UFH Information Systems, welcome to the Department of Information Systems (IS) at the University of Fort Hare! These pages serve as a brief introduction to the Department of IS.
You may be a prospective student who is considering studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Information Systems or an existing student who has completed Information Systems subjects as required by your degree. In both cases it is important to begin with an understanding of what you can expect from the subject area and what the subject area will expect from you.
Whether you seek information about the Department of IS or the courses we offer, these pages will be a useful resource and a good place to start your search. Please use the menu on the right to explore this content.
The Department of IS consists of the following dedicated team of staff members who are passionate about Information Systems, educating others, and research:
Dr Liezel Cilliers
Senior Lecturer and Head of Department
Prof. Roxanne Piderit
Mr Duane Boucher
Dr Naomi Isabirye
Mr Thayne Breetzke
Mr Malungelo Mamba
Mrs. Lathelwa Nkwinti
Prof. Stephen Flowerday
WHY STUDY INFORMATION SYSTEMS
This page provides a brief introduction to the field of Information Systems as well as a list of the types of career opportunities that exist within the field.
AN INTRODUCTION TO INFORMATION SYSTEMS (IS)
Information Systems is not simply about computers, or learning how to use a popular computer package such as Microsoft Office. It’s about how businesses can make the best use of computer technology to provide the information needed to achieve their goals. In the same way as your own needs and priorities are unique to you, each organisation has different goals and requirements, and the successful implementation of information systems requires a thorough understanding of the business issues involved as well as the different technologies that are available.
The purpose of our courses is to provide you with a basic knowledge of the different elements of information systems: the building blocks that can be combined in a variety of different ways to suit particular business needs, and if it is your major, to build on this knowledge further.
Most of the time there is no single “correct answer”, and you will need to draw on your own knowledge and judgement when planning or using an information system. Naturally, the amount of knowledge that you can accumulate while studying Information Systems will assist in getting the best possible answer.
Perhaps the best way to show the importance of Information Systems is to consider the impact that it has on your own life. Try to imagine what your daily life would be like without Information Systems. You might be able to survive without your student fee account, but can you imagine no television, no cell phones, no e-mail, the end of mass air travel as we know it today, or even the collapse of the banking system? Most of our lives would be affected dramatically. Now stop to consider the times when you have been irritated or frustrated by the inefficiency of a large department or organisation and you will see that technology alone is not the solution to business problems – computers are simply one element of a complete system intended to support the flow of information within a business environment. People, data, and processes are the other parts of the pie that make up the whole. Students will, over the course of a few years, become more comfortable with these concepts of Information Systems.
Many students incorrectly think that Information Systems is just about programming, but in fact programming is a small (but important) part of developing information systems for organisations. It is for the student to decide if they want to continue further after the basic introduction to programming that they receive whilst studying Information Systems, or to focus on one of the many other areas of possible interest.
Sections of the above are sourced, and in part adapted, from an Information Systems e-book: Discovering Information Systems (p.1), which is freely available online at http://www.freetechbooks.com/about614.html
The advances in technology not only call for people who can work with the hardware and software (Information Technology Specialists), but also those individuals who have a sound understanding of how organisations make use of computers to function effectively and efficiently. The ability to understand the various business processes and create a link between the users or customers and the technology is the primary role of the Information Systems Specialist.
Various career opportunities exist in the field of Information Systems. Thus, students can find an area that interests them and pursue it further. Although career opportunities are numerous, each one requires that a graduate possesses the following basic skills:
- Analytical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Presentation skills
- Problem identification skills
- Report writing skills
- Self-development skills
- Time management skills
Career opportunities in the field of Information Systems include:
- Systems or business analyst
- Project manager
- Information officer
- Database administrator
- Business intelligence
- ICT consultant
- Web design
- Systems architect
These offer freedom, personal growth, job satisfaction and an above average income from day one. Our graduates have filled various roles in organisations, such as Business Analysts, Systems Analysts, SQL Specialists to name but a few. Some have found employment at local companies such as Business Connexion, East London Computer Bureau (ELCB), Real People, and national and international companies such as BSG, Microsoft, and T-Systems. There are also numerous opportunities to be found in government departments or parastatals such as Telkom and Eskom.
The Department will assist all Information Systems graduates, as far as possible, to secure employment opportunities, for example, by arranging internships which could lead to permanent employment and inviting potential employers to visit the Department and conduct interviews. The level of success that a student will achieve will greatly rest upon the level to which they have mastered the basic skills listed earlier.
The entry requirements for the various IS degrees are provided below.
Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems)
The Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems) degree is designed for learners who wish to specialize in one of the computing related disciplines, specifically, Information Systems.
Admission into the ordinary (three-year) degree is subject to a successful matriculation (NSC prior to 2009) in approved subjects with a bachelors entrance pass, including a D standard grade or an E higher grade in Mathematics as well as English. Minimum requirements for the new NSC include a level 4 achievement (50 – 59) in Mathematics and English Language with an overall bachelors pass. However, applicants who have achieved higher achievements, i.e. a higher pass mark in both Mathematics and English Language are given preference in the selection process. The minimum admission point score (APS) for entry on the NSC is 26 points. Life Orientation counts a maximum of three points.
Admission into the foundation (four-year) degree is subject to a successful matriculation with a bachelors entrance pass, and meeting the minimum requirements for the new NSC including a level 3 achievement (40 – 49) in both Mathematics (or a level 6 minimum in Mathematics Literacy) and English Language. However, applicants who have achieved higher achievements, i.e. a higher pass mark in both Mathematics (Mathematics Literacy) and English Language will be given preference in the selection process. The minimum admission point score (APS) for entry on the NSC is 26 points. Life Orientation counts a maximum of three points.
These entry requirements are tabled below:
Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Information Systems)
The Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Information Systems) degree is geared for those learners who wish to pursue their Information Systems studies further. The Department requires a combined 3rd year average pass mark of 60% in the Information Systems modules. Learners who receive less than this mark, or have completed a undergraduate qualification in another computing discipline can still apply. All students who apply will have their suitability for admission to the degree based on the marks obtained at undergraduate, a sample of writing, and an in-depth interview.
The Department has twenty-four (24) places available annually, which are allocated to full-time (one-year) or part-time (two-year) basis. It is the policy of the Department to give preference to full-time over part-time placements.
Master of Commerce (Information Systems) by dissertation
The Master of Commerce (Information Systems) degree is undertaken by those learners who possess good written and analytical skills, and who are interested in researching a specific topical area within the broad field of Information Systems.
This qualification is by dissertation (100% research), either on a full-time or part-time basis. Those with a degree in Information Systems or a cognisant discipline must contact the Department to seek an interview with the Masters Coordinator to determine their eligibility to complete the qualification, and will be advised accordingly. The Department will only consider candidates annually if sufficient supervision capacity exists.
Doctor of Philosophy (Information Systems)
The Doctor of Philosophy (Information Systems) degree by thesis (i.e. 100% research) is offered. The purpose is to equip the student to become an independent researcher in the field of Information Systems. A successful D.Phil will provide novel and original research to the existing body of knowledge in the discipline.
The admission requirements are a Masters degree in Information Systems or a cognisant discipline with a pass mark of at least 60% or/and a good Masters with evidence of scholarly contribution (research output). A research proposal of less than 600 words is also required indicating the topic, introduction, the problem statement, objectives of the study and the methodology.
Prospective candidates must contact the Department to seek an interview with the Research Coordinator to determine their eligibility to complete the programme. Please note that there are limited places available on the programme.