Information Systems Graduate Program Handbook

Updated: April 2018

Program Description

Welcome to the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) degree program! Information technology is the enabling and driving force in every industry and governmental organization. Organizations offer a premium to those people who can apply advanced technologies to solving real-world business problems and opportunities. The MSIS program helps you develop the technical, systems, and organizational skills and knowledge to create and implement solutions for organizations. Rather than focusing exclusively on technology, this degree program helps you navigate the implementation and use of technology to support people in organizations. As part of the AACSB-accredited College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, you will learn from faculty who understand both organizations and computer technology.

There are two distinct tracks within the MSIS degree program, a track that emphasizes the management of information systems (IS management track) and a track that focuses on using data analytics to support data-informed decision making in organizations (data analytics track). While both tracks highlight the intersection of organizational decision-making, technology, and communication, the learning goals and potential career directions differ for the two tracks and are described below.

IS Management Track

Students pursuing the IS Management track will graduate with technology, management and communication skills in order to understand, explain, implement and manage information technologies in organizational settings. This track emphasizes the effective and efficient use of information technology to support an organization’s strategic goals. This track is suitable for students with a business, computer science, engineering, or science undergraduate degree who want to learn about the applications and management of information technology at an advanced level. Students with undergraduate degrees in other areas who have professional experience in information technology are also excellent candidates for this track. This track is best suited to those students who have worked in information technology and want to broaden their understanding of the field and the applications of technology.

The learning goals for the IS Management track are:

  1. Students will be able to manage the full development life cycle for information systems (IS) projects.
  2. Students will be able to manage the strategic alignment of the IS organization with corporate strategy and objectives.
  3. Students will be able to manage the resources required to sustain the technical infrastructure of an organization including data, personnel, security, and the technical environment.
  4. Students will be able to communicate effectively in written and oral formats.

Data Analytics Track

Students graduating with this degree track will be prepared to understand how large data sets are stored, accessed, analyzed and presented to help answer significant questions of interest to society. This track combines knowledge and skills of data management, data analysis, and information visualization with an application domain such as health care, education or business to learn how to use data for decision-making. Graduates will be able to integrate this knowledge and use their personal curiosity, new skills, and interest in the application domain to help organizations make effective use of data.

This track is suitable for students with a business, computer science, engineering, or science undergraduate degree who want to pursue a career in data analytics. This track is especially suitable for students who have just completed an undergraduate degree and are seeking a degree that will help them obtain employment.

The learning goals for the Data Analytics track are:

  1. Students will be able to use quantitative evaluation techniques with large datasets to analyze organizational questions.
  2. Students will be able to identify, define, and solve problems within a selected application domain, such as health care, education or manufacturing.
  3. Students will be able to manage the full development life cycle for information systems (IS) projects.
  4. Students will be able to work with people who do not have technical knowledge to identify and solve problems within a selected application domain.
  5. Students will be able to identify and manage the resources required to sustain the technical infrastructure of an organization.
  6. Students will be able to communicate effectively in written and oral formats.

More information about the MSIS program can be obtained by contacting either the program director or the department chair.

Mark G. Simkin
MSIS Program Director
AB 314E
(775) 784-4840
mgsimkin@yahoo.com

Dana Edberg
Chair, Information Systems
AB 314D
(775) 784-6179
dte@unr.edu

Note: This handbook lists graduate program academic policies and procedures. It includes information on graduate school policies, degree requirements, timeline for degree completion, committee selection guidelines and comprehensive exam/thesis requirements. Every effort has been made to make this handbook accurate as of the date of publication; however, this handbook does not constitute a contractual commitment. Graduate programs may not offer all of the courses as described, and policies are subject to yearly review and changes with program director and Graduate Council approval.

Degree, Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Both the IS Management and Data Analytics tracks can be completed in a total of 30 credits, or 10 semester courses, depending on the level of preparation before starting the degree program and the choices of degree options in the program. The MSIS degree is considered to be a professional program helping students launch or enhance a career in information systems. Neither track requires a comprehensive examination. It is possible, but not required, to complete a master’s thesis as part of the IS Management track. Both tracks are described in more detail in the following sections.

IS Management Track Degree Requirements

The IS Management track consists of four major components: 

  1. The information systems core (5 courses);
  2. The business core (2 courses);
  3. The required IS789 policy and strategy course (1 course); and
  4. (8) additional elective semester credits in the non-thesis option, or completion of a thesis in the thesis option.

IS Core: Required 5 Courses (15 Credits)

  • IS 670
  • IS 682
  • IS 746
  • IS 752
  • IS 788

Business Core:Select 2 Courses (6 Credits)

  • BADM 700
  • BADM 710
  • BADM 720
  • BADM 728
  • BADM 729
  • BADM 741
  • BADM 743
  • BADM 760
  • ECON 641
  • ECON 741

Option 1 - Non-Thesis (Total 32 Credits)

  • Electives (8 Credits)
    • At least 3 credits must have an IS designation
  • IS 789 (3 Credits)

Option 2 - Thesis (Total 30 Credits)

  • IS 797 (6 Credits)
    • Master's Thesis
  • IS 789 (3 Credits)

Information Systems Core (15 credits, 5 courses)

The purpose of the information systems core is to develop technical, analytical, and managerial skills as well as to learn core conceptual knowledge about the application of those skills. Each course includes the hands-on use of technology as well as conceptual knowledge about the specific technical area. The courses that compose the information systems core are:

  • IS 670 Computer Security, Controls, and Information Assurance
  • IS 682 Data Resource Management
  • IS 746 Project Management: Advanced Topics
  • IS 752 Issues in the Current Technical Environment
  • IS 788 Issues in Change Management

Business Core (6 credits, 2 courses)

The purpose of the business core is to provide general business knowledge for our graduates. A graduate from the IS Management track needs to know a number of business-related topics if he/she is to function well in an IT job, particularly if that job involves managing in a private or a public organization. Each student may have individual requirements for the business core. For example, one student may need a course in accounting, while another student may want to learn more about marketing. Students will be encouraged to choose two courses that will expand their current knowledge of business, organizations and management. Students with an undergraduate major in business will be required to choose two business core courses beyond the scope of their undergraduate courses. To accommodate differing student needs, students should choose two courses from the list of courses below, or should work with an advisor to identify the most appropriate courses.

Possible business core courses include:

  • BADM700 Statistics & Research Design
  • BADM710 Financial Reporting & Analysis
  • BADM720 Management & Org Science
  • BADM728 Managing Organizations Global
  • BADM729 Seminar in Management Issues
  • BADM741 Financial Management
  • BADM743 Investment Management
  • BADM760 Marketing
  • ECON641 Introduction to Econometrics
  • ECON741 Applied Econometrics

Policy and Strategy Course (3 credits, 1 course)

Students graduating with a track in IS Management 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.

Option 1 (Electives, 8 credits): Non-Thesis

Under this option, students will take two or three courses (8 credits) in a specialization area. The purpose of specialization electives is to encourage students to develop skills and background in an area of personal interest. Students must take 3 credits of electives with an IS designation. For the other elective classes, students can take courses from the Master of Accountancy program, courses from the business core offered in the current MBA program, or approved elective offerings. We recommend that students meet with an advisor to discuss elective courses for the program.

Option 2: Thesis (6 credits)

Students have the option to complete a master’s thesis (6 credits of graduate thesis would be applied to the graduation total). Completing a master’s thesis allows a student the opportunity to work closely with faculty to develop an area of research beyond that available in standard courses. A student following the thesis option will work with a faculty advisor to: (1) identify an area of interest, (2) develop a proposal, (3) create a thesis committee, (4) perform research, (5) write an appropriate thesis, and (6) orally defend the thesis in a public presentation. 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 within the IS Management track.

Prerequisites for the IS Management Track

A bachelor's degree in business or information systems is not required for admission to the IS Management track. Students without such degrees can become eligible for the IS Management track by completing prerequisite courses. The following items outline specific program prerequisites:

  1. Background in Information Systems and Computing Applications. An applicant to the MSIS program 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, applicants should have advanced competencies using computer application software. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS101, IS201, IS301 and/or IS495. An example of a graduate-level course that would satisfy part of this prerequisite is BADM750.
  2. Programming ability. An applicant should have experience using a procedural programming language. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS350 and CS135.
  3. Database design knowledge. An applicant should understand the concepts of database design and implementation. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS475 and CS457. An example of a graduate-level course that could satisfy this prerequisite is IS701.
  4. Project management knowledge. An applicant should understand the basic concepts of project initiation, planning, and management. An undergraduate course that could satisfy this prerequisite is IS445.

These prerequisites may be satisfied with professional knowledge gained outside the classroom. Students without the prerequisite knowledge should enroll in the recommended courses to gain the knowledge necessary for the MSIS program.

Data Analytics Track Degree Requirements

The Data Analytics track consists of five major components:

  1. Data analytics common body of knowledge (5 courses), referred to as “Core Knowledge”;
  2. Information systems core (5 courses);
  3. Analytics core (2 courses);
  4. Application domain core (2 courses);
  5. The master's project (1 course).

Core Knowledge** (15 credits)

  • BADM 700 Statistics and Research Design
  • BADM 730 Economics in the Firm
  • BADM 750 Information and Communications Technology in Organizations
  • IS 645 Project Management
  • IS 701 Data Management

IS Core required 5 courses (15 credits)

  • IS 670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance
  • IS 682 Data Resource Management
  • IS 746 Project Management 
  • IS 752 Technical Environment
  • IS 788 Change Management

Analytics Core required 2 courses (6 credits)

  • ECON 641 Introduction to Econometrics or CHS 780 Biostatistics in Public Health or STAT 757 Applied Regression
  • ECON 741 Applied Econometrics or one of STAT 652, 653, 788, 755 or CHS 783 Regression and Multivariate Analysis in Health Sciences

Application Domain Course Examples Select 2 courses (6 credits)

  • IS 685 Seminar in Information Systems
  • ECON 620 Economics of Health Care and Policy
  • ECON 765 Labor Economics
  • ECON 767 Environmental Economics
  • CHS 721 Program Evaluation in Public Health
  • CHS 753 Health Informatics 
  • CHS 758 Information Systems in Health Services Management
  • CHS 755 Health Policy and Administration

IS 798 (1-3 Credits)

  • Master’s Project

Core Knowledge (up to 5 courses, may be waived based on prerequisite knowledge)

Students may join this track of the MSIS degree program after completing a variety of different undergraduate degree programs. Similar to the MBA, the MSIS program may have students with significant prior knowledge or those with very little knowledge of the subject area. The degree program compensates for this variation by offering 15 credits of core knowledge courses for those students with minimal background in business or information systems. As shown in Figure 2, there are courses in five areas - statistics, economics, information systems, project management, and data management for those students who need that “core knowledge.” However, these courses may be satisfied with undergraduate courses for those students who graduate with a degree in an area closely related to the MSIS. For example, a student may have gained the required prerequisite knowledge from BADM750 by taking IS301 as an undergraduate student. As another example, the basic statistic knowledge gained from BADM700 could be replaced with undergraduate courses ECON261 and 262. Thus, the Data Analytics track ranges between a minimum of 30 credits and a maximum of 45 credits for completion due to this need for core knowledge to succeed in the program. Any course in the Core Knowledge area can be waived.

A course waiver means that a student is excused from taking a specific class due to prior work experience or prior education. Course waivers do not reduce the number of credits that a student must take to complete the MSIS degree, which remains at a minimum of 30 credits. Individual MSIS courses may be waived with the permission of the Director of the MSIS program or his/her designees. Applications for core course waiver must be completed during a student’s first-year in the program.

Students cannot receive credit by examination for any of the non-waivable courses in the curriculum, nor can they replace any of the non-waivable courses with work experience. Non-waivable courses are those in the Information Systems Core, Data Analytics Core, Application Domain Core, and Master’s Project. Work experience or internship cannot be used as a substitute for any courses in the Information Systems Core, Data Analytics Core, or Application Domain Core. It is possible that a student may be part of an internship experience while completing the Master’s Project, but the internship will not replace the Master’s Project.

Information Systems Core (15 credits, 5 courses)

The purpose of the information systems core is to develop technical, analytical, and managerial skills as well as to learn core conceptual knowledge about the application of those skills. Each course includes the hands-on use of technology as well as the conceptual knowledge about the specific technical area. The Information Systems Core courses do not have to be completed prior to taking the IS798 Master’s Project course. The courses that compose the information systems core are:

  • IS 670 Computer Security, Controls, and Information Assurance 
  • IS 682 Data Resource Management  IS 746 Project Management: Advanced Topics
  • IS 752 Issues in the Current Technical Environment
  • IS 788 Issues in Change Management

Data Analytics Core (6 credits, 2 courses)

Students will enhance their skills in research design, statistical methods and modeling by taking courses in the data analytics core. The analytics core assumes that students have prior knowledge of statistics, as developed in the data analytics class (BADM700) within the core knowledge section. Students take two additional courses in analytics, selecting one in each set as shown below:

Set 1: ECON641 Introduction to Econometrics; or CHS780 Biostatistics in Public Health; or STAT757 Applied Regression.

Set 2: ECON741 Applied Econometrics; or one of STAT652, STAT653, STAT755, STAT788; or CHS783 Regression and Multivariate Analysis in Health Sciences.

Both of the Data Analytics core courses should be completed prior to taking the IS798 Master’s Project course.

Application Domain Core (6 credits, 2 courses)

Students will select an application domain emphasis to learn what questions are relevant for decision making in a specific area. Courses taken within the application domain emphasis must build on each other – a student must select two courses that will create in-depth knowledge of an application domain such as health care, education, or a selected specialization within economics or business. Examples of courses that could comprise the application core are provided below, however there are many other graduate classes that could be used to create an application domain of interest to the student.

  • IS 685 Seminar in Information Systems
  • ECON 620 Economics of Health Care and Policy
  • ECON 765 Labor Economics
  • ECON 767 Environmental Economics
  • CHS 721 Program Evaluation in Public Health
  • CHS 753 Health Informatics CHS 758 Information Systems in Health Services Management
  • CHS 755 Health Policy and Administration

Students must meet with an advisor to discuss appropriate courses for the application domain core and receive advisor approval before taking the application domain courses. At least one of the application domain courses should be completed prior to taking the IS798 Master’s Project course.

IS798 Master’s Project (1-3 credits)

A key goal of the MSIS with an emphasis in data analytics is to develop knowledge and skills to analyze and solve organizational problems with the use of large data sets. The master’s project will guide students through the complete analysis of a problem identified and defined by each student during the classes taken in the application core. This course should be the last one completed in the degree program and can be taken for 1-3 credits depending on the size and scope of the project.

The purpose of the project is to learn how to structure an ambiguous problem and to analyze data related to that problem. The project will be relatively unstructured. It is the responsibility of the student to: (1) define the question or questions that need to be answered, (2) identify what data are necessary to answer the questions, (3) collect the data from existing data sources and put that data into a form that can be used to answer the questions, (4) analyze the data; and (5) generate visualization methods that help other people understand the analysis of the data.

Options for Completion of IS798

This course will not meet as a standard structured course. This course is run as an independent student project. There will be no exams or class meeting times. This course will be considered complete when the project is completed. Grading will be on a pass/fail basis. There are no graded components of the course – a final pass/fail will be provided after completion of the project. The project can be performed using one of two options:

Option 1) Answer questions for a real client using real data supplied by the client. The student will work directly with an organization that provides a data set and works with the student to define the possible questions that should/could be answered from the dataset. The student will meet with members of the organization to understand the goals of the organization in relationship to the data that is available for analysis. This is an iterative step in the analysis process, because the student will help the organization define the questions that could be answered based on the available data, and will also help the organization understand what data are needed to answer the questions that the organization wants answered. The student will work with members of the organization to both refine the questions and define the required dataset. After gaining agreement on the questions and required data, the student will obtain the data from the client, put the data into a format that can be used to answer the questions, analyze the data and generate the required deliverables.

Deliverables for this option: This includes a presentation to the client, appropriate visualization methods (usually graphical) and a business report with the detailed analysis. The student will discuss the actual deliverables with the client prior to embarking on the analysis of the dataset.

Option 2) Complete a research project and submit it to an academic conference. The student will identify a research question that is of interest in the academic or business literature within the application domain studied by the student, identify a publicly available dataset that could be used for analysis, put the data into a form that can be used to answer the question, analyze the data, and write a research paper for submission to a conference. There are many different conferences available, and some are aimed at the dissemination of research conducted by graduate students. Similar to option #1, the definition of the questions and dataset is an iterative process to define a research question and identify a publicly available dataset that could be used to analyze the question. The student must read the academic literature related to the research area to define a question, but then must also search for data that could be used to analyze the question. It is possible to define a question and find there is no data available to analyze the question, and it is also possible to find data that are available, but realize there is no interesting question to study from that data. So it is up to the student to do both tasks – define the question and find a dataset that is appropriate to study that question.

Deliverables for this option: A paper suitable for submission to a conference. There is usually a word-limit or page-limit for conferences of about 5,000 words or 10 pages.

Project Planning and Milestones for IS798

Students will take IS798 during their last semester prior to graduation, but should plan for IS798 during the courses that comprise their analytics core and application domain. Here are the planning decisions and information that a student should make and gather while taking courses in the analytics core and application domain (prior to taking IS798):

  • Which IS798 option will I complete?
  • What application domain is of most interest to me?
  • What are the key academic and practitioner journals relevant to the application domain?
  • What are the most important issues that people are studying in the application domain? Why are those issues important?
  • What questions could be answered through data analysis within that application domain?
  • Have those questions been addressed or answered in the academic and/or practitioner journals? What have other people said about those questions?
  • What methods of data analysis are used most often in the application domain?
  • What methods of data visualization are used most often in the application domain?
  • What datasets which are relevant to the application domain are publicly available?
  • What datasets which are relevant to the application domain are or might be available through UNR facilities?
  • Here are the general milestones that should be completed while taking IS798 to assess your progress towards completion of the project:

Week 1: Answers to the questions above and a preliminary project plan.

Milestone 1: Define research question (or set of related questions) and appropriate dataset. Identify external readings appropriate for the research question. Finalized project plan.

Milestone 2: Put the data into a format that can be used to analyze the questions. This may require designing and implementing an appropriate database. Complete external readings appropriate for the research question.

Milestone 3: Define and implement analytical method.

Milestone 4: Gather feedback from client to see whether question and analytical method are appropriate. Incorporate external readings as appropriate.

Milestone 5: Create visualization; complete analysis.

Milestone 6: Finish deliverables.

Prerequisites for the Data Analytics Track

The MSIS data analytics track is open to those who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Students may join this program after completing a variety of different undergraduate degree programs. Before starting this program, students must have: 

  1. A basic background of the vocabulary of technology-based information systems. This background could be satisfied through classes such as IS101, CS100, or IS201.
  2. Basic knowledge of computer programming. An applicant should have experience using a procedural programming language. Undergraduate courses that could satisfy this prerequisite include IS350 or CS135.

Graduate School Academic Requirements

Graduate School Academic Requirements:

All graduate students must maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0. If their GPA drops below 3.0, they are either placed on probation or dismissed. Undergraduate courses will not count towards graduate GPA.

Probation: students whose cumulative graduate GPA falls between 2.31 and 2.99 are automatically placed on academic probation for one semester. If they fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of one semester, they are dismissed from their graduate program. Thesis, dissertation, S/U graded credits, and transfer credits have no impact on a student’s GPA.

Dismissal: students whose cumulative graduate GPA is 2.30 or lower are dismissed. Dismissed students are no longer enrolled in their graduate program but may take graduate-level courses as a Grad Special. Dismissed students wishing to complete their degree must obtain approval to take graduate-level courses, raise their graduate GPA to at least 3.0, and then re-apply to their graduate program. Any courses taken in an effort to raise their GPA will be included in the graduate special/ transfer credit limitation (9 credits for master’s degrees).

Please refer to Nevada System of Higher Education CODE on Student Program Dismissal Procedures (SPDP) and review conference policies: (NSHE CODE, Chapter 11, Sections 1-3). If program dismissal is based upon failure to maintain required grades or a required GPA as described above, SPDP does not apply and the student may be summarily dismissed from the graduate program.

MSIS Admissions Requirements

Students wishing to apply to the MSIS program must meet the admissions criteria for both the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School and the Information Systems Department MSIS program. All applications are reviewed by the MSIS admissions committee, and only complete applications are considered. Applications approved by the committee are forwarded to the Graduate School for final disposition.

Graduate School Requirements:

  1. Grade Point Average 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.
  2. A baccalaureate (or an advanced) degree from an accredited four-year institution; any major is acceptable.

Information Systems Department MSIS Requirements

1. Completion of 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. Students can substitute GRE scores for the GMAT only if they have already taken the GRE test. The recommended minimum score for the verbal and quantitative reasoning scores of the GRE is 150, and 3.5 for the analytical writing section. The GMAT or GRE exam is not required for MSIS admissions if:

  • A student has an undergraduate business degree with a major in information systems from a business school accredited by the AACSB at the time the degree was granted, and an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher; or
  • A student has completed a graduate degree from a regionally accredited degree program with a GPA greater than or equal to 3.0; or
  • Has served as a full-time academic faculty member at an AACSB Accredited College for at least five years.

2. All students are expected to be proficient using a computer for word processing. Students in the IS Management track should be able to analyze and solve business problems with software such as spreadsheets, statistical packages, and databases. Students enrolled in the Data Analytics track will develop those skills as part of the degree program.

3. International student applicants must submit satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) indicating an ability to speak, write, and understand the English language. The minimum TOEFL score is 550 or 6.5 on the International English Language Test System (IELTS). International students may be required to complete additional Intensive English courses during their first semester in the program.

Application Materials

To apply, the following documents must be submitted via the online application system to the Graduate School at the University of Nevada, Reno:

  • A completed Application for Admission.
  • A non-refundable application fee.
  • An official transcript(s) from each college or university where work has been completed or is in progress.
  • The official report of the GMAT or GRE.
  • A current, detailed resume, including all undergraduate education and work experience.
  • Personal statement expressing your career interest and indicating why you wish to obtain an MSIS.

Please see the Graduate School admissions website for more information and to apply for the program.

Application Deadlines

Students may apply for admission into the MSIS program for either the fall or spring semesters. Applications are approved on a continuing basis, but students should file complete applications (including GMAT scores) at least 2 months prior to the semester in which they wish to matriculate.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer graduate credits from accredited institutions to meet the degree requirements. Students can also apply credits from another graduate program at UNR towards the MSIS program. Per graduate school policy, the combined number of semester credits from another institution and from another graduate program cannot be more than 9 semester credits. The decision whether a course taken in a different program and/or at a different institution meets the MSIS program requirements is made on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate School Policy Regarding Transfer Credits

These are credits transferred from another institution. Credits completed at UNR in another program or as a graduate special do not need to be transferred. Transfer credit can be requested on the Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request form available on Graduate School website, and must be signed by the student, major advisor, and graduate director. Transfer credits applied to a master’s program must comply with the time limitation on master’s work (6 years). Thus, if a student took a course five years prior to admission, they would have to complete the degree within one year for the course to apply to the degree. Credits from a completed master’s degree will be exempt from the 8-year time limitation for those students pursuing a doctoral degree.

Timeline for Degree Completion

There are many deadlines that a graduate student must consider in order to complete the MSIS degree program. Please note the deadlines below for the following forms that must be submitted to the graduate school. There are no reminders about these deadlines that will be sent to you, so please be sure to note each.

View an updated list of forms and requirements.

Sample Timelines for Completion of the Degree Program

The timeline for completion of the program depends on:

(1) the relative completion of the program prerequisites,

(2) the track, and

(3) whether the student is going to school part-time or full-time. Sample timelines below are divided by track.

IS Management Track TimeLine

Both of the sample timelines below assume that a student has completed all required prerequisites for the program and is starting class in the fall semester. Most classes are offered in only the fall or spring semester, so it is important that a student be aware of when a particular course is offered.

Full-time student timeline:

Fall (1) 12 credits

  • IS670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance (3 credits)
  • IS788 Issues in Change Management (3 credits)
  • Business Core #1 (3 credits)
  • Business Core #2 (3 credits)

Spring (1) 12 credits

  • IS682 Data Resource Management (3 credits)
  • IS746 Project Management (3 credits)
  • IS752 Technical Environment (3 credits)
  • Elective #1 (3 credits)

Fall (2) 8 or 9 credits

  • IS 789 IS Policy & Strategy (3 credits)
  • Elective #2 (3 credits)
  • Elective #3 (2 or 3 credits)

Part-time student timeline:

Fall (1) 6 credits 

  • IS670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance (3 credits)
  • Business Core #1 (3 credits)

Spring (1) 6 credits

  • IS682 Data Resource Management (3 credits)
  • IS746 Project Management (3 credits)

Fall (2) 6 credits

  • IS788 Issues in Change Management (3 credits)
  • Business Core #2 (3 credits)

Spring (2) 6 credits

  • IS752 Technical Environment (3 credits)
  • Elective #1 (3 credits)

Fall (3) 6 credits

  • IS 789 IS Policy & Strategy (3 credits)
  • Elective #2 (3 credits)

Spring (3) 2 or 3 credits

  • Elective #3 (2 or 3 credits)

Data Analytics Track TimeLine

Both of the sample timelines below assume that a student is attending school full-time.

Does not need to complete the Core Knowledge for the program:

Fall (1) 12 credits

  • IS670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance (3 credits)
  • IS 788 Issues in Change Management (3 credits)
  • Analytics Core #1 (3 credits - ex. ECON 641)
  • Application Domain Core #1 (3 credits - Consult Advisor)

Spring (1) 12 credits

  • IS746 Project Management (3 credits)
  • IS752 Technical Environment (3 credits)
  • IS682 Data Resource Management (3 credits)
  • Analytics Core #2 (3 credits - ex. ECON 741)

Fall (2) 6 credits

  • IS 798 Master’s Project (3 credits)
  • Application Domain Core #2 (3 credits – Consult Advisor)

Needs to complete the Core Knowledge for the program:

Fall (1) 12 credits

  • BADM 700 Statistic and Research Design (3 credits)
  • BADM 750 Information and Communications Technology in Organizations (3 credits)
  • IS 645 Project Management (3 credits)
  • IS 701 Data Management (3 credits)

Spring (1) 12 credits

  • IS682 Data Resource Management (3 credits)
  • IS 746 Project Management (3 credits)
  • Application Domain Core #1 (3 credits – Consult Advisor)
  • Analytics Core #1 (3 credits)

Fall (2) 12 credits

  • IS670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance (3 credits)
  • IS788 Issues in Change Management
  • BADM 730 Economics in the Firm (3 credits)
  • Analytics Core #2 (3 credits)

Spring (2) 9 credits

  • Application Domain Core #2 (3 credits – Consult Advisor)
  • IS752 Technical Environment (3 credits)
  • IS 798 Master’s Project (3 credits)

The timeline below is for a student who does not need to complete the core knowledge, and is completing the program on a part-time basis.

Fall (1) 6 credits

  • IS670 Security, Controls & Information Assurance (3 credits)
  • Analytics Core #1 (3 credits - ex. ECON 641)

Spring (1) 6 credits

  • IS682 Data Resource Management (3 credits)
  • Analytics Core #2 (3 credits - ex. ECON 741)

Fall (2) 6 credits

  • IS 788 Issues in Change Management (3 credits)
  • Application Domain Core #1 (3 credits - Consult Advisor)

Spring (2) 6 credits

  • IS746 Project Management (3 credits)
  • IS752 Technical Environment (3 credits)

Fall (3) 6 credits

  • Application Domain Core #2 (3 credits – Consult Advisor)
  • IS 798 Master’s Project (3 credits)

Committee Selection Guidelines

Students need create a committee only if pursuing the thesis option in the IS Management track. Students who are planning to complete a master’s thesis should form a committee no later than the third semester of the degree program. The purpose of the committee is to help a student complete the thesis process. Here are the guidelines regarding the faculty committee:

  • There must be at least three faculty members on the committee.
  • One faculty member must be denoted as the thesis committee chair/faculty advisor for the student.
  • All committee members must be graduate faculty members.
  • At least one committee member (the graduate school representative or “outside” member) must be from a department or program different that the IS department.
  • Formal approval of the committee is made by the Graduate Dean.

Comprehensive Exams

No comprehensive exam is required for the MSIS program.

Thesis Requirements

thesis is optional in the MSIS program, and it is unusual for a student to choose to complete a thesis. However, it is an available option for students pursuing the IS Management Track. Please consult with the Program Director or Department Chair for information regarding the thesis option.

Graduate School forms and resources related to thesis and dissertations:

Please note that once all requirements have been met, you must submit a Final Review Approval and Notice of Completion form in order to graduate.

Graduate Assistantships

The Information Systems department employs two to three graduate assistants to support faculty and staff with teaching and research tasks. The positions are highly competitive and we are seeking graduate assistants with technical skills in information technology and good communication (speaking and writing) skills.

When a position becomes available, all students admitted to the MSIS program (current and incoming MSIS students) will be informed via email and encouraged to apply, if interested. Students will be asked in that email to submit a current resume via an email attachment and a statement in that same email explaining why they are interested in working as a graduate assistant. The email requesting the application will be sent from the department chair. Students interested in a GA position should send their resume and statement via email to the department chair. Hiring decisions will be made by the department chair after discussions with faculty in the IS Department.

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship. State-funded assistantships (GTA/GRA) may be held for a maximum of: three (3) years for master’s degree students and five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

View the most updated information on graduate assistantships.

Health insurance

All domestic degree seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University Online Waiver Form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) Website directly.

Leave of Absence

Continuous Enrollment

To maintain “good standing” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.

Leave of Absence

Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a Leave of Absence Form available on the Graduate School website during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leave of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.

Reinstatement

When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, he or she may request reinstatement via the Reinstatement form (available on the Graduate School website). This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to Gradate Standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents all graduate students and promotes the welfare and interests of the graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The GSA works closely with appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and Student Services and reports to the President of the University. The GSA government functions through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council and established committees.

Graduate School Forms

Forms and Deadlines Website