The master's degree at the Information School (iSchool) prepares graduates to develop, provide, and assess information services that create, collect, organize, store, analyze, find, distribute, and use information in a diverse, technological, and global society. The program prepares information professionals to work in five broad, overlapping areas of the information professions.

Librarianship: Graduates obtain employment in college and university librarianship, public librarianship, youth and young adult librarianship, electronic collections management, science and health librarianship, research data management, and school library media centers.

Archives in a Digital Age (on-campus program only): Graduates obtain employment in digital asset management, digital preservation and curation, digital archives, corporate archives, government archives, special collections, and tribal libraries archives and museums.

Data/Information Management and Analytics: Graduates obtain employment in information analysis and visualization, knowledge management, prospect research, systems analysis, digital asset management, data and information governance, records management and compliance, research data management and project management.

Organization of Information: Graduates obtain employment in metadata management, taxonomy and ontology development and implementation, digital asset management, cataloging, XML and linked data, and database management.

User Experience Design and Information Technologies: Graduates obtain employment in user experience design, interaction design, systems analysis and project management, IT training, educational technology support, digital asset management and curation, content management, and database development and management.

Full-time students generally complete the master's program in two academic years with summer work; part-time students complete it in three to four years. Students gain hands-on experience as part of their degree through the school’s required field practicum. Students may choose practicum settings based on their career goals.

Named Options

Students interested in the Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies should refer to one of the named options:

OPTIONAL Specializations

The Information School hosts several specializations that require specific coursework from other departments or other requirements.

Business School Graduate/Professional Certificate in Strategic Innovation:The Information School offers a specialization in information innovation and organizational change in conjunction with the School of Business graduate/professional certificate which can be completed as part of the school's M.A. degree (on-campus program only).

Certificate in Leadership: iSchool students can earn the UW–Madison Certificate in Leadership as part of their Information School M.A. degree (on-campus and online programs).

Double degrees: The iSchool offers double degrees with the UW Law School, the School of Music, and the Department of Art History. These require separate admissions and additional coursework. (on-campus program only)

School Library Media Specialist License: The School Library Media Specialist License in the State of Wisconsin is a stand-alone teaching license. The iSchool M.A. program can be modified to provide candidates with the educational requirements for the license taken in addition to the M.A. courses. Candidates already holding a valid Wisconsin teaching license can be endorsed for the School Library Medial Specialist through the iSchool MA program. UW–Madison is part of the UW System School Library Education Consortium (UWSSLEC), which is a certification-only program. Because each state has its own regulations for teacher licenses, this specialization is available to Wisconsin residents or those who will be working in Wisconsin schools only.

Online students (distance degree option) should note: Specialized courses in art, music, law and school library media specialist as well as courses offered outside the Information School that may be part of concentrations, specializations or double degrees, are generally not available online. For a distance student with academic background in one of these areas, combining the general Information School degree with the specialized background may be the best preparation.

The Information School master's program is accredited by the American Library Association, recognized by the Wisconsin Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning for certification of public librarians, and recognized by the state's Department of Public Instruction for preparation of school library media specialists.

ABOUT THE INFORMATION SCHOOL

PROGRAMS

The UW–Madison Information School, "the iSchool," is a professional school offering several degrees and non-credit education that prepare students for careers in the information professions:

  • The iSchool M.A. degree is a professional master's that offers five concentration areas: Librarianship, Archives in a Digital Age, Data/Information Management and Analytics, User Experience Design and Information Technologies, Organization of Information.
  • The Capstone Certificate in User Experience Design is an educational credential aimed at working adults who seek further education to advance their careers or move into new fields without the commitment of a full masters degree. See the Capstone Certificate Guide page here.
  • The Capstone Certificate in Data Analytics for Decision-Making is an educational credential aimed at working adults who seek further education to advance their careers or move into new fields without the commitment of a full masters degree. See the Capstone Certificate Guide page here.
  • The Ph.D. degree provides advanced academic preparation for those wishing to pursue careers in academia, industrial research or policy making. See the Ph.D. Guide page here.
  • Undergraduate Digital Studies Certificate provides undergraduate coursework in information technologies and society and information management. See the Undergraduate Certificate Guide page here.
  • The iSchool offers non-credit continuing education short courses that help information professionals stay up to date.

COMMUNITY

The Information School at UW–Madison is well known for its public-good, community-engagement orientation. It is home to student organizations that shepherd information-justice projects including the Jail Library Group, the Tribal Library Archives and Museums Group, and the Allied Drive Literacy Project. Student groups at the iSchool are very active and organize and sponsor events. 

The iSchool Library, whose windows overlook the shores of Lake Mendota and the oak trees of Muir Knoll, is a very popular campus space for study, group work, social events and relaxation. The Information School Library is also home to:

  • RADD "Recovering Analog and Digital Data" equipment for audio/video digitization and digital-data rescue that provides fee-for-service recovery of data from a wide variety of media types.  
  • The Text Technologies Press: typography and letterpress printing equipment for teaching book history, book arts, design, art, and making. 

RESEARCH & SCHOLARSHIP

The Information School faculty are known for scholarly work in the areas of:

  • data and information policy and ethics
  • user behaviors and literacies
  • print culture
  • library and information technology history
  • electronic publishing
  • information and communications technologies (ICT) and development, and transnational diaspora use of ICT
  • the social aspects of ICT
  • medical information and medical information technologies
  • youth and new media  

For more information see the iSchool Research Overview Page.

Research Collaborations

Faculty and staff are widely involved in different research groups on campus. For example, the iSchool is home to the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, a research center focused on authorship, reading, publication, and distribution of print and digital materials. The Information School faculty members are involved with the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the Digital Humanities Research Network, the HCI+Design Group, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and the Center for Financial Security.

Students apply to the Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies through one of the named options:

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 36 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement A minimum of 30 credits must be taken from graduate-level Information School M.A. coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute.

The remaining 6 credits of coursework must be 300 level or above and may not include iSchool undergraduate coursework.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements Within the student’s total program, one grade of BC or C is allowable in either a required or elective course if it is balanced by a grade of A or AB earned prior to or concurrently with the unsatisfactory grade. A second grade of BC or C or any grade of D or F will normally result in the student being dropped from the program.
Assessments and Examinations Candidates must complete a minimum of a 120-hour practicum, and must complete an e-portfolio.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Select a Named Option for courses required.

Named Options

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies must select one of the following named options:

Students should refer to one of the named options for policy information:

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Demonstrate understanding of societal, legal, policy or ethical information issues.
  2. Employ appropriate tools, standards, or best practices to organize information or information carriers for usability and access.
  3. Design appropriate research methodologies to assess programs, services, or systems for inquiry or decision-making.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of professional competencies important for management of information organizations.
  5. Demonstrate competency with information technologies important to the information professions.
  6. Apply concepts, principles, or theories learned in courses to field practice, broadly defined via a practicum, applied work experience, or practical course assignments.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of systemic inequalities surrounding information organization, use, services, or professions specifically in relation to privilege and marginalization.

For a complete faculty/staff directory see this website.

Accreditation

American Library Association Committee on Accreditation

Accreditation Status: Accredited. Next Accreditation Review: 2022.