Plan Your Pathways

The Master of Science in Information Technology program consists of 10 courses (30 credit hours), and currently advising is not considered mandatory for students beyond registration for their first semester in the program.  Of course, students may request advising for clarification and academic planning.
 
The best way to engage with your academic advisor is to be proactive in reviewing the schedule of classes actually being offered (not simply the catalog listings) in light of program requirements and your own academic goals.  This will enable you to clarify many issues yourself right away.  It will also enable you to be clear and specific in asking advising questions.
 

Number of Credit Hours Per Semester

 
Full-time graduate students at UNC Charlotte typically take 3 courses (9 credit hours) in a regular fall/spring semester. Some students may elect to take a heavier course load of 4 courses (12 credit hours), but the program does not recommend doing so.  Particularly not in the first semester of the program.  Part-time students typically take 1 or 2 courses (3 or 6 credit hours) in a regular fall/spring semester.
 
Particularly starting out, it is better to begin with fewer courses in a semester, establish a level of comfort with the academic workload in balance with other life factors, and then to increase in subsequent semesters as appropriate.  It can be difficult to recover from an initial lower Grade Point Average that can result from trying to take on too much too soon.
 
You should be aware of any requirements from outside the program on the number of credit hours required in a semester.  For example, international students must typically take a minimum number of credit hours, and some financial support programs may also have a minimum requirement.
 

Academic Planning

 
For the MSIT program, it is generally best to focus first on completing the core coursework.  In particular:
  • ITIS 6200 - which is a pre-requisite for many of the concentration / elective information security and privacy courses in the program.

If you started your MSIT studies prior to Fall 2014 and select ITIS 6177 as a core course, you should take ITIS 6120 and ITIS 5166 first, as both coureses are pre-requisites for ITIS 6177 and should ideally be taken before yet another core course, ITIS 6112.

Beyond the core courses, you should review and be familiar with the listed MSIT concentration options.  Core courses are typically offered every regular semester, but concentration and elective courses may be offered less frequently.  So, if a course of particular interest to you for your target concentration is being offered, it is usually a good idea to take it when it is available.
 

Process for academic planning

  • Review the MSIT requirements: core courses, concentration options, and elective course. MSIT requirements can be found:
  • Identify the core courses that remain to be completed for you.
  • Identify your concentration area(s) of interest.
  • Review course offerings for the upcoming semester (see below).
  • Identify courses from the schedule that can meet outstanding core course requirements and your concentration of interest.
  • Identify time conflicts (day/time) between potential courses.
  • Prioritize potential courses, so that you have primary and secondary options.  Some courses may have a limited number of seats, so having alternatives is a good idea.
 
Note that currently no more than 4 courses from outside the SIS Department (non ITIS courses) can be applied to meet MSIT requirements.
 
To check course offerings online, you can:
  1. Start at the UNCC main web page: www.uncc.edu
  2. Select the top quick link for 'Current Students'
  3. Follow the link for 'Course Schedule' under 'Academics and Advising'
  4. Select the upcoming term for registration
  5. Specify your criteria  (e.g., for the SIS graduate course listing, select Subject = Software & Information Systems, Course Level = Graduate)
 
Most coursework for the MSIT program is on offer from the following departments:
  • ITIS - Software and Information Systems
  • ITCS - Computer Science
  • DSBA - Computer Science & Software and Information Systems
  • MBAD - MBA Program
 
A similar process is available through the student information system 49er Express.
 

General strategies for academic planning

 
Plan for registration, and register early.
 
Look to the past, to plan for the future.  Before the formal schedule becomes available for a given semester, you can check what courses have historically been offered. While it is not a guarantee as to what courses will be offered, an upcoming term will often follow the profile of offerings from the previous year.  You can use the course schedule to select the previous fall/spring/summer term (instead of current/upcoming) and see:
 
Pay attention to what courses have been offered in previous semesters.
  • How full they were.
  • Take advantage of summer courses, if possible. Summer offerings are typically quite limited, but if you plan to take advantage of such courses if they are available, you can often streamline degree progress.  In recent years, typically only ITIS 6342 and ITIS 6362 have been offered with any regularity, some topics courses that may satisfy the elective, and some external courses applicable to concentration and elective requirements.
  • Know the difference between your preferences and your needs for registration.  You may prefer to take a particular core course in your first semester, but if the course is full, then it is expected that there will be opportunities to take it in subsequent semesters.    If it is your very last semester, and you have only one remaining core course, it is a clear and definite need.  The program will typically not give special consideration for registration preferences, but may do so for demonstrated registration needs.
  • Don’t panic.  Particularly at the very start of registration. There is a long period between the start of registration and the start of the upcoming semester.  If a course of interest has filled up, then register for a secondary option that will fulfill degree requirements. Check in regularly on the registration system for a seat to open up.  There will typically be a fair amount of fluctuation in course enrollment, particularly at the very start of the semester.
 

Note On Courses Offered By Other Departments

While the MSIT program considers courses from outside the Software and Information Systems department (non-ITIS) for meeting concentration requirements, such courses are managed and controlled by the departments that offer them.  Students that wish to register for external courses are subject to the regulations and management policies of the department offering the course.  In particular:
 
Students must meet standard course pre-requisites per the offering department. It is the responsibility of the student to review and understand applicable course pre-requisites and to consider such pre-requisites in planning to meet concentration and degree requirements.
 
A course being accepted to meet MSIT concentration requirements does not entitle the student to special consideration for registration, such as a permit if the course is full.
 
For special requests regarding external courses, students must work with the department offering the course according to their established policies and procedures.
 
 

Examples of Pathways

 
 
Following are a few examples of possible academic pathways to meet MSIT requirements.  Of course many other variations are possible. Note that taking a summer course either up front or between the spring and fall semesters would allow completion of the degree at the end of the third semester. 
 
Example 1. A Generic Pathway Applicable to All Concentrations (4 semesters)
 

 Term

 Course

 Requirement

 Term 1

 3 core courses

 Core

 Term 2

 3 core courses, or

 2 core coures + 1 concentration course

 Core, or

 Core + Concentration

 Term 3

 3 concentration courses, or

 1 core + 2 concentration courses

 Concentration only, or

 Core +  Concentration

 Term 4

 1 elective

 Elective

 
 
 
Example 2. Pathway for MSIT with Concentration in Information Security & Privacy (3 semesters + summer)
 

 Term

 Course

 Requirement

 Fall

 ITIS 6120 Applied Databases

 Core

 ITIS 5166 Network Based  Application Development

 Core

 ITIS 6200 Principles of Information  Security & Privacy

 Core

 Spring

ITIS 6400 Principles of Human  Computer Interaction

 Core

 ITIS 6112 Software System Design  & Implementation

 Core

 ITIS 6240 Applied Cryptography

 Concentration

 Summer

 ITIS 6342 Information Technology  Project Management

 Core

 Fall

 ITIS 6177 System Integration

  Elective

 ITIS 6230 Information Infrastructure  Protection

 Concentration

 ITIS 6167 Network Security

 Concentration

 
 

Example 3. Pathway for MSIT with Concentration in Advanced Data and Knowledge Discovery (3 semesters)

 

 Term

 Course

 Requirement

 Fall

 ITIS 6120 Applied Databases

 Core

 ITIS 5166 Network Based  Application Development

 Core

 ITIS 6200 Principles of Information  Security & Privacy

 Core

 Spring

 DSBA 6100 Big Data Analytics for  Competitive Advantage

 Concentration

 ITIS 6342 Information Technology  Project Management

 Core

 ITIS 6112 Software System Design  & Implementation

 Core

 MBAD 6201 Data and Knowledge  Management in Business

 Concentration

 Fall

 ITIS 6400 Principles of Human  Computer Interaction

 Core

 ITIS 5510 Web Mining

 Concentration

 ITIS 6320 Cloud Data Storage

 Elective