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Online M.S. in Information Systems


Fundamentals Course:

(May be waived based on experience, which will bedetermined during the admissions review process.)

IS 607 Introduction to Information Systems (4 credits)

This course provides the beginning computing student with a solid foundation in computer science and information systems topics with a focus on programming. The course assumes no computing background. This course is divided into two parts. The first half of the course covers Java and the second half of the course covers databases. For the JAVA portion of the course, it is a first course in computer programming using Sun's Java. For the database portion of the course, the purpose is to convey the central importance of databases in today’s information systems environment. Some lectures include movies that require QuickTime or an open source equivalent.


At the end of this course, students will be able to write simple JAVA programs. Students will also be able to set up simple databases using the development process and run queries using SQL functions.

Core Required Courses:

IS 631 Management Information Systems (3 credits)

This course presents the applications of information systems in business processes and operations, in managerial decision-making, and in the strategic planning of organizations.

The course covers information systems management fundamentals to include such factors as:

  • The information environment,
  • Decision-making,
  • The systems approach,
  • The management of information systems, and
  • The integration of information systems with an organization’s management systems.

CO-requisite: IS 607


At the completion of the course, students will show the following competencies:

  1. Mastery of basic principles of information systems: what they are, how they affect the organization and its employees, and how they can make businesses competitive and efficient.
  2. Understanding the role of information systems in capturing and distributing organizational knowledge and in enhancing managerial decision-making.
  3. Applying information technology to redesign the organization, to include its products, services, procedures, jobs, and management structures.

IS 632 Networks (3 credits)

This course provides the fundamentals of network technologies, such as public-switched network, wide area networks, and local area networks, from the perspective of the current and future needs. The course also covers network architectures, networking standards, digital and analog signaling, the various transmission media, as well as equipment, applications, and services.

A basic introduction to the science of data communications is followed by an in-depth treatment of the TCP/IP stack. All basic concepts related to the following topics are covered with related to current networking practice:

  • Data Transmission
    • Transmission Media
    • Local Asynchronous Communication (RS-232)
    • Long-Distance Communication (Carriers, Modulation, And Modems)
  • Packet Transmission
    • Transmission Media
    • Local Asynchronous Communication (RS-232)
    • Packets, Frames, And Error Detection
    • LAN Technologies And Network Topology
    • Hardware Addressing And Frame Type Identification
    • LAN Wiring, Physical Topology, And Interface Hardware
    • Extending LANs: Fiber Modems, Repeaters, Bridges, and
    • Switches Long-Distance Digital Connection Technologies
    • WAN Technologies And Routing
    • Connection-Oriented Networking And ATM
    • Network Characteristics: Ownership, Service Paradigm, And Performance
    • Protocols And Layering
  • Internetworking
    • Internetworking: Concepts, Architecture, and Protocols 29
    • IP: Internet Protocol Addresses
    • Binding Protocol Addresses (ARP)
    • IP Datagrams And Datagram Forwarding
    • IP Encapsulation, Fragmentation, And Reassembly
    • The Future IP (IPv6)
    • An Error Reporting Mechanism (ICMP)
    • TCP: Reliable Transport Service
    • Internet Routing
  • Network Applications
    • Client-Server Interaction
    • The Socket Interface
    • Naming With The Domain Name System
    • Electronic Mail Representation And Transfer
    • File Transfer And Remote File Access
    • World Wide Web Pages And Browsing
    • RPC and Middleware
    • Network Management (SNMP)
    • Network Security
    • Initialization (Configuration)

Pre-requisite: IS 607 or equivalent

IS 633 Database Management Systems (3 credits)

The course covers most of the major advancements in database technology that have taken place recently. It does not assume any prior background in the field of databases, and hence starts with basic introductory concepts along with more advanced topics.

The course will cover both conceptual and hands-on material in the area of database management, thus enabling student to have the maximum amount of comprehension and retention of the material covered in the course.

Learning Objectives

  1. What is a DBMS and why should it be used
    • Compare file systems with DBMS
    • Describe the levels of abstractions and data independence
    • Describe transaction management
  2. Given a set of user requirements design and implement a prototype relational database.
    • Construct a high-level conceptual model, given an organization’s data requirements
    • Construct a normalized relational model from a conceptual model.
    • Implement a relational database by creating table definitions, constraints, loading data using Oracle, version 8, database management system.
  3. Manipulate data correctly using SQL.
    • Write SPJ queries, sub-queries, use aggregate functions, group data using SQL
  4. Design and implement a prototype web-based front-end with an ODBC compliant database as the back-end.
  5. Describe Internet databases and how they work
    • Describe the architecture of Application servers and Server-side Java
    • Describe how XML works
    • Describe the implementation of semi-structured data
  6. Design a data warehouse (cube, bitmap/join indexes, summary tables) given user requirements.
    • Create a multi-dimensional data model given data requirements for an example scenario.
    • Distinguish between ROLAP and MOLAP.
    • Describe the architecture of a data warehouse.
    • Describe and perform the following operations for a given dataset: roll-up, drill-down, pivot, slice, and dice.
  7. Design and apply data mining tools from user requirements.
    • For a give dataset, minconf, and minsup, develop association rules.
    • Explain sequential patterns, time series patterns, classification rules, segmentation, and clustering of data.

Pre-requisite: IS 607 or equivalent

IS 634 Structured Systems Analysis and Design (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to describe the goals and purposes of all the activities involved in the analysis and design phases of a systems development project and to teach the specific techniques used to carry out those activities using a structured approach. No specific prerequisite knowledge is required, but students will be required to use a CASE tool to fulfill some of the learning objectives. However, the choice of CASE tool is up to the student.

All of the activities required to progress from the initial identification of an organizational problem to the design of an IT-based solution are covered, as well as specific techniques for carrying out those activities. The emphasis will be on both learning the mechanics of the techniques and applying them to real projects. Although students will be introduced to all the SDLC phases, this module includes content specific only to analysis and design. Thus, no implementation, testing, or maintenance techniques will be included. The student’s competency with these skills will be assessed with a variety of mechanisms, including a group project that involves the analysis and design of an actual information system, and submitting the products of analysis and design (diagrams, descriptions, analyses) to be assessed. Other assessments include an exam and discussion.

Course Content

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to apply structured techniques for analyzing the information system needs and problems of an organization, and then design solutions to those problems.

  1. Introduction to systems analysis and design Objective: Describe the motivation behind structured systems analysis and design and the consequences of developing systems without this methodology, and the stages of the traditional waterfall and other systems development life cycle (SDLC) models, including iterative, agile, spiral, etc.
  2. Problem definition Objective: Explain how to define a systems analysis problem, given some informal description of an organizational situation, including problem and scope statements that clearly and unambiguously outline the implications and boundaries of the problem
  3. Analysis Objective: The student will learn how, given a well-defined systems analysis problem, to conduct a complete systems analysis, correctly applying structured systems analysis techniques. Specifically, the techniques learned and applied will include
    • efficient and thorough collection of information on user requirements using techniques such as interviewing, observation, surveys, prototyping, and analysis of organizational documents.
    • the construction and interpretation of the traditional products of structured systems analysis, including conceptual data models and data flow diagrams.
    • application of these traditional structured systems analysis techniques to a given collection of unstructured information regarding user requirements, resulting in a correct and comprehensive model of the organization’s current data management and processing.
    • application of techniques (such as walkthroughs and reviews) to evaluate a set of structured user requirements.
    • use of a CASE tool for some part of the analysis task.
  4. Systems Proposal Objective: The student will learn how, given a well-defined problem and a complete systems analysis, to present to a customer a systems proposal that is judged (by the customer) sufficient to enable the customer’s decision concerning the choice of system alternative.
    Specifically, the following activities will be learned and demonstrated:
    • generation of at least three alternative solutions to the problem that all represent feasible and realistic solutions from the customer’s point of view.
    • a complete and useful (from the point of view of the customer) feasibility analysis that addresses economic, technical, and organizational issues, that compares the system alternatives.
    • o a cost/benefit analysis that correctly and appropriately applies the following techniques: identification of tangible and intangible costs and benefits, identification of one-time and recurring costs and benefits, projection of costs and benefits over the expected lifetime of the system, calculation of net present value, quantification of risk reduction, cash flow analysis, return on investment, and break-even analysis.
    • a schedule analysis that correctly and appropriately uses work breakdown structures, Gantt charts, and/or PERT charts.
  5. Design Objective: The student will learn how to correctly apply structured design techniques to produce a complete design of an information system, given a complete systems analysis.
    Specifically, the techniques covered will include control flow diagramming, data flow diagramming, conceptual data modeling, and dialogue diagramming. The student will be able to use these techniques to
    • produce a system architecture design and use the architecture to identify the components of the system to be designed
    • produce useful and usable (from the point of view of the customer) designs for the input and output interfaces of a system.
    • design an appropriate and usable user interface paradigm for a system.
    • plan an effective usability assessment to evaluate the design of a user interface.
    • conduct a thorough design review.
    • use a CASE tool for some part of the design task.

CO-requisite: IS 607

Advanced Courses:

(All students must complete a total of six advanced courses)

IS 667 Interaction Design (3 credits)

The course starts by discussing fundamental psychological concepts needed to understand how humans interact with computer systems and how those systems can be better designed to support that interaction. Design and evaluation methods are presented to achieving this goal. This module builds on earlier courses, particularly Systems Analysis and Design (IS634), but adds much more material about how to design for human interaction. These concepts are important for any information system in which human interaction is required.

Interaction design is the practice of designing interactive computer systems and devices. It involves designing for the Web, mobile devices, wearables and other ubiquitous systems as well as laptops, desktops, server and client systems. Interaction design draws knowledge and skills most strongly from the fields of human-computer interaction and computer supported co-operative work (and their foundational fields, such as computer science, information systems, psychology, anthropology and sociology). It is also informed by aesthetic design disciplines such as graphic design, typography, architecture and computer art.

Interaction design makes use of a wide variety of tools and techniques developed and practiced during the last thirty years. However, many aspects of interaction design and human-computer interaction do not conform to the expectations of an ‘exact science’. To a large extent interaction design involves putting into practice a body of tried and tested knowledge, skills and techniques and then iteratively improving designs through series of user tests. Consequently, unlike some fields there is rarely a right or a wrong design, but as you will discover there are certainly good designs and very poor designs, and designs that are better than other designs. In this course you will develop knowledge, skills and learn a set of techniques, which if used appropriately, will enable you to produce much better human-computer interfaces and user-computer interactions than you could possibly achieve using just your own best judgment. In order to benefit from this course you must therefore be prepared to iteratively refine your best efforts through systematic user testing.

The course aims to:

  1. Introduce you to the concept of interaction design and teach you the main psychological, sociological, and anthropological knowledge and skills to evaluate and design the interaction components of interactive systems or parts of systems.
  2. Teach you a range of interaction design techniques so that you can design small interactive systems.
  3. Teach you a range of evaluation techniques so that you can confidently and thoroughly evaluate interactive systems and give you experience through project work.
  4. Make you aware of a wide range of interactive systems.
  5. Provide experience and practice in designing and evaluating the interaction component of a system or part of a system.
  6. Teach you how to use synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies effectively to collaborate and exchange ideas with other students and your instructor.

These seven aims can also be described as behavioral learning objectives as follows. After completing the Interaction Design course you will be able to:

  1. Describe interaction design and discuss the role that psychological, sociological, anthropological knowledge and skills in interaction design.
  2. Perform a range of interaction design techniques.
  3. Confidently perform and report the findings of evaluations using a variety of techniques appropriate for the circumstances.
  4. Describe a wide variety of different kinds of interactive systems.
  5. Design and evaluate the interaction design of a small interactive system or part of a system.
  6. Work collaboratively with others to develop a web-based class resource.
  7. Use synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies to collaborate with others effectively.

Prerequisite: IS 634

IS 668 Enterprise-Wide Computing (3 credits)

This course covers distributed computing architectures (emphasizing service-oriented architectures) and web services. You are assumed to have taken IS 632 or equivalent, have an elementary knowledge of web technology, and have taken elementary programming.

A major focus of the course is on doing technical, hands-on exercises. We learn XML basics and XML Web Services in this course. We also take a technical look at server-side frameworks for web services. The first half of the course concentrates on architectures and the second half on implementation details. This is a perfect course for students with very modest programming experience to see ‘how things work’ at a technical level without requiring excessive prerequisites.

IS 669 Project Management Operations (3 credits)

This course is designed to give students both practical and academic insights into modern practices in the area of information systems project management. A general introduction to project management is followed by readings and exercises for topics that include:

  1. Integration and scope management,
  2. Time/cost/quality management, and
  3. Human resource and risk management.
  4. The traditional management aspects of initiating, planning, executing and controlling will also be examined.

The course will conclude with discussions involving what is involved in closing a project. Students must successfully complete IS 631 and IS 634 prior to enrolling for this course.


Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the theories and practice of some of the human elements of managing IS projects like team dynamics and organizational theory;
  2. Understand the principles and practices of lS project management, program management and life cycle management. This will entail examining issues such as strategic alignment, selection criteria, cost estimation techniques, and performance measurement for IS projects;
  3. Working with automated project management software, construct work breakdown structures, project schedules, and project budgets and use these techniques as management tools for project monitoring; and
  4. Examine the literature and case studies IS and software project failures and the related techniques that are available for risk mitigation and risk management in project management.

Outcome Competencies

The student who successfully completes this course will achieve the following competencies:

  1. Understand the genesis of project management, its importance to the success of information technology projects, and its intellectual context and literature as a scholarly discipline.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of project management concepts and methodology to include the following:
    • The triple constraint of project management,
    • The project life cycle
    • Project selection methods,
    • Work breakdown structures,
    • Network diagrams and critical path analysis,
    • Cost estimating techniques and project budgets,
    • Project monitoring, included earned value analysis,
    • Risk Management, and
    • Motivation theory and team building
  3. Use project management software to plan and manage a case study information technology project in a group setting.
  4. Write essays about critical issues in information technology project management.
  5. Be familiar with current research literature and its importance to the discipline.

IS 670 Health Informatics (3 credits)

The health care industry in the United States consumes about 20% of the Gross National Product, touches everyone, and is information intensive. Health informatics is the field that is concerned with the optimal use of information, often aided by the use of technology and people, to improve individual health, health care, public health, and healthcare research. Through skill modules, the course will provide an introduction to methods underlying many health informatics applications, including Clinical Decision Support, Natural Language Processing, Standards, Information Retrieval, and Electronic Health Records. More potential topics are listed as below.

  • Integrative analysis of health and clinical data
  • Application of data mining approaches in personalized medicine
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Topic detection and information extraction in Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Temporal data management in EMR
  • Longitudinal analysis of clinical notes and surveys
  • Computer-aided detection and diagnosis
  • Computational drug discovery
  • Big data in health informatics

IS 671 Electronic Commerce (3 credits)

This course will analyze how organizations are using electronic commerce to streamline operations, reach customers, and increase profitability. The technologies involved in electronic commerce will be examined. The organizational, behavioral, social, legal, security and international aspects of EC will be discussed. The primary emphasis will be on Web based technologies and issues. This course will reflect the most current research and application. The course will mainly focus on e-commerce from a B2B and CRM point of view.

Students must successfully complete IS 634 prior to enrolling for this course.

In this course, the students will mainly learn about:

    The different concepts that drive e-business,
  • What the underlying technologies that make e-commerce possible look like,
  • How the constantly-evolving Internet technologies and their corresponding capabilities can be implemented on business practices,
  • The challenges of establishing business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce relationships,
  • The issues that need to be taken into consideration for improving efficiency in e-business,
  • National and global considerations of e-commerce.

IS 672 Computer and Network Security (3 credits)

This course surveys threats to computer and network security and methods for preventing incursions at a graduate level. We study how vulnerabilities to these threats arise in the development and use of computer systems and survey the controls that can reduce or block these threats. The course will consist of weekly readings, homework questions, and hands-on labs.

Students must successfully complete IS 632 prior to enrolling for this course.

IS 673 Readings in Human-Centered Computing Research (3 credits)

This course examines and analyses cognitive and software concepts that underlie human-centered computing. The concepts include cognitive theories of memory organization, problem solving strategies, and linguistic comprehension. Interaction software technologies that are examined include menu selection systems, command languages, and direct manipulation techniques. This course is intended to introduce the student to the current literature and to prepare the student to prepare the student for conducting independent research and for designing appropriate interaction software.

  1. to examine theories of human cognition,
  2. to relate these theories to human-centered design, and
  3. to examine various approaches to interface design.

NOTE: Prerequisite of IS 634 or IS 667.

IS 674 Information Architecture for the Web (3 credits)

As the web matures, so do users’ expectations about what a site should do. In addition to a pleasing design and working links, they also want sites that are clearly organized, relevant, accurate, up-to-date, and have interesting and easy-to-find content. This course will focus on the principles and practices of the user-centered information architecture design of websites that address these needs. We will study the creation and organization of web content that meets the information needs of end-users and serves the intentions or purposes of a site’s sponsors or creators. We will learn about the basic principles of writing and labeling web content and the usable design of websites. We will also learn about users’ web browsing and searching behavior and the design of search and navigation systems to support this behavior. We will explore options to set up search within sites and optimizing the findability of a site through search engines.

This course, however, is NOT a web graphics design, HTML or Web programming class, we will not build a website. Students will be researching the content and context of websites and the needs of users and sponsors. They will develop the purpose and strategy for a specific site of their choosing. They will design the information organization and labeling systems and develop the navigation system of the website. They will design page layouts and create content for the selected website. The will achieve these goals by planning and creating information architecture deliverables for the site prototype that facilitates consensus building among stakeholders and guides a designer or programmer in the production of a working web site. Students will also analyze the information architecture, navigation structure, audience awareness and usability of good and bad web sites.

IS 675 Introduction to Data Mining (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide an introduction to data mining concepts and techniques. The course will include both theoretical foundations of commonly used data mining methods as well as hands-on exercises using data mining tools. Topics will include techniques such as association rules, classification, and clustering. Various algorithms on each of these techniques will be covered in the course. Examples of such algorithms include the apriori algorithm for association rules; Bayesian classifiers, networks, and decision trees for classification; and k-means, its variants, and hierarchical algorithms for clustering. Several real-life applications will be discussed for each of these techniques. The course will include regular class discussions based on the materials from the textbook, quizzes and assignments, and one examination.

Elementary knowledge of statistics and programming are recommended for this course.

Prerequisite: IS 633 or an equivalent

IS 676 Information Integration (3 credits)

This course focuses on the theory and practice of integrating systems and information with an emphasis on semantics. The problem of integrating information is extremely common in today’s world. When one organization acquires or merges with another, it usually inherits an entire IT department which may or may not be compatible with its existing infrastructure. Data systems and information must easily interoperate to meet the business needs of the organization. This course investigates the various technologies in the field of information integration with an emphasis on semantics. Topics that are covered include: Data Integration Architectures, Modeling Data Semantics, Semantic Interoperability, Metadata, Semantic Integration Patterns, Context-Awareness, Semantic Networks, Mediation and Wrapper techniques, etc.

Prerequisite: IS 633 (or it’s equivalent)

IS 677 Introduction to Data Science (3 credits)

Data are increasingly cheap and ubiquitous. We are now digitizing historical data and collecting myriad new types of data from web logs, mobile devices, sensors, instruments, and transactions. At the same time, new technologies are emerging to organize, analyze, and make sense of this avalanche of data in order to improve decision making and create commercial and social value. The rise of big data and data science has the potential to deepen our understanding of phenomena ranging from physical and biological systems to human social and economic behavior. Accordingly, there is significant and growing demand for data-savvy professionals in businesses, public agencies, and nonprofits, which is reflected by rapidly rising salaries for data engineers, data scientists, statisticians, and data analysts. Data science is the study of the generalizable extraction of knowledge from data, yet the key word is science. It incorporates varying elements and builds on techniques and theories from many fields, including mathematics, probability models, machine learning, statistical learning, computer programming, data engineering, pattern recognition and learning, visualization, data warehousing, etc., with the goal of extracting useful meanings from data and creating data products. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to data science. It covers the foundational principles of data science including statistical inference and exploratory data analysis, machine learning algorithms, data visualization, and big data. Concepts are explained in the context of real life examples. The course includes hands-on exercises using open source software platforms.

Prerequisite: IS 633 or experience in database design and query processing.

IS 678 Data Analytics in Cybersecurity (3 credits)

Cyber security is a pervasive problem affecting individuals, organizations, and governments. This is due to the acceptance and adoption of technology in the form of multiple types of non-traditional devices. Thus, cybersecurity has to address challenges emerging in the areas of not only computer networks but also sensor networks, industrial control systems and user devices. One common thread in all these types of devices and end users is data. Increasingly, the focus of cybersecurity is shifting to analyzing data in not only a retrospective manner but also a prospective manner across different segments of cybersecurity domain such as software vulnerabilities , network data from intrusion detection systems, network traffic data, and user roles to name a few. Due to the seamless nature of the internet it has become more important to attribute cyber security events to geographic domains. Thus, data analytics has to go beyond the traditional themes of security and seamlessly weave across several domains including geo spatial data and temporal data. This course is an introduction to data analytics for cybersecurity. The course will look at data from different perspectives such as geospatial, temporal, social network, and sensor networks to assess cyber threats and knowledge about cyber-attacks. The course will provide an introduction to cybersecurity and different aspects of it, study different types of cyber attacks, anomalies and their relationship to cyber threats, introduction to data mining and big data analytics, methods for discovering anomalies, tools for data analytics and anomaly detection, and hands-on exercises for data analysis. The course will include lectures and hands-on analytics tasks.

Prerequisite: IS 633 or experience in database design and query processing.

IS 679 Social Media Application and Analysis (3 credits)

This course emphasizes the potential of social media space for various applications and the basic analysis of social media data. Social media have brought about a wealth of user-generated content and relationship networks on the Web. The online word-of-mouth has significant impact on\ businesses and organizations. Social media also strongly influence individual users, transforming how they retrieve, organize, store, and share information, how they create and use knowledge, how they interact with one another, how they build new relationship and maintain existing relationship, and so on. This course will help students understand the phenomenon of social media and basic analysis methods and application of social media. This course will provide students with concepts, methods, knowledge, and skills to use and manage social media effectively. It will also prepare students to formulate social media strategies and innovative social business models.

IS 680 Readings in Advanced Structured Systems Design (3 credits)

This course is an advanced study of structured systems development. Emphasis is on strategies and techniques of structured analysis and structured design for producing logical methodologies for dealing with complexity in the development of information systems. The course focuses on reading scientific papers from the relevant scholarly literature on various topics of systems design. The students will discuss these topics based upon their readings of the scientific literature. This course objectives are to introduce the issues, principles, methodologies, and theories of advanced systems design and to prepare students for research and/or professional work in this area.

Prerequisite: IS 634 (or its equivalent)

IS 698 Special Topics in Information Systems (3 credits)

Periodically, our faculty offer courses that cover topics addressing specific issues within information systems. These “special topics” courses offer our online master’s students a unique opportunity to delve into subject matter that is closely relevant to particular areas of interest within the IT professional community and is derived from research conducted by faculty here in the IS department of UMBC.

Special topics courses, when offered, meet advanced course requirements and count toward your degree. These courses are subject to limited enrollment and prerequisite requirements.

IS 701 Independent Study for IFSU (3 credits)

This is a course in independent research for master’s students, and is supervised by a member of the Information Systems faculty. The purpose of this course is to give students the opportunity to study a topic of interest which is not available from the existing course offerings.

Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

Note: A particular faculty member must agree in writing to supervise the proposed study before the student may register for this course. The approval of the Department is required before the student registers.

IS 799 Master’s Thesis I (3 credits) *

See your faculty advisor for more information regarding the specific requirements.

IS 799 Master’s Thesis II (3 credits)

See your faculty advisor for more information regarding the specific requirements.

*Thesis Option:
Students have the option to choose to do a masters thesis. Students must complete IS 799 over the course of two semesters (3 credits each semester). Students must also choose a thesis advisor from the department and form a three member committee that oversees and accepts the thesis. An MS Thesis defense must be scheduled with your advisor and committee. Student must present this defense in person and the student is responsible for scheduling and travel arrangements. The thesis must be pre-approved by the advisor and submitted to the thesis committee at least four weeks prior to the proposal or final defense.