Santa Clara University

Leavey School of Business

Master of Science in Information Systems

The MSIS program at Santa Clara University is designed to equip leaders in information technology management with the tools to harness the power of information. Created by the same outstanding faculty that provides the premier MBA education for Silicon Valley, the MSIS degree focuses on the application of technology for solving real organizational and business problems. Much of the course work is project-based, connecting learning to actual challenges in the field. Students learn how to integrate emerging technologies into organizational practices and to successfully manage complex, technically centered change processes.


Applicants for admission to the MSIS program must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or its foreign equivalent before registering in the Leavey School of Business. Applicants also must have successfully completed at least one course in each of the following areas prior to enrollment:

  • A programming language
  • Statistics


Applicants for the MSIS program may apply to begin study in the fall, winter, and spring quarters. MSIS program information and additional details are available from the Graduate Business Admissions Office, or by calling 408-551-7047. Brochure requests and admission correspondence also may be sent via email to

Applicants must complete and submit the following items before the Admissions Committee will render an admissions decision:

  • Application form, resume, and essay question responses (completed online)
  • Two completed confidential Letter of Recommendation forms (forms available online)
  • Two official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, presently attending (including junior/community colleges and extension programs). All applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from outside of the United States are required to have their official transcripts evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). We require a course-by-course, cumulative GPA, and U.S. degree equivalency evaluation. Exceptions are made for applicants who hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. University.
  • Official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score
  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE), if required
  • Non-refundable application fee of $100 ($150 for international student applicants requiring a student visa)

Online application fees must be paid by credit card or electronic check and submitted electronically. To apply online, visit

Applicants must have their official GMAT or GRE score reports sent directly to the Graduate Business Admissions Committee. Applicants whose first language is not English must either achieve a minimum score of 95 on the TOEFL (internet-based test), 7 on the IELTS, or 68 on the PTE. This requirement may also be met by scoring at or above the 50th percentile on the verbal portion of the GMAT or GRE.

Foreign-born admitted students requesting student visas must submit a current financial statement (no more than 90 days old) showing adequate funds for tuition, fees, and living expenses for the first year of study, and they must be enrolled in at least 9 units each quarter. Santa Clara University is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.

Applicants are responsible for the appropriate submission of all application materials, including:

  • Application form, resume, fee, and essay responses submitted online
  • Recommendation letters and transcripts submitted in hard copy to the admissions office: MSIS Admissions Committee, Leavey School of Business, Lucas Hall Suite 109, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-0410
  • GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores sent directly from the test center to the MSIS Admissions Committee

The MSIS Admissions Committee will not review applications until all materials have been received.


Applicants may be admitted with one or more contingencies. All contingencies are documented on the student’s Program Plan Card which is provided to the student at the time of admission. All contingencies must be fulfilled by the end of the student’s first term in residence. Students who do not fulfill their contingency requirements by the end of their first term in residence will not be permitted to register for classes until the contingency is fulfilled.


The completed application package should be sent as early as possible. The deadlines are:

  • Fall Quarter Round 1: April 1 Round 2: June 1
  • Winter Quarter November 1
  • Spring Quarter January 20


Admissions decisions are made throughout the year. Applicants are admitted on the basis of academic ability as indicated by college records and GMAT/GRE scores, demonstrated technical management potential (including work experience and recommendations), and motivation to complete a demanding academic program. Once accepted, a nonrefundable tuition deposit is required prior to registration. The deposit is applied toward the student’s first-term tuition.


Curriculum Clusters

  1. Core Business Knowledge (3 courses)
    Gives students an understanding of the context in which information systems operate. Students acquire a basic knowledge of business and organizational requirements that enables them to understand how information systems are designed and successfully implemented. Students must complete all of the following courses:
    • ACTG 2301 Financial and Managerial Accounting (3 units)
    • MGMT 2501 Building and Learning High-Performance Teams and Organizations (nonwaivable) (3 units)
    • OMIS 2355 Computer-Based Decision Models (3 units)
  2. Core Information Systems Knowledge (6 courses)
    Teaches students about the technical aspects of information systems design and the strategic issues around the use of such systems. Students must complete all of the following courses:
    • MSIS 2601 Object-Oriented Analysis and Programming (3 units)
    • MSIS 2602 Information Systems Analysis and Design (3 units)
    • MSIS 2603 Database Management Systems (3 units)
    • MSIS 2604 Information Systems Policy and Strategy (3 units)
    • MSIS 2605 Telecommunications and Business Networks (3 units)
    • MSIS 2606 Software Project Management (3 units)
  3. Specialization (choice of 5 courses; equal to a minimum of 15 units)
    Offers a variety of electives to help students develop capabilities in a specific area. Students must complete five of the following courses:
    • COEN 250 Information Security Management (2 units)
    • COEN 252 Computer Forensics (4 units)
    • IDIS 2700/3700 Effective Business Communications (1 unit)
    • IDIS 3612 Management of the High Technology Firm Seminar (3 units)
    • MGMT 2504 Innovation in Silicon Valley and Beyond (3 units)
    • MGMT 3538 Leading Teams and Projects (3 units)
    • MSIS 2621 Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing (3 units)
    • MSIS 2622 ERP Systems (3 units)
    • MSIS 2623 Financial Information Systems (3 units)
    • MSIS 2624 E-Business Technologies – Virtualization (3 units)
    • MSIS 2625 Information Security Management (3 units)
    • MSIS 2626 Computer Simulation and Modeling (3 units)
    • MSIS 2627 Big Data Modeling and Analytics (3 units)
    • MSIS 2628 The Business of Cloud Computing (3 units)
    • MSIS 2629 Dashboards, Scorecards, and Visualization (3 units)
    • MSIS 2630 Web Programming (3 units)
    • MSIS 28** Emerging Topics in IT Management (3 units)
    • OMIS 3357 Operations Management (3 units)
    • OMIS 3384 Supply Chain Management (3 units)
    • OMIS 3388 Supply Chain Outsourcing (3 units)

4. Integration and Application (9 or 12 units)
Explores how information systems are designed and used, and how broad social and ethical questions must be considered in thinking about the use of such systems. Students may complete a major application project as part of this cluster. Students must complete the following course and one of the Capstone options:

MSIS 2641 Information Technology: Ethics and Public Policy (3 units)
Capstone Options
The primary objective of the MSIS Capstone sequence is to offer students the opportunity to complete the final step (beyond the core and elective requirements) in earning a Master of Science in Information Systems by participating in an experiential learning process and to apply the knowledge learned in the program to real life applications.

The program offers four options to students to achieve this objective:

  1. The Thesis option (6 units; MSIS 2644)
  2. The Industry Project option (a sequence of 1, 2, and 3 unit courses for a total of
    6 units; MSIS 2640, 2642, & 2643)
  3. The Capstone Design Project option (a sequence of 1, 2, and 3 unit courses for a total of 6 units; MSIS 2645, 2646, & 2647)
  4. Additional Course Work: a set of three MSIS elective courses (9 units)

After completing (minimum) 30 units, (GPA ≥ 3.0), each student is required to begin the capstone option selection process by interviewing with the capstone advisor. The advisor will determine the most appropriate option for each student. The four options are described below.

The Thesis Option (MSIS 2644 – 6 units)
Students can individually or as a team of two propose a research project to one of the MSIS faculty. This option requires approval by the supervising faculty member and the director of the MSIS program. Full time students selecting this option should begin their project no later than the beginning of their second year of study. The objective of this option is to study an information system topic in detail and advance the state of the knowledge in that field theoretically, or to apply the state-of-the art information system technology to solve a problem. The outcome of this option is development of a final report and the successful submission of a research manuscript to a referred journal for publication. This option may span two or more quarters.

The Industry Project Option (MSIS 2640, 2642, and 2643 – 6 units)
In this option, students work with a sponsoring company, where they join forces with employees, managers, and executives to develop and implement practical, hands-on solutions to a company’s information technology challenges. This option spans a minimum of two quarters. Students are responsible for the entire process, from project requirements to implementation. During the process, students form valuable working relationships with each other, faculty mentors, and leaders in the company with which they work.

This option consists of three MSIS Capstone courses: MSIS 2640 (1 unit), MSIS 2642 (2 units), and MSIS 2643 (3 units) and is viewed as a single project-oriented course. The objective of this option is to solve a practical problem by applying and integrating the methods and concepts studied in the MSIS program. An industry capstone project must be a real project, with an identified sponsor or client. MSIS students will be interviewed and a team is selected by the Capstone Program Manager to complete each capstone project. Student teams will be limited in size, with typically four or five students in a group. The student team will define the problem, perform a feasibility study, analyze the problem, design a solution, and implement that solution to satisfy the sponsoring client. Participation in this option is competitive and there are only a limited number of such projects per year. The process for this option is as follows:

  • MSIS students interview with the Capstone Program Manager.
  • A team is made of four or five students. MSIS Program director assigns a MSIS faculty advisor to the project. The team registers for MSIS 2640 (1 unit).
  • The team in coordination with the sponsoring company defines the problem and performs a feasibility study. The team develops a formal project plan with specific milestones and begins the process of creating a final project plan for presentation and approval of the sponsored client.
  • The team registers for MSIS 2642 & MSIS 2643 in two subsequent quarters. The student team and the advisor meet as needed to discuss the project, address questions, and assess progress toward completion.
  • The student team should complete the project over approximately two quarters. A project is considered complete when all its milestones are achieved and the final project report has been accepted by the advisor and the client. A formal sign-off by the sponsoring company is required. The time span of the project may exceed two quarters.
  • There will be a single grade for MSIS 2640, 2642, & 2643. That grade will be assigned after the completion of the project.
  • Students may take one elective course while taking this option.
  • Students with a full time job are discouraged from taking additional courses while enrolled in this option.

Upon completion of the Industry Project Option, student participants must submit the MSIS Completion of Capstone Project form with the appropriate faculty signatures (faculty director and advisor) and assigned grade to the Graduate Business Programs Office. The grade will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar for posting for all courses.

The Capstone Design Project Option (MSIS 2645, 2646, and 2647 – 6 units)
Students selecting this option can satisfy their capstone requirement by working on a self-defined information systems project approved by the MSIS program director. This option, upon approval, is expected to span a minimum of two quarters and students are encouraged to start the process once they have completed most of their core courses. Students are responsible for the project completion, and students should submit all deliverables stated in their project proposal, including a working prototype and the final report summarizing their results and the learning experiences

This option consists of three MSIS Capstone courses: MSIS 2645 (1 unit) (for project proposal), and MSIS 2646 (2 units) and MSIS 2647 (3 units) (for project execution). It is intended that MSIS 2645 (1 unit) will be completed in 3 months, during which students are expected to write a successful project proposal, identify knowledge and skills needed for project execution, required data and resources necessary for project completion. The MSIS 2646 (2 units) and MSIS 2647 (3 units) are intended to be completed over a sequence of two quarters. Given the length of the design project option, students deciding to pursue this option should contact the MSIS Capstone Project Manager one year before expected graduation date.

The design project option is initiated by students and supervised by a faculty. The objective of the design project is to focus on an area of personal/group interest, possibly a start-up concept, solving a self-initiated problem by applying and integrating the knowledge gained in the MSIS program. Students will developing extra-curricular skills (decision making, negotiation, making contacts, confidence building, and teamwork) and demonstrate skills and competencies to enhance employability and entrepreneurship. MSIS students will be interviewed and a team is selected by the Capstone Project Manager. The team will be limited in size, with typically three or four students in a group. The team will define the problem, perform a feasibility study, analyze the problem, design a solution, and implement the project.

The process for this option is as follows:

  • One or more students prepare a 1-2 page preliminary project proposal, which should include rationale for conducting the design project, description of the problem(s) of interest, learning objectives, data or other resources to be used, required reading, expected expertise and support, and deliverables upon project completion.
  • This preliminary project proposal is submitted to the Capstone Project Manager. The Capstone Project Manager at this stage could ask the students to change/revise the preliminary project proposals to ensure consistent format and quality of the proposal. Upon acceptance of the proposal, he selects the remaining team members based on the preliminary project proposal, required skills and experiences. The MSIS Program Director and the Capstone Project Manager will then assign a MSIS Faculty Advisor to the project.
  • The team registers for MSIS 2645 (1 unit)
  • The team, in coordination with the MSIS Faculty Advisor, will finalize the problem definition and develop a formal project proposal which should include:
    • A clear description of the problem/creative enterprise
    • A preliminary survey/review of relevant literature
    • A description of the proposed methodology
    • Expected outcome/product (which will include a fully functional prototype)
    • Method of evaluation
    • The time frame and project schedule
    • Meeting schedule
    • Online platform used for team discussion and keeping research diary
  • Next the team registers for MSIS 2646 & MSIS 2647 in two subsequent quarters. A project is considered complete when all its milestones are achieved, a working prototype is produced, and the final project report has been accepted by the Faculty Advisor and the MSIS Program Director. Note that the time span of the project execution depends on the team progress and may exceed two quarters.
  • There will be a single grade for MSIS 2645, MISIS 2646, and MSIS 2647. That grade will be assigned after the completion of the project.
  • Students may take one elective course while taking MSIS 2646 & MSIS 2647 in this option. Students with a full-time job are discouraged from taking additional courses while enrolled in this option.

Capstone: Additional Course Work (9 units)
This option will require approval of the MSIS director and is only intended for exceptional circumstances in which a student cannot select one of the other three options. In such a case, the student is required to take three electives (9 units). The additional electives will require approval of the MSIS director. It is also noted that this option requires nine units of additional course work to satisfy the capstone requirement and results in a total of 57 units (rather than 54 units) in order to complete the requirements for the MSIS degree. Students are discouraged from choosing this option. However, under special circumstances, a student granted this option acknowledges and accepts that this option requires an additional 3 units of course work beyond that required by the other three capstone requirement alternatives, bringing the total number of units required for graduation to 54 units instead of the 51 units required by the other three capstone requirement alternatives.


In order to graduate, all MSIS students must complete and submit an online Petition to Graduate. The information provided in the petition is used to order and mail the diploma and list names in the SCU Commencement Book. If this data changes after the petition has been submitted, students must re-submit an amended petition. Students failing to do so could be omitted from the commencement book and ceremony.

In order to be eligible to graduate, MSIS students must complete:

  • All required coursework specific to the year in which they began the program
  • The required number of units specified to the year in which they began the program
  • The total program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Not have any I or N grades listed on their transcripts

Deadlines to submit a Petition to Graduate are as follows:

  • June graduation February 15
  • September graduation May 15*
  • December graduation August 15
  • March graduation December 15

*Students wishing to participate in the June Commencement Ceremony must submit their petitions by March 15

To Petition to Graduate, visit:


It is possible to transfer from the MSIS program to the evening MBA program. However, Admissions will not review a transfer request until the student has completed one year in the MSIS program. A transfer will be granted only once, is not automatic, and is at the discretion of the Faculty Director and Senior Assistant dean.

For information regarding entrance into the MBA program after completion of the MSIS program, contact the Graduate Business Admissions Office.


Students enrolled in the MSIS program at Santa Clara are required to follow the same policies and procedures as students in the MBA program. Each student is personally responsible for knowing all of the academic regulations of the graduate business school. This includes, but is not limited to; grading, leave of absence, withdrawal, and concurrent enrollment. Please refer to the Academic section for additional information.

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