The University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) will offer the university's first bachelor’s degree in information, with the first students graduating in 2015. The U-M Board of Regents approved the new degree at its May 17 meeting and the Presidents Council of State Universities of Michigan gave final approval on June 11.
"This new degree will be the first of its kind in the nation,” UMSI Dean Jeffrey MacKie-Mason said. “Information itself will be the central object of study, using a combination of social, behavioral and technological sciences. This will be an interdisciplinary degree in the tradition of the liberal arts and natural and technology sciences, rather than a professional or vocational program.”
The school currently offers a professional master’s degree program, a doctoral degree, and a master’s degree in health informatics through a joint program with the School of Public Health. The undergraduate degree will be the first offered by UMSI since its founding in 1996.
“We are uniquely positioned to offer this degree and do it well,” MacKie-Mason said. “The huge impact of the digital revolution has touched all our lives. It has affected the way we conduct business, make personal health decisions, engage in civic discourse, elect leaders, and raise our families. Yet our traditional disciplines of study haven’t addressed this subject in a unified way.
“The new degree will be distinctive because the core elements of the curriculum–including math, communications, statistics and history–will be designed and delivered by a single faculty whose central object of study is information.”
“We will enable students to examine any subject–whether it’s a great work of literature or a scientific breakthrough–through an ‘information lens,’” said Erin Krupka, UMSI assistant professor and member of the task force that designed the new program. “We will be teaching students how to critically evaluate and navigate the information that surrounds them, in order to make good choices in their personal, professional, and civic lives.”
Upon graduation, students will be prepared for jobs in virtually any field, including science, business, government, technology, education, entertainment, health care, administration and policy. Within these fields, graduates may find positions such as information architects, health informationists, communications specialists, management analysts, online community managers, and others not even imagined yet.
The degree will be open to juniors and seniors at the University of Michigan and to transfer students. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI).
There will also be a wide range of information classes for first and second year students, who will be able to sample the subject area and decide if they will pursue the information degree. Students may begin applying to the degree in 2013 for enrollment in fall 2014.
Students interested in receiving more information about the program are invited to email email@example.com