|Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. Multiple professional pathways or specializations available. No GRE required to apply. Complete in as little as 18 months.
|University of Denver
|Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
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|Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited, 24 months to complete. 4 specializations and 2 certificate options.
Informatics is the study of computational systems, especially in the areas of storage, retrieval, and use. Informaticians, working in various professional fields, are responsible for collecting, analyzing, and applying data and information. An important outcome for informaticians is the application of this data and information science into useful knowledge that can be utilized by humans. Top areas for informatics include:
- Health informatics
- Sports informatics
- Library science with informatics concentration
- Data informatics
Are there online programs in Informatics?
Yes. With an increasing interest in and reliance on computational systems, more universities and colleges are offering degrees in informatics. Many options are available for online programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. The online MLIS sometimes has a concentration in informatics. These programs may focus on informatics more generally, or offer specialized education - such as health, crisis, and sports informatics. While these degrees can be earned fully online, many programs offer students opportunities for hands-on experience through internships, practicums, field experience, or consulting projects.
What you can study with an informatics degree
Those studying informatics will focus on all aspects related to information, including applicable systems and applications, methods for retrieval and management, and interpretation of data and datasets. A key aspect of informatics is understanding the connection between people and technology, and leveraging this understanding to create more effective user experiences and outcomes. By nature, informatics is interdisciplinary, pulling from various field including information technology (IT), cognitive behavior, social sciences, and computer science.
How do informatics degrees relate to library science?
With its focus on information access, assessment, and application, informatics overlaps with library and information sciences. Two closely related areas of study include Health Library Science Health Library Science Degreesand Library Information Systems Design Library Information Systems Design.
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|Online MS in Library and Information Science
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|Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
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ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
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Top online informatics degrees
The demand for information professionals with experience analyzing and managing data continues to grow. Thanks to this, an increasing number of ALA-accredited library and information science (LIS) and information studies (IS) programs offer informatics specializations, concentrations, and pathways. Many of these programs combine the benefits of foundational information education with emerging technologies. More information on relevant programs can be found by viewing the review of the top ALA accredited master degree programs.
Emporia State University – Master of Library Science Informatics Concentration
Emporia State’s School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) offers an interdisciplinary approach to the emerging area of information technology applications. The informatics concentration explores information and systems theory, information retrieval and management techniques, and skills related to problem solving, communication, and project management. Students complete core theory, tools, applications, and elective courses. Introduction to Informatics is a required course, while students choose two of the following to satisfy the concentration: Information Retrieval, Database Design, and System Analysis and Design.
This ALA-accredited online MLS program consists of 36 credit hours. Admission requirements include completion of an online application and submission of transcripts, two letters of reference, current resume, and a statement of objectives. Applicants must also complete an advising interview. Program tuition is based on residency status.
Kent State – Master of Science in Health Informatics
This program is specifically targeted to those interested in a career in the integrative field of health informatics. The curriculum prepares professionals to capture, transmit, and utilize health information through the application of information systems, principles, and technology. Graduates are prepared to apply their knowledge and skills to the continuum of healthcare delivery and positively impact the lives of patients, healthcare providers, and administrators. There are options for a 36 credit hour Master of Science, an 18 credit hour graduate certificate (designed for those who have already received a relevant graduate degree), and an RN-to-BSN program (for high-performing undergraduate nursing students).
For those interested in a career in informatics outside of allied health, the ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) also offers relevant options in the cultural heritage informatics pathways Cultural Heritage Informatics. Tuition and fees will vary based on the option chosen. The 36 credit MS in Health Informatics can be completed in as little as 24 months. The cost per credit for in-state students is $725 and for out-of-state students is $735. Tuition and fees for the 37 credit hour MLIS is approximately $26,800. All programs are available fully online.
University of North Texas – Master of Science in Information Science with Concentration in Health Informatics/Health Librarianship
The UNT Department of Information Science offers the highly ranked heath informatics concentration as part of the ALA-accredited MSIS program. To prepare future health information professionals, the program focuses on e-science, clinical decision support, e-health systems, and legal, ethical, and philosophical concerns in health informatics. A total of 12 courses make up the 36 credit hour program. Required courses include Information and Knowledge Professions, Information Organization, and Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry. Students are also required to complete a practicum or internship (unless a waiver is received for previous professional and industry experience) and a capstone experience.
Tuition and fees are based on residency status, with out-of-state online students paying additional distance education fees. Scholarships and awards are available for qualified students, including the merit-based IS Excellence and Endowed scholarships. Outstanding graduate students may also be eligible for fellowships or teaching, research, or library assistantships.
IUPUI – Master of Library and Information Science / Master of Science Health Informatics Dual Degree
For students interested in earning both an ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) and a Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI), a dual degree program may be a good option. Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis offers this rigorous program to prepare future information professionals for work in health information management. Graduation requires completion of a minimum of 60 credit hours and the two degrees must be awarded simultaneously.
The 3-credit course Methods and Tools for the Information Profession is required for all MLIS students the first semester. Students must apply for admission to both the library and information science and biohealth informatics departments within the first academic year. Coursework includes 18 required LIS courses, a minimum of 12 directed LIS electives, a maximum of 9 LIS program electives, and a minimum of 30 credit hours in health informatics. Tuition and fees depend on the student’s residency status. A technology fee is included in general fees, and online students are assessed a distance education course fee.
San Jose State University – Master of Science in Informatics
This fully online accelerated program in the School of Information emphasizes preparation for careers focused on managing and analyzing data that is both secure and actionable for users. Students in the program come from both technical and non-technical backgrounds and are passionate about the connections between people and tech. Human/computer interaction and user experience are the foundations for the customized curriculum.
The executive-style program consists of 30 units, no required internship, and an optional Organizational Consulting Project (completed with a partner company). Courses can be completed in 8-week cycles, with the possibility of earning the degree in 12 to 18 months. Most coursework is delivered asynchronously. At the time of this writing, fees are $525 per unit. The total cost of the degree is $15,750.
It is important to note that the MSI is not ALA-accredited, though the SJSU School of Information also offers a fully accredited Master of Library and Information Science.
Are there Bachelor’s programs in Informatics?
Yes. A number of universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in informatics. These interdisciplinary programs build the foundation in e-records, data management, information technology, and human/computer interactions. Several programs are offered fully online, while others are available on-campus only.
Northern Kentucky University offers an undergraduate degree in Library Informatics. Students learn the necessary skills to locate, organize, evaluate, and manage various forms of information. The 120 credit hour program is available online and boasts that approximately one quarter of graduates continue on to a library and information sciences graduate program. Coursework includes three broad areas of focus: organizing information, accessing information, and assessing information.
Colorado Technical University’s BS in Healthcare Management – Health Informatics prepares students to work with electronic health records, online billing, and wearable tech in healthcare settings. The program’s curriculum emphasizes both business and information management aspects. Students also have the option to complete fast track exams to earn college credit for previous educational and professional experience. The 180 credit hour program is available fully online.
The University of Central Florida offers an online undergraduate degree in Health Informatics and Information Management. The program consists of 120 credit hours, with in-state students paying $179.19 per credit hour and out-of-state students paying $715.80 per credit. The program prepares graduates to leverage IT to improve the lives of patients. The curriculum combines medical coding, systems analysis, business management, and other relevant disciplines.
Indiana University’s fully online Bachelor of Science in Informatics highlights the importance of information technology’s role in addressing contemporary issues in education, poverty, security, privacy, the environment, and healthcare. The program employs a consortial model, meaning courses are taught by expert faculty from several IU campuses. A total of 39 informatics core courses make up the 120 semester credit hour degree and three tracks are available for a more custom experience, business, health information management, and legal informatics.
Are there Doctoral programs in Informatics?
Yes. A growing number of universities offer Ph.D. programs in Informatics. These programs prepare future leaders for a variety of careers in informatics. Most programs are offered on-campus, though there may be opportunities to complete coursework or the dissertation requirements online. In general, these programs are competitive and highly selective.
Rutgers offers a 54-credit Doctor of Health Informatics program, with both in-person and 100% online options. This program is designed for those interested in gaining the knowledge, skills, and competencies required for health and pharmaceutical applications. Students choose from one of three tracks, Health Data Analytics, Health Information Management, or Pharmacoinformatics, and can complete the program in two to four years (depending on the number of courses taken per semester). Admission requires an online application form, a Master’s degree or higher (with a minimum 3.0 GPA), three letters of recommendation, a 250-word statement, official transcripts, and a resume.
Indiana University offers several specializations in doctoral-level informatics, including Animal Informatics, Bioinformatics, and Security Informatics. The research-focused Ph.D. in Health Informatics specialization prepares graduates to use cutting-edge technologies to meet the healthcare needs of individuals. Options are available for a design- or data-focused degree, with students choosing the options that will most meet their interests and professional goals. The program consists of 90 credit hours and students complete the degree as part of a cohort. Regardless of the specialization selected, students are required to complete a minor related to their research. Applicants must have a minimum of a four-year Bachelor’s degree and complete an online application, submit a statement of purpose, resume, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts for admission.
For professionals with at least three years of management- or supervisory-level informatics experience, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center offers an advanced applied degree in health informatics. The program emphasizes applied education and training. The Doctorate in Health Informatics is a 63 semester credit hour program, with only one cohort of students admitted annually. Students complete a large-scale translational project as the culminating project. Those without a master’s degree in health informatics, or a related field, must complete 33 semester credit hours of coursework prior to beginning the DHI curriculum. Admission requires completion of an online application, and submission of a resume, goal statement, proposed area of interest and letter of support for the translational practice project, three letters of reference, and transcripts.
Kent State’s Ph.D. in Communication and Information offers a Cultural Heritage Informatics (CHI) specialization, though students are encouraged to explore all six areas of specialty available. In the CHI specialization, students explore data, datasets, and metadata as they relate to diverse forms of cultural heritage. While the first two years of the program must be completed on-campus, it may be possible to complete the dissertation remotely. To apply for admission, an online application, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, scholarly writing sample, and official transcripts are required.
Typical Online Informatics Curriculum
While informatics curricula generally highlight information technology, data-driven solutions, and human/computer interactions, coursework is diverse and covers a broad range of topics related to data and information. Coursework requirements will largely depend on the specialization, concentration, or pathway chosen. It is important to consider personal interests and long-term professional goals when selecting courses.
Introduction to Informatics – This core course presents the foundational concepts and theories related to information systems and information technologies. Students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary for problem solving and decision making by considering how information is created, organized, located, interpreted, manipulated, and utilized. Additional consideration will be given to how human values and expectations shape information, information technology, and information systems. Topics include statistical analysis, programming, and system design.
Information Organization – In this introductory course, students will examine the theory and methods for the organization of information, knowledge, and data. Since organization and representation often depends on the environment and end-use, special consideration will be given to best practices found across disciplines. Various information formats will be considered, including text documents, datasets, images, and audio files. By the completion of the course, students will have a firm understanding of relevant terminology and technology.
Information Retrieval – Computer-based storage and retrieval are central to this class. This course aims to address questions related to user interaction with information retrieval (IR) systems, associated system components, evaluation techniques, and wider social impacts. Topics include representation, query, models, filtering, interfaces, and contemporary issues and trends. A primary goal of the course is the application of evaluation techniques to IR systems.
Database Analysis & Design – With a user-centered point-of-view, students take a comprehensive look at the processes involved in information access. This course provides a foundation in database analysis and design, including evaluation of information requirements, model development, data organization, and database query. Students will work with a relational database to assess and determine efficient and effective user access. Other database models will also be covered, including flat file, hierarchical, and hypertext.
Systems Analysis & Design – What tools and techniques are necessary to analyze, design, implement, and document an information system? This course aims to answer this question through exploration of relevant theories, principles, and methodologies. An important aspect of the course is a detailed study and analysis of the system development lifecycle. Discussion will also include the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a systems analyst. Students will work in small groups to design and evaluate an information system.
Health Records Management – Designed for students interested in a career in healthcare, this course examines the conceptual foundations and practical applications necessary for the management of health records. Topics include processes for electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR), selection, evaluation, and management of health information systems, applications and repositories, data quality, information migration, and system interoperability. Special consideration will be given to data collection standards, privacy, and legal and ethical aspects of health information.
Data Visualization – Which methods are most effective for the visualization of large datasets? What steps can be taken to facilitate visual analysis of data? Through this course, students will learn to apply relevant theories and principles to effectively visualize data. Students will use statistical methods and graphic-centered computer-based approaches to treat structured and unstructured data. Through hands-on exercises using real-world data, students will gain both creative and technical skills to transform data into visual reports. Course outcomes include creation of effective and visually appealing graphs and dashboards.
Introduction to Research – This course provides a foundation for the methods and evaluation necessary for informatics research. Students will learn principles and techniques and consider the role of theories and hypotheses. Consideration will be given to experimental and non-experimental research. Topics include research interpretation, quantitative and qualitative methods, data sources, ethics, and research proposals. Students will develop a research proposal for use in future research-focused courses.
Human/Computer Interaction – An introduction to the foundational theories and concepts of human/computer interaction (HCI). This course takes an interdisciplinary approach, exploring concepts and methodologies from computer science, engineering design, cognitive psychology, and human factors. Topics include designing interfaces, evaluating usability, accessibility and universal design, augmented and virtual reality, and multi-modal and spatial interfaces. Students will work in teams to develop, implement, and assess interactive systems and interfaces.
Consumer Health Informatics – How does the public locate, access, and utilize health-related information? This course examines the various technologies utilized to deliver healthcare to the public. Topics include delivery models, privacy concerns, information integrity and quality, health information literacy, and current trends. Special consideration is given to emerging technologies, diverse community needs, and the impact of online communities and social networking sites.
Where can you work with a degree in Informatics?
There are many applications for the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through completion of an informatics degree program. As an interdisciplinary field, employment opportunities exist in a number of industries including sports, non-governmental organizations, emergency management, wildlife conservation, security, computer forensics, and cultural institutions.
Professionals with a focus on health informatics may find employment in health sciences libraries, healthcare systems, biomedical or biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry, or public or government health information agencies. Informaticians in medicine, healthcare, or pharmaceuticals collect, analyze, and apply data directly to care decisions.
The job outlook and median annual wage for those with degrees in informatics largely depends on the industry in which they practice. For example, careers for computer and information systems managers are expected to increase by 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average for all occupations BLS Job Outlook. One cause for this growth is the ongoing expansion of corporate digital platforms. In 2021 the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $159,010 BLS Pay.
Common job titles in Informatics include:
- Director of Analytics
- Data Scientist
- Information Architect
- Quality Assurance Lead
- Clinical Informatics Specialist
- Clinical Data Analyst
- User Experience Designer
- Web App Developer
- Health Information Manager
- Software Developer
- Applications Consultant
- Solutions Architect
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Administrator
Are there specific licensure requirements?
Informaticians working in medical fields may require specialized licenses or certifications. This is especially true for the areas of nursing and clinical informatics, where additional certification is common. Otherwise, careers in informatics do not generally require special licensure.
Top Informatics Organizations
Most informatics organizations in the United States are targeted to students and practitioners in medicine and healthcare. There are, however, professional organizations for other relevant industries. Opportunities for involvement exist in information technology (Association of Information Technology Professionals), information and data management (Data Management Association), user experience design (User Experience Professionals Association), and library informatics (American Society for Information Science and Technology).
The American Medical Informatics Association AMIA is a national non-profit organization committed to developing and applying biomedical and health informatics for the purpose of improved patient care, teaching, research, and healthcare administration. Founded in 1989, the organization has more than 5,600 members comprised of clinicians, scientists, researchers, educators, librarians, advanced students, developers, government officials, and consultants. Membership for students, young professionals, and active professionals includes access to conferences, member communities, peer-reviewed publications, volunteer opportunities, and recognition programs. The association also offers health informatics essentials courses for professionals.
The International Medical Informatics Association IMIA was founded in 1967 and works to promote and further the application of information science in the fields of healthcare, bioscience, and medicine. Strategic goals for the organization include advocacy, collaboration, membership, and efforts to promote academic and professional excellence. This global association is comprised of national, institutional, and affiliate members and organizes conferences and events worldwide. The American Medical Informatics Association is a national member society of IMIA.
The American Health Information Management Association AHIMA was founded in 1928 and has more than 100,000 members worldwide. AHIMA specifically represents health information professionals who are responsible for the management of health data for more than one billion annual patient visits. The organization provides certifications and credentialing, hosts regular educational events, and publishes journals and books. Membership includes access to the Journal of AHIMA, an online networking forum, and opportunities for professional development and career guidance. Student membership is available at a reduced rate.