Online Degree in Information Systems

Information systems is the branch of computer science that focuses on analyzing the information and communication needs of organizations and devising IT solutions that meet cost requirements and promote the organization's strategic goals. Students in the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program examine current and emerging technologies, gain strategies for analyzing and modeling data, and develop communication skills to work collaboratively. 



Program Goals

  • Design, program, execute and test software applications using Java and Python to solve business problems
  • Apply knowledge of business technology systems, such as telecommunication, database systems, and web development, to meet information and communication needs of business and enterprises
  • Develop decision making and communication skills needed for the integration of business processes by studying relevant business information technologies in collaborative teams
  • Create computer systems project-based solutions to enterprise needs, managing all stages of software development through the stages of analysis, design, and implementation
  • Demonstrate the use of various hacking tools used in cybersecurity attacks; explain their functions and explore mitigation strategies


To prepare graduates for diverse career paths in a range of fields, the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems offers an interdisciplinary and customizable curriculum. Students take eight core courses in Information Systems and choose a major concentration in Programming, Data Science, or Artificial Intelligence. Information Systems students also select an elective certificate comprised of four courses from outside of the major.

The Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree requires 45 units total, including the major, concentration, elective certificate, and elective and distribution courses.


Core Courses

Complete all eight

  • CIS 110-DL Introduction to Programming
  • CIS 130-DL Tools and Technology of the Web
  • CIS 313-DL Telecommunication and Computer Networks
  • CIS 317-DL Database Systems Design and Implementation
  • ORG BEH 368-DL Project Management
  • CIS 345-DL Information Security
  • CIS 370-DL System Analysis and Design
  • CIS 395-DL Capstone

Major Concentrations

Choose one


  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 212-DL Intro to Object-Oriented Programming
  • CIS 385-DL Programming

Data Science

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 325-DL Enterprise Data Science
  • CIS 326-DL Data Science Engineering

Artificial Intelligence

  • CIS 323-DL Python for Data Science
  • CIS 324-DL Applied Data Science
  • CIS 360-DL Artificial Intelligence with Deep Learning
  • CIS 361-DL Natural Language Processing for Artificial Intelligence

Elective Certificates

Choose one

Elective certificates provide students with the opportunity to build skills in a wide range of areas to meet career objectives and earn a stand-alone credential to demonstrate expertise in the professional arena.

Biology for Health Sciences

  • HS BIO 201-DL Introduction to Chemical and Physical Sciences
  • BIOL SCI 217-DL Physiology
  • BIOL SCI 313-DL Human Anatomy
  • BIOL SCI 328-DL Microbiology
Begins Fall 2025

Business Essentials

  • ECON 201-DL Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ACCOUNT 201-DL Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • FINANCE 202-DL Introduction to Finance
  • MKTG 201-DL Principles of Marketing

Corporate Communication and Branding

  • COMM ST 261-DL Introduction to Corporate Strategic Communication
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Crisis Communication
  • MKTG 320-DL Brand Management
  • MKTG 370-DL Public Relations
Begins Fall 2023

Health, Science, and Society

  • ANTHRO 315-DL Medical Anthropology
  • BIOL SCI 312-DL The Evolutionary Biology of Human Anatomy, Health and Disease
  • PHIL 269-DL Bioethics
  • GBL HLTH 390-DL Special Topics in Global Health
Begins Fall 2024

Human Resources

  • ORG BEH 309-DL Human Resource Management
  • ORG BEH 321-DL Employment Law
  • ORG BEH 312-DL Managing Diversity and Inclusion
  • ORG BEH 311-DL Conflict Resolution

Law and Policy

  • POLI SCI 328-DL Public Policy
  • POLI SCI 309-DL Political Theories of the Rule of Law
  • SOCIOL 318-DL Sociology of Law
  • AF AM ST 319-DL Race, Ethnicity, and the American Constitution
Begins Fall 2024


  • ORG BEH 307-DL Leadership Principles and Practices
  • ORG BEH 301-DL Organizational Behavior
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 391-DL Cultural Competencies & Global Leadership

Public Health

  • PUB HEALTH 341-DL Public Health Principles and Practice
  • PUB HEALTH 342-DL Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • PUB HEALTH 343-DL Social Determinants of Health
  • PUB HEALTH 344-DL Health Program Development and Evaluation
Begins Fall 2025

Research and Analytics

  • COMM ST 201-DL Research Methods in Communication Studies
  • SOCIOL 226-DL Sociological Analysis
  • MKTG 350-DL Market Research
  • COMM ST 352-DL Social Network Analysis

Begins Fall 2023

Social Justice

  • AF AM_ST 320-DL Social Meaning of Race
  • SOCIOL 328-DL Inequality and American Society
  • GNDR ST 332-DL Health Activism
  • SOCIAL SCI 360-DL Designing for Social Change
Begins Fall 2024

Strategic Communication

  • COMM ST 205-DL Theories of Persuasion
  • COMM ST 225-DL Communication and Culture
  • COMM ST 250-DL Team Leadership and Decision Making
  • COMM ST 395-DL Topics: Digital Media and Society

Strategic Management

  • ORG BEH 368-DL Project Management
  • ORG BEH 307-DL Principles of Leadership
  • ORG BEH 310-DL Organizational Change
  • ORG BEH 367-DL Strategic Planning and Management


Degree Requirements

Distribution Major Electives Total
14 units Core courses: 8 units
Concentration: 4 units
Certificate courses: 4 units
Other electives: 15 units
45 units

In addition to the core courses, major concentration, elective certificate, and elective courses, students complete 14 units of distribution courses that includes a writing requirement and courses from three areas. Two distribution courses focus on diversity and inclusion, one course within the United States and one course within global perspectives. Students complete a philosophy course on professional ethics for one of the four humanities distribution courses.


  • English 111 Writing Seminar and 205 Intermediate Composition (2 units)
  • Humanities (4 units)
  • Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (4 units)
  • Social Sciences (4 units)


More about the Online Information Systems Degree


MS in Information Systems for SPS Graduates

Students who complete the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree can apply for the MS in Information Systems for SPS Graduates in Northwestern School of Professional Studies and apply undergraduate courses to that degree—saving both time and tuition.

To apply to the master’s degree program, the following two undergraduate courses should be completed during the bachelor's degree program with a grade of B or higher:

  • CIS 313-DL Telecommunication and Computer Networks
  • CIS 317-DL Database Systems Design and Implementation

Students can apply to the master’s program while the Information Systems bachelor's degree program is still in progress; they should submit the application for the master’s program within the final two quarters of their bachelor's degree program. Applicants who meet admissions criteria are granted conditional acceptance, with full acceptance contingent on successful completion of the undergraduate program.

View the MS in Information Systems for SPS Graduates program to learn more.

Online Information Systems Degree Admission & Transfer Policy

Application to Northwestern University School of Professional Studies bachelor's degree programs is completed online. Once admitted, many students create a shorter path to degree completion by applying transfer credit. View detailed application instructions and transfer credit policies on the Admission & Transfer Policy page.


Online Information Systems Degree Course Schedule

Explore Online Information Systems course descriptions and schedules.

Online Information Systems Degree Tuition & Financial Aid

The School of Professional Studies offers competitive tuition rates for undergraduate courses. The Tuition & Financial Aid page lists current per-course tuition rates in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.


Registration for Online Information Systems Degree

Registration for courses opens 8 to 10 weeks before each quarter and is accessed via CAESAR,  Northwestern's online student records system. View course registration timelines and instructions on the Registration Information page. 

Learn more about the Online Information Systems Degree

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