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Information Science Major

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Information Science

6,516 Master's Degrees Annually
166 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#32 in Popularity (Master's)
$114,000 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Information Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many information science graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 6,516
Graduate Certificate 390
Doctor’s Degree 166

What Information Science Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, IS majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for IS Majors

IS majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Skills for IS Majors

IS majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for IS Majors

As a IS major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Information Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with IS:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Business Intelligence Analysts 9.3% $90,270
Computer and Information Research Scientists 19.0% $118,370
Computer and Information Systems Managers 12.0% $142,530
Computer Science Professors 8.1% $82,220
Data Warehousing Specialists 9.3% $90,270
Database Architects 9.3% $90,270
Document Management Specialists 9.3% $90,270
Geographic Information Systems Technicians 9.3% $90,270
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists 9.3% $90,270
Search Marketing Strategists 9.3% $90,270
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers 9.3% $90,270
Web Administrators 9.3% $90,270

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Information Science?

6,516 Master's Degrees Annually
42% Percent Women
24% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Information Science runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #32 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 6,516 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major attracts more men than women. About 58% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of IS majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of IS Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 526
Black or African American 622
Hispanic or Latino 313
White 1,681
International Students 3,009
Other Races/Ethnicities 365

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in IS. About 46.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • Nepal

How Much Do Information Science Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in information science made a median starting salary of $69,600 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $62,075 (25th percentile) and $81,175 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in IS, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

IS majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $96,200 to $123,850 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Information Science Major  ( 96200 to 123850 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with IS may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for IS careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 3.9%
Some College Courses 4.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 57.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.6%
Master’s Degree 17.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.6%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 5.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.2%

Online Information Science Programs

In 2018-2019, 479 schools offered a IS program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 71 27
Certificate (1-2 years) 52 21
Certificate (2-4 Years) 5 1
Associate’s Degree 114 21
Bachelor’s Degree 55 28
Post-Baccalaureate 71 27
Master’s Degree 158 76
Post-Master’s 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 30 2
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Information Science Worth It?

The median salary for a IS grad is $114,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 186% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,482,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to IS.

Major Number of Grads
Computer Information Systems 76,482
Computer Science 47,906
Information Technology 33,399
Computer Systems Networking 14,055
Computer Software & Applications 12,793
Computer Programming 10,688
Computer Systems Analysis 2,472
Data Processing 2,138
Data Entry 1,382
Other Computer & Information Sciences 1,243

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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