Graduate M.S. Degree Programs
Jeff Crawford, PhD, PMP
Lipscomb University’s School of Computing & Informatics (SCI) offers graduate opportunities within IT domains critical to industry in middle Tennessee. Our goal is to elevate the understanding and capabilities of middle Tennessee’s IT workforce within five specific areas: Health Care Informatics, Information Security, Informatics and Analytics, IT Management, and Software Engineering.
About Our Programs
Some general background on the SCI’s graduate programs.
The SCI implemented two graduate programs in the Fall of 2011. The MS in Health Care Informatics (HCI) was born out of a demand in the Middle Tennessee area for IT expertise within the Health Care domain. The HCI degree was designed to help students play a vital role in enhancing the quality of care, reducing health care costs and addressing health issues. Our MS in Information Security (ISEC) program was designed to address an IT need in the community, specifically emphasizing the identification, prevention and mitigation of security concerns within an organization. The ISEC program was specifically designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to oversee and secure organizations’ data and information.
The SCI initiated an MS in IT Management (MITM) program in the Fall of 2012 to round our professional graduate programs. Responding to calls from industry and the Nashville Technology Council, the MITM program was designed to equip students with the skills to create, plan, organize, lead, and control organizational IT. The program is unique by emphasizing the importance of data (9 hours) and allowing student selection of a specific area of emphasis (HCI, ISEC, and Organizational Leadership and Behavior).
The MS in Software Engineering (MSSE) program is the one of the most recent additions to SCI’s portfolio of graduate programs, having gone live in Fall 2013. This multidisciplinary program focuses on the most advanced practices, including the critical human factor in software development, testing, and validation for producing high quality, sophisticated and dependable software products.
We are very excited to introduce our MS in Informatics and Analytics program, going live in March 2013. This multidisciplinary program focuses on the most advanced practices, including guiding those working with extensive amounts of data to find innovative and new types of emerging information and content.
SCI Program Structure
SCI graduate programs structure and a bit about our students
Our five professional programs, MSIA, MSSE, HCI, ISEC and MITM, are primarily focused on working professionals who are looking to either advance their careers within their current organizations or pursuing a change in careers. Our student population is diverse in terms of age (late 20’s to late 50’s), genders, IT experience (novice to expert) and industry represented (manufacturing, Health Care, education, consulting, etc.).
Classes are taken one at a time, with each class covering the coursework within one month. Our classes in HCI, ITM, and ISEC take place on alternating weekends, while the MSSE and MSIA programs offer classes everyand night. While students are given some latitude in how quickly they complete the program, it is designed for a student to finish in as quickly as one calendar year. The classroom experience varies across instructors, but faculty are encouraged to create a flexible, dynamic, and interactive structure where students will actively engage in the learning experience. We utilize faculty who have an expertise in the subject matter, but also employ guest speakers from industry where appropriate to accentuate the classroom discussion.
Benefits of the SCI Master's Program
What do students gain by completing an SCI master’s program?
Our graduate programs are focused on delivering a high quality educational experience in a compressed format. We recognize that students (and often their sponsoring organizations) are making a significant investment when they participate in an SCI graduate program. Because of this, we are intensely focused on making sure there is a clear value that students can derive by completing the program.
First, each SCI graduate program is designed to provide a broad and well-rounded education around the chosen area of study. Corporate citizens often become consumed by a narrow content area within their organization, failing to see the forest for the trees. Exposing our students to issues surrounding the greater organizational, industry and regulatory context allows them to extend their thinking and elevate their potential contribution at work, in the community and within the home. This is especially important for those students looking to move upwards within an organization or cross into a new organizational context.
Second, all SCI graduate programs culminate in a practicum or capstone project guided by SCI faculty and focused on a subject of interest within the student’s chosen discipline. The demands of this project is intense, but the outcome is expected to demonstrate a student’s expertise in a specific area while also contributing to the greater body of knowledge in their discipline. The capstone project is a way to encourage thought leadership from our students, a goal that has direct and meaningful results for organizations within and beyond Middle Tennessee. Students use their practicum or capstone project to tackle real organizational problems in novel and interesting ways. When done well, it serves as a springboard within and beyond the individual’s organization.