Master of Science in Information Systems

The Master of Science in Information Systems (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.


Admissions requirements for the MSFA program are similar to those for the Evening MBA program (please refer to the Admissions section, Chapter 2) with the following exceptions:

  • Admission is offered only once a year (Fall Quarter, September start)

  • Deferments are generally not permitted

  • Professional work experience recommended, but not required

  • An interview is required

Applicants also must have successfully completed the following areas prior to enrollment. Course work must be completed from an accredited university and a have a letter grade assigned (pass/no pass is not acceptable):

  • One (1) course in college level in a programming language

For more information regarding the admission process please refer to chapter 2 or visit our website here. Admission correspondence also may be sent via email to

Academic Information

Curriculum Clusters

1. Core Business Knowledge (2 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 2608 - Financial and Managerial Accounting ( 2 units)

  • MSIS 2604 - Information Systems Strategy & Management (4 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 Software Design (4 units)

  • MSIS 2602 - Information Systems Analysis & Design - Systems Modeling(4 units)

  • MSIS 2603 - Database Management Systems - Fundamentals of SQL (2 units)

  • MSIS 2613 - Database Management Systems - Design, Development & Administration (2 units)

  • MSIS 2607 - Data Analytics - Python (4)

3. Specialization

Offers a variety of electives to help students develop capabilities in a specific area. An example of available electives:

  • COEN 250 - Information Security Management (2 units)

  • COEN 252 - Computer Forensics (4 units)

  • MSIS 2621- Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing (4 units)

  • MSIS 2622 - ERP Systems (4 units)

  • MSIS 2627 - Big Data Modeling and Analytics (4 units)

  • MSIS 2628 - Applied Cloud Computing (2 units)

  • MSIS 2629 - Dashboards(2 units)

  • MSIS 2630 - Web Programming (2 units)

  • MSIS 2631 - Machine Learning (4 units)

  • MSIS 2634 - Natural Language Processing (2 units)

  • MSIS 2651 - Mobile Programming (2 units)

  • MSIS 2636 - Deep Learning (2 units)

  • MSIS 2637 - Reinforcement Learning (2 units)

  • MSIS 2638 - Cloud Computing Architectures (4 units)

  • MSIS 2639 - Data Visualization (2 units)

  • MSIS 2650 - Artificial Intelligence (4 units)

4. Integration and Application (10 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 2606 - Software Project Management (4 units)

  • Up to 6 units of experiential learning units.

Experiential Learning 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 Practicum option (a sequence of 2 and 4 unit courses for a total of 6 units; MSIS 2540 & 2542.

  3. The Capstone Design Project option (a sequence of 2 and 4-unit courses for a total of 6 units; MSIS 2645, 2646,

  4. Additional Coursework if a student is working full time: MSIS elective courses (6 units)

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.

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 Practicum Option (MSIS 2540, 2542 -- 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 two MSIS practicum courses: MSIS 2540 (2 unit), MSIS 2542 (4 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 Practicum 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 2540 (2 units).

  • 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.

  • Program team registers students for MSIS 2542 in the next 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 2540 & 2542. 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 Practicum Option, student participants must submit the MSIS Completion of Practicum 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, -- 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 (2unit) (for project proposal) & MSIS 2646 (4 units)) (for project execution). It is intended that MSIS 2645 2unit) will be completed in three 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. T Given the length of the design project option, students deciding to pursue this option should contact the MSIS Capstone Project Manager one year before the 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 develop 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 (2 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 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 . That grade will be assigned after the completion of the project.

  • Students may take one elective course while taking MSIS 2646 & this option. Students with a full-time job are discouraged from taking additional courses while enrolled in this option.

Additional Coursework (6 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 The additional electives that will require approval of the MSIS director. under special circumstances, a student granted this option acknowledges and accepts that this option requires an additional es.

Course Waiver Policy

Students in the MSIS program may receive credit for coursework taken previously in limited circumstances. A minimum grade of B is required in each class accepted for waiver credit. All waiver credit MUST be from a comparable Graduate Level Program.

The determination of whether prior coursework or professional qualification is sufficient for credit may be made by the Graduate Business Program Office staff. In unusual situations, students may be asked to prepare a petition outlining their prior preparation for faculty review.

This policy applies to matriculated students only. Course waivers may reduce the unit load in a given quarter. International students are required to maintain the term-unit load requirements as outlined by the Global Engagement Office at Santa Clara University. Policies for a non- matriculated students may be different.

Leaves of Absence

Due to the full-time nature of the MSIS program, a student requiring a leave of absence may be required to withdraw from the program. Alternatives to continuing their education should be discussed with the director, M.S. Programs.

Program Withdrawal

Students who want to withdraw from the program and the university must notify the Graduate Business Programs Office of their intent in writing. Some portion of the tuition may be refunded and will be determined at time of withdrawal notification. Withdrawal from the university is not complete until the student clears obligations with the Bursar's Office.

Transferring into Another Graduate Business Program

Transferring into another graduate business program is possible if the student is in good academic standing and has a minimum GPA of 3.0. A transfer will be granted only once, by application, and is at the discretion of the faculty director and the senior assistant dean. Applications can be submitted between September 15th and March 15th of each academic year.

Students wishing to apply for a transfer to another graduate business program will need to complete the following:

  • M.S. transfer application

  • A brief personal statement (1 page) advocating transfer

  • A recommendation from a SCU faculty member attesting to performance and supporting the transfer

The Faculty Director and Senior Assistant Dean will review the application, personal statement, and recommendation in concert with the student's GRE/GMAT score and academic performance in the current M.S. program before making a decision on the request. A transfer back to the MSIS is not possible once the student is approved to transfer to another graduate business program.

For information regarding entrance into the MBA program after completion of the MSIS program, contact the Graduate Business Admissions Office, 116 Lucas Hall.

Academic Standing

To qualify for the MSIS degree, a student must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in all work taken in the Leavey School of Business. A grade of C- is considered a minimum passing grade in each course. A grade of F is considered a failing grade, and the units will not be counted toward graduation requirements.

Students who receive an F in a required course are eligible for immediate dismissal based on the availability of the course and its requirement as a prerequisite for other courses.

If a student has a cumulative GPA below a 3.0, they will be placed on academic probation. A student then has one quarter to raise the GPA to a cumulative 3.0 or they will be dismissed from the program. Students failing required classes may be dismissed immediately if it is mathematically impossible to return to good standing and remain on track to graduate with his/her class.

If a student has a cumulative GPA below a 3.0 at the end of their final quarter and all course requirements have been satisfied, no degree will be awarded until the cumulative GPA is a 3.0 or better through completion of additional graduate course work in the Leavey School of Business.

Student Responsibility

Students enrolled in the MSIS program are required to follow the same policies and procedures as students in the evening 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, honor code, leave of absence, withdrawal, and concurrent enrollment policies. Please refer to the Academic Information section, Chapter 4, for additional information.

MSIS Curriculum Core:

MSIS 2601. Object-Oriented Analysis & Programming

Provide students with an overview of object-oriented programming methodology using the Java Programming Language. Course will present different programming paradigms, including structured (procedural) and object oriented, compare and contrast these approaches, object oriented programming concepts including data abstraction, abstract data types, classes and objects, inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, packages and interfaces, and multithreaded programming. To support GUI-based Java applications, concepts and tools such as event handling, Generics programming, Swing, and JavaFX, (libraries and classes introduced in JDK 8 and beyond) windowing systems and frameworks are introduced to support modern lightweight development of Java-based Applets. Prerequisite: Knowledge of C programming language or equivalent. (4 units)

MSIS 2602. Information Systems Analysis & Design - Systems Modeling

Methodology to assist in the analysis and design of computer-based information systems for business applications. Tools include data flow diagrams, flowcharts, Structured English, pseudo code, hierarchy charts, structure diagrams, and Warnier-Orr charts. Application of these tools to a systems development project is required. Cross-listed with OMIS 372. Credit will not be given for both. (4 units)

MSIS 2603. Database Management Systems - Fundamentals of SQL

This course aims to give an understanding of hands-on experience with the most widely used database tools. The objective of this course is to convey intermediate to advanced database concepts and to acquaint students with state-of-the-art software tools. The course will rely on classroom discussions, media articles and cases, as well as programming exercises and an integrative group project. Use of database software is required. A lab fee is required. Cross-listed with OMIS 366. Credit will not be given for both. Prerequisite: Experience with computer usage. (2 units)

MSIS 2604. Information Systems Policy and Strategy

Strategic management and deployment of information systems and technologies (ISTs) to improve business competitiveness. An examination of the role of IST strategy in enabling companies to effectively manage in the turbulent and dynamic business environment brought about by the Internet. Analysis of new business opportunities in electronic commerce brought about by ISTs, including organizational redesign that these technologies require. An examination of implementation and change management issues related to IST deployment in the new environment. Focuses on drawing lessons from the experiences of leading companies that are deploying ISTs to define and support their e-commerce strategies. Cross-listed as OMIS 378. Credit will not be given for both. (4 units)

MSIS 2606. Software Project Management

An overview of software project development methodology, covering both technical and managerial aspects of software development. Examines alternate software life cycle models and introduces modern techniques for definition, design, implementation, and validation of software products. Prerequisite: Knowledge of or experience with a high-level programming language, or permission from an instructor. (4 units)

MSIS 2607. Data Analytics - Python

Data analytics involves the application of scientific methodologies to extract, understand, and make predictions based on data sets from a broad range of sources. Data analytics requires knowledge and skills from three areas: (i) programming, (ii) math/statistics, and (iii) domain specific expertise. The objective of this course is to teach the programming skills relevant to data science. Students will learn to use a complete set of open source tools for data science in Python, including the Jupyter Notebook, NumPy, Pandas, Seaborn, scikit-learn, Colab, and many others. Students will learn skills that cover the various phases of exploratory data analysis: importing data, cleaning and transforming data, algorithmic thinking, grouping, aggregation, reshaping, visualization, time series, statistical modeling, and data exploration and communication of results. The course will utilize data from a wide range of sources and will culminate with a final project and presentation. (4 units)

MSIS 2613. Database Analysis, Design & Management

Course presents technical and managerial approaches to the analysis, design, and management of business data, databases, and database management systems. The topics include structured and unstructured data management, a comparison of relational and object-oriented databases, relational database conceptual and logical design, and database implementation and administration (2 units)

ACTG 2608. Financial Accounting

This course introduces the roles, concepts, legal requirements and impacts of financial reporting. Financial statements and the analysis and recording of transactions, with a focus towards interpretations of reported results are covered. (2 units)

MSIS Curriculum Electives:

MSIS 2621. Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing

Introduces the business, technology, and managerial issues related to BI and DW solutions. Students will acquire practical skills in collecting business requirements, planning, defining, designing and developing a BI solution. Emphasis is placed on learning how to derive business value from BI and DW solutions. Hands-on experience will be obtained using a variety of BI tools. (4 units)

MSIS 2622. Enterprise Systems and Analytics

Enterprise systems are data troves that can be used to improve business performance. Enterprise systems offer historic data that can be used to optimize business processes or uncover fraudulent activities. Gives students an understanding of enterprise system fundamentals, design options for business processes, and enterprise systems data. (4 units)

MSIS 2627. Big Data Modeling and Analytics

Learn to analyze a massive amount of data with distributed computations using Spark\'s high-level data transformations. This class will teach scalable approaches to process large amounts of text with MapReduce, Spark, and Amazon Athena (an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL) (4 units)

MSIS 2628. Applied Cloud Computing

Computing is migrating to the cloud. In this course, you will understand as-a-service concepts by using services from major cloud providers and learn how to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure. This course focuses on hands-on skills required to operate on the three prime cloud service platforms from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. This course will offer an applied perspective on the core features of these platforms such as load balance, auto-scaling, serverless computing, and cloud AI. (2 units)

MSIS 2629. Dashboards

This course enables you to transform data into persuasive dashboards that effectively inform and guide management actions. Dashboards are persuasive if they motivate actions in an intended audience. Dashboards are effective if they offer comprehensive and reliable information. This course introduces and discusses the fundamental design principles and technology of dashboards and allows you to design, implement, and critique dashboards. (2 units)

MSIS 2630. Web Programming

The course will focus on the design and development of web based applications using a number of currently popular tools and strategies; also to be explored is the use of databases as data repositories for web applications. Core technologies including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL will be emphasized. (2 units)

MSIS 2631. Machine Learning

The course will prepare participants for more rigorous analysis of large data sets as well as introduce machine learning models and data analytics for business intelligence. The course will be a rigorous and broad treatment of AI, machine learning, and deep learning. The course will use both R and Python programming languages to undertake hands-on learning in ML. (4 units)

MSIS 2638. Cloud Computing Architectures

Technologies make Cloud Computing possible and how IT leverages these technologies to make the enterprise computing environment more efficient. Students will learn how hardware virtualization is made possible through computer architecture advancement, hypervisor-based virtualization and container-based virtualization, and microservices. (4 units)

MSIS 2639. Data Visualization

Transform data into persuasive dashboards that effectively inform and guide management actions. Dashboards are persuasive if they motivate actions in an intended audience. Dashboards are effective if they offer comprehensive and reliable information. Introduces and discusses the fundamental design principles and technology of dashboards and allows you to design, implement, and critique dashboards. (2 units)

MSIS 2803. The Internet of Things

This course introduces students to the principles underlying the Internet of Things (IoT). It starts with the history of various technologies that have enabled IoT. It will cover types of IoT architectures, sensor technologies, hardware platforms, communication protocols at various IoT stacks, machine-to- machine communication, IPv6-based solutions, the IEEE 802.15.4 standard that governs and defines IoT protocols, the IoT cloud infrastructure, and security and remote management of IoT devices. This course will also provide students with the application skills necessary to cement the IoT principles learned. Students who would like to take on leadership or managerial roles will find the principles learned in this course very helpful in implementing a unique and effective IoT-based business strategy for their organization. Students will be required to work in teams to design and build working IoT systems. (2 units)

MSIS 2804. Mobile App Development for Business Applications

Mobile platforms and apps have become core components of business today. With over 2.5 million apps available for smartphones, understanding the basic concepts underlying mobile apps has become a core necessity for business practitioners - particularly for executives and entrepreneurs. Business professionals now need to obtain in-depth knowledge of what is inside a mobile app, how one gets built, and where the business value resides. The best and most practical way for these professionals to develop this knowledge is for them to actually build a set of mobile apps, hands-on from the ground up. This course presents the business and technical foundation for mobile platforms and app development. (2 units)

MSIS 2805. How Engineers, Business People and Lawyers Communicate with Each Other

Students from business, engineering, and law learn to understand each other\'s perspectives, speak each other\'s language, and work together effectively in a collaborative environment. Students from different schools will be organized into teams to work together on a simulated project involving a technological matter, such as privacy/security or IP. (2 units)

MSIS 2650. Artificial Intelligence

The course begins by describing what the latest generation of artificial intelligence techniques can actually do. After an introduction of some basic concepts and techniques, the course illustrates both the potential and current limitations of these techniques with examples from a variety of applications. We spend some time on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of human decision-making and learning, specifically in combination with AI systems. Exercises will include hands-on application of basic AI techniques as well as selection of appropriate technologies for a given problem and anticipation of design implications. In a final project, groups of students will participate in the creation of an AI-based application. Prereq: MSIS 2607 (4 units).

OMIS 2687. Global Supply Chain Management B101

Global supply chains are the vitally important dynamic networks that connect people, information, processes and resources across the world involved in the production and services to customers. This course explores global supply chain relationships, transactions, channels and logistics infrastructure. Trends and challenges with respect to analytics, politics, economics and sustainability concerns in global supply chains are discussed. (2 units).

MSIS 2696. MSIS Internship

Enriches the academic experience of MSBA students through a structured experiential-learning program. Designed as a partnership between the Leavey School of Business, partner employers, and the MSIS student, the experiences gained through an internship complements classroom learning, and provides an extension of the classroom experience, integrating theory and practice. Course cannot be repeated for credit. (1 unit)

MSIS 2697. MSIS Internship

A continuation of the internship curriculum started in MSIS 2696. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: MSIS 2696. (1 unit)

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