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Business Information Systems (MSc)

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Course overview

The innovative Business Information Systems course provides you with sound, theoretically informed and relevant knowledge of modern information and communications technologies and its use in key business and organisational settings. This course is open to those who have not studied management or technology based qualifications previously.

The course has been designed  to:

  • Respond to the increasing need for greater understanding of the role advanced information and communication technologies plays in the workplace and at home.
  • Address the need for managers to understand and appreciate the strategic value of  technologies and processes as a source of competitive advantage, both nationally and internationally.
  • Enhance learning, employability and reflexivity in line with international educational standards.

Jointly taught by the School of Management and the Department of Computer Science, you will have the opportunity to study a range of elective units, including those from our world-renowned Information Security Group.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science
Duration 1 year full-time (September to September)
Department and Faculty Management, Management, Economics and Law
Partner institution(s) --
Course director Dr Philip Wu  (Management) &
Dr Yuri Kalnishkan (Computer Science)
Contact for more information Philip.Wu@rhul.ac.uk +44 (0)1784 276287 or
Yuri.Kalnishkan@rhul.ac.uk +44 (0)1784 414256

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

UK Lower Second Class Honours degree (2:2) or equivalent. A background in business and management and/or computer science is preferred.

Consideration will also be given to relevant professional qualifications and/or work experience.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here

Graduates in other disciplines such as social sciences, media and engineering, with relevant work experience will be considered. Those who have studied alternative disciplines to management or business should take the ‘Foundations of Modern Management’ unit during Induction Week to obtain the background knowledge required for this course.

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional requirements:

  • Work experience of at least one year full-time is desirable but not essential.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • Students should be curious, confident and dedicated individuals, able to work in teams, analyse complex problems and integrate management and technology elements in their solutions.
  • They need to be adaptable to different cultural and working environments, with a holistic view of how organisations can make the best use of existing and new information systems and technologies.
  • They should also be ethically aware of the value of data, information and communication, and of good ethical practices and codes.

Why choose this course?

  • This programme is a unique joint hybrid offer of courses run by the School of Management and the Department of Computer Science.
  • You will explore up-to-date research into new ways of working, enabled by advanced information and communications technology and its profound impact on organisational life in general.
  • Industry connections have informed the content and design of the course. External contacts in both academia and industry enrich the programme of seminars and guest lectures, which are an integral part of the course. 
  • Directly relevant to current business sectors and technology
  • Our students come from an international community and with interdisciplinary qualifications and experience. They graduate as ‘hybrid’ managers, equally familiar with business and with technology aspects of modern organisations. 
  • Technological and business components are integrated to provide a sound, cross-discipline course.
  • Teaching incorporates a mix of theory and practice in lectures and in practical, interactive sessions to provide you with the best grounding for post-study employment. 

Department research and industry highlights

  • There is a high degree of industry involvement in this course. Participant companies include Hewlett Packard, IBM, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and Arup Communications. These companies take an active interest in the course and form part of the panel that judges end of year student industry project presentations. We also involve other companies as guest lecturers in our sessions and enable our students to get to use latest communication technologies from companies like Tandberg.
  • Staff members teaching in this course have undertaken consultancy in the areas of e-government and green IT. They also conduct research in cloud computing, agent technology, artificial intelligence, human computer interaction and others, often involving the course students.

Course content and structure

You will study six core units and and one elective units in Management and one or two in Computer Science over the first two terms. In the third term you will complete a dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a complex problem by combining knowledge of both management and information technologies.

See an example autumn timetable from 2015 here.

Core course units:

IS Theory & Practice 
You will be introduced to a range of themes delivered by invited speakers from industry. The unit will focus on the concept of ‘hybrid management’ and its application in organisations where new and existing working practices are becoming increasingly dependent upon the effective integration of IT and business. This will include: implementing IT & design initiatives, managing IT projects, formulating business strategies and e-business infrastructures, and developing new ways of communicating in mobile work environments. 

People & Technology
You will develop a critical understanding on the development, management and social consequences of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in organisations and society against the global context. With an emphasis on critical thinking skills, the course will be research-led, based on up-to-date academic literature and real life examples.

Database Systems
This course provides you with an introduction to the core concepts in data and information management. It is centred around the core skills of identifying organizational information requirements, modelling them using conceptual data modelling techniques, converting the conceptual data models into relational data models and verifying its structural characteristics with normalization techniques, and implementing and utilizing a relational database using an industrial-strength database management system. 

Internet and Web Technologies
The Internet and the World Wide Web allows organisations to develop of a broad range of increasingly influential and strategic technologies, supporting a large variety of applications and services, both in the private and public sectors. There is a growing need for business professionals to gain a clearer understanding of these technologies, from planning through to deployment and maintenance. This course will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can develop internet and web applications.  

IS Design, Development & Management
You will be introduced to the principles and practice of object oriented design, fault monitoring, decision-making and project management. The unit will be taught as four independent strands:

  • systems design covering object-oriented design methodologies
  • fault monitoring - an introduction to the problem of software quality management
  • decision-making systems
  • project management

Dissertation Preparation and Research Methods
This unit helps prepare you for your dissertation. You will recognise and critically evaluate approaches to management research and the assumptions upon which they are based. This will equip you to make justified choices as to appropriate quantitative/qualitative research methods for data collection and subsequent analysis. You will then be able to conduct research, and evaluate primary and secondary data sources in a systematic and critically reflective manner.
You will also evaluate potential limitations to research investigation and applications and develop a coherent and appropriate research proposal, recognising the ethical implications of research investigations and their impact upon findings.

The dissertation is a hybrid piece of research, allowing you to combine both information technology and management concepts and ideas to advance your knowledge in an area of interest for academic and practice. It is expected that you will address a relevant topic for these audiences.

Elective units - Management

Technology Management
You will increase your awareness of technology and its contribution to competitive success through product and process change in order to create effective managers for the modern business environment. You will explore the need for a multidisciplinary approach, and insights are drawn from three main subject areas: economics, production operations and strategic management.

Enterprise Systems
This course will cover:

  • Introduction to Business Processes and Enterprise Systems
  • Accounting in Enterprise Systems
  • Procurement in Enterprise Systems
  • Order fulfilment in Enterprise Systems
  • Production and Material Planning in Enterprise Systems
  • Inventory and Warehouse Management in Enterprise Systems
  • Business Process Integration
  • Implementing Enterprise Systems

This course will cover the challenges of the information society as networked organisation managers. A key challenge is successful development of electronically mediated forms of interaction in this type of organisation.

  • Introduction
  • The e-environment: e-business models and enabling technologies
  • E-business strategies: analysis, formulation and implementation
  • E-business strategies: analysis, formulation and implementation
  • The e-business supply chain: business processes and information systems integration
  • The e-business supply chain (continuation) and e-business processes
  • E-business processes and relationships
  • E-procurement
  • E-marketing and customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Challenges for e-business and the networked organisation

Knowledge Management
You will develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories and practices of knowledge management (KM) and integrate different dimensions of knowledge management arising from human resource management, information systems and strategic management.

Electives units – Computer Science Pathway

Large-scale Data Storage and Processing
You will gain knowledge and understanding of core concepts, theories and principles of large-scale data storage and processing frameworks covering;

  • Advanced concepts in the computer systems design and implementation
  • Advanced concepts in distributed systems, networking, and cloud computing
  • Principles of large-scale data storage and processing
  • NoSQL Data Stores (MongoDB, and others)
  • Distributed processing frameworks (Hadoop, Pig, and others)
  • Design and implementation of an On-Line Analytics Processing (OLAP) solution based on the studied storage and processing frameworks

Business Intelligence
You will gain an understanding of data integration technology and processes that are needed to prepare the data for use, covering:

  • Introduction to Business Intelligence for Decision Support;
  • Concepts, Methodologies, and Technologies of Business Intelligence: An Overview;
  • Data Warehousing;
  • Data Mining for Business Intelligence;
  • Data Analysis Techniques;
  • Advanced Intelligent Systems: Emerging Trends and Impact
Cyber Crime
This course will complement other information security courses by examining the subject from the criminal angle by covering:

  • Introduction: Types of computer crime, history, surveys, statistics and global connections
  • Legal Measures: Computer Misuse, Criminal Damage, Software Piracy, Forgery,Investigative Powers
  • Case Studies: Investigations into hacking, cases and PC misuse
  • Social Engineering
  • Spam, Phishing and Pharming
  • Malware: The types, effects, and investigations
  • DoS and Distributed DoS: The causes, mechanisms, case studies, and countermeasures
  • Network Crimes: Hacking methodologies via the Internet and attacks to other networks
  • Investigations, incident handling and forensic examination
  • The Future: The expansion of the Internet, pornography and other unsuitable material
  • Identity Theft and Fraud

Service-Oriented Computing, Technologies and Management
You will explore the recent thinking in Service-Oriented Computing, Technology and Management with the aim of understanding an increasingly important part of Business Information Systems often referred to as “Service Science”.

Individual Computing Elective
The aim of this unit is to introduce a larger element of computer science research into the BIS curriculum. It is appropriate if you have computer science background and may wish to follow a career in industrial research or develop the skill of self-directed learning. You would specialise in a specific computer science area by developing a substantial technical project.

Foundations of Modern Management (Induction week course only)
You will be introduced to management in an integrative manner by identifying five elements important to the commercial success of an organisation: customers, shareholders, employees, numbers and technology. Historical roots are accentuated to help you gain a better appreciation of current practice with regard to the first three elements; it also discusses how the remaining two can influence management decision-making.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • the ability to evaluate critically current research and research methodologies within the fields of Management and Business Information Systems and Technologies
  • the ability to apply critical methodologies in analysing Management and Business Information Systems and formulating effective solutions to relevant problems concerning IT systems planning and management 
  • the ability to make well-informed decisions when dealing with both tactical and and strategic issues of IT investment
  • appropriate professional levels of attainment in information technology; production and analysis of quantitative data; oral and written communication of complex business information to both professional and non-specialist audiences; independent and team-working skills. 

View the full course specification for Business Information Systems (MSc) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Employability & career opportunities

Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different business information systems-related areas, including:

  • Business Analyst at Ford Motor Company
  • Information Security Consultant at Barclays
  • SAP HR Functional Consultant at Satyam Computer Services
  • Business Analyst at Oracle
  • Technology Consultant at Hewlett Packard
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Applications Analyst at Whitbread

For more information about where our graduates have gone onto, check out our Alumni Profiles here.

LovelinaWilliam-croppedGraduate Profile

Lovelina William

MSc Business Information Systems

Business Analyst at Ford Motor Company

>>> Read Lovelina's profile

What our students say

(Bletchley Park trip, introduced by Dr José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachon)



Industry speakers

This course includes several talks given by guest speakers from industry. 


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