The University of Tennessee Master’s in Information Sciences degree is an ALA accredited, internationally recognized program in library science and information management. Graduates of the program can pursue a variety traditional library career tracks, as well as nontraditional data analyst, data manager, user experience specialists, web developement, and other similar pathways. Throughout this page you will find information regarding required courses and individualized curriculum catered to your interests and educational background.
Visit our Why Pursue a Master's in Information Sciences page for a snapshot of our program.
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 2017-2018 (Interactive PDF).
Students may choose either the thesis or non-thesis option as the culminating experience for their studies. There are 6 hours available for thesis credit. To graduate, students who elect the non-thesis option will take written comprehensive examination or create an online ePortfolio. For students who elect the thesis option, the examination will be an oral defense of the thesis.
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. Students receiving a grade of D or F in one of the three required classes will be dismissed from the program.
Highly Recommended Courses
The faculty regards these courses as vital to professional success:
INSC 504: Research Methods for Information Professionals (required for thesis option)
INSC 550: Management of Information Organizations
INSC 560: Development and Management of Collections
These courses address the creation and use of research, management, and leadership in information organizations, and the development and management of collections.
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
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.
- Academic Librarianship
- Data Curation and Data Management
- Digital Collections
- Geographic Information
- Information Organization
- Public Librarianship
- Science Information and Data Science
- Youth Services
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.
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.
At least 27 hours must be taken within the School of Information Sciences curriculum, and up to 9 hours can be taken outside of the School, including a maximum of 6 hours outside the college. 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:
- Be taken for graduate credit.
- Carry a grade of B or better.
- Be a part of a graduate program in which the student had a B average.
- Not have been used for a previous degree.
- Be specifically related to the student's career objectives.
- Be approved by the student's graduate committee and the director of the School on the Admission to Candidacy form.
- Must be taken within six calendar years of graduation.
Credits transferred will not be counted in the student's UT grade point average.
- 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.
- Advisors consult with an appropriate faculty member or the director to determine if the course qualifies for transfer.
- 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.
- When approved, students include the transfer courses on their Admission to Candidacy Form.