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Information Technology and Systems Subject Guide

Are you considering a career in information technology and systems (I.T.)? In this article, you can get all the information you need around your options as a prospective I.T. postgraduate—whether it’s the skills you’ll pick up, or the I.T. jobs you could move into after you graduate. 

I.T. is a fast-growing sector that runs through almost every major industry in the world. It’s a popular and competitive discipline, with students looking to build specialised skills and strong industry knowledge in order to secure the best I.T. jobs. From startup businesses to multinational corporations, charities or the public sector, there’s no shortage of opportunity for skilled I.T. graduates. 

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about studying information technology and systems, why you should do a degree in the subject, the entry requirements, and where you could study. 


Why do an I.T. degree? 

Information technology and systems, often abbreviated as I.T., is a field of study that encompasses the use and maintenance of computer and information systems of all kinds. It’s a multifaceted discipline, covering areas such as data science, cyber security, information management, mathematics and even elements of business management. 

I.T. is a foundational part of every organisation in the world. Businesses of all sizes, governments, charities, educational institutions and public services all depend on the efficient and safe operation of computer and information systems. 

I.T. is a popular choice for postgraduate students due to the high demand for well-trained professionals in the sector, as well as the broad application of the skills you’ll learn in various industries. 

What qualifications can you get? 

There are several types of qualification available to you as a prospective postgraduate student looking for an I.T. course. 

The MSc is one of the most popular types of postgraduate I.T. degree. This taught course typically lasts one year and provides a mixture of conventional teaching, practical experience based learning, and independent project work. You’ll gain an advanced understanding of key areas in the I.T. industry, from software systems and programming languages to ethics and industry practices. Many master’s courses offer shorter PGDip or PGCert options, too. 

It's also possible to study an MBA in Information Technology, or an LLM—this legal qualification will focus on the meeting point between I.T. and law, particularly in areas like intellectual property and commercial law. 

Research degrees such as the MPhil and PhD are available to postgraduate students who are looking to conduct research in their area of I.T., exploring the major challenges facing the global I.T. community today. You’ll work much more independently on a significant piece of self-directed research. 

Go to: Search for I.T. degrees

What jobs can you do with an I.T. degree? 

Postgraduate I.T. courses are an excellent way to prepare for a wide range of I.T. jobs. Your career in information technology and systems could see you working as a: 

  • Cyber security analyst 
  • Data architect 
  • Data engineer 
  • Data scientist 
  • Database administrator 
  • I.T. operations manager 
  • I.T. project manager 
  • Product engineer 
  • Programmer 
  • Software engineer 
  • Systems developer 

What are the I.T. degree entry requirements? 

In general, you can assume you’ll need at least a 2:2 at undergraduate level—normally in a relevant subject, such as mathematics or computer science. Some courses may ask for a 2:1 or above. 

International or equivalent professional qualifications are often accepted for consideration during the admissions process for I.T. postgraduate courses. 

In some cases, applicants with significant and relevant work experience will be accepted with lower academic qualifications. 

What I.T. courses are there? 

There are plenty of different information technology and systems degrees to choose from at postgraduate level. You might consider studying courses like: 

  • MSc Information Technology 
  • MSc / PGDip / PGCert Management Innovation and Information Technology 
  • MSc Electronics and Information Technology 
  • MSc Information Technology Management 
  • PhD Information and Communication Systems 

What topics does an I.T. degree cover? 

Each postgraduate degree in I.T. technology and systems is unique, but you may expect to study some similar modules across them. Typical topics include: 

  • Programming 
  • Systems and networks 
  • Database development 
  • I.T. project management 
  • Information security 

What do you learn in an I.T. degree? 

Information technology and systems degrees are, at their foundation, designed to build qualified professionals who are well-prepared for a successful career in I.T.  

Studying a postgraduate degree in this industry-led discipline will equip you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need in your career. You’ll learn to collect and process information, design and construct appropriate I.T. solutions for your organisation’s needs, and develop a thorough understanding of how I.T. functions in professional settings. 

As a graduate of the course, you’ll have a wide range of technical skills across major I.T. platforms and an advanced understanding of I.T. for business and organisations, as well as parallel training in areas like project and business management. 

Ethics, privacy, cyber security and data security are also key areas that I.T. postgraduates develop expertise in. 

How will you be taught and assessed? 

Postgraduate I.T. courses will be taught in different ways depending on the type of degree you are pursuing. Classroom and lecture learning is common for taught master’s students, in addition to lab-based activities and personal study. Research students may have tutor sessions or seminars but will learn independently for the most part. 

During your degree in I.T., you’ll typically be assessed in several different ways. The exact weighting of each assessment type will depend on the course you have enrolled on. Assessment will usually involve the completion of coursework, which could take the form of written essays or projects, in-class assessments under supervision, or formal exams. 

How long is an I.T. degree? 

Studying a full master’s course, likely an MSc, will usually take you one year if studied full-time. Studying the same course part-time can take two years. 

Shorter qualifications like the PGCert or PGDip could see you finishing your course in one to two semesters. 

Doctoral level postgraduate qualifications in I.T. are the longest options, with an MPhil taking roughly two years and a PhD taking up to four years. Studying an MPhil part-time can take up to five years, while a part-time PhD can take up to eight years. 

Where can you study I.T.? 

I.T. is a widely taught subject at postgraduate level, with dozens of universities around the UK offering excellent courses in it. You can use our university finder tool to explore the different programmes available to you.  

Some of the leading universities for I.T. include: 

What similar subjects are there to I.T.? 

There are several related subjects that you might also consider for postgraduate level study, depending on your current background and study goals. Relevant areas include: 

  • Computer science 
  • Robotics engineering 
  • Artificial intelligence 
  • Software engineering 
  • Mathematics 

Next: Search for I.T. courses


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