Rhodes University is the smallest public university in South Africa, with approximately 8000 registered students. Nevertheless we rank among the top performing South African universities with regard to student graduation rates and the proportion of academic staff holding PhD or equivalent qualifications. Many of our graduates occupy executive positions in the local IS industry, have successfully started their own businesses, or have forged international careers.
The Department of Information Systems at Rhodes University was first established in 1980 as a sub-department of the Department of Business Administration (now Management) within the Faculty of Commerce. Today, it is a flourishing, independent Department with a full undergraduate and post-graduate programme. Undergraduate students are required to complete a first-year semester course in computing offered by the Department of Computer Science, before registering for Information Systems. The Department offers courses at the second, third and fourth (honours) year levels, as well as Masters and PhD degrees by research thesis.
Academic staff in our Department are committed to promoting the construction of knowledge in the field of Information Systems through effective and innovative interaction, research and consulting; and to the development of quality graduates and information systems artefacts within a climate of excellence, integrity and ethical behaviour.
The Department offers a two-year major in Information Systems which is taken primarily by students doing a Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of Science degree.
Information Systems Honours is a postgraduate programme taken after completion of a three-year Bachelors degree majoring in Information Systems. Places are limited, with about 35 students being accepted into the Honours programme each year.
The Honours programme focuses on preparing students for the information systems profession as well as preparing the way for further postgraduate studies. On successful completion of the programme, students are awarded a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) or Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Information Systems.
The Department has a rapidly expanding post-graduate school, which is accommodated in a newly developed suite of computer laboratories located on the top floor of the Struben Building.
Masters and PhD degrees in Information Systems are currently available only by full research thesis. Students are expected to attend a number of formal workshops during their first year of study, which provide support and guidance during the process of developing a formal research proposal.
Information Systems II consists of three half-year (semester) courses: IS201, IS202 and IS203. Undergraduate students are required to complete a first-year semester course in computing offered by the Department of Computer Science, before registering for Information Systems II.
Students following the Accounting professional route are required to register for IS201 and IS203, and students following an Information Systems professional route are required to register for IS201 and IS202. Students are permitted to register for both IS202 and IS203 should they so wish.
- IS201 is an introductory first-semester course taken by both Information Systems and Accounting majors, with an average class size of about 300 students. The course includes the following topics: Information Systems Theory; Business Systems; Business Decision Support; Development Methodologies.
- IS202 is a semester course focusing on systems development which is taken by Information Systems Professional students, with an average class size of about 150 students. It includes the following topics: Information Systems Analysis; Application Architecture; Information Systems Design.
- IS203 is a custom-designed semester course for Accounting Professional students, with an average class size of about 150 students. It includes the following topics: Accounting Information Systems Theory and Practical; Managing Projects; IT Governance; Accounting Information Systems Security and Control.
Further information and contact details are available on the course website.
Information Systems III consists of two half-year (semester) courses: IS301 and IS302, with an average class size of less than 150 students in each semester. Information Systems III is taken by students who have elected to follow an Information Systems professional career.
- IS301 is taught in the first semester and includes the following topics: Project Management; Project Communications; Database Theory; SQL; Web Development 1.
- IS302 is taught in the second semester and includes the following topics: Web Development 2; Information Architecture; Application Development; Advanced IS Theory.
In all Information Systems courses, students attend weekly practical sessions in computer laboratories during which they are exposed to a number of software tools and applications. A key component of the Information Systems III course is the development of a ‘real’ information system that integrates the knowledge gained in all course modules. In addition, a number of Value-Added Lectures are presented by industry specialists on a wide range of relevant topics. Further information and contact details are available on the course website.
The Information Systems Honours course takes a 'holistic' approach by developing the technological, managerial, interdisciplinary and communication skills and expertise of students. The Department currently offers the following coursework modules at the Honours level:
- Research Methodology; Corporate Communications; Enterprise Architecture; Business Analysis; IT Business Consulting; Software Quality Assurance; IS Management; Agile Systems Development.
- Relevant courses from Computer Science, Management and other departments may also be taken.
All IS Honours students undertake a full Systems Development Project and complete a Research Project. Students also participate in a 4-week industry internship during the mid-year vacation, which provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain valuable insights into the profession whilst still studying. In addition, a number of Value-Added Lectures are presented by industry specialists on a wide range of relevant topics.
Students are expected to attend a number of formal workshops during their first year of study, which provide support and guidance during the process of developing a formal research proposal. Further information about the Masters and Doctoral program is available on the M&D course website.
Areas of research interest within the Department include:
- IT Governance
- Enterprise Architecture
- Project Management
- E-Business Consulting
- ICT for Development
- ICT for Education
- Virtual Collaboration
- Social Networks
- Cloud Computing
- Mobile Computing
- User Interface Design
- Health Informatics
- IS Curricula
Research conducted by staff and post-graduate students is regularly presented at both local and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Networking with staff and post-graduate students at other universities is encouraged, especially within the Eastern Cape region of South Africa where we have close ties with both the University of Fort Hare and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.