Admission and Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Information Studies

A student seeking to enter the program must submit an application for admission to the Graduate School. He or she must also supply the School of Information with satisfactory letters of reference from three persons attesting to the applicant’s character, scholarly ability, and professional promise. Find more information on admission procedures here.

Facility in the use of computers and networked communication is essential in professional work in information studies. This facility may be acquired through coursework in the school, but prior knowledge of computer applications is important to success in the program. Computer and Internet application tutorials are available online. 

The master’s degree program entails forty semester hours of graduate and upper-division coursework (not more than nine hours of the latter). At least twenty-eight hours must be in information studies courses, including certain required courses. Up to twelve hours, depending on the student’s background and objectives, may be in closely related courses in other subject areas. These courses must augment professional preparation; they do not ordinarily constitute a minor field in the degree program. A student’s choice of courses must have the explicit approval of the student’s adviser.

Students conclude their studies with a capstone experience designed to enable them to integrate their professional education with the intellectual and institutional vocations toward which they are striving. Students fulfill this requirement by engaging in experiences that result in completion of one of four options: Information Studies 388L, Professional Experience and Project, Information Studies 398R, Master's ReportInformation Studies 388R, Practicum in School Libraries, or Information Studies 698, Thesis.

Applicants for degree candidacy are required to have an overall grade point average of at least 3.00 in their MSInfoStds coursework. Within the overall grade point average, applicants must have an average of at least 3.00 in all information studies courses, including those not listed on the Application for Degree Candidacy. Additionally, students must earn a grade of B or higher in all required core courses. High grades in courses outside information studies do not serve to offset an average of less than 3.00 in information studies. However, high grades in information studies may raise the overall average. Information studies courses that are to be listed on the Application for Degree Candidacy may not be taken on the credit/no credit basis. Exceptions to this rule are Information Studies 181E, 388L, 388R, 698, and 398R.

Integrated Program with Computer Science (BSCS/MSInfoStds)

Admission to the integrated Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master of Science in Information Studies (BSCS/MSInfoStds) program is open only to undergraduate students within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. It results in the simultaneous awarding of a BSCS degree and an MSInfoStds degree. The integrated program requires completion of a total of 151 credit: 120 hours for the Option IV BSCS degree program and thirty-one hours of graduate coursework offered by the School of Information for the MSInfoStds degree program. Students can complete the integrated program in five academic years of full-time study. The two degrees are awarded when the requirements for both degree programs, including the iSchool capstone, are completed.

Doctor of Philosophy

Incoming students are expected to have an educational background that prepares them for their doctoral study. The elements of that background may vary depending on the area of research to be pursued and its associated methodology. Applicants who are admitted without this background may be asked to take additional coursework as part of their doctoral studies.

The objective of the doctoral program is to prepare graduates to contribute to the discipline through research and creative leadership. Emphasizing research, the program allows students to pursue advanced studies in the information discipline and in related subject areas, to study appropriate method and theory, and to learn to engage in advanced research by carrying out a guided and supervised dissertation project. The program is interdisciplinary; students must take courses from other University offerings to supplement those in the School of Information.

Students must complete at least thirty-nine semester hours of coursework, consisting of nine hours of required seminars, twelve hours of methods courses, nine hours of required electives in the student’s major area within the school, and nine hours of elective courses from outside the school.

Students must also pass a qualifying examination before being admitted to candidacy. Finally, students must complete and defend a dissertation representing an original contribution to knowledge in the discipline.

Detailed information is available at the School of Information's website.

Certificate Programs

The school offers a general certificate of advanced study (CAS) and endorsement of specialization (EOS) that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of experienced information professionals.

The CAS is designed for students who want either (1) to extend their study beyond the required forty semester credit hours, or (2) already hold a master’s degree in library and information studies or cognate fields and want to update and expand their education and skills, and/or develop proficiencies in preparation for specialized positions and activities. The CAS requires a minimum of twelve semester hours of coursework; more hours may be necessary depending on the student’s academic background and professional goals.

The EOS formally recognizes students who create programs of study concentration within the forty semester credit hours required for the Master of Science in Information Studies. The endorsement attests that students have successfully completed twelve semester credit hours of planned, cohesive study.

Certificates may also be completed while studying for the Master of Science in Information Studies. Students interested in pursuing a certificate program must have their plan of study approved by the graduate adviser. Specific course requirements for both certificates are available from the School of Information.

Dual Degree Programs

The School of Information offers the following dual degree programs in cooperation with other divisions of the University. More information is available from the graduate adviser in each program.

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