Information is the fundamental basis of a functioning society with billions of people taking in, creating and distributing information both online and offline every day. 

On average, over 25,000 web sites are created every day across multiple platforms, technology streams by both the private and public sectors. This makes the need for expertise in information capability and management one of the most important faucets for expertise and strategy moving into a more digital future.

We aim to create skilled professionals who can source, analyse and strategise improvements, assess digital infrastructure and keep up with an ever-increasing and developing world of information and technology.   



  • Start dateSeptember
  • DurationMSc: 11 months full-time, up to three years part-time; PgDip: up to 11 months full-time, up to two years part-time; PgCert: up to 11 months full-time, up to two years part-time
  • DeliverySpread throughout the programme and includes coursework and group presentations during the taught phase and for the MSc a research-based dissertation
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield University at Shrivenham

Who is it for?

Students from government departments, industry and other organisations within the UK and internationally come together to study and discuss issues and develop skills that will enable solutions now and in the future.

The key goals of the course are to provide students with the knowledge to:

  • Develop in individuals an awareness of the management, user and supplier communities;
  • Recognise the stakeholder roles, needs and expectations within these communities;
  • Enable effective communication and a shared understanding between these stakeholders in order to meet capability objectives;
  • Master the principles and practice that underlie the delivery of effective, efficient and secure systems in various business spaces that exploit information in order to provide strategic benefit.

Why this course?

There is a need to understand the strategic importance of information and develop agile, effective and secure ways to exploit it to its full potential. To do this, effective information capability management must be developed throughout the organisation so that the right information is available to the right people at the right time in an effective, efficient and secure manner.

The internationally-recognised Information Capability Management (ICM) MSc has been developed to address these important issues. Skilled professionals are needed to enable organisations to realise the strategic benefits that successfully exploiting information can provide. Success in business of all types and in all sectors, both public and private, is dependent on:

  • Understanding the value of information as a strategic asset;
  • Developing agile, effective and efficient systems that make this information available;
  • Countering cyber threats with appropriate cyber security. 

Course details

MSc students must complete a taught phase consisting of 12 modules followed by an individual dissertation in a relevant topic.

PgDip students are required to undertake the same taught phase as the MSc, without the individual dissertation.

PgCert students must complete the core module (Foundations of Information Systems) together with five other modules.

Course delivery

Spread throughout the programme and includes coursework and group presentations during the taught phase and for the MSc a research-based dissertation

Individual project

The individual project is the opportunity for a student to utilise and demonstrate their understanding of the taught phase of the course by applying their learning to a real world problem. It is also an opportunity to develop skills and achieve a greater level of understanding in a specific area or areas of relevance to the course. Students are allocated a supervisor and have access to subject matter experts to support them in the project phase.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Foundations of Information Systems

Module Leader
  • Antoinette Caird-Daley
    • To enable you to evaluate the context of the course and the wider programme,
    • To provide you with an opportunity to review and update core vocabulary and information systems (IS) concepts required as a foundation for other elements of the course,
    • To enable you to examine IS in defence and non-defence contexts,
    • To equip you to develop academic study skills.
    • Course structure and the information profession,
    • Information systems and core terminology overview,
    • Enabling technologies overview,
    • Information systems modelling,
    • The role of IS and the IS professional across the development life cycle,
    • Learning and study skills.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise the key academic concepts and language of current IS foundation knowledge, research and practice, and apply them in a given context(s),
  • Assess the quality of academic research and other literature sources, in order to select material relevant to a given study requirement,
  • Critically analyse and evaluate published academic research, and other quality sources, synthesising them into evidence based arguments,
  • Plan and write scholarly outputs (e.g. essays and professional reports) accurately referencing sources in accordance with APA7.

Professional Issues

Module Leader
  • Dr Truth Lumor

    To promote awareness of legal, social, ethical, regulatory, and professional issues which affect information systems professionals; to introduce the professional bodies of relevance to such professionals, and to encourage debate on some of the major issues of concern to the information systems world.

    • Legislation and regulations of relevance to the information systems professional (e.g., Data Protection, Copyright, Computer Misuse, ethics, biases, and the impact of emerging technologies e.g., AI and ML etc.),
    • Professional responsibilities, professional societies, and codes of practice (e.g., those of BCS and CILIP),
    • Contemporary issues relating to information capability management.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise contemporary professional issues in relation to personal and professional experiences,
  • Appraise how legislation and regulation affect the context within which information systems professionals work,
  • Critically analyse legal and regulatory issues, including data laws, ethics, and bias etc, in relation to professional practices in their work context,
  • Compare and evaluate the relevant professional societies and their codes of practice and apply them to different contexts,
  • Evaluate and contribute to relevant debates to advance and create awareness of the legal, social, ethical, regulatory, and professional issues that are important to today’s information systems users and professionals.

Programme and Project Management for Information Systems

Module Leader
  • Simon Renfrey
    To develop knowledge and skills in the key academic concepts of the management of resources in order to plan, estimate and carry out programmes of information systems development work to time, budget and quality targets and in accordance with appropriate standards.
    • Portfolio management,
    • Programme management,
    • Project management,
    • Project teams, leadership and management.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Critically appraise the management of portfolios, programmes and projects involving the development and implementation of information systems in order to co-ordinate a portfolio of projects that achieve benefits of strategic importance,
  • Critically analyse information systems portfolio, programme and project management from a team leadership perspective in order to be able to identify success factors,
  • Evaluate approaches to IS portfolio, programme and project management to determine sound practice,
  • Critique real life experience of IS portfolio, programme and project management in order to determine the factors that generate successful outcomes.

Systems Thinking for Organisational Viability

    To provide the necessary skills and knowledge that enable professionals working in implementing information systems or critical cyber contexts to consider the wider context and adapt to continual change. It focuses on investigative methods, systems thinking and anticipating futures with a view to problem solving in a real-world context.
    • Adapting to change in complex environments,
    • Representing and navigating complexity,
    • Systems methods including Soft Systems Methodology, the Viable Systems Model and Critical Systems Heuristics,
    • Organisational dynamics and change,
    • Monitoring and adapting,
    • Anticipating future requirements,
    • Dealing with disruptive and novel technologies, events and emergent changes.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate a range of approaches to understanding complex information system and cyber environments,
  • Critically assess approaches to innovation in contested and competitive problem spaces,
  • Appraise the techniques that can be used to design investigation, problem formulation and structuring, and interpretation of data,
  • Design and apply methods to investigate problems in organisational contexts leading to their review and resolution,
  • Analyse and scope a complex problem-space with a view to action and improvement.

Software Engineering

    To provide students with an appreciation of problems associated with the development of software-intensive systems and to establish the role of systematic techniques, methods and defined processes which address these problems.

    • Introduction to Software Engineering. This section will provide context and background on the fundamental aspects of software engineering including: an introduction to the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle), the characteristics of good software, and professional and ethical responsibilities,
    • Software Process Models: This section will provide an introduction to the importance of software process models and methodologies, including: Waterfall, Spiral, Iterative and Agile development,
    • Understanding the Problem: This will cover the process of requirements gathering and engineering,
    • Designing a Solution: This section will focus on the key characteristics of well-designed software, an introduction to object oriented design, software modelling using UML (Unified Modelling Language), and user interface design,
    • Delivering a Product: This section will provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of programming, how to select an appropriate programming language and the methods of software cost estimation,
    • Building Confidence: This will provide an understanding of the importance of testing within software engineering, as well as the role of maintenance within software development.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the role of software engineering in developing and maintaining complex software systems,
  • Justify the selection of a software process model for managing the development and delivery of a software system,
  • Evaluate the different approaches for software testing that can be used to ensure software quality,
  • Design appropriate user interfaces that enable efficient Human Computer Interaction (HCI) with software applications,
  • Construct documentation for software analysis and design using appropriate modelling techniques.

Methods and Tools for Information Systems Development

Module Leader
  • Ian Owens
    To equip you with the knowledge and skills to understand and apply appropriate models, methods, tools, techniques and approaches to develop information systems at the strategic level.
    • Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) Models,
    • Systems thinking,
    • IS development methodologies:
      • Hard,
      • Soft,
      • Agile.
    • Information Systems Failure,
    • Alternative approaches to IS development:
      • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems,
      • Commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) -based development.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Justify the selection of information methods and tools relevant to the planning and organisation of information systems development projects at the organisational level,
  • Document the wider organisational and environmental issues that contribute to successful information systems development,
  • Appraise SDLC process models,
  • Critically compare IS development methodologies,
  • Evaluate the importance of the philosophies underlying different IS development methodologies.

Systems Architecture

Module Leader
  • Dr Duncan Hodges

    To enable you  to contribute to the specification of systems architectures, with a focus on information system (IS). Identifying the components needed to meet the present and future enterprise strategy. Define and assess the interrelationships between architecture components.

    • What is Systems Architecture, how do IS architectures relate to system architecture?,
    • How do we align the need for IS architectures with Enterprise needs. Enterprise Architecture Frameworks (including MoD use of TOGAF and NAF),
    • How to use viewpoints and views to represent system architectures,
    • The strategies, styles and patterns used to develop and assess system architectures,
    • Applying an architecture design and assessment approach, using architecture quality attributes to define, evaluate and select architecture options.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Examine the relationship between IS architectures and enterprise strategy,
  • Differentiate between different architectural strategies and tactics based on their cost, effectiveness and user needs,
  • Critically evaluate IS architecture options against user and business needs,
  • Distinguish the steps required to develop an IS architecture,
  • Appraise the variety of approaches to architecture development driven by the different architectural frameworks, such as TOGAF, NAF and MODAF.

Emerging Technology Monitoring

Module Leader
  • Ian Owens

    To enable you to identify and assess new and emerging technology to provide an on-going assessment of their relevance and potential to defence and security.

    • Generic methods and tools:
      • Horizon scanning,
      • Predictive methods,
      • Strategic assessment of new technologies,
      • Evaluation,
      • Maintaining personal awareness.
    • Emerging technologies: a selection of currently relevant technologies will be studied.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise emerging technologies,
  • Evaluate emerging technology that are likely to impact on national security and defence in the next five years,
  • Contrast the methods available for identifying and managing the risks and benefits of the use of emerging technology,
  • Exploit emerging technologies in relevant working practices,
  • Compare and contrast emerging technologies appropriate to a particular scenario in order to assess potential business benefit.

Data Modelling, Storage and Management


    The aim of this module is to lead you through the different approaches to data modelling, in addition to understanding competing technologies for storage and management.

    • Data, Information and Knowledge,
    • Introduction to data storage technologies,
    • Data retrieval techniques,
    • Structure Query Language (SQL),
    • Physical storage,
    • Non-traditional models for data storage;
      • NoSQL,
      • Big Data,
      • Cloud.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between data, information and knowledge in business contexts,
  • Design suitable data models for efficient storage and retrieval,
  • Compose appropriate queries to translate data into information,
  • Appraise the applicability of non-traditional models for storage within an organisation.

Data-led Decision Support

    The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the processes by which organisations and individuals can gain insight and actionable intelligence from data.
    • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,
    • Data mining pipeline,
    • Big Data models for exploring data,
    • Data Science.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Assess and explain value of Artificial Intelligence solutions to an organisation,
  • Appraise current practices for decision support in organisations,
  • Contrast methods of analysing data to enable business intelligence,
  • Assess the appropriateness of big data for organisational decision-making.

Cyber Security and Information Assurance

    To enable you to understand the field of Cyber Security & Information Assurance (IA), to be able to make use of the concepts that underpin the subject and to appreciate the dependencies between them.
    • Foundations of Cyber Security & IA,
    • Risk theory and practice,
    • Strategy & digital literacy,
    • Threats & vulnerabilities,
    • Governance, law & management,
    • Socio-Technical perspectives.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Assess technologies and processes for Cyber Security & IA,
  • Evaluate Cyber Security & IA risk from a nation-state, societal and organisational perspective,
  • Assess the dependencies between people, process and technology when developing risk mitigation strategies for Cyber Security & IA.

Digital Business Strategy


    To equip you with the knowledge and skills to develop and review an Information System/Information Technology/Digital Business Strategy to support an organisation’s business goals, including digital transformation, and the development of plans to drive forward and manage that strategy within an organisational framework.

    • Digital business strategy,
    • Digital technologies and digital transformation,
    • Strategy development and analysis,
    • Strategy analysis tools,
    • Alignment and co-evolution of organisational and digital business strategies,
    • Digital platforms.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Formulate and review digital business strategy and plans appropriate to a particular organisation and its environment,
  • Appraise issues relating to the implementation and maintenance of digital business strategy,
  • Justify in terms of organisational benefit, strategies for the management of information, digital technologies and platforms and digital transformation,
  • Analyse and refine organisational strategy and policy for a selected organisation in order to identify the core competencies to be supported by digital business strategy, and initiatives,
  • Propose a structure for, and manage the co-evolution of, organisational business and digital business strategy for a selected organisation such that the digital business strategy continuously supports the business objectives.

Teaching team

You will be taught by Cranfield's leading experts with capability expertise, industry knowledge and collective subject research, as well as external speakers from industry and defence. The Course Director is Antoinette Caird-Daley. The teaching team includes:


The MSc of this course is accredited by two professional bodies, the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Completion of the course can lead to chartered professional status.

BCS accreditation logo


Your career

The course takes you on to further senior career opportunities and to become one of the next generation of senior professionals delivering business benefit through exploitation of information with skills in appropriate areas including business analysis, strategy development and implementation, information assurance, cyber security, organisational development and strategic application of information systems.

Cranfield Careers and Employability Service

Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. Support continues after graduation and as a Cranfield alumnus, you have free life-long access to a range of career resources to help you continue your education and enhance your career.

How to apply

Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button to start your online application.

See our Application guide for information on our application process and entry requirements.