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Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MS-ISM)

About the program

The Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MS-ISM) program serves managers who want to apply information technology and information systems to solve important problems in organizations. It also serves systems analysts and designers with computer science backgrounds who need to understand the broader role of information systems in organizations.

We live in a society that is increasingly dependent upon the exchange of information and information services. More and more organizations recognize that their information resources are high-value assets of strategic significance and they rely upon rapid access and evaluation of accurate information for their survival.

Today’s successful businesses can no longer maintain their strategic advantage without competent leadership from their IT organizations. This program develops those leaders with a strong balance of management, technology, and leadership skills needed to handle complex globally integrated systems.

The application of information technology and information systems is changing not only the way organizations do business but also organizational structures. Competition and cooperation in our global, networked, and dynamic environment has created a need for people who can work together in teams and apply information technology and information systems to meet organizations' information requirements.

Developing IT leaders

This program develops IT leaders who will apply information technology and information systems to solve important problems in organizations. You are prepared to lead and manage the integration of information systems and business processes as a project manager, an information manager, and, ultimately, as a CIO.

SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics (SBGE) is committed to providing an applied, experiential, and collaborative learning environment in which information systems and Christian faith, ethics, and character are integrated.

A team-centered educational approach provides you with opportunities for extensive group work and group interaction. Hands-on application of information technology is emphasized. The objectives of the information systems management (ISM) program are to develop your ability to do the following:

  • Provide values-based leadership in the planning, development, and management of information systems.
  • Effectively integrate information systems with business strategies, processes, and decision making.
  • Evaluate the effects of information systems on organizations and personnel, and assist in managing the resultant transitions.
  • Communicate effectively, work in teams, and self-assess personal abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Curriculum

The ISM curriculum consists of pre-ISM foundations courses, advanced courses, and elective courses. (Some IT skills are also prerequisite.)

All ISM courses are 3 quarter credits. You must complete a minimum of 36 credits (12 courses) at SPU.

The curriculum keeps up-to-date on the changing demands placed upon information systems managers. Current topics emphasized in this program include outsourcing models, large-scale integration projects, security and ethics, knowledge management and business intelligence, and other related special topics such as health informatics, retail information systems, manufacturing information systems, and others.

Prerequisites

Students must show familiarity with programming or web development — and also have skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

Advanced courses

Advanced courses total 30 credit hours. These courses may not be fulfilled by undergraduate coursework, and transfer credit from other institutions will be given only for graduate-level courses covering the same body of knowledge. You may transfer a maximum of three courses (9 credits) from other institutions with the approval of the SBGE associate dean for graduate programs. 

Elective courses (15 credit hours)

To gain the most out of the ISM degree, you are encouraged to specialize in one of three emphases:

Systems integration emphasis

This emphasis focuses on strategic, technological, financial, and organizational issues and matching these issues with the right technology, applications, and data across the enterprise. 

ISM 6255     Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence (3)
ISM 6313     IT as a Strategic Advantage (3)
ISM 6345     Distribution Applications (3)
ISM 6910     Seminar in Information Systems Management (1–6)
ISM 6930     ISM Consulting Practicum (3–6) 

Program management emphasis

This emphasis focuses on ensuring the successful development and implementation of an organization's information systems. Additional expertise in project management, organizational structures and behavior, and strategy and system development standards is developed.

BUS 6360    Innovation and Change Management (3)
BUS 6365    The High Technology Enterprise (3)
BUS 6367    Project Management (3)
ISM 6335     IT Engineering Management (3)
ISM 6910     Seminar in Information Systems Management (1–6)
ISM 6930     ISM Consulting Practicum (3–6) 

Data management and analytics emphasis

The analytics emphasis focuses on managing the mountains of data that organizations use and enabling management to make sense of that data. It develops further expertise in the areas of data management, data visualization, data analytics, and business intelligence.

BUS 6171     Statistics for Business Decisions (3)
ISM 6255     Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence (3)
ISM 6356     Data Mining, Analytics and Visualization (3) 

Pre-ISM foundation courses

Foundation courses in accounting and operations management (6 credit hours) cover basic business concepts that you must understand to achieve the program’s objectives.

Many students have covered some or all of this subject matter in an undergraduate program. In the following circumstances, coursework completed at the undergraduate level prior to admission to the program may fulfill one or more pre-ISM courses.

If you completed a bachelor’s degree within seven years* prior to admission to the program, that included courses covering the same body of knowledge as foundations courses:

  • Courses in which you earned a minimum grade of “B” may fulfill foundation courses with comparable content.
  • A course taken for pass/no credit cannot fulfill a foundation course requirement.

If you completed a bachelor's degree more than seven years prior to admission to the program, or if the grade in the undergraduate course is below “B” but not below “C+”:

  • You may take a competency examination in the subject.
  • Competency tests must be completed within the year following your date of admission to the program.
  • If the competency examination is successfully completed, the applicable foundation course will be considered fulfilled.
  • If you do not successfully complete the competency exam, you must take the graduate course or complete it via credit by examination for which tuition and an examination fee are charged.

Admission requirements

Generally, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate studies, at least a 500 GMAT total score (25V, 30Q, and 4.4AW) or at least a 295 GRE score and evidence of at least one year of continuous, full-time, substantive work experience after receipt of the bachelor's degree on your résumé.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Online application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Current rèsumè as evidence of a substantive work experience. You will need at least one full year, continuous full time, post-bachelor’s degree experience at the time of application. More is preferred. This is a significant factor in the admission decision process. Applicants with less than 1-year of post-baccalaureate professional work experience, but who are otherwise strong candidates and are currently employed in a meaningful professional role may be considered.
  • Official transcript(s) from colleges or universities attended. Include the transcript from the institution that granted your bachelor’s degree with the posted degree appearing on the transcript. Also send official transcripts for all institutions attended following your undergraduate degree, as well as any other schools where you earned credits that may be used to request waivers of pre-ISM courses.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. GRE scores above 295 (150 verbal; 145 quantitative) are preferred. For the GRE, the SPU school code is 4694. The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) may also be accepted, and scores above 500 (25 verbal; 30 quantitative; 4.4 analytical writing) are preferred. For the GMAT, the SPU school code is C9FD273.
    • The GMAT/GRE requirement is waived for applicants with a cumulative GPA of 3.7; a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above and five years of post-baccalaureate professional work experience (or three years managerial experience); or, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and at least 10 years of post-baccalaureate professional work experience. The GMAT/GRE is also waived for applicants already possessing an advanced degree from an accredited university.
  • Two professional letters of recommendation (optional); find the forms in the online application.
  • Personal statement (3–4 pages), responding to the essay questions listed in the online application.

International applicants

In addition to the above requirements, international students must also submit:

  • TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT, or an IELTS score of at least 7.0 if English is not your first language.
  • Official financial statement reflecting financial support equivalent to the costs of the first year of graduate study. Please complete the Declaration of International Student Finances form and send it to the address listed on the form, along with an original bank statement and copy of your passport (front and back). 
  • International applicants are required to have a course-by-course evaluation of any non-U.S. undergraduate transcripts evaluated by one of the following professional credential evaluation services: World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services Inc. (FIS).

In addition to the evaluation report, all official transcripts must be submitted (in English). International applicants are responsible for all costs associated with this service. 

Conditional admission

You may request conditional admittance into the School of Business, Government, and Economics under these conditions:

  • You are a student who needs an F-1 visa to study in the United States.
  • You have graduated from an accredited four-year institution. Your transcript must show completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • You have achieved at least a 3.0 GPA on the U.S. 4.0 scale.
  • You have a minimum of at least one year, continuous full-time, post-bachelor’s degree experience at the time of application. You will be required to submit a résumé with job titles, duties, start date and end date (month and year), Internships and job training are not accepted as full-time employment.

If approved, you will receive a Conditional Letter of Admission from SPU. Conditional admission assures that you will be considered for admission, if you satisfy all admission requirements at the time of your intended enrollment.

Please complete this form to request conditional admission to a graduate program in the SPU School of Business, Government, and Economics. 

Application deadlines

Your application for admission, application fee, and personal statement must be received by the dates listed below. Recommendation letters, transcripts and test scores must arrive before an admission decision can be made.

  • Autumn Quarter: August 1 
  • Winter Quarter: November 1
  • Spring Quarter: February 1
  • Summer: May 1

International applicants with F1 visa

International applicants who do not need an F1 visa may adhere to the above deadlines. The following deadlines apply to those who do require an F1 visa.

  • Autumn Quarter: June 1 
  • Winter Quarter: September 1
  • Spring Quarter: December 1
  • Summer: Admission not available

Contact

Admission materials should be directed to Graduate Admissions. If you have questions, please contact the SBGE graduate program coordinator: