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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 19, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Information Science, MSIS

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The Master of Science in Information Science Program explores the junction of information, networks, and human behavior. We provide students with the skills and knowledge to model and design systems that are accountable, resilient, trustworthy, sustainable, and ethical. Our graduates design, build, manage, and protect the systems and networks that make information useful and accessible. They enjoy the limitless potential for exciting careers in virtually every industry —  health care, finance, law, manufacturing, government, higher education, and more. The Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) degree program prepares students for careers as information professionals, including systems analysts and designers, database developers and managers, information security experts, and more.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants for graduate study must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

Prerequisites for admission to the Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) degree program include one (three-credit or higher) college course in each of the following (the corresponding Pitt course numbers are indicated):

  • Programming: A course on object-oriented programming using Java, Python, C#, or C++. (CMPINF 0401 )
  • Probability and Statistics: A course covering data collection, descriptive and inferential statistics is optimal. It should cover measures of central tendency and variability, regression, correlation, non-parametric analysis, probability, and sampling, Bayesian analysis, significance tests, and hypothesis testing. (STAT 0200  or STAT 1000 )
  • Mathematics: A college-level mathematics course in linear algebra, calculus, or discrete mathematics (MATH 0120 , MATH 0220 , or MATH 0400 )

Areas of Concentration

The MSIS Degree Programs offers a number of Areas of Concentration, which are closely tied to career paths and academic areas of interest: General, Big Data Analytics, Database and Web Systems, Geoinformatics, Human Centered Computing, Security Assured Information Systems, and Telecommunications and Distributed Systems. 

Requirements for the various areas of concentration are linked below:

Note that students are NOT required to select an Area of Concentration; however, if an Area of Concentration is chosen, students will follow a more stringent plan of study specific to the chosen Area of Concentration. As well, some Areas of Concentration have additional pre-requisites; therefore, students may need to complete courses beyond the standard 36 credit requirement.

Areas of Concentration may be selected, or changed, until the end of the term in which 18 credits will be completed.

MSIS Degree Requirements

If no Area of Concentration is selected, students will follow the curriculum outlined in the following sections.

Elective Courses

Students will take seven courses from the department’s standard graduate course offerings. 

As a part of the elective courses, students may also pursue up to 6 credits of other opportunities (e.g., independent study and practicum experiences) and some that fall outside of the department’s standard graduate course offerings such as the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education cross-registration, doctoral seminars, courses offered in other Pitt graduate departments, or undergraduate upper-level coursework in information science or computer science (1100-1999). These opportunities may not exceed six credits and require advisor approval prior to enrollment.

MSIS-GSPIA Joint Degree Program

The Department of Informatics and Networked Systems offers a joint degree program with Pitt’s internationally-recognized program, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). The allows graduate students to gain a strong foundation in data management and market-relevant technological competencies, as well as to prepare for leadership roles in public service in government, nonprofit organizations, or the private sector. Graduates of the joint degree program will have earned both the MSIS and one of the GSPIA graduate degrees!

The MSIS portion of this joint degree comprises 30 credits of graduate coursework in Information Science and Telecommunications.

Ramp-Up Classes:


These courses can be waived if the student has taken coursework in Python/JAVA, Discrete Math, and/or Data Structures. If any or all of these courses are waived, the student will take additional elective courses from the list below. If the student hasn’t yet completed this coursework (for college credit from an accredited university), then these courses would count towards graduation from the joint degree program. Any Ramp-up courses should be taken prior to completing the first term of MSIS study, as these courses will give you the foundation you need for more intermediate and advanced courses.

Five Core Courses

These are required for all MS students and will not be waived.


Two Electives From the List of Recommended Electives Below

Students may select other elective courses, with advisor approval.

Students in the MSIS-GSPIA Joint Degree program must follow all policies and procedures for the regular MSIS program.

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