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:

  • Statistics
  • A programming language


Students are admitted in the fall, winter, and spring quarters. Program brochures are available from the Graduate Business Admissions Office or by calling 408-551-7047. Brochure requests and admission correspondence also may be sent via e-mail to The applicant must complete and submit the following items before the Admissions Committee will render an admissions decision:

  • Application form and essay question responses (completed online)
  • Two completed confidential Letter of Recommendation forms
  • Two official transcripts from each institution attended
  • Résumé
  • 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
  • Application fee of $100 ($150 for international student applicants requiring a student visa)

Online application fees must be paid by credit card 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 applicants 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 must enroll 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, fee, and essay responses submitted online:
  • Recommendation letters, résumé, and transcripts submitted in hard copy to the admissions office: MSIS Admissions Committee, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, 95053-0410
  • GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores sent directly from the test center to the Admissions Committee

Applications will not be considered until the MSIS Admissions Committee has received all materials.


The complete application package should be sent as early as possible. Admissions decisions are made throughout the year. For deadlines, access the online application at:


Applicants are admitted on the basis of academic ability as indicated by college records and GMAT or GRE scores, demonstrated technical management potential (including work experience and recommendations), and motivation to complete a demanding academic program. Once accepted, a $300 nonrefundable tuition deposit is required prior to registration. See the Admissions section for additional procedures and policies.


Curriculum Clusters

  1. Core Business Knowledge (4 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 300 Financial Accounting
    • FNCE 451 Financial Management
    • MGMT 503 Organizational Analysis and Management (non-waivable)
    • OMIS 355 Computer-Based Decision Models
  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 601 Object-Oriented Analysis and Programming
    • MSIS 602 Information Systems Analysis and Design
    • MSIS 603 Database Management Systems
    • MSIS 604 Information Systems Policy and Strategy
    • MSIS 605 Telecommunications and Business Networks
    • MSIS 606 Software Project Management
  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 3612 Management of the High Technology Firm Seminar
    • MGMT 3504 Innovation in Silicon Valley
    • MGMT 3538 Leading Teams and Projects
    • MKTG 3592 Internet Marketing and eCommerce
    • MSIS 621 Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing
    • MSIS 622 ERP Systems
    • MSIS 623 Financial Information Systems
    • MSIS 624 E-Business Technologies
    • MSIS 626 Computer Simulation and Modeling
    • MSIS 696 Emerging Topics in IT Management
    • OMIS 3357 Operations Management
    • OMIS 3384 Supply Chain Management
    • OMIS 3388 Supply Chain Outsourcing
    • OMIS 3390 Integrated Product Development

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 641 Information Technology: Ethics and Public Policy (3 units)
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. They are: The Thesis option (MSIS 644, 6 units), The Industry Project option (a sequence of 1, 2, and 3 unit courses for a total of 6 units; MSIS 640, 642, & 643), A combination of one additional MSIS elective (3 units) and an Independent Study option (MSIS 698, 3 units), and 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 644 – 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 640, 642, and 643 – 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 640 (1 unit), MSIS 642 (2 units), and MSIS 643 (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 applied 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 advisor 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 640 (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 642 & MSIS 643 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 640, 642, & 643. 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 Independent Study Option (MSIS 698 – 3 Units and an MSIS elective – 3 Units)
Students selecting this option can satisfy their capstone requirement by selecting an independent study on an information system topic of interest. A team of students ( 3 students) can select a project and obtain approval from one of the “Independent Study Instructors.” The team is required to take one related MSIS elective (3 units) along with the MSIS 698 (3 units) course. During the quarter the team will perform an in-depth study of the selected subject, under the supervision of the “Independent Study Instructors,” and produce a comprehensive report, in addition to the successful completion of the elective. The team will deliver two reports with this option. The first report presents the topic of study. This topic of study report could include the reasons for studying the subject, state-of-the-art of the field, preliminary literature survey and additional material that will be studied or researched, practical or theoretical applicability of the subject of study to the IT industry. If the study involves finding a solution to an IT problem, an approach or methodology of solving the problem should be outlined. The topic of study report shall also include timeline and milestone for tracking the progress of the independent study and will be submitted to the designated Independent Study Instructor for approval. The second and final report is a comprehensive report of the study (50+ pages) and is deliverable to the instructor. The final report shall elaborate the findings or results of the study, list of benefits, lessons learned, and, where applicable, should identify follow-up study or projects, new start-up ideas, consulting opportunities, etc. The Independent Study Instructor reviews the report and either accepts it and assigns a grade or may return the report for further work. Students are encouraged to seek advice from the instructor, however, the primary objective of this option is for the team to work collaboratively and independently.

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 bringing the total number of units required for graduation to 57 units instead of the 54 units required from 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 assistant dean.

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