Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) handbook
Updated August 2022
2. Degree, prerequisites and admission requirements
The MSIS degree is intended to be a professional program helping students launch or enhance a career in information systems. Neither emphasis in the degree requires a comprehensive examination, professional project, examining committee or master’s thesis.
Students can be admitted to the MSIS with a variety of different undergraduate degrees. The emphases in Data Analytics and IS Management can both be completed in a minimum of 30 credits, or 10 semester courses, depending on your level of preparation before starting the degree program.
Both emphases require as preparation a basic background in the vocabulary and use of technology-based information systems. This background includes identifying hardware, software and networking options for individuals and organizations, as well as the use of computer applications such as Microsoft Office. This background could be satisfied through classes such as IS 101, IS 201, and IS 301.
For the emphasis in Data Analytics, additional preparation in the course catalog is referred to as the “Common Body of Knowledge.” For the emphasis in IS Management, this knowledge is referred to in the course catalog as “Undergraduate Prerequisites.” The same three areas of preparation are required by both emphases. These areas are:
- Basic knowledge of statistics. This includes descriptive statistics, probability distributions, sampling, hypothesis testing and an introduction to correlation and regression.
- Knowledge of information technology in organizations. This includes understanding the fundamental hardware/software of a computer, identifying and describing the different types of information systems in organizations (examples: ERP, CRM, DSS, BI), defining the strategic use of technology to support an organization, and using desktop software such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation and familiarity with social media and group support tools.
- Knowledge of project management. This includes identifying and describing the different types of systems development life cycles, describing the process of managing a project, differentiating between traditional and agile project management processes and using tools such as Gantt charts, Kanban boards and use cases.
You can be admitted to the MSIS without having completed all three areas of preparation. It is possible to gain the preparation while in the MSIS program, but it will require additional credits beyond the minimum of 30 credits required to complete the degree. For example, let’s say that you majored in math or psychology for your undergraduate degree and have taken classes in statistics. You would be prepared to take some of the required classes in the MSIS right away (i.e. IS 682, BUS 706). But you may not have knowledge of information technology in organizations or project management. While you are taking non-waivable, required MSIS classes (i.e. IS 682 and BUS 706), you would also have to take classes in information technology in organizations and project management.
Data Analytics Emphasis degree requirements
The Data Analytics emphasis consists of four major components:
- Data Analytics Common Body of Knowledge (depends on student preparation as discussed in the prior section)
- Information systems core (4 courses, 12 credits)
- Analytics core (3 courses, 9 credits)
- Electives (3 courses, 9 credits)
The Data Analytics Common Body of Knowledge is discussed in the previous section. Below, three courses are listed that could fulfill those requirements. Any of the three areas of knowledge/skills in the Common Body of Knowledge can be waived depending on your preparation prior to joining the degree program.
A course waiver means that a student is excused from taking a specific class due to prior education/coursework. 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. Classes in the Common Body of Knowledge may be waived with the permission of the Graduate Director of the MSIS program or his/her designees. Applications for a Common Body of Knowledge course waiver must be completed during a student’s first-year in the program. Please contact the Graduate Director for the process of waiving Common Body of Knowledge courses.
The IS Core, Analytics Core and Electives courses are described in more detail in the next section below. Students must complete a total of at least 12 credits (4 classes) at the 700-level. The classes in the IS Core, Analytics Core and Electives are non-waivable courses in the curriculum.
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. Work experience or internship cannot be used as a substitute for any non-waivable courses. A non-waivable course can be substituted with another course if a student has prior experience or knowledge in that course and wishes to expand that knowledge by taking a more advanced course.
Sometimes a non-waivable course must be substituted with another course. If you graduated from the University of Nevada with a course at the 400-level, then you cannot take that same course at the 600-level. For example, if you took IS 475 (Database Design and Implementation) then you cannot take IS 675 and receive credit for the course. In that situation, the Graduate Director will help you find a substitute course for that non-waivable course.
IS Management Emphasis degree requirements
The Undergraduate Prerequisites for the emphasis in IS Management includes: Basic knowledge of statistics (example classes: ECON 261/262 or BADM 700); a background in information systems and computing applications (example classes: IS101, IS201, and IS 301 or BADM 750); and knowledge of project management (example class: IS445/645). Please refer to the beginning of section 2 for an explanation of the content of these prerequisites.
The IS Management emphasis consists of three components:
- The information systems core (5 courses, 15 credits)
- Electives (4 courses, 12 credits)
- Policy and Strategy Course (1 course, 3 credits)
Below is an overview of the courses required for the emphasis in IS Management.