Information Systems MSc

Our Information Systems MSc blends recent advances in IT, the internet and web technologies with business applications, revealing how better information systems can increase productivity, improve decision-making and lead to a significant competitive advantage. Our MSc will equip you with the knowledge and methods to manage information technology within all types of business organisations.

Why Surrey?

Surrey's Information Systems MSc programme has a long-standing tradition of producing highly skilled experts who will assume responsibility for the planning, design and implementation of IT systems. Our programme will equip you with professional skills that would allow you to work as an IT consulter/manager, system architect/analyst, or software developer in any industry field that heavily relies on software and information technology.

The distinctive character of our Information Systems MSc is that the programme is suitable for students who wish to start a career in the IT sector without having a prior degree in computer science, as well as for students who have studied computer science and wish to expand their knowledge and acquire further skills across a broader range of computer science topics.

Programme overview

The structure of Information Systems MSc programme is summarised in the following table. The programme consists of six compulsory (C) modules, each focusing on an aspect of the planning or design of information systems, including development of mobile and cloud applications and databases.

You choose the remaining two modules from three optional (O) modules in Semester 1. These optional modules emphasise information management, security, and analysis. All management and business-oriented modules are taught in-house and are tailored specifically to address topics that are relevant to IT management.

C - Compulsory, O - Optional
Taught modules Type Semester
Information Systems Development C 1
HTML5 and CSS3 for Mobile Applications C 1
Information Security Management O 1
Information and Network Security O 1
Practical Business Analytics O 1
Database Systems C 2
Cloud Computing  C 2
Project Management and Business Strategy C 2
Information Security for Business and Government C 2

Prospective students with a preference towards a more technical flavour of programme would be advised to select the Information and Network Security as one of their options.

In your final MSc dissertation projects you will further be able to individually apply your knowledge of learned concepts and techniques, or conduct original research work on the design, development and management of information systems and technologies.

Module overview

Compulsory modules

Information Systems Development

This module taught in Semester 1 provides an introduction to a set of practical techniques to aid the development of Information Systems. The module provides students with a sense for the diversity of computing systems in today’s world: more importantly, it gives an appreciation for the wide range of issues that are related to the development of Information Systems. Though the emphasis is on analysis and design skills, students will become familiar with the whole software lifecycle from user requirements through to implementation and testing.

HTML5 and CSS3 for Mobile Applications

This module offered in Semester 1 will demonstrate the latest web standards based techniques for developing the client side of web applications. Responsive design techniques will be introduced to enable the client view to be rendered appropriately across all devices from smartphones, through tablets, to desktops and TVs. Techniques for interacting between client and server will also be covered.

Database Systems

This module taught in Semester 2 first develops the necessary skills and familiarity for using use state-of-the-art technologies to design, implement and manage database systems. In addition, the module looks at three more advanced areas that build on relational databases, namely transactions and recovery, distributed databases, and business intelligence.

Cloud Computing

This module offered in Semester 2 introduces key concepts and technologies behind Cloud Computing that are used in a variety of academic and industrial contexts (e.g. Amazon EC2, Google App Engine, Apache Hadoop, Eucalyptus, OpenStack, Condor). The module covers cloud computing architectures, systems, supporting software applications, and resource management and information services.

Project Management and Business Strategy 

This module taught in Semester 2 provides students with understanding and skills that are necessary to manage IT projects and operations in industry. In addition to theoretical foundations this modules illustrates tools and techniques for effective project management and assistance in various strategy forming processes.

Information Security for Business and Government

This module offered in Semester 2 contains a series of lecture talks and is taught in the style of a seminar. The talks are given by security professionals from academia and industry on modern topics of information security and its applications.  

Optional modules

Information Security Management

This module offered in Semester 1 covers main concepts and methods for information security management and risk analysis and aims at raising the awareness for the wide range of security issues, incl. technical and organisational challenges a business must face when building a secure solution. The module starts with general information security goals for various parts of an information system. It then details the areas of risk management and security planning processes and focuses on technical and non-technical aspects of information security project management. 

Information and Network Security

This module offered in Semester 1 covers basic concepts of information security and introduces a range of important security protocols that are currently used in practice to protect digital communications and network infrastructures. The module starts with the definition of general information security goals and overview of network protocols and attacks. It then details important network security protocols such as Kerberos, Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and IPsec, and introduces the concept of Public Key Infrastructures (PKI) and X.509 certificates.

Practical Business Analytics

This module offered in Semester 1 introduces students to business analytics from a practical point of view and uses an industry standard tool set provided by IBM. Students will learn technical concepts behind data warehousing, business intelligence and visualisation, translation of business objectives into key performance indicators, and will be able to apply their skills in case studies and practical laboratory sessions. 

(Please note that these modules are subject to change. Check with Admissions for the latest details of modules offered.)

Dissertation project

The MSc dissertation project makes up one third of the degree programme, starting towards the end of the first semester and completing at the end of the summer. During the project, you are supervised by a member of academic staff to advise and guide you to completion. At the end of the project, you must submit your bound dissertation, which forms a complete record of the project.

The project focuses in depth on a subject at the leading edge of computing. For example, projects can undertake the development of a software system to solve a particular problem, possibly in collaboration with an industrial partner.

Alternatively, projects can be research-based, in which case an aspect of computing is investigated, perhaps to evaluate particular techniques or propose a new algorithm. These projects are usually closely linked to the Department’s research strengths.

Whatever the topic, you are expected to develop a critical understanding of the methods and technologies needed, then implement and evaluate your chosen solution to a professional standard. Project planning and time management is an important part of the experience.

Teaching and assessment

MSc programmes in the Department of Computer Science utilise our research-active staff in conjunction with state-of-the-art facilities. We provide a range of learning experiences, including lectures, tutorials, directed study, practical laboratories and project work, which prepare graduates for their professional life.

We are particularly keen to develop, in all our students, a broad range of generic skills to complement the core technical or scientific competencies of their chosen subject area. Our modular programme format, coupled with the increasing use of innovative teaching and learning strategies involving e-learning, provides a flexible study environment whilst maintaining academic rigour and quality.

What do Surrey students say about MSc Information Systems?

We asked past and present students, including Andy SmithGeorge Kapetanios and Arati Gurung to tell us about their Surrey MSc Information Systems experience.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Lee Gillam

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 36 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a first degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or the international equivalent. They should have obtained the degree at 2.2 level or higher. In exceptional circumstances, work experience may also be considered if the candidate has achieved less than a 2.2 in their first degree.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Sep 2016 £4,000 £9,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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