Master of Science in Information Management Admission Requirements
May 09, 2022
More and more information systems employers seek candidates with graduate degrees like the Master of Science in Information Management. Learn what you need to get into a competitive program.
Information management (IM) encompasses system and network administration; data collection, organization, and supervision; cybersecurity; and data analytics. Information management professionals implement systems that gather, preserve, catalog, optimize, and secure essential information. It's a broad, expanding field.
And for good reason. The Big Data age has precipitated a huge increase in data production. The dataverse will grow to 120 zettabytes (a zettabyte is 1021 bytes) by the end of 2022, and that figure should increase by at least 20 percent annually thereafter. This surge has created demand for more professionals with skills in cybersecurity, data architecture, and data analytics. Many IM professionals also engage in the development and upgrading of user experience (UX).
Information management professionals face a broad range of career options, each requiring specialized expertise. A graduate degree such as a Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) can help you develop the the skills and competencies needed to excel in this field. Thinking about pursuing an MSIM? You'll need to know the admissions requirements for these programs. This article covers those and also discusses:
- What do information management professionals do?
- Do I need a Master of Science in Information Management to become an IM professional?
- What is a Master of Science in Information Management?
- What are the qualifications to attend a Master of Science in Information Management program?
- Is a Master of Science in Information Management right for me?
What do information management professionals do?
Information management professionals play a critical role in managing, sorting, and securing data, but that's hardly the extent of their responsibilities. They also apply their expertise to data analytics and to issues of data ethics and bias. They help develop and enforce policies around:
- Data privacy and consent, which may enable individuals to control the collection and use their data
- Transparency, requiring analysts to inform individuals about the way they plan to collect and use personal data
- Information bias, which occurs when analysts utilize biased data sets and/or impose their biases on the data
Some information managers specialize in analyzing raw data and communicating their findings to executives of large organizations, healthcare facilities, and government agencies. Many IM professionals in those roles have executive-level positions in strategic oversight, such as Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Officer, or Strategic Director.
Information management job titles
Information management is a fast-growing field; according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the discipline will create more than 42,000 openings per year through 2030.
The coming decade should present many opportunities to prospective information managers in strategy, analytics, management, consulting, and information technology. Job titles include:
- Business intelligence analyst
- Cybersecurity architect
- Enterprise data warehouse developer
- IT service manager
- Manager of data science/analytics
- Manager of information security & risk management
- Senior technical consultant
- UX designer
- Web computing specialist
Information management leaders must balance technical, analytical, and business administration skills to succeed. A master's program leading to an IM degree can prepare them for the many challenges the profession poses.
Do I need a Master of Science in Information Management to become an IM professional?
Although not technically required, a Master of Science in Information Management can confer significant benefits to aspiring professionals. You'll enhance your skills and knowledge while earning a credential that should impress some, if not most, employers.
You'll also gain the opportunity to develop an area of expertise. Some MSIM programs include specialized concentrations in business intelligence, data science, product management, and database management. Once you complete required core coursework, you can pursue electives in areas that dovetail with your career objectives.
Certifications and individual courses offer another professional development option. Professional associations such as the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) provide training and certifications to a member community of more than 155,000 members worldwide.
Which option better fits your career goals? A master's degree may take longer and cost more to acquire than a certification or set of short courses. It's also more likely to impress employers, in part because degree programs do a better job of teaching deep skills like critical thinking, big-picture analysis, and the theory underlying foundational practices. As a master's student you'll likely also enjoy more internships, networking opportunities, mentorships, and access to an alumni network.
What is a Master of Science in Information Management?
A Master of Science in Information Management enables IM professionals who seek continued education to fine-tune their skills. You may find this degree offered as a:
- Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)
- Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology Management
Many schools offer the degree in various formats, including on-campus, online, and hybrid. They may customize the program and degree requirements for students entering directly from undergraduate programs and/or for those with years of work experience.
For example, the MSIM program at the University of Washington offers on-campus and online learning opportunities with three degree paths:
- Mid-Career: this option, offered to full-time working adults with at least five years of work experience, does not require hands-on experience through an internship or capstone project
- Early-Career: for recent graduates, those with less than five years of related work experience, or those looking for hands-on experiences through internships
- Early-Career Accelerated: for recent graduates or early-career professionals, this more focused option with fewer credit hours can be completed in four terms
Many MSIM or MSIS programs offer flexible learning options to accommodate graduate students' needs. Students can customize the program by choosing elective courses within their specialization to steer them closer to their career goals.
What are the qualifications to attend a Master of Science in Information Management program?
As with any graduate program, admission requirements vary from school to school. Top-ranked programs tend to be more competitive, requiring higher undergraduate GPAs, higher standardized test scores, and more impressive letters of recommendation. Requirements typically include:
- Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (confirmed by official transcripts)
- Minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement
- Professional resume
- Official GRE or GMAT test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
- English language proficiency exam through the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo (for non-native English speakers)
- Student visas (for international applicants)
Some programs require a minimum number of years of professional experience. Programs like the Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College, home to a highly exclusive MSIM program, may require the applicant to have a programming, database, and statistics background.
Information management combines many skill sets that bridge technical and analytical functions. Therefore prospective students tend to have undergraduate degrees in computer science, information technology, mathematics, engineering, or data management, which may satisfy some of the prerequisite coursework when applying to a graduate program.
Application deadlines vary, although they tend to fall in the late winter or early spring for fall admissions. Online programs sometimes offer multiple start dates and tend to admit students closer to program starts.
Is a Master of Science in Information Management right for me?
Whether you're looking to gain knowledge to help you grow in your current career or just entering the field of information management and want to learn foundational skills, a master's degree program could be the gateway to success. Furthermore, with the accommodation of online learning, you can pursue this degree from the convenience of home and without having to stop working and earning while you study.
Data and technology are here to stay, and their usage will continue to increase year over year (in both professional and personal realms). IM professionals will likely be in demand as the need for experts in software development, technology, and analytics continues to grow.
An MSIM could give you a competitive advantage in a hot job market where the career outlook for computer and information systems managers continues to display tremendous growth through the digital age.
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