Frequently Asked Questions
SIS Masters Programs
What is the admission process for MSIT/MS Cybersecurity?
For admission to the MSIT Program, you must meet criteria for both The Graduate School Admission and MSIT/MS Cybersecurity admission requirements set by the Department of Software & Information Systems. All applications must be submitted online through the UNC Charlotte Graduate Admissions portal. Additional helpful information on University requirements is available in the Graduate School Frequently Asked Admission Questions.
When do you accept applications? What is the deadline for applying?
We accept applications for fall and spring terms (no summer admission).
Deadlines for Domestic Students:
- Fall – priority deadline is March 1, final deadline is August 1 as seats allow
- Spring – priority deadline is October 1, final deadline is December 1 as seats allow
Deadlines for International Students:
- Fall – priority deadline is March 1, final deadline is April 1
- Spring – priority deadline is October 1, final deadline is November 1
When will I hear back regarding an admissions decision?
Please allow approximately 2-4 weeks* for your application to process after it’s considered “Ready for Review” in the Graduate Admission application portal. Our department will not be able to comment specifics about the status of your application, so your best resource for timeline and where your application is at in the review process is in your Graduate Admission profile.
*if you are an international candidate applying without a transcript evaluation, it will take our team more time to review and evaluate your academic credentials – expect delays. Our admissions team recommends that applicants with international transcripts apply with a formal transcript evaluation to accelerate your review process and/or apply early to allow us sufficient time to review your credentials.
What is an acceptable GRE/GMAT score?
NOTE: GRE/GMAT standardized exam requirement is waived for all Spring 2024 and Fall 2024 applicants and will not be a requirement for consideration to join our MS programs. Please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any further questions about this update.
Admission decisions are made on a competitive basis, and all applications are evaluated in their entirety. Since the standardized exam requirement is only one of the factors examined for admission, these scores alone do not automatically determine one’s admission decision. Our department will not be able to tell an applicant whether specific scores are satisfactory for admission without looking into the applicant’s entire application package.
My undergraduate degree is not in computer science or in any related field to information technology. Am I still eligible to apply for MSIT or MS Cybersecurity?
Yes; applicants do not require specific undergraduate degrees to apply to our programs in the Department of Software & Information Systems. Our department does hold the expectation that applicants will have completed undergraduate coursework or equivalent experience in data structures and object-oriented programming (Java, C++, and C# specifically). You may demonstrate the necessary skills and knowledge through relevant professional work experience, through UNC Charlotte courses as a post-baccalaureate student, through relevant community college credits, or through relevant online certifications/courses.
The Department of Software & Information Systems offers two graduate-level foundation courses for those who are seeking to obtain requisite experience in object-oriented programming, algorithms, and web application design and development: ITIS 5101 Foundations of Programming (3 credit hours) and ITIS 5135 Web-based Application Design & Development (3 credit hours). These courses are offered completely online to enhance accessibility. Please visit Fundamentals of Programming website or reach out to the Graduate Program Coordinator
What is the cost of attendance for this program (tuition and fee structure)?
You may view up-to-date information about tuition and fees for our program at the following website: https://ninercentral.charlotte.edu/billing-payments-refunds/tuition-and-fees/graduate-tuition-fees
Where can I find information on financial support and financial aid?
Several sources of funding and financial aid are available to our graduate students through various means, including scholarships, fellowships, and teaching assistantships
- For recommendations regarding graduate funding: Funding for Graduate Education
- For general financial aid information: Niner Central
- For scholarship information: NinerScholars
- To apply for a graduate assistantship in our Department of Software & Information Systems, please visit Hire-A-Niner for opportunities.
Currently, the only program for student financial support specifically associated with our Master’s level studies in the Department of Software & Information Systems is the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. The scholarship requires U.S. citizenship. Learn more by contacting our SFS Participating Institution Contact, Dr. Heather Lipford.
Is a computer required for every student?
Yes. Due to the nature of computing and technology studies and the increasing need for a remote learning environment in response to the global pandemic, a computer/laptop is a requirement for students. When on-campus, students will have access to computer labs in our buildings and across campus that hold required programs and tools necessary for completing assignments, though we do not encourage students to rely exclusively on these amenities. See the OneIT Laptop Initiative website for more on this requirement.
I am considering transferring to MSIT or MS Cybersecurity from another university’s Master’s program. Will I be allowed to transfer in completed courses from other institutions?
Yes; upon acceptance, students may transfer a maximum of six (6) credit hours of graduate-level coursework with the approval of the department’s Graduate Program Director. Students will need to send over an unofficial transcript and syllabus with detailed course description to the Graduate Program Director for review. The subject areas must match those on the list of core courses or that of approved courses for the student’s specific concentration. The student must have earned at least a B or above in the course, and the course needed to be completed no more than six (6) years ago. This will ensure that the requested transfer courses fulfill important learning outcomes related to our graduate programs.
Can I pursue my graduate studies as a part-time student?
Yes; all of our graduate programs in the Department of Software & Information Systems can be pursued part-time or full-time.
I am a working professional. Are courses offered in the evening, online, or on the weekend to accommodate my schedule?
Yes; most courses at the graduate level in the Department of Software & Information Systems are offered in the evening (after 5:30pm) to accommodate the needs of our full-time working professional and part-time students. We have also expanded to offer more online and hybrid courses to allow maximum flexibility and accommodation of students’ schedules. Our department will occasionally will offer a Saturday course at our Uptown Charlotte campus in Center City Building. But please note that these are not online programs and do have required courses that are on campus sometimes.
Where can I find information about residency for tuition purposes?
Please visit https://ncresidency.charlotte.edu/how-apply for support with identifying whether you qualify as a resident for the purposes of claiming in-state tuition.
I am an international prospective student. Am I required to provide IELTS or TOEFL scores?
Yes; UNC Charlotte requires all international student applicants to demonstrate English language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Duolingo English Test, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Even if your previous institution provided instruction in English, UNC Charlotte requires all international student applicants to provide scores from one of the aforementioned exams to demonstrate ability to converse in, write, and understand American English dialect.
Please visit The Graudate School’s International Applicants website for more information.
I am an international prospective student. Is this a STEM program?
Yes, both our MS Cybersecurity and MS Information Technology programs are STEM-designated programs that qualify for OPT extension. For more information, please visit the US Department of Homeland Security’s website on Determining STEM OPT Extention Eligibility
I was recently admitted. What’s next?
You’ll receive instructions for what’s next in your letter of acceptance. Then, you’ll want to review dates for when registration opens, when classes begin, and when tuition and fee payments are due (including financial aid disbursement as it applies to you). You can find an updated academic calendar for each term at the Registrar’s printable calendar website: https://registrar.charlotte.edu/printable-calendar. International students – in addition, you will want to work with the International Student and Scholar Office (ISSO) regarding financial certification, visa support, and any other transition assistance: https://isso.charlotte.edu
How do I create a plan of study for my MS degree?
There are a couple of helpful online tools available to you to help you create a plan of study while ensuring you are on track for completion of your degree program requirements:
- DegreeWorks – review a YouTube tutorial for how to use DegreeWorks
- Course Catalog (Acalog) – find your program’s catalog on the College of Computing & Informatics University Catalog website
You may also email or join the office hours of the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any questions regarding your path to attaining your degree.
Note: All MS MSIT students must eventually declare a concentration prior to graduation. Students need to review concentration requirements in addition to their general degree requirements to make sure they are on track for their degree attainment.
How many credit hours should I take to be considered “full time” at the graduate level? Part-time?
9-12 credit hours of graduate-level coursework is considered full-time (equivalent of 3-4 graduate courses). 3-6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework is considered part-time (equivalent of 1-2 graduate courses).
How do I know when courses are going to be offered?
Use the Registrar’s Academic Calendar to view when class schedules will be released for future terms. You may also predict when courses will be held in future terms by reviewing our online graduate catalogs – select your degree program from the list, then scroll and click on your course of interest from the catalog to be able to see when the course has been offered in the recent past, which may help you anticipate when the course will be offered again in future terms.
How do I declare or change my concentration?
To declare or change your concentration, you need to file an online graduate petition:
- Log into https://academicpetition.charlotte.edu/
- Choose a petition type: select “Concentration Add/Change” from the drop-down menu
- Program: Confirm that your program listed is correct
- Action: If you do not have a concentration, select “Add Concentration”. If you have a concentration and are changing it to a new concentration, select “Replace Concentration”
- Concentration: Choose your preferred concentration from the drop-down menu (should be auto-filled with concentration options for your current MS program)
- Documentation: Leave blank
- Submit Petition
Note: the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator will use DegreeWorks to verify whether or not completed coursework fulfills concentration requirements, and if the courses do not meet the concentration requirements, your petition may be denied until you can demonstrate means for altering your plan of study to meet designated concentration requirements. Please work with the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any questions or need further clarification.
Looking at my DegreeWorks, I see one or more of my courses listed under “not counted” and is not counting towards my degree completion. What does this mean and how can I get these courses to count towards my degree program?
“Not Counted” means that DegreeWorks does not know how or where to categorize your course either because the system does not recognize the course as fulfilling any degree program requirements or because the system believes another course already fulfills the same program criteria and doesn’t have an alternative place to categorize this course. DegreeWorks pulls information from your listed catalog year (the academic year in which you began your studies) to determine how to categorize your course completion, though it can occasionally make mistakes or not update to more current catalog standards, which can cause courses to fallthrough and not count towards your degree program completion.
You do not want to have courses in this category on DegreeWorks. If this happens, you will need to contact the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator for further instructions to resolve this issue. This is typically an easy fix, though it is an issue that requires your immediate attention.
What is the culminating experience?
The culminating experience (CE) is your Master’s degree capstone, a demonstration of your mastery through application of your classroom learning into career, research, and/or practical problem-solving environments. Three CE options exist for Master’s students:
- IT Internship (3 credit hours).
- MS Thesis (3 credit hours for two terms, total 6 credit hours).
- Project Report/CE Report (0 credit hours).
You may select one of the above CE options to complete your Master’s degree requirements. If you complete the IT Internship, the 3 credit hour graduate course will help fulfill elective requirements for your degree program. If you complete the MS Thesis option, all 6 credit hours will help fulfill concentration requirements for your degree program. If you complete the Project Report/CE Report, you will not be asked to enroll in a course, though you will have a Canvas page dedicated to supporting your completion of this capstone. Whichever option you choose, your total credit hours will be 30.
I have non-ITIS courses that count towards my concentration/degree (e.g. MBAD, DSBA, BINF, ITCS, PSYC), but when I try to enroll, I get an error. How do I register for these classes?
You will need to complete one of our Special Request Forms as designated below. The SIS Graduate Program Coordinator will then collaborate with the appropriate department on your behalf for their approval and authorization for you to register for their department’s course. If you are interested in registering for more than one non-SIS department course, you will need to submit the online Special Request Form for each request. The links to these are sent out during registration time each semester from the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator. Email them if you cannot find the link to the forms.
What is Individual Study? Can I use Individual Study towards my degree program requirements?
Individual Study allows students to work with a faculty member in creating learning objectives, assignments, and projects in a one-on-one course setting that supports students’ learning and development in a specific, specialized area. This course is repeatable, though no more than 3 credit hours of Individual Study may count towards a student’s degree program.
If you wish to do an individual study with a faculty member in SIS, please email the SIS Student Support Specialist to receive the ITIS 6880 Individual Study Proposal Form. If you wish to do an individual study course with a faculty member in another department outside of SIS (e.g. Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Data Science), you must sign-up for their individual study course following their department’s procedures and forms with the support of that department’s faculty and staff.
What is an academic petition and when would I need to use it?
Graduate Academic Petition is an online tool available to active graduate students that allows them to make requests across departments (see https://graduateschool.charlotte.edu/current-students/academic-petitions for more details). Common uses for academic petition include the following:
- Substitution – Course Requirement (for program requirements that are associated with a specific course; e.g. Principles of Information Security & Privacy, Software Assurance)
- Substitution – Program Requirement (for general program requirements; e.g. security elective, CCI elective)
- Concentration Add/Change
- Petition “not counted” courses to count towards degree program requirements (see course/program substitutions)
- Transfer of Credit
- Late Add
- Late Withdrawal
- Leave of Absence
- Early Entry (for declaring graduate courses to double-count for undergradaute program and Master’s program requirements)
I am interested in becoming a teaching assistant (TA) or Instructional Assistant (IA). How can I apply?
The Department of Software & Information Systems offers graduate students (including Master’s students) the opportunity to apply for TA or IA assistantships each term. The SIS Graduate Program Coordinator sends out a link to the TA/IA Application Google form at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters where you can express interest for TA/IA assistantships as they become available. Additionally, you will have to formally apply through our student jobs portal on Hire-A-Niner. All job opportunities are posted through there and you cannot be hired without having applied through the portal. The Google form is simply for matching you with the right courses to TA/IA if you are to be hired.
HELPFUL TIP: Network with faculty in the department. Even with the TA Application Google form, many faculty will request to hire specific students to be their TA’s based on personal recommendations and/or referrals. Positive, meaningful relationships with faculty can help you gain an advantage with your academic and personal development and may lead to an increased chance at being selected as a TA/IA for their course(s).
I recently was offered an internship. How can I use this towards my culminating experience requirement?
Students interested in having their internship fulfill their capstone/CE requirements need to contact the Graduate Program Director to request authorization to enroll in ITIS 6198 IT Internship course. Please make sure you include your offer letter, start date, and number of hours working in your email request.
I am completing the Master’s Thesis for my culminating experience. How can I make sure I am meeting all requirements to complete this capstone?
You must communicate with the Graduate Program Director to confirm your selection of the MS Thesis capstone option and to begin the process of developing your thesis with your faculty supervisor (email the Graduate Program Director to get started). Then, follow The Graduate School’s Master’s Thesis Checklist for further guidance.
I am completing the Project Report culminating experience. How can I make sure I am meeting all requirements to complete this capstone?
Students who qualify to graduate and have either 1) opted to complete the Project Report, or 2) have not opted into the IT Internship or MS Thesis options will be invited to the Canvas course for the Project Report/CE Report to complete their Master’s capstone requirement during their final term. The Canvas course will provide deadlines and report criteria – including a grading rubric – to support student completion of this capstone. Given the expectation that you are in your final term of your Master’s degree, you will need to apply to graduate by the deadline listed on the academic calendar: https://registrar.charlotte.edu/printable-calendar
Note: If you are expected to graduate but have not received a Canvas invitation for the Project Report/CE Report from the Graduate Program Coordinator, it is your responsibility to reach out and request access to this course.
I am an international student. Does this department support the completion of Reduced Course Load, Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT) forms/processes?
Yes! We cannot answer any questions related to Reduced Course Load, CPT, or OPT, though we can sign-off on/provide endorsement for related forms to support your visa requirements. If you have questions about Reduced Course Load, CPT, or OPT, please contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).
I am an international student who received an offer for an internship that qualifies for CPT. May I use this internship for both CPT as well as my Internship Project culminating experience?
Yes you may! Email the Graduate Program Director with an offer letter, start date, and quanitity of hours you will work across the span of your internship. If the opportuntiy qualifies, you will receive permission to enroll in the IT Internship course (ITIS 6198 IT Internship Project) and you may begin the process of completing CPT paperwork.
I wish to switch to another degree program in the college. How can I change my program/major?
Once you are a graduate student, programs no longer have “majors”; you apply for your specific degree program through Graduate Admissions and are admitted to that one particular program. Should you wish to switch out of your existing degree program into another (e.g. from MSIT to MS Computer Science or from MSIT to MBA), you will need to submit a new application to that program through Graduate Admissions and receive admission to this program – even if the degree program is still in the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI).
Note: you are welcome to transfer out of one degree program into another, though keep in mind that in addition to a new application, you may only bring with you six (6) credit hours of graduate coursework from your current program into the new program – again, even if you are switching from one CCI program to another.
How do I know if I’ve met all degree requirements for graduation?
You should carefully review your DegreeWorks profile and compare it to your degree program catalog to make sure you are on track for graduation clearance via my.charlotte.edu
. If you have fallthrough courses or have questions about how your progress is being reported, contact the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate School’s Graduation Clearance Checklist is a very helpful guide. Don’t forget that you also need to apply for graduation!
How do I apply to graduate?
All students must apply for graduation by the published deadline in the final term. Students who fail to apply for graduation by the Registrar’s published deadline wil not be evaluated for graduation and will be ineligible to participate in that term’s commencement ceremony. View the Registrar’s academic calendar for deadlines.
Follow these steps to complete your application for graduation clearance:
- Login to my.charlotte.edu using NinerNET username and password
- Click the Banner Self-Service link
- In Student Services/Student Accounts tab, select Student Records option
- Click on Online Graduation Application
- Complete application and SUBMIT
Where do I find information for graduate students about the commencement ceremony?
- The Graduate School Commencement Information Website
- UNC Charlotte Division of Academic Affairs Commencement Website
What happens if I receive more than two C’s as final grades during my Master’s degree program?
Since the minimum GPA required for completing your graduate degree program is a 3.0 cumulative GPA, earning three C’s or a U on graduate coursework will automatically result in academic suspension from the University – there is no probation/warning period. You will be dropped from future courses for which you are registered. Suspension letters are sent directly to students a few days after the last day for grades to post.
I have been placed on academic suspension. May I appeal this decision?
Yes; students who experience extenuating circumstances beyond their control which impacted their academic performance may submit a Suspension Appeal Academic Petition for consideration by the SIS Graduate Program Director and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. You may review more information about appeals on The Graduate School’s website for Suspension and Termination Appeals.
Why is an inquiry I made a couple of hours/days ago not getting response?
We have received your inquiry and will respond as soon as is reasonably possible. Given the high volume of emails/phone calls our staff receive in a day, it is not always possible for us to respond immediately, or your question/concern make take more time for us to investigate and address. We do our very best to respond in a timely manner, so please be patient. If you have not heard back within a few days, please feel free to follow up with us at that point.
Early Entry (4+1) Program
What is Early Entry?
Exceptional undergraduate students attending UNC Charlotte are encouraged to apply to graduate programs and begin their work towards a Master’s degree before completion of their Bachelor’s degree program. This accelerates completion of a Master’s degree while enrolled as an undergraduate student, hence it’s title as an “Early Entry” program. The Department of Sofware & Information Systems offers early entry into MS Information Technology and MS Cybersecurity. More information is available on the SIS Early Entry (4+1) webpage.
How do I know if I qualify for Early Entry?
Interested students must meet the following criteria to be considered for Early Entry into our SIS MS programs:
- Current UNC Charlotte undergraduate student with at least a 3.2 overall GPA
- Have completed at least 75 credit hours of undergraduate course work, on track to have 90 credit hours of undergraduate course work completed by end of term
How do I apply for Early Entry into MSIT or MS Cybersecurity?
To apply for Early Entry to MSIT or MS Cybersecurity, students must discuss with their Undergraduate Advisor and then join the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator’s office hours and discuss their plans, then submit an application via Graduate Admissions and provide required supporting documents, including three letters of recommendation, a resume, an unofficial transcript, and a statement of purpose. **Don’t forget to select “Yes” for applying as an Early Entry candidate on one of the last pages of your graduate application!**
Once students are accepted into an Early Entry program, they will be asked to complete a Graduate Petition for Early Entry to declare courses for Early Entry and receive authorization to self-enroll in these graduate-level courses.
Note: Early Entry applicants who meet the minimum GPA requirement also meet the GRE/GMAT waiver criteria for the graduate application; therefore, these students will not be required to submit standardized exam scores for their Early Entry application!
How do I find out which courses double-count for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees?
We have a list of qualifying double-count courses on the SIS Early Entry (4+1) website you can review, though talk to your undergraduate academic advisor and the SIS Graduate Program Coordinator for confirmation on which graduate-level courses qualify to fulfill your specific programs’ requirements
. Once admitted, Early Entry students need to submit an Early Entry Graduate Student Petition via the Graduate School Academic Petition online tool, which authorizes enrollment in graduate-level courses as an undergraduate Early Entry student. This needs to be completed and approved before the first day of classes of the term you are double-counting a course and will have to be completed each semester.
Note: you may need to also ask your undergraduate academic advisor about submitting a Degree Requirement Substitution Waiver form to the Registrar for your graduate-level classes to fulfill undergraduate program requirements.
I am a current Early Entry student and have completed all my requirements for my Bachelor’s degree. Is there anything I need to do to ensure a smooth transition into being a full-time graduate student?
You need to make sure to apply for graduation for your Bachelor’s degree program by the published deadline on the Registrar’s Academic Calendar. You may need to talk to your undergraduate academic advisor about submitting a Degree Requirement Substitution Waiver form to the Registrar for your graduate-level classes to fulfill undergraduate program requirements. Then, you continue into your Master’s program smoothly – you’re already admitted into The Graduate School!