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Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS)

Become an expert in the technology needs of the future

What’s the driving force behind the growth and evolution of virtually every industry? The answer is information. Information permeates every facet of our society, and information professionals are constantly needed to help businesses maintain and utilize that information in the best ways possible. That’s why this is such an exciting time to pursue a graduate degree in Information Science and Technology. Whether you are interested in developing the next generation of information technologies, helping to create ways to keep data safe, using machines to make decisions, applying data mining to solve real-world problems or something else that’s just as impactful, this degree can help you advance those goals.

By enrolling in our MSIS program, you’ll gain more than just technical expertise; you’ll learn how to connect people with technologies that can enhance lives, businesses, and society. This program provides a strong foundation in information access and retrieval, systems design and management, and human-computer interaction. You’ll work closely with professors who are renowned for their research and learn the groundbreaking advances that are currently in development.

Core Courses

The MSIS program is a 37-credit program that can be completed in one year of full-time study or as many as four years of part-time study. Prerequisites for admission to the MSIS degree program include one three-credit college course in each of the following:

  • A structured programming language

    A course on structured programming using Java, C# or C++ is required.  Either INFSCI 0017: Object-Oriented Programming 1 for Information Science or CS 0401: Intermediate Programming Using Java is recommended to meet this requirement.

  • Statistics

    A course covering data collection, descriptive, and inferential statistics is optimal. It should cover measures of central tendency and variability, regression, correlation, non-parametric analysis, probability and sampling, Bayesian analysis, significance tests, and hypothesis testing. Either STATS 0200: Basic Applied Statistics, or STATS 1000: Applied Statistical Methods is recommended to meet this requirement.

  • Mathematics

    A college-level mathematics course, in discrete mathematics or calculus, is required. Any of the following Pitt courses will meet the requirement: MATH 0120: Business Calculus, MATH 0220: Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, or MATH 0400: Discrete Mathematical Structures.

Students who lack some of the prerequisite courses may be admitted provisionally pending completion of the prerequisites during the first 12 credits of study. Any coursework that the student is asked to meet as a condition of their admission must be completed with a grade of B or better.

Credits for prerequisite courses are not counted toward completion of requirements for the master’s or PhD degree.

Course Listings

Foundations Area – Formal Foundations
  • INFSCI 2000 Introduction to Information Science
  • INFSCI 2020 Mathematical Foundations for Information Science
  • INFSCI 2040 Research Design
Foundations Area – Applied Foundations
  • INFSCI 2120 Information and Coding Theory
  • INFSCI 2125 Network Science and Analysis
    (Cross listed with TELCOM 2215)
  • INFSCI 2130 Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems
    (Cross listed with ISSP 2430)
  • INFSCI 2135 Probabilistic Methods for Computer-Based Decision Support
    Previously numbered INFSCI 2825
  • INFSCI 2140 Information Storage and Retrieval
  • INFSCI 2150 Information Security and Privacy
    (Cross listed with TELCOM 2810)
    (Pre-requisite: TELCOM 2000 or permission of instructor)
  • INFSCI 2160 Data Mining
  • INFSCI 2170 Cryptography
    (Cross listed with TELCOM 2820)
  • INFSCI 2180 Knowledge Representation and the Semantic Web
  • TELCOM 2130 Queuing Theory
Profession Area
  • INFSCI 2205 Technical Communications for Information Sciences 
    (Placement in class determined by the English Language Proficiency Test)
  • INFSCI 2210 Information Ethics
    (Cross listed with LIS 2194 and TELCOM 2515)
  • INFSCI 2220 Information Policy
    (Cross listed with LIS 2186 and TELCOM 2512)
  • INFSCI 2230 Cybercrime 
    (Cross listed with LAW 5380)
  • INFSCI 2821 Foundations of Clinical and Public Health Informatics
    (Prerequisite: permission of instructor)
  • TELCOM 2510 U.S. Telecommunications Policy
    (Prerequisites: TELCOM 2000/2100 or INFSCI 1070)
Cognitive Area – Cognitive Science
  • INFSCI 2300 Human Information Processing
  • INFSCI 2350 Human Factors in Systems
Cognitive Area – Cognitive Science and Systems
  • INFSCI 2410 Introduction to Neural Networks
  • INFSCI 2415 Information Visualization
    (cross-listed with LIS 2690)
  • INFSCI 2420 Natural Language Processing
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2300, 2500)
  • INFSCI 2430 Social Computing
    (Cross listed with ISSP 2430)
  • INFSCI 2440 Artificial Intelligence
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2300, 2500)
  • INFSCI 2460 Spatial Reasoning for GIS
  • INFSCI 2470 Interactive System Design
    INFSCI 2480 Adaptive Information Systems
Systems and Technology Area – General Systems and Technology
  • INFSCI 2500 Data Structures
  • INFSCI 2510 Information Systems Analysis
  • INFSCI 2511 Information Systems Design
    (Prerequisite: INFSCI 2510)
  • INFSCI 2540 Software Engineering
  • INFSCI 2545 Software Quality Assurance
  • INFSCI 2550 Client-Server Systems
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2500)
  • INFSCI 2560 Web Technologies and Standards
  • INFSCI 2591 Algorithm Design
    (Prerequisite: INFSCI 2500, Also meets Foundation requirement)
Systems and Technology Area – Networks and Security
  • INFSCI 2620 Developing Secure Systems
    (Prerequisite:  INFSCI 2150)
  • INFSCI 2621 Security Management and Computer Forensics 
    (Cross listed with TELCOM 2813) (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2150, TELCOM 2821)
  • INFSCI 2625 Cybersecurity & Privacy Regulation
  • INFSCI 2629 Capstone in Security
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2150/TELCOM 2810, TELCOM 2821)
  • INFSCI 2640 Programming Languages and Environments
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2500)

TELCOM 2000 and TELCOM 2821 are pre-approved as Systems and Technology Area courses. Additional Telecommunications courses numbered 2010-2399 may be used to meet the Systems and Technology Requirement with permission of the advisor. See Telecommunications course descriptions for prerequisites and co-requisites.

Systems and Technology Area – Database and Web
  • INFSCI 2710 Database Management
    (Prerequisite: INFSCI 2500)
  • INFSCI 2711 Advanced Topics in Database Management
    (Prerequisite: INFSCI 2710)
  • INFSCI 2725 Data Analytics
  • INFSCI 2730 E-Business
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2500, 2560 and 2710)
  • INFSCI 2731 Security in E-Commerce
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2560, 2150 (co-requisite), 2730 and 2550)
  • INFSCI 2739 Web Services and Distributed Computing
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2550 and 2730)
  • INFSCI 2750 Cloud Computing
  • INFSCI 2780 Interactive Graphics
    (Prerequisites: INFSCI 2500)
Systems and Technology Area – Geoinformatics
  • INFSCI 2801 Geospatial Information Systems (GIS)
  • INFSCI 2802 Location-Based Services
  • INFSCI 2809 Spatial Data Analytics
Independent Study and Special Topics

Independent studies are intended to cover advanced material outside of or beyond the scope of current course offerings.

Independent Study (1–3 credits)
(Prerequisites: permission of faculty advisor and study sponsor)

  • INFSCI 2910 Independent Study: Foundations
  • INFSCI 2930 Independent Study: Cognitive
  • INFSCI 2950 Independent Study: System & Technology
  • INFSCI 2970 Independent Study: General
Research Seminars

Seminars coupled with the research program of a faculty sponsor or advisor. Of the 18-credit seminar requirement, no more than 6 should be research seminar credits.

  • INFSCI 3250 Research Seminar


Big data analytics

This specialization provides the essential in-depth knowledge of technologies relevant to big data management. Coursework will cover the design and maintenance of infrastructure to efficiently store, easily access, and transfer over wide area networks, extremely large amounts of data. However, the volume and diversity of data make it extremely challenging to store, retrieve, analyze, and utilize. As society will soon be routinely trying to use petabytes of data stored in multiple formats across different platforms, experts are needed who have the skills and knowledge to design, develop, and deploy complex information systems and applications that deal with multi-terabyte data sets.

Human-centered computing

Human-centered computing (HCC) is concerned with the development and management of systems in which the central focus is the user. The systems should be: aware of the user, easy to use, ubiquitous, and intelligent. In the final analysis, human-centered systems improve workplace satisfaction, capitalize on information in the environment, and act on behalf of the user. Current research in HCC focuses on the building of adaptive interfaces, navigation through information spaces, social computing, and the use of virtual environments in information science. Courses taught in this specialization help students to understand humans and model their preferences, interests, and knowledge; analyze explicitly and implicitly generated data; and design systems with natural and intuitive interfaces.

Database and web systems

This specialization will expose students to the fundamental concepts of distributed systems and provide the necessary knowledge and skills to design and develop network-based information systems with a focus on e-business emphasizing systems and technology. This track will provide the system-oriented theory as well as knowledge and skills required for e-business, e-government, and other integrated collaboration systems.

Information assurance and security

Providing security and assurance to information systems has emerged as one of the most daunting technological and social challenges of recent times. Major corporations and private industry are expending a great deal of resources to develop cybersecurity technology to secure their information systems. This track will provide a unique education in the development, design, and deployment of secure information systems with an emphasis on networked information systems. It will produce information technology professionals with the ability to meet special security challenges (e.g., intrusion detection) posed by conventional and emerging network information systems.


The goal of the Geoinformatics specialization is to provide students in the MSIS degree program with both the breadth and depth of knowledge in geoinformatics required for solving real-world problems. Students will gain the unique knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate the design, development and deployment of complex systems and applications in a rapidly emerging geoinformatics profession. Graduates of this specialization will be able to deploy and manage geoinformation systems in industry, conduct research in geotechnologies, and pursue PhD research in geoinformatics.

Telecommunications and distributed systems

The TDS specialization includes coursework in networking protocols, client-server systems, distributed database management systems, and Web services. MSIS students who choose this specialization will learn how to deploy, design, manage, and protect distributed applications in networked systems.

Areas of research

The Information Science and Technology Program supports a number of challenging research programs in:

  • Information assurance
  • Geoinformatics
  • Visual information systems
  • E-teaching and learning
  • Usability engineering
  • Decisions systems
  • Information retrieval
  • Personalized access
  • Spatial information

Statute of Limitations

The MSIS program must be completed within four years of the first term in which courses were taken after admission. The normal full-time course load is 9 to 12 credits per term; thus, a full-time student will complete the program in three or four terms.  Those wishing to complete the program in one academic year (three consecutive terms) must be available for both day and evening courses. The normal part-time course load is 6 credits per term, which permits part-time students to complete the program in six terms. The faculty, in response to a student petition, must approve exceptions to the four-year limit if extenuating circumstances exist.

Residence Requirements

To maintain active student status, students must register for at least 3 credits during one of the three terms of the calendar year. It is recommended, however, that part-time students register for at least 6 credits during two of the three terms of the academic year to maintain reasonable progress through the program.


Contact:  Shabana Reza, Recruitment and Admissions

Phone: 1-800-672-9435 or 412-624-3988