Master's degree programs in information systems: A global view

Helena Karsten, Heikki Topi, Susan A. Brown, João Alvaro Carvalho, Brian Donnellan, Jun Shen, Bernard C.Y. Tan, Mark F. Thouin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present an analysis of 254 master's degree programs in Information Systems, offered by 229 universities in 32 countries. The entry requirements usually include a Bachelor's degree in IS or a related subject. In some countries such as USA any kind of Bachelor's degree is acceptable. In a few countries significant relevant work experience can replace or supplement the BSc. The duration of the degrees varies between one to two years, with the student workload between 1350-3200 hours. If we take into consideration the differences in entering the program (from none to four years of IS studies), the gap grows considerably. Most programs require course work in both computing and a domain of practice (such as business), but some have no requirements related to the domain of practice and still others have only modest computing requirements. Degrees with a professional orientation emphasize industry projects and internships, while in several countries a thesis is an essential part of the degree thereby preparing for further studies. A thesis also trains for reading and writing academic papers, thus enabling graduates to tap into current research in their daily work. The variation amongst programs presents a concern for the image of IS as a profession and a challenge for recruiters. The results are discussed in the context of an ongoing project to revise the graduate level model curriculum in Information Systems, with a particular emphasis on the IS profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 AIS SIGED: IAIM International Conference - Fort Worth, United States
Duration: Dec 12 2015Dec 13 2015


Other2015 AIS SIGED: IAIM International Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFort Worth


  • Capstone project
  • Curriculum
  • Entry requirements
  • Student workload
  • Thesis
  • Work experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Information Systems


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