MSIQ Curriculum

The MSIQ (Master of Science in Information Quality) is a 33 credit hour program. It comprises 9 three-hour lecture courses and 6 hours of either project or thesis.

The curriculum is consistent with relevant guidelines provided by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Association for Information Systems (AIS). The program emphasizes analysis and critical thinking as they relate to the principles and practices of Information Quality. Students must be able to effectively communicate and advocate the results of their analyses, and assist developers, managers, and other stakeholders in the implementation of information quality processes, policies, and improvement plans.

Courses may be taken on either a part time or full time basis. Graduate credit may be granted for equivalent course work from other institutions, with approval of the MSIQ program coordinator and the Graduate School Dean. All master’s degree requirements must be satisfied within six consecutive calendar years of admission to the program, excluding time lost for military service. For a complete list of rules and regulations governing the MSIQ program, please review the UALR Graduate Catalog that is available online.

Lecture Courses:

The 9 lecture courses can be broken down into two groups, Information Quality specific courses and Information Science courses. These courses are shown in Table 1. The letter “FA” indicates that the course is only offered in the fall semester, “SP” that it is only offered in the spring semester

Information Quality (INFQ) Information Science (IFSC)
INFQ 7303 Principles of IQ (FA & SP) IFSC 5345 Info Visualization (FA & SP)
INFQ 7322 IQ Theory (SP) IFSC 7310 Systems Analysis (SP)
INFQ 7342 IQ Tools (SP) IFSC 7320 Adv Database Sys (FA)
INFQ 7367 IQ Strategy (FA) 3 hours of non-INFQ elective
3 hours of INFQ elective

Table 1: Lecture Course Requirements for the MSIQ Program

Notes about the Lecture Courses:

  • All students entering the IQ program must take INFQ 7303 in the first semester.
  • BINS 7307, Systems Analysis and Design, offered by the Department of Management can be taken in place of IFSC 7310. BINS 7307 is usually offered in the fall semester. Students must obtain permission from the Management Department to enroll in this course.
  • BINS 7305, Advanced Database Design, offered by the Department of Management can be taken in place of IFSC 7320. BINS 7305 is usually offered in the spring semester. Students must obtain permission from the Management Department to enroll in this course.
  • CPSC 7311, Software Engineering, offered by the Computer Science Department can be taken in place of IFSC 7310. Students must obtain permission from the Computer Science Department to enroll in this course.
  • CPSC 7351, Database Design, offered by the Computer Science Department can be taken in place of IFSC 7320. Students must obtain permission from the Computer Science Department to enroll in this course.
  • Although there are a number of courses listed as INFQ electives, only a few are offered on a regular basis. Typically INFQ 7348, Entity Resolution and Information Quality, is the only INFQ elective offered in the fall semester, and INFQ 7337, Project and Change Management, is the only INFQ elective offered in the spring semester.
  • There are usually several non-INFQ electives offered in both fall and spring semesters.
  • The non-INFQ elective is not required to an information science (IFSC) course. It can be almost any 3-hour graduate course offered at UALR including business, computer science, mathematics and statistics.
  • None of the courses in the Table 1 are offered by the Information Science Department during the summer. However, the Department of Management usually offers graduate courses during the summer. As noted above, BINS 7305 and 7307 can be taken in place of IFSC 7320 and 7310, respectively. Other 3-hour graduate courses offered by the College of Business can be counted as a non-INFQ elective.

Project or Thesis Requirement:

All students are required to complete either a master’s project or a master’s thesis. Both require a minimum of 6 hours.

Project Notes:

  • Students must obtain a faculty advisor, a project sponsor, and submit an approved project proposal before being allowed to enroll in project hours.
  • Project sponsors can be a business, government agency, non-profit, or UALR department.
  • Students may begin a project after completing their first 9 hours (one semester) of coursework.
  • INFQ 7391, Cooperative Education (paid internship) can be counted toward the 6 hour project requirement. The INFQ 7391 will count regardless of whether the work done during the internship was related to the student’s project or not. However in the ideal situation, the student’s internship sponsor also agrees to be the student’s project sponsor, and the work done during the internship is part of the work to be done for the project.
  • International students must complete 2 semesters before they are eligible for paid internship.
  • International students must apply for CPT through the Office of International Student Services before pursuing a paid internship.
  • Students are encouraged, but not required, to complete projects over two consecutive semesters taking 3 hours of project (INFQ 7386) each semester or 3 hours of internship (INFQ 7391) followed by 3 hours of project (INFQ 7386).
  • Under the consecutive enrollment policy, once a student starts taking project (or thesis) hours, the student must continue to take at least 3 hours of project each semester until the project is complete. This means that if a student attempt 6 hours of project in one semester and fails to complete it (i.e. the final report and oral defense are finished before the semester deadline), then the student must enroll in another 3 hours of project in the following semester. 

Thesis Notes:

  • Students electing the thesis option must form a 3-member committee of department faculty to supervise their thesis. The membership of the committee must be reported to and approved by the Graduate School.
  • The student must submit and orally defend his or her thesis proposal to the committee. If the proposal defense is successful, it must be reported to and approved by the Graduate School.
  • The student must submit and orally defend his or her final thesis to the committee. If the thesis defense is successful, it must be reported to and approved by the Graduate School.
  • The final thesis report must be approved by both the student’s committee and the Graduate School.

 

Consecutive Enrollment Policy (Effective Fall 2012):

  • Students that begin their capstone project or thesis must continue to enroll in project or thesis hours until successful completion of the project or thesis.
  • Students are advised to plan their project in advance, including scheduling adequate time for the approval of the final report.
  • The oral defense should be given during the final semester in which a student is registered for their last 6 project hours.
  • Students that need additional time to complete a project must enroll in 3 hours of project in the next semester. This includes the summer semester.
  • Failure to maintain consecutive enrollment may require the student to restart the project/thesis process and submit a new project/thesis proposal.

 

Course Descriptions:

INFQ 7303 Principles of Information Quality: This course provides a rigorous exploration of information quality concepts, assessment, and problems in organizational information systems, databases and data warehouses. A combination of state of the art literature review and hands-on projects is used to develop knowledge and ability to meet objectives.

INFQ 7318 Total Quality Management and Statistical Quality Control: This course provides an understanding of how the concepts and techniques of Total Quality Management may be applied to information products. Topics include continuous improvement strategies, statistical process control, experimental design, capability analysis, quality cost assessments, benchmarking, acceptance testing, and auditing.

INFQ 7322 Information Quality Theory: This course is designed to provide students with the theoretical foundations critical for developing a deep understanding of the state-of-the-art information quality research from the technical, organizational and strategic perspectives. This course will prepare students to work on their thesis, project, and conduct research in the field of information quality. More specifically, students will be exposed to concepts, principles, tools, and models, and techniques that are essential for information quality definitions, measurement, analysis, and improvement. Additionally, students will be exposed to most current, cutting-edge research that goes beyond current industry practice in information quality.

INFQ 7337 Project and Change Management: A course on how to manage information quality improvement projects within an organizational context, including the processes related to initiating, planning, executing, controlling, reporting, and closing a project. Additional topics include identifying project champions, working with user teams, training, documentation, project integration, scope, time, cost-benefit studies, risk analysis, and change management.

INFQ 7342 Information Quality Tools and Industry Landscape: This course is designed to develop and increase capability and skills that students need to critically understand what IQ software tools, techniques, and prototypes are currently used in industry, government, and research laboratories. The course will prepare students to make software tool recommendations on corporate data quality programs. Students will conduct a survey of academic literature and industry practices in terms of IQ tools such as data cleansing, profiling, and auditing, and will participate in a hands-on workshop on commercial IQ tools from participating vendors in the field.

INFQ 7348 Entity Resolution and Information Quality:  An examination of the theory and practice of entity resolution (ER), and the relationship between ER and information quality.  Topics include the primary activities of ER, the major ER system architectures, methods and techniques for determining reference equivalence, major theoretical models for ER, entity-based data integration, ER case studies, and hands-on ER exercises with commercial and open-source ER tools.

INFQ 7353 Case Studies for Information Quality Professionals: This intensive and interactive course is designed to develop and increase the student’s capability and skills to critically understand what constitutes data quality, how to analyze and solve data quality problems, and how to institutionalize data quality projects in an organization where data quality is not the most critical priority.

INFQ 7367 Information Quality Policy and Strategy: This course explores the top management, strategic perspective for aligning competitive strategy, core competencies, and information quality. Topics include the development and implementation of IQ policies and plans to achieve organizational goals; how to define systems that support the operational, administrative, and strategic IQ needs of the organization, its business units, and individual employees; approaches to managing technology and the information systems function in organizations, role of the CIO.

INFQ 7386/7686 Graduate Project: Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent of the student’s graduate advisor. Students, under faculty supervision, will conduct directed research on a particular problem or area of information quality and will produce reports and other deliverables appropriate to the project. The MSIQ Project Handbook is available online (MSIQ Project Guidelines).

INFQ 7198/7298/7398/7498/7598/7698 Thesis: Prerequisites: Consent of thesis advisor. Scholarly investigation of a selected problem in information quality culminating in a written and orally defended thesis. The UALR Dissertation and Thesis Guide is available online (Link for UALR Dissertation and Thesis Guide).

IFSC 5325 Data Mining Concepts and Techniques: In-depth, practical coverage of essential data mining topics, including OLAP and data warehousing, data preprocessing, concept description, association rules, classification and prediction, and cluster analysis. Advanced topics include mining object-relational databases, spatial databases, multimedia databases, time-series databases, text databases, the World Wide Web, and applications in several fields.

IFSC 5330 Database Security: Focus on security issues in databases systems and introduction of how current and future commercial systems may be designed to ensure secrecy and confidentiality. Topics include security models, basic security mechanisms and software, statistical database security, intrusion detection, security models for next generation databases, tested techniques and proven strategies for securing an Oracle environment – from the operating system to the database to the network, and how to implement security using Oracle’s built-in tools.

IFSC 5339 Network Security: This course provides students with a concise and in-depth overview of security issues in current computer networks. It first gives a brief introduction of cryptographic algorithms and protocols underlying network security applications, including encryption, hash function, public key algorithm, digital signatures, and key exchanges. Then, it focuses on the security issues in current computer networks as well as network security tools and applications, including Kerberos, X.509v3 certificates, PGP, S/MIME, IP security, SSL/TLS, SET, and SNMPv3. The course will cover network intrusion-detection techniques and systems.

IFSC 5345 Information Visualization: The design and presentation of digital information. Use of graphics, animation, sound, visualization software, and hypermedia in presenting information to the user. Methods of presenting complex information to enhance comprehension and analysis. Incorporation of visualization techniques into human-computer interfaces.

IFSC 7310 Information Systems Analysis: Methods of problem identification and definition, data collection and measurement, feasibility study methods, work measurement techniques, task analysis, simulation studies, impact analysis, evaluation methods, forms and display design, proposal writing, documentation and programming standards, design strategies, documentation, and evaluation.

IFSC 7320 Database Systems: Database systems and data modeling, including entity-relationship model, relational data model, normalization, structured query language (SQL), transaction management, object-oriented databases, and basics of physical database design and query evaluation.

IFSC 7321 Information Science and Theory: This course provides a rigorous exploration of information theory including entropy, value strategies, security, extraction, and emission of information.

IFSC 7325 Advanced Data Mining: Advanced techniques for knowledge discovery and data mining from large databases. graphical and kernel-based machine learning, active and online learning, mining with uncertainty, spatial and temporal data mining, data mining large micro array and protein array data sets.

IFSC 7330 Information Systems Security: This course aims at providing a solid theoretical foundation in Information Systems Security, including both Computer Security and Communications Security. The security issues in information systems as well as techniques for ensuring information systems security will be studied. The course will focus on the study of security policies, models, and mechanisms for secrecy, integrity, and availability. The basic principles of information systems security will be discussed, including basic crypotography and its applications, security in computer networks and distributed systems, access control models and mechanisms for database security, multilevel database security, steganography, Internet security, and control and prevention of viruses and other rogue programs.

IFSC 7350 Electronic Commerce: Seminar style course designed for doctoral level student to be able to explore jointly the field of electronic commerce theoretically, conceptually and through applications including electronic markets, strategy, business models, impacts of information and communication technologies, organization and social behavior, as well as selected economic perspectives.

IFSC 7360 Data Protection and Privacy: Concepts and methods for creating technologies and related policies with provable guarantees of privacy protection while allowing society to collect and share person-specific information for necessary and worthy purposes. Methods include those related to the identifiability of data, record linkage, data profiling, data fusion, data anonymity, de-identification, policy specification and enforcement and privacy-preserving data mining.

MGMT 7308 Advanced Business Communication: Analysis of communication issues in the global socio-technical environment. Assessment of organizational communication systems. Refinement of written and verbal communication competencies.

MGMT 7312 Team Development: Organizational theory and principles of developing and managing teams.

 

Typical Course Plans:

A student’s plan of study depends upon which semester a student enters the program, how many hours the student takes each semester, and whether the student wants to take courses during the summer session. The following scenarios assume that a student takes a full-time graduate load (3 courses or 9 hours) each semester.

Scenario 1: Entering in the fall semester, no summer enrollment

First Fall Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7303

INFQ 7367

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7320 or BINS 7305

First Spring Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7342

INFQ 7322

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307 (depending on which choice was made in the First Fall Semester)

Second Fall Semester (9 hours)

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307 (depending on which choices were made in the First Fall Semester and First Spring Semester)

INFQ 7386 (First 3 hours of project) or INFQ 7398 (First 3 hours of thesis)

Either INFQ 7348 or a non-INFQ elective

Second Spring Semester (6 hour reduced load)

INFQ 7386 (Second 3 hours of project) or INFQ 7398 (Second 3 hours of thesis)

Either INFQ 7337 or a non-INFQ elective (Depending on which choice was made in the Second Fall Semester)

Scenario 2: Entering in the fall semester and completing summer internship

First Fall Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7303

INFQ 7367

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7320 or BINS 7305

First Spring Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7342

INFQ 7322

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307 (depending on which choice was made in the First Fall Semester)

Summer Session (3 hours)

INFQ 7391 (internship)

Non-INFQ elective (from business school)

Second Fall Semester (9 hours)

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307 (depending on which choices were made in the First Fall Semester and First Spring Semester)

INFQ 7386 (project)

Either INFQ 7348

Scenario 3: Entering in the spring semester, Project in summer

First Spring Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7303

INFQ 7342

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307

First Fall Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7367

Either INFQ 7348 or a non-INFQ elective

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7320 or BINS 7305 (depending on which choice was made in the First Spring Semester)

Second Spring Semester (9 hours)

INFQ 7322

Either IFSC 5345 or IFSC 7310 or BINS 7307 (depending on which choices were made in the First Fall Semester and First Spring Semester)

Either INFQ 7337 or a non-INFQ elective (depending on choice in First Fall Semester)

Summer Session

Either INFQ 7686 (project) or INFQ 7386 (project) and INFQ 7391 (internship)

 

Course Plan Notes:

  • Internationals students are encouraged to enter the MSIQ program in the fall semester because:
    • Only students entering in the fall are eligible for the International Scholarship which reduces tuition to in-state rates.
    • Student entering in the spring will not have completed two semesters by the summer session and will therefore not be eligible for paid internship during the summer.
  • International students are allowed to have a reduced load (less than 9 hours) during their last semester in the program.