A Brief Introduction To Graduate Study at the University of Texas iSchool

Academic excellence is a key tenet of our programs and is key to your future, so we expect your best intellectual efforts. Further, your initiative, imagination, and hard work, at the iSchool and beyond, are essential to our shared success.

As a professional school, the School of Information has one leg in the academy, where we are expected to meet every standard of academic excellence, and one leg in the world of clinical practice, especially for our Master’s students. Learning how to achieve excellence in both worlds is an essential part of your time here at the iSchool, and every student, staff member, and faculty member is dedicated to helping you do so. What follows is some advice to help prepare you for your academic program and most especially for advising and registration for the upcoming semester.

Some important terms:

GSC
Graduate Studies Committee made up of all faculty members in the School eligible to teach graduate students. It directs the School’s academic programs.
Individual advisor:
Every MS student is assigned a faculty member as an individual advisor who will help with academic advising, registration and career advice, and the like. This advisor can change as the student and new advisor agree. Not to be confused with the Graduate Advisor.
Initial doctoral committee
Every in-coming Ph.D. student has three faculty members assigned as part of the student’s initial doctoral committee: one assigned as the initial advisor and two other committee members. This committee can change as the student and faculty members agree.
Chair of the Doctoral Studies committee
This faculty member chairs the committee made up of five faculty members and one doctoral student that directs doctoral affairs and makes recommendations to the GSC about doctoral study.
Graduate Advisor
This faculty member acts as a liaison between the iSchool and the UT Graduate School, responsible for academic matters, helping the GSC and staff members interpret Graduate School rules, and presenting petitions from iSchool students and faculty members to the Graduate School.
Long semesters
UT identifies the fall and spring semesters as long semesters; summer sessions (SS) are different.
Three-hour Courses
Three-hour graduate courses are those courses numbered 380 – 399.

Some general Graduate School rules for Master’s and Ph.D. students:

  • Once they enroll, all graduate students must maintain continuous enrollment of at least one graduate hour in all long semesters. If they cannot, they should petition for a leave of absence.
  • Full-time graduate study at the University of Texas is nine (9) hours in long semesters, three (3) hours in summer.
  • To count toward a degree, credit hours must be less than six (6) years old.
  • On petition to the GSC, students may transfer in up to two three-credit graduate classes [up to six (6) graduate hours total] from an accredited university in which they earned a B or better, provided such courses are less than six (6) years old and have NOT been used to fulfill requirements for a previous degree.

Some academic rules specific to Master’s students:

  • As of the Fall 2014 semester, MSIS students must earn a grade of B or better in the MSIS core courses to count toward the master's degree. A grade of B- does NOT satisfy this requirement. The core courses are:
    • INF 380C: Information in Social and Cultural Context
    • INF 380E: Perspectives on Information
    • INF 397C: Understanding Research
  • To register for their second semester, MS students must have participated in at least one career services orientation workshop.
  • With the approval of their individual advisors, MS students may include up to twelve (12) graduate hours from other UT academic units (e.g., the Department of Computer Science, the School of Social Work, etc.) in their Master’s programs.
  • MS students can count up to two (2) three-credit individual study courses (INF 381) for their degrees. Additional 381 courses require GSC approval.
  • To graduate in two academic years, MS students take at least one summer course OR 12 credits in at least one long semester.
  • Master’s students must complete at least one of four possible exit requirements, or Capstones: a Professional Experience Project (PEP), a master’s report, a master’s thesis, or a School Library Practicum.
  • The Capstone experience is to be completed in the student’s final semester (Masters Thesis begins in the penultimate semester) and is designed to be flexible to meet a variety of objectives. Students must have completed 30 hours of coursework AND be entering their final semester prior to beginning work on all but the Masters Thesis option.
  • MS students can take the first semester of MS thesis credit with less than 30 hours completed. Students should consult with the Graduate Advisor.

Some academic rules specific to doctoral students:

  • Whether full- or part-time, doctoral students must enroll in two courses in their first fall semester: INF 391D.10, Survey of Information Studies, and INF 391D.11, The Research Enterprise.
  • Whether full- or part-time, doctoral students must enroll in INF 391D.12, Disciplinary Foundations for Information Studies, in their first spring semester.
  • There is no effective limit on the number of individual studies (INF 381) doctoral students can take.

Some helpful people:

NameOffice #Title
Randolph Bias UTA 5.449 Professor and Graduate Advisor
Carol Carreón UTA 5.304 Graduate Coordinator
Carla Criner UTA 5.308 Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Beth Hallmark UTA 5.336 Director of Career Services
Philip Doty UTA 5.328 Associate Dean
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