University of South Carolina


Information Science: What to Expect

Information Science majors at the University study in a top-ranked school with distinguished and accomplished professors. The Information Science degree is unique in that its focus is on bridging the gap between information, technology, and people. As an Information Science major, you will learn how to connect people to the information that they need, organize information for retrieval, and maintain information for future reference.  The Information Science major at the University of South Carolina is less focused on technical concerns than other similar degrees and more interested in how to most effectively collect and use information in various and diverse settings such as business or education. As an information science major, you will acquire practical skills for analyzing, processing, and managing information and for developing and managing the underlying information systems. You will also develop problem solving and decision-making skills.

At the University, you will have hands-on experience to further your knowledge along with a variety of opportunities to interact with faculty and peers outside the classroom. The School of Library and Information Science has a small cohort of Information Science majors and students are able to receive a great deal of individualized attention.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Information Science:

  • Introduction to Information Science
  • Information Use and Literacy
  • Introduction to Information Literacy and Technology
  • Introduction to Management Within Information Environments
  • Program Design and Development
  • Introduction to Technology Support and Training Management
  • Applications for Technical Support II
  • Web-Based Support Systems

Some additional unique and interesting courses offered by the major include:

  • Information Policy
  • Communication and Information Transfer
  • User Centered Information Architecture
  • Digital Information Infrastructure
  • Competitive Intelligence

On average, there is a 10 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. The Library and Information Science graduate student organization (LISSA) has opened its meetings to undergraduate students majoring in Information Science and plan to create an undergraduate organization to help students further network in their field. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Information Science majors have the opportunity to learn from star faculty at the University including Dr. Kendra Albright and Dr. Paul Solomon. Dr. Albright came to South Carolina from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Her research focuses on users and their social and cultural contexts. Drawing from Information Science, Communications, Psychology, Public Health, and Education, she is interested in understanding the ways in which information has contributed to behavior change, particularly in the areas of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. Dr. Solomon joins us from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the author of numerous information and library science publications, many of which have been widely cited. The American Society has recognized several of his publications as ‘best papers’ for Information Science and Technology.
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Information Science majors can pursue various graduate school programs depending on their area of interest or their career goals. Many students with an interest in a career in the professional library ranks go on to pursue the Masters in Library and Information Science. Other complementary programs that graduates may be interested in include Technology Support and Training Management, Visual Communications, Public Relations, Media Arts, and Business Administration.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. As an Information Science major, you will have the opportunity to compete for scholarship monies, depending on available funds.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Student Spotlight

Information Science major Sarah Lohmann was able to put the skills she learned in the classroom to use in an internship with the South Carolina Retirement Systems Investment Commission (SCRSIC). Sarah spent each day researching business application software, such as enterprise content management and customer relationship management. She then tailored it in ways that met the needs of the staff. In communicating their information storage and retrieval needs, she also got to learn a little bit about the investing field. The courses she took in addition to the attentiveness of her professors helped prepare Sarah for her internship at SCRSIC. “In my USC classes, I learned about the underlying information science concepts and literature that helped guide my internship research,” she said. “Another means of preparation would be the professors in Davis College and the time they took to answer any questions.” Sarah encourages all students to intern while at the University. “An internship is a great way to apply what’s taught and to gain experience in working in a professional setting,” she said. Internships are key because they can help you learn more about your field in a professional environment. “My internship taught me about how the information science field is small at times,” Sarah said. “By small, I mean working alone or with a handful of others and at a self-guided pace.”

Career Opportunities

Career options for Information Science majors are available in various organization and business settings including large and small, public and private, and entrepreneurial and nonprofit. Potential employers for information scientists include businesses, public relations firms, government agencies, institutions of higher learning, publishers, media providers, and consultants and researchers seeking both IT and information preservation skills. Information architects, database developers, network administrators, usability specialists, systems specialists, web content managers, knowledge managers, competitive intelligence specialists, web researchers, and data miners are just some of the possible employment opportunities. Within the first five years following graduation, graduates can expect to receive a salary between $20,000 and $52,000.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the School of Library and Information Science

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at the University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s youngest and most distinguished schools of library and information science education. Its mission is to provide and promote the highest levels of education and leadership in library and information sciences, services, and studies through outstanding teaching, research, and service. SLIS continues to be ranked #2 nationally for the School Library Media specialty, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings. Students in SLIS can purse a Bachelor of Science in Information Science.  The SLIS also offers a Master of Library and Information Science, Ph.D. in Library and Information Science, Certificate of Graduate Study in Library and Information Science, and a Specialist in Library and Information Science degree. Additionally, the school offers the Certificate of Graduate Study in Health Communication in cooperation with the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (of the Arnold School of Public Health) and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The SLIS is a part of the College of Information and Communications at the University.

Points of Pride

  • The School of Library and Information Science continues to be ranked #2 nationally for the School Library Media specialty according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings.
  • The program ranks 17th out of 62 accredited schools nationally in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010 rankings.
  • Cocky’s Reading Express ™ was selected as the 2010 recipient of the South Carolina International Reading Association’s Literacy Award. Cocky’s Reading Express™ is a collaboration of the University of South Carolina Student Government and the University’s School of Library and Information Science. USC students travel across the state of South Carolina with Cocky, visiting elementary schools. The students read to the children and Cocky helps the children understand the importance of life-long reading.

Additional Resources.
School of Library and Information Science Website
School of Journalism and Mass Communication Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin