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Master of Public Affairs

The University of Texas School of Information (iSchool) and the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin offer a dual degree program leading to two graduate degrees, Master of Science in Information Studies (MSInfoStds) and Master of Public Affairs (MPAff). The dual degree program combines advanced studies of government, non-profit agencies, and policy with a focus on knowledge and practice needed to make meaningful contributions in information organizations such as government agencies, libraries, archives, schools, museums, and beyond. There is an increased need in both the public and private sectors for specialists with that combination of backgrounds, particularly with regard to advanced digital, networked information and communication technologies.  The graduates of such a program are uniquely qualified to fill positions that demand knowledge of public policy and of information generation, storage, retrieval, and distribution.

Practitioners in information agencies have recognized the need for awareness of and participation in the public policy process in order to ensure the successful completion of their missions. Further, information in the control of public agencies was once thought to be useful almost exclusively for internal decision making purposes; the proliferation of digital technologies and the growing ubiquity of skill with such technologies have made agency-specific information one of the most valuable public assets that we possess. On a related note, the economic or commodity value of information has grown, as has its public good or social value.  Thus, there is a growing need for persons with expertise in information and knowledge management on the one hand and public affairs on the other.

Admission to the dual degree program

Students must meet the separate admission criteria of both the School of Information and the LBJ School in order to be considered for admission to the Dual Degree program. Applicants must indicate interest in the Dual Degree program, in writing, to both admissions offices.

Degree requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours at the School of Information and 39 semester hours of work in Public Policy, including a summer internship. Thus, the dual degree requires a total of 69 credit hours, a reduction of 6 hours from the 36 required independently for the MSInfoStds and 9 from the 48 required independently for the MPAff.

The program is structured so that students can earn the degrees simultaneously in approximately three academic years. The two degrees are awarded when the required course work in both areas including the exit course is completed.