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Athabasca University

MSc IS January 2010 Regulations

(Regulations for program students enrolled for January 1, 2010 until December 31, 2010)

Information Systems Foundation Courses

The IS foundations reflect a minimum level of prerequisite IS knowledge, and are required to prepare students for the IS core.

  • COMP501: New Systems Development Technology - is the prerequisite for COMP504 and for any elective courses requiring knowledge of Java programming as part of the coursework. It is also strongly recommended for other courses requiring understanding of Java programming examples.
  • COMP503: Hardware and Software - is the required Foundations course for incoming students who have no academic background in systems architecture or computer organization. COMP503 may also be required as a prerequisite for certain core and/or elective courses.
  • COMP504: Programming, Data and Object Structures - is the required Foundations course for incoming students who have no academic background in programming. COMP504 may also be required as a prerequisite for certain core and/or elective courses.
  • COMP601: Survey of Computing and Information Systems - is required for all MSc IS program students

Depending on the incoming student's credentials, the IS Foundations of the MSc IS program may be completed in as few as three credits (one course), or may require a maximum of twelve credits (four courses).

IS Foundation Academic Regulations

Exemptions from IS Foundations Courses - Flexible entrance requirements are designed to recognize the range of academic credentials held by IT professionals applying to the program. Exemptions from IS foundations are based on appropriate undergraduate or graduate academic credentials supported by relevant professional-level work experience.

Advanced standing is limited by program residency requirements. Depending on the incoming student's credentials, the IS Foundations of the MSc IS program may be completed in as few as three credits (COMP 601), or may require a maximum of twelve credits (COMP 601 + 3 other foundation courses). That is, to meet the MSc IS foundation requirements, a student should complete or get exempted from THREE of the following courses in addition to mandatory COMP601: COMP501, COMP503, and COMP504.

Information Systems Core Courses

The IS core is a consistent set of information systems core courses offered by all institutions granting similar credentials.

COMP 602 Enterprise Information Management
COMP 604Enterprise Computer Networks
COMP 605Project Management for Information Systems
COMP 607Ethical, Legal, Social Issues in Information Technology
COMP 610Selected Topics in Software Engineering
COMP 648Human Computer Interaction
COMP 657Artificial Intelligence
COMP 689Advanced Distributed Systems
COMP 695Research Methods in Information Systems (required for all students)

IS Core Academic Regulations

 

  1. All MSc Is students are required to take COMP 695.
  2. MSc IS students who elect the Essay route or the Project route are required to complete four (4) course from the above CORE courses in addition to COMP 695. MSc IS students who elect the Thesis route are required to complete two (2) courses from the above CORE courses in addition to COMP 695. The student can choose some of them to complete in consultation with the essay/project/thesis supervisors.

    The core courses cannot be exempted. The core courses (except COMP 695) may be challenged with the permission of the course coordinators.

    The student should declare the route (either essay, project or thesis route) before registering for the third Core course of the program. Students who select the thesis route do not need to take more than three (3) Core courses and should know their intended route at this time.

    The student must complete all core courses before taking electives.

Information Systems Elective Courses

  • MSc IS students who elect Essay route are required to complete three (3) courses from the following elective courses or the above core courses.
  • MSc IS students who elect Project route or Thesis Route are required to complete one (1) course from the following elective course list or from the IS CORE courses list in consultation with the project/thesis supervisor.
  • MSc IS students who elect the Thesis route may complete one (1) course from a related discipline from graduate units outside of the school in consultation with her/his thesis supervisor.
COMP 617 Designing Real-time Software(3)
COMP 635Green ICT Strategies(3)
COMP 636Enabling Technologies for e-Commerce(3)
COMP 637Mobile Computing(3)
COMP 638Enterprise Modeling(3)
COMP 649Affective Computing (under development) (3)
COMP 650Social Computing (3)
COMP 660Enterprise Information Security(3)
COMP 658Computational Intelligence(under development) (3)
COMP 659Natural Language Processing(under development) (3)
COMP 660Enterprise Information Security(3)
COMP 667Multiagent Systems(3)
COMP 674 Theory of Computation(3)
COMP 682Data Mining(3)
COMP 688Testing & QA Validation(3)
COMP 684Business Intelligence(under development) (3)
COMP 687Advanced Topics in Emperical Software Engineering(under development) (3)

Career Tracks and Integration

After students complete the foundations and core courses, they need to synthesize what they have learned. In the past neither synthesis nor integration were included in the curriculum. Furthermore, system integration is a pervasive aspect of IS practice. For this reason, the program includes an integrating capstone component. Current and emerging concepts and technologies are studied through "career tracks". These tracks allow students (within the competency and resources of the faculty) to "major" in a specific subject area for which there is demand, or to achieve breadth within a topic area or across a wider scope.

Integration can be viewed from three perspectives. Enterprise integration and integration of the IS function are management perspectives, and will not be pursued in the MSc IS at this time. The integration of IS technologies will be the main approach for MSc IS students integration courses or projects. This view concerns the development of an integrated IS enterprise architecture including the evaluation and selection from architectural and platform choices, priorities, and policies, the assessment of the impact of emerging technologies, evaluation of the role of standards, and evaluation of the effect of vendor strategies.

The requirements for the Career Track component of the MSc IS may be met in one of three ways:

Integration Essay

The Master's essay is a single 3-credit requirement completed in addition to the foundations, core, and three career track courses. The essay provides a generalist rather than a specialist view, and may be a comprehensive critical survey of aspects of integration (applications, IS organization, and technology). Topics should show how different computer platforms and networks can be integrated to provide a flexible and efficient infrastructure for the organization. This course addresses both the WHAT and HOW of integration. The essay may identify significant open problems, but it is not expected to contribute significantly to their solution.

An essay supervisor is required, plus one additional reader. In addition to the essay, the student will be required to pass an oral examination on the contents of the Master's essay, to be administered by the essay supervisor and reader.

  • MSc IS students who elect Essay route are required to complete the following course:

    COMP 696 Master's Essay

Integration Project

This requires completion of the IS foundations and core, a "career track" elective course, and a project that is considered equivalent in effort to three elective 3-credit courses. A project supervisor is required, plus one additional reader. This additional reader may be a faculty member or an industry resource person approved by the faculty. The project should deal with the development of technologies for intra- and inter-organizational systems in the form of an integrated technical architecture (hardware, software, networks, and data) to serve organizational needs in a rapidly changing competitive and technological environment. The project must also satisfy an acceptable combination of the following criteria:

  1. It deals with a novel exploratory implementation, the results of which will be of some interest to a portion of the IS community.
  2. It involves novel implementation techniques.
  3. It involves the implementation of a practical piece of nontrivial software whose availability could have some impact on the IS user community.

Project Credits

Project credits consist of three, three-credit elements, namely, COMP 697, COMP698, and COMP 699. These elements are not conventional courses; however, they are treated similarly for administrative purposes.

COMP697 (three credits): Decision Making, Research Methodologies, and Proposal Writing are the first element of project work. This three-credit course focuses on research methodologies and on the suitability and applicability of these methodologies to distance education research. In-depth analyses of masters-level proposals and projects will be carried out. All students taking the project route must successfully complete COMP 697 before they can register in COMP698.

COMP698 (three credits) is the second element of project work. Students can register in COMP698 any time after they have successfully completed COMP697, produced an acceptable project proposal, and have established a project supervisory committee consisting of a supervisor and two other committee members. Upon completion of COMP698, the implementation of the project research should be done.

COMP699 (three credits) is the final element of project work. Students should register in COMP699 in the term in which they anticipate completing the project report and in which they will schedule the oral defence and final project report revision of this work.

COMP 697-699 course syllabus

Integration Thesis

The Master's thesis is a five (5) three-credit course requirement completed in addition to the foundation, three core courses, and one elective course. The thesis must represent the results of the student's independent work after admission to the program. The proposed topic for the thesis, together with a brief statement outlining the proposed method of treatment, and the arrangement made for faculty supervision must be identified at the beginning of the program of study and approved by the program director. The thesis will be evaluated by the student's supervisor(s), and at least two examiners appointed by the graduate program director, one of whom shall be external to the School. The additional thesis examiners may be faculty members or industry resource persons approved by the program director.

  • MSc IS students who elect Thesis route are required to complete the following courses:
  • COMP 676 Thesis I (Proposal Writing)

    COMP 677 Thesis II (Research Stage 1)

    COMP 678 Thesis III (Research Stage 2)

    COMP 679 Thesis VI (Research Stage 3)

    COMP 680 Thesis V (Thesis Writing and Defence)

    Thesis Credits

    Thesis credits consist of five, 3-credit elements, namely, COMP 676, COMP677, COMP 678, COMP679, and COMP 680. These elements are not conventional courses; however, they are treated that way for administrative purposes.

    • COMP676 (three credits): Decision Making, Research Methodologies, Literature Review, and Proposal Writing are the first element of thesis work. This three-credit course focuses on research methodologies and on the suitability and applicability of these methodologies to information systems research. All students taking the thesis route must successfully complete COMP 676 before they can register in COMP677.
    • COMP677 (three credits) is the second element of thesis work. Students can register in COMP677 any time after they have successfully completed COMP676, produced an acceptable thesis proposal, and have established a thesis supervisory committee consisting of a supervisor and two other committee members. Upon completion of COMP677, one-third of the research should be done.
    • COMP678 (three credits) is the third element of thesis work. Students should register in COMP678 when their thesis work is well underway and have passed COMP677 (have done 50% of the research.). Upon completion of COMP678, the student should have completed two-thirds of the research.
    • COMP679 (three credits) is the fourth element of thesis work. Students should register in COMP679 when their thesis work is well underway and have passed COMP678. Upon completion of COMP679, the student should have completed 80% of research work.
    • COMP680 (three credits) is the final element of thesis work. Students should register in COMP680 when their thesis work is well underway and have passed COMP679 and they anticipate completing the thesis work and in which they will schedule the oral exam and final thesis revision of this work.

    COMP 676-680 course syllabus

    Completion Requirements

    Program completion requirements for the MSc IS are dependent on the student's academic credentials and professional-level work experience. A recent graduate of a CS or IS undergraduate program, or an IT professional with the right combination of academic credentials and work experience, may be exempted from completing some of the IS foundation courses. The minimum program requirement is 30 credits. For those without an computing science degree and/or without significant professional-level work experience, may require the maximum of 39 credits.

    All students must complete the following courses:
    COMP 601 Survey of Computer and Information Systems
    COMP 695 Research Methodologies in Information Systems

    PLUS
    3 Foundation Courses from
    COMP 501*
    COMP 503*
    COMP 504*

    * Recent graduates of a Computing Systems or Information Systems undergraduate program, or an IT professional with the right combination of academic credentials and work experience may receive an exemption from one or all of these Foundation course

    PLUS

    Essay Project Thesis

    4 courses from a specified list of Core courses4 courses from a specified list of Core courses2 courses from a specified list of Core courses
    3 courses from a specified list of Elective courses1 courses from a specified list of Elective courses1 courses from a specified list of Elective courses
    PlusPlusPlus
    COMP 696 EssayCOMP 697 ProposalCOMP 676 Thesis Proposal
    COMP 698 ImplementationCOMP 677 Thesis Phase I
    COMP 699 Project ReportCOMP 678 Thesis Phase II
    COMP 679 Thesis Phase III
    COMP 680 Oral Defence

    Updated June 30 2014 by FST Technical Staff

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