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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 25, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

School of Information Sciences

The School of Information Sciences (iSchool) is one of the nation’s pioneering schools in the education of information professionals, with a rich history that reaches back more than 100 years. Throughout that century, the School has built and maintained a tradition of excellence and innovation in the Information Sciences. As one example, our Master of Library and Information Science degree is ranked tenth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This School, with a national and international reputation for quality, will prepare students for careers in the information, telecommunications, archival and library professions.

The School of Information Sciences offers programs of study leading to masters’ and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates of advanced study (post-bachelor’s and post-master’s). The iSchool is composed of the Information Science and Technology Program, the Library and Information Science Program, and the Telecommunications and Networking Program. Degrees and certificates offered by each are outlined under the individual program headings. The iSchool’s faculty, staff, students and programs-uniquely interdisciplinary, multicultural, and international by design-are dedicated to building a global society and an informed citizenship based upon access to reliable and useful information.

Grandparenting and the new School of Computing and Information

School of Information Science (SIS) students who matriculated into the University of Pittsburgh PRIOR to Fall 2017 received a communication allowing a choice to either remain in SIS or transfer to the new School of Computing and Information for completion of their degree.

  • If a student chose to remain in the School of Information Sciences, they should refer to these catalog pages for the regulations, policies, and requirements for their degree.
  • If a student applied to transfer to the School of Computing and Information, they should refer to the School of Computing and Information  catalog pages for the regulations, policies, and requirements for their degree.

Please note: If a student took no action in response to the grandparenting e-mail, they were transferred to the School of Computing and Information by default.

Any student matriculating into the University of Pittsburgh AFTER Fall 2017, must apply to the School of Computing and Information in order to pursue an undergraduate degree in either Computer Science or Information Science and should refer to this School of Computing and Information  catalog pages for information.

Mission of the School of Information Sciences

The Mission of the School of Information Sciences is to support and advance the broader education, research, and service mission of the University by educating students, furthering knowledge, and contributing our expertise to advance humankind’s progress through information.

This mission is achieved through specific actions:

  • Offering superior graduate programs in Library and Information Science, Information Science, and Telecommunications
  • Engaging in research and scholarly activities that advance learning through the extension of the frontiers of knowledge and creative endeavors
  • Cooperating with industry and government to transfer knowledge
  • Extending our expertise to local communities and public agencies to contribute to social, intellectual, and economic development in Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world. In addition, the School works with industry, government, and local communities to provide unique opportunities for students and to advance the fields within the Information Sciences.

Goals of the iSchool

The goals of the School of Information Sciences are to:

  • Promote excellence in education at the master’s and doctoral levels in the information sciences.
  • Advance knowledge in the Information Sciences as an internationally-recognized center for high-quality, innovative, and leading edge research.
  • Provide strong professional, technical, and policy leadership by the faculty at the local, state, national and international levels.
  • Promote recognition of the School of Information Sciences for its production of seminal research, curricular leadership, superior professional and PhD students, and service to professional and regional communities.
  • Foster intellectual vitality in the iSchool community.

Major and Degree Options

The School of Information Sciences offers the following graduate degrees:

  • Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS)
  • Master of Science in Telecommunications (MST)
  • Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
    • On-campus program
    • MLIS Pitt Online (web-based)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science with a Focus in Telecommunications (PhD)
  • Information Science with a Focus in Telecommunications
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science (PhD)
  • Certificate of Advanced Study (post-bachelor’s and post master’s in Information Sciences and Telecommunications (CAS)
  • Certificates of Advanced Study (post-master’s) in Telecommunications

The iSchool also has a joint agreement with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), allowing students to complete the MSIS degree and one of three degrees in GSPIA simultaneously. The course of study for the MSIS degree under the joint agreement consists of a minimum of 30 credits in graduate Information Science and Technology courses, plus an additional 30-39 credits at GSPIA depending on the selected area of study. To be admitted fully into the joint program, students must be accepted by both GSPIA and the Master of Information Science Program. More information is available at

Contact Information

Office of Student Services
135 North Bellefield Avenue
412-624-5230 (prospective students) (current students)

Admissions Information

Note: Prospective students interested in enrollment in one of our degree programs for Fall 2017 or later, must refer to the School of Computing and Information .  See the grandparenting section for details.

The School of Information Sciences seeks students with diverse interests and abilities for its graduate degree and certification programs. All applicants will be judged on their own merits. Applicants for master’s study must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better; the doctoral programs have more stringent requirements. For those who have been in the workforce, admission will be based upon academic achievement, area of study, career orientation, and work experience. Each program has specific prerequisites for admission-see links at the bottom of the page for details specific to each degree.

Please note that there may be different language requirements for specific programs. The general requirements are as follows: a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to graduate study in this program. The requirement to take the TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has received a degree from an accredited institution in the United States.

Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores less than 600 (paper) or 100 (Internet-based) will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.

Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students must receive a score of Band 6.5. Students who do not achieve a score of Band 7.0 score or better will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study. Other admission requirements vary depending upon the chosen program.

Application Fee

Submission of an application fee as determined by the School of Information Sciences is required of all applicants. This fee is non-refundable.

Financial Assistance

The School of Information Sciences provides a limited amount of financial assistance to highly qualified, full-time graduate students. Please note that financial assistance provided by the iSchool differs from financial aid provided by the University, government, or other private organization.

Financial assistance is awarded each term. Student assistantships are available only to full-time students (full-time is defined as a minimum of 9 credits and a maximum of 15 credits per term). Decisions are contingent upon availability of funds and satisfactory academic performance during completed terms.

Financial assistance priority is given to U.S. citizens in evaluating financial assistance applications. All international students are expected to come fully funded for the entirety of their degree, advanced study certificate or additional program of study. International students may be granted financial aid in such exceptional circumstances as the awarding of a Graduate Student Research Assistantship for a funded project.

Academic Standards

The following section details school-specific academic rules and regulations. These are in addition to the University-wide rules detailed under General Academic Regulations.

Academic Integrity

A student has an obligation to exhibit honesty, and to respect the ethical standards of the information professions in carrying out his or her academic assignments. All students are responsible for adhering to policies on academic integrity, which are available on the school’s Intranet.

Transfer of Credits

A maximum of 6 graduate credits earned with a grade of B or better may be transferred toward either the Master’s or PhD degree from institutions fully accredited for graduate study, provided that these credits have not been applied to any other degree or certificate, that they are applicable to the students’ program of study, and that they are not older than the statute of limitations for the degree.  Approval of transfer credits is determined by the faculty via a petition submitted by the student during their first term of study.  Detailed instructions and forms are available on the school’s Intranet.

Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) Grading System (formerly the S/N option)

In addition to the standard University letter grade system, the Satisfactory/No-Credit (S/NC) option (formerly the S/N option) is offered at the master’s level for a limited number of courses. Under this option, a student who does satisfactory work receives the grade of S. If the student’s work is unsatisfactory, an NC is assigned. Courses for which an S is received are counted toward graduation but are not utilized in computing the GPA. A limit of 6 credits of Satisfactory (S) grades may be applied at the master’s level. Doctoral programs may have more stringent requirements.


Academic advising provides the foundation upon which students plan their studies. It is the policy of the School for each student to have an official advisor whose responsibilities include providing guidance in developing the student’s career goals and academic programs, approving course selections, and advising as needed on issues affecting the student’s academic and professional careers. The goal of academic advising is to develop a consistent academic program coordinated to meet general program requirements and specific needs of individual students. Ideally, the student and faculty advisor function as a team working toward the objective of career preparation by means of the strongest possible academic experiences for the student. Students are matched with an advisor upon admission; they may, however, change advisors at any time. Students should meet each term with their advisors to ensure timely progress through their program.

Special Academic Opportunities/Programs

In addition to the degree offered, the School of Information Sciences offers other academic opportunities and programming to its students:


Throughout the year, nationally and internationally recognized speakers from the information professions present research colloquiums, which are open to all faculty and students at the iSchool. Colloquiums further enrich the iSchool’s educational programs.

Student Organizations

The School encourages students to become members of-and to participate actively in-the student chapters of several professional associations: Student Chapter of the American Library Association (SCALA), American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Special Libraries Association (SLA), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The iSchool cooperates with local chapters and special divisions of these organizations and other professional associations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA), in promoting meaningful programs of interaction with practicing professionals.

Alumni Association

The alumni of the School meet each year at professional associations, assist with recruitment efforts, and offer career/skill development opportunities. For more information, please visit

Beta Phi Mu

Graduates who achieve a grade point average of at least 3.75 on a 4.0 scale in their work for the MLIS degree and are nominated by a member of the faculty are eligible for election to membership.

Program and Course Offerings

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