Carnegie Mellon University

Majoring in Information Systems

From programming to project management to real-world projects, the Information Systems Program has it all. The flexible nature of the program encourages students to explore their own interest in contemporary content areas such as: business/enterprise systems, computing and information systems & technology, social and global systems, and quantitative analysis and research methods. A wide variety of elective courses, additional majors and minors, and accelerated masters degree programs allow IS students to take advantage of the many unique educational opportunities available at Carnegie Mellon University. For specific information regarding courses and requirements, please visit the Undergraduate Catalog.

Teamwork, Professional Communications and Project Management

In our team-based project courses, students gain experience in leadership, peer collaboration, project management, accountability, and cross-cultural communication. Students lead in a number of roles, including quality control, client advocacy, technology, design, documentation, and team management.

Real World Projects

In the capstone course, student teams design and deliver systems for real client organizations from the non-profit, charitable, or education sector. While many projects are locally based, student teams often work with client and teammates in other states or countries. In these projects, students work with the realistic challenges and constraints of time, budget, changing expectations, and organizational styles.

For specific information regarding courses and requirements, please visit the Undergraduate Catalog.

The curriculum is built on four key areas:

  • General Education to give students a broad grounding in humanities, social sciences, arts and natural sciences.
  • A Disciplinary Core to give students exposure to professional communications, quantitative analysis and research methods, and organizations, policy and social science.
  • A Professional Core emphasizing system analysis, user-centered design, efficient development practices, teamwork, decision making and leadership. We provide the technology, project management and business-facing skills needed to design and build effective real-world systems solutions.
  • A Content Area intended to build skills and understanding in a supporting area such as Business and Enterprise Systems, Computing and Information Systems & Technology, Social and Global Systems, and Quantitative Analysis

Project Courses

All Information Systems students put theory into practice by completing two semester-length, team-based projects.

Junior Year

Junior level Information Systems students work within a small project group to analyze, design, and implement a moderate-sized information system.  Basic system life cycle principles, good teamwork, project management, and quality are emphasized throughout.

Senior Year

Senior level Information Systems students design and implement an operational information system solution for a client organization, typically a non-profit, charitable or education organization. Through these projects courses, students gain valuable practice, confidence and skills in managing complex projects, working with teammates and project sponsors and dealing with the ambiguities inherent in every large-scale systems project. (See Project Showcase for some recent projects.)

Academic Advising

Advising is integral to the educational mission of Carnegie Mellon and to the Information Systems Program. Seeking good advice is an important part of how students make decisions about their academic and professional futures. All students are encouraged, and expected, to meet with their advisor on a regular basis. Appointments with Gary DiLisio, IS Senior Academic Advisor, can be made online.

Student Policies and Forms

Additional Major or a Minor

An additional major or a minor may be taken to complement the Information Systems major. While not required, many Information Systems students graduate with one or the other. A wide range of Carnegie Mellon majors and miinors are open to Information Systems students. Typically, an additional major will require completing eleven to thirteen courses approved by the home department, while a minor will typically require six approved courses. Popular choices include Business Administration, Human-Computer Interaction, Economics, and Computer Science.


Students have the oppurtunity to conduct research of their own through "independant study" with a faculty member. Professors in many departments throughout the university regularly sponser student research and students from freshman through senior are encouraged to persue oppurtunities of interest.


Summer internships offer Information Systems students the oppurtunity to put their skills into practice. IS students have enjoyed working at a variety of organizations across the U.S. Carnegie Mellon welcomes major employees to campus. The centrally located Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) provides guidance and resources to assist IS students in identifying and applying the oppurtunities to utilize their information system skills. For more information regarding internships, check out the Dietrich College Internship: 2013-2014.

Study Abroad

Many Carnegie Mellon students complete a semester abroad to study expanding oppurtunities in global business, software systems, services design, and product development. Developing global perspectives and practice in cross-cultural communications are increasingly valued professional skills. Students can study abroad at one of Carnegie Mellon's many established university exchanges, such as Singapore Management University or Carnegie Mellon's Qatar campus - or may choose to go elsewhere for immersion in another country's language, culture, and history.