Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) Overview

The Master of Science in Information Science Program is a 48-unit, two-year program. The MSIS curriculum educates students in the theory and practice of analyzing, organizing, representing and retrieving information.

Please note: A new curriculum has been approved. Students entering in the Fall semester of 2013 or after should visit the new curriculum page. Current students who entered prior to Fall semester 2013 should refer to the older curriculum page.

For more information about the MSIS program, please contact us via e-mail or call 919.962.8366.

Program Mission and Goals

The goal of the MSIS program is to enable students to contribute to the design, development, and maintenance of information systems and networks; lead the development of new technologies and new applications relating to the delivery of information; and demonstrate a theoretical knowledge of information science, including the theory of information storage and retrieval, systems science, and social, political, and ethical implications of information systems.

MSIS graduates are prepared to:

  1. Apply critical thinking to a particular challenge that might be experienced in a professional setting. They will be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of particular solutions, and use concrete examples to clarify the challenge and its possible solutions.
  2. Apply standard professional tools to problem definition and solution. They will be aware of the classic and current tools and technologies available to information professionals, and will be able to select and apply those tools and technologies to information problems.
  3. Apply ideas, theories, and empirical evidence to solve problems that information professionals might face in the workplace.
  4. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of a particular information setting/context, including the needs of the users; the types of materials being collected; the realities of budget, management, and organizational structure; the types of challenges faced and ways to address those challenges; new/current professional and research developments pertinent to the setting/context; the influences of social and political milieu on the setting/context; and how quality may be defined and assessed within that setting/context.
  5. Express their ideas clearly. They will be able to describe problems/challenges, situations, and solutions in an understandable way; synthesize ideas from multiple sources, and engage with those ideas in depth; and develop an argument in a coherent and logical manner.

Courses on the Cutting Edge of Information Science from UNC SILS on Vimeo.

Career Prospects

The information industry is one of the fastest-growing in the US economy: the US Dept. of Labor estimates that, by 2018, there will be over three million jobs available in the information industry – a growth of 118,000 jobs over the next four years.

MSIS graduates typically enter careers focused on the design, implementation, evaluation, and administration of information systems, such as:

  • American Library Association accredited logodatabases
  • social media
  • digital libraries
  • multimedia
  • the World Wide Web
  • instructional technologies
  • digital curator
  • emerging technologies

Job titles of recent MSIS graduates include:

  • IT analyst
  • Web services librarian
  • Web developer
  • systems analyst
  • usability analyst
  • applications analyst
  • database administrator

Field Experience

MSIS students may gain professional experience in an information organization, while receiving class credit through the Field Experience Program. Students are mentored by a supervising professional in the organization, as well as by a SILS professor.


For information on tuition, fees, and other financial information, please refer to the Financial Information page.