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How will a student find a good CIS Program?

How does a student know if they have chosen a good school for their education?

The only way to do this is to take the time and research what several schools offer for classes, and decide if it is the right school for them.

Other things to consider:

  • 1. Cost of the School
  • 2. School's location
  • 3. Financial Aid available to the student
  • 4. Will the school meet the students educational expectations.

We will take a look at how VCSU's Computer Information Systems Program compares to some of the other colleges in the state.


Jamestown College

UND Grand Forks

Mayville State University

Valley City State University

NDSU Fargo

NDSCS Whapeton

UND Williston

Minot State University

Dickinson State University

BSC Bismarck

MiSU Bottineau University

At Jamestown College, they offer almost the same classes that you will find here at VCSU. Some of the differences are that they offer classes on using the Internet, and classes on UNIX. Major corporation's still use UNIX for their major operating systems. At VCSU, if a student does not take any classes with RPG or COBOL programming, they will get no experience at all with working with UNIX. With a degree in CIS, UNIX may play a major part in the decision on whether or not to hire a new graduate. Jamestown College also offers a degree in Computer Science, and a minor in Computer Science.

Jamestown College also offers a course on technical writing. With these minor differences in course offerings, they could spell the difference in whether or not a student is hired to an entry level job within a business.

At UND Grand Forks, they don't have either an MIS (Management Information Systems) or a CIS (Computer Information Systems) degree. What they do offer is a B.S in Computer Science, a B.A. in Computer Science, and a Minor in Computer Science. The difference in the degree in CIS from VCSU is the courses at UND Grand Forks are there are no Accounting, Management or Operations classes required at UND Grand Forks.  But the other differences are the courses at Grand Forks are more technical in nature. For example, Computer Architecture, Calculus I and II and Statistics are required for the B.S. in Computer Science.

The disadvantage to the B.S. or the B.A. in Computer Science is if you do not have, or take the time to take the classes in the Business area, you get not exposure to what goes on in the Business world.

At Mayville State University, the degree in CIS is very close to what is offered here at VCSU.  The major differences are that MASU concentrates on the computer uses, with little offered in the area of Accounting, Finance, Marketing or Management. This must be chosen as a minor for the CIS degree at MaSU, not as an integral part of the degree as it is at VCSU.

As with VCSU, MASU offers little courses on UNIX or any variants there of. If you do not take a class on "C" or COBAL, you will get no exposure to that operating system.

At Valley City State University, a composite major in CIS (Computer Information Systems) is offered either as a B.S. or as a B.A. or as a minor in Computer Science.  The classes offered at VCSU gives the student a wide exposuret o the world of business along with concentrations in Computer Programming, Data Base and Information Center Functions.

The exposure to what goes on in the business world, especially the Accounting and Management areas are very beneficial to the Graduate.

At NDSU Fargo, they do offer a course in Management Information Systems through the College of Business Administration. The only problem with using the Web to find information on the course requirements is that the information is not available, or I cannot find it at their web site. 

At the North Dakota State College of Science, at Whapeton, ND a Certificate and A.S degree (2 Year) degree is offered. I ran into the same problem here that I ran into at the NDSU Fargo. I found that they offered the degree, but had no information on the course requirements. 

At UND Williston, I was unable to find out if they offer a degree in either CIS, MIS, or Computer Science. The web site they maintain is undergoing major construction at this time. 

At Minot State University,offers a degree in Information Systems Management. The course requirements are very close to what is required at VCSU. The only differences that I saw on their website is the math requirements are higher than here at VCSU, Applied Calculus. The same type of Business and Accounting classes are required for the Information  Systems Management degree. The only other noticeable difference is a course in Local Area Networks.

MISU has the same lack of UNIX based courses that MASU andVCSU has. If no courses on COBOL are taken, then the student gets no exposure to UNIX.

At Dickinson State University, they offer a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems.

As with NDSU Fargo and the North Dakota State College of Science, they offer no information of the course requirement at their website.

At Bismarck State College, they do not offer a course in Management Information Systems, or Computer Information Systems. They do offer a course in Computer Science. Their website show only the class requirements for their CS degree, not what core classes are required, or the whole class listings. When you look at their website, it looks like a very limited listing of the class requirements for the CIS degree. 

At the MiSU Bottineau Campus, No courses in either Management Information Systems, Computer Information Systems, or Computer Science are offered at this campus. 

In comparison to what the other Universities in the state offer, what does Valley City State University do right?
  • 1. The size of the University. Valley City State University has the advantage of a small Student to Instructor ratio. The advantage of this is you have much better access to you instructors.
  • 2. The Course offerings for a Computer Information Systems degree are what I would look for as a student. The degree requirements will give the student exposure to not only computers and programming, but Accounting, Management, Operations and Marketing.
  • 3. The VSCU is the first notebook University in the state of North Dakota. This is a great advantage to students. The World Wide Web is available to all students on campus. E-mail allows student to communicate with one-another and their instructors. I found the e-mail capabilities especially helpful this winter in keeping current with my studies during the many blizzards and winter storms that we had that kept me from being able to attend classes.

What are some of the shortfalls to attending VCSU?
  • 1. The size of the campus. With the campus being as small as it is, only certain classes are offered at certain times of the day, not multiple offerings of the same class during the day.
  • 2. The notebook can be a disadvantage. Some students may be afraid of attending VCSU because they will be forced to use a notebook computer in some of their classes.
  • 3. Some of the classes offered in the CIS degree program are missing.  With no experience in UNIX, that may be detrimental in employment opportunities.

Even with the shortcomings, I would say that the Computer Information Systems degree program offered at Valley City State University is competitive with other Universities and Colleges in the state of North Dakota. I feel that the advantages offered with the combinations of Business, Accounting, Marketing and Management classes along with the Computer Science courses outweigh the few courses that are missing from the other universities in the state. 
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