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Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Design

In today's business environment, ad-hoc approaches to information systems development are not sufficient. Modern approaches to the development of information systems, such as structured systems development, relational database development, and object-oriented systems development, are required. The Business Information Systems module prepares the student to become a business information systems developer using both structured and object-oriented systems development approaches. It also prepares the student to be able to design and develop business information systems that use a relational database. In this module, the student studies the strategies and techniques for dealing with the inherent complexity in the development of information systems. System development topics include coverage of (1) business systems planning; (2) fact-finding and requirements analysis techniques; (3) information systems process modeling; (4) logical and physical design; (4) user interface design; (5) introduction to database management systems and their use in business. Database topics covered include (1) data modeling, (2) normalization, (3) SQL, (4) transaction management and concurrency control, (5) physical data organization, (6) query optimization, (7) database administration, (8) distributed databases, (9) data warehousing, (10) integrating databases with the web.  

The problem of efficient data storage and retrieval is one half of one of the core problems in Information Technology. The other half of that problem is determining how to use that data to decide optimal paths in complex domains.

This set of three courses in the certification in Information Systems Design will provide students with the specialized knowledge required to attack this problem domain.

Target Audience and Time to Complete:

The target audience is Virginia Tech graduate students who are interested in adding expertise in information systems design to that gained in their current degree program. In addition, we also expect that a number of database professionals will pursue the certificate both for job knowledge and career enhancement.  Those students will be admitted as non-degree seeking certificate students.

In most cases, time to completion will be two semesters. Degree-seeking students may take courses in conjunction with their regular course load. Students attending full-time can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year and a maximum of four academic years. Degree-seeking students attending part-time can complete the certificate in approximately two academic years and a maximum of three academic years.

Non-degree seeking, full-time students can complete the certificate in a minimum of one academic year (two semesters). Non-degree seeking, part-time students, taking one course per semester, can complete the certificate in two academic years (four semesters).

Master of Information Technology (MIT) Program

MIT Graduate Certificates
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admissions Requirements for the Graduate Certificate Information Systems Design

Admission to the Graduate School and completing a Graduate Certificate Application are required for both degree- and non-degree seeking students. 

Degree-seeking applicants: The Graduate School requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to Certificate Status.  Applicants with an undergraduate GPA < 3.0 may qualify for Commonwealth Campus admission. Students pursuing a degree and a certificate simultaneously are classified within their degree program.

For students interested in pursuing both the Master's degree in MIT and the certificate in Information Technology Management no more than fifty percent of certificate courses will be included toward completion of the MIT degree. 

Non-degree seeking applicants
: A qualified person who wishes to enter Virginia Tech to obtain a graduate certificate, without being enrolled in a degree program, may apply for graduate admission to Graduate Certificate by completing the certificate application

Applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • GPA of 3.0 for admission for the last half of the credits earned for the undergraduate (bachelors) degree*
  • Official transcripts must be submitted
  • Academic background meets the requirements of the admitting academic unit
  • International Applicants must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 550 paper-based (PBT) or 80 internet-based test (iBT) is required for consideration of the application. On the iBT, sub-scores of at least 20 on each subject test (Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing) are required for admission. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required for admission. Some departments have higher TOEFL or IELTS score requirements than those set by the Graduate School. 
Admissions - MIT Graduate Certificates 

Course Requirements for the Graduate Certificate Information Systems Design

Number of Credit Hours: 

A total of nine credit hours are required. Transfer credits are not permitted. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the designated courses.

Required Courses: 

ACIS 5504 Information Systems Design & Database Concepts: Introduction to design methodologies in information systems. Structured systems analysis and design methodologies are discussed. An introduction to database design methodologies is also included. Topics related to different database models and their implementation is discussed. Students are also required to design and implement information systems using appropriate computer software. (3H, 3C) 

ACIS 5524 Advanced Database Management Systems: Relates database theories and practices to concepts from other areas such as programming languages, algorithms, data structures, and information systems. The relational, network, and hierarchical models are introduced. A major portion of the course deals with data manipulation languages for the relational model, design theory for relational databases, and query optimization. (3H, 3C) 

ACIS 5534 Information System Development: Study of theoretical and pragmatic approaches to the development of computer-based information systems. The emphasis is on the management of the systems development process. Strategies for managing the complexity of information systems are explored. The building of logical and physical models of systems through traditional non-executable models and executable computer prototypes. Pre: ACIS 5504