Information Science Major

What is Information Science?

Information science centers around people’s interactions with information, data and technology. By majoring in Information Science, you will explore the intersection between technology and human values. You will work with people to gain insight into the ways individuals and societies use information and data, while learning to develop equitable information and data systems. In short, you’ll leverage information and data technologies to enhance people’s lives. 

In the program, you will learn how to create technology-based systems that actively support social justice and promote the public good. Graduates will strive to increase impartial access and understanding of information and data that will increase productivity and foster well-being.

The interdisciplinary major integrates coursework in computing, analytics, design, human factors, ethics and impact on society.

Links to the UW-Madison Guide

L&S students fulfilling degree requirements may earn a BA or BS. Students in other UW-Madison Schools and Colleges may pursue Information Science as an additional major. 

BA Requirements

BS Requirements

How to Declare Information Science

There are no minimum grade, GPA requirements or specific courses that must be completed before declaration.

Students are encouraged to declare the major early to plan for required coursework and create a four-year plan. There are many additional advantages and benefits including priority access to LIS courses. Students who have declared the Information Science major become part of the Information School community and are able to connect with faculty, staff and peers. Declared students would also receive notice of academic and career opportunities.  

Please run a “What-If” DARS to review your progress towards the Information Science major.  

There are two steps to declare the major:

  1. Schedule an individual advising appointment with Stacy Harnett, the Information Science advisor.

Schedule an Appointment

  1. Complete the Information Science Major Declaration Form:

Fill out the Form

Undergraduate Advising


Stacy Harnett
she/her/hers
Academic Advising Manager
sharnett@wisc.edu
4216 Helen C. White Hall

Stacy Harnett is the undergraduate advisor for the Information Science major. Information Science advising supports you in navigating your undergraduate career. Stacy can provide guidance if you are interested in learning more about the program as well as declaring the major, major requirements, course selection, four-year planning and study abroad. In addition, Stacy can help connect you with appropriate resources on campus to support your academic and personal success. 

Current UW-Madison students are welcome to schedule an appointment using Starfish. If you are unable to find a time that works with your schedule, please email Stacy so that we can identify a time that works. 

Schedule an Appointment

Starfish Guide

Focus Areas

Focus areas are designed to help you select a concentration of courses that align with your interests and career goals. They are not official credentials, but serve as a guide to allow for specialization.

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Civic Technologies

You will learn to use information and data technologies to tackle problems faced by communities and society as a whole.  Apply technology to create solutions such as improving the relationships between citizens and governments or nonprofits.  Gain skills and knowledge related to computing-based systems, and combine that knowledge with your other passions.

LIS 201- The Information Society

LIS 351- Introduction to Digital Information

LIS 464- Applied Database Design

LIS 500- Code and Power

LIS 501- Introduction to Text Mining

LIS 510- Human Factors in Information Security

CS 220- Data Science Programming I

CS 200- Programming I

Analytics

You will gain knowledge and skills in the evaluation, representation, manipulation, analysis and interpretation of data for the purposes of supporting decision making and making improvements to organizations and communities. The Data Science major and certificate may also be of interest.

LIS 351- Introduction to Digital Information

LIS 407- Data Storytelling with Visualization

LIS 440- Navigating the Data Revolution: Concepts of Data & Information Science

LIS 461- Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy

LIS 464- Applied Database Design

LIS 501- Introduction to Text Mining

Stat 240- Data Science Modeling I

User Experience Design

This set of courses will prepare you with knowledge and skills needed to develop effective, efficient and delightful user interactions with digital information systems, including data-intensive systems and data interfaces. The rise in consumer expectations for easy and efficient digital interactions with digital products, sales and services has created high demand for UX professionals across all industries.

LIS 201- The Information Society

LIS 470- Interaction Design Studio

CS 570- Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

LIS 500- Code and Power

LIS 510- Human Factors in Information Security

LIS 517- Digital Health: Information and Technologies Supporting Consumers and Patients

DS 120- Design: Fundamentals I

DS 341- Design Thinking for Transformation

Information Policy, Law and Ethics

This area examines the ways in which information and information technologies intersect with law, social concerns, and public policy. This includes ways in which legal rights may be expanded or infringed with information technologies and ways in which information and technologies may be subject to legal regulation. It also considers different types of moral values that affect and are affected by information technologies, such as privacy, security, speech, fairness, and democracy.

LIS 201- The Information Society

LIS 460- Surveillance, Privacy, and Police Powers

LIS 461- Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy

LIS 510- Human Factors in Information Security

COM ARTS 509- Digital Media and Political Communication

Health Informatics

Data and information underlie efforts to support health and wellness. Topics covered in this coursework include understanding how consumers use information and data to make health decisions, the importance of information and data management in supporting health and wellness research, and helping design better systems for health professionals to support care.

LIS 407- Data Storytelling with Visualization

LIS 470- Interaction Design Studio

LIS 510- Human Factors in Information Security

LIS 517- Digital Health: Information and Technologies Supporting Consumers and Patients

JOURN/COM ARTS/LSC 617- Health Communication in the Information Age

Information, Data & Society (General Digital Citizenship)

Following this set of courses, you will explore the interaction between information, technology and society.  The coursework includes perspectives from history, philosophy, communications, gender, race and ethnic studies and information science.

COM ARTS 200- Introduction to Digital Communication

LIS 201- The Information Society

LIS 301- Information Literacies in Online Spaces

LIS 350- History and Future of Books

LIS 461- Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy

LIS 500- Code and Power

LIS 510- Human Factors in Information Security

Careers

Graduates of the program will be prepared for today’s tech-centered job market with computing, analytical, communication and management skills. Career opportunities are endless as there is no one job category or set of industries. Below are some examples of career outcomes:

  • User Experience/Interaction Designer
  • Information Architect 
  • Analyst or Consultant (Data, Product, Program, Business)
  • Database Manager
  • Product Manager/Project Manager
  • Information Governance Analyst
  • Digital Media Coordinator

Information Science Major Frequently Asked Questions

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I am interested in a double major. Is this possible? How do I plan for it?

The Information Science major can be your sole major, or it can also be used to complement a wide variety of majors. The accessible and flexible design of the Information Science major makes double majors a feasible opportunity. 

Social science and humanities majors can pursue Information Science to add computer, data and information experience to their skillset. Computational/data science majors may add the Information Science major as a path to learn about ethics, policy and social impacts. 

Created in collaboration with other majors advisors, below are two sample 4-year double major plans. Please review the full curriculum for both majors in the Guide and contact advisors for questions.

Sample 4-Year Plan: Information Science and Computer Sciences

Sample 4-Year Plan: Information Science and Data Science