New master’s in computer information systems approved for Northwestern State

A Master’s of Science in Computer Information Systems at Northwestern State University has been approved by the State Board of Regents.

The 33-hour degree program would be offered completely online, the only program of its type offered by a public college or university in Louisiana. Students would take nine required classes along with two electives.

“Students seeking a MS in Computer Information Systems will enhance their knowledge in a variety of areas within information systems while relating this knowledge to the success of an organization and using it to improve organizational information systems,” said Curtis Penrod, coordinator of the computer information systems program. “The online nature of this degree will allow working adults to further their education wherever they are located and at times convenient to their busy schedules. This degree will help further the growing information technology sector in Louisiana.”

This will be the first graduate program offered by the School of Business in more than 30 years.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this new master’s degree that will help fulfill the need of a knowledgeable workforce in the high-demand areas of computer systems and related technologies,” said Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne, dean of the College of Business and Technology. “The curriculum content includes practical applications which provide the foundation for students seeking leadership and research opportunities. The completely online degree program will allow students to advance their knowledge and skill-sets from anywhere in the world. It is a win, win, win for our students, our community and our state.”

The required classes are advanced cyber security, strategic data management and analysis, advanced data communication systems, data structures and algorithm analysis, strategic information systems project management, applied project management, strategic application of enterprise software, research methods in computer information systems and research project and/or thesis.

The elective choices are emerging technologies and human-computer interaction, advanced mobile development, information assurance and decision support systems.

Three of the top 10 largest areas of growth requiring a baccalaureate degree are in the computer information system field. Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree can return to college to increase computer information systems skills and develop new skills. Those without information systems backgrounds can develop new skills to change to an occupation with a higher salary and larger number of job prospects.

The master’s program would build up on Northwestern State’s nationally recognized bachelor’s program in computer information systems. Enrollment in the program has nearly doubled over the past five years to more than 300 with the assistance of a grant from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and GDIT. New concentrations in application development, networking and systems management, web development, core programming and cyber security have been added. The program has been ranked first in the nation by bestcollegereviews.org. Students in the undergraduate program have won 17 national championships since 2000 at the Association of Information Technology Professionals National Collegiate Conference.


2 thoughts on “New master’s in computer information systems approved for Northwestern State

  1. Congratulations- wonderful news and hopefully our Master of Business Administration will be reinstated some day. I have graduating students each semester who would like to remain for their MBA.
    I doubt there are many folks around who know that Northwestern State College was awarded the Masters programs in the early 50’s before any other State college except for LSU. We offered a Master’s in almost all subject areas (until the mid 70’s) and even the Ph.D. in Education in the mid 60’s. We were King for a time and we continue to come back stronger than before.
    Newer faculty or most would enjoy reading the HISTORY OF NORTHWESTERN STATE COLLEGE written by Jane Naum who was in the Social Sciences Department for a number of years, before and after Caldwell Hall and Gardia Hall ( both near the columns) burned. The book (dissertation) is most interesting. I’m sure there are copies on campus and in Watson Library. I also remember when Dr.Renee Bienvenu (Dean and later President) was instrumental in the Bachelor’s and Associate Degrees in Computer Technology. As they say, “we have come a long way”—-) Lose some, win some. Whole hearted congratulations to Dr. Kilcoyne and the entire Business and CIS Department!!! Be Proud.

  2. Congrats! This is an important step for the College of Business and for NSU. Graduate programs elevate the university and lead to more funding. It is largely through their grad programs that Tech, ULL, and UNO have separated themselves from the other ULS institutions. NSU needs to keep up.

    NSU’s Computer Information Systems degree has been amongst the best in the region, and in the nation in many respects. I hold an Associate Degree in CIS (1991) from NSU, back in the days of D-Base 4 and Lotus 1-2-3, and it helped me greatly in advancing in the corporate world. Adding a Master’s Degree to the offerings will open opportunities to forge partnerships with other entities, not the least of which will be corporations looking for ways to enhance the skills of their employees.

    Mr. Curtis Penrod (soon to be Dr. Penrod, congrats!) has done a magnificent job advancing the CIS department as coordinator, and of course, there is an awesome faculty as well.

    Finally, I’m kind of partial to the Dean of the college…

    Again, congrats, this is huge for NSU!

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