Monday, December 19, 2016


One thing that unites the UMSI community is the desire to utilize information and technology to craft a better world.

We all find that the principles of UMSI align with those of our own:
  • We share a passion for the fundamental intertwining of people, information and technology.
  • We believe that to understand and improve interactions between people, information, and technology, we must combine scientific expertise in all three.
  • We share a willingness to take risks.
  • We are progressive and forward-looking.
  • We are a welcoming and diverse community.
  • We believe fun is a necessity.

But we also have our personal reasons for attending UMSI. Here are some reasons shared by those in the UMSI community:

Large School Benefits, Small School Feel
“For me, it was the strong Archives/Records Management program in particular, the overall quality of the whole School of Information, and the opportunity to be in such a small, intimate school that is an integral part of a large, outstanding research university (essentially having the advantages of both a small school and a large one at the same time)”, said Michael, an ARM and PI major from the class of 2014 currently working as an archivist at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum
Brian, a first year MSI student also pursuing a masters in Higher Education, said he was drawn to “the fantastic courses [and convinced by] the way that you can pair them with just about any other fantastic UM degree you find exciting.”

The Amazing Community
“I came for the love of the work, and stayed for the love of the people,” stated Nisreen, a first year also working as an IT Product Designer at Ford.  Meg, a second year with interests in games UX echoed this sentiment, sharing that she initially attended UMSI for the networking opportunities, but stayed because of the good friends she had made.

An Innovative, Forward-Thinking Space
UMSI is "where Information Architecture for the World Wide Web became a thing," said Dan, an alum currently working as an Information Architect.

Strong Career Preparedness
“UMSI equips tomorrow's leaders with the design and data skills necessary to build the application-layer of the information age, the most important layer, the one humans actually interact with, ” shared Michael an MSI and law student.

Commitment to Service
Maggie, a full-time Data & Systems Analyst and part-time first year student pursuing a tailored degree in Information Management for the Public Sector was drawn to the Citizen Interaction Design program, which seeks to improve civic engagement through the use of information tools.

Honorable Mentions
  • “Cat photo email threads on the all-school, no-filter listserv”
  • “The squirrels”

Monday, December 12, 2016

Career Development at UMSI

Last year in March when I came to Michigan for Visiting Days, I was really impressed by the offerings of the Career Development Office (CDO). It wasn’t just a job posting board. It was an entire office staffed with people dedicated to helping you achieve employment success. This was extremely important to me as I wanted my graduate degree to be a good investment, and I wanted additional guidance as I transitioned into a field that I didn’t know much about and had no contacts in. The CDO ended up playing a big role in my decision to attend UMSI.

Although, I’ve yet to finish up my first term, I’ve already taken advantage of the CDO to rehabilitate my resume and have attended on-campus events by various employers. I actually can't keep track of everything the CDO has going on (so many emails!). The extensiveness of the CDO, in my opinion, is unparalleled.

Some of the services the Career Development Office provides students include:
  • Resume and cover letter assistance
  • Mock interviews
  • Advising for summer internships
  • Employer recruiting events
  • iTrack, a job postings/event site specific to UMSI students

Get a better sense of the services the CDO provides students:

Learn more about the program’s job outcomes:

See the amazing 2016 employment outcomes:

To learn more about the Career Development Office please visit:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tips for a Successful Application

With the priority deadline for the MSI fast approaching (January 15th!!!), I hope many of you have crossed the big things off your to-do list, such as taking the GREs (or other necessary exams) and asking for your letters of recommendation. If you're anything like me, you'll probably be spending the next few weeks trying to whip up the perfect essays (so much for Happy Holidays...).

It's tough, but here are some tips to help you submit your strongest application:

Think about your story. What makes you unique?
Tip: For the personal statement, imagine you are having a conversation with someone you feel very comfortable with. Jot down how you would convey your history and your passion to them; let the words flow naturally without trying to make them sound "better". Once you have all your thoughts down, you need only formalize and edit them.

In the Statement of Purpose, show that you've done your research.
When applying for a job it's best to do some background research on the company; for graduate school it's no different. Take the time to understand: What is the goal of the school? What kind of activities are they engaged in? What kind of research is going on? Then try to answer: Why do I want to study here? How/what can I add to the school?

Have a friend (or three) review your personal statement and statement of purpose.
A fresh set of eyes can pick up on things that you may not have. Especially when you feel like flinging your laptop into a wall after spending hours on your essays.

Craft a resume that highlights both the unique voice of your personal statement and the skills of your statement of purpose.
I encourage you to look at sample resumes online and get family and friends to review yours. Tip: Use action words, especially those that show leadership and responsibility (i.e. supervised, directed, organized). Tip: Use specific examples when giving evidence of your skills/experiences (i.e. worked the cash register vs managed cash flows of up to $100,000 each day).

Remind your letters of recommendation writers 1-2 weeks before the deadline.
Luckily the MSI application notifies you when a recommendation has been submitted. [Don't forget to send a thank you note to them afterwards!]

Most importantly, get your application in by January 15th!
I cannot stress how important it is, especially if you like getting money to help pay for things (i.e. everyone). The most UMSI merit scholarships are given out to applicants who apply within this first pool.

Please visit the application requirements page to make sure your awesome application is also a complete application 😅.

Also, be sure to keep up-to-date with this blog.  In the coming weeks, we will post more information about the application process, the MSI degree, and life in Ann Arbor.

If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at We’re always happy to help!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

UMSI Application and Prospective Student Facebook Group are Live!

Welcome and Welcome Back to the UMSI Admissions Blog!

We will post relevant articles, information, updates, and share current student perspectives with you throughout the admissions process.
I wanted to point out a few key updates to get us started:

Visit this link to begin or continue an application.

The 2017 Prospective Student Facebook Group is live!
Join the conversation with staff, current students, and other prospective MSI students.
This is a great place to ask questions about admissions, UMSI, our programs, Ann Arbor, and share information with one another. We will also post about events and updates to keep you informed about our admissions process and ways to determine whether UMSI might be the right program for you!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 5

Part 4 of our Day in the Life series features MSI Mayank Khanna
(Copied with permission from Facebook)

Hello everyone,
My name is Mayank and I am a second year student specializing in HCI & Social computing. I am an international student from India and did my undergrad in engineering in Bangalore. I worked with Infosys for around three years before I landed in the amazing town of Ann Arbor.
Currently, in addition to being a student, I am an officer with SOCHI (Student Organization of Computer Human Interaction) and a GSRA with Prof. Fontichiaro on the Making in Michigan Libraries initiative and have had the opportunity to participate in several activities/initiatives outside the classroom.

I will be posting throughout the day for all of you to experience UMSI through my eyes. Feel free to comment on any of the posts with questions and I will be happy to answer them
Go Blue!

Post 1/4
My day started with quickly grabbing a coffee at Espresso Royale and then heading to fourth floor, where most faculty and PhD students are located.
After a quick checkin with Prof. Fontichiaro about our project, I landed in the lounge space on 4th floor to catch up on some work and emails. Work started with me finalizing work for SOCHI officer elections 
After that, I was back to work on the summer road-trip as part of the Making in Michigan Libraries initiative. Basically, I am co-planning a summer road trip across the entire state of Michigan to eight specific towns to promote Maker culture in the state. The intent is to create hubs within Libraries across the state that allows people in these communities to build their own makerspaces with the help of the library.
After this, I have to rush to Scarlett Middle school to meet the awesome kids there. More details coming soon.
Stay Tuned!

Post 2/4
Before I could leave for the Scarlett Middle school, I dropped by the International center to pickup my OPT documents.

The international center at the university has the most helpful staff. You can go to them anytime you have doubts regarding your VISA, travel or work related questions.
If you are an international student, you will most likely drop by this place at least four times during your time at UMSI.
Now leaving to meet the kids.

Post 3/4
And we just wrapped up at Scarlett Middle School where we run an after-school STEAM program for kids in the grade 6-8. The lovely Sandy Ng and Prakruthi Shetty help me run this program at Scarlett 
More details about the fun we have:

We work with kids to build STEM related projects and practice different kind of crafts to give them an outside classroom learning experience. While today we taught kids how to etch glass, in the past we have taught them to build their own LED flashlights, make 3-d prints using the Makerbot and practice coding through online tools like the Hour of code.
If any of you would like to volunteer for this after-school program during your time at UMSI, feel free to contact Prof. Fontichiaro and you can choose a site based on your schedule. It can be the most fun activity you do in your entire week.

Post 4/4
After the fun at Scarlett, I was back to North Quad with the amazing Amber Lovett to record a webinar for the U.S. Department of Education

This webinar is part of a series of lectures planned by the department for their CTE Makeover Challenge. The challenge aims at promoting Makerspaces within high-school education in the country. Prof. Fontichiaro is one of the many esteemed judges for this amazing challenge.
Interestingly, the Makeover challenge was recently announced by President Obama during his keynote at SXSW. This announcement also included the approval of the "much-in-debate" STEM extension opportunity for International students.
With this I am posting my last update for today. It was really fun sharing my daily UMSI experiences with all of you. Wish all of you Good Luck as you transition into Grad school.
Feel free to post any questions you have and I will respond at the earliest.

A Day in the Life - Part 4

Part 4 of our Day in the Life series features MSI Deirdre Hirschtritt
(Copied with permission from Facebook)


Hi there! My name is Deirdre and I’m a first year student in the tailored specialization with a particular interest in academic libraries. I got my BS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go badgers!) in Gender & Women’s Studies and History, with a minor in Jewish Studies. Between undergrad and UMSI, I lived in Detroit for three years teaching elementary school full time and then working at a few different non-profits.
Now at U-M, in addition to taking classes, I spend about 20 hours/week at the library offering reference services, teaching undergraduate “one-shot” courses and working on various projects. I also serve as an officer for the Information Alliance for Community Development (IACD) as well as the student chapter of the American Library Association at UMSI. They’re both great!
I’m going to post a few times today about what I’m up to. Feel free to post comments and/or ask any questions on any of my updates. You can also email me at

Post 1/4
During lunch today, one of the student organizations I'm involved with -- Information Alliance for Community Development (IACD) -- invited the Visualization Librarian, Justin Joque, from MLibrary to come talk to us about data visualization principles and tools. Incidentally, Justin happens to be a UMSI grad (class of 2010)!
He introduced us to some basic tools for visualization and we talked about how to make the process and product of visualization transparent for readers. It also turns out that there are a lot of open access resources we can still use once we graduate.

I think this was a great jump off conversation about data visualization. I plan on following up with Justin to get some tips about how to apply these techniques to data I'm working with, or maybe I'll sign up for a workshop. MLibrary offers regular workshops about a variety tools, both for visualization and for a ton of other resources (check 'em out: Teaching and Technology Collaborative: Off to work now...

Post 2/4
One project I’m working on at the library has me sitting in this pretty room for 2 hours/week. It’s the Reference Room in the Hatcher Graduate Library. I’m weeding a selection of books, checking for currency and wear & tear, among other things. It’s wild to be able to hold books that are over 100 years old in my hands so often!
My mentor for this project has been a librarian for over 20 years and our meetings are some of the best parts of my week. I learn a ton from just listening to him describe his workflow and his decision-making process. I know the skills and knowledge I’m gaining now will be incredibly helpful when I’m applying for jobs and when I actually get one of those jobs (*fingers crossed*)!
When I’m not working on this project, I often come to this room to read for class or to work on a paper. It’s super quiet! Even in the dead of winter, the light in there is always stunning and it feels very academic to sit among the books and study.

Part 3/4
I just left a meeting with a classmate where we were working on a poster that we'll be presenting at a conference in May. That's going well! Hooray!

Now I'm meeting with my 501 group in NorthQuad (pictured here). We're starting to work on our affinity wall, infamous at UMSI. We'll be putting together data gathered in several interviews with our client and trying to make meaning of a whole bunch of sticky notes...this should be interesting! Off to class...

Part 4/4
My day ended with attendance at one of our required courses -- SI 501 (pro tip: classes at UMSI are usually referred to as their course number, not the title of the class). In post 3, I showed you a picture of my group for this class and here's a picture of something we're working on. If you ever wondered what 300 sticky notes with little pieces of paper looks like, wonder no longer.

Tomorrow will look totally different than today, which is no surprise. Every day is different for me, and different than any other student in the program. If you want to know about anything that I've mentioned today, feel free to reach out. I should also mention that I live in a graduate student co-op, so if you want to know about housing and co-ops, I can answer some questions about that, too. Hope you enjoy visiting days this weekend, if you're coming to town!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 3

Part 3 of our Day in the Life series features MSI Student Jessamine Bartley-Matthews
(Copied with permission from Facebook)


Hi everyone! My name is Jessa and I’m a first-year master’s student specializing in HCI (soon-to-be tailored). I’m interested in the intersection between art and UX design, and how we can use technology to create physical experiences that positively impact people’s lives. Before coming to‪#‎UMSI‬, I worked in communications at a human rights nonprofit in Washington, DC; before that, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. I majored in English and art history during college, so I’m happy to answer any questions you have about entering UMSI with a non-tech background.

At UMSI, I’m the vice president of the School of Information Master’s Association (SIMA), as well as an active participant in design jams and campus activities. I'm also a UX Design Fellow at UofM's Digital Innovation Greenhouse, part of the Office of Digital Education and Innovation. There is truly something for everyone here; the hardest part is finding enough time in the day to squeeze it all in! I’ll be posting throughout the day with little glimpses into my typical Thursday, feel free to comment with any questions you have!

Post 1/5: Starting my morning off right catching up on emails from home with a cup of coffee in hand. Thursday mornings are my chance to catch up on email and anything else that has built up over the course of the week, and today I’ll be finalizing my graphic design homework and seeing if I can sneak in a few internship applications before heading off to class.

I live on Ann Arbor’s Old West Side, about a 25-minute walk or 10-minute bike ride from UMSI (more on biking later!). It's residential part of town, and you’ll find a nice mix of families and graduate students living here. All buses in Ann Arbor are free with your student ID, so when it’s rainy or I’m just feeling sluggish, I can walk down the block and hop on the bus to get to class. On days that I manage to get out the door early enough, I grab a half-price pastry and a locally-roasted coffee from the farm stand down the street smile emoticon. Happy to answer any questions you have about neighborhoods or the housing search. Ok, back to work!

Post 2/5: Made my way to the Fishbowl to print out my homework before heading to my Graphic Design class (SI520). The Fishbowl is located right by the Diag in Angell Hall and has a ton of Macs and PCs that you can work on and use the Adobe Creative Suite if you don't have it on your personal computer. Though the majority of SI classes take place at our beautiful North Quad, we also have access to amazing facilities all over campus that suit your different needs and interests. Now off to class!

Post 3/5: Onto North Quad for the weekly School of Information Master's Association (SIMA) meeting. SIMA serves as the liaison to the school administration, sponsors social events, hosts guest speakers, and appoints student leaders to various UMSI committees. SIMA is just one of the many student organizations on campus that you can participate in when you arrive. There really is something for everyone smile emoticon

Right now we're busy planning the School of Information Prom and gearing up for visiting days. We're excited to meet all of you!

Post 4/5: Last stop of the day before heading home: the Ann Arbor Potter's Guild! I signed up for a beginner's class last semester as a wintertime de-stresser, and have been honing my throwing skills and just generally enjoying doing something more physical. It's a nice contrast to the computer screen smile emoticon. There is always a lot to do in Ann Arbor outside of school, and lots of interesting ways to get involved in the community. Wish me luck glazing my newly-fired pots!

Post 5/5: After a long day of classes, internship applications, meetings, and ceramics, I'm headed home to do a bit of homework and plan out my day tomorrow (Friday!!!) When the temperature permits, I ride my bike everywhere. Ann Arbor is a very bike friendly city with a number of clearly-marked bike lanes (and, admittedly, some potholes), and many people use it as their primary mode of transportation. When the weather is warm, you can bike along the Huron River to The Dexter Cider Mill for homemade donuts and hot cider, or you can head in the opposite direction and take a ride around the Arboretum. Just don't forget to get bright bicycle lights and a good helmet!

I hope these little glimpses into my day have been helpful! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about life in Ann Arbor or UMSI classes; just leave a comment below. Hope to see you at visiting days!

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 2

Part two of our Day in the Life series follows Saskia DeVries, a dual UMSI and Ford School of Public Policy student, during one of her days in Washington DC on UMSI's alternative spring break (ASB).
(posts copied directly from Facebook, with permission of course!)

Hello everyone! My name is Saskia. I'm a first-year MSI student and a dual degree student with the Ford School of Public Policy. At UMSI my specialization is Information Economics for Management. Broadly, I'm interested user-centered design for government programs (the implementation side of public policy) with a focus on low-income communities. This week I'm in Washington, DC, for Alternative Spring Break (ASB)! I'll be posting throughout the day about my work here. Please feel free to ask questions about UMSI, ASB, being a dual-degree student, or anything else!

Post 1/4 for Day in the Life: Starting my day at the New America Foundation with a cup of coffee in front of the UMSI team's work on the whiteboard! I'm one of four students volunteering with Opportunity@Work on their TechHire initiative. We're helping out with the design of a knowledge management system. ASB is just one of many ways UMSI connects students with projects for real clients!

 Post 2/4 for Day in the Life: We had a very exciting morning in DC! Our project host arranged a tour of the White House! First we watched President Obama board Marine One, and then we walked around the rooms in the East Wing. Not all ASB teams go on tours like this, but everyone on the trip has time to view the sights in DC: monuments, museums, galleries, and more.

Post 3/4 for Day in the Life: The business day is ending, but Nishan Bose and I are still hard at work! Tomorrow is our last day with Opportunity@Work, and we want to leave them with the materials they need to move forward with the projects we started. We just received great feedback from our project sponsor!

Post 4/4 for Day in the Life: Time to meet up with friends in DC for dinner! Thanks for reading today. Please reach out if you have any questions!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Day in the Life - Part 1

Wondering what it's like to be an MSI student at UMSI? Follow our "Day in the Life" series in our prospective student Facebook group or on our blog. This series can give you insight into what it's like to be an MSI student, and what your life could look like here at UMSI as well.

Stay tuned through the spring for views into different students and snapshots of their lives at UMSI.

Take a look at our first "Day in the Life" posts.... (copied directly from Facebook, with permission of course!)

Hi everyone! My name is Lavanya, and I am a second year masters student here at SI! Besides specializing in HCI, I'm also a graduate student instructor, an officer of our school's human computer interaction club, and an avid volunteer for several of SI's projects and events. Needless to say, there are tons of opportunities outside of the classroom that help make one's experience a lot of fun smile emoticon

So, today I will be sharing moments from my day for all of you to get a taste of life here at SI! Please feel free to comment on the posts if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to answer them.

Post 1/5: Starting the morning off with my discussion section for SI 622 (Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation). Being a GSI (graduate student instructor) is a wonderful learning opportunity and helps build public speaking, organizational, and project management skills. It also tests your knowledge of the field and helps reiterate subject matter that you may have forgotten since taking the class!

(Below are some of the discussion rooms in North Quad, where the School of Information is located!)

Post 2/5: Alright, moving along. Now that class is over, it's time for some portfolio reviews! As an officer for SOCHI (student organization for computer human interaction) along with Mayank Khanna, Sidharath 'Sid' Chhatani, and Prakruthi Shetty, conducting events that help the SI community build their design and research skills is important! We often hold design jams with companies such as Amazon, GE, Facebook, and many others! These are great networking opportunities and wonderful ways to practice your design skills. This week however, SOCHI is helping with portfolio reviews. So each of us sits with one student from the SI cohort who needs help with his or her online portfolio, which is basically a personal webpage to showcase your work. Portfolios complement your resumes nicely and are important if you're looking for a job coming out of SI.

A typical study room in SI (only for masters students!!)

The beautiful North Quad.

Post 3/5: While I love assisting others, I could use some help with my work also. Time to head to the 3rd and 4th floors of North Quad where majority of the faculty and staff work! This is a great place to meet the masterminds behind the School of Information including professors, admin, and Phd students. If you have any questions about classes, this is where you'd go to meet your professors for office hours or just say hi

Taking elevators up to the 3rd and 4th floors!

Cool furniture up on the 4th floor!

Post 4/5: Next stop - Engagement Center. A recent addition to SI, this building is conveniently located above Panera and is just one block down from North Quad. Of course I stopped at Panera to get something to eat. The Engagement Center is where our career development office sits and is an excellent place to study as well as talk to our staff about internship and full-time opportunities. A lot of companies come to this building to recruit and hold information sessions. Personally, I'm here to discuss a project called ASB (alternative spring break) where students take a trip to another city and help other organizations with design, data, research, and information problems. It's a great way to network (I'm headed to DC!) and take a week off to really bond with your fellow SI-ers!

Engagement Center... This picture does not do it justice... It's huge! And awesome.

Post 5/5: Finally ended the day with an Agile project management session back in North Quad! This was a brief but very informative workshop on this methodology and is yet another great resource provided by SI to complement your work in the classroom. What's also awesome about SI events is that there is almost always free food.

Alright everyone, that's all from me! I hope you found my posts informative and helpful. Please comment on any of the posts if you have any questions and best of luck. Hope to see you at SI!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Service Engagement at UMSI

Dear Prospective Students,

This is a great time for you to be considering the opportunities that graduate school can provide and I wanted to bring to your attention a few programs that might be of interest that are part of the “Initiative for Information Impact” here at the University of Michigan School of Information:

The Global Information Engagement Program partners non-profit, research, and educational organizations in an international setting with carefully selected student teams. For 2016, GIEP will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. In early summer, the student teams will then depart to South Africa and spend six to 12 weeks implementing an information tool for groups that have high societal impact. GIEP is a curricular program at UMSI; Students will receive six credits for pre-departure activities and the in-country experience through enrollment in SI 691 through pre-enrollment in Winter 2016.

Michigan Makers uses action research and service learning to explore teaching, learning, and evidence of skills in non-classroom settings. In the 2015-2016 academic year, UMSI students are working 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.

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. Projects for 2015 included digitizing film for the Ann Arbor District Library and website redesign for the non-profit, Dagbe.

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.

A2DataDive is 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.

UMSI MLK Service Day is a yearly event in January where SI students, faculty and staff can volunteer at local nonprofits in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Ypsilanti. Participating organizations in 2016 included the Detroit Sound Conservancy, 826 Michigan and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Peace Corps Partnerships are two initiatives between the U.S. Peace Corps and the School of Information. The Coverdell Fellow Programs offers financial support and academic credit to those who have served in the Peace Corps prior to joining UMSI. In addition, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers use the skills they developed working abroad to complete internships in underserved U.S. communities, gaining both academic credit and valuable on-the-job experience. The Master’s International Program allows students to start their MSI, take that knowledge into the world while serving in the Peace Corps, then return to complete their degree. Participants in this program work abroad as Peace Corps volunteers for 27 months and receive language, cross-cultural, and technical training to enhance the hands-on experience they will acquire. Students will also have time to develop an international academic project while volunteering in their host country.

The School of Information cares deeply about connecting people, information and technology in order to make a difference in our communities and for the world at large. These programs and opportunities are examples of how through our curriculum and student engagement, UMSI enables its members to change the world. When talking to our students, staff and faculty please be sure to ask about these unique opportunities to engage with the community and see which programs would be most interesting for you.

Michael Gates
MSI Class of ‘17

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Elevate your passion!

At last week's UMSI career fair, a group of students (8 MSI, 2 BSI, 1 MHI) had the chance to present their passions to a group of employers.

You can view Jake's video below but be sure to check out all 10 (short) videos here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UMSI Career Fair for current students is this week

UMSI's Career Fair (for current UMSI students) is this week!

The fair features many employers as well as a special "Elevate your Passion" session before the fair.
Elevate Your Passion is an event where 11 students will present to employers in a 3-minute TED talk style presentation.  The presentation will allow students to share their passion, innovative accomplishments and/or career goals with employers.  For UMSI students, this session provides an opportunity to have unprecedented exclusive access to the career fair employers.   This is just one of the ways that UMSI helps you get the job that you want.

As a prospective student or applicant, we want to let you know that UMSI has four full time career development office staff members and they are available to meet with students.  The office also holds regular workshops, employer visits, and another career event later in the spring.  UMSI students also have access to a job/internship/part-time job database that is just for UMSI students. 

As you may remember from an earlier email or post: Master of Science in Information students have a 98-99% employment rate each year.  You can read more about careers and view the employment report here: and read profiles of current students and alumni here:

Some employers that will be at this year's fair include:
  • SapientNitro
  • Duo Security
  • Athena Health
  • Are You a Human
  • Venture for America
  • LLamasoft
  • IBM Design
  • Waltrics
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Tech town Detroit
  • University of Michigan
  • Cengage
  • Deloitte Digital 
  • Quicken Loans
  • MSU Libraries
  • JSTOR/Ithaka 
  • ...and more! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

Hello! As the first application deadline approaches, we wanted to provide answers to questions that are commonly asked during the application process. I hope this helps to address some of your concerns, if you have any questions, please email us anytime at

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 who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from taking an English proficiency examination if one of the following criteria are met:
  • You are a native speaker of English.
  • You completed all four years of your undergraduate education at an institution in the United States and earned a degree from that institution.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree in one of the following countries, Australia, English speaking Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where all classes are taught exclusively in English.
  • You completed all of your graduate education, a minimum of two years duration, and earned a graduate degree in one of the following countries, the United States, Australia, English speaking Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom. Graduate education includes Master's, Ph.D., and professional degrees. Graduate degrees that are exclusively research based are excluded.
  • Current U-M student.
Being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking an English proficiency exam; if the applicant’s first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exception above or submit English proficiency exam.

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 of recommendation, test scores or transcripts. We'll be in touch regularly until you've completed your application. We check for missing pieces regularly, so unless there is a specific or urgent issue, please know that we'll contact *you* if we need any other materials.

3a) How do I know you have my materials (i.e. transcripts, test scores) if I haven’t submitted yet?

If you have not yet submitted your application, Prior to submitting, it is very time consuming to check for materials, so we appreciate your waiting until you submit and receive confirmation from us to see if there is an issue.

Please note that around the January 15 early deadline, it may take us several days (or longer) to process your application. Do know that your application is considered submitted and received the date you submit, not the day we process it.

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. UMSI merit scholarships range from partial to full tuition coverage, with possible additional benefits, (regardless of residency status) for four semester of full-time MSI coursework. There are also a handful of fully funded assistantships available through the Professional Practice Fellows 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 on the funding your degree page.

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 begin to review applications after our application deadlines. For the PhD this would mean review will start after the December 1st 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 see the answer to “What constitutes part time enrollment” on the FAQ page.