The field of Information Systems is characterised by constant change, continuous introduction of new technology and concepts, and a welter of commercialism that tends to obscure management issues. An undergraduate degree prepares individuals to take jobs in the area of business information systems; the honours programs; to lead IS efforts (including development) at a supervisory or management level. However, there is a need to be able to take control of the concepts and trends, to guide and lead, to anticipate and capitalise, to "master" the concepts while the technology transforms as one watches. Our Master of Commerce in Information Systems is designed to bring students to this mastery level without enrolling them in a technology chase.
A one- or two-year program, the masters focuses on information systems research and critique, rather than the technology itself. It is intended to develop critical reading, writing, research, management, and teaching skills and to prepare graduates to be able to "self-teach" throughout their careers. The content is the application of information systems to commerce and management and the management and commerce of information systems itself. While the masters is generally seen as a terminal degree, it is an ideal preparation for a doctoral program in information systems, too.
What You Will Want to Get out of The Masters
The Masters program will prepare you to understand and undertake research in information systems. As a practitioner in IS you will continually have to select among alternative methods, methodologies and tools; your sources of information have to be evaluated systematically and you will have to evaluate your own practice.
As a manager in IS, you will have to lead others, making choices in your own activities and in creating appropriate and productive working environments; your sources of information, including your own organisation, will have to be evaluated, and you should evaluate your own activities, too. As an executive manager in our field, you will lead organisations, making strategic IS decisions and attempting to convince others, who know nothing about IS, that you are right; you will have to make good arguments and evaluate the information you receive to create these arguments, as well as evaluating your own effectiveness as an executive.
As an entrepreneur in IS, you will have to stay a bit ahead of the state of the market, achieving competitive advantage in a rapidly-changing field; evaluating information sources and issuing consulting reports will be a major part of your success. Finally, as a teacher or researcher in IS, research will form a major part of your vocational supply chain, a major aspect of your own practice.
What You NOT Get out of The Masters
The Masters program is designed to cater to an accomplished clientele, individuals with an outstanding academic background in IS, equivalent to an honours degree in IS. In no sense can the Masters program be considered a "conversion" course for those from other fields to move into IS. That end is best served through our post-graduate diploma program. Those who enter the Masters are assumed by have strong technical and managerial knowledge of information systems either from academic preparation or valuable practical experience.
Why this is so is because the Masters program focuses on research in IS in preparation for conducting masters-level dissertation research. A prerequisite for completing the masters dissertation is a thorough background in information technology, system design and development, information technology management, and business applications. Students coming from related disciplines such as computer science or software engineering may well have much of this background.
Those whose undergraduate degrees are in other commerce disciplines such as marketing or finance or accounting might well be able to acquire sufficient technical background. However, those from other fields will normally experience a lot of problems because they will not have good intuition about the research they are to do. We encourage students from these other disciplines first to do an honours degree in IS (through taking the postgraduate diploma and then going on to part-time honours) before attempting the masters degree.