University of Chester

Programme Specification
Information Systems MSc
2014 - 2015

Master of Science

Information Systems

Information Systems

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester campus and Thornton Science Park

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

2-3 years part-time or 1 year full-time

6 Years

Annual - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Computer Science

Proposed PG Benchmark standards report by Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC) with the support of the QAA (September, 2003)


MSc Information Systems Postgraduate Board

Thursday 1st May 2014

· promote the academic, vocational and personal development of students;

· encourage a critically and theoretically informed and reflective approach to academic study;

· foster learning and research related to the academic, personal and vocational concerns of students and staff;

· facilitate access to higher education and lifelong learning by flexibility in admissions procedures, methods of delivery and learning and teaching styles;

· develop skills and knowledge appropriate to preparation for further research, and to a range of vocations and careers, particularly in the area of Information Systems and their uses in business and similar organisations;

· provide effective, structured learning opportunities for postgraduate study in Information Systems which promote the development of knowledge and understanding, research skills, skills of analysis and interpretation, skills of coherent argument, skills of communication and presentation, and reflection on professional practice;

· increase self-awareness and insight into both professional and ethical issues relevant to the deployment of information systems in a business or similar environment;

· enable students to develop professional approaches and aptitudes which meet the needs of many organisations as regards the management of information systems and related resources;

· promote an awareness of the need for continuous self-development in the IT field, within an ethos that encourages students to engage in this and to better appreciate academic standards.

Students will demonstrate deep knowledge and critical understanding of:
Theory and practice of business organisations
Theory and practice of information systems design
Practical application of information systems in businesses and similar organisations

Students will develop these thinking or cognitive skills:

Problem analysis & problem solving Validation, synthesis and presentation of information from various sources
Argument & reflective comment
Understanding of computing design issues & implications

Students will enhance these practical skills:

Design & Implementation of information systems and related software
Design & Implementation of user interfaces
Gathering, analysis & presentation of information
Practical application of research methods
Practical application of project management techniques

Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Key Skills are identified by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCA), and are detailed comprehensively with example descriptors in the document “Report from the Key Skills Advisory Group: Proposals for Integrating Key Skills”, (Cartwright, J et al. 2002). These are stated to be characteristics of “Graduateness”, and are deemed to have been acquired by successful students of an undergraduate degree course.
Given that the requirements for entry to the Postgraduate programme are explicitly stated to be a “good second class degree or equivalent”, it is assumed that students accepted onto the programme have broadly acquired these key skills; the programme is designed to practise, improve and refine these skills, and an outline is presented below:
Configuration & uses of standard PC hardware and applications software

Configuration of operating systems & user interfaces
Analysis of organisational problem situations
Presentation & Communications skills
Time management and self-organisation
Transferable Professional Skills

Project Management, Research methods, Systems analysis and design, Systems management

The programme is offered primarily as a part-time MSc course allowing up to six years to complete the required six taught modules and three-module Research Dissertation. A number of students may be admitted each year on a full-time study basis, to complete within a single academic year, following a designated subset of the modules available (see below). Students may exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after completing three taught modules successfully, or with a Postgraduate Diploma after successful completion of six taught modules.

Each module carries 20 level 7 credits (thus the Research Dissertation has a value of 60 level 7 credits).

Four designated core modules must be completed successfully in order to qualify for the MSc award: CO7100 (Dissertation), CO7101, CO7115, CO7103

For part-time students, the programme may be studied as a generic set of modules as described above, or as one of two specific pathways in which certain options become additional core modules viz:

• Information Systems for Professionals in Education – CO7109, CO7110, CO7014

• Internet Technology & eBusiness – CO7104, CO7105, CO7114

Study of core modules is not required for exit with a PG Certificate or Diploma, but all students will be advised to study CO7101 (Research Methods 1 and Professional Standards) as an introductory module.

The structure described above, with a delivery pattern of three modules in each of three terms per academic year, will enable full-time enrolled students to complete the taught modules within two terms and then start full-time work on dissertations, in order to complete within a year. Part-time students following specific pathways, at one module per term, could complete taught modules within two academic years, then have a year to complete the dissertation. All the modules can be delivered economically within this structure on a three-year cycle.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CO7002 7 Project Management 20 Optional
CO7012 7 Interactive Digital Media Production and Authoring 20 Optional
CO7014 7 Usability and Interactive Systems 20 Optional
CO7100 7 Research Dissertation 60 Comp
CO7101 7 Research Methods 1, Professional Standards and Issues 20 Comp
CO7103 7 Information Systems Management & Strategy 20 Comp
CO7104 7 eBusiness, Fulfilment & Logistics 20 Optional
CO7105 7 The Technology of eBusiness 20 Optional
CO7106 7 Data Communication and Network Management 20 Optional
CO7107 7 Data Warehousing and Multi-dimensional Databases 20 Optional
CO7108 7 Comparative Methodologies for System Design 20 Optional
CO7111 7 Creative Programming & Problem Solving 20 Optional
CO7112 7 Knowledge Management 20 Optional
CO7113 7 Applied Intelligent Systems 20 Optional
CO7114 7 Cloud Computing 20 Optional
CO7115 7 Research Methods 20 Comp

60 credits at Level 7 entitle the student to a Postgraduate Certificate.
120 credits at Level 7 entitle the student to a Postgraduate Diploma.
180 credits at Level 7 entitle the student to a Master’s degree.

The admissions data provided below was correct at the time of creating this programme specification (August 2014). Please refer to the prospectus pages on the corporate website for the most recent data.

Normal entry requirement is a "good" second-class degree, although a third class degree will sometimes be accepted if there is additional evidence of experiential attainment (usually several years of professional employment after graduating). For students enrolling in full-time mode, their qualification should be in a computing-related discipline, unless the student can show evidence of considerable experience in use and understanding of information systems, including some programming experience.

Applicants without a first degree but with considerable professional experience (or a combination of lower qualifications and professional experience) are considered individually on their own merits for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning ("APEL for entry") or “Admission Equivalence”. However, this programme is not designed as a "conversion Masters" for newcomers to computing, and so competence and confidence with general office applications, at the least, are expected to be demonstrated.

The existing subject benchmark statements refer to the “QAA Subject benchmark statement - Master's degree in Computing 2011"

External Examiners have compared the predecessors to this programme with the nature, delivery and standards of similar programmes at other H.E. institutions and they have consistently reported positively, indicating that this programme is comparable in those respects.

Lectures, workshops & case studies; literary & www searches by students.

Analysis & design assignments.

Dissertation work, with individual supervision

Student-led seminars & presentations.

Demonstrations, discussion, group activities.

On-line discussions; on-line learning; distance learning; blended learning.

All modules are assessed entirely by coursework. This is the most practical approach for a programme in which the great majority of students are part-time enrolled and have work commitments. In most cases, summative assignments are set at the end of the teaching period, with formative exercises given on a weekly or fortnightly basis throughout the module delivery.

Each module is assessed using a mode deemed the most appropriate by the module leader and as documented on the module descriptor. The Programme Board oversees the total assessment profile at each level to ensure that there is a balance of different modes.

The following methods are used:

a) Knowledge and understanding

Reports, essays, original research, practical assignments.

b) Thinking or cognitive skills

Problem solving, design & programming exercises; presentations; research dissertation.

c) Practical skills

Analysis & design assignments; research dissertation.

d) Transferable/key skills

Presentation assignments; web & multimedia design.

Many of the students on the current programme are already employed within the I.T. or related industries; in many cases their studies on the programme are a direct aid to promotion and higher responsibilities. Others enrol in the hope of opening new avenues to a change of career, or a first career after an undergraduate degree. The growing number of recent graduates who apply for full-time study, especially from overseas, has led to a redesign of the programme structure to ensure a specific set of six modules to be taught to these students each academic year.

Typical careers open to graduates of the programme include: Systems Analyst, Programmer, Database Consultant, Business Systems Consultant, IT/IS Manager, Network Technician, Web Designer / Manager, Multimedia producer/ designer, I.T. Project Manager, IT educator/trainer.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard there are no other cultural issues.

As a technology-oriented degree there is a high likelihood that the majority of disabilities can be addressed using appropriate specialist hardware and software; individual applicants will be invited to discuss their individual needs with the programme leader and the applicant will be advised as to the provision that can be made for them, prior to accepting a place.

Student induction & Support

Students commencing this programme are invited to an induction evening prior to the first attendance at lectures. As well as receiving an introduction to the programme and department, and the programme team, they are given an induction to UC Learning Resources and the Department network and IBIS. They receive an Induction/Welcome pack including information about the University's resources and facilities available to them, and a Student Handbook for the programme containing all the department-related information likely to be needed during their course of study.

In addition to UC support services, the Programme Leader is effectively the Personal Academic Tutor for all students on the programme, and is available for academic and other advice, for work references etc.

Study skills & academic standards

Module CO7101 has been designed specifically as an introductory module to make new students from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds equally aware of the academic standards expected at postgraduate level, and to allow tutors to diagnose study-skills related issues at a very early stage, with the aim of directing students who need it to the additional support available in the university.

Move towards online learning

An online learning mode is planned to commence from academic year 2011/12.

Full-time study mode and "specific pathways"

Although the programme is designed primarily for part-time students, the module delivery schedule has been devised to accommodate students enrolled in full-time mode, who will complete the six required taught modules within the first two terms.

Two "specific pathways" within the programme are available to part-time students and can be completed within any two academic years:

1. for students particularly interested in Internet/www and eBusiness development / deployment

2. for "professionals in education" - i.e. teachers and lecturers in all sectors, but also teaching & research assistants, administrators, technicians etc.

Other part-time students will be able to choose any three taught modules to supplement the three core modules required for MSc award.

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