NATCHITOCHES – A Master’s of Science in Computer Information Systems at Northwestern State University has been approved by the State Board of Regents.
The 33-hour degree program would be offered completely online, the only program of its type offered by a public college or university in Louisiana. Students would take nine required classes along with two electives.
“Students seeking a MS in Computer Information Systems will enhance their knowledge in a variety of areas within information systems while relating this knowledge to the success of an organization and using it to improve organizational information systems,” said Curtis Penrod, coordinator of the computer information systems program. “The online nature of this degree will allow working adults to further their education wherever they are located and at times convenient to their busy schedules. This degree will help further the growing information technology sector in Louisiana.”
This will be the first graduate program offered by the School of Business in more than 30 years.
“We are very excited to be able to offer this new master’s degree that will help fulfill the need of a knowledgeable workforce in the high-demand areas of computer systems and related technologies,” said Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne, dean of the College of Business and Technology. “The curriculum content includes practical applications which provide the foundation for students seeking leadership and research opportunities. The completely online degree program will allow students to advance their knowledge and skill-sets from anywhere in the world. It is a win, win, win for our students, our community and our state.”
The required classes are advanced cyber security, strategic data management and analysis, advanced data communication systems, data structures and algorithm analysis, strategic information systems project management, applied project management, strategic application of enterprise software, research methods in computer information systems and research project and/or thesis.
The elective choices are emerging technologies and human-computer interaction, advanced mobile development, information assurance and decision support systems.
Three of the top 10 largest areas of growth requiring a baccalaureate degree are in the computer information system field. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree can return to college to increase computer information systems skills and develop new skills. Those without information systems backgrounds can develop new skills to change to an occupation with a higher salary and larger number of job prospects.
The master’s program would build up on Northwestern State’s nationally recognized bachelor’s program in computer information systems. Enrollment in the program has nearly doubled over the past five years to more than 300 with the assistance of a grant from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and GDIT. New concentrations in application development, networking and systems management, web development, core programming and cyber security have been added. The program has been ranked first in the nation by bestcollegereviews.org. Students in the undergraduate program have won 17 national championships since 2000 at the Association of Information Technology Professionals National Collegiate Conference.