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Flexibility a Hallmark of Northwestern's MSIT Program

Monday, December 16, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Abbey Kwiat
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Abi Shay, Associate Director, Northwestern MSIT


Associate Director Abi Shay explains why the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program gives students the freedom to shape their educational experience.


Whenever a prospective student asks me what's unique about Northwestern's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, I always explain that the program is designed for IT professionals who are looking to strengthen their technical skills and develop a better understanding of business principles. We've found that combination allows our graduates to differentiate themselves in the marketplace because they're able to speak the language of business and understand how to consider how technology impacts the business as a whole. 

We also know that every student's professional path and career aspirations are different, which is why we want to give our students the flexibility to shape their MSIT experience in a way that aligns with their interests and goals. Students in our full-time program have the opportunity to take six of their 12 classes outside of MSIT, while part-time students have the option of taking one or two non-MSIT courses. 

A popular option for students has been to take courses on either project management or product management that are offered in Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program. Another trend we've seen lately is full-time students who are interested in taking courses related to data science. Those students have taken advantage of courses on Machine learning offered by Northwestern Engineering's Department of Computer Science or Deep Learning offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Students also have the opportunity to take some courses offered by the Kellogg School of Management — one of the top business schools in the world — but those options vary from quarter to quarter. 

One other unique opportunity for full-time students is the chance to enroll in NUvention, which is designed to highlight the complete innovation and entrepreneurial life cycle so students can understand how innovations can become viable business products. NUvention currently offers tracks in analytics, arts, energy, medical, networked body, therapeutics, transportation, and web/media.

With technology evolving as rapidly as it is, the educational needs and interests of our students are constantly evolving too. We work to modify the curriculum to best match industry trends, and part of the way we do that is by asking our students what courses they would like to see be added to the program. A list of options is compiled and students are allowed to vote on what topics — like Law and Information Technology or Agile IT Leadership — they would like to see turned into a five-week course the following year. 

When it comes to MSIT, we believe that we're teaching students the foundational fundamentals of technology. No matter what the newest innovations in the technology space are, we believe these fundamentals will remain the essential elements of technology, giving students the knowledge and ability to adapt to change. That being said, we believe our program isn't just for one type of IT person or for one specific industry. That is why we designed MSIT to be flexible enough for students to create their own experiences that will best prepare them to follow their dreams and succeed professionally. 

Abi Shay is the Associate Director of the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program at Northwestern University.

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