University of Washington Information School

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Mary Gates Hall, home of the Information School

The Information School (or iSchool) at the University of Washington is an undergraduate and graduate school that offers BS, MLIS, MSIM, and PhD degrees. Formerly the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS), the Information School changed its focus and name in the late 1990s.[1]


The school is located in Mary Gates Hall, one of several university buildings bordering Drumheller Fountain. Formerly known as the Physics Building, it was renamed after a $10 million gift was received from the family of Mary Maxwell Gates.[2] In 1999 a $35 million[3] expansion added technologically sophisticated classrooms and computer labs, office spaces, and commons, transforming the 1928 historic building and 1949 addition into a 175,000 square foot quadrangle with a skylit commons at its center and a new main entry facing the Suzzallo Library.[4] The architects of the original building were John Graham & Company and of the 1999 project the architects of record were Bassetti Architects.[5]


Bachelor's Program[edit]

The Information School offers one undergraduate degree: the Bachelor of Science in Informatics. The Informatics program is a competitive two-year program focused on the design of information systems and services. The program touches on privacy issues, ethics, and management, as well as design, search engines, web development, and database design. Students are asked to study a broad range of areas in the information field, including: Information Management and Technology, Information-related Research, Interactive System Design, Human-Computer Interaction, and Information Science. Graduates of the program typically go on to jobs such as:[6]

Informatics focuses particularly in the following areas:

The program's curriculum culminates in a capstone project in either design or research. Approximately 140 students are enrolled in the Informatics program.

Master's Programs[edit]

The Information School offers two master's degrees: the Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) and the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS).

Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM)[edit]

The MSIM program (see Master of Information Management) is a two-year program that takes a multidisciplinary approach to the management of information systems and policy, drawing on computer science, business, information science, philosophy, design, and law to inform its curriculum. The MSIM program is divided into two sub-programs: the day program, a traditional, daytime program for students of all academic and work backgrounds (current enrollment, 62); and an executive program, an evening and weekend program tailored to working professionals (current enrollment, 43).

Graduates work in a variety of professional areas and positions, including, but not limited to:

  • Project Management
  • Web Development
  • User Experience Designer
  • Information Management
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Organizational Analysis
  • Information Architecture
  • Systems Analysis
  • Database Management
  • Information Systems
  • Software Development
  • Technology Management
  • Competitive Intelligence Consulting
  • General IT Consulting
  • Knowledge Management
  • Training Specialization
  • Value Specialist
  • Applications Manager
  • Developer
  • Functional Analyst
  • Principal Consultant, Strategy Management[7]

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)[edit]

The MLIS is the iSchool's oldest degree. It is a two-year professional degree that prepares students for careers in the library and information professions. Like its sister, the MSIM program, the MLIS program is divided into two sub-programs: a day program for traditional students and a distance program for geographically disparate students. The MLIS program has the largest enrollment of any program at the iSchool, with 202 day students and 229 distance students. In 2017 the iSchool's MLIS program was ranked #2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[8]

Additionally, the iSchool offers a third MLIS degree—the Law MLIS program, a one-year degree designed to prepare lawyers to serve as law librarians. The Law Librarianship program was the highest-ranked program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2006.[9]

PhD Program[edit]

The PhD program is a theoretical, research-based doctorate that focuses on creating new knowledge in the field of Information Science. There are currently 48 doctoral students. Graduates of the PhD program have gone on to successful research careers in both academia and industry.

Student organizations[edit]

The iSchool offers opportunities for students to participate in professional and student communities.[10] The most prominent iSchool student groups are:

Directors and Deans[11][edit]

The school was previously known as the Department of Library Economy 1911-1916, Library School 1916-1932, Department of Library Science in the Graduate School 1932-1935, School of Librarianship 1935-1984, Graduate School of Library and Information Science 1984-2001, Information School 2001-present. In 2001 the title of the head of the school was changed from director to dean.

  • 1914-1931 William E. Henry
  • 1931-1945 Ruth Worden
  • 1945-1950 Robert L. Gitler
  • 1950-1955 Gladys Boughton (acting 1950-1952)
  • 1955-1956 Dorothy Bevis (acting)
  • 1956-1972 Irving Lieberman
  • 1972-1974 Mae Benne (acting)
  • 1974-1981 Peter Hiatt
  • 1981-1992 Margaret E. Chisholm (acting 1981-1983)
  • 1992-1993 Edmond Mignon (acting)
  • 1993-1996 Phyllis Van Orden
  • 1996-1997 Edward Bassett (acting)
  • 1997-1998 Betty Bengtson (acting)
  • 1998-2006 Michael Eisenberg
  • 2006-2017 Harry Bruce
  • 2017- Anind Dey


  1. ^ Roseth, B. (1998). New director leads Library school into Information Age. University Week. Archived Copy
  2. ^ Mary Gates Hall webpage. Retrieved 2011-10-21
  3. ^ Daily Journal of Commerce, January 16, 2001. Retrieved 2011-10-21
  4. ^ The Daily of the University of Washington, November 8, 1999. Retrieved 2011-10-21
  5. ^ UW Buildings History. Retrieved 2011-10-21
  6. ^ UW iSchool Overview - Informatics (BS). 
  7. ^ UW ISchool. Overview - Info Mgmt (MSIM). University of Washington Information School. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  8. ^ US News & World Report 2013 Library and Information Studies School Rankings [1]
  9. ^ US News & World Report 2006 Library and Information Studies School Rankings [2]
  10. ^ Information School Student Organizations
  11. ^ iNews, Centennial Issue, Fall 2011, p. 4-5

External links[edit]