University of Michigan School of Information

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University of Michigan School of Information
Established 1969
Type Public
Dean Jeffrey MacKie-Mason
Academic staff 63
Students 475
Location Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Campus Urban

The University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) or iSchool in Ann Arbor is a graduate school offering a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Informatics (administered by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts), a Bachelor of Science in Information, a Master of Science in Information, a Master of Health Informatics (offered jointly with the School of Public Health), and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Information.

Its field of study is information: how it is created, identified, collected, structured, managed, preserved, accessed, processed, and presented; how it is used in different environments, with different technologies, and over time. The school's stated mission is: "We create and share knowledge so that people can use information -- with technology -- to build a better world.[1] " Its slogan is "connecting people, information, and technology in more valuable ways."

The School of Information is part of a growing list of i-schools devoted to the study of information as a discipline. These institutions have varied histories, some being newly created, others developing from earlier schools or departments focused on library and information science (as with SI), computer science, communications, or information technology. SI was the first of these institutions to relabel itself as a "school of information." It is currently housed in the North Quadrangle on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

In 2008, the School of Information, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the College of Engineering unveiled a new undergraduate major called Informatics. In 2011, the School of Information and the School of Public Health announced the creation of a master's degree in health informatics. In 2012, the School of Information announced plans to offer a bachelor's degree in Information with formal enrollment beginning in 2014.[2]

Undergraduate degree[edit]

Currently, the University of Michigan offers a bachelor's degree in Informatics. Launched in 2008, Informatics is housed in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in cooperation with the College of Engineering and the School of Information. Informatics gives students a solid grounding in information systems, statistics, mathematics and computer programming.[3] Students are able to specialize in one of five tracks: Social Computing (to be phased out in 2013), Data Mining & Information Analysis, Computational (to be phased out in 2013), Internet, and Life Sciences. Depending on the track chosen, students are prepared for many career paths, including business, research, government, computer programming, education and non-profit organizations.[4]

Starting in 2014, the School of Information will begin offering an undergraduate degree. Students pursuing this will graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Information (BSI).[5] This interdisciplinary degree will focus on the social/behavioral and technological sciences. Students will takes classes in mathematics, communications, statistics and history[6]

Master's degree[edit]

The Master of Science in Information (MSI) degree is a 48-credit hour professional degree built on a core curriculum of "foundations" courses that synthesize content and methodology from library and information science, computer science, the humanities, and the social sciences. Real-world engagement is a hallmark of the master's program: all students are required to complete internships or mentorships in the field.

The MSI program is highly interdisciplinary, featuring faculty from a wide range of academic fields. It draws students from diverse undergraduate majors, ranging from the arts and humanities to science and engineering.[7]

Master's students may specialize[8] in the following areas:

Students may also opt for a self-designed curriculum under the guidance of a faculty member.

In 2011, the School of Information and the School of Public Health offered a new join graduate program in Health Informatics. The first class graduated in the Fall of 2012. Students in the Health Informatics program take 52 credits specializing in epidemiology, health management and policy, and health behavior and education from the School of Public Health, combined with the design and evaluation of effective information systems learned in the School of Information.[9]

Doctoral degree[edit]

The school's doctoral program is a full-time course of study, typically four years post-baccalaureate, leading to the Doctor of Information (Ph.D.). The program is designed to enable students to engage in advanced study and research in a various information fields such as the economics of information, human-computer interaction, library and information services, organizational issues, archives and records management, new systems architecture, digital libraries, information systems management, and digital documents/digital publishing.

Faculty and research[edit]

Faculty at the school are drawn from an unusually wide range of academic backgrounds including linguistics, public policy, computer science, library and information science, management, law, business, economics, psychology, history, and communications.

The school's faculty and students are active in research, pursuing projects in various areas and methods. Their stated goal is to develop an integrated understanding of human needs in relation to information systems and social structures, searching for unifying principles that illuminate the role of information in computation, cognition, communication, and community.

The school's infrastructure includes a range of research facilities and equipment. Researchers also have access to a number of off-campus research sites. Projects are often collaborations with researchers from other units at the university.

Established and emerging areas of research at the school include:


Before 1992, the School of Information was the School of Information and Library Studies. In 1992, the president of the University of Michigan, James Duderstadt appointed Daniel E. Atkins III as the dean of the school. Under the direction of Dr. Atkins and with support from Duderstadt and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the school became the School of Information with the intent to reach beyond traditional library science arena. The School of Information was officially established in 1996 offering a master's of science in information with some specializations (library and information science, archives and record management, human computer interaction, information economics management and policy, and a tailored program).[10]


  1. ^ "UMSI Mission and History". University of Michigan School of Information. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "UMSI plans new undergraduate degree". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  3. ^ "Informatics An interdisciplinary major at the University of Michigan - About". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Informatics An interdisciplinary major at the University of Michigan - Curriculum". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  5. ^ "University of Michigan School of Information - Undergraduate degree". Retrieved 2014-02-20e. 
  6. ^ "University of Michigan School of Information - UMSI plans new undergraduate degree". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  7. ^ "University of Michigan School of Information - Master of Science in Information". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  8. ^ "MSI specializations | University of Michigan School of Information". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  9. ^ "University of Michigan School of Information - Opportunities in Health Informatics". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  10. ^ Olson, Gary M. and Jonathan Grudin. "The Information School Phenomenon." Interaction March/April 2009, p. 15-9.

External links[edit]