Hack Your Program: University of Tennessee Knoxville

The MSIS program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is comprised of on-campus and distance learners.  Housed in the College of Communication and Information UTK’s SIS program has much to offer.  ALA accredited, the degree is Masters of Science in Information Science, not MLIS. More about that later.


UTK has rolling admissions.  Therefore you can apply for and enter during the fall, spring or summer term.  Below is a list of the requirements you need to meet in order to be considered for acceptance into the program.

  • Unofficial Transcripts with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or above.
    • Official Transcripts must be submitted upon admission to the program.
  • A written statement, 400-700 words, of your career objective (see guidelines below).
  • Letters of recommendation from three persons qualified to judge academic and/or professional qualities.
  • $60 application fee. Application fee is not due at the start of application, but must be paid before final submission.
  • All undergraduate degrees are welcome.
  • GRE is Not Required for admissions.


UTK is considered in the top 3 of affordable Masters degrees in Information Science.  In addition to its lower tuition costs it also helps if you reside in Tennessee, Arkansas, Delaware, Virginia or West Virginia, total tuition is about three thousand dollars less.

Scholarships are also available and are awarded annually. In addition, there are opportunities for assistantships on campus and through the distance program. Finally there are also fellowships available which offer additional opportunities for reducing the overall cost of the degree.


UTK requires three core courses that are perquisites before you can begin to take any electives.

  • INSC 510: Information Environment
  • INSC 520: Information Representation and Organization
  • INSC 530: Information Access and Retrieval

Additional program components to consider are:

  Career Pathways

Current pathways in the Information Science program at UTK SIS are:

In addition to these offerings you can also pursue  an Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science for the equivalent of 9 credit hours.   The total requirement in credit hours to graduate is 36.

Final Considerations

For those who have had many years as a paraprofessional in the Information Science field, you may want to consider this program.  I have worked in an academic library for thirty years, and always dreamed of getting my professional degree.  Although I always believed I would be getting my MLIS, the MSIS, seems to be a better fit for our profession, as we continue to navigate what our roles are in an environment that is all about information in all its forms.

In spite of my many years of experience I can attest as I reach the end of my first term, that this program is rigorous, and in spite of the distance, I find there is still a strong sense of community.  I believe the reason for the camaraderie is the requirement for all students who join this program to attend a one day orientation on campus, and get to know their cohort.  Yes, this is an added expense, but personally, meeting my classmates a few weeks into term created a connection that in my opinion can only be achieved with face-to-face interactions.

If you are considering the Information Science profession, I highly recommend this program.  Feel free to ask me any additional questions you may have.  Lisa L.


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