The program leading to the Master of Science degree with a major in information sciences requires 36 semester hours of graduate courses, including 3 courses required of all students. There are two non-thesis options, a comprehensive exam or an ePortfolio, or a thesis option with 6 hours required for the thesis option. At least 27 hours must be taken within the School of Information Sciences curriculum, and up to 9 hours outside of the school can be taken, including a maximum of 6 hours outside the college. No more than 6 hours may be taken from another university.
Three courses are required of all students – INSC 510 , INSC 520 , INSC 530 . (Students seeking licensure see track requirements below.) These courses address the evolving information environment, organization and representation of information, and information access and retrieval. The courses 510, 520, and 530 are prerequisites to all courses for students enrolled in the MS program.
The faculty regards the following courses as vital to professional success – INSC 504 , INSC 550 , INSC 560 . These courses address research, management and leadership in information organizations, and the concepts of developing and managing collections.
Individualized Curriculum Approach
Students, in consultation with their advisor, may wish to pursue a curricular focus, or pathway, to develop an individualized program of study. Graduates of the school have prepared themselves for a variety of careers, including positions as corporate information specialist, public librarian, records manager/archivist, science information specialist, webpage designer, indexer/abstractor, online information retrieval specialist, medical or law librarian, reference librarian, youth services specialist, and many others. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the individualized curricular approach.
Whatever individualized curriculum is chosen, all students who complete the program receive a MS accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).
For those pursuing Tennessee Department of Education licensure as a school library media specialist, stipulated requirements apply. See the following section.
Tennessee State Department of Education School Library Media Specialist Requirements
The Tennessee State Department of Education requires School Library Media Specialists to hold the master’s degree. The School of Information Sciences offers four tracks for school library media specialist endorsement.
Initial Endorsement for Non-Licensed Teachers with no Master’s Degree in Library or Information Sciences
For those students who do not have the master’s degree, the requirements for initial endorsement include the three required courses plus INSC 551 , INSC 560 , INSC 571 , INSC 572 , INSC 573 , INSC 580 , INSC 581 , INSC 595 and 1 elective (upon approval of faculty advisor). In addition, students must complete two co-requisite courses from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (6 credit hours) that do not count toward the master’s degree requirements. These courses are EDPY 401 and SPED 402. Students pursuing the initial endorsement must follow the non-thesis option. Upon completion of the requirements, students earn a master’s degree in information sciences and a Tennessee State Department of Education license as a School Library Media Specialist.
Initial Endorsement for Non-Licensed Teachers with a Master’s Degree in Library or Information Sciences
For those students who hold an ALA-accredited master’s degree and have approval of the faculty advisor, the requirements are a maximum of 24 hours within the school’s program, including the required INSC 595 . In addition, students must complete two co-requisite courses (EDPY 401 and SPED 402) from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (6 credit hours) beyond the required 24 hours. Upon completion of the requirements, students earn a Tennessee State Department of Education license as a School Library Media Specialist.
Additional Endorsement for Licensed Teachers without a Master’s Degree
The requirements include the three required courses plus INSC 551 , INSC 571 , INSC 572 , INSC 580 , INSC 581 and INSC 596 (which must be taken twice) plus 5 electives (upon approval of the faculty advisor). Upon completion of the requirements, students will earn a master’s degree in Information Sciences and a Tennessee State Department of Education additional endorsement as a School Library Media Specialist.
Additional Requirements - Thesis Option
Students electing the thesis option will write a master’s thesis under close supervision of a thesis committee. Six hours of Thesis (INSC 500 ) must be taken within the 36 hours required for graduation. (Students may register for more than 6 hours of 500, but only 6 hours will count toward graduation.) Students must be registered for INSC 500 in the semester they complete and defend their thesis. The oral defense of the thesis (final comprehensive examination) substitutes for the written examination that is taken by non-thesis students. The writing of the master’s thesis serves as the culminating experience.
Additional Requirements - Non-Thesis Options
Non-Thesis Option – Comprehensive exam
Upon completion of the program, students may elect the non-thesis option of taking and passing a written comprehensive examination. Students may take no more than a total of 12 hours from INSC 591 , INSC 594 , INSC 599 . The number of satisfactory/no credit courses/grades in a student’s program is limited to one-fourth of the total credit hours required (9 of 36).
Non-Thesis Option – ePortfolio
Near the start of the program, students may elect the non-thesis option of building and defending an ePortfolio (more information available at https://www.sis.utk.edu/programs/eportfolio). Students may take no more than a total of 12 hours from INSC 591 , INSC 594 , INSC 599 . The number of satisfactory/no credit courses/grades in a student’s program is limited to one-fourth of the total credit hours required (9 of 36).
Financial Assistance Opportunities
Employment with the University of Tennessee Libraries may provide a work-study opportunity for selected students who wish to obtain experience in academic librarianship while pursuing the degree. Such students usually work at least 20 hours each week and thus may extend the period required for the degree. Similar opportunities exist with some other libraries and information agencies in the Knoxville area.
Work opportunities in a scientific-technical environment are available through subcontracts with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy.
A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships are available through the school. Assistantships of this type carry a waiver of tuition and fees as well as a stipend and require that recipients work 10 hours per week in the school.
For application forms and information about financial aid and other information about the Master of Science with a major in information sciences, write to Admissions, School of Information Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 451 Communications Building, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996.