Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems

Combine technology and business skills to further your professional goals. Your learning is enhanced by completing real-world projects that benefit the local and global communities. 

The MSCIS program is designed to benefit new students looking to enter the information systems (IS) field, as well as current IS professionals looking to expand their knowledge and expertise.

The Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems (MSCIS) program offers you flexibility in study within the following specialty tracks:

  • Cyber-security (undergraduate certificate also available) enables entry into security analyst, security engineer, or information systems auditor careers and advances the knowledge of professionals in system or network administration. 
  • Data Science (undergraduate certificate also available) provides background and experience for students interested in careers such as data scientist, data analyst and machine learning scientist. 
  • Information technology management enables entry into a career as a business analyst, quality assurance analyst, or project management professional and advances the overall technical management skills of both a technician and non-technical practitioner within a technical setting. 
  • Software development enables entry into careers as a software engineer, programmer analyst, or quality assurance professional and offers advanced computing skills for a wide range of technical professionals. 

The MSCIS is entirely course-based study -- a thesis or project is optional. Full or part-time (evening) study is available. With sufficient background you can complete the program in a year and a half of full-time study or three years of part-time study.

The MSCIS program is designed to benefit new students looking to enter the information systems (IS) field, as well as current IS professionals looking to expand their knowledge and expertise.

The Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems is a graduate degree program designed for students who already have a bachelor's degree. The admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work sent directly to the Office of Admissions. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA (UGPA) of at least 3.00 on a 4.0 scale is required.
  • GMAT or GRE score report sent to the Computer Science Department*
  • Resume detailing education and work history (required)
  • Two letters of recommendation sent directly to the Office of Admissions (recommend, not required)
  • Additional materials in support of the applicant, as appropriate.

International students must also submit a sponsorship form and a transcript evaluation. International students whose native language is not English must submit evidence of English proficiency, normally by presenting a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or IELTS exam.**

At the discretion of the program faculty, students with minor deficiencies in items 3 and 4 may be conditionally accepted into the MSCIS program if they can otherwise demonstrate significant potential for success.

Submit letters of recommendationsresume, and supporting materials by email to:

NOTE: Transcripts may not be sent by the applicant; they must be sent directly from the institution.


* Students can waive this requirement with a UGPA above 3.2  from a U.S. university and a computer science or management information systems major or another major with UGPA above 3.2 and excellent recommendations. The GMAT score +200 times the UGPA must exceed 1000 OR the sum of the GRE quantitative and verbal scores must exceed 300 and the analytical writing score must be 4 or higher.
** Waived for graduates from English-speaking countries

With approval, MSCIS students may design an individualized track combining computer science, business, bioinformatics, Geographical Information Systems (certificate option also available) or other related classes. 

The MSCIS is entirely course-based study -- a thesis or project is optional. Full or part-time (evening) study is available. Students with sufficient background can complete the program in one-and-a-half years of full time study or three years of part-time study. 

The MSCIS program is designed to benefit new students looking to enter the information systems (IS) field, as well as current IS professionals looking to expand their knowledge and expertise. 

What is the difference between the UW-Parkside Master of Science in Computer Information Systems graduate degree program verses a graduate programs in either CS or IS?
The MSCIS degree at Parkside is designed for students seeking credentials for entry into the information technology professional workforce or for those seeking professional advancement. The CIS curriculum is oriented more towards practicality than most graduate programs in CS, while providing more technically oriented study than most graduate programs in IS.

What if I do not have an undergraduate degree in CS or MIS?
It is not necessary to have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or Management Information Systems to be successful in our CIS program. If you have a solid math background which includes algebra and geometry, our two prerequisite classes, CSCI 241 and CSCI 242 or CSCI 274/275/435, will complete the preparation needed.

Which classes that I have already taken may count towards my CIS degree?
Normally, graduate-level classes in CS or MIS can be counted towards your CIS degree, if the content is similar to CIS required courses. A maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate work may be transferred into the CIS program. Transfer eligibility depends on the content and level of those classes, and you must have received a B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or higher before they can be considered.

How long will it take me to complete my CIS degree?
Without any prerequisite courses, plan to arrive for the fall semester and expect the CIS program to be completed in two years of full time study. With sufficient background, it is possible to complete the program in one-and-a-half years of full time study or three years of part-time study.

At what time of day are CIS courses offered?
Most CIS courses are offered in the evenings, but some classes may be offered during the day. Each summer one or two classes will be offered, or it is possible to arrange to complete a course through independent study.

What are the application deadlines?
Fall Semester | August 1
Spring Semester | December 15
Summer Semester | April 15
International students requiring an I-20 form to study in the U.S. should apply at least two months prior to these deadlines.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?
You should seek letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with your academic work and who can comment with confidence on the likelihood of your success in graduate studies. You can also seek letters from employers who are familiar with your work habits and problem-solving abilities, though such letters should not be used exclusively.

What should I include in my statement of personal intent?
Our letter should address your educational and career goals, including how your CIS graduate studies will help to achieve these goals. If you believe your supporting documentation (including transcripts of prior academic work or test scores) may be viewed as deficient, your letter should address these deficiencies and should indicate why you believe you can be successful as a graduate student.

Should I have recommendation letters sent directly to UW-Parkside?
Yes. Have your recommendation letters sent directly to the Department of Computer Science at UW-Parkside.

If I take the GRE, do I need to take a subject test?
No, you need only take the General Aptitude Test.

What are the cutoff scores for the GRE?
On the General Aptitude Test, we look at your Analytical and Quantitative scores. The sum of these two scores should be above 1100.

What are the cutoff scores for the GMAT?
Your GMAT score, plus 200 times your undergraduate GPA, should exceed 1000.

What if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 or my GRE or GMAT score is below the cutoff?
We can admit you into the CIS program provisionally if your other supporting documentation strongly indicates you have significant promise for success in graduate work. Such documentation may include particularly strong letters of recommendation or a clear indication of success in graduate work at other institutions, for example. Your statement of personal intent should address these issues. If you are admitted without meeting normal admission standards, we will consider your admission to be probationary during your first 9 credit hours of graduate work; to continue in your graduate studies, you must earn a UW-Parkside GPA of 3.0 in these first 9 hours.

Are unofficial transcripts acceptable?
You may submit unofficial transcripts for an initial review of your application, but official transcripts should be sent directly from your prior institutions before your admission is complete and you begin taking classes.

What if my institution cannot provide official transcripts?
If your institution is unable to provide official transcripts, you will need to obtain documentation from an official source indicating the nature of your studies and their equivalents. If all or part of your studies were taken abroad, you may use the services of a credit evaluation agency that can verify your educational background and provide US equivalents.

What financial aid is available for my graduate study?
Graduate students who are at least half-time status (4 credits) and have applied for federal student financial aid through the FAFSA form are eligible to receive federal student loans. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid at

As an international student, what additional information do I need to supply with my application?

You must provide evidence of financial support and copies of your passport and visa indicating that you are eligible to study in the United States. A financial sponsorship form should be submitted with the information indicated on this form to the Department of Computer Science for review along with your other information in support of your application.

What if I do not have a degree from a US college or university?
You must have your foreign credits evaluated by a recognized evaluation agency. The evaluation should clearly indicate you have achieved the US equivalent of a BS or BA and should give a list of all courses you have taken along with their associated US equivalent credits and grades. You are responsible for paying for this evaluation and for having the evaluation sent directly to the Department of Computer Science (or for providing a copy of the evaluation in a sealed envelope properly authenticated by the agency). We recommend the following agency:
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
P.O. Box 514070
Milwaukee WI 53203-3470 USA
phone: 414-289-3400

You may obtain a list of acceptable evaluation agencies by consulting the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES) web site.

What are the cutoff scores for the TOEFL?
If your TOEFL score is at least 550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based), you are considered to have adequate English ability for graduate study at UW-Parkside. If not, you may encounter some difficulties with the English language in your coursework and in your interaction with faculty and students. In such a case, we will review your application more carefully and may ask you to complete further study of English before we make an admission decision.


Business Analyst | Works as a liaison to analyze and communicate business processes into technical requirements which a programmer or developer can then use to create systems which meet all requirements of the customer.

Data Analyst  | Uses statistics to analyze large databases to understand societal issues and optimize societal or organizational performance and/or profitability.

Data Engineer or Scientist | Uses math, programming and other technical skills to prepare and build a data architecture and data science program.

Database Administrator |  This person is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database. The role of a database administrator has changed according to the technology of database management systems (DBMSs) as well as the needs of the owners of the databases. For example, although logical and physical database design are traditionally the duties of a database analyst or database designer, a DBA may be tasked to perform those duties.

Full Stack Developer  |  Full Stack Developers are computer programmers who are proficient in both front and back end coding. Their primary responsibilities include designing user interactions on websites, developing servers and databases for website functionality and coding for mobile platforms.

Information Systems Auditor | Ensures a company adheres to legislation and best practices to increase efficiency and reduce risk while ensuring legal compliance.

Mobile Developer  |  Mobile developers are a type of software developer. They specialise in mobile technology such as building apps for Google's Android, Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone platforms. For this reason job titles for this type of role also include Android developer and iOS developer.

Programmer | This person writes, tests, debugs, and/or maintains the detailed instructions, called computer programs, which computers must follow to perform their functions. Programmers also conceive, design, and test logical structures for solving problems by computer for business, scientific or consumer applications.

Project Manager | Defined as a facilitator. Plans, tracks, and manages computer-orientated projects, communicates with customers, developers, service providers and/or vendors. Directly responsible for making decisions in such a way risk is controlled and uncertainty minimized.

Quality Assurance or Test Engineer | Ensures software products work as specified. Designs, develops and documents test plans.

Security Analyst | Develops and implements plans and configurations to ensure secure data and information resources.

Software Engineer | Applies the principles of software engineering to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems which make computers, appliance, machinery, or anything which uses software to work effectively.

System or Network Administrator | Configures, manages and maintains computers and their networks.

Web Developer |  Web developers work independently as freelancers or with company teams to create websites. Depending on the job, these professionals may focus on front-end development, which involves designing sites and producing content, or back-end development, which involves writing code to make website features work. 


Many graduates are employed by major regional and national companies, including:

  • SC Johnson
  • Jockey
  • Snap-on
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Cardinal Health
  • Briggs and Stratton
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • IBM
  • Microsoft


*National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)



University of Wisconsin System Member
The Higher Learning Commission
Carnegie Foundation, Elective Community Engagement Classification
UW Vets - Veterans Education & Transition to Success
Scroll to top