MSI degree components

The MSI is a 48-credit degree program, with a minimum of 42 credits required from School of Information courses (minimum of 39 UMSI credits with advisor approval). The program takes 2 years to complete on a full-time basis and 3-4 years if completed part-time. Students are generally in residence at the School of Information for 2 academic years (4 semesters) and are also required to complete an approved internship. Additionally, the MSI cognate policy requires that students complete a minimum of 3 credits of graduate-level coursework outside the School of Information. The MSI degree includes several components that ensure a substantial academic program yet allow for flexibility.

UMSI Coursework 

Students must complete a minimum of 48 credits for the MSI degree, with at least 42 credits of coursework in the School of Information (UMSI courses). With academic advisor approval, students may be approved to count up to 3 additional cognate credits, reducing the minimum number of UMSI credits required from 42 to 39. UMSI coursework includes introductory courses, advanced courses, mastery courses, and UMSI Internship Program courses. Included in the introductory and advanced courses are prerequisites for mastery courses which are designed to provide a strong foundation in a particular area of interest and prepare students for their chosen mastery course. Some students choose to take advanced electives that support additional depth in their primary area of interest, while others select electives to diversify their skills and knowledge. Courses are organized as introductory through advanced with most advanced courses having a prerequisite sequence.

Mastery Course or Master’s Thesis

Students complete a mastery course (3 credits) or master's thesis (6 credits) in the second year. Mastery courses are special types of courses that require students to demonstrate synthesis of the major theories, methods, and approaches to inquiry and/or schools of practice necessary for entry into a particular career in the information professions. Each mastery course has 5-8 prerequisite courses that must be taken in advance of the mastery course.

The Master’s Thesis Option Program (MTOP) is a rigorous two-semester research experience where students, working closely with a faculty advisor, explore original research questions and apply the tools of information science to generate new knowledge. Students apply to MTOP at the end of their first year in the MSI program and if accepted, enroll in independent study courses for thesis research in their second year.

Cognate Coursework

Students complete a minimum of 3 credits of cognate coursework. Cognates are graduate-level courses taken outside the School of Information. U-M offers hundreds of courses each semester across a multitude of disciplines. The cognate requirement is an opportunity for students to explore an interest, advance a skill set, or develop depth in an area of focus outside the School of Information.

UMSI Internship Program

Students earn a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 9 School of Information credits for approved internships that meet the requirements of the UMSI Internship Program. Internships may be part-time or full-time and once a student is eligible to enroll in UMSI Internship Program courses, internships can be completed during any term. Most students satisfy the UMSI Internship Program requirement through completion of a full-time internship in the summer between their first and second year in the MSI program.