Information Systems

Interdisciplinary Studies Certificate Program

Earn a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Information Systems that will help advance and transform your career. The program is taught by information technology industry leaders and veteran Northwestern University faculty and is designed for professionals who seek a hands-on, project based, and applied learning experience that will broaden and deepen their knowledge of new and emerging IT.

Design your program with a flexible curriculum that supports your unique professional path. Complete any four courses from the dynamic MSIS program’s nine specializations to focus on your area of interest and build the skills you need to bolster your expertise and take those next steps in your career.

Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this program.

The application for this program will be available in mid-May. You can contact the admissions advising team directly for additional information about the program or the admission process.



About the Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate Program

Information Systems Course Schedule

From Big Data management to marketing analytics, the Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate Course Schedule page provides you with detailed information on the program's offerings.

Information Systems Faculty

You can find a full listing of  instructors for this certificate program on the Information Systems Faculty page.

Admission for Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate

Applicants to this certificate program must hold a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college, university or its foreign equivalent. Three to five years of professional experience in the related field is recommended but not required.

A list of admission requirements can be found on the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Admission page.

Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate Tuition

Tuition costs can vary for each of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on financial obligations, please visit our Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate Tuition page.

Information Systems Interdisciplinary Certificate Registration Information

Our Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study registration page outlines important dates and deadlines as well as the process for adding and dropping courses.

Information Systems Management Required Courses

To earn a certificate, students must successfully complete any four courses from the Information Systems graduate curriculum.

Please note that courses completed in the certificate program cannot be transferred to the corresponding graduate degree.

CIS 414 Object-Oriented Programming

This course focuses on developing complex programs using an object-oriented language. Students write programs that utilize functions and methods for code modularization and arrays for solving problems. Information hiding, encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism, exception handling, and other principles of object-oriented programming will be introduced.

CIS 417 Database Systems Design and Implementation

This course covers the fundamentals of database design and management. Topics include the principles and methodologies of database design, database application development, normalization, referential integrity, security, relational database models, and database languages. Principles are applied by performing written assignments and a project using an SQL database system.

CIS 419 Web Application Development

This course focuses on the design and development of object-oriented web applications. The client-server model and 3-tier architecture are discussed and analyzed. Topics covered include object-oriented methodology, enterprise software application architecture, design patterns, Enterprise JavaBeans, database connectivity, and web and application server development and technologies such as servlets, JSP, XML, HTML, security, JDBC, RMI, and multithreading.

Prerequisites: CIS 414 and CIS 417.

CIS 431 Database Administration

Provides students with advanced database administration and management concepts that are needed to perform the duties of a Database Administrator (DBA). Subjects will focus primarily on relational database systems, as well as introduction to PL/SQL and NoSQL. Topics include: server installation and maintenance, security principles, application design, high availability, disaster recovery, capacity planning, metadata management, backup/recovery techniques, PL/SQL, NoSQL.

Prerequisite: CIS 417.

CIS 435 Practical Data Science Using Machine Learning

This course provides an overview of machine learning concepts, techniques, and tools, that will help students deepen their understanding of applying machine learning to real-world complex datasets to design intelligent systems. Students will learn machine learning techniques that can optimize business processes, identify new revenue models, drive digital transformation, and support evidence-based decision-making in industries such as finance, retail, and healthcare.

Prerequisites: CIS 417 and CIS 414 or MSDS 430.

CIS 452 Fundamentals of Network Security

Fundamentals of Network Security helps students develop an understanding of computer network security and survivability principles. Course work includes the study of survivability, availability, threats, risk, and policy in a multi-user network. Additionally, students study technical solutions necessary to understanding and securing network information and communications; these include cryptography, firewalls, intrusion, anti-virus, anti-spam, wireless, VPN, host systems, network services, and network infrastructure.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

CIS 453 Enterprise Security Strategy

Enterprise Security Strategy helps students develop an understanding of the core components of a holistic information security program. Coursework includes the study of industry standard frameworks for risk management, organizational structures, budgeting, executive communication, and overall program development. In addition, students will examine effective policy strategies, privacy program development and understand how security programs are managed in real organizations.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

CIS 455 Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Provides an in-depth study of the technical solutions necessary to support disaster recovery and business continuity in an enterprise networking environment. Course work includes the study of Risk and Business Impact Assessment (BIA), responding to a disaster, disaster recovery strategies, business continuity planning, and creating a recovery plan. Additional discussions will focus on designing a disaster recovery solution and surveying appropriate and current technologies and techniques, including RAID, SAN, clustering, backup solutions, LAN/WAN designs, and environmental impact.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

Recommended: CIS 452.

CIS 457 Management of Information Security

This course emphasizes the need for information technology security and control and provides reasonable working knowledge required to manage information technology security and risk. This is accomplished through a comprehensive survey of security threats, risk analysis, control techniques, and managerial issues associated with establishing and maintaining an information technology security plan.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

Recommended: CIS 452 and CIS 455.

CIS 460 Information Technology Management

This course introduces students to the key challenges and responsibilities of managing information technology and an information technology organization. Students gain knowledge of the various facets of managing information technology including how to develop an IT strategy aligned with business strategy. Topics covered include the IT solution lifecycle, IT service management, IT supplier management and sourcing, ongoing IT technology operations, governance, business continuity, budgeting, benchmarking, and industry standard management frameworks such as ITIL and COBIT.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

Recommended CIS 452, 455, and CIS 457.

CIS 465 Information Technology Strategy

This course introduces effective frameworks and methods for developing information technology and systems strategies that focus on meeting enterprises business objectives and on leveraging IT to competitively extend business capabilities. Topics covered include business driver identification and business and IT alignment; key technology components of the IT strategy, including enterprise architecture, enterprise systems, SOA and other integration technologies, networks, and data management; portfolio management; sourcing and hosting alternatives; emerging technologies and entrepreneurship.

Prerequisite: CIS 413.

Recommended CIS 452, CIS 455, CIS 457, and CIS 460.

CIS 471 Digital Transformation: Strategy and Planning

This course will cover core concepts surrounding digital transformation, including what it means to transform a business or public institution, what factors go into defining digital transformation, and what success looks like in digital transformation cases. Students will craft a framework for understanding how to build digital transformation strategies and how to identify and prioritize transformation opportunities. Students will also learn about the cultural, regulatory, and technological constraints impacting digital transformation. Students will then present the case for transformative change in a real-world target organization of their choice.


  • CIS 417
  • MSDS 430 or CIS 414

CIS 473 Digital Technologies

This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead business transformation initiatives using digital technologies. The course will cover the basics of business transformation, including the key drivers and benefits, as well as the challenges and risks associated with it. The course will then dive into advanced technologies that are transforming different aspects of a business, including operations, customer experience, and new business models. These technologies will include Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and cloud computing. This course will include hands-on exercises and case studies to provide students with practical experience in implementing digital transformation initiatives using these technologies. This is a hands-on course where students will select business cases for digital transformation and, at the conclusion of the course, present a functioning prototype using digital technologies learned during the course.


  • CIS 417
  • MSDS 430 or CIS 414

CIS 475 Leading Digital Transformation Execution

This course aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to lead and drive digital transformation within organizations. The course will focus on digital capabilities, strategy, and execution and map them to enterprise functions. The students will also learn how to integrate people, processes, and technology elements in order to create digital capabilities that produce desired business outcomes. The course consists of hands-on learning where students will develop digital transformation strategies and identify required digital capabilities and processes in order to implement and monetize digital transformation initiatives.

Prerequisites: CIS 417 and CIS 471

CIS 477 Enterprise Architecture

This course explores the role of enterprise architecture in effective implementation of IT investments to achieve business goals. In this course, students will explore the basics of EA, such as reference architectures, architecture patterns, and will apply the methods and tools including TOGAF guides to design architectures for real-world initiatives. Additionally, students will learn how to architect enterprise level software solutions by collaborating with cross-functional teams including business, security, privacy, development, governance, infrastructure, operations, and IT program management


  • CIS 417
  • MSDS 430 or CIS 414

CIS 494 Project Management Concepts

This course introduces effective frameworks and methods for developing information technology and systems strategies that focus on meeting enterprises business objectives and on leveraging IT to competitively extend business capabilities. Topics covered include business driver identification and business and IT alignment; key technology components of the IT strategy, including enterprise architecture, enterprise systems, SOA and other integration technologies, networks, and data management; portfolio management; sourcing and hosting alternatives; emerging technologies and entrepreneurship.

CIS 495 Enterprise Agility Framework

The course will prepare students to apply Agile ways of working to projects, teams and organizations. Students will begin applying Agile project management techniques at the team or project level. By the end of the course students will be able to initiate, plan and execute an Agile project. A secondary focus of the course will be on those cultural and environmental factors that impact the adoption of agile and ultimately successful agile transformation across an enterprise. Students will be able to develop and defend a proposal for enterprise agile transformation.

Prerequisite: MSDS 475.

MSDS 430 Python for Data Sciences

This course introduces core features of the Python programming language, demonstrating fundamental concepts in computer science. It provides an in-depth discussion of data representation strategies, showing how data structures are implemented in Python and demonstrating tools for data science and software engineering. Working on data analysis problems, students employ various programming paradigms, including functional programming, object-oriented programming, and data stream processing. Special attention is paid to the standard Python library and packages for analytics and modeling.

Prerequisites: None.

MSDS 475 Project Management

This course introduces best practices in project management, covering the full project life cycle with a focus on globally accepted standards. It reviews traditional methods, including integration, portfolio and stakeholder management, chartering, scope definition, estimation, the Delphi method, project evaluation and review technique, precedence diagrams, and the critical path method. It reviews scheduling, risk analysis and management, resource loading and leveling, Gantt charts, earned value analysis and performance indices for project cost and schedule control. By applying methods discussed in this course, students should be able to execute information systems and data science projects more effectively.

Prerequisites: None.

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