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 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.

Admissions

Eligibility and Application Requirements

Applicants must hold a four-year (120-credit minimum) baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have earned a GPA of 3.00 or better in the last 60 credits. Applicants also must submit the following:

  • A one-page goals statement
  • A work resume.
  • International students must submit their English proficiency scores.

Policies

Foundation Requirements

To succeed in graduate courses, students entering the MS program must have coursework or equivalent knowledge in the following five foundation areas: (1) introductory programming in any programming language; (2) knowledge of an object-oriented programming language such as Java, C++, or C#; (3) data structures and algorithms; (4) machine organization such as those given in computer system architecture or assembly language courses; (5) and topics in discrete mathematics, including sets, propositional and predicate logic,  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 demonstrated in one of several ways:

  1. Applicable undergraduate coursework: Such courses must appear on transcripts from the student’s undergraduate university, or another accredited university. Applicable courses from George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) are given here:
    1. Foundation: OO programming
      • GMU CS: CS 211 Object-Oriented Programming 
      • GMU IT: IT 106 Introduction to IT Problem Solving Using Computer Programming & IT 206 Object Oriented Techniques for IT Problem Solving
      • NVCC: CSC 201
    2. Foundation: Data structures
      • GMU CS: CS 310 Data Structures 
      • GMU IT: IT 306 Data Structures and Algorithms in Java
      • NVCC: None
    3. Foundation: Machine organization
      • GMU CS: CS 367 Computer Systems and Programming or CS 465 Computer Systems Architecture
      • GMU IT: IT 342 Operating Systems Fundamentals
      • NVCC: None
    4. Foundation: Discrete math
  2. Preparatory coursework taken at GMU: The CS department offers the following bridge foundation courses: (1-2) SWE 510 Object-Oriented Programming in Java, (3) INFS 519 Program Design and Data Structures, (4) INFS 515 Computer Organization Course and Operating Systems, and (5) INFS 501 Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems. These courses may be taken by students in non-degree or provisional status.
  3. Passing appropriate testout exams: Students can self-prepare and attempt testout exams for SWE 510 Object-Oriented Programming in Java, INFS 519 Program Design and Data Structures, INFS 515 Computer Organization Course and Operating Systems, and INFS 501 Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems INFS 501 Discrete and Logical Structures for Information Systems. The exams are given before classes begin in January and August, and can only be taken once. Registration is not required; students need only be present at the date, time, and location specified and bring some form of photographic identification. Detailed information is available on the department web site. Students who fail any one of the exams must take the equivalent course before enrolling in the core curriculum courses.

Eligible domestic students who lack one or more foundation may be admitted provisionally and required to take the appropriate preparatory course or pass the testout exam. Other students may be advised to learn the foundation material and re-apply.

Advising

The department holds orientation meetings in January and August to advise newly admitted and continuing students. Members of the faculty are present to answer questions and offer advice concerning programs of study. Detailed information is available on the department web site.

The department also provides an advising function to students, as outlined in the student advising form available from the department. Each student is assigned a faculty advisor with whom to confer on matters related to degree requirements. A plan of study form for the MS degree should be completed and submitted by the student soon after admission to the program. This plan serves as a guide for the student.

Banner Code: VS-MS-ISYS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Core 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 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 550Database Systems3
INFS 612Principles and Practices of Communication Networks3
INFS 622Information Systems Analysis and Design3
INFS 740Database Programming for the World Wide Web3
Total Credits15

Electives

Five courses selected from the lists which follow.15
Total Credits15

Electives are organized into the following emphasis areas: database management, data mining, electronic commerce, software engineering, knowledge management, and information security and assurance.

In addition to the core courses taken as part of the MS-ISYS curriculum, students may choose an emphasis within the program by taking five courses from one of the emphasis areas listed below. Students may also choose electives spanning several emphasis areas; they may also plan their electives so as to obtain certificates offered by the department. A list of approved electives is given within emphasis areas and by graduate program. A full list follows. Special topics courses may be used as electives with prior approval of the student's academic advisor and the graduate coordinator.

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 Thesis), which is primarily intended for students planning to pursue a PhD in information technology with a concentration in information systems.

Database Management

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 787Decision Guidance Systems3
INFS 623Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems3
INFS 740Database Programming for the World Wide Web3
INFS 760Advanced Database Management3
INFS 772Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web3
INFS 796Directed Readings in Information Systems3

Data Mining

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 657Mining Massive Datasets with MapReduce3
CS 782Advanced Machine Learning3
INFS 623Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems3
INFS 796Directed Readings in Information Systems3

Electronic Commerce

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
INFS 640Introduction to Electronic Commerce3
INFS 770Knowledge Management for E-Business3
INFS 772Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web3
INFS 774Enterprise Architecture3
INFS 796Directed Readings in Information Systems3
ISA 656Network Security3

Software Engineering

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
SWE 619Object-Oriented Software Specification and Construction3
SWE 621Software Design and Architecture3
SWE 622Distributed Software Engineering3
SWE 625Software Project Management3
SWE 631Software Design Patterns3
SWE 632User Interface Design and Development3
SWE 637Software Testing3
SWE 642Software Engineering for the World Wide Web3
SWE 721Reusable Software Architectures3
SWE 795Advanced Topics in Software Engineering3

Knowledge Management

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 580Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
CS 681Instructable Cognitive Agents3
INFS 623Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems3
INFS 740Database Programming for the World Wide Web3
INFS 770Knowledge Management for E-Business3
INFS 772Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web3
INFS 774Enterprise Architecture3
INFS 796Directed Readings in Information Systems3

Information Security and Assurance

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 531Computer Systems and Fundamentals of Systems Programming3
ISA 562Information Security Theory and Practice3
ISA 652Security Audit and Compliance Testing3
ISA 656Network Security3
ISA 673Operating Systems Security3
ISA 674Intrusion Detection3
ISA 681Secure Software Design and Programming3
ISA 763Security Protocol Analysis3
ISA 764Security Experimentation3
ISA 785Research in Digital Forensics3
ISA 796Directed Readings in Information Security3

Certificates

Certificates may also be obtained in the following areas: Information Security and Assurance, and Software Engineering, with or without a concentration in Web-Based Software Engineering.

Approved Electives

Elective Areas by Program

Information Systems (INFS)

INFS 623Web Search Engines and Recommender Systems3
INFS 640Introduction to Electronic Commerce3
INFS 697Topics in Information Systems1-6
INFS 740Database Programming for the World Wide Web3
INFS 760Advanced Database Management3
INFS 770Knowledge Management for E-Business3
INFS 772Intelligent Agents and the Semantic Web3
INFS 774Enterprise Architecture3
INFS 796Directed Readings in Information Systems3
INFS 797Advanced Topics in Information Systems1-6

Information Security and Assurance (ISA)

ISA 562Information Security Theory and Practice3
ISA 564Security Laboratory3
ISA 650Security Policy3
ISA 652Security Audit and Compliance Testing3
ISA 656Network Security3
ISA 673Operating Systems Security3
ISA 674Intrusion Detection3
ISA 681Secure Software Design and Programming3
ISA 697Topics in Information Security1-6
ISA 763Security Protocol Analysis3
ISA 764Security Experimentation3
ISA 785Research in Digital Forensics3
ISA 797Advanced Topics in Information Security3

Software Engineering (SWE)

SWE 620Software Requirements Analysis and Specification3
SWE 625Software Project Management3
SWE 626Software Project Laboratory3
SWE 631Software Design Patterns3
SWE 632User Interface Design and Development3
SWE 642Software Engineering for the World Wide Web3
SWE 645Component-Based Software Development3
SWE 699Special Topics in Software Engineering3
SWE 721Reusable Software Architectures3
SWE 763Software Engineering Experimentation3
SWE 795Advanced Topics in Software Engineering3
SWE 796Directed Readings in Software Engineering3
SWE 798Research Project3

Computer Science (CS)

CS 530Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science3
CS 531Computer Systems and Fundamentals of Systems Programming3
CS 540Language Processors3
CS 580Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 584Theory and Applications of Data Mining3
CS 635Foundations of Parallel Computation3
CS 640Advanced Compilers3
CS 650Advanced Database Management3
CS 657Mining Massive Datasets with MapReduce3
CS 662Computer Graphics Game Technologies3
CS 672Computer System Performance Evaluation3
CS 673Multimedia Computing and Systems3
CS 681Instructable Cognitive Agents3
CS 682Computer Vision3
CS 683Parallel Algorithms3
CS 684Graph Algorithms3
CS 685Autonomous Robotics3
CS 686Image Processing and Applications3
CS 687Advanced Artificial Intelligence3
CS 688Machine Learning3
CS 700Research Methodology in Computer Science3
CS 706Concurrent Software Systems3
CS 752Interactive Graphics Software3
CS 755Advanced Computer Networks3
CS 756Performance Analysis of Computer Networks3
CS 773Real-Time Systems Design and Development3
CS 777Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction3
CS 779Topics in Resilient and Secure Computer Systems3
CS 782Advanced Machine Learning3
CS 795Advanced Topics in CS3

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)

ECE 511Computer Architecture3
ECE 521Linear Systems and Control3
ECE 528Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering3
ECE 535Digital Signal Processing3
ECE 545Digital System Design with VHDL3
ECE 584Semiconductor Device Fundamentals3
ECE 586Digital Integrated Circuits3
ECE 611Advanced Computer Architecture3
ECE 612Real-Time Embedded Systems3
ECE 620Optimal Control Theory3
ECE 621Systems Identification3
ECE 630Statistical Communication Theory3
ECE 633Error Control Coding3
ECE 635Adaptive Signal Processing3
ECE 642Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks3
ECE 643Network Switching and Routing3
ECE 645Computer Arithmetic3
ECE 646Applied Cryptography3
ECE 6503
ECE 6803
ECE 681VLSI Design for ASICs3
ECE 732Mobile Communication Systems3
ECE 734Detection and Estimation Theory3
ECE 741Wireless Networks3
ECE 746Advanced Applied Cryptography3

Operations Research (OR)

OR 540Management Science3
OR 541Operations Research: Deterministic Models3
OR 542Operations Research: Stochastic Models3
OR 635Discrete System Simulation3
OR 640Global Optimization and Computational Intelligence3
OR 641Linear Programming3
OR 642Integer Programming3
OR 643Network Modeling3
OR 644Nonlinear Programming3
OR 645Stochastic Processes3
OR 647Queuing Theory3
OR 681Decision and Risk Analysis3
OR 690Optimization of Supply Chains3

Psychology (PSYC)

PSYC 734Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition3

Statistics (STAT)

STAT 544Applied Probability3
STAT 554Applied Statistics I3
STAT 652Statistical Inference3
STAT 656Regression Analysis3
STAT 662Multivariate Statistical Methods3
STAT 663Statistical Graphics and Data Exploration I3
STAT 674Survey Sampling II3

Systems Engineering (SYST)

SYST 520System Engineering Design3
SYST 530Systems Engineering Management I3
SYST 542Decision Support Systems Engineering3
SYST 560Introduction to Air Traffic Control3
SYST 573Decision and Risk Analysis3
SYST 611System Methodology and Modeling3
SYST 620Discrete Event Systems3
SYST 659Topics in Systems Engineering3
SYST 671Judgment and Choice Processing and Decision Making3
SYST 680Principles of Command, Control, Communications, Computing, and Intelligence (C4I)3
SYST 683Modeling, Simulation, and Gaming3

Applied Computer Science, BS/Information Systems, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program have the option of obtaining an accelerated Information Systems, MS. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Applied Computer Science, BS program can apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must have successfully completed:

CS 310Data Structures3
CS 330Formal Methods and Models3
CS 367Computer Systems and Programming4
Total Credits10

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students have the opportunity to earn 3-6 credits in graduate coursework that count towards both the BS and MS degrees.

Students may register for 3-6 credits of the following CS 500-level courses in place of the corresponding CS 400-level courses required for the BS degree. Specifically, students must take

CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
Select one of the following:3
Language Processors
Database Systems
Computer Graphics
Computer Communications and Networking
Operating Systems
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Theory and Applications of Data Mining
Total Credits6

Note:

Students complete all MS in Information Systems core courses and apply the two courses from above toward the elective requirements. Students also have the option to take up to 6 additional credits of graduate coursework, which serves as reserve graduate credit to be counted towards the MS degree only.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Computer Science, BS/Information Systems, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Computer Science, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Information Systems, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Computer Science, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Students must have successfully completed CS 310 Data StructuresCS 330 Formal Methods and Models and CS 367 Computer Systems and Programming.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students have the opportunity to earn 3-6 credits in graduate coursework that count towards both the BS and MS degrees. Students may register for 3-6 credits of the following CS 500-level courses in place of the corresponding CS 400-level courses required for the BS degree.

CS 540Language Processors3
CS 550Database Systems3
CS 551Computer Graphics3
CS 555Computer Communications and Networking3
CS 571Operating Systems3
CS 580Introduction to Artificial Intelligence3
CS 583Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 584Theory and Applications of Data Mining3

Note:

Students complete all MS in Information Systems core courses and apply the two courses from above toward the elective requirements. Students also have the option to take up to 6 additional credits of graduate coursework, which serve as reserve graduate credit to be counted towards the MS degree only.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student's final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master's degree is conferred.

Information Technology, BS/Information Systems, Accelerated MS

Overview

Highly-qualified students in the Information Technology, BS have the option of obtaining an accelerated Information Systems, MS.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Admission Requirements

Students in the Information Technology, BS program may apply to this option if they have earned 90 undergraduate credits with an overall GPA of at least 3.30. Criteria for admission are identical to the criteria for admission to the Information Systems, MS program.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students must complete all credits that satisfy requirements for the BS and MS programs, with up to 6 overlapping credits chosen from the following two courses:

CS 550Database Systems (satisfies IT 414 requirement in the BS program)3
INFS 622Information Systems Analysis and Design (satisfies as one DTP concentration course in the BS program)3

Note:

Students must complete MATH 125 Discrete Mathematics I (Mason Core) as their discrete math requirement and IT 306 Data Structures and Algorithms in Java as part of their concentration requirements in the BS program.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply the semester before they expect to complete the BS requirements to have the BS degree conferred. In addition, at the beginning of the student’s final undergraduate semester, students must complete a Bachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s Transition form that is submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and the VSE Graduate Admissions Office. At the completion of MS requirements, a master’s degree is conferred.