Integration and application (4 courses required)

Students develop perspectives on how information systems are actually designed and used, and how broad social and ethical questions must be considered in thinking about the use of such systems. Students will complete a major application project as part of this cluster.

MSIS 641: Information Technology: Ethics and Public Policy

Introduces the normative principles for ethical decision-making: which principles are applicable, and weighing conflicting principles. Includes in-depth explorations of contemporary ethical and public policy issues relating to information technology, with class lectures and discussions supplemented by guest speakers from government, industry, and two of the University Centers of Distinction (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and Center for Science, Technology, and Society). Prerequisite: None. (3 units)

MSIS 641: Information Technology—Ethics and Public Policy

The first part of the course will introduce the students to the normative principles for ethical decision making - which moral principles, if any, are applicable for particular cases, how should they go about in assigning the weights if some of the principles are in conflict with each other.

The objective of this part of the course is to help students graduating from MSIS program acquire a set of moral principles which will guide them in their ethical decision making throughout their careers as information system workers.

In the remaining part of the course the students will explore in depth a number of contemporary ethical and public policy issues relating to uses and abuses of information technology.

Topics relating to ethical issues may include business need for information versus the right of privacy for customers and employees, objectionable materials on Internet versus freedom of expression, right to deploy technology for Internet uses versus intellectual property rights, and whistle blowing corporate frauds versus concern for job security.

Topics relating to public policy issues may include digital divide and cyber quandaries, information technology and globalization, and the role of governments in networking world.

Class lectures and discussions will be supplemented by a series of invited guest speakers. Speakers will come from government, industry, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the Center for Science, Technology and Society.

MSIS 642 - MSIS 643: Capstone I & II

Capstone Project I & II is a sequence of two three-unit courses, viewed as a single project-oriented course. It is intended that both courses will be completed over a sequence of two quarters, preferably autumn & winter or winter & spring. These courses make up two of three required courses in the Integrative Experience Cluster.

The objective of the capstone project is to solve a practical or theoretical 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. A self-selected team of MSIS students will complete each capstone project. Student teams will be limited in size, with typically three to five students in a group. Larger or smaller groups may be approved at the discretion of the faculty advisor. The student team will define the problem, perform a feasibility study, analyze the problem, design a solution, and implement that solution. The capstone project is structured so that the student team addresses a real problem; hence it is essential that the problem be solved by the implementation created.

The capstone projects can be either applied or theoretical in nature.

  • An applied project will be based on a real-life problem from a local company. The team must obtain approval from and the cooperation of the subject company. An individual in the subject company should serve as the project sponsor.
  • A theoretical project should be rooted in one or more of the areas of information systems. Each theoretical project must have a solution with identifiable, a priori specified characteristics. The solution to a theoretical project must be implemented concretely.


  • MSIS students, after the completion of Business & IS core courses, and some of the electives courses, form a project team.
  • A team is made of three to five students. A team smaller/larger than three to five is discouraged and is only approved on rare occasions, at the discretion of the faculty advisor.
  • The team selects a project, defines the problem and performs a feasibility study. At the conclusion of the feasibility study, the student team will present the problem and the feasibility study to the MSIS program director.
  • The MSIS Program director assigns a MSIS faculty advisor to the project.
  • The advisor meets with the student team in order to specify project plan guidelines. The team develops a formal project plan, with specific milestones, that responds to the advisor’s guidelines. This begins the process of creating a final project plan.
  • The final project plan requires approval of the advisor and the MSIS director.
  • The student team and the advisor meet as needed to discuss the project, address questions, and assess progress toward completion.
  • The student team will complete the project over two quarters. A project is considered complete when all its milestones are achieved and the final project report has been accepted by the advisor. Extension beyond two quarters requires both the advisor’s and director’s approval.
  • There will be a single grade for both capstone project I and II. That grade will be assigned after the completion of the project. All members of the team will receive the same grade.
  • Students may take an elective course while taking the capstone project. Students with a full time job are discouraged from taking additional courses while enrolled in the capstone classes.
Important Dates

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