Information science is the study of information systems, including human, computer and cognitive communication systems. Programs in this field examine various forms of communications and the role that humans play in the storage, retrieval and sharing of information systems. Degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's level. Some schools offer coursework fully or partially online. Skills acquired in these programs include identifying communication systems utilized by various industries, analyzing efficiency in information systems and demonstrating ethical behavior in the storage and management of sensitive information.
Admission requirements for a bachelor's program include a high school diploma or GED certificate, and may also include an essay, resume, and prerequisite coursework in calculus, life and social sciences, statistics and programming. Admission to a 2-year master's degree program typically requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, letters of reference and a personal statement essay. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or less may be required to take and submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Bachelor's Degree in Information Science
Students in a 4-year information science bachelor program learn about database design, archiving, data communications, programming, Web development and information technology. Some undergraduate programs include concentrations in areas like human-centered systems, information systems or social systems.
Coursework in an information science bachelor's degree program covers issues in human and technological communication systems and the process of organizing information, including a survey of library classification systems. Other course topics may include:
- Database construction
- Record keeping
- Electronic archives
- Organizational behavior
- Computer applications
Master's Degrees in Information Science
Students study library information systems and collections, as well as learn to develop and deliver electronic resources. Students in the program develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills through coursework that examines issues in the storage and sharing of information through a wide range of systems, particularly computer systems. Skills acquired include proficiency in operating systems, search engines, communication tools, programming languages and computer applications, including database, spreadsheet and presentation software. Course topics include:
- Internet databases
- Database programming
- Document delivery
- Web development
- Bibliographic databases
Graduate Certificate in Information Science
Designed for doctoral students, this program includes studies in information technology and methods of storing and disseminating information. Doctoral candidates conduct academic research and complete independent study projects and doctoral degree requirements while working towards the graduate certificate. Coursework covers technology's influence on modern society and human communications, especially the impact of computers, the Internet and networking capabilities. Admittance to the program typically requires concurrent enrollment in a doctoral degree program in information science and information studies.
Coursework prepares students to identify information systems and their uses in the medical, multi-media, entertainment and technological industries, with the inclusion of course topics like Web development and simulation software. Other topics of discussion include:
- Interactive entertainment
- GPS systems
- Virtual reality
- 3-D mapping
- Information marketing
Popular Career Options
Graduates can pursue employment in large or small corporations, government offices, health care, schools, libraries or computer consulting companies. Career opportunities for graduates include positions in business, government, entertainment, multi-media and more. Graduates may pursue the following job titles:
- Web developer
- Information consultant
- Product developer
- Database administrator
- IT analyst
- Systems analyst
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 457,290 jobs were held by computer and information systems managers in 2020, with a 10% increase in jobs expected through 2029 (www.bls.gov). Computer and information systems managers earn a mean annual salary of $161,730 as of May 2020, according to the BLS.
Degrees in information systems prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the computer technology industry, many of which are projected to experience steady job growth over the next decade.