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    2024 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 award is 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.

    Applying for this course

    We use a staged admissions process to assess applications for this course. You'll still apply for this course in the usual way, using our Postgraduate Online Application Form.


    CILIP accredited for the MSc award.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    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 enable students to recognise the legal, social, ethical and professional issues involved in the exploitation of computer technology and be guided by the adoption of appropriate professional, ethical and legal practices. It describes the relationship between technological change, society and the law, including the powerful role that computers and computer professionals play in a technological society. It introduces key 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 and societal concepts that are important to computer professionals, and experience of considering ethical dilemmas.

    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; business process modelling; data flow modelling and object-oriented approaches (e.g. RUP/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 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 and the Information Society

    The module develops students' critical understanding of the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and information systems (IS) on society (and vice-versa), and it will enable exploration of personal responses to key issues, debates and problems that arise in the context of change in the information society. The module is built around three key themes: ·        Digital Divides; Sustainable Development; and Unequal impact of ICTs on social groups, e.g., on migrants and displaced populations.

    Assessed coursework enables students to engage with these themes in some depth, with both assessment tasks relating to the three themes, and with different ways to communicate about them effectively via different media channels. 

    15 credits
    Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation

    This module assists students in the identification of, and preparation of a dissertation proposal. Students will: familiarise themselves with 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

    This module enables students to carry out an extended piece of work on an Information School approved 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

    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 to computer programming. Aimed at students who have not studied programming before, it covers how to write effective, efficient and maintainable code. The competencies learnt are valued by many employers and provide an essential background to many information systems and information management-related roles. Indeed, after further study, students would be able to pursue a computer programming career

    15 credits

    Optional modules - two from:

    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?

    The primary focus of the module is on designing social media research projects rather than conducting them. Nevertheless, there will be opportunities to learn and practice relevant analysis skills. It is not a programming module but some of the topics involve the use of software and there will be the chance to write small programs for related tasks.

    15 credits
    Information Governance and Ethics

    This module explores a) the emergence of information and data as an economic resource; b) the governance challenges and ethical issues arising from organisations' systematic capture, processing, and use of information and data for organisational goals, e.g. value, risk, accountability, ownership, privacy etc; c) governance, ethical, legal and other frameworks relevant to the capture, processing and use of information and data within organisational and networked contexts; and d) technologies and techniques used in the governing and governance of information and data. Case examples from a number of domains, e.g. business, government, health, law, and social media illustrate the topics investigated.

    15 credits
    ICTs, Innovation and Change

    This module aims at examining and exploring how organisations 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 management of this change.

    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
    AI in Organisations

    Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to benefit organisations, however, its potential can only be harnessed if used responsibly. Therefore, organisations will need to know what AI does and how to use it strategically or govern their data effectively. Organisations will also need to understand how the use of AI affects their ways of working and culture, as well as the professional roles of their employees.  The impact of AI on privacy, security, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as well as on the environment, must also be considered in organisational decisions. This module examines AI in organisations and their interplay with human, technical, and environmental factors. The module includes face-to-face lectures/workshops with in-class activities. There are three thematic blocks: 1) Understanding AI, which focuses on exploring key concepts, different types of AI, and all the elements needed to make AI 'work'(e.g. labour, mining sites, data collection); 2) Opportunities and challenges of AI, which explores how different forms of AI are used in different industries and their organisational, societal and environmental impact; and 3) Responsible AI within organisations, which focuses on influencing successful organisational decision-making around AI adoption and practice.

    Aims: 1. Provide a holistic and responsible approach to studying and understanding AI  in organisations, and what it means for an organisation to responsibly adopt and implement AI.

    2. Enable students to develop an understanding of how different forms of AI are used in a variety of organisational contexts, and learn to identify the use cases that respond to an organisation's mission.

    3. Build confidence and competence in supporting organisational AI end-users and to understand the benefits, risks and limitations of different AI applications.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


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


    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.


    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.

    Your career

    After completing the course, you'll be equipped to pursue a variety of roles across a wide range of industries.

    Examples of organisations that have employed our graduates include:

    • Fosun International
    • Huawei Technologies
    • Price Waterhouse Coopers
    • CBRE
    • China Unicom

    Graduates are employed in roles such as:

    • Product Manager
    • Civil Servant
    • Risk Associate
    • Senior Analyst
    • IT Project Manager Information
    • System Auditor


    Information School

    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 2024. 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 you pursue your highest ambitions for your academic and professional careers.

    Anirban Manna

    Time flew by way too quickly. I will always cherish these beautiful memories.

    Anirban Manna MSc Information Systems (Professional Enhancement)

    Indian student Anirban moved to Sheffield from Kolkata and enjoyed Sheffield's small-town feel, whilst taking a mix of technical and non-technical modules on the Information Systems course.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree.

    Professional Enhancement

    This is a different route to the main course. It's aimed at those who already have relevant work experience.

    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.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

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

    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.

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


    You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    This course has a date of equal consideration of 14 January 2024. This date has now passed, but we are currently still welcoming applications.

    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.