Higher learning can be an exciting adventure for students. Not only can you build and expand your knowledge in areas that will help support a potential future career, but you also get to choose many of the elements that impact your experience as a student.
While there are specific required courses, there are also slots in students’ schedules for electives. These provide the opportunity for students to select courses based on their own interests, educational goals, career pursuits, or other factors.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems program, the elective courses available, and the types of considerations to keep in mind.
Online BSIS: An overview
Before we delve into the potential elective courses that online BS IS students can take, let’s briefly examine the overarching program and the other required courses. When it comes to choosing electives, it’s important to consider how well these courses will mesh with the rest of the program. In this way, it’s salient to take a look at the other areas of study students will participate in. Doing so can help students make more informed choices with their elective decisions.
Within the online BS IS, students take part in six credit hours, or two three-credit courses, as part of their foundational requirements, followed by 21 credit hours of lower-level core courses. Once these are completed, students move on to complete 22-25 credit hours of the upper-level core, as well as 24 credit hours in the Information Systems core. Finally, students end their program with a Capstone Experience course worth three credit hours.
Some of the topics covered in the foundational, lower-level, upper-level, and information systems core curriculums include:
- Business Foundations
- Principles of Accounting
- Micro- and Macroeconomics
- Quantitative Analysis
- Management Processes and Behavior
- Information Systems
- Basic Marketing
- Financial Management
- Operations Management
- Business Programming
- Database Management
- Enterprise Systems
- Systems Analysis
- Project Management
In addition to these study areas, students will also complete nine credit hours of information systems electives, or three, three-credit hour courses. These can include electives inside information systems or other, complementary areas of study that will support students’ future endeavors.
When it does come time to choose the courses that will fulfill these nine credit hours, there are a few questions to ask and things to think about:
When do I have to select electives?
Depending upon the program, students may be able to delay choosing their electives. Such an option gives them more time to explore different areas and concepts in their chosen program before making a decision about the elective credit hours.
For instance, in the online BS IS program, elective hours don’t need to be fulfilled until students are participating in the Information Systems Core. In this way, students can gain knowledge and experience in their foundational courses, as well as their lower- and upper-level core curriculum before selecting their elective courses. This might provide students with a better idea of the study areas in which they’d like to expand their knowledge or introduce additional concepts they’d like to explore further.
Which electives would most benefit a future career path?
It’s also important for students to consider their future after graduating from their program, and the career they might strive toward. Choosing one or multiple electives that support post-graduate career goals can help job seekers demonstrate their knowledge and experience in certain areas, and could potentially contribute to a more streamlined job search.
Online BS IS students have an array of different career opportunities available to them thanks to the depth and breadth of the program. These include:
- Computer network architect
- Computer systems administrator
- Computer systems analyst
- Database administrator
- Information security analyst
- Software developer
- Web developer
- Information systems manager
Demands for these types of information systems-focused positions is on the rise, and information from job site Dice.com notes that those in the professional technology industry are twice as likely to maintain their employment than those across other industries. In this way, choosing an elective in the information systems field could help better prepare students for their future careers.
What elective options are available?
Students should also take an in-depth look at which courses are available to them for their elective courses. Students should be sure to check accessible program information and course descriptions to find out what each potential elective course will entail and what areas of study they will center around. In addition, it’s also a good idea to confirm with program advisors that chosen courses will fulfill elective hour requirements, particularly if a selected course is outside the students’ main program.
Within the online BS IS, students have three elective options available that revolve around information systems, including:
- IS 413 – Information Security Management: With this course, students learn about key information security concepts, the best ways in which to manage security risks and potential uncertainties, as well as how to establish policies and procedures to help ensure information security.
- IS 415 – Social Media & Virtual Commodities in Business: Here, students learn practical ways to leverage social media tools, including filters, curated news, reports and other elements, and the ways these tools can contribute to overall business intelligence.
- IS 417 – Introduction to Business Intelligence: This course enables students to explore business intelligence through the lens of organizational IT.
Elective courses provide the opportunity for students to choose a course based on their own interests and goals, including to support a future career or bolster knowledge in an area they’re passionate about.
To find out more about the electives available to online BS IS students, connect with one of our expert enrollment advisors today and check out our list of elective courses.