Fall Deadline December 15
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

The school admits students to its on campus and online master's programs once a year, for fall semester. Although applications are accepted until February 1, priority consideration, including consideration for departmental scholarships, is given to applications received by December 15.  After February 1, interested applicants should contact the department to ask if a late application can still be considered. 

Note that the online program is called the "distance degree option" in all admissions forms, and students from any geographical location (including Madison, Wisconsin) are welcome to apply.  Online students cannot take face to face courses.

For more information on the Information School MA program, including detailed admissions instructions, please see this link.

The Graduate School requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution. A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in the last 60 earned credit hours is required.

Application evaluation criteria include academic abilities, professional promise, leadership and community engagement. An undergraduate program that includes breadth in liberal arts and sciences is required. Any major is acceptable. Prior work experience related to information professions is useful, but is not required. The GRE is not required.

International students: TOEFL or equivalent scores are required if English is not the native language, or if the undergraduate instruction was not in English. The Information School follows UW Graduate School rules regarding English proficiency exams. See the Graduate School website for updated information. For more information about admission to the master's program, see iSchool MA Admissions.

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.

Named Option Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
No No Yes No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 39 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 33 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 are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (http://my.wisc.edu/CourseGuideRedirect/BrowseByTitle).

The remaining 9 credits of coursework must be 300 level or above and may not include iSchool undergraduate coursework.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
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 a portfolio.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

The program has three courses that all students must take.  These courses are foundational to the field and provide prerequisite knowledge for more advanced courses.

Required Courses
L I S 601 Information: Perspectives and Contexts3
L I S 602 Information: Organization and Search3
L I S 603 Research and Assessment for Information Professionals3
Management Courses3
Choose at least 3 credits from the following:
Information Services Management
The Public Library
Strategic Information Services
Technology Courses3
Choose at least 3 credits from the following:
Code and Power
Digital Tools, Trends and Debates
Introduction to Info Architecture and Interaction Design for the Web
Digital Curation and Collections
Database Design for Information Professionals
Digital Humanities Analytics
Most students fulfill the practicum requirement by taking:
Field Project in Library and Information Agencies
Students may take up to 9 credits of electives outside of the iSchool. All non-LIS electives must be approved by the student’s advisor.
Total Credits39

Students seeking school library media certification have additional required courses; for details, see https://ischool.wisc.edu/programs/masters-degree-program/concentrations/librarianship/school-library-media-program/

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Students may count up to 6 credits of approved graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With approval, UW–Madison undergraduates accepted into the Information School program may count up to 7 graduate iSchool credits (LIS 400 and above) toward their M.A. degree.

UW–Madison University Special

Students are allowed to count up to 6 approved credits of coursework numbered 400 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special Student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


A student may be placed on probation or suspended from the Graduate School for low grades or for failing to resolve incompletes in a timely fashion. In special cases the Graduate School permits students who do not meet these minimum standards to continue on probation upon recommendation and support of their advisor.   See iSchool Student Handbook.


All continuing students are required to meet with their advisor prior to registering for each semester in order to remove registration holds and ensure timely progress towards degree completion.  Students may switch advisors at any time by completing a change of advisor form.


The iSchool recommends 3 to 6 credits per semester for online students.  8 to 12 credits in a regular semester is considered full time at the graduate level.  

Time Constraints

The maximum period for completion of the M.A. (under special circumstances) is seven calendar years. Contact the department for more information.

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


Online program students are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Also, students in this program cannot enroll in other graduate programs nor take courses outside the prescribed curriculum.

Graduate School Resources

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

For a complete faculty/staff directory see this website.