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Required Courses

Three courses are required of all students:

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.


An advisor is assigned to each student admitted to the program. The information sharing that takes place between the student and advisor is important for the success of the student's curricular planning. The advisor approves courses of study, offers guidance about career opportunities, and assists students in preparing placement credentials. Students must complete the (see SIS Courses) and submit it to their advisors in preparation for the advising session, which occurs before each registration period, and which may be transacted in person, by phone, or by e-mail.

Students may also seek advice from any faculty member at the School. Students may change assigned advisors via a request to the SIS coordinator of student services.

Teaching and Learning

SIS recognizes our students' diverse needs, and we offer a variety of curriculum delivery formats to provide a high quality learning experience. These include traditional face-to-face classroom instruction and virtual instruction via distance education (DE) technology.  As a result, nearly all elective courses are taught using virtual instruction and all students participate in the online classroom during their graduate study. Students studying on the Knoxville campus will begin their program with face-to-face classes for the three required courses (INSC 510, INSC 520, and INSC 530). They will then continue their studies and join distance students in the online classes to complete the program.

While students enrolled in the DE program are required to have access to hardware, software, and an Internet Service Provider, students taking courses on campus are encouraged to purchase equivalent hardware and software. The School offers a small computer lab in 440 Communications Building, affectionately known as Dewey's Den and Commons. Seven dual-boot Apple iMac computers with large, flat screen displays, scanners, and printers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dewey's Den and Commons is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and for extended hours, staff permitting.

We are proud that we provide quality education to meet student needs regardless of where the student may live.
Benefits of studying on campus:

  • Face-to-face interaction with faculty and other campus students
  • Opportunities to attend and/or participate in research forums, special lectures, sporting events, and other student activities
  • Access to campus facilities, resources, and services such as student health services

Types of Course Delivery

The School of Information Sciences offers a blended curriculum designed to provide flexibility and breadth of experience to students enrolled locally and at a distance. While courses are offered in real-time, some are face-to-face and most are virtual. There are two types of SIS courses: campus courses and virtual courses.

  • Campus Courses are typically taught during the day in a traditional classroom for students on the Knoxville campus. Information and instructional technology may or may not be used in the classroom.
  • Virtual Courses These classes meet using online software, Zoom, to access and participate in the classroom at a distance. Students raise a virtual hand to get the instructor's attention and speak into a microphone so that all students, wherever they are located, can participate equally in class activities.

SIS faculty is seasoned and comfortable using the software for online delivery of their courses, and students quickly become comfortable with this way to learn. A persuasive benefit of taking virtual classes is the opportunity to collaborate with students in other places. Students working as paraprofessionals in a local library system, for example, will have the opportunity to chat with classmates working in a library or information center in another state with different policies and procedures and different cultures. This form of faculty-student interaction approximates communication methods used in many information environments. Virtual classes also ensure that specialized elective courses are offered to all students. Faculty uses the features of software to encourage student participation, interaction, and a sense of community resulting in high quality discussions with a rich diversity of perspectives.

The World as Classroom

Two study opportunities that exist outside of the classroom include Independent Projects or Research and the Practicum. Whatever individualized curriculum is chosen, all students who complete the program receive an M.S. degree accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).