BA Management Science and Information Systems Studies (MSISS)

MSISS, short for Management Science and Information Systems Studies, is a four year honours degree programme leading to the degree of B.A. Mod. (honours).The MSISS programme has been running since 1980 and combines business techniques, information technology, quantitative methods and interpersonal skills.

If you like technology, have a passion for business and a solid mathematical ability, then MSISS might be for you. MSISS will appeal to students who like problem solving and applying quantitative methods and information technology to business and other organisational problems. It is particularly suited to those who would like to pursue careers in management consultancy, financial services and business use of information technology. If you are interested in a career in business, and are numerate and interested in computers, MSISS is a good way of keeping your options open.

The MSISS programme is run by the School of Computer Science and Statistics. It can only be taken as a full time day degree.

MSISS points have moved around over the years. The points required in 2022/23 were 625.

The normal intake is 35 students. It may vary a little depending on whether there are any mature and visiting students admitted to the programme in the year in question. Teaching in the third and fourth years in MSISS is intensive and students get a lot of individual attention, by modern third level standards. For this reason numbers are kept small. 

MSISS students typically get much more individual attention over their four years than other students in much bigger class groups.

The weekly load varies by term, but is approximately:

Year Hours per week
Junior Freshman 14 hours lectures + 3-6 hours of tutorials and laboratories.
Senior Freshman 14 hours lectures + 3-6 hours of tutorials and laboratories.
Junior Sophister 16 hours lectures + some tutorials and laboratories.
Senior Sophister 12 hours lectures + some tutorials and laboratories.

The Senior Sophister lecture load is lower because this year includes a major project for a real client as part of the final examination. They also have fewer lectures during their final term to allow them complete this project.

There is no need to be brilliant, but you do need to be comfortable with mathematics. The standard of mathematics required is the same as that for Engineering, but not as demanding as that required for Mathematics or Theoretical Physics. The minimum requirement is an Honours C3. If you really struggled to make that, it might be best to avoid MSISS. If you have an A, a B or a solid C in Honours Mathematics you will have no problems.

Currently a language option is not offered in MSISS.  However Trinity has a language laboratory which can be used by all students on application.

The MSISS course is fairly busy. There is a choice of elective subjects in the final two years (see table below for elective options offered in 2015/16). In the final two years of the course students choose a subject from a list of available courses. These are known as electives. One is taken in each of the Junior and Senior Sophister years. Some final year electives have prerequisites. Some can be taken in either third or fourth year. The courses available may vary from year to year. Where there are prerequisites for fourth year subjects, these are shown in parentheses after the subject.

Junior Sophister Senior Sophister
Financial and Management Accounting Financial Reporting and Analysis (Financial and Management Accounting)
Applied Finance Applied Finance
Human Resource Management Human Resource Management
Investment Analysis Investment Analysis
Intermediate Economics Economic Analysis (Intermediate Economics)
Probability and Theoretical Statistics Stochastic Models in Space and Time
Operations and Project Management Operations and Project Management
Functional Programming Modern Statistical Methods
  Human Factors
  Technology Entrepreneurship

Yes, MSISS students that take Financial Reporting and Analysis as an elective in their Senior Sophister year get some exemptions for accountancy exams with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

No, you will learn how to do this as you go through MSISS. Speaking in public is a skill that is built up during the course. It is a matter of both confidence and technique. By the time you graduate, you will be able to give good articulate presentations.

It helps if you can write good, clear English, but report writing skills are taught formally and used throughout the programme.

MSISS is hard work but is no harder than many other degrees, particularly other courses in the Engineering Faculty.

Management science and operations research techniques are used in most businesses as a matter of routine. Everyday examples are scheduling aircraft at Dublin airport, managing the electricity supply in Ireland, managing the construction of large buildings and forecasting hotel bookings. A good example of a day-to-day problem which can be surprisingly hard to solve is timetabling. It is not too difficult provided all classes and classrooms are around the same size (as in many secondary schools), however in a University it is a much more complicated proposition. Class sizes can vary from half a dozen to several hundred students, there are rooms and laboratories of all shapes and sizes and hundreds of classes have to be scheduled each day. Developing techniques and computer systems which could solve this problem took many years of research.

A good question!. Management Science is not really a 'science' in the sense of chemistry or biology. The term evolved in the 1950s as a more digestible term for managers than Operations Research, a name by which it is also known, but which has its origins in the military (it was coined during the Second World War). Management Science is so called because it is a series of mathematical, statistical and computer techniques which can be used to solve a wide variety of common management problems in a 'scientific' way.

Business Studies students study a much broader business agenda than MSISS students. MSISS focuses on certain aspects of business, but has a much more mathematical and technical orientation. MSISS students are expected to be at home with reasonably sophisticated mathematics and familiar with modern information technology including, for example, computer programming, not to mention a range of probability and statistical techniques. These topics would be covered at a much lighter level or not at all in Business Studies.

At a purely practical level, if you are not comfortable with mathematics, you are better off avoiding MSISS. Business Studies offers a broader, less mathematical (though not any easier!) programme of study. Both degrees provide a good preparation for a career in business and management, but MSISS is not to be confused with a business degree, it is a degree in the technology and techniques that support business and management.

Computer Science is much more akin to a science subject than MSISS. Computer Science aims to develop a student's in-depth understanding of computers and development of computer systems. It is much more hardware and systems oriented than MSISS. While there is some overlap with MSISS, Computer Science students do not take the business, management science and personal skills courses the MSISS students do and MSISS students would not be concerned with topics such as systems programming, artificial intelligence, digital logic, computer architectures or concurrent systems which are amongst the subjects covered in Computer Science.

You will probably get more from Computer Science if you are mainly interested in computers and computing as such. In MSISS, computers are a means to an end. In Computer Science, computers are the end in themselves. If computers are a passion rather than a tool, you should make Computer Science your first option.

Computer Science and Business is a joint degree programme combining computer science and business management.   Both MSISS and Computer Science and Business students take a number of common modules, particularly in the Freshman years, however the emphasis of the computer science and business degree is on providing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the technical field of computer science and at the same time providing an understanding of the fundamentals of markets, organisations and business management. Computer Science and Business students would take more advanced computing and business topics than are offered to MSISS.

Like with Computer Science you will get more from Computer Science and Business if you are mainly interested in computers and computing.

In recent years good MSISS graduates have had several job offers well before they even sat their finals (sometimes even before they had started their final year) and all students who wanted to work (as opposed to seeing the world) have found jobs with good employers within a few months of completing their final examination. Even in the miserable climate for jobs in the last few years, all MSISS students who were looking for jobs found good jobs without too much difficulty.

There are plenty of choices for postgraduate study, both in taught courses and by research alone. For students who want to study management science at postgraduate level there are courses we recommend in Lancaster University and in UCD as well as many other locations. Other students have gone on to do research studies in financial mathematics, economics, information systems, data mining, operations research and statistics. Some have gone on to do MBAs in later life. We are naturally keen to retain good students in Trinity to go on and do masters and doctorates, but this has been difficult for us for many years because of the high salaries available in the job market.

Trinity itself offers hundreds of things to do in your spare moments, from rowing to archaeology field trips. Because numbers are small and because much of the teaching uses teams and small groups, MSISS students tend to be quite gregarious and hang around together. There is a Management Science College society.