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The Major in Information Systems

Faculty Program Director: Randy S. Weinberg

Office: Porter Hall 222
http://www.cmu.edu/information-systems/

Information Systems (IS), found within the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is an internationally recognized undergraduate major for students who want to design and implement effective solutions to meet organizational, societal and management needs for information and decision support.

In today's complex, interconnected world, the effective creation, distribution, and use of information via technology is central to daily life. Computer based information systems facilitate, enable and often define the relationships between corporations and consumers, buyers and suppliers, businesses of all sizes, social networks, and citizens and their governments.Understanding these relationships and effectively addressing the collection, flow, and distribution of information is vital to running a modern organization, enterprise or government agency.

Information Systems involves the effective design, delivery, use and impact of information and communications technologies in organizations and society.  The importance of information technology and information systems to organizations and the need for well-educated professionals in the field is the basis for the Information Systems curriculum at Carnegie Mellon.Whether implementing applications, providing management or decision support, managing complex systems projects, or helping organizations design business processes or cope with rapid change, IS professionals fill an essential need across all sectors of society.

Information systems students at Carnegie Mellon learn to use, manage and deploy information technologies to address real problems or opportunities.They develop a solid foundation in computing, communications, and software development principles, languages, methods. Since Information Systems generally operate within organizations, IS students study social sciences and organizational theory.IS students learn how to right-size information technology enabled  solutions to meet real-world economic and organizational constraints. Information Systems students also learn, through hands-on experience, the critical importance of professional communications, problem analysis, critical thinking and teamwork.Building on the multi-disciplinary strengths of the university and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, graduates in Information Systems are ideally suited to take a leading role in shaping our information-based future.

The flexible nature of the program encourages students to explore their own interests through program electives, study in a contemporary content area or through optional second majors and minors. 

IS students are well prepared to pursue graduate work in a wide range of fields. For students interested in master's degree-level graduate work at Carnegie Mellon, there are many possibilities, including accelerated Masters degree programs in Information Systems Management, Human Computer Interaction, Information Security Policy and Management, Engineering Technology and Innovation Management, and Business Administration.

IS graduates continue to be in high demand in the information-age workplace. There has been a strong job market for IS students in recent years, and national trends indicate that this is likely to continue. IS majors often take jobs in consulting companies, major software firms, large corporations, and start-up companies. Internship opportunities closely parallel the job market.

In addition to the Dietrich College General Education Requirements and basic prerequisites in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, IS students must complete the Professional Core, the Disciplinary Core and a focused Content Area. In the Professional Core (consisting of six courses), students learn the basic skills necessary to analyze, design, implement and test high-quality, cost effective information systems. Two of the Professional Core courses are project-based experiences in which small teams of students develop and deliver solutions to real information problems.

In the Disciplinary Core (consisting of three courses), students study key areas fundamental to understanding and solving problems in information systems: professional communications; quantitative analysis and research methods; and organizations, policy, and social science.

IS students also complete three courses within one Content Area. The content areas are designed to provide students an opportunity to gain additional depth in a focused area. Currently, twelve content areas are available: (1) Business / Enterprise Systems, (2) Computing and Information Systems & Technology, (3) Social and Global Systems, (4) Quantitative Analysis , (5) Game Design, (6) Animation and Special Effects, (7) Media Design, (8) Learning Media, (9) Sound Design, (10) Entrepreneurship for Creative Industries, (11) Intelligent Environments, (12) Physical Computing. Content areas (5) thru (12) are offered through CMU's Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) initiative combining arts and technology.

Study Abroad Options in Information Systems

Given the rise of globalization and its effect on information systems development, we encourage students to consider expanding their international experience by spending a semester studying abroad. The IS program is very flexible in allowing students to pursue these opportunities, and we have a number of strategic alliances with overseas universities to make it easy for students to find courses that will count towards major requirements. With careful planning, study abroad is possible during most semesters. Students interested in study abroad should talk with the IS Academic Advisor to help plan an appropriate course of study.  With prior approval, study abroad courses may be applied to major requirements.
 

Information Systems as Additional Major or Minor

Information Systems is not available as either an additional major or minor.
 

Transfer into Information Systems

Most IS students are admitted directly into Information Systems as incoming freshmen.Only Information Systems major students are permitted to enroll in the Professional Core courses (67-250 and above), and IS students have enrollment priority in IS electives.

Students in good academic standing may apply to be admitted to the Information Systems major as transfer students. Students accepted as transfers to the IS program would normally be expected to complete the usual prerequisites and begin the Professional Core courses during the next available semester. Applications for admission to the major are considered at the end of each Fall and Spring semester.  

Dietrich College undergraduate students who want to transfer to IS must apply through the Diectrich College Academic Advisory Center, Baker Hall A56.  Undergraduate students in other Carnegie Mellon colleges who wish to transfer to the Dietrich College and then into Information Systems should also apply through the Dietrich College Academic Advisory Center, Baker Hall A57.  Students from other Carnegie Mellon colleges must be approved for admission to both the Dietrich College and Information Systems.  Decisions regarding transfer requests will be based on evidence of adequate prior academic performance, the applicant's prospects for success in the Information Systems major and availability of space in the major. 

Students interested in applying for transfer to the Information Systems major should contact the IS Academic Advisor for information regarding availability, application procedures and deadlines. Potential applicants to the IS major should be working toward a sensible alternative major, so that their success at Carnegie Mellon is not predicated on admission to the IS program.
 

Curriculum

The Information Systems major is offered only as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. In addition to major requirements outlined below, all Information Systems students must fulfill the General Education requirements for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  A total of 360 units is required for the degree.

Requirements are subject to revision.  Advisor approval is required for each student's major curriculum plan.  Any proposed course substitutions to courses required for the IS major must be approved in advance by the IS Academic Advisor. 

Prerequisites

Information Systems requires completion of prerequisite courses in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.  All prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to the start of Fall semester, junior year. 
 

Mathematics and Statistics

Complete one of the following calculus sequences:

Units
21-111Calculus I10
21-112Calculus II10

OR

Units
21-120Differential and Integral Calculus10
21-256Multivariate Analysis
(Required for advanced business courses)
9

OR

Units
21-120Differential and Integral Calculus10
21-122Integration and Approximation
(Required for advanced computer science courses)
10

AND also complete:

Units
36-201Statistical Reasoning and Practice9
Computer Science

Three Computer Science courses are required.  To maintain normal progress toward the Information Systems degree, students must complete 15-121 Introduction to Data Structures prior to the start of Spring Semester, sophomore year.  Students entering the program as freshmen will complete a Computer Science Placement Test.  Depending on appropriate Advanced Placement credit and results of the Computer Science Placement Test, entering students may place directly into 15-112 or 15-121.   15-110 is taken as a Computer Science prerequisite unless a student places directly into 15-112 or 15-121.  Most students entering the program will begin the sequence with 15-110.

Units
15-110Principles of Computing10
15-112Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science12
15-121Introduction to Data Structures10

Note: Students cannot receive credit for both 15-104 Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice and 15-110 Principles of Computing.

Professional Core

The Professional Core consists of six courses.

Complete all five of these courses:

Units
67-250The Information Systems Milieux9
67-272Application Design and Development
(Spring Semester Only)
9
67-371Fundamentals of System Development
(Fall Semester Only)
9
67-373Software Development Project
(Spring Semester Only)
12
67-475Innovation in Information Systems
(Fall Semester Only)
12

Core courses are only offered once per academic year.

Note: Students transferring into Information Systems may substitute 67-344 Organizational Intelligence in the Information Age for 67-250 The Information Systems Milieux.

Plus, complete 6 to 12 units chosen from the following options:

Units
19-402Telecommunications Technology, Policy & Management12
67-306Special Topics: Management of Computer and Information Systems6
67-309Special Topics6
67-311Database Design and Implementation9
67-327Web Application Security6
67-328Mobile to Cloud: Developing Distributed Applications9
67-329Contemporary Themes in Global Systems9
67-330Technology Consulting in the Community9
67-319-67-331Global Technology Consulting Groundwork - Technology Consulting in the Global Community
(these two courses are taken sequentially)
6
67-344Organizational Intelligence in the Information Age9
67-370Intelligent Decision Support Systems9
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9

OR Any Computer Science course above 15-121 with prerequisite of 15-112 or higher.

OR Any Human-Computer Interaction course (05-xxx).

OR other pre-approved 67-3xx or 67-4xx which may be offered from time to time. Students wishing to apply such courses to their Professional Core requirement must complete a course substitution application through the IS Academic Advisor. 

OR other pre-approved courses offered by the Engineering & Public Policy Department (19-xxx). 

NOTE: 67-1xx and 67-2xx courses may not be applied to this requirement.

Disciplinary Core

Complete one course from each of the three Disciplinary Core categories.

Professional Communications

Information systems professionals communicate with a wide range of people in most organizations and often facilitate communications between diverse groups of stakeholders. Consequently, the most successful professionals typically are those with strong communication skills. These courses help students see that the structure and presentation of information affects how well (and how easily) it can be understood and used.

Complete one course (it is recommended that this requirement be completed by the end of junior year): 

Units
15-221Technical Communication for Computer Scientists9
36-315Statistical Graphics and Visualization9
51-261Communication Design Fundamentals9
or 51-262 Communication Design Fundamentals
70-321Negotiation and Conflict Resolution9
70-340Business Communications9
70-341Organizational Communication9
70-342Managing Across Cultures9
76-270Writing for the Professions9
88/70/85-341Organizational Communication9
Quantitative Analysis and Research Methods

This area focuses on decision making and data analysis — essential to development of useful information systems. this area exposes students to analytic methods in the social sciences and quantitative methods for approaching complex methods.

Complete one course (it is recommended that this requirement be completed in the sophomore year): 

Units
21-257Models and Methods for Optimization9
36-202Statistical Methods9
36/70-208Regression Analysis9
36-217Probability Theory and Random Processes9
36-225Introduction to Probability Theory9
36-303Sampling, Survey and Society9
36-309Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Sciences9
67-360Applied Analytics9
67-370Intelligent Decision Support Systems9
80-305Rational Choice9
80-405Game Theory9
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9
88-251Empirical Research Methods9
Organizations, Policy, and Social Science

The focus of this area is on how organizations function in modern social and economic environments. Students will develop a greater understanding of how social policy and technology influence organizations and how they operate.

Complete one course: 

Units
08-200/19-211Ethics and Policy Issues in Computing9
15-390/70-421Entrepreneurship for Computer Science9
19-402Telecommunications Technology, Policy & Management12
19-403Policies of Wireless Systems and the Internet12
19-411Global Competitiveness: Firms, Nations and Technological Change9
67-344Organizational Intelligence in the Information Age9
70-311Organizational Behavior9
70-332Business, Society and Ethics9
70/85/88-341Organizational Communication9
70-342Managing Across Cultures9
70-414Entrepreneurship for Engineers9
70-415Introduction to Entrepreneurship9
70-416New Venture Creation9
70-419Entrepreneurship Practicum: The Apprentice9
70-437Organizational Learning and Strategic Management9
80-341Computers, Society and Ethics9
88-220Policy Analysis I9
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9
88-260Organizations9

Content Area

Complete a minimum of 27 units from one of the Content Areas below. No Content Area course may also be used to fulfill a Disciplinary Core or Professional Core requirement.
 

Business/Enterprise Systems

This content area broadens a student's knowledge in the business, economics and policy aspects of large scale information systems. 

Units
19-402Telecommunications Technology, Policy & Management12
19-411Global Competitiveness: Firms, Nations and Technological Change9
67-301Networks and Telecommunications9
67-306Special Topics: Management of Computer and Information Systems6
67-309Special Topics6
67-311Database Design and Implementation9
67-328Mobile to Cloud: Developing Distributed Applications9
67-330Technology Consulting in the Community9
67-319-67-331Global Technology Consulting Groundwork - Technology Consulting in the Global Community
(these two courses are taken sequentially)
6
67-344Organizational Intelligence in the Information Age9
67-370Intelligent Decision Support Systems9
70-332Business, Society and Ethics9
70-366Intellectual Property and E-Commerce6
70-371Operations Management9
70-414Entrepreneurship for Engineers9
or 70-415 Introduction to Entrepreneurship
or 70-419 Entrepreneurship Practicum: The Apprentice
or 70-420 Entrepreneurship for Scientists
or 70-421 Entrepreneurship for Computer Scientists
70-437Organizational Learning and Strategic Management9
70-438Commercialization and Innovation9
70-443Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy9
70-449Social, Economic and Information Networks9
70-455Modern Data Management9
70-460Mathematical Models for Consulting9
70-465Strategic Information Technology9
70-471Supply Chain Management9
70-476Service Operations Management9
73-359Benefit-Cost Analysis9
73-469Global Electronic Markets: Economics and the Internet9
76-391Document Design12
76-487Web Design9

Computing and Information Systems & Technology

This content area allows students to focus on current and emerging technologies. 

Units
05-391Designing Human Centered Software12
05-410User-Centered Research and Evaluation12
05-430Programming Usable Interfaces6
05-431Software Structures for User Interfaces6
05-432Personalized Online Learning12
05-433User Interface Lab9
05-499Special Topics in HCIVar.
16-311Introduction to Robotics12
16-362Mobile Robot Programming Laboratory12
19-403Policies of Wireless Systems and the Internet12
19-411Global Competitiveness: Firms, Nations and Technological Change9
60-415Advanced ETB: Animation10
67-311Database Design and Implementation9
67-327Web Application Security6
67-328Mobile to Cloud: Developing Distributed Applications9
Any 15-xxx course above 15-121 with prerequisite of 15-112 or higher

Social and Global Systems

This content area exposes students to key themes in globalization and global systems . management, policy, international business, and technology.

Units
19-402Telecommunications Technology, Policy & Management12
19-403Policies of Wireless Systems and the Internet12
19-411Global Competitiveness: Firms, Nations and Technological Change9
67-329Contemporary Themes in Global Systems9
67-330Technology Consulting in the Community9
67-319-67-331Global Technology Consulting Groundwork - Technology Consulting in the Global Community
(these two courses are taken sequentially)
6
70-342Managing Across Cultures9
70-365International Trade and International Law9
70-430International Management9
70-480International Marketing9
73-372International Money and Finance9
76-318Communicating in the Global Marketplace9
76-386Language & Culture9
79-318Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice9
79-381Petrocultures: How Oil Changed the World9
88-326Theories of International Relations9
88-371Entrepreneurship, Regulation and Technological Change9
88-378International Economics9
88-384Conflict and Conflict Resolution in International Relations9
88-391Technology and Economic Growth9
88-410The Global Economy: A User's Guide9
88-411The Rise of the Asian Economies9

 Additionally, other pre-approved courses offered by the Engineering & Public Policy Department (19-xxx) may be used to fulfill the Social and Global Systems Content Area. 
 

Quantitative Analysis

Students will learn to apply analytic and quantitative methods for approaching complex, ambiguous problems. 

Units
21-257Models and Methods for Optimization9
21-292Operations Research I9
36/70-208Regression Analysis9
36-217Probability Theory and Random Processes9
or 36-225 Introduction to Probability Theory
36-303Sampling, Survey and Society9
36-309Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Sciences9
36-350Statistical Computing9
36-401Modern Regression9
36-410Introduction to Probability Modeling9
or 36-46x Topics in Statistics
67-360Applied Analytics9
67-370Intelligent Decision Support Systems9
70-460Mathematical Models for Consulting9
70-462Stochastic Modeling and Simulations9
73-363Econometrics9
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9
88-251Empirical Research Methods9

Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) Content Areas: 
An IDeATe content area consists of a minimum of 27 units which may include one Portal Course (other than 15-104 Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice) plus 2 courses from one of the areas below.

Game Design (IDeATe)

In this content area, students will learn both theory and skill in the key areas of games: dramatic narrative and character development, visual and sound synthesis, special effects and performance capture, programming and engine development, interface and interaction architecture development, game assessment and redesign.   Please visit the Game Design website for information about available courses.

Animation and Special Effects (IDeATe)

The interconnected components of performance capture, rendering, 3D and 2D animation, and special effects will be covered in this content area.  Course information can be found at the Animation and Special Effects website

Media Design (IDeATe)

The digital mediation of experiences content area explores the interconnected development of technology and content in new media systems and the meaning that arises from the resulting forms. Students learn to design mediated experiences across different platforms, from mobile to large-scale installations. Course information can be found on the Media Design website.

Learning Media (IDeATe)

Students in this content area will combine their diverse skills for the design of effective new media systems for learning; from games for learning to tangible learning tool kits and remote learning systems. They will leverage new technologies, media arts knowledge, and learning science principles to create engaging experiences with measurable real world impact. For course information, please visit the Learning Media website.

Sound Design (IDeATe)

This content area will explore the processes and products of digital sound and music. Students will receive basic training in key areas: principles of computer music, hybrid instrument building, concepts in sound design.  62-150 Intro to Signal Processing for Creative Practice (10 units) is the required portal course for this content area and will serve as one of the courses for this content area. Course information can be found at the Sound Design website. 

Entrepreneurship for Creative Industries (IDeATe)

Students in this content area will develop the knowledge and skills to lead and innovate in creative industries. Their interdisciplinary, hands-on coursework will emphasize the conceptualization of innovative products and the structuring of innovation processes. Courses and additional information can be found at the Entrepreneurship for Creative Industries website.

Intelligent Environments  (IDeATe)

The focus of this content area is on spaces that support efficiency and high quality of experience, addressing both the integrated development of such environments and the resulting experience.
The required portal course for this content area is 62-150 Intro to Signal Processing for Creative Practice (10 units) or 16-223/60-223 Intro to Physical Computing (10 units) and will serve as one of the courses for this content area. Course information can be found at the Intelligent Environments website.

Physical Computing (IDeATe)

The barriers between computing devices and their users have slowly dissolved. The physical world is becoming a key interface for computing and the internet of things is becoming the next generation of connectivity. Students in this content area will explore the technical, experiential, and semantic issues of this evolution. Course information can be found on the Physical Computing website.
 

DOUBLE COUNTING OF COURSES

"Double Counting" refers to instances when a course taken to fulfill one requirement counts simultaneously toward a requirement in another major or minor program.  Double Counting is permitted in the Dietrich College on a very limited basis.  Information Systems students may double count no more than two courses used to fulfill any Information Systems major requirement (beyond the Dietrich College General Education requirements and Prerequisite courses) with any combination of dual degrees, additional majors, minors or graduate degree programs.  Only one course may double count with any minor.  No course can count for more than one requirement within the major.   Students must also adhere to any policy restrictions on double counting enforced by the academic department of the student's additional major or minor.

COURSE REPEATS

Per university policy, when a course is repeated, all grades will be recorded on the official academic transcript and will be calculated in the student's QPA. This is the case regardless if the first grade for the course is a passing or failing grade.

Undergraduate students who wish to repeat a course already passed must obtain approval from the student's Dean or Department Head. When a student takes a course s/he has already passed, only one set of units will count towards graduation requirements.

Information Systems Sample Curriculum 

FreshmanSophomore
FallSpringFallSpring
15-110 Principles of Computing15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science15-121 Introduction to Data Structures67-272 Application Design and Development
21-111 Calculus I21-112 Calculus II67-250 The Information Systems MilieuxDisciplinary Core Course
67-100 Information Systems Freshman Workshop67-101 Concepts of Information Systems Disciplinary Core CourseElective Course
36-201 Statistical Reasoning and Practice67-103 Fundamentals of Web DesignElective CourseElective Course
Freshman Seminar76-101 Interpretation and ArgumentElective CourseElective Course
99-101 Computing @ Carnegie Mellon79-104 Global Histories
Elective Course
JuniorSenior
FallSpringFallSpring
67-371 Fundamentals of System Development67-373 Software Development Project67-475 Innovation in Information SystemsContent Area Course
Disciplinary Core CourseContent Area CourseContent Area CourseElective Course
Elective CourseElective CourseElective CourseElective Course
Elective CourseElective CourseElective CourseElective Course
Elective CourseElective CourseElective CourseElective Course

Faculty

C.F. LARRY HEIMANN, Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Washington University (St. Louis); Carnegie Mellon, 1998–.JOSEPH S. MERTZ, Associate Teaching Professor (joint Appointment with Heinz College) – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.JERIA QUESENBERRY, Associate Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RAJA SOORIAMURTHI, Associate Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Indiana University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RANDY S. WEINBERG, Teaching Professor; Program Director, Information Systems – Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Carnegie Mellon, 1998–.ALEX CHEEK, Assistant Teaching Professor - Carnegie Mellon - Qatar – M.Des., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2014–.MAHER HAKIM, Visiting Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon; Carnegie Mellon, 2012–.DIVAKARAN LIGINLAL, Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., University of Arizona - Tucson; Carnegie Mellon, 2009–.SELMA LIMAM MANSAR, Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.DANIEL PHELPS, Assistant Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., Florida State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RAY TSAI, Professor of Practice – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., University of North Texas; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.

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Faculty

C.F. LARRY HEIMANN, Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Washington University (St. Louis); Carnegie Mellon, 1998–.JOSEPH S. MERTZ, Associate Teaching Professor (joint Appointment with Heinz College) – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.JERIA QUESENBERRY, Associate Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RAJA SOORIAMURTHI, Associate Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Indiana University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RANDY S. WEINBERG, Teaching Professor; Program Director, Information Systems – Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Carnegie Mellon, 1998–.ALEX CHEEK, Assistant Teaching Professor - Carnegie Mellon - Qatar – M.Des., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2014–.MAHER HAKIM, Visiting Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon; Carnegie Mellon, 2012–.DIVAKARAN LIGINLAL, Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., University of Arizona - Tucson; Carnegie Mellon, 2009–.SELMA LIMAM MANSAR, Associate Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.DANIEL PHELPS, Assistant Teaching Professor – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., Florida State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RAY TSAI, Professor of Practice – Carnegie Mellon - Qatar - Ph.D., University of North Texas; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.