Undergraduate Major in Information Systems

Information systems is the area of computer science that focuses on analyzing the information needs of organizations and devising IT solutions that meet cost requirements and promote strategic goals. IS professionals fill a critical role across many sectors; they implement and manage complex systems projects, design business processes, and provide support of management and decision-making.

In pursuing a degree in information systems, students learn concepts, skills, and technologies that enable organizations to manage and improve the flow of information. They explore how data is collected, stored, processed, and communicated as a means of sustaining operations, interacting with customers and suppliers, and competing in the marketplace. Students learn to navigate both software and hardware challenges as they analyze problems in real-world cases. Skills that are crucial for working within organizations — professional communication, critical thinking, and collaboration — are developed through courses in business communication and leadership. Instructors for all courses are working professionals; their practical knowledge shapes the classroom experience.



About Information Systems

Information Systems Major Goals & Curriculum

Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to
  • Communicate information systems solutions clearly and effectively
  • Recognize and analyze business problems and opportunities
  • Apply systems development methodologies
  • Propose information systems-based solutions that are technically sound, economically feasible, and organizationally viable
  • Collaborate to participate in or manage complex information-based business projects


Choose from two degree programs for the information systems major. The bachelor's degree requirements are 45 units total and include distribution, writing, and elective courses, and the major requirements.

Information Systems major requirements
  • CIS 110 Introduction to Computer Programming
  • CIS 313 Telecommunication and Computer Networks
  • CIS 317 Database Systems Design and Implementation
  • CIS 394 Software Project Management or ORG BEH 368 Project Management
  • MATH 202 Finite Mathematics
  • STAT 202 Introduction to Statistics
  • ORG BEH 307 Leadership Principles and Practices
  • ENGLISH 205 Writing Seminar
  • 6 additional courses from

CIS 130 Tools and Technology of the Web
CIS 212 Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming
CIS 323 Python for Data Science
CIS 324 Principles of Data Science
CIS 325 Enterprise Data Science
CIS 326 Data Engineering
CIS 330 Human-Computer Interaction
CIS 345 Information Security
CIS 370 Systems Analysis and Design
CIS 380 Information Architecture
CIS 385 Programming for the Web

The major requirements listed above are for students starting the program in the Summer 2017 quarter or later. View information systems major requirements prior to Summer 2017.

MS in Information Systems for SPS Graduates

Students who complete their bachelor’s degree at SPS with a major in Information Systems can apply for the Master’s in Information Systems for SPS Graduates program 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 undergraduate program with a grade of B or higher:

  • CIS 313 Telecommunications Networks
  • CIS 317 Database Systems

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

View the Master’s in Information Systems for SPS Graduates program to learn more.

Undergraduate Information Systems Courses

View Undergraduate Information Systems Courses for descriptions, locations, and schedules. Classes are held on Northwestern's Evanston or downtown Chicago campuses, and meet once weekly in the evening or on Saturdays.

Major in Information Systems 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.

Information Systems 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 Information Systems Majors

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

Information Systems Career Options

Students in the information systems major are prepared to work in a variety of technology-related jobs in business, nonprofit and educational settings. For details, see the Information Systems Career Options page.

Find out more about the Major in Information Systems

For someone who’s interested in programming, Northwestern has this incredible range of classes — artificial intelligence, human/computer interactions and even leadership.”

Idris Sunmola, Information Systems Major

SPS alum Idris Sunmola pursued his bachelor's in information systems and started a science podcast
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