Students entering the MS ISA, MS ISYS, and MS SWE programs must have course work or equivalent knowledge in the following areas: a modern, object oriented programming language such as Java; data structures and algorithms; machine organization (e.g., as given in computer system architecture or assembly language courses); and topics in discrete mathematics including sets, relations, functions, trees, graphs, and inductive proofs. The level of knowledge required in these areas is equivalent to that taught in undergraduate courses, and may be achieved by taking the following George Mason University courses:

  • INFS 501 Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems
  • INFS 515 Computer Organization
  • INFS 519 Program Design and Data Structures
  • SWE 510 Object Oriented Programming in Java

Provisional admission is offered if a student has some deficiencies in preparation, but is otherwise a strong applicant. (Note: Due to federal requirements, students on F1/J1 visas are not eligible for provisional admission.). In such cases, students are advised of the necessary foundation courses to be satisfactorily completed with a grade of B or better before beginning the core curriculum. Foundation courses do not earn credit toward the MS degree. 

Students have one opportunity to test out of their required foundation courses before beginning their first semester. Additionally, if a student feels they have taken an equivalent course that was overlooked, an appeal process is available. More information on these options can be found on the policies and procedures page.

The following undergraduate courses offered at GMU will serve as equivalents for the corresponding foundation courses.

Foundation GMU - SWE/INFS GMU - CS/MATH GMU - IT/MATH
Object-oriented Programming SWE 510 CS 211 IT 106 & IT 206
Discrete Math INFS 501 MATH 125 or 325 MATH 125 (Not MATH 112)
Machine Organization INFS 515 CS 367 or CS 465 IT 212 & IT 342
Data Structures INFS 519 CS 310 IT 306

The following undergraduate courses offered at NVCC will serve as equivalents for the corresponding foundation courses.

Foundation NVCC
Object-oriented Programming CSC 202
Discrete Math Math 288
Machine Organization None
Data Structures None