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Business Information Systems (MSc)


Course Description

The demand for information technology specialists is steadily rising all over the world. The European Commission believes that even in a 'stagnation' scenario, demand for IT specialists will exceed supply within the EU, while all forecasts suggest that, as economic growth resumes, the demand for IT expertise will be even greater.

This innovative course responds to the latest developments in business practice. It examines the broader issues of business imperatives and technology responses that have changed the way information systems are perceived. It also addresses the key aspects of contemporary business information systems, from requirements analysis, system modelling and design to the development of modern software solutions and databases that can be incorporated into fully operational information systems.

The course provides an excellent vehicle for challenging postgraduate study, which will develop your skills for employment and professional life. The course is aimed both at graduates with a good Honours degree in an IT or computing-related discipline, and at practitioners who want to further their careers, update their technical skills and deepen their knowledge of emerging technologies.

Course content

You will explore the latest technologies and industry standard, with a particular emphasis on the web, internet applications, enterprise information system, service-oriented and component-based development, and similar areas. By examining issues such as security, privacy and ethics in information system, you will enhance your understanding of societal use of information system. Embedded into the course are three themes that enable you to specialise your studies in contemporary information systems, enterprise-wide information system, or application development. Your course project consolidates the taught subjects of the course, while giving you the opportunity to pursue in-depth study in your chosen area.

Teaching methods include lectures, student-led activity and smaller, instructor-led groups. Your coursework will range from presentations and group investigations to software development or research review. Taught modules may be assessed entirely through coursework, or may include a two-hour exam at the end of the year.

Core modules

ARCHITECTURES, DESIGN AND DEPLOYMENT OF IS
You will explore the role and applicability of component-based modelling and relevant platforms available from industry, within the process of developing Information Systems (IS).

METHODS FOR RESEARCH AND INDUSTRY
This module aims to develop your knowledge and competence of the research process, and the application of research methods in the area of Business Information System..

POSTGRADUATE PROJECT MODULE
The project consolidates the taught subjects of the course, while giving you the opportunity to pursue in-depth study in your chosen area of Business Information Systems.

REQUIREMENTS AND SYSTEM MODELLING
This module introduces you to the discipline of requirement analysis through requirements modelling in order to capture, validate, specify and manage requirements in Information Systems Development projects. You will also focus on the analysis of risks and failures of ISD projects, with emphasis on the role of requirement analysis when building 'right' systems.

Option modules

BUSINESS SYSTEMS PROGRAMMING
This module provides you with a solid foundation in programming in general, and object-oriented programming in particular. You will use Java to cover topics such as data structures, GUI programming, applets, programming with database, and serverside programming for the internet (using JSP). You will study object-oriented concepts to re-use existing solutions and facilitate new designs of software components; fundamentals of Java programming; how to handle events through programming; and how to design and implement web-based applications communicating with a database.

COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT
You will cover topics in computing considered essential for business and industry. These will include the spreadsheet as a tool for developing decision-support applications; event-driven and object-oriented programming and GUI generation (eg VBA); and the construction of databases, with emphasis placed on integrating MS Access and MS SQL Server with other applications to create decision-support applications.

DATA MANAGEMENT AND REPOSITORIES
You will cover theoretical and practical issues related to technologies employed for the persistent storage of data. The module discusses and evaluates the underlying technologies used in capturing, maintaining and modelling persistent data. Pursuing this, you will examine the evolution of database management systems, their components and functionality, along with some of the predominant and emerging data models.

DATA VISUALISING AND DASHBOARDING
This module covers the theoretical and practical aspects of data visualisation including graphical perception, dynamic dashboard visualisation, and static data 'infographics'. Tools such as R and Tableau are used.

DATA WAREHOUSING AND OLAP
The module focuses and addresses recent technological developments in integrating and analysing large amounts of business data that today's transactional/ operational enterprise systems are capable of collecting. You will explore multidimensional modelling, the integration of multi-source data and analysis, aiming to support better business decision making. Most of the topics covered in lectures will be associated with a number of supervised, Oracle-supported computer laboratory/workshop sessions. The exercises and study materials used in these sessions will utilise material and courseware drawn from Oracle documents and Oracle university courses.

DATABASE LANGUAGES
Through this module you will discuss in detail the features and constructs of the SQL, the defacto database language for the definition and manipulation of relational-data constructs. The module also covers procedural aspects of the language and issues related to the efficient use of and client/server programming constructs. The module is a hands-on skills module; the exercises and materials used in the delivery of the module are based on Oracle University materials, and you will have access to Oracle courseware that can help you with your preparation for Oracle Certification exams.

ENTERPRISE UTILITY COMPUTING
You will focus on technologies and software delivery methods based on the utility computing model at the networked enterprise. The module gives you an overview of the underlying concepts of utility computing, such as its business and service provisioning model, outsourcing, and virtualisation. You will also examine how clusters, grids and clouds can be utilised for enterprise computing, and what new challenges are raised regarding quality of service, security, and ethical and legal issues.

IT BUSINESS MODELS
This module provides you with an overview of emerging IT business models in the context of e-business and enterprise computing. You will cover different e-business models (B2B, B2C, B2A), and analyse the relationship between e-business/e-commerce front-ends and enterprise resource planning systems. You will also examine emerging B2C and B2B business revenue models based on the e-enterprise from technological, business, legal and ethical perspectives.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
You will examine the role of the project manager, together with the techniques used for project planning, scheduling, monitoring and controlling projects throughout the project life cycle. The PRINCE2 project management method is used as a framework for understanding the key issues, providing you with practical experience in using a project management software tool for project scheduling.

SEMANTIC AND COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
This module will provide you with skills in manipulating XML-based and semantic web technologies, for modelling, querying and reasoning about distributed and interoperable data over the internet. You will understand the general vision and impact of collaborative and semantic web technologies and their applications, and be able to describe web resources in RDF and RDF schemas for supporting semantic interoperability and defining vocabularies for web resources. You will also learn how to develop, validate and query metadata documents in XML-based technologies, engineer ontologies using semantic web languages, and query and reason about ontologies using formal and descriptive logics.

WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTIC
This module introduces techniques used to analyse, integrated and interpret web and social data for purpose of understanding and optimising web suit usage. The aim of the module is to prepare for an analyst career in the area of web or social media data can be utilised to determine a website's effectiveness in conveying information to it is users; about the different sources of web and social media data (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Web Logs) and how such data can be used to learn about and target a specific web audience; and you will develop practical experience In using several different types of online analytical tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools and AWstats.

WEB-ENABLED DATABASE APPLICATIONS
The module offers a study in the field of server-side and client-side scripting, and you will be presented with techniques for creating dynamic web pages, while a server-side language will be covered to the depth required for implementing functional applications. The module aims to examine alternative methods for the development of dynamic web applications; to equip you with the ability to analyse, evaluate and implement web-based business applications; to provide an introduction to using a server-side language for the development of web applications; and to enable you develop a theoretical and practical knowledge of the W3C.

Associated careers

Graduates can expect to find employment as business intelligence consultants, business systems analysts and designers, enterprise consultants and managers, ETL marketers, and ETL/OLAP programmers and application developers. Recent graduates have found employment with a range of organisations including Accenture, the British Council, Centaur Holdings PLC, Deutsche Bank, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, GlaxoSmithKline, Home Office, IBM, Logica, Merrill Lynch, Nationwide, PWC, Standard and Poor's, University of Hertfordshire, Taylor Woodrow, and a number of local authorities.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the British computer society for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for a Chartered IT Professional.

Employability

At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Business Information Systems (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should have a good Honours degree (at least a Lower Second Class) from a UK university (or overseas equivalent) in an IT or computing discipline, or in another discipline that is either closely related to IT or computing (eg economics and business studies), or provides important underpinning for/insight into it (eg sciences or engineering). You may also be considered according to work experience and other qualifications. If your first language is not English you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5, with 6.0 or above in each element, or equivalent.

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