Information Science Major, B.S.

School of Information and Library Science

107 Manning Hall, CB# 3360

(919) 962-0208

Undergraduate Student Services Manager, School of Information and Library Science

Ronald E. Bergquist, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

The bachelor of science in information science is designed to prepare its graduates for a variety of careers in the information industry, including information architecture, database design and implementation, Web design and implementation, and information consulting, as well as for graduate study.

The information science major integrates the study of the creation and management of information content, the characteristics and needs of the people who create and use information, and the technologies used to support the creation and manipulation of information. Graduating students will

  • Understand the many ways in which information can be created, communicated, stored, and/or transformed in order to benefit individuals, organizations, and society
  • Possess practical skills for analyzing, processing, and managing information and for developing and managing information systems in our knowledge-based society. They will possess problem-solving and decision-making skills, be able to use information tools effectively, and be able to take a leadership role in our information economy
  • Comprehend the value of information and information tools, and their role in society and the economy
  • Be prepared to evaluate the role of information in a variety of industries, in different organizational settings, for different populations, and for different purposes
  • Maintain a strong sense of the role of information in society, including historical and future roles

Admission to the program is required.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs


In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC-Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC-Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

The information science major consists of 10 courses (30 hours). The courses required for completion of the B.S.I.S. are as follows:

INLS 382Information Systems Analysis and Design3
INLS 385Information Use for Organizational Effectiveness3
INLS 523Introduction to Database Concepts and Applications3
INLS 697Information Science Capstone (taken in the senior year)3
A coherent set of six electives 118
Total Hours30

chosen in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor, which will meet the student’s objectives. All electives, including SILS courses, must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies.

B.S.I.S. students are not allowed to complete more than 45 credits of their program (i.e., 45 of the 120 credits needed for graduation from UNC–Chapel Hill) in INLS courses. They may take a few additional INLS electives but are encouraged to acquire a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences.

All INLS courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Students may not select the Pass/Fail option for any of the courses fulfilling requirements for the B.S.I.S. major or for any additional INLS electives, except for INLS 393. INLS 393 is only graded Pass/Fail. A minimum grade point average for graduation is 2.0.

Special Opportunities in Information and Library Science

B.S.I.S. students are encouraged to participate in internship or part-time employment opportunities in an information agency or an information technology company. To do so, they may enroll in INLS 393. During the internship, they will be supervised on site by an information professional and will work with a SILS faculty member as an advisor. Faculty-led seminars and a paper enhance the experience.

B.S.I.S. students are encouraged to consider pursuing a minor or double major (e.g., in business administration or computer science). The completion of a minor or second major must be certified by the college or school in which it is earned.

Dual Bachelor’s–Master’s Degree Program

The dual bachelor’s–master’s program is intended to enable information science majors to obtain both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees by early planning of an undergraduate program that integrates well with the graduate degree requirements for either a master’s in information science (M.S.I.S.) or a master’s in library science (M.S.L.S).

Applying to the dual-degree program occurs in two steps. First, the student must apply to the B.S.I.S. program with intent to pursue the dual degree. When applying for the B.S.I.S., students are required to complete the “Intent to Pursue to the Dual Degree” form and submit it to the undergraduate student services manager by the B.S.I.S. application deadline. Second, the student must apply to the master’s program in the sixth, seventh, or eighth semester of undergraduate study. For admission to study at the master’s level in the fall semester, students should meet the application deadline in the prior spring, and for admission in the spring semester, the prior fall. In other words, students must apply in time to be continually enrolled, with no “gap” semester. The curriculum for the dual degree can be found on the SILS Web site.

Up to 12 credit hours of information science coursework taken while an undergraduate can be applied to the master’s degree if the coursework is not also used to satisfy the graduation requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The requirements for the master’s degree can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Students interested in the dual-degree program are strongly advised to consult the director of undergraduate studies at SILS in their sophomore year to discuss eligibility and an appropriate plan of study.

Special Opportunities in SILS

Honors in Information Science

An honors program is available to information science majors who have demonstrated the ability to perform distinguished work. The honors thesis allows exceptional students in the undergraduate major to demonstrate the ability to treat a problem in a substantial and scholarly way. Students write an honors thesis on a topic related to information science and defend it before a faculty committee. They may graduate with honors or highest honors.

The honors program consists of two courses: INLS 691H and INLS 692H. These courses are in addition to the 30 hours required for the major. INLS 691H will be taken in the fall of the senior year. In this course, each student selects a research topic of interest, learns about research methods, and writes a research proposal. Assuming satisfactory completion of INLS 691H, students register for INLS 692H in the spring of their senior year. The student and advisor meet regularly to discuss the student’s research and writing. The second reader for the thesis, identified jointly by the student and advisor, is chosen by the end of January. The director of the SILS honors program is the third reader. The thesis must be completed and circulated to the thesis committee by the end of March, and the oral defense of the thesis must take place in the middle of April (exact dates will be based on the registrar’s calendar for the year). The final approved copies of the thesis must be submitted to the SILS office. The due date will be communicated to those in the honors program; it is always before the end of the semester.

Students may apply for the honors program in the spring of their junior year. The requirements for conducting an honors thesis in information science include having taken at least four INLS courses, including two numbered above 299, and having a total INLS grade point average of at least 3.5. The student should have an overall grade point average of at least 3.3. Enrolling in INLS 692H is contingent on completing INLS 691H with a grade of A- or higher.

Students who complete a high-quality thesis will graduate with honors; those whose thesis is exceptional will graduate with highest honors.


SILS maintains a combined specialized library and computer laboratory with ample seating for student collaborative work. The SILS Library is part of the UNC–Chapel Hill Academic Affairs Library System, and its collections are available for use in the library by all interested persons. The current collection consists of over 90,000 volumes and several hundred serials titles. The SILS computer laboratory is located in the school’s Information Technology and Resource Center in Manning Hall and is available to students enrolled in SILS courses and programs. More than 40 PCs are available for student use, with space for use of student laptops in a wireless environment. A large selection of software is available, including data management, word processing, publishing, statistical analysis, Internet tools, graphics, development tools, multimedia, etc. Student assistants staff the help desk and are available to answer questions.

SILS students also have access to a small student lounge in Manning Hall.

Student Involvement

Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in Information Science Student Undergraduates Empowered (ISSUE). All of the school’s standing committees have student representation, and all students are members of ISSUE. In addition, students may participate in professional associations in information and library science, including the student chapters of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), the American Library Association (ALA), Special Libraries Association (SLA), the Art and Museum Library and Information Student Society (AMLISS), the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and Checked Out: SILS LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, and queer).

Study Abroad

SILS has formal study abroad agreements with six information schools in the Czech Republic, Singapore, Denmark, South Korea, Chile, and Spain. Students can spend a summer, semester, or year studying abroad to earn course credit toward their information science major or information systems minor. The exchanges are administered through the UNC Study Abroad Office but are managed by SILS. Credit transfer should be confirmed with SILS before beginning the exchange. In addition, UNC–Chapel Hill has formal university ties with approximately 75 other universities—many of them with library and information science schools. For students who plan to pursue their MSLS, SILS offers short-term summer seminars in London and Prague. These seminars are two weeks in length and offer an in-depth view on libraries and librarianship. Students who wish to enjoy an international experience while studying at SILS are encouraged to talk with the SILS international programs coordinator.

Undergraduate Awards

Two scholarships of $1,000 each are awarded to newly admitted undergraduates in the spring and fall. Undergraduates completing an honors thesis are eligible to apply for a Carnegie Grant. This award of up to $200 may be used to offset any costs that might occur during their research.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates enrolled in the honors program conduct research as part of the completion of their honors thesis. Students not in the honors program may also take advantage of a number of opportunities to participate in research with faculty members.