|Syracuse University||Online MS in Library and Information Science||✓|
|St. John's University||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Denver||Master of Library and Information Science||✓|
|University of Washington||Online Master of Science in Information Management|
Information science is an area of study that is loosely related to library science. Rather than being specific to library and digital curation, information science is focused on the management, analysis, and dissemination of information through computing processes and technology. Information science degree programs usually offer courses exploring the methods of information organization and the concept of information as an asset. Many programs actively recruit students with a background in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) or technical experience, though foundational courses offer those with less experience to build relevant skills.
Are there online Information Science programs?
Yes. With an emphasis on information communication and computing technologies, it is not uncommon to find fully online information science degree programs. Many colleges and universities with online MLIS library and information science degrees also offer remote certificate and continuing education programs.
What you can do with an information science degree
Graduates with a degree in information science are prepared to work with information, data, and knowledge in a variety of professional settings. Due to the large amounts of data produced by organizations, careers and salaries in this field are expected to continue to grow. Degrees are also available in related fields, such as information management, information studies, information systems, and information technology. However, the information science degree tends to be distinct from computer science degrees.
What is the difference between an Information Science degree and a Library Science / MLIS degree?
While there is typically overlap in course curricula, information science programs tend to focus more on strategically working with information as an asset rather than providing reference, research, or instructional services to a particular patron group. Generally, the MLS degree prepares graduates for careers in libraries and other similar cultural institutions (such as archives, museums, or galleries).
Information science concentrations are often linked to library and information science studies programs, though this is not always the case. However, it is possible to obtain an information science degree with a specialization outside of traditional librarianship. To be sure, professionals with a degree in information science will still interact with information users. Emphasis, however, tends to be placed on systems, technology, or data.
Featured Online Library Programs
|Master||Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
|St. John's University
|Master||Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
|University of Denver
|Master||Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
|University of Washington
|Master||Online Master of Science in Information Management
Information School. Now offered full-time or part-time.
|Master||Online Master of Arts Education - Library Media and Technology Specialization
Emphasis in Library Media & Technology.
Are there Bachelors in Information Science programs?
Yes. A number of colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Science in Information Science (BSIS) programs. A few examples include:
- The University of Illinois offers an interdisciplinary bachelor-level degree through its iSchool.
- A fully remote undergraduate program is available through the University of North Texas' UNT Online.
- Cornell University's Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science gives students the option of three undergraduate information science degrees.
- The University of Michigan's School of Information houses an upper-level bachelor program for juniors and seniors.
- The University of Colorado, Boulder offers a a Bachelor's-Accelerated Master's information science degree.
Are there Masters in Information Science programs?
Yes. In addition to a wide number of bachelor-level programs, there are masters degree in information science programs. Many of these are offered online, while others meet face-to-face or as hybrids. For those interested in working in certain professions or industries (such as professional librarianship) a master's degree may be required.
Are there ALA Accredited Masters in Information Science programs?
Yes. The American Library Association (ALA) accredits master-level library and information studies programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. A searchable database of accredited programs is available on the organization's websiteALA.
Selecting options for the "Information Systems Design/Analysis", "Knowledge Management", or "Organization of Information" concentration/career pathways will return results of accredited programs offering information science specializations. However, this list is not exhaustive. Taking time to review concentrations, career pathways, and specializations from the broader list of ALA-accredited programs is likely to return better results.
Typical Online Information Science Curriculum
A common theme across curricula is teaching students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to design, implement, and manage information systems that fit human needs. Curricula may include courses geared toward librarianship, such as digital libraries, managing digital collections, educational technology, or metadata. Additionally, certain concentrations or specializations may emphasize proficiency in programming or research and statistical methods. Since curricula will likely vary by program, it is important to research course offerings to ensure they align with personal and professional goals.
Information science course curriculum may include:
Introduction to Information Technologies
This course is designed for students with little or no prior IT experience. Offers a foundational review of concepts and theories, hardware, software, and networks. Hands-on practice builds the basic skills needed in future courses and professional settings.
Information Access and Retrieval
This course investigates how information users access and retrieve various information and data, with a focus on online search. Explores information seeking behaviors, services, and tools. Emphasis is placed on theories, models, and methods. Students will evaluate various information retrieval systems and learn to select appropriate systems based on social/organizational contexts and user needs.
Database Management Systems
Designed for students with little or no prior database experience, this course offers a comprehensive overview of data structures, operating systems, file organization, data models, and database administration and evaluation. Course topics include: information organization, principles of database design, administration, and implementation.
Data Mining, Analytics, and Visualization
Investigates related data topics across applications and settings. Students will learn basic concepts and methods related to data mining, data analytics, and data visualization. The course includes hands-on practice with data mining techniques and tools, modeling, organizing data for analysis, and designing effective visualizations. Previous experience with programming is helpful, but not required, as programming languages will be utilized for data analysis and visualization.
Foundational course introducing the theories, methods, and techniques of information organization and navigation. Explores correlations between user needs, social/organizational contexts, and documentation. Emphasizes information organization practices within websites and intranets.
Usability Testing and Evaluation
Explores the theory and practice of usability testing and evaluation. Students will assess the design of information systems from a user-centered perspective. Methods include analytics, eye tracking, and interaction modeling. Various testing techniques will be employed, including: performance, face-to-face, and remote.
Investigates the human and technological factors related to the design of effective information systems. Through a multidisciplinary approach, this course covers relevant human phenomena (such as problem solving, memory, cognition, and perception) as they relate to technology.
Investigates web design basics, best practices, standards, and evaluation methods. Students will gain hands-on experience producing websites by applying theory and using design tools and techniques. Additional topics include: accessibility, search engine optimization, and usability testing.
This course prepares students to design, create, and manage multimedia content (including websites, tools, and applications). An emphasis is placed on user-centered design principles, accessibility, and standards-based techniques. Course topics include: ADA-compliance, frameworks, coding, usability testing, and evaluation.
Organizational Information Security
This course offers a comprehensive overview of concepts, issues, and practices related to securing organizational information systems. Topics include: privacy, trust, security threats, cryptography, access control, firewalls, and incident response. Students will gain hands-on experience auditing and troubleshooting information systems within various organizations.
ALA requirements for Information Science programs
ALA’s accreditation extends to library schools and master-level library and information studies programs. To achieve ALA accreditation, information science programs must meet the general minimum requirements as determined by the organization.
Experts evaluate how well specific elements (admission requirements, curriculum, faculty, resources, and evaluations methods) achieve the overall program mission and objectives. Additionally, programs are evaluated on how well prepared students are to fulfill professional knowledge and skill requirements.
Review the guide of the best online MLIS programs that are ALA accredited.
Top 5 online MSIS and MLIS programs with Information Science concentrations
When considering programs offering information science degrees, it is important to note that many fall within library and information science/studies programs or iSchools. The following ALA-accredited and nationally recognized information science programs offer fully online degrees.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Master of Science in Information Sciences
The School of Information Science offers degrees at the bachelor-and master-level. Relevant master’s pathways include Data Curation and Data Management, Information Organization, and User Experience. All students are assigned a faculty mentor to serve as a personal guide throughout the master’s degree program and beyond.
To complete the program, students must obtain 36 semester hours (including three required courses). Students have the flexibility to take up to 9 graduate courses outside of the information school. The program emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and an experiential practicum. There are also opportunities to engage in research projects.
The program boasts its affordability, with nonresident online students paying approximately $27,900 in tuition and fees. No GRE is required for admission. Scholarships and assistantship opportunities are available.
Florida State University – Master of Science in Information
The School of Information offers several relevant programs of study, including: Information Organization, Technology & Networking, and Web Design. Within these particular concentrations students are encouraged to select courses pertaining to information retrieval and database management systems, among others.
The program consists of 36 semester hours. Required courses include technology skills (3 credits) and four core courses (12 credits). There is an option to complete a thesis, with 6 hours of the required 36 for the culminating experience. Professional development certificate programs are also available to students pursuing the MSI.
Admission decisions are based on a review of applicant work and prior academic experience, though no GRE scores are required. The degree must be completed within 7 years of first registering for graduate credit. Students taking online courses should expect to pay an additional auxiliary fee. Tuition is based on residency status.
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – Master of Science in Information Science & Technology
The MSIST provides knowledge and skills specifically in the areas of data science and information security. Upon enrollment, students are assigned a faculty mentor to assist with the selection of courses and development of a program of study.
Designed to supplement the BSIST, this degree program consists of 36 credit hours. Of these, 15 credits are required (students must earn a “B” grade or higher in each core course). Depending on demonstration of competency through coursework or examination, students will complete the remaining 18 or 21 credits through electives. The culminating experience for the program is the Project Design, Implementation, and Evaluation course.
Students who have not received an undergraduate degree in an information, computer science, or related field, or who do not have sufficient professional experience or training in information technologies, will be encouraged to take three prerequisite courses. The degree must be completed within 7 years of initial enrollment. Tuition for the graduate program is $800 per credit for online students.
University of Kentucky – Master of Library Science Degree, Information Technology & Systems Concentration
The Information Technology & Systems concentration, offered through the School of Information Science, focuses on the application of technologies and system development for library and information services. Courses are offered asynchronously, allowing students flexibility to complete classes on their schedule.
Students will need to complete 36 credit hours to obtain the degree. The program consists of four core courses, one IT requirement course, and seven elective courses. Some options for the IT elective include: Information Architecture, Internet Technologies & information Services, and Data Analysis & Visualization. There are also options for a practicum, independent study, and study abroad.
Currently, both resident and nonresident online graduate students pay $700.50 per credit hour. No GRE is required for admission.
North Carolina Central University – Master of Information Science
Though it is part of the NCCU’s School of Library and Information Sciences, the MIS program is modeled on curriculum recommended by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for Information Systems. Concentrations within the program include Health Informatics, Strategic Information Management, and Networking and Communications.
A total of 36 credit hours are required to complete the program. Each concentration consists of 7 core courses (21 credit hours), though concentration requirements and electives vary. Additionally, the university offers several relevant joint degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA)/MIS, Juris Doctor (JD)/MIS, Master of Public Administration (MPA)/MIS, and Master of Art in Educational Technology/MIS.
The GRE is not required for admission and submitted scores will not be considered. Tuition rates are based on residency status.
What careers can you have with a Information Science Degree?
Whether obtaining an information science degree at the bachelor- or master-level, graduates can find employment in the public and private sector. Employers include those in healthcare, government, education, business, and communications. With ever-increasing amounts of information, data, and knowledge being produced, demand is expected to increase for qualified information professionals.
Possible careers with a BSIS include:
- Content Strategist
- Data Analyst
- Database Manager
- Technology Support Specialist
- Information Technology Analyst
- Information System Manager
- Research Scientist
- Information Technology Project Manager
- Health Information Technician
- Web Content Analyst
- User Experience Designer
- Metadata Specialist
- Market Research Analyst
- Product Manager
Those interested in a career in librarianship, are strongly encouraged to consider obtaining a MLS/MLIS with an information science concentration or specialization. Possible careers with a MSIS include:
- Digital Archivist
- Software Development Engineer
- Data Scientist
- User Experience Librarian
- Machine Learning Lead
- Systems Librarian
- Computer Network Architect
- Information Security Analyst
- Web Developer
- Digital Designer
- Information Architect
- Digital Repository Specialist
- Postsecondary Computer Science Teacher
- Multimedia Programmer
- Network Systems Administrator