Masters in Information Science MSIS | MIS Degree | MLIS Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
Why Consider Masters in Information Science Programs?
Masters in Information Science programs are technology-oriented degrees that span informatics, information systems and library science. As an interdisciplinary field, information science incorporates, but is not limited to, computer science. Professionals working in this domain are interested in analyzing, collecting, classifying, managing, storing, finding, moving, protecting and distributing information. They are also focus on how people engage with and utilize existing information systems in order to maximize efficiency or develop improved and optimized mechanisms. For instance, searching online for a Master’s Degree in Information Science may give you different results than if you searched for either a Masters in Library Science or a Masters in Information Systems Degree. Read on to learn which degree might align best with your academic and vocational aspirations.
Masters in Information Science: Basics
Commonly 2 years of study, Masters in Information Science programs may be the next academic step for students who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences, Library Science, Information Systems Management or a related area. Usually this degree is offered as a Master of Science in Information Science, and abbreviated either as an MSIS or MIS degree. While admission procedures vary as do academic backgrounds, usually students need to have maintained a specific GPA, show transcripts from previous colleges, letters of reference, write a personal essay, include a resume and GRE scores.
Did You Know?
59% of Computer and Information Scientists hold a Master’s Degree[i]
What is Information Science?
As an umbrella term, computer and information science covers different types of Masters degrees. So what exactly is information science? Information Science as an academic discipline is often interdisciplinary since it is concerned with all the processes and techniques involved in the information life cycle.
Some of the topics that are covered in information science are [ii]:
- Information systems and libraries
- Computer science
- Archival science
- Cognitive science
- Business & management
- Library Science
- Social Sciences
- Public policy
Types of Masters in Information Science Degrees
As an academic discipline, Information Science is sometimes taught in combination with Library Science, informatics or information systems. The nuances in language between universities should always be paid attention to. This being said, the Masters in Informatics, Masters in Information Systems, Masters in Library Science and Masters in Information Science each may lead to a specific skill set and prepare for different types of careers. Some of these occupations could include:
- Librarian [iii]
- Computer and Information Research Scientist[iv]
- Computer and Information Systems Manager[v]
Masters in Information Science Degree Programs
The Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS degree) is generally geared to the critical thinker or scientist who wants to learn how to use technology to solve information problems. Potential learning outcomes could include:
- Understand how to maintain information systems and networks
- Work with information in its different formats (data, video, text etc.)
- Identify how to develop and design new technologies
- Learn theory of information science
- Understand information storage, retrieval, user behavior
- Ethical implications
- Understand the interactions between humans and computers
- Study the semantic web[vi]
Masters in Informatics Degree Programs
The Masters in Informatics is commonly oriented to the student with already strong technical computing skills and knowledge of computing applications. While ‘informatics’ is often used to refer to ‘information science’, it is actually the science of information and computer information systems[vii]. The informatics major may study topics such as:
- Health informatics
- Business Informatics
- Human-computer interaction from a user-perspective
- Information science
- Information systems analysis & design
- Information architecture
- Artificial intelligence
- Digital information
- Information processing
Masters in Information Systems Degree Programs
The Masters in Information Systems (MIS degree) is typically geared for the information technology (IT) professional who wants to lead, manage projects, plan, coordinate and direct computer-related activities within an organization.[viii] Management Information Systems majors are interested in how a specific business uses its (digital) data to improve its operations. MIS degrees are offered in several formats, namely; as a concentration in a Master of Business Administration (MBA), as the concentration of a Master of Science in Management degree or as a Professional degree (MMIS). The appeal of a Management information systems (MIS) program is that it combines business and technical computer courses. Potential learning outcomes could include[ix]:
- Understanding how to make technology-related decisions
- Business strategy
- Budgets, finance, marketing
- Management techniques for information systems
- Computer security
- Technology in organizations
- Relationship of people and technology
- Computer databases
- Transaction processing systems
Masters in Library Science Degree Programs
The Masters in Library Science (MLIS or MLS degree) typically encompasses library and information science (LIS) and could take 1 to 2-years to complete. MLIS programs are geared to the student who is interested in information architecture and understanding how information is represented, organized, collected, used, as well as the technology involved in these processes. MLIS students may learn about[x]:
- Management practices
- Information technology
- Archival science
- Dissemination of information
- Records management
Campus Program or Online MIS Degree?
Apart from choosing the type of Masters in Information Science program, do you prefer to look for graduate schools where you can attend class on site? Or do you prefer to earn your Master’s degree through a distance-learning format? Searching for graduate schools is easy. In fact, use the location settings to find MIS, MSIS, or MLIS degree programs by city, state or country. If you are a working student or need a more self-paced format, search for online or blended online (hybrid) programs. As a future information scientist, you know that using specific key words helps to refine results and retrieve just the right data!
In the United States, institutions of higher education seek accreditation through two types of accreditation agencies, institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation agencies are categorized as regional (E.g. The Higher Learning Commission) and national (E.g. The Commission for Higher Learning Accreditation and U.S. Department of Education). Additionally, accreditation can be program-specific in which case there are usually some guidelines as to what has to be studied. In the case of Library Science, a degree from an American Library Association-accredited program may lead to better job prospects.[xi] It is always wise to investigate the standards in your field.
Depending on the career you seek, a Masters in Information Science may be your platform to a Doctorate Degree. While most librarians need to have a Masters in Library Science (MLS), some employers require special librarians to have a PhD[xii]. Similarly, some information research scientists may be required to have a PhD in Information Systems.[xiii]
Take the Next Step
Search our listings for Master of Science in Information Systems, Flexible MBA-Information Systems, Master of Library Science, Master of Science in Library and Information Science and other fascinating options. Make sure to request more details from each graduate school in order to find out what makes them unique and to stay abreast of the practical issues such as application deadlines and program prerequisites.
sources: [i] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1111.00 |[ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_science#Information_scientist |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm[iv] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm |[v] bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm |[vi]en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web |[vii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informatics |[viii] bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm |[ix] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management_information_system |[x] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_science |[xi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm [xii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm [xiii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm
Carnegie Mellon University
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Robert Morris University
Holy Family University
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania