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The Information School

School Overview

370 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352840

Dean
Harry Bruce

Associate Deans
Cheryl Metoyer, Research
Matthew Saxton, Academics

Never in our society's history has there been such a great need to manage so much information quickly and efficiently. The Information School is dedicated to preparing a rising generation of information leaders to embrace the challenges associated with the way we create, find, store, manipulate, and share information.

The School offers four degree programs, leading to the Bachelor of Science in Informatics, Master of Library and Information Science, Master of Science in Information Management, and PhD in Information Science. The School also offers certificate programs, continuing education opportunities for professionals, and service courses for undergraduates in information fluency, research strategies, and technology. Graduates of the School assume a variety of professional roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors, with positions that span from information architects to children's librarians, from web developers to information technology (IT) managers, from network and information assurance professionals to researchers and faculty in the information field.

The community is interdisciplinary, bringing together a variety of social science traditions, including: library and information science, computer science, sociology, communication, philosophy, and engineering. Most research addresses topics in the following broad categories:

  • Ethics and Information
  • Personal Information Management
  • Human-Computer Interaction and Design
  • Information Management
  • Knowledge Organization
  • Information Literacy
  • Access to Information
  • Information in Everyday Life

The School's work remains focused on the human impact of information. The research and curriculum of the school examines information systems and technology from a user-centered perspective. By retaining a focus on the human impact of information systems and technology, we build on our community values of trust, transparency, and mutual respect.

History

Originally established in 1911, the Information School has the oldest library and information science program west of the Mississippi, and continues to offer the most extensive American Library Association-accredited library and information science degree in the Northwest region of the United States.

In 1998, the University set out to transform the School by charging it with a new mission, to become what it is today: a broad-based information school that meets the challenges and opportunities of the information age. With the addition of three new degree programs, a new dean, faculty, and state of the art facilities, the Information School became the University's sixteenth independently organized school/college in 2001.

The School seeks to explore the theoretical and applied cutting edges of the information field and to nurture the best of both worlds: traditional library values and ever-changing information frontiers.

Passion

The School is inspired by information, wanting everyone to know how vital information is in all aspects of life.

Vision

The School envisions a world where more effective use of information helps everyone discover, learn, innovate, solve problems, have fun, and make a better world. Information changes lives.

Mission

The School prepares information leaders through researching the problems and opportunities of information, designing solutions to information challenges, and making information work.

Informatics students design, build, implement, and secure information systems that meet human, organizational, and societal needs.

Students have a strong people focus and they excel as user experience designers, business analysts, data managers, information architects, web developers, and information assurance professionals.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
470 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352840
(206) 543-1794
informatics@.uw.edu

The Information School offers a Bachelor of Science in Informatics degree, with options in human-computer interaction and information architecture.

Bachelor of Science

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: INFO 101, INFO 200, an English composition course (selected from the University list), CSE 142, CSE 143, and STAT 221, STAT 311, STAT 293, or Q METH 201; courses that develop strong analytical, qualitative, and quantitative reasoning skills; courses that develop strong written and oral communication skills; courses that provide exposure to a variety of social science fields such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, or philosophy.

Program Admission Requirements

Regular Admission

  1. INFO 200; CSE 142; either STAT 221, STAT 311, STAT 390, or QMETH 201; one English composition course selected from the University list, with a minimum 2.0 grade in each course. Departmentally approved transfer equivalents may be used to substitute for prerequisite courses.
  2. Minimum 2.00 cumulative college GPA.
  3. Admission is competitive, based on the following criteria:
    1. Overall academic performance
    2. Grades in courses required for admission to the major
    3. Personal statement reflecting an interest in and commitment to becoming a major in this field
    4. Other evidence of interest in and commitment to the field (e.g., work experience, internships).

Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee admission.

  1. Application deadline is June 15. Students apply online at www.ischool.uw.edu. Admission is for autumn quarter only.
  2. Admission is done annually and new students enter the program autumn quarter. Most students apply spring of their sophomore year and begin the program the following autumn quarter as a junior.
  3. There is not an equivalent course to INFO 200 taught elsewhere; therefore, transfer students can apply to the program and be admitted with the provision that they complete INFO 200 with a minimum 2.0 grade before the end of their first year in the program.

Freshman Direct Admission Program (FDAP)

  1. Designed to recruit top high school students to the program and to the UW. Students who indicate an interest in the Informatics program are automatically considered for FDAP participation upon application to the UW. They are evaluated based on careful review of qualitative and quantitative factors, including high school GPA, SAT scores, personal statement, and any additional information provided in their application file. Students selected for FDAP are involved in the academic and social life of the Information School, participating in courses, activities, and research opportunities as appropriate during their freshman and sophomore years.
  2. The number of early admission (FDAP) students does not exceed 10 percent of the number of majors admitted each year.

Major Requirements

94-99 credits as follows:

  1. Courses required for admission to the program (18-19 credits, as shown above)
  2. Core courses (55 credits): INFO 330, INFO 340, INFO 343, INFO 360, INFO 380, INFO 450, INFO 470, INFO 481, INFO 490 (8), INFO 491, CSE 143, CSE 373
  3. Areas of study (16-20 credits): Students may choose a transcriptable option in either human-computer interaction (HCI) or information architecture (IA). (See below.) Alternatively students may work with their adviser to select a minimum of four classes (16-20 credits) to create a customized program aligned with their personal interests or career goals. For example, networking and information assurance, as well as social computing/social informatics, are additional areas of strength within the School.
  4. Free elective (5 credits): At least one additional 300- or 400-level INFO elective in any area, totalling at least 5 credits.

General Education and Areas of Knowledge:

  1. English composition (5 credits)
  2. Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning (5 credits)
  3. Writing courses (10 credits)
  4. Natural World (20 credits)
  5. Individuals & Societies (20 credits)
  6. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (20 credits)

Up to 15 credits of INFO-prefix courses from the University Areas of Knowledge list may be counted toward the UW Areas of Knowledge requirement (Natural World; Individuals & Societies; Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts).

Options

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Option (16-20 credits). Minimum four courses from the areas listed below, with the following distribution:

  1. At least one course in two of the following areas: user interface software and technology; design; usability and user research; social and ethical dimensions. See department website for approved area courses.
  2. At least one course from the approved area list from a participating department outside the Information School (Art, Computer Science, or Human Centered Design & Engineering). See department website for approved area courses.
  3. Special topics courses such as INFO 498, CSE 190, HCDE 490, and HCDE 496 may be approved within any of the course areas below on an individual, per-course basis, depending on subject matter.

Course areas:

  • Foundations: ART 383, CSE 440, HCDE 319
  • User Interface Software and Technology: CSE 441, INFO 344, HCDE 438
  • Design: ART 483, ART 484, INFO 424, HCDE 455
  • Usability and User Research: INFO 310, HCDE 317, HCDE 318
  • Social and Ethical Dimensions: INFO 444, INFO 447

Information Architecture (IA) Option (16-20 credits). Minimum four courses from an approved list. See department website for list.

Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Option (16-20 credits). See department website for list.

  1. Foundation Course: INFO 310 or equivalent
  2. Minimum three additional courses from an approved list (11-15 credits). Includes courses at participating departments on all three UW campuses. See program website for list: ischool.uw.edu/academics/informatics/degree-options. No more than one of these three may be a networking course (INFO 341, T INFO 250, or CSS 432).

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Student Outcomes

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The informatics program prepares students for a wide range of endeavors in the information field including information management and technology, research and information services, interactive system design, human-computer interaction, and information science.

    Graduates of the informatics program are qualified for jobs in the information and technology industry and in business, public service, and other professions. Possible job titles include user experience designer, business analyst, consultant, usability engineer, data manager, information architect, web developer, network manager, project manager, and information assurance professional.

    The program also provides strong preparation for graduate studies. Graduates are successfully placed in prestigious graduate schools and pursue a variety of programs, including information and management science, information science, biomedical informatics, business and accounting, and information technology.

    Informatics student-learning outcomes include the ability to assess people's information needs and behavior; ability to design information systems to meet people's information needs; ability to work with information technologies (e.g., database, networks, Internet-based, interface design); ability to evaluate the impact of information technologies on people; ability to communicate effectively; ability to manage projects; ability to build working systems; ability to organize and manage information; ability to work effectively individually and as part of a team; and ability to understand the research process and its implication for information systems design and use. All informatics courses are designed to produce these outcomes through a rigorous experiential learning approach that emphasizes group work, research, writing, oral presentations, and technology.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Located on the third and fourth floors of Mary Gates Hall, the School offers an extensive software collection, a state-of-the-art computer classroom, an innovative Technology Exploration (TE) Lab, and excellent network connectivity. Students have access to software applications including titles for database and text management, programming, graphics, multimedia production, web development, Internet exploration and collaboration, and office productivity. Students also have access to a large number of bibliographic databases and commercial information services.

    The School also has a dedicated information science research facility at the Roosevelt Commons Building. The research space comprises 7,000 square feet of offices, workstations, research labs, and meeting spaces.

  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors; With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). Distinction (Departmental Honors). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Internships are encouraged, but not required. Students participate in a variety of internships, paid and non-paid. A significant number of students also work part-time in Informatics or technology-related positions, and participate in public service.

    Informatics students are extensively engaged in faculty research and internships. A significant percentage of informatics students participates in the University's Undergraduate Research Symposium each year. Students have co-authored publications with faculty, had their research accepted for presentation at national conference poster sessions, and been recognized with various awards, including the Mary Gates Research Training Endowment for three consecutive years (2001-03).

  • School Scholarships: The Henry Scholarships, in the amount of approximately $1500 each, are awarded to three second-year majors in recognition for academic achievement, leadership, and service to the School and in professional/student activities. Students to be considered for the award are nominated by the Information School faculty and Undergraduate Program Committee members. The merit-based awards, named after the founder of the school and first director, William Henry, are intended to recognize and honor student achievement.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Undergraduates participate in a number of the School's many student organizations, including the UW Informatics Undergraduate Association (IUGA) and the student chapter of the American Society of Information Scientists and Technology (ASIST).

Of Special Note:

Capstone Projects: Students often use their capstone projects to identify interest areas, develop skills, and prepare for future pursuits. Through capstone projects, students demonstrate the skills, understanding, and competencies they can successfully use to prepare for employment and graduate studies.

Information Sessions: Prospective students are encouraged to attend an Informatics information session. For a schedule of information sessions, visit the School website at ischool.uw.edu/informatics/prospective/more_info.

Graduate Programs

The School offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), the Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Information Science.

Master of Library and Information Science

MLIS Adviser
470 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352840
(206) 543-1794
mlis@uw.edu

Admission Requirements

The MLIS program is offered in two delivery modes: residential (on-campus, two-year program) and distance (online with quarterly residencies, three-year program). When applying, applicants must indicate for which program they are applying. Applications should also include:

  1. A current resume highlighting any relevant work experience, volunteer activities, and honors, awards, and presentations
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Personal statement of educational and professional goals and responses to two supplemental questions
  4. Official transcript from each relevant institution attended
  5. GRE Scores. Applicants with an earned doctorate (PhD, MD, JD) are not required to submit GRE scores.
  6. TOEFL score (for international students)

Degree Requirements

63 credits, as follows:

  1. Core curriculum (34 credits): LIS 500, LIS 510, LIS 520, LIS 530, LIS 540, LIS 550, LIS 560, LIS 570, LIS 580
  2. Electives (29 credits)
  3. Portfolio or Thesis Option: MLIS students must complete either a portfolio or thesis in order to graduate.
  4. Directed Fieldwork: LIS 590 is an elective course designed to provide students an opportunity to work in an information environment under the supervision of an experienced professional mentor.

Master of Library and Information Science, Law Librarianship

The Law MLIS program is designed to prepare lawyers with an existing JD degree to serve as law librarians in courts, federal and state units of government, law schools, corporations, and law firms.

Admission Requirements

  1. A current resume highlighting any relevant work experience, volunteer activities, and honors, awards, and presentations
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Personal statement of educational and professional goals and responses to two supplemental questions
  4. Official transcript from each relevant institution attended
  5. Earned JD prior to enrollment in the MLIS program
  6. TOEFL score (for international students)

Degree Requirements

44 credits, as follows:

  1. Core curriculum (23 credits): LIS 500, LIS 510, LIS 520, LIS 530, LIS 540, LIS 550
  2. Law librarianship courses (17 credits): LIS 591, LIS 592, LIS 593, LIS 594, LIS 595
  3. Directed fieldwork (4 credits): LIS 590

Master of Science in Information Management

MSIM Adviser
470 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352840
(206) 543-1794
msim@uw.edu

Admission Requirements

  1. A current resume highlighting any relevant work experience, volunteer activities, and honors, awards, and presentations
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Personal statement of educational and professional goals
  4. Official transcript from each relevant institution attended
  5. GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants with an earned doctorate (PhD, MD, JD) are not required to submit GRE or GMAT scores.
  6. TOEFL score (for international students)

Degree Requirements, Day Option

65-71 credits, to include:

  1. Core curriculum:
    1. Foundational core courses: IMT 480, IMT 440, IMT 500
    2. Technology core courses: IMT 540, IMT 541, IMT 542
    3. Management core courses: IMT 580, IMT 581, IMT 582
    4. Integrating core courses: IMT 598, IMT 595
  2. Electives (24 credits): Beyond the required core courses, students have the option of crafting a program of study, in collaboration with their faculty adviser, specific to their interests and career goals. MSI.M. course electives include, among others, principles of information retrieval systems, strategic planning and evaluation, and marketing foundations for information professionals.
  3. Internship: MSI.M. internships are structured around a course (IMT 590) and are designed to provide students an opportunity to work in an information environment under the supervision of an experienced professional mentor. During the internship placement (lasting a minimum of two academic quarters), the student works to meet meaningful learning objectives that have been mutually defined by student and internship supervisor.

Degree Requirements, Executive Option

47-53 credits, to include:

  1. Core curriculum:
    1. Foundational core courses: IMT 480, IMT 440, IMT 500
    2. Technology core courses: IMT 540, IMT 541, IMT 542
    3. Management core courses: IMT 580, IMT 581, IMT 582
    4. Integrating core courses: IMT 598, IMT 595
  2. Electives: Students complete a minimum of 11 credits of electives, which includes advanced MSIM courses, relevant upper-level coursework in other academic disciplines, or an independent study (IMT 600).

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science

PhD Adviser
470 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352840
(206) 543-1794
ischoolphd@uw.edu

Admission Requirements

90 credits minimum, to include:

  1. Current curriculum vitae highlighting any academic and/or work experience, honors, publications, presentations, and research experience
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Personal statement of educational and professional goals
  4. Official transcript from each relevant institution attended
  5. GRE Scores. Applicants with an earned doctorate (PhD, MD, JD) are not required to submit GRE scores.
  6. TOEFL score (for international students)

Degree Requirements

90 credits minimum, to include:

  1. Required courses: INSC 501, INSC 570, INSC 572, INSC 500; two research practica; two teaching practica; at least one of the following quantitative methods courses: BIOST 502, BIOST 517, COM 520, CS&SS 507, PSYCH 524
  2. Additional elective coursework selected in consultation with faculty advisers
  3. 18 graded credits in courses at the 500 level and above (taken prior to general examination)
  4. 60 credits taken prior to general examination
  5. 27 dissertation credits (INSC 800)
  6. Preliminary review determined by a School-based advisory committee at the end of the required first-year of full-time study
  7. General examination upon completion of coursework and practica components to attain formal candidacy for the PhD program (candidate's certificate)
  8. Successfully defend a dissertation before a Supervisory Committee (final examination)

Financial Aid

The University of Washington Financial Aid Office administers a variety of government and University funded financial aid programs for which applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA). For more information, contact the UW Financial Aid Office, 105 Schmitz Hall. Information on the FAFSA is also available online.

Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships

Financial aid options for full-time students may include graduate assistantships and scholarships. Graduate assistants generally work 220 hours per quarter, and receive a tuition waiver as well as a monthly salary and medical benefits. Prospective MLIS and MSI.M. students are encouraged to apply during the admission process and throughout the year as other positions become available. Visit the Student Employment Opportunities page at ischool.uw.edu/jobs/students to apply for open positions. PhD students are automatically considered for graduate student service appointments.

MLIS scholarships are awarded on a basis of financial need, based on information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and academic merit.

Information regarding additional sources of financial aid, from sources outside the Information School, is available at the Information School Financial Aid Resources web page.

Special Research Facilities

Located on the third and fourth floors of Mary Gates Hall, one of the University's high-technology buildings, the School offers an extensive software collection, a state-of-the-art computer classroom, an innovative Technology Exploration (TE) Lab, and excellent network connectivity. Students have access to software applications including titles for database and text management, programming, graphics, multimedia, web development, Internet exploration and collaboration, and office productivity. Students also have access to a large number of bibliographic databases and commercial information services.

The School also has a dedicated information science research facility at the Roosevelt Commons Building. The research space comprises 7,000 square feet of offices, workstations, research labs, and meeting spaces.

For more information, please visit the School's website at www.ischool.uw.edu/resources/technology/help.

Continuing and Professional Education

The Information School works with University of Washington Educational Outreach to offer classes, workshops, and certificate programs for continuing education and professional development. Current certificate programs include web technology solutions; information assurance and cybersecurity; and school library professional. Those interested in continuing education or certificate programs should contact UW Professional & Continuing Education, 4311 11th Avenue NE, Box 354978, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105. Phone: (206) 543-2320 or see www.pce.uw.edu/.