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Master of Science in Information Sciences

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University of Tennessee Walkway

The University of Tennessee Master’s in Information Sciences degree is an ALA accredited, internationally recognized online MSIS program. Our graduates can pursue a variety of traditional library career tracks, as well as nontraditional career tracks which include data analysts, corporate taxonomists, user experience specialists, web developers, and more! Throughout this page you will find information regarding required courses and individualized curriculum catered to your interests and educational background.

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General Information

The program leading to the Master of Science degree requires 36 semester hours of graduate courses, including 3 courses (9 hours) required of all students.  Students must take at least 27 hours of courses in the School of Information Sciences curriculum. Students may take up to 9 hours of graduate courses outside of the School, including a maximum of 6 hours outside the college. No more than 6 hours may be taken from another university. Complete information on the Masters of Science Program may be found in the Graduate Student Handbook 2018-2019 (Interactive PDF).

An Individualized Curriculum

Students develop an individualized program of study in consultation with their advisors. Students may want to align their course study with the following school strengths:

  • Academic libraries
  • Applied information technology
  • Corporate information
  • International issues and experiences
  • Public librarianship, community informatics
  • School media
  • Science and technology data, information, and communication

Career Pathways

The SIS Faculty developed listings of courses and other information, known as Career Pathways, that are especially relevant to a particular area of study or career setting.  Each Pathway is designed to help students with specific career goals in that area to identify the courses with content that addresses those goals most directly. Read the Career Pathways FAQs for more information on these helpful guidelines. 

Courses taken outside of the program can also be incorporated into the individualized curriculum. For more information, see Transfer and Substitution of Credits below.

Whatever courses are taken, all students who complete the program receive the Master of Science degree. The American Library Association (ALA) accredits the degree program. In conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Education and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, licensure as a school library information specialist is also offered.

Required Courses

Three courses are required of all students:

  • INSC 510: Information Environment
  • INSC 520: Information Representation and Organization
  • INSC 530: Information Access and Retrieval

These three courses—INSC 510, INSC 520, and INSC 530—are prerequisite to all elective courses for students enrolled in the M.S. degree program. 

Program Components

Explore the components and opportunities with our program, including:

Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science

Masters students may pursue a 9-hour Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science. The minor requires coursework in three areas: Computer and Information Sciences, Applied Mathematics, and a selected discipline outside of information sciences.

SIS courses that support the minor include human-centered computing, knowledge discovery and data mining, and digital libraries, among other topics. Ph.D. students must take 15 hours to earn a minor. For more information about the IGMCS, contact Dr. Peiling Wang.

Transfer and Substitution of Credits

No more than 6 hours may be taken from another university. Graduate hours in library and information science from programs not accredited by the American Library Association are not accepted for transfer credit. Courses taken at another academic institution must be approved by the advisor and demonstrate strong linkage to an information science career.

To be transferred into a master's program at the University of Tennessee, a course must:

  1. Be taken for graduate credit.
  2. Carry a grade of B or better.
  3. Be a part of a graduate program in which the student had a B average.
  4. Not have been used for a previous degree.
  5. Be specifically related to the student's career objectives.
  6. Be approved by the student's graduate committee and the director of the School on the Admission to Candidacy form.
  7. Must be taken within six calendar years of graduation.

Credits transferred will not be counted in the student's UT grade point average. Procedures are below: 

    1. The student submits a Request to Transfer or Substitution of Credits form (see Forms) to their advisor. The request must include a written rationale for the transfer and a course syllabus that clearly indicates topics covered, assigned readings, and course assignments. Students who request substitution for a required course must also specify the SIS course for which the substitution will apply. Students must submit a separate form for each course they desire to transfer or substitute.
    2. Advisors consult with an appropriate faculty member or the director to determine if the course qualifies for transfer.
    3. The Request for Transfer or Substitution of Credits form must be signed by the student's advisor, the consulting faculty member, and the director. This form goes into the student's file.
    4. When approved, students include the transfer courses on their Admission to Candidacy Form.