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IS Curriculum

B.S. in IS

Undergraduate Minors

M.S. in IS

Sample Graduate Programs

Syllabi/Course Materials

What Is the Difference Between IS and Computer Science?

What Does A Systems Analyst Really Do?

Why Should MBA Students Study IS?


What is IS? | Curriculum | Hands On Learning | 
Mentoring Program | The Faculty | 
Employment Opportunities | Student Services and Resources |

What is "Information Systems"?

Computer-based Information Systems are of vital importance to modern organizations. Information Systems professionals analyze, design, develop, implement and manage state-of-the-art telecommunications, multi-media and other computer-based information systems. In addition to maintaining traditional transaction processing systems, today's IS professionals are involved in exciting developments in computing systems, such as decision support and expert systems, database development and enhancement, development and use of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), systems design using object oriented programming, design and management of telecommunications systems, and the management of end-user computing. The IS program provides students with a foundation in the functional areas of business and a foundation in computing technologies that enables graduates to pursue both technical and managerial careers incorporating leading edge technologies in public and private organizations. The program builds on the core of the business program to prepare students for the social and technical analysis, design, development, implementation and management of systems.


Undergraduate students studying IS at UMSL will pursue a Bachelor's of Science in IS (B.S. in IS). This degree requires 60 hours taken in the School of Business Administration, including up to 24 hours of IS courses may be taken beyond the introductory courses. Graduate students will pursue a Masters of Science in IS. This program may be completed within 30 hours for students with previous degrees in IS. Students without previous degrees in Business Administration from AACSB Accredited Institutions will complete the core of the MBA program, and 30 hours of IS courses.

The programs provide a solid, technical core, including courses in programming, database management systems, file management, systems analysis and systems design. Elective courses include: telecommunications, end-user computing, decision support systems, IS management and object-oriented technologies. Most classes encourage group projects and practical application of concepts through student project work. In fact, the systems design class requires each IS student to participate in a team project that requires the design, development and documentation of a system for a real client.

Currently, approximately 700 students are pursuing the B.S. in IS emphasis, and almost 2500 students have graduated with the degree since its origin in 1980. The average class size is about 30 for day classes, and about 30 for evening classes.

Students have access to a variety of co-op programs to supplement their classroom work with real-world experiences. Last year, students co-oped at corporations including: Monsanto, Boeing, EDS, Ralston, ISSC Aerospace, Children's Hospitals, Calgon Vestal Labs, Citation Computer Systems, Moog Automotive, and Cybertel Corporation.

Hands-On Learning

Most IS classes are held in the Computer Center Building which houses six advanced technology classrooms with computer systems at the instructor's station and at each student station, as well as advanced video/telecommunication projection systems. These classrooms provide student exposure to a variety of computing platforms, including IBM, Macintosh and SUN (UNIX). Across campus, there are multiple labs available approximately 80 hours per week.

In addition, there is a dedicated laboratory available only for advanced IS students. This lab provides IS students access to state-of-the-art hardware an software. A flexible configuration encourages creative use of tools as well as encouraging out-of-class exploration of the Information Highway. The IS Faculty pursues partnerships with prominent IS departments to insure students have access to leading edge software, including Computer-Aided Systems Engineering (CASE) products, Client-Server Technologies, Object-Oriented Analysis, Design and Programming tools, expert systems shells, decision support systems generators, and Information Highway search engines. For example, the IS Faculty entered into a partnership with Sterling Software to add Cool-Gen to the set of CASE tools available for students in the Laboratory; Blue Cross Blue Shield provided some of the funding to support the project.

Mentoring Program

Students in the IS program at UMSL benefit from the experience of the faculty and colleague-students. In addition, all IS students may choose to participate in the IS Mentor Program. Students are assigned to alumni-mentors who have graduated from our program and are employed in challenging IS-related positions in the St. Louis area. This program provides a value-added service by allowing students the opportunity to learn from the alumni experiences -- both in the classroom and in the "real world."

 The Faculty

Students have opportunity to take classes from distinguished, full time faculty as well as highly experienced practitioners from St. Louis' leading corporations.

Among the full-time faculty, 90% have completed a Ph.D. from leading IS institutions including: University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, Washington University, and University of Houston. In addition, they are all actively involved in state-of-the art research and practice of IS. In fact, a recent article in the Chronicle for Higher Educationranked the UMSL Information Systems Faculty #3 in the country. In recognition of this, the IS Area recently received gifts from corporate sponsors to establish a laboratory to support research. Among the topics of specialty are: insourcing/outsourcing; decision support and expert systems, telecommunications, CASE technology, IS management, end-user computing, and international development of information systems. The faculty regularly publish in the leading IS journals and consult at leading local and national companies.

Alumni and Employment Opportunities

The job market for graduates trained in Information Systems is excellent both at the local and national level. Most students find challenging positions in the rapidly expanding computing fields and in business areas that use computer-based technology. Among the job titles achieved by our students are:

Chief Information Officer Help Desk Manager/Administrator
Communications Analyst Software Sales Representative
Computer Programmer Systems Administrator
Database Manager/Administrator Systems Analyst
Director, Management Information SystemsSystems Designer
Hardware Sales Representative Telecommunications Analyst

Alumni have achieved success in many large St. Louis corporations. Among the companies employing UMSL IS graduates are the following companies:

Accenture Equitable Agra Business
Anheuser Busch Forrest Ford
Boeing MasterCard International
Brown Group Monsanto
Blue Cross Blue Shield Nestle Purina
Cap Gemini, Ernst and Young Southwestern Bell Telephone
Electronic Data Systems Union Pacific Technologies