MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma
2022 start September 

Information Systems

Information School, Faculty of Social Sciences

Aimed at graduates from any discipline, this course will teach you to design and implement information systems and effective project management techniques alongside practical computing skills, including computer programming. The MSc and PG Diploma awards are CILIP accredited.
Two students looking at a computer screen

Course description

By the end of the course, you'll have an in-depth understanding of information systems within an organisational context, emphasising issues related to information, people, information technologies and the business environment. You'll have gained practical skills related to the design and analysis of information systems. Your knowledge and skills will be highly valued in industry, commerce and academia.

We have world-leading research groups in areas such as database systems, information retrieval, speech recognition, information extraction and information management. This means you'll not only gain knowledge of the well-established fundamentals, but also the most current and advanced theories and techniques.

The course focuses on core topics in information systems including information systems modelling, project management and the impact of information systems on organisations and society. These are complemented by practical skills in computer programming and the study of professional issues in computing.

You can then tailor the course to your own interests by choosing from more specialised topics including those with a more technical focus such as database design and human-computer interaction, or topics that focus on how information management can be used to benefit organisations through digital business and business intelligence.

If you have two or more years' relevant work experience in the information sector and wish to study for a higher degree, you may be interested in our Professional Enhancement programme. The programme is designed for people already in work who want to further their careers, and allows greater freedom in module choice in recognition of your existing expertise.

Accreditation

CILIP accredited for the MSc and PG Diploma awards

Modules

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

You’ll need 180 credits to get a masters degree, with 75 credits from core modules, 45 credits from optional modules and a dissertation (including dissertation preparation) worth 60 credits.

Core modules:

Professional Issues

This module aims to promote an awareness of the wider social, legal and ethical issues of computing. It describes the relationship between technological change, society and the law, emphasising the powerful role that computers and computer professionals play in a technological society. It also introduces the legal areas which are specific and relevant to the discipline of computing (e.g., intellectual property, liability for defective software, computer misuse, etc) and aims to provide an understanding of ethical concepts that are important to computer professionals, and experience of considering ethical dilemmas.

15 credits
Information Systems Project Management

This module aims to provide a broad understanding of the fundamentals of project management as they apply to the development of Information Systems (IS). The module uses a flexible approach combining face-to-face seminars with web-based learning material. The module will begin with an overview of the principles involved in IS project management; followed by a discussion of IS development methodologies and their different characteristics and specialisms. The rest of the module will discuss the requirements for various project control activities, including estimating development resources, risk management, guidelines for system quality assurance, and various project control techniques that have been developed in recent years. The module will culminate with a review of human resource management issues.

15 credits
Information Systems Modelling

To consider the role of information modelling within the organisation and provide an appreciation of the rigorous methods that are needed to analyse, design, develop and maintain computer-based information systems. The course is intended to provide an introduction to information modelling techniques. Students gain experience in applying the wide range of systems analysis methods. Students cover topics including: soft systems analysis; structured systems analysis methodologies; data flow modelling; entity modelling; prototyping, and object-oriented approaches (RUP and UML).

15 credits
Information Systems in Organisations

This module integrates topics of organisation, management, and information systems, with an aim to offer the students an integrated set of concepts and tools for understanding information systems in organisations. During this module students will explore basic management and organisational theories and examine the impact of information systems on organisations. This course introduces key concepts which will be explored further in other modules on the information Management and Information Systems programmes.

15 credits
Information Systems and the Information Society

The module develops students' critical understanding of the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on social change in 'the Information Society'. Work will revolve around three key themes: the digital divide, community and digital rights.

15 credits
Dissertation

This module enables students to carry out an extended piece of work on an approved information management topic, so that they can explore an area of specialist interest to them in greater depth. Students will be supported through tutorials with a project supervisor, will apply research methods appropriate to their topic, and implement their work-plan to produce an individual project report. Students will already have identified a suitable topic and designed a project plan in the pre-requisite unit Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation.

45 credits
Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation

This module assists students in the identification of, and preparation of a dissertation proposal. Students will: learn about: on-going research in the School; identify and prepare a dissertation proposal; carry out a preliminary literature search in the area of the dissertation research topic; and be introduced to the use of social research methods and statistics for information management.

15 credits

Optional modules - one from:

Foundations of Object Oriented Programming

This module introduces the foundations of object-oriented programming using the language Java. The emphasis of the module is on software engineering principles, and concepts underpinning object-oriented design and development are introduced from the outset. By the end of the module, you will be able to design, implement and test moderately complex Java programs.

15 credits
Introduction to Programming

This module introduces students with little or no programming experience to the general purpose programming language Python. Python is popular and easy to learn for developing a wide range of information systems applications. The skills and understandings required to program in Python are valued by organisations and transfer to most other programming languages.

15 credits

Optional modules - two from:

ICTs, Innovation and Change

This module aims at examining and exploring how organizations and human activity systems cope with change due to the new implementation or updating of Information Systems and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This change occurs in complex social environments and has cultural, political, structural and ethical impacts that need to be carefully managed. The module will examine and explore how both managers and Information Systems practitioners can be better prepared for the unpredictability, unintended outcomes and possible harmful consequences of change caused by the introduction or update of Information Systems and ICTs. Therefore, the module aims at providing an understanding of both approaches and techniques for the managing of this change.

15 credits
Researching Social Media

The module will examine the key theoretical frameworks and methods used in social media studies. Students will explore the following questions: 1) What can be learnt about society by studying social media? 2) How should researchers construct ethical stances for researching sites such as Facebook and Twitter? 3) What are the traditional and digital research methods and tools that can be applied to conduct research on social media? 4) What are the strengths and weaknesses of these methods?

15 credits
Information Governance and Ethics

The purpose of this module is to investigate topics related to the handling and governance of digital information and data in organizational and networked contexts. This will include an exploration of a) substantive issues and concerns e.g. accountability, decision-making, freedom, identity, intellectual property, openness, privacy, risk, security, and surveillance b) the design and use of relevant technologies e.g. Internet, DPI, digital rights, open source, P2P, social media c) systematic approaches and frameworks used in the regulation, governance and use of information in organizational and networked contexts e.g. copyright/left, data protection, freedom of information etc. Examples from business, government, health, law, and technology illustrate the topics investigated

15 credits
Business Intelligence

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the way in which business people use information and why they use information. Students will study the key channels and sources that may be used, and key issues concerning the value of information and library services within business. The module will concentrate primarily on external information resources. Students will learn through a combination of lectures and practical exercises, with opportunities to use business-focused electronic information services.

15 credits
Database Design

Effective data management is key to any organisation, particularly with the increasing availability of large and heterogeneous datasets (e.g. transactional, multimedia and geo-spatial data). A database is an organised collection of data, typically describing the activities of one or more organisations and a core component of modern information systems. A Database Management System (DBMS) is software designed to assist in maintaining and utilising large collections of data and becoming a necessity for all organisations. This module provides an introduction to the area of databases and database management, relational database design and a flavour of some advanced topics in current database research that deal with different kinds of data often found within an organisational context. Lectures are structured into three main areas:¿An introduction to databases¿The process of designing relational databases¿Advanced topics (e.g. data warehouses and non-relational databases)The course includes a series of online tasks with supporting `drop in¿ laboratories aimed at providing you with the skills required to implement a database in Oracle and extract information using the Structured Query Language (SQL).

15 credits
User-Centred Design and Human-Computer Interaction

Interface design and usability are central to the experience of interacting with computers. The module introduces usability principles and the design process for interactive systems exploring four major themes. Firstly, user psychology and cognitive principles underlying interface design. Secondly, user interface architectures, modes of interaction, metaphors, navigational structures. Thirdly, the user interface design process including task analysis, modelling constructs and prototyping techniques. Fourthly, the evaluation of user interfaces covering concepts of usability, goals and types of evaluation. The module focus is on the underlying principles of HCI and user-centred design approach with practical sessions to demonstrate these principles.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

A variety of teaching methods are used, combining lectures from academic staff and professional practitioners with seminars, tutorials, small-group work and computer laboratory sessions. There is strong emphasis on problem-solving and individual aspects of learning, with the expectation that you will engage in independent study, reading and research in support of your coursework.

Teaching consists of two 15-week semesters, after which you will write your dissertation.

Assessment

Assessments vary depending on the modules you choose but may include essays, report writing, oral presentations, in-class tests and group projects.

There is also a dissertation of 10–15,000 words, which provides the opportunity, under one-to-one supervision, to focus in depth on a topic of your choice. You may choose to carry out your dissertation with an external organisation, for instance if you are a Professional Enhancement student, your project could be directly related to your own work situation. In the past, students who have carried out such dissertations have welcomed the opportunity to tackle real-life problems.

Duration

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

Your career

After completing the course, you'll be equipped to pursue a variety of roles across a wide range of industries. Our students have found work as business or data analysts, IT business consultants, information systems managers and in enterprise architecture.

Department

The University of Sheffield Information School is ranked number one in the world for library and information management in the QS World University Rankings by subject 2021. These rankings are based upon academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

The school has been at the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years. The subject is characterised by its distinctive, interdisciplinary focus on the interactions between people, information and digital technologies. It has the ultimate goal of enhancing information access, and the management, sharing and use of information, to benefit society.

When you come to study with us you'll be an integral part of our research culture. The school is your home and we pride ourselves on the friendliness and helpfulness of our staff.

We offer an outstanding academic education through a wide range of taught postgraduate degrees which embed the principles of research-led teaching.

When you join any of our degree programmes you'll develop a critical understanding of current issues in library and information management. You'll benefit from being taught by staff who are undertaking leading-edge research and who have many links with industry.

As part of our mission to provide world-quality university education in information, we aim to inspire and help our you pursue your highest ambitions for your academic and professional careers.

Entry requirements

Main course

You’ll need at least a 2:1 in any subject. Relevant work experience is an advantage but we’ll give consideration to candidates without experience.

Professional Enhancement

To apply for this course you need either:

  • an undergraduate degree in any subject discipline and at least 2 years' relevant work experience.
  • an undergraduate degree in any subject together with an acceptable relevant professional qualification and at least 2 years' relevant work experience.
  • an undergraduate degree in any subject area, and at least 5 years' relevant work experience.

If you do not have an undergraduate degree but have other qualifications and substantial relevant work experience you may be considered for entry onto the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma courses.

Overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component.

Pathway programme for international students

If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Apply

Apply for this course using our Postgraduate Online Application Form.

You should submit your application by 31 October 2021 to be guaranteed equal consideration with other applicants. Later applications will be considered on an individual basis if places are still available.

Apply

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

Explore this course:

    INFT106 Off Off