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 MS Information Systems program is to allow students of diverse baccalaureate and professional backgrounds to 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;
  • allows students to further specialize in related areas of big data, data and knowledge engineering, decision support systems, web-based software engineering and information security assurance; and,
  • Prepares students for careers in information systems in large and small organizations in both industry and government.

Career paths open to graduates include systems analyst, data administrator, database administrator, information architect, systems architect, decision analyst, data warehouse administrator, database application developer, web-based information systems designer and developer, information engineer, knowledge engineer, 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, the following core courses, which constitute the technical body of knowledge for the program, are required of all students. Students with strong academic background in mathematical foundations of computer science may have CS 530 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science substituted for another elective course at the discretion of the program director.

  • CS 530 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
  • CS 550 Database Systems
  • INFS 612 Principles and Practices of Communication Networks
  • INFS 622 Information Systems Analysis and Design
  • INFS 740 Database Programming for the World Wide Web

In addition to the core courses, students may choose an emphasis within the program by taking five 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 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 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 562 - Information Security Theory and Practice
  • 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 Information Systems degree should be completed by the student and approved by their academic advisor before the end of their second semester in the program. This serves as a planning guide for the student and should be kept up to date by regular consultation with their 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.