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IS Program Options

At the current time, there are three options students have to complete the M. S. in Information Systems degree program:

Students beginning the program '07-'08 or later must choose one of these three options for degree completion.

All students who began the IT program between the '02-'03 and the '06-'07 school years may only choose between the Course Option and Thesis Option. Students who began the graduate program during the '01-'02 school year or earlier may only choose between the Project Option and Thesis Option of the degree program.

 

Course Option

Students who began the graduate program during the '02-'03 school year or later may choose to complete their degree program with the Course Option.

The Course option consists of taking 39 credit hours of courses (13 courses) in order to achieve degree completion. Neither Independent research nor independent project work is required as a part of the degree.

 

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Project Option

Students who began the M. S. in Applied Computer Science program during the '01-'02 school year or earlier or the M. S. in Information Systems program during the '07-'08 school year or later may choose the project option of the degree program. The project option IS NOT available for students beginning the program between the '02-'03 and '06-'07 school years.

 

What is a Graduate Directed Project?

A Graduate Directed Project is a substantial Systems Development, Internet Application Development, Information Assurance and Security, or Telecommunications Management project that a student in the M. S. in Information Systems program completes toward the end of his/her studies. This project is completed by the student independently with the assistance of two faculty members: a committee chairperson and a committee member. This committee guides the student through the completion of the project, and the project is presented to the IT community upon completion. The purpose of the Graduate Directed Project is to allow students to apply knowledge gained throughout the program to a real-world or research project of their choosing.

 

Getting Started

  1. Have a general idea of the areas in which you are interested. The more specific you can be the better. The areas you select MUST be related to the sequence you are pursuing in the degree program.
  2. Meet with several faculty members with similar interests in order to expand your initial ideas.
  3. Ask a faculty member to serve as your project committee chairperson.
  4. Work with your committee chairperson to finalize your project topic.
  5. Complete a Preliminary Graduate Directed Project Proposal, have it reviewed and signed by your committee chairperson, and submit it to the IT Graduate Advisor in order to receive a permit to register for your first semester of project hours.
  6. Create a project completion timeline that includes due dates for each portion of your project. This will help you stay on track and complete your project in a timely manner.

 

Registering for Project Hours (IT 494)

In order to receive credit for your project, you must register for 6 credit hours of IT 494 over 2 semesters. In order to register for IT 494, you must receive permission from the IT graduate advisor by completing a project proposal according to the following guidelines:

  1. Permission for your first semester IT 494 hours requires completion of the Preliminary Graduate Directed Project Proposal. This form must be completed according to the directions on the form, including the signature of your committee chair. This form must be submitted to the IT graduate advisor by the last day of Fall finals week for spring registration, the last day of Spring finals week for summer registration, and the last day of the first week of Fall classes for Fall registration.
  2. Permission for your second semester IT 494 hours requires completion of the Final Graduate Directed Project Proposal. This form must be completed according to the directions on the form, including the signature of your committee chair and at least one additional committee member. This form must be submitted to the IT graduate advisor by the last day of Fall finals week for spring registration, the last day of Spring finals week for summer registration, and the last day of the first week of Fall semester classes for Fall registration.

Once your proposal has been received, the IT graduate advisor will review and approve it before entering a permit for you to register for 3 credit hours of IT 494. You will be notified by email when your permit has been entered.

Please note that once you register for IT 494 credit hours, the grade for these credits is automatically changed to 'DE,' meaning that the grade will be deferred until completion of your project. Once your project is complete and you have presented it, your committee assigns a grade and submits grade change forms for a total of 6 credit hours of IT 494.

 

Working on your Project

Work closely with your committee members throughout your work. Be sure to make and keep regular meetings with them. Frequently refer to your own project completion deadlines in order to keep yourself on track.

 

Project Completion

When you have completed your project to the satisfaction of your committee, you need to present your project. Project Presentations are typically 45 minutes to 1 hour in length, including time for questions and answers. Most students use a Power Point presentation to provide background about their project development and then demonstrate their final project for the audience.

In order to schedule your Project Presentation, you must submit a Project Presentation Scheduling Form, signed by your committee, to the IT graduate advisor at least 7 working days before your presentation. The graduate advisor will schedule a room for your presentation and announce it to the IT community via posters and email.

Once you have successfully presented your project, you must submit one electronic copy of your project and project documentation to each of your committee members and to the IT graduate advisor. In addition, one bound hard-copy of your project documentation should also be submitted to the IT graduate advisor. Your committee chairperson will set the standards for what should be included in the documentation of the project.

Once these requirements are met, your committee members will assign a grade and submit grade change forms for a total of 6 credit hours of IT 494.

 

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Thesis Option

Any student in the graduate program may choose to complete a master's thesis as a part of their degree.

 

What is a master's thesis?

A thesis is a formal, professional research and writing project that is presented by a graduate student to faculty members also known as committee members. The thesis committee "oversees the research, guides the organization and presentation of the final topic, and certifies that the final work meets the academic standards of Illinois State University and the discipline. Preparation for writing a thesis should include careful and extensive reading of the professional journals and texts of the discipline, along with study of the most successful theses and dissertations recently completed in the academic field" (Guide for Writer's of Master's Theses, 2008).

 

Graduate Faculty

Members of a thesis committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty at Illinois State University. Current IT Faculty who are also members of the Graduate Faculty are:

  • Dr. Ronnie Jia
  • Dr. Chung-Chih Li
  • Dr. Billy Lim
  • Dr. Winn Mahatanankoon
  • Dr. Jihad Qaddour
  • Dr. Glen Sagers
  • Dr. Kyoungwon Suh
  • Dr. Yongning Tang
  • Dr. Doug Twitchell
  • Dr. James Wolf

 

Getting Started

  1. Have a general idea of the research areas in which you are interested. The more specific you can be the better. The areas you select MUST be related to the sequence you are pursuing in the degree program.
  2. Meet with several IT graduate faculty members with similar interests in order to expand your initial ideas.
  3. Ask an IT graduate faculty member to serve as your thesis committee chairperson.
  4. Work with your committee chairperson to finalize your thesis topic.
  5. Complete a Preliminary Master's Thesis Proposal, have it reviewed and signed by your committee chairperson, and submit it to the IT Graduate Advisor in order to receive a permit to register for your first semester of thesis hours.
  6. Create a thesis completion timeline that includes due dates for each portion of your thesis. This will help you stay on track and complete your thesis in a timely manner.

 

Registering for Thesis Hours (IT 499)

In order to receive credit for your thesis work, you must register for 5 or 6 credit hours of IT 499, depending upon your catalog year. These credit hours are typically registered for over 2 semesters. In order to register for IT 499, you must receive permission from the IT graduate advisor by completing a thesis proposal according to the following guidelines:

  1. Permission for your first semester IT 499 hours requires completion of the Preliminary Master's Thesis Proposal. This form must be completed according to the directions on the form, including the signature of your committee chair. This form must be submitted to the IT graduate advisor by the last day of Fall finals week for spring registration, the last day of Spring finals week for summer registration, and the last day of the first week of Fall classes for Fall registration.
  2. Permission for your second semester IT 499 hours requires completion of the Final Master's Thesis Proposal. This form must be completed according to the directions on the form, including the signature of your committee chair and at least one additional committee member. This form must be submitted to the IT graduate advisor by the last day of Fall finals week for spring registration, the last day of Spring finals week for summer registration, and the last day of the first week of Fall classes for Fall registration.

Once your proposal has been received, the IT graduate advisor will review and approve it before entering a permit for you to register IT 499 credit hours. You will be notified by email when your permit has been entered.

Please note that once you register for IT 499 credit hours, the grade for these credits is automatically changed to 'DE,' meaning that the grade will be deferred until completion of your thesis. Once your thesis is complete and you have defended it, your chairperson will assign a grade and submit grade change forms for these hours. You will receive a 'CR' (Credit) or 'NC' (No Credit) for a total of 5 or 6 thesis hours, depending upon your catalog year.

it is important to note that the Graduate School requires continuous registration for thesis hours until the thesis is complete. Therefore, if you have not completed your thesis after registering for your required thesis credit hours and you are no longer registering for other classes, you will be required by the Graduate School to register for one audit ('AU') hour of thesis each semester until you complete it. In order to register for an audit hour, you must contact the Graduate School directly during the first week of classes in which you need to register. They will then register you for the audit hour of thesis. No grade will ever be assigned for these hours.

 

Working on your Thesis

The Graduate School’s web site includes a wealth of information about completing a Master’s Thesis. The information includes a Guide for Writers of Master's Theses, Steps to Thesis Completion, and formatting help. You should visit this site early and often if you have chosen the thesis option of the MSIS degree.

Work closely with your committee members throughout your work. Be sure to make and keep regular meetings with them. Frequently refer to your own thesis deadlines in order to keep yourself on track.

 

Thesis Completion

If you are approaching your last semester before graduation, please note the Important Dates and Deadlines for thesis completion, including the following:

Once your thesis is nearing completion, you should submit your thesis to the Graduate School for format check. They will review your thesis and make suggestions for formatting changes. Reviewing the thesis formatting guidelines early in your thesis work and referring to them often will save you much time in reformatting later. Once your thesis has been approved, you will receive a Right to Defend Form.

Once your receive your Right to Defend form, you may schedule your thesis defense with the IT Graduate Advisor. To do so, you must submit a Master's Thesis Defense Scheduling Form, signed by your committee, to the IT graduate advisor at least 7 working days before your defense. Along with the form you must submit 2 copies of your thesis to be placed in the IT Main Office for review by faculty members. The graduate advisor will schedule a room for your defense and announce it to the IT community via posters and email.

Once you have successfully defended your thesis, you must submit 1 bound copy of your thesis to each of your committee members and to the IT graduate advisor. You also must submit copies of your thesis to the Graduate School along with your signed Right to Defend Form. Please be sure to follow all of the Graduate School's requirements for the copies you submit to them or it will not be accepted.

 

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