The US universities where tomorrow’s Information Science changemakers are made

Information Science
Source: The University of Arizona

With the vast troves of personal data collected, organised, stored, retrieved, interpreted and used today, there’s never been an exhilarating time to join the Information Science field. 

In industry or academia, the digital experiences of billions of users are now at our fingertips – a new era drought with controversies but even more opportunities.

In 2022, the fusing of concepts and methods from disciplines to develop techniques and devices to aid in the handling of information opens up a trove of dynamic careers. Information Science and Data Science experts are in demand by organisations seeking to make more informed decision. 

From businesses to non-profits and government agencies, the graduates with the know-how to analyse, implement, manage and lead are actively recruited. Those who can bridge the gap between technology and humanity add even more value.

If you seek to join this rewarding profession, make your start at these US universities: 

The University of Arizona’s School of Information

If you seek to explore the intersections of people, data, and technology and to empower a diverse, equitable, and inclusive future through information, head to The University of Arizona’s School of Information (iSchool). Here, you’ll not only understand the intricacies of technology and data, but learn how to apply that knowledge to stand out from the competition in a world defined by an ever-increasing pace of technological innovation. In short, you’ll be a work-ready graduate.

Choose from nine academic programmes – five undergraduate and four graduate degrees – plus a number of certificates. To gain the design and development skills necessary to create virtual interactive environments that span across devices and platforms, the Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development is an ideal choice.

If you aim to become an information professional who can solve real-world information problems and work across disciplines, opt for the highly interdisciplinary Master of Science in Information Science. You will foster both social and technological skills and graduate with hands-on experience that blends behavioural, psychological, cultural, and philosophical perspectives.

To earn the knowledge, skill, and ability to engage in data science processes and work, the Master of Science in Data Science will get you there. You will receive the training you need in data collection, exploration, manipulation and storage, analysis, and presentation in order to navigate data-rich workplace environments.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll be trained to become specialists in information management, data analysis, artificial intelligence, librarianship, social media marketing, and much more. A multidisciplinary department ensures this – they prepare graduates across disciplines to be the doers, thinkers, solvers, and game-changers of tomorrow.

UC Berkeley

Information Science

The UC Berkeley School of Information is advancing knowledge and practice wherever people interact with information and technology. Source: UC Berkeley School of Information

A community of scholars, practitioners, and students. Four degree programmes, two on campus and two online. Academic excellence combined with intimacy and camaraderie. A multi-disciplinary faculty that includes world-class scholars, plus experienced professionals from leading Bay Area companies. An alumni network that connects students to policymakers, businesses, and nonprofit organisations.

These features define the UC Berkeley School of Information. At this graduate research and education community, students and staff are working towards expanding access to information, making it more usable, reliable and credible while preserving security and privacy. They collaborate with scholars from diverse fields — information and computer science, design, social sciences, management, law, and policy.

The I School offers three professional master’s degrees: Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS), Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) and Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS). MIMS is ideal for those seeking careers as information professionals and emphasises small classes and project-based learning. The online MIDS fits those who aspire to become data scientists. The online MICS trains future cybersecurity leaders with the technical skills and contextual knowledge necessary to develop solutions for complex cybersecurity challenges. 

As MIDS graduate Zachary Beaver – now a Senior Data Scientist at Google working on building and deploying computer vision models on mobile devices – puts it, “Being excited about Data Science and wanting to work for companies at the field’s bleeding edge, I was looking for a programme that had its finger on the pulse of the skills employers were seeking, along with a history of producing graduates who excelled in industry. Berkeley (and the I School, in particular) were a perfect match.” To learn more about this world-class school in close proximity to Silicon Valley and the wider San Francisco Bay Area, click here.

University of Kentucky

Information Science

It doesn’t get more experiential than this. Source: University of Kentucky School of Information Science Facebook

The University of Kentucky is where students come to explore their wildest ambitions. It is only one of eight institutions in the country with the full complement of liberal arts, engineering, professional, agricultural and medical colleges and disciplines on a single campus in the heart of the Bluegrass. It offers over 200 academic programmes spread across 16 degree-granting colleges, the Lewis Honors College, Graduate School, and the UK Library system. 

The School of Information Science offers a master’s degree programme in Library Science. This is a distinctive programme – it is one of approximately 50 educational programmes in the US currently accredited by the American Library Association and the only such programme in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is placed in the top 20 overall ranking in US News and World Report, #3 in health librarianship, #11 in library media, and #12 in children and youth services, as well.

Here, graduate students can earn their degree online and in as little as 36 credit hours. They join asynchronous online classes, which lets them create a flexible, individualised schedule for themselves. Tuition rates are lower for online learners too.

For those who want to widen their horizons, they can take part in Practicum and Study Abroad possibilities as part of their credit hours. The Practicum allows a student to earn three hours of credit and gain valuable experience in a library or other information-related organisation. They can go abroad too, via partial and full immersion programmes, or apply for an Alternative Spring Break internship position in Washington D.C. at places like the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, or the Smithsonian Libraries.

Carnegie Mellon University

Information Science

At Heinz College, you’ll find top-ranked graduate degree and executive education programmes in information systems and public policy. Source: Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy

The School of Information Systems and Management is part of Heinz College, the world’s elite institution for Information Technology Management. Here, an award-winning faculty is on a mission to prepare students from around the world to make huge impacts through technology.

The focus here goes beyond knowing how technology works. It’s about creating real value from technology. This requires a thorough understanding of interactions with business processes and organisational culture – something the School of Information Systems and Management is an expert in. This can be seen through its curriculum, which stands out for combining these disciplines into a coherent programme of study.  

The Master of Information Systems Management will prepare you for an industry innovating like never before. Its five challenging pathways fuse technical and leadership skills: a flagship 16-month and 12-month programmes in Pittsburgh, an industry-leading Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (BIDA) programme in 16-month and 12-month formats, and an exciting dual-city intercontinental option in Adelaide, Australia.

Those who aspire to work in the fields of cybersecurity and privacy can consider the Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management (MSISPM). What sets this programme apart is its faculty as well as leading practitioners from the CERT Division of CMU’s internationally renowned Software Engineering Institute. They connect students to world-class thought leaders and hands-on experiences that few other institutions can offer. 

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International