Beginning fall 2019, there will be significant changes to the requirements of the MS in Information Studies academic program at UT-Austin. The changes will apply to all new/entering MS in Information Studies students as well as continuing students who opt to graduate under the new catalog. Here are the changes:
1. The number of credit hours required for the MS in Information Studies will be reduced from 40 to 36 credit hours. Thus, students can complete the MS in Information Studies program in four full-time long semesters as is common in the field and across most other iSchools’ MS programs.
2. The core course requirements for the MS in Information Studies will be reduced to only one course: the three-credit INF 380E Perspectives on Information.
3. Student will no longer need to register for INF 181E Electronic Portfolio. That course will be more fully absorbed into the aggregated capstone that each student must still complete as an exit requirement for the MS in Information Studies (https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/programs/masters/capstone).
Student members of the curriculum committee over the past three years, student leaders (most especially those for SASI), and other students helped inform the proposal. Key reasons for making the changes were aligning the UT iSchool’s MS program with those at other excellent iSchools; allowing students to graduate in four semesters of full-time study; reducing tuition costs; and redesigning INF 380E Perspectives on Information to reflect the heterogeneity in the iSchool faculty, iSchool MS students, and those students’ professional ambitions.
Here is a list of FAQ’s to help students and applicants understand the changes:
Q1: When will the changes begin?
A1: Fall 2019.
Q2: To which students will the changes apply?
A2: To all MS in Information Studies students entering in fall 2019, as well as all continuing MS in Information Studies students who choose to graduate under the new catalog with these changes.
Q3: If I graduate in spring 2019 or summer 2019, do the proposed changes apply to my program?
Q4: If I’ve completed INF 380E Perspectives on Information, will it count toward completion of the new MS in Information Studies core beginning in fall 2019?
A4: Yes. The members of the faculty are redesigning INF 380E, but, for purposes of completing the new core requirements as of fall 2019, all sections of INF 380E will be accepted as equivalent.
Q5: Will INF 380C Information in Social and Cultural Context and INF 397C Understanding Research continue to be offered?
A5: Yes, both in spring 2019 and in subsequent semesters. One section of 380C and two sections of 380E are being offered in Spring 2019, along with one section of 397C. In future semesters beginning in fall 2019, we will offer multiple sections of 380E and likely only one each of 380C and 397C. For students opting to graduate under the new catalog, both 380C and 397C will be counted as iSchool electives.
Q6: What if I’ve already taken INF 380C and/or 397C but want to graduate under the new catalog after fall 2019?
A6: As in A5, those courses will be counted as iSchool electives.
Q7: Do these changes apply to all dual degree and 4+1 programs integrated with the iSchool MS in Information Studies program?
A7: Yes, to all as we secure the agreement of our partners in those cooperative programs in the affected academic units.
Q8: What about the requirement for concurrent enrollment in INF 181E Electronic Portfolio when completing the capstone course?
A8: Students will continue to complete the e-portfolio requirement, but, beginning in fall 2019, will do so completely under the umbrella of the aggregated capstone and will NOT have to enroll in the separate one-credit course as students currently do.
Q9: If I have questions about my own program, whom can I ask?
A9: Start with your individual faculty advisor, and then, as appropriate, the graduate advisor, the assistant dean for student affairs, and the associate dean for education.
Q10: Can you clarify what options will be available for current MS students who will be continuing their programs as the new requirements are put into place?
A10: For continuing students, by long-standing graduate school rule, they may choose which catalog should apply to their degree. After fall 2019, students may elect to graduate under the old (2017-2019) catalog and its requirements OR may elect to graduate under the new catalog (2019-2021). They are free to choose one or the other, but must satisfy the requirements of at least one catalog.