Master's Thesis Option Program (MTOP)

As a professional program in a research institution, the School of Information recognizes both the value of engaged learning and the value of research-oriented activities. Drawing on the substantial backgrounds of our faculty as research scholars and mentors, UMSI offers an opportunity for master's students to spend part of their second year at UMSI writing a master's thesis. This is known as Master's Thesis Option Program, or MTOP.

If selected to write a thesis, you have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty advisor, explore original research questions and apply the tools of information science to generate new knowledge. The exact nature of the project is worked out by you and the faculty member(s). It may be a collaborative project, but you are expected to make an independent contribution. Successful completion of a thesis earns a designation on your final transcript. Students in MTOP enroll in SI 698 for two terms to complete their thesis research. If these courses are both passed successfully, they will satisfy the mastery course requirement within the MSI program.

Academic-track students considering application to further degrees, such as a Ph.D. program. The thesis option provides an opportunity to get first-hand experience in substantive research. It is an excellent way to gain skills and insight into the academic process and can assist in making the decision to pursue a further degree where a dissertation is required.

Professional-track students planning to conduct or evaluate research upon completion of their master's degree. Many positions within the information science profession are research-intensive and benefit from the mastery of methodology. The thesis provides a cohesive opportunity to develop those skills and will generate an impressive addition to a job-seeker's portfolio.