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2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Information Systems - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing section in this catalog.

Degrees Offered: M.S. in computer information systems; M.S. in medical and bioinformatics; B.S. in computer science; B.S. in information systems. Minors offered: computer engineering, computer science, computer science (6-12 secondary teacher certification), health care information systems, information systems, information security systems, and information technology.


Undergraduate and graduate computing programs at Grand Valley State University are offered by the School of Computing and Information Systems. Computing programs prepare students for a rewarding career that is in high-demand.

One of the strengths of the computing programs at Grand Valley is flexibility. We offer majors in computer science and information systems. All programs share faculty, courses, and laboratory resources. Also, by choosing electives and minors in related subject areas, students can further tailor their degrees to fit their individual needs and career goals.

Computers play important roles in virtually every aspect of our lives. Technological advances are extending the influences of the computer even further and many more applications of the computer remain to be discovered. For example, expert systems model the knowledge and strategies of experts in an area so others may benefit. Such systems have been developed for medical diagnosis and treatment, automotive engine analysis, and many other fields. Voice recognition systems allow the pilot of a military aircraft to give voice commands for certain operations.

Information systems majors study the use of computers in organizing and processing information. This includes such topics as database management systems, networking and distributed computing, network management, and systems analysis. Cognate courses emphasize communication skills and business fundamentals. The degree includes the equivalent of a minor in business.

The School of CIS Mission

The mission of the School of Computing and Information Systems is to provide the GVSU student community with the intellectual foundations and experiences necessary to use information technology effectively in their chosen careers.

To enable students to attain this goal, the CIS faculty have two primary responsibilities. First, we will offer a solid conceptual foundation required for a career in information technology. Second, we will provide direct, experiential knowledge of technology necessary to be a productive user/producer of information technology.

To achieve these goals we:

  • work continuously to keep our curriculum relevant to our mission;
  • ensure that work-relevant experience is part of every class;
  • establish and nurture industrial contacts;
  • establish an integrated, supported co-op experience for CIS majors; and
  • provide all students, regardless of their major interests, fundamental knowledge of computers and information processing.

Information Systems Objectives

By the time of graduation, information systems students will

  • appropriately apply general knowledge of information systems fundamentals;
  • identify and analyze potential solutions to IS problems. Design and deploy specific solutions to IS problems, employing current tools, techniques, and skills;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the organizational processes and contexts in which information systems (IS) are developed, deployed, and maintained;
  • assess the consequences of organizational and technology decisions in the context of ethical, professional, and social responsibility;
  • function effectively on teams;
  • communicate effectively with a range of audiences; and
  • show a recognition of the need for, and ability to engage in, continuing professional development.

Three years after graduation, our typical information systems alumni are expected to be computing professionals who

  • continue to develop their knowledge and skills after graduation;
  • use information technology to build and manage effective organizational systems; and
  • use technical, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills to function productively, professionally, and ethically.


The computer science major is accredited under the General Criteria and Computer Science Criteria by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012. Telephone: (410) 347-7700. Website:

The information systems major is accredited under the General Criteria and Information Systems Criteria by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012. Telephone (410) 347-7700. Website:

School of Computing and Information Systems Advisory Board:

The School of Computing and Information Systems Advisory Board (CISAB) is composed of the school's director and leading computing and information systems experts in West Michigan. The board meets twice each year and advises the school on curriculum development and continuing education. It serves as an important interface between the school and the computing community.

Admission to the Information Systems Major

Admission to major standing in information systems (IS) is competitive and requires an application for admittance into the major. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Overall GPA of 2.5 or above in all Grand Valley State University coursework.
  2. Completion of each course in the IS Foundation with a grade of C or above (C- is not sufficient).
  3. GPA of 2.5 or above in the IS Foundation.

The IS Foundation includes CIS 162 and 260; MTH 125; STA 215, 312 or 318; and either COM 201 or WRT 350. Completing the IS Foundation courses require programming, analytical reasoning, and communication skills. These skills are important to excel in the computing field.

The IS Foundation GPA is calculated on no more than one repeat per course. Achievement of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the major. The School of CIS will also consider internship availability and the applicant's suitability for internships before granting admission. Transfer students must complete at least six hours of CIS coursework before applying, but should consult with a CIS advisor before scheduling their first semester.

NOTE: While admission to major standing in information systems (IS) may be achieved with completion of the computer science foundation instead of the IS foundation, it is still necessary to complete all the required courses of the information systems major.

Participating Programs

The School of Computing and Information Systems currently is participating with the following programs/colleges/schools to offer students varying computing programs:

  • The Professional Science Master's Program: Master of Science in medical and bioinformatics
  • The School of Engineering: computer engineering major
  • The School of Engineering: computer engineering minor
  • The Seidman College of Business: general business minor (built into our information systems major)
  • The Allied Health Sciences Department in The College of Health Professions: health care information systems minor
  • The School of Criminal Justice: information security systems minor

Student Honor Society

Upsilon Pi Epsilon is the international honor society for the computing and information disciplines. The Gamma Chapter of Michigan (GVSU's student chapter) was established on April 4, 1992. It has received endorsements from the two largest computer organizations in the world, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS). According to certain criteria, students are invited to become members and are inducted at the initiation ceremony, which is scheduled in the fall of each year.

To be eligible for election to membership, undergraduate students

(1) shall have attained a general scholarship rating, in all college work thus far completed, of not less than 3.0/4.0 grade-points provided; and

(2) shall have completed at least 45 semester hours of college work including 15 semester hours in the basic courses in the computing and information disciplines.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Information Systems

Health Care Information Systems Minor

Information Security Systems Minor

Information Systems Minor

Information Technology Minor

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