Welcome to the 'Information Age' where Information Systems and digital technology are an integral part of today’s organisations. With Information Systems we can change how we work, how we communicate and how we do business.
With Information Systems we can change how we work, how we communicate and how we do business.
Information Systems is the study of how business can use technology to become more effective in attaining their goals, add value to their organisations and create new opportunities to enhance their business.
Our graduates go into one of the fastest growing areas for employment that is also on the long-term skill shortage list for New Zealand.
The Bachelor of Commerce major in Information Systems provides a balance of business and technical knowledge and skills. It offers a very flexible study pathway which allows students to pursue IT careers that are in high demand or complement their other business majors with IT expertise that will make them better prepared for working in an IT-driven business environment.
The Information Systems programme is informed by worldwide industry trends and staff research. These are facilitated by work-integrated projects that are case-based and with access to organisations with our internships that will help you develop the technical and soft skills employers seek.
Our qualifications meet global requirements and our graduates work in different parts of the world. Join a programme that opens the door to many exciting and challenging careers.
In first-year, BCom students majoring in Information Systems include INFO 123 Information Systems and Technology as a core course. INFO 125 Introduction to Programming with Databases (or COSC 121 Introduction to Computer Programming or COSC 122 Introduction to Computer Science) are also recommended.
UC Information Systems courses cover a diverse range of current topics such as Business Systems Analysis, Internet Business and Technology, Object-oriented Systems Development, Web Design and Development, and more. Explore the full list of courses offered in Information Systems
Accountants must include INFO 243 (Accounting Information Systems) to gain professional status. Other courses to consider include:
Students taking a BSc in Computer Science should especially consider:
Information Systems is one of the most flexible majors and also combines well with other business subjects as a double major within the BCom or a double degree such as Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.
Common pathways include:
- A Bachelor of Commerce double major in Information Systems and another commerce subject.
- A Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science double degree.
Information system also works well as a minor when combined with other subjects in both Commerce and Arts for those wanting to be IT-savvy business professionals.
- Talk to a student advisor.
We have a range of postgraduate options for Information Systems for those who are looking at moving from a different Degree programme through to Information Systems graduates. IS graduates may wish to consider the following postgraduate study options:
- Master of Commerce (MCom), Information Systems – 180-point advanced programme
- Master of Commerce (MCom), Information Systems – 120-point thesis only programme. Research based master's on Information Systems theory and how it relates to business and society.
- Master of Business Information Systems (MBIS) –180-point conversion programme. Taught based master's developed to enhance your degree by gaining the key skills that businesses need.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems and Technology is an advanced qualification for IT Graduates. Students are encouraged to challenge current Information Systems and Technology Practices
For a full list of qualifications available in Business see graduate and postgraduate options.
The Department of Accounting and Information Systems offers the Master of Commerce in Information Systems. Adding a postgraduate degree will allow you to take the basic body of knowledge from your undergraduate studies and any experiential learning from working, and raise your technical, critical thinking, research and presentation skills to new levels in demand in the economy.
- The programme offers considerable flexibility to graduates wishing to blend accounting, tax, and/or information systems with studies in wider socially relevant subjects like sustainability, corporate governance, organisational leadership, politics, and law, for example.
- With half of the programme dedicated to a research thesis, prospective students get to pursue a particular issue of interest to them in great depth under expert supervision.
- It also offers flexibility in the time of study, so that this may be blended with employment and other ways of earning a living.
Requirements for admission to the 180-point MCom are:
- B+ average in final-year courses relevant to the subject areas (i.e. information systems), or other 300-level courses approved by the Dean of Business.
The MCom is offered as a 180 point Master’s degree and the broad objective is to offer you an individually tailored, research-oriented programme, with an emphasis on rigour, scholarship and relevance.
While undergraduate courses are set according to the basic body of knowledge for the discipline, postgraduate study allows the courses to be adapted according to the latest issues, events and cases. Courses generally include a mixture of reviewing the latest research, completing inquiries and writing and presenting results all at the level expected in global businesses and governmental organisations. Many of the graduates from our postgraduate courses say that it was their master degree that prepared them for further challenges in their career.
For the MCom you will choose advanced study courses (60 points total), undertake a course in research methods incorporating preparing a research proposal (30 points), and then undertake the research project and write and present your results (90 points). Up to 30 points of advanced study can come from outside Information Systems. For example, you may want to include courses in accounting, marketing, politics, the arts, engineering, computer science etc, that provide the opportunity to build a relevant inter-disciplinary base for your planned research project.
As an example, a student might blend studies in sustainability reporting, corporate governance, socially responsible leadership, and environmental politics, giving them a unique basis on which to pursue a research project on integrated reporting. Alternatively, they might blend macroeconomics, governmental finance and accounting, and health administration providing a platform to research hospital policy systems.
During your Master’s study, you will work closely with an academic supervisor on a topic of your choice and gain expert knowledge in your field. The professors in our department are world renowned in their fields and the opportunity to work alongside such experts will provide you with a unique UC post-graduate experience.
To determine whether suitable supervision is potentially available, please consult the Department’s researchers.
To decide on your options, talk to our postgraduate coordinators and check out our Information Systems postgraduate courses
Duration and start dates
The MCom can be completed full-time within one calendar year or part-time over three years. Students can commence studies in February and July each year.
For the 180 points MCom, students must take INFO614 Research Methodology and Epistemology, which is a course in which they develop the project they will go on to complete in order to round out their master degree. At the moment INFO614 is only offered in Semester 1, and so probably the more desirable date of entry for the 180 points MCom is February. However, someone may enter the programme in July, in which case they could take the postraduate papers on offer in Semester 2, and then complete INFO614 in the following semester and finish their programme in the third semester, or afterwards if studying part-time.
Students with a research background (i.e. equivalent to an Honours degree) can undertake the MCom by thesis (120 points) at any time.
PhD study is an integral part of the research activity within the Department of Accounting and Information Systems (ACIS). The PhD is an advanced research degree that involves the preparation of a research thesis under the close supervision of a faculty member. It is possible to be enrolled in our department and have an associate supervisor in another department, including Management, Economics or Computer Science. Your thesis must make an original contribution to knowledge in the area under study. To determine whether suitable supervision is potentially available, please consult the Department’s researchers.
Acceptance into the ACIS PhD programme depends mainly on:
- Attaining high grades for a BCom(Hons) degree (normally first class or upper second).
- Identifying a research topic that is appropriate for PhD research and suited to the candidate’s background.
- Having a person within the ACIS department who is keen and able to act as supervisor.
An Honours degree (or equivalent) is the normal entry requirement for the PhD. The BCom(Hons) can give immediate entry to the PhD if a student has already shown an ability to manage a large research project, e.g. by completing ACCT 680 with a high grade and on time. Otherwise, students with a BCom(Hons) are encouraged to enrol for the MCom to start a PhD. Subject to significant satisfactory progress, a student who already has an Honours degree can transfer at any time from MCom to PhD and backdate the PhD enrolment to the start of the MCom. If a student does not have an Honours degree but is doing an MCom, it would be very unusual to transfer to the PhD, but not impossible if the standard of work for the MCom convinced the department that the student had attained the standard of Honours.
The PhD typically requires the equivalent of 3–4 years full-time study.
Enquiries and applications
Your letter of application or email should be addressed to the ACIS PhD Programme coordinator.
Your letter must include:
- An outline of your intended research area (initially one page will suffice but we need details, e.g. objectives and likely methods, so that we can decide if we are likely to be able to supervise your chosen topic).
- A complete academic record showing courses studied (particularly at the graduate level) and grades awarded (so that we can assess whether you have an appropriate base for PhD research. Your record will show the topics you have studied and your expertise in research methods.
- Any other relevant information that will help us assess your likely ability to conduct original research, e.g. thesis, work and/or project experience.
- A brief, two-page Curriculum Vitae, including tertiary education and any employment (there is no need for referees at this stage).
- Prospective international students who have not completed their tertiary qualifications in the English language are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency by means of an English language test result that is no more than two years old. We accept the IELTS test — with an overall score of 6.5 or higher and no section lower than 6.0 — and the TOEFL Internet test — with a score of 90 or higher, and a minimum score of 20 for Writing. Other tests may be accepted on application.
If you are conditionally accepted by the Department, you will be required to go through the normal procedures of enrolment specified by the University. Candidates may enrol for a PhD degree at any time during the year.
Enrolment for a PhD thesis can take place at any time during the year. Students must prepare a detailed (20 pages) research proposal and present a seminar on this proposal to the department within six months of enrolment. Register your research proposal with the Dean of Postgraduate Studies within six months of enrolment. Submit progress reports to the Dean of Postgraduate studies every year.
Find out more
For more detailed information about the UC PhD visit www.canterbury.ac.nz/postgraduate/phd-and-doctoral-study/
Information Systems has a wide range of career opportunities. With a shortage of graduates globally in this area, there is high demand and salaries for our graduates.
From banking to agriculture, every business needs and benefits from IS professionals and their roles vary a lot. Our graduates have gone into many exciting career options including: business analyst/consultant, business process analyst/consultant, business intelligence analyst, systems analyst, IS implementation consultant, IT project manager, IS manager.
If you take Computer Science/Software Engineering with Information Systems, your options also include: solutions architect, software engineer, applications developer, programmer/analyst, database administrator, and website designer/developer.
The Information Systems Society aims to provide students a channel to learn about potential career opportunities and pathways, connect with relevant professionals and industries and develop a strong network within our own discipline. Our aim is to provide a yearly careers expo, regular social activities and tutoring. Join our Facebook page for more information.
Learn from our students' experiences
'Information Systems is an exciting and continually growing industry with multiple directions...'
'We get to make a big difference for a few kids, and a smaller difference to thousands more...'
'Accounting is an ever expanding field – it all depends on maximising your potential...'
'Having studied and worked at UC, I have a wide range of experience and an extensive network...'
For more information on studying Information Systems
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News, events and seminars
A lecture in honour of June Pallot, Professor of Accounting at Canterbury University from 1997-2004.