Information Science Major, B.S.

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, business systems analyst, 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.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the information science program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the many ways in which information can be created, communicated, stored, and/or transformed, in order to benefit individuals, organizations, and society
  • Demonstrate practical skills in analyzing, processing, and managing information and developing and managing information systems in a knowledge-based society
  • Apply problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Effectively utilize information tools in preparation to taking a leadership role in the information economy
  • Recognize the value of information and information tools, and their role in society and the economy
  • Evaluate the role of information in a variety of industries, in different organizational settings, for different populations, and for different purposes


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

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

Core Requirements
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.

B.S.I.S. students may take additional INLS electives but are encouraged to acquire a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences.

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. 

Special Opportunities in SILS

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. 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 website.

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 or the undergraduate student services coordinator at SILS in their sophomore year to discuss eligibility and an appropriate plan of study.

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 692HINLS 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. Refer to Honors Carolina for official due dates. The final approved thesis must be submitted electronically via  the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR).

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 100,000 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 check out equipment and to answer questions.

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

Field Experience

As a professional school at UNC–Chapel Hill, we encourage students to use the technical and theoretical knowledge they gain in the classroom in professional settings. Many SILS students participate in field experiences (INLS 393) whereby they gain experience in a setting of the student’s choosing.

Students must spend 135 hours with the site, attend field experience seminars, and produce a short paper for their field experience faculty advisor. Students are eligible for field experiences once they have junior status and three INLS courses: INLS 161, INLS 201, and INLS 382. Field experiences can be taken in any semester, including the summer, and can be in any information setting.

Student Involvement

Undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in ILSSA (Information and Library Science Student Association). All of the school’s standing committees have student representation. In addition, students may participate in professional associations in information and library science, including the student chapters of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), the Student Chapter of the American Library Association (SCALA), Special Libraries Association (SLA), the Art and Museum Library and Information Student Society (AMLISS), the Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SCOSAA), and Checked Out: SILS Diversity.

Study Abroad

SILS has formal study abroad agreements with seven information schools in the Czech Republic, Singapore, Denmark, South Korea, Chile, Spain, and Ireland. 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. SILS also offers short-term summer seminars in various locations. These programs are two weeks in length and offer an in-depth view on information science. 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.

School of Information and Library Science

Visit Program Website

107 Manning Hall, CB# 3360

(919) 962-0208


Gary Marchionini

Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Brian W. Sturm