is available on the department web site. Students failing any of the exams must take the equivalent course before enrolling in the core curriculum courses.

Advising

The department holds orientation meetings in January and August to advise newly admitted and continuing students. Members of the faculty are present to answer questions and offer advice concerning programs of study. Detailed information is available on the department web site.

The department also provides an advising function to students, as outlined in the student advising form available from the department. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor with whom to confer on matters related to degree requirements. A plan of study form for the MS degree should be completed and submitted by the student soon after admission to the program. This plan serves as a guide for the student.

Degree Requirements

Completion of the MS program requires a minimum of 30 approved graduate credits (10 courses).

Core Courses (12 credits)

To provide a common background in the fundamentals of information systems, the following core courses, which constitute the technical body of knowledge for the program, are required of all students:

Elective Courses (18 credits)

The elective courses are organized into the following emphasis areas: database management, data mining, electronic commerce, software engineering, knowledge management, and information security and assurance.

In addition to the core courses taken as part of the MS-ISYS curriculum, students may choose an emphasis within the program by taking six courses from one of the emphasis areas listed below. Students may also choose electives spanning several emphasis areas; they may also plan their electives so as to obtain certificates offered by the department. A list of approved electives is given within emphasis areas and by graduate program. A full list is provided at the end of this section. Special courses may be used as electives with prior approval of the student’s academic advisor and the graduate coordinator.

Students, with the consent of a faculty sponsor and faculty advisor, may also elect courses in individualized study, special topics, or a 6-credit thesis (INFS 799), which is primarily intended for students planning to pursue a PhD in information technology with a concentration in information systems.

Listed below are the emphasis areas and the approved elective courses in each area.

Database Management

Data Mining

Electronic Commerce

Software Engineering

Knowledge Management

Information Security and Assurance

Certificates

Certificates may also be obtained in the following areas: Information Security and Assurance Graduate Certificate, Software Engineering Graduate Certificate, Foundations of Information Systems Graduate Certificate, and Web-Based Software Engineering Graduate Certificate. These certificates are described in the computer science certificates section of this catalog.

Approved Electives

A full list of approved electives is given below by program:

Information Systems (INFS)

Information Security and Assurance (ISA)

Software Engineering (SWE)

Computer Science (CS)

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

Operations Research (OR)

Psychology (PSYC)

  • PSYC 734 - Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition (3 credits)

Statistics (STAT)

Systems Engineering (SYST)

Total: 30 credits

Opportunities

Data, information, and knowledge are crucial to the modern enterprise, and the master’s in information systems addresses both the theoretical and engineering aspects of specifying, designing, implementing, and managing large-scale information systems.

The career paths open to graduates of the master’s in information systems include both technical and management positions. Technical positions include: systems analyst, data administrator, information architect, database administrator, systems architect, and more. Management positions include: chief information officer, chief knowledge officer, chief privacy officer, project manager, and webmaster.

This information is being provided here for your planning purposes only. For official catalog information, please refer instead to the official George Mason University Catalog Website at http://catalog.gmu.edu.
This information is being provided here for your planning purposes only. For official catalog information, please refer instead to the official George Mason University Catalog Website at http://catalog.gmu.edu.
This information is being provided here for your planning purposes only. For official catalog information, please refer instead to the official George Mason University Catalog Website at http://catalog.gmu.edu.