The primary objective of the MSIS Capstone sequence is to offer students the opportunity to complete the final step (beyond the core and elective requirements)in earning a Master of Science in Information Systems by participating in an experiential learning process and to apply the knowledge learned in the program to real life applications. The program offers four options to students to achieve this objective. They are: (1) The Thesis option (MSIS 644, 6 units), (2) The Industry Project option (a sequence of 1, 2, and 3 unit courses for a total of 6 units; MSIS 2640, 2642, & 2643), (3) A combination of one additional MSIS elective (3 units) and an Independent Study option (MSIS 698, 3 units), and (4) Additional Course Work: a set of three MSIS elective courses (9 units). After completing (minimum) 30 units, (GPA ≥ 3.0), each student is required to begin the capstone option selection process by interviewing with the capstone advisor. The advisor will determine the most appropriate option for each student. The four options are described below.
The Thesis Option (MSIS 2644 - 6 Units)
Students can individually or as a team of two propose a research project to one of the MSIS faculty. This option requires approval by the supervising faculty member and the director of the MSIS program. Full time students selecting this option should begin their project no later than the beginning of their second year of study. The objective of this option is to study an information system topic in detail and advance the state of the knowledge in that field theoretically, or to apply the state-of-the art information system technology to solve a problem. The outcome of this option is development of a final report and the successful submission of a research manuscript to a referred journal for publication. This option may span two or more quarters.
The Industry Project Option (MSIS 2640, 2642, & 2643 - 6 Units)
In this option, students work with a sponsoring company, where they join forces with employees, managers, and executives to develop and implement practical, hands-on solutions to a company's information technology challenges. This option spans a minimum of two quarters. Students are responsible for the entire process, from project requirements to implementation. During the process, students form valuable working relationships with each other, faculty mentors, and leaders in the company with which they work. This option consists of three MSIS Capstone courses: MSIS 640 (one unit), MSIS 642 (2 units), and MSIS 643 (3 units) and is viewed as a single project-oriented course. The objective of this option is to solve a practical problem by applying and integrating the methods and concepts studied in the MSIS program. An applied capstone project must be a real project, with an identified sponsor or client. MSIS students will be interviewed and a team is selected by the capstone advisor to complete each capstone project. Student teams will be limited in size, with typically four or five students in a group. The student team will define the problem, perform a feasibility study, analyze the problem, design a solution, and implement that solution to satisfy the sponsoring client. Participation in this option is competitive and there are only a limited number of such projects per year. The process for this option is as follows:
- MSIS students interview with the Capstone Program Manager.
- A team is made of four or five students. MSIS Program director assigns a MSIS faculty advisor to the project. The team registers for MSIS 2640 (1 unit).
- The team, in coordination with the sponsoring company, defines the problem and performs a feasibility study. The team develops a formal project plan with specific milestones and begins the process of creating a final project plan for presentation and approval of the sponsored client.
- The team registers for MSIS 2642 & MSIS 2643 in two subsequent quarters. The student team and the advisor meet as needed to discuss the project, address questions, and assess progress toward completion
- The student team should complete the project over approximately two quarters. A project is considered complete when all its milestones are achieved and the advisor and the client have accepted the final project report. A formal sign-off by the sponsoring company is required. The time span of the project may exceed two quarters.
- There will be a single grade for MSIS 2640, 2642, & 2643. That grade will be assigned after the completion of the project.
- Students may take one elective course while taking this option. Students with a full time job are discouraged from taking additional courses while enrolled in this option.
The Capstone Design Project Proposal Option (MSIS 2645 2646 2647 - 6 Units)