Thursday, January 30, 2014

Video recordings of online information sessions

As always, please direct further inquiries to  Our team is happy to answer your questions and/or connect you with a current student.

There may be duplicate questions in these videos because each is from a different session.

Full session

Questions only

Questions only

Note: participants were informed that these sessions would be recorded.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Initiative for Information Impact

Dear prospective students,

This is a great time for you to be considering graduate school and I wanted to bring to attention a few programs that might be of interest to you that are part of the new “Initiative for Information Impact”:

The Global Information Engagement Program partners non-profit, research, and educational organizations in an international setting with carefully selected student teams. For 2014, six teams from UMSI will spend winter term studying an identified information challenge in Ann Arbor that has been proposed by a partner organization in India. In early summer, the student teams will then depart to India and spend six to 12 weeks implementing an information tool that has high societal impact. Projects include the development of an interactive forum for human rights lawyers in India, a comprehensive disability law portal site, and an interactive cultural arts digital exhibit. GIEP is a curricular program at UMSI; students receive six credits from the experience and fulfill the internship requirement.

Michigan Makers uses action research and service learning to explore teaching, learning, and evidence of skills in non-classroom settings. In the 2013-14 academic year, UMSI students are working with two local public schools in "maker-style" activities. Michigan Makers helps local youth engage with technology through tinkering and creating, while promoting group work and peer mentoring. This year, students initiated projects that included 3D printing, sewing, Arduino and much more!

Community Impact Projects are an opportunity for interested students who wish to fine-tune their professional skills through engagement with information-related projects proposed by local community partners. Students, either as an individual or with members of their student organization, can work on projects that range from a day to an entire academic year and that create significant impact to an organization that is lacking in information-related skills, resources, or technology. Projects include organization and processing of collections, website design and users analysis, database building, and general information consultation.

Citizen Interaction Design: Student teams, formed around challenges presented by the partner organization, the City of Jackson, Michigan, work to create new information tools and services that fundamentally reimagine how citizens interact with their local governments. The project offers many opportunities for engaged learning for UMSI students, starting with a one-credit reading seminar in the fall term, a three-credit project studio course in Winter term where students work with teams from Jackson to analyze information problems and implement solutions, and cumulating in summer internships in Jackson to round out the winter term projects.

Alternative Spring Break: Unique to the School of Information, our ASB program matches students with organizations in capacity-building information projects for the week of spring break. Annually, over 100 students donate their time to work with public sector organizations such as The Trevor Project, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or Media Burn Film Archive to create access and organization information and enhance data and web services.

Beyond these opportunities, students can also engage with our local community through the annual UMSI Service Day or A2DataDive, a hack-a-thon-like event in which students and data scientists partner to analyze data sets from community partners. These are both events in which students can take on significant leadership roles, or join the event the day of.

The School of Information has had a long history of changing the world in a positive way through our mission, “connecting people, information, and technology in more valuable ways” and these programs/opportunities are an example of how we do this in both the curriculum and through student co-curricular engagement. If you interact with students, staff, and faculty from UMSI in the future, be sure to inquire about this unique opportunities to engage with the community and see which programs might be most interesting to you.


Kelly A. Kowatch
Service Engagement Program Manager

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Perspective from a current student (and Information Mentor) - Learn more about UMSI!

With the early deadline of January 15 behind us, many UMSI applicants have taken the leap and have officially applied to graduate school.  Many are still working hard on their applications, and some are still deciding to apply. 

If you've just applied, you might be wondering, "now what?"  As a current student, I remember being in your shoes and anxiously checking my email and Wolverine Access account DAILY, even hourly, in hopes of receiving the good news. So, here's some advice on how to "survive" the (what seems like forever) waiting game, whether you have already applied or plan to do so.  

These are also great ways to continue to learn more about UMSI if you're still deciding to apply. 

Join the Facebook page for prospective students, which is a great source for networking with other prospective students, current students, and staff. The Facebook page is also a perfect source for answering any of your questions regarding the application process, funding/ scholarships/ employment, housing, etc., so check it out! 
Speaking of funding... now is a great time to review all of your options, including loans (filling out the FAFSA if you are a domestic student), scholarships, part-time work opportunities, graduate student instructor and research assistantships, and more! Here are several links to review while you wait:
If you do receive your admissions letter (e-mail), you'll then be able to register for MSI Visiting Days, which is an admissions information event for admitted students that occurs March 22 - 24, 2014 on the University of Michigan campus. This event will give you an opportunity to learn more about the program and all its components from faculty, staff, current students, and alumni. It's a great way to network, ask questions, learn more about Ann Arbor, housing, and begin your search for employment and funding. 

If you haven't yet applied and are still considering the program, or you won't be able to attend MSI Visiting Days during March, you can still schedule a visit to the School of Information. During this visit, you can meet with an admissions representative, talk to a current student, tour North Quad, and even sit in on a class. Send an email to if interested. 

Finally, don't forget to breathe! While you may be anxiously awaiting the news, or making that tough decision to apply, it is important to remember that the admissions team is here to help.  UMSI processes applications on a rolling basis. As you're following Facebook, you might see other prospective students receive their admissions letter before you, and that's okay! Admissions will process applications throughout the winter term and into the spring. 

Good luck!

Alexis Peregoy
Information Mentor
MSI Candidate, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions


My name is Phil Nardone and I am the Admissions and Student Affairs assistant for UMSI. While I do a lot of the application processing, I also have a large hand in the contact with applicants and prospective students. Some of you may even recognize my name from your questions to Over the last year I have noticed a few trends in the questions that are asked, and I figured it might be helpful to summarize some of the most popular questions.

1) Do I need to take the GRE?

The GRE taken within the past five years is required of all applicants. We do not have a minimum requirement. Our review process looks holistically at all application pieces and takes each piece into consideration. For details visit: MSI Application Requirements.

2) Is the TOEFL required? Or, can I be exempt from the TOEFL?

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide official score reports for the TOEFL exam. We have updated our exemption requirements so please visit our FAQs for these details.

TOEFL scores are good for up to 2 years and in order for us to use your score, you need to apply to our program within that timeframe. If your scores will expire after you apply, that is not a problem. However, if your scores will expire before you apply, we may not be able to use them.

3) I got an email saying not all my application materials were in, can you check to see if my materials are in?

I get a lot of email asking if we have received your letters or rec, test scores or transcripts. We encourage students to check your application status here: This page will let you know what materials we have, and the status of your application. You will need your University of Michigan ID number (UMID) to access this information. You will receive your UMID number in the original confirmation email that will be sent to you when you submit your application. We work hard to update these materials as often as we can and we appreciate your patience. If you believe there is a serious issue or a significant amount of time has passed since you sent in your materials please feel free to contact us.

4) What sort of funding or scholarships does your school offer?

Funding for masters programs in general is limited, and while we do offer a substantial level of funding to our masters students, many well qualified students do not receive funding from our department. All UMSI departmental funding is in the form of merit tuition scholarships. There are also a handful of full funding assistantships available through the University Library Associate program. Many additional students obtain relevant part time jobs and internships to help defray costs and to obtain valuable experience. Our student services staff work very hard to help students find creative ways of financing their graduate program.

Other options of funding may include research assistantships with UMSI faculty. Some students are able to secure these positions at some point after they are enrolled. Faculty prefer to hire students they know and who have performed well in the program. Certainly, you could use our web site to identify faculty whose research interests you, and email them to introduce yourself to begin the process of exploring future research opportunities.

Teaching assistantship opportunities are rare within our own program for our master’s students. If you feel your background may qualify you to assist with an undergraduate course in another department, you could check with relevant departments to see if they have needs for graduate student instructors, which carries tuition, stipend and health insurance.

In addition, I encourage you to review additional sources of funding, including those we highlight on our own web site at

5) Are there any classes I should take? Are there any pre-requisite classes? Should I take any programming classes if I don’t have experience in them?

We admit students from all undergraduate majors and with a wide range of academic coursework. If you do decide to take additional coursework, you can choose what is of interest to you in relation to our curriculum, given we draw from a number of fields to create an interdisciplinary program.

Some of the fields represented in our courses and faculty include psychology, computer science, data science, economics, history, political science, public policy, linguistics, and more. Our curriculum spans social sciences and humanities as well as quantitative and technical areas. Thus we seek students with the potential to do well across these areas.

In other words, we don't need or require students to have coursework in all of the above mentioned areas, but we do look for evidence that students have strength in quantitative and analytical areas as well as in writing, creative thinking, synthesizing ideas, etc.

6) When will I hear about my application decision?

We appreciate all of your enthusiasm but the time it takes to process, complete, review, and evaluate applications can be time consuming. We typically tell students it takes six to eight weeks to get a response from us after the review of applications start. We typically begin to review applications after our application deadlines. For the PhD this would mean review will start after the December 15th deadline. For the Master’s programs this means after the January 15th deadline, the deadline for first priority for UMSI merit scholarships.

7) Does the School of Information Offer an Online Degree?

Our school does not offer any distance or online learning options for our degree. We do offer the option of taking a part-time course load.

For more information visit:

I hope this helps to address some of your concerns, if you have any questions please email us anytime at