Information Systems, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Information Systems

The W. A. Franke College of Business

This degree opens doors to an integral part of every modern business. It covers design and management of Information Technology/Systems (IT/S) for a business which seeks to meet its business challenges and further its strategic objectives. The purpose is to craft and implement IT strategy that matches business strategy and solve business problems. In addition to mainstream hardware & software programming concepts, the degree plan includes how to budget, procure and manage IT/S e.g. computer databases, networks, information security. The focus is on IT enabled business processes and is ideally suited for those who like working with technology in business.

This program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.


In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 46 units of business core requirements
  • At least 36 units of major requirements including 6 units of additional business courses, a certificate, or a minor

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 121
Additional Admission Requirements Required
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
University Honors Program Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The demand for business Information System (IS) skills currently seems to be undergoing a resurgence. While IS careers are expected to expand, the mix of skill requirements has changed considerably. With the explosive growth of technology accompanying the usage of the Internet in the late 1990s, the role of application development (programming) dominated the IS field. Since then, outsourcing moved many of the low level programming jobs overseas. However, the increased need for higher level technology jobs has become prevalent. As web, communication and database technologies are maturing and their usage has begun to extend throughout every area of business practices, these information technologies are being employed in expansive and creative ways. The result is that the need for IS professionals has increased -- but in a different way than decades past. IS is now a "people skill" rather than a purely "technical skill". IS programs now train "business analysts" rather than mere "programmers".

The "business analyst" (or "systems analyst" or "consultant") position has become critical in order to make information technology available to more users and solve more business problems. This requires skills in identifying user and consumer problems and translating these needs into technology solutions. The analyst provides this critical connection. This role is not subject to outsourcing because the analyst must be embedded in the organization in order to understand the business user and their needs and be able to design and implement the solution within the confines of the organization's technology infrastructure. After the entry-level analyst role, most IS professionals can go on to become "project managers" (or "senior consultants") where they assume the responsibility for an entire technology project: planning; staffing; budgeting; implementation scheduling; training and operational maintenance. After this level, the IS professional can transition into senior technology management roles that involve: technology planning and strategy; technology architectures and infrastructures; corporate wide technology staffing; and the management of various critical technology centers. At the highest level, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) represents the pinnacle technology role within most corporate environments.

Student Learning Outcomes

Our IS program provides the knowledge to enter any of the following general areas within the information technology arena. Successful alumni can find employment in any of these areas and their success will be based on the skills they acquired from our program.

1.  Systems Development/Analysis -- this is one path for an IS professional These two courses - CIS 330 Electronic Commerce Strategy and CIS 480 Systems Analysis and Design - provide the required skills.

2.  Database Technologies / Business Intelligence -- Central to every technology application is the database or data warehouse where transaction and archival data reside. We have 2 courses CIS 310 “Database Management Systems” and CIS 440 “Applied Business Intelligence” in our program. One typical technology role here is that of a "database administrator" (DBA), the knowledge for which can be obtained from CIS 310. Other technology areas in the database arena involve: data warehousing (development of large integrated data storage environments); data mining, data modeling or business analytics (the use of various analysis tools to extract historical patterns and develop projections for the future); and business intelligence (the use of tools to scan external data environments and couple findings with internal data in order to discern trends and opportunities relevant to the success of the business). The CIS 440 course trains students in this area – after students can find employment as BI Analysts.

3.  Secure IT Infrastructure and Systems Administration -- The role of computer hardware, networking, security, and communications technologies continues to expand with "mobile technologies" and "cloud computing" becoming a common part of every corporate computing environment. This area continues to grow and offer new job opportunities for IS professionals as the existing technologies mature and new infrastructure opportunities are implemented. These courses: CIS 320 Hardware and Operating Systems, CIS 370 Secure Computer Networks and CIS 490 Management of Information Security – are available to support students interested in these roles.

4.  IT Consulting -- In addition to roles in traditional corporate IS environments, consulting firms may provide another employment avenue for graduates. There are many large and small technology consulting firms that provide expertise in all areas of IS. These firms are often employed to provide: specialized IT solutions; large-scale project development alternatives; and IS planning and strategic management services.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
  • Admission to Northern Arizona University qualifies you for admission into the preprofessional program in The W. A. Franke College of Business. You must meet the following requirements to enter our professional programs:

    • Complete at least 56 units with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better.
    • Complete the following courses with a grade of "C" or better in each course: ENG 105, MAT 121, ACC 205, ACC 255, ACC 256, ECO 201, ECO 284, ECO 285, ISM 120.
    • Complete six (6) different Pathways experiences. Transfer students who have met all of the requirements listed above need to complete four (4) Pathways experiences during their first semester in The W. A. Franke College of Business.
    • If you have a 2.75 GPA in these courses and have satisfactorily completed Pathways activities designated by The W. A. Franke College of Business, we guarantee your acceptance into our professional program. If your average is less than a 2.75 but you have at least a 2.5 and have satisfactorily completed all designated Pathways activities, we admit you into the professional program on a space-available basis according to the rank order of your grade point average in these courses.
    • If you are in the preprofessional program and have completed all required courses with "C" or better, but have a GPA in those courses that is below the acceptable grade point average for admission to the professional program, you may repeat up to two of the required courses in which you earned a "C" to meet the minimum GPA requirement. You may only repeat a required course in which you earned a grade of "C" one time.
  • Recommended Plan of Study for Freshmen and Sophomores
    We recommend the following course sequence for your first four terms:
    Please note that you should consider The W. A. Franke College of Business ethics requirement when selecting liberal studies courses.
Major Requirements
  • These courses represent the General Academic Requirements (GAR) for The W. A. Franke College of Business. Some of these courses also fulfill liberal studies requirements; for information about the overlap between the GAR and liberal studies, consult an advisor in Room 222 of the college.

Certificate Requirements
    • A certificate plan within The W. A. Franke College of Business is recommended for IS majors (15 units); or
    • Obtain your advisor's approval to take: either 6 additional units of upper-division business courses; or a minor outside the FCB (18 units); or a certificate plan outside the FCB (15 units)
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Additional Information
    • That you must complete at least 15 units in your major and 9 units of the upper-division business core at The W. A. Franke College of Business (FCB).
    • You must earn 50% of your overall business units required for your degree at the FCB.
    • All transfer credits must be approved by the FCB and are subject to guidelines listed in the current general catalog. The FCB does not accept upper-division transfer credits from programs not accredited by the AACSB (such as the University of Phoenix or the Bachelor of Business Administration program at NAU-Yuma).
    • Students must complete the following courses at the FCB: MGT 490C (Business Strategy) and the junior writing requirement (if filled by either MGT 350W or MGT 350IW (Business Communication).  Students who satisfy the junior writing requirement with ENG 302W (Technical Writing) must complete that course at Northern Arizona University.
    • Students earning two B.S.B.A. majors within The W. A. Franke College of Business must take 18 credit units in the first major and an additional 18 units exclusive to the second major (for a total of 36).
  • You must have completed all of the coursework used to fulfill these requirements within the last 10 years.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Program fees are established by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). A program fee of $580 per year in students' Junior and Senior years has been approved for this program.