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    Harding University
  Mar 24, 2023
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
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2021-2022 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Information Systems (ISO), MS

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The Master of Science in Information Systems through Harding Online is a fully online, 30-hour program, which emphasizes the integration of business and technology, but does not require a degree in either of those fields. It is primarily intended for business professionals who want to stay current with technology or for those in a technology field who have a non-technical undergraduate degree. Courses are offered in fall, spring, and summer in 6-week block sessions.


Admission to Harding Online’s Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Information Systems program is determined on an individual basis. An effort is made to admit all students who qualify and who can benefit from these unique educational programs and opportunities available at Harding University. 

In general, requirements for admission include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Official copies of transcripts from the college or university that granted the bachelor’s degree.
  • A current resume.
  • Test Scores
    • TOEFL scores for international students (550 PBT, 213 CBT, 80 IBT minimum score).


Applications must be submitted online. The application is not considered complete until all documentation is submitted. Applicants are urged to complete their applications early, as openings may be filled well in advance.

Complete and submit the application using the internal prompts of the BusinessCAS application, detailed as follows:

  • Send official college transcripts from the college or university that granted the bachelor’s degree to BusinessCAS. (See the “Colleges Attended” section of Academic History.) Note: This is not required of Harding University alumni. Alumni will only need to send official transcripts of any college coursework completed after leaving Harding.
  • Upload current resume/CV in the “Documents” section of Supporting Information.
  • Provide all information requested in the “Questions” section.

Additional information is available:

  1. Online:
  2. By phone: 501-279-4438.
  3. By mail: Harding Online, Harding University, Box 12223, Searcy, AR  72149.


In reviewing the information of each prospective student, many different indicators of performance may be evaluated. Neither undergraduate study in business or work experience is required, but having either or both will strengthen most applications. The Admissions Committee may also consider other criteria, including but not limited to: academic performance at the undergraduate and graduate level and work history. Additionally, an attempt is made to see if there is congruence between the program’s goals and the applicant’s interests.

Students may be granted admission based on the following criteria*:

  • Unconditional Admission: Students who have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher and have completed all documentation necessary for entry, may be admitted without condition.
  • Provisional Admission due to Incomplete Documentation: Students who have not completed all documentation necessary for entry may be granted provisional admission with the condition that all necessary documentation be submitted prior to the student’s enrollment for the first semester. Upon receipt of all materials, the student will be granted full matriculation.
  • Provisional Admission due to Academic Reason: Students with an undergraduate GPA of less than 2.7 may be granted provisional admission with the condition that the student maintains a GPA of no less than 3.0 on the first 9 hours of graduate work completed. Upon satisfying this condition, the student will be granted full matriculation.

NOTE: The Admissions Committee will meet after all grades have been posted in a semester to determine the status of any student in provisional standing due to academic reasons. The student will be notified as soon as is practical if any changes in status are deemed necessary by the committee.

*Students may be admitted to the program under both provisional standings due to completion of records and provisional standing due to academic reasoning.


All students are expected to complete an orientation tutorial. This online orientation provides students with essential information about Harding Online and program details.

Course Load: Students are considered to be full-time students if they are taking 9 graduate hours in a given semester. The maximum number of courses that may be taken in any Fall or Spring semester is four (12 semester hours), while the maximum number of courses that may be taken in any Summer semester is two (6 semester hours). Students who need to enroll in more than 12 hours in a semester may appeal to the program director. Under no circumstances can more than two classes be attempted per six-week block.

A student can complete a master’s degree in as little as 12 months, or take up to 7 years from the term of their first course. As a general rule, classes are conducted online. Online classes are conducted in six-week blocks with three blocks per Fall and Spring semesters and two blocks per Summer semester. To ensure successful progression through each course, students are strongly advised to participate at least five out of seven days per week.

Computer Requirements: It is suggested that students have convenient access to a personal computer and the internet. Students will be expected to provide any hardware, software, or other technical resources necessary to communicate in an online environment. 

At a minimum, the student should provide the following hardware and software specifications:

  1. A modern computer with up-to-date antivirus software (access to a Windows machine is required for IS 6350 ).
  2. Broadband internet connection.
  3. Microsoft Office suite of products will be the standard office tools used in the program. Students are required to have versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that are no more than two versions old. This software is available at special student pricing through the Harding University Bookstore (HUB).

Due to the breadth of our coverage, the following guidelines are used: 

  1. Every student is expected to check for announcements and information posted online regularly via Harding email. Even in terms when students are not enrolled in a course and have no need to be online, they should make it a habit to log in at least weekly to check for announcements and other valuable information.
  2. Registration may be accomplished completely online. If students are not logging in regularly, they may miss registration and possibly a course needed to stay on schedule.

In short, we expect students to be online regularly. We post anything of importance online, typically by Harding email. It is the student’s responsibility to keep current.

Program Advisors: Program advisors are available to students. Although program advisors are happy to offer assistance, it is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with all degree requirements and to enroll in appropriate courses.


Transfer students: In general, graduate students complete all degree requirements at Harding University. However, recognizing that students are subject to relocation for personal or professional reasons, the University has provided for a limited amount of transfer credit. 

Specific policies governing transfer credit are as follows:

  1. A maximum of two courses may be transferred from another accredited graduate program with the approval of the program director. A course may be considered for transfer credit only if there is a Harding University equivalent.
  2. To be accepted, course credit must have been completed during the 10 years immediately prior to matriculation. (For students with significant and continuing work experience, the program director may waive this requirement).

International Students: Students who (1) speak English as a second language, and (2) have not previously completed an undergraduate degree from an institution within the United States accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation must meet a minimum score on a nationally recognized test of English language proficiency such as the TOEFL or IELTS. An iBT Score of 80 with a Speaking Sub-scale of 27 are the required minimum scores.

Minimum TOEFL scores acceptable for admission to the University are 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test). The minimum IELTS score is 6.0. Scores must not be older than two years prior to the date of application to the University. Please note that individual programs may have more stringent minimum requirements.

Non-degree seeking students: Harding University welcomes students who do not wish to earn a graduate degree, or who are working to earn such a degree at another university (and desire to take a maximum of three courses at Harding). Students who have been admitted to another accredited graduate school program and wish to take courses for transfer may establish non-degree status by submitting an application for admission and either a letter of good standing or a graduate transcript indicating good standing from the other institution.


Opportunities for Pharmacy Students: Students enrolled in Harding University’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program who desire to concurrently pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Science degree in Information Systems (MSIS) through Harding Online may choose to take courses to fulfill the elective requirements in the Pharm.D. program, provided the prerequisites are met.

Admission to the master’s program requires completion of a minimum of 90 semester hours of pre-professional education at an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Pharmacy students will be allowed by the MBA program to substitute three Pharmacy courses in place of two MBA courses: PHA 6030  for BUS 6520 , and PHA 5060  and PHA 7500  for BUS 6010 . Pharmacy students will be allowed by the MSIS program to substitute three pharmacy courses in place of two MSIS courses: PHA 6030  for IS 6530  and PHA 5060  and PHA 7500  for IS 6450 .

Pharmacy students will take the remainder of the Harding Online graduate courses outside of the Pharm.D. curriculum. A Pharmacy student who pursues one of these options could concurrently earn up to 15 MBA/MSIS graduate credit hours by the time he or she graduates with the Pharm.D. The Pharm.D is conferred by the College of Pharmacy and the MBA/MSIS is conferred by the College of Business.

A dual Pharmacy and MBA/MSIS student who does not already have a bachelor’s degree must complete the Pharm.D. prior to or simultaneous to the MBA/MSIS degree. Failure to complete the Pharm.D. will require the student to complete an undergraduate degree before earning an MBA/MSIS.


Graduate Assistantships may be available on a competitive basis.


Academic Standing Requirements: Harding Online recognizes that academic disciplines in business change rapidly, and graduate students need an up-to-date curriculum relevant for today’s managers. Therefore, graduate students are expected to make steady progress toward the program. To achieve this goal, the following policies have been established:

Any student who is admitted to this program but is unable to matriculate during the semester admitted must request in writing permission to defer admission until a later term. Deferred admission, if approved, will be honored for one calendar year. Students wishing to begin their studies more than one year after admission is granted must reapply for admission and be evaluated under current admission standards.

Any student who must take time off from graduate studies is required to submit a written request for a leave of absence to the program director if the student expects to be absent more than one semester.

A student not satisfactorily completing at least one course in three consecutive terms will be declared “inactive” and must request readmission before being permitted to return to the program.

Grading System: Grades of A (4.0), B (3.0), C (2.0), I (Incomplete) or F (0.0 - Failing) are given for course work. The Registrar’s Office automatically changes an I (Incomplete) grade to an F if it is not removed by the following dates: Fall “Incompletes” must be removed by Friday of the eighth week of the spring semester; spring “Incompletes” must be removed by July 1; summer “Incompletes” must be removed by Friday of the eighth week of the fall semester. A student should not re-register for a course in which an Incomplete was received. The Harding Online staff can advise as to the proper procedures for the removal of an Incomplete. Professors have at least 14 days to read and grade papers or other materials submitted to remove an Incomplete.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on coursework is required for graduation. Please note the following special circumstances:

  • Undergraduate courses required as prerequisites for graduate courses are not calculated in the cumulative graduate GPA.
  • Grades earned in graduate courses taken as electives within the University, but outside the degree program, will be calculated in the overall grade point average, if accepted for credit toward the student’s selected degree program.
  • Any course taken on an audit basis will not count toward degree requirements and cannot be repeated for credit.
  • A grade of F is calculated in the GPA as the number of credit hours attempted, no quality points earned. If a grade of F is received in a required course, that course must be repeated. If the student receives an F on the second attempt, the student is automatically dismissed from the program.

The following model is provided in order to ensure students a successful and timely completion of the program:

Academic Warning

1-12 hours, less than 2.75 GPA
13-24 hours, less than 2.95 GPA
25-graduation, less than 3.00 GPA

Academic Probation

1-12 hours, less than 2.25 GPA
13-24 hours, less than 2.75 GPA
25-graduation, less than 2.95 GPA

Academic Discipline

  1. Academic Warning status is an early warning to students who are in danger of being put on academic probation, and as such, does not carry any restrictions.
  2. Academic Probation status limits students who are in academic trouble to enroll in no more than 9 credit hours per semester. Students under Academic Probation are not eligible to represent the University in extracurricular activities.
  3. Academic Probation policy applies to fall, spring, and summer semesters. Upon the completion of the probationary terms, Academic Probation is lifted at the end of a semester. Failure to remove Academic Probation status the following semester may result in the student being dismissed from the program.
  4. Students that have been dismissed will be on Academic Suspension for one semester. During the suspension period, students will not be allowed to take any graduate classes. After the suspension is lifted, the student may return to classes under Academic Probation status.
  5. If a student receives a “failing” grade in any course during the first semester of enrollment, he or she may be dismissed from the program.
  6. The decision to dismiss a student for failure to meet the required standards of progress does not preclude the student from returning to Harding University in a later semester.
  7. In all cases, a second dismissal will be final.

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