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MS-IS Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MS-IS) graduate program in SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics? Check the MS-IS website to find detailed information about the program, and see below to find answers to frequently asked questions. If you want to ask questions of someone in person, contact our graduate director at 206-281-2753.

General Questions

Why is SPU’s IS program distinctive?

Five key reasons:

  • A curriculum grounded on ethics and values. Drawing on our Christian heritage, we emphasized an ethics-based approach long before it was popular to do so. We emphasize meaningful purpose in business, and serving others: customers, employees, and community.
  • Small class sizes. You’ll get to know faculty and fellow students in our personal and interactive learning environment. Faculty care about you as a person and as a professional.
  • High quality. This is a fully accredited, academically rigorous, and challenging program. It is taught by qualified faculty and representatives from industry with substantial in-the-field expertise. We stress applied learning.
  • Connectedness. You will network with peers, alumni, and business community mentors.
  • Flexibility. You can start in any quarter, and you can proceed at a pace that fits with the demands on your life. International students have separate guidelines that pertain to their F-1 status and/or government sponsorship. 

What is the profile of your current student body?

The average IS student has a 587 GMAT score, 299 GRE score, 3.33 GPA, four years of work experience, and a diverse professional background. Most work full time in a wide range of companies or nonprofits. Companies represented by students have included Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Hewlett-Packard, Paccar, Concur Technologies, Regents Blue Shield, Premera, and World Vision.

Is SBGE AACSB accredited?

Yes. Organized in 1916, AACSB — Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International — is the oldest and most prestigious business school accrediting body in the world. Fewer than 40 percent of North American business schools have attained this accreditation.

How are your programs connected to the Seattle business community?

Our Executive Advisory Board links us to the Puget Sound business community. The Mentor Program matches students one on one with business professionals. Business leaders serve as guest speakers, sources for team projects, and informal advisors. Our graduate programs, along with the Center for Integrity in Business, sponsor the quarterly “Faith & the Marketplace” speaker series.

What career services are available?

We offer a wide variety of career and professional development opportunities including career counseling, job search coaching, résumé development, workshops and seminars, networking events, and mentoring. Employment opportunities are posted on Handshake at SPU’s Center for Career and Calling.

How long does it take to complete the IS program?

The length of the program depends on the number of pre-IS classes satisfied by undergraduate coursework and potential transfer credits from previous graduate-level coursework. The table below describes the length of the program for students who register for three, six, or nine credits. The table is not adjusted for any prior coursework that may apply.

Enrollment Status

Credits per quarter

Quarters (including summer)

Years to complete degree

 Half-time  3 17  4 1/4
 Full-time  6 9 2 1/4
 Full-time  9 6 1 1/2
Total program length is 51 quarter credits. See the Catalog policies.

When do classes meet?

Evening and weekend courses are scheduled to accommodate students with active work schedules. Courses are generally designed to meet one evening, three hours per week, for 11 weeks.

Is it possible to take classes before being admitted to the program?

Yes, you may take up to two pre-IS core courses. As a pre-qualified student, you must have had at least one year of continuous full-time work experience after completion of an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA.

Previous Coursework

I’ve taken some of the pre-IS courses at another university. Does this satisfy any courses?

Foundations courses in accounting and operations management (6 credit hours) cover basic business concepts that must be understood to achieve the program’s objectives. Many students have covered some or all of this subject matter in an undergraduate program. In the following circumstances, coursework completed at the undergraduate level prior to admission to the program may fulfill one or more pre-IS courses.

  • If you earned a bachelor’s degree within seven years* of admission to the program that included courses covering the same body of knowledge as foundations courses:
    • Courses in which you earned a minimum grade of B may fulfill foundations courses with comparable content.
    • A course taken for pass/no credit cannot fulfill a foundations course requirement.
  • In order to fulfill the BUS 6170 requirement, a course must have been completed with a minimum grade of B within three years of admission to the IS program.
  • If you completed a bachelor’s degree more than seven years prior to admission to the program, or if the grade in the undergraduate course is below B but not below C+:
    • You may take a competency examination in the subject.
    • Competency tests must be completed within the year following your date of admission to the program.
    • If the competency examination is successfully completed, the applicable foundations course will be considered fulfilled.
    • If you do not successfully complete the competency exam, you must take the graduate course or complete it via credit by examination, for which tuition and an examination fee are charged.

Are transfer students accepted into the IS program?

You must apply as a new applicant and submit the required documents, including GMAT or GRE scores. Students attending another AACSB-accredited IS program may potentially transfer up to nine graduate level credits.

I already hold a master’s degree. Can I apply to the IS program?

Yes. Students who hold a master’s degree in a different field are welcome. You are not required to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Depending on your graduate coursework, you may be able to transfer up to nine credits.

My undergraduate degree is not in business. Can I still apply to the IS program?

Yes. The IS curriculum has a series of core courses to ensure all students have the foundation needed for successful degree completion.

I noticed you offer specializations. Are students required to declare a specialization?

No, students may select electives from any specialization and receive a general IS degree. 

Applying to the IS program

What materials are required for admission?

  • Online application
  • Application fee
  • Current résumé
  • Official transcript(s)
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Personal essay

International Student Applicants

  • Course-by-course transcript evaluation (international students)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores
  • Declaration of International Student Finances form

When are the application deadlines?

 Quarter/Starting Month  Application Deadline
 Autumn/September  August 1
 Winter/January  November 1
 Spring/March  February 1
 Summer/June  May 1

International Applicants with F1 Visa 

(International applicants who do not need an F1 visa may adhere to the above deadlines.)

 Autumn/September   June 1
 Winter/January  September 1
 Spring/March  December 1
 Summer/June  Admission not available for international students

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is $50.

How do I apply? 

You must apply online for all SPU graduate programs.

I took the GRE exam. Will you accept GRE scores instead of GMAT scores?

Yes. We accept both GMAT and GRE scores.

Is work experience required?

Admittance into the IS program requires one year of continuous post-bachelor’s work experience. More is preferred.

How long does it take to receive an admission decision?

Once your application file is complete, an admission decision goes out to you within seven to 10 working days.

How often do you accept applicants?

The IS program enrolls students for autumn, winter, spring, and summer quarters. New international students are not accepted for summer quarter enrollment.

I was accepted to the IS program. May I defer my admission offer?

Yes. Accepted applicants who wish to postpone their admission may request a deferral. Deferrals, in most cases, will be granted for no more than four quarters.

I was denied admission. May I re-apply?

Yes. You may re-apply to the program for a subsequent quarter. If you decide to retake the GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS, please have your official scores submitted to the University. If you complete any new coursework, please have your transcript submitted to the University. Your application is saved for one year.

International Student Applicants

I am a prospective international student. How much funding must I have available to obtain an I-20?

The federal government requires international students to demonstrate sufficient funding for at least the first year of graduate study and living expenses. As part of the admission process:

  • If you are a privately sponsored applicant, you will need to submit the Declaration of International Student Finance (DISF) form and all supporting documents. Seattle Pacific University can issue the visa eligibility document that you’ll need in order to have your student visa authorized. 
  • If you are a government-sponsored applicant, you will need to submit an original award letter (or a certified copy of an award letter). All financial documents must be written in English and valid as of the start date of your first quarter of enrollment. 

The process to receive an I-20 can take up to three months, so please adhere to the application deadlines.

I am an international student who still needs to take the TOEFL and GRE or GMAT exams. May I apply for conditional admission?

You may apply for conditional admission in order to apply for scholarships or government sponsorship. You must meet our academic and minimum 1-year work experience requirements, but may not yet meet our English proficiency requirements and/or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score requirement. Conditional admission is valid for one year from the date of this application.

I am an international student who received a 3-year bachelor’s degree. May I apply to your IS program?

A three-year bachelor’s degree from an international institution may or may not allow you to apply to our programs.  Our Master’s programs require prior completion of a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution—or an equivalent degree from another country.  Because higher education systems vary widely around the world and change over time, SPU requires students to have their academic credentials evaluated by a professional credential evaluator to determine comparability to a U.S. degree.  Information about approved evaluation services is available here. Evaluations should be submitted to Graduate Admissions.

I have additional questions about the MBA or IS program. May I visit the SPU campus to learn more about the business graduate programs?

Yes! Our faculty and staff are available to meet with you individually. Contact our graduate director at 206-281-2753 to arrange a visit.

Cost and Financial Aid

What is the cost of tuition?

Tuition is $895 per credit hour for the 2019–20 academic year; other required fees may also apply. The IS program has 51 credits.

Do you offer scholarships to students in the IS program?

There are no scholarships available. Besides student loan programs, students should research other sources.