Modern information systems manage data, information and knowledge to support enterprise functions and decision making as well as human social activity over the Internet. Increasingly, these systems are distributed, collaborative, involve big data and hosted in the cloud. The mission of the MSIS program is to allow students of diverse baccalaureate and professional backgrounds obtain a high-quality MS degree that

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

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 and project manager.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 30 credits corresponding to 10 graduate courses.

To provide a common background in the fundamentals of information systems, four core courses are required of all students. Six elective courses may be within an emphasis area or according to students' professional interests. 

Four core courses (12 credits) are required of all MS in Information Systems graduates:

In addition to the core courses, students may choose an emphasis within the program by taking six courses from one of the  following emphasis areas: database management, data mining, electronic commerce, software engineering, knowledge management,and information security and assurance.  

The approved elective courses in each emphasis area are listed below:

Database Management
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • CS 787 - Decision Guidance Systems
  • INFS 623 - Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems 
  • INFS 740 - Database Programming for the World Wide Web
  • INFS 760 - Advanced Database Management 
  • INFS 772 - Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web 
  • INFS 796 - Directed Readings in Information Systems 

Data Mining
  • CS 504 - Principles of Data Management and Mining 
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • CS 657 - Mining Massive Datasets
  • CS 674 - Data Mining on Multimedia Data 
  • CS 782 - Machine Learning 
  • INFS 623 - Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems 
  • INFS 796 - Directed Readings in Information Systems 

Electronic Commerce
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • INFS 640 - Introduction to Electronic Commerce 
  • INFS 770 - Knowledge Management for E-Business 
  • INFS 772 - Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web 
  • INFS 774 - Enterprise Architecture 
  • INFS 796 - Directed Readings in Information Systems
  • ISA 656 - Network Security 

Software Engineering
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • SWE 619 - Object-Oriented Software Specification and Construction 
  • SWE 621 - Software Modeling and Architectural Design 
  • SWE 622 - Distributed Software Engineering 
  • SWE 625 - Software Project Management 
  • SWE 631 - Software Design Patterns 
  • SWE 632 - User Interface Design and Development 
  • SWE 637 - Software Testing
  • SWE 642 - Software Engineering for the World Wide Web 
  • SWE 721 - Reusable Software Architectures 
  • SWE 727 - Quality of Service for Software Architectures 
  • SWE 795 - Advanced Topics in Software Engineering 

Knowledge Management
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • CS 580 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 681 - Knowledge Engineering
  • INFS 623 - Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems 
  • INFS 740 - Database Programming for the World Wide Web 
  • INFS 770 - Knowledge Management for E-Business
  • INFS 772 - Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web 
  • INFS 774 - Enterprise Architecture
  • INFS 796 - Directed Readings in Information Systems 

Information Security and Assurance
  • CS 530 - Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science 
  • CS 531 - Fundamentals of Systems Programming 
  • ISA 652 - Security Audit and Compliance Testing
  • ISA 656 - Network Security 
  • ISA 673 - Operating Systems Security 
  • ISA 674 - Intrusion Detection 
  • ISA 681 - Secure Software Design 
  • ISA 763 - Security Protocol Analysis 
  • ISA 764 - Security Experimentation
  • ISA 785 - Research in Digital Forensics 
  • ISA 796 - Directed Readings in Information Security 

Thesis (optional):

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. The thesis must be guided and approved by a committee of three appropriate faculty members and presented at an appropriate forum. 

Additional Information

For additional information on the degree requirements of the MS in Information Systems:

  • The MS-ISYS section of the Mason Catalog is the official source for the degree requirements of the program.
  • These slides from the orientation for new MS students provide an overview of the program, as well as additional useful information.

Academic Advising

A plan of study form for the MS degree should be completed and submitted by the student soon after admission to the program. This serves as a planning guide for the student. This plan should be kept up to date by regular consultation with the academic advisor. A final signed version of the plan must be included when the student submits a graduation application.

Plan of Study forms for all the MS degrees offered by the CS department are available at this web page.

For more information, please see the academic advising pages and the FAQ for Masters students.