MSIS/MPA and MSLS/MPA
The dual degree program offered with UNC's School of Government is designed to prepare students to deal with the significant information management issues they will confront in a public sector career by combining the master of public administration curriculum with graduate studies in information and library science.
The stewardship of public information is a fundamental responsibility of a democratic society. Public information (e.g. agency records, government publications, datasets) serves as evidence of governmental activities, decisions, and responsibilities as well as of legal contracts at the local, county, state, and federal levels. Providing appropriate access to public information promotes accountability, rights of citizens, effective administration of policy, and social memory.
Archivists, records managers, librarians and other information professionals are often directly charged with ensuring that public information is accessible and meaningful over time. However, the distributed nature of both government and modern information systems places responsibility for the stewardship of public information into the hands of many other professionals, including those who develop, implement and interpret public policies.
Public officials and public servants must increasingly make and enact decisions related to information systems; this requires an understanding of the ways in which people, information and technology can best complement each other. At the same time, information professionals are increasingly required to engage in policy discussions and processes, in order to carry out their duties responsibly and effectively; this requires an understanding of the history, principles, processes and methods of public administration.
The MSIS/MSLS and MPA dual degree program at the University of North Carolina is offered jointly by the School of Information and Library Science and the School of Government. It integrates policy development, issues of legal compliance, and extensive knowledge of government structures and information with principles, values, methods and technologies of the information professions.
This dual degree opportunity is designed as a three-year, full-time program. Ideally, students will apply and be admitted to both schools before matriculating in either degree program. Students may start in one program and apply to the other, if they apply early enough in their course of study to ensure the necessary coordination of course selection.