This is a named option within the Library and Information Studies M.A.

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.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

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 March 1, priority consideration, including consideration for departmental scholarships, is given to applications received by December 15.  After March 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.

Program Information

Students enrolled in this program are not eligible to receive tuition remission from graduate assistantship appointments at this institution.

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

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

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

Core9
All three courses are required; take L I S 602 in first semester and L I S 601 in first or second semester. L I S 603 can be taken at any time. (9 credits):
Information: Perspectives and Contexts
Information: Organization and Search
Research and Assessment for Information Professionals
Tier Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)3
Choose one of the following courses (3 credits):
Code and Power
Multicultural Literature and Resources for Children and Youth
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic Title: Services to Diverse Populations
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic Title: Tribal Libraries Archives and Museums
Tier Management3
Choose one of the following courses (3 credits):
Information Services Management
The Public Library
College and University Libraries
Tier Technology 3
Choose one of the following courses (3 credits):
Digital Tools, Trends and Debates
Topics in Library and Information Studies Only the topic "Web Development" counts.
Introduction to Info Architecture and Interaction Design for the Web
Digital Curation and Collections
Database Design for Information Professionals
Digital Humanities Analytics
Computational Research Methods
Tier LIS Fundamentals6
Chose two of the following courses (6 credits):
Systems Analysis and Project Management for Information Professionals
Metadata Standards and XML
Reference and Information Service
Pedagogical Theory and Practice for Information Professionals
Cataloging and Classification
Collection Management
Introduction to Archives and Records Management
Capstone3
Field Project in Library and Information Agencies
E-Portfolio0
Students are required to complete an e-portfolio prior to graduation. This is a non-credit bearing requirement.
Electives9
Suggested courses below are based on potential concentrations. Students do not declare concentrations and may mix and match courses across areas. Students may take up to 6 credits of electives outside of the iSchool. All non-L I S electives must be approved by the student’s advisor.
Digital Librarianship
Introduction to Info Architecture and Interaction Design for the Web
Systems Analysis and Project Management for Information Professionals
Code and Power
Pedagogical Theory and Practice for Information Professionals
Database Design for Information Professionals
Digital Curation and Collections
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic title: Web Development
Digital Humanities Analytics
Surveillance, Privacy, and Police Powers
Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy
Human Factors in Information Security
Information Ethics and Policy
Archives/Records
Introduction to Archives and Records Management
Records Management
Archives Accessioning and Appraisal
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic title: Description and Arrangement
Preservation and Conservation of Library and Archives Materials
Systems Analysis and Project Management for Information Professionals
Metadata Standards and XML
Cataloging and Classification
Database Design for Information Professionals
Public
The Public Library
Reference and Information Service
Cataloging and Classification
Collection Management
Pedagogical Theory and Practice for Information Professionals
Digital Health: Information and Technologies Supporting Consumers and Patients
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic title: Services to Diverse Populations
Reading Interests of Adults
Electronic Resource Management & Licensing
Digital Curation and Collections
Information Ethics and Policy
Metadata Standards and XML
Youth
Childrens Literature
Multicultural Literature and Resources for Children and Youth
Literature and Resources for Youth
Library Services to Children and Young Adults
Pedagogical Theory and Practice for Information Professionals
Digital Curation and Collections
Electronic Resource Management & Licensing
Information Ethics and Policy
Collection Management
Reference and Information Service
Metadata Standards and XML
College and Research Libraries
College and University Libraries
Pedagogical Theory and Practice for Information Professionals
Reference and Information Service
Cataloging and Classification
Metadata Standards and XML
Topics in Library and Information Studies Topic Title: Services to Diverse Populations
Collection Management
Information Ethics and Policy
Digital Curation and Collections
Electronic Resource Management & Licensing
Additional Courses
Topics in Library and Information Studies
Topics in Information Agency Management
Introduction to Text Mining
History of American Librarianship
Music Research Methods and Materials
History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America
XML and Linked Data
Publishing, Knowledge Institutions and Society: E-Revolutions?
Introduction to Cyberlaw
Introductory Analytics for Decision Making
Data Mining Planning and Management
Data Visualization and Communication for Decision Making
Topics in Community Engagement
Information Use and Users
Field Project in Library and Information Literacy Instruction
Special Collections
Topics in Information Processing and Retrieval
Digital Libraries
One credit courses are offered every semester under a variety of topics under L I S 640 and L I S 855.
Total Credits36

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/

Students in this program may not take courses outside the prescribed curriculum without faculty advisor and program director approval. Students in this program cannot enroll concurrently in other undergraduate, graduate or certificate programs.

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.

Probation

This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.   See also iSchool Student Handbook.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

All continuing students are encouraged 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.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

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 limits

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

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

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.

Other

n/a

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.