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Distance Education at SIS

Distance education enables students to complete the 36 semester hours required for the Master’s of Science degree in Information Sciences through the use of contemporary, synchronous communications technologies. Regardless of location, a student can participate in a class through real-time, interactive audio by listening to a lecture, asking questions, engaging in class discussion, chatting with classmates, and viewing presentations.

SIS uses the Web application ZOOM in order to create an online learning environment where both on-campus and DE students can attend classes, interact with faculty, and work collaboratively. This online environment seeks to recreate typical classroom interactions in a virtual pace and in real-time—bringing together voice, data and graphics in a structured online learning environment. All SIS class times are Eastern time.

Students are admitted each fall semester and spring semester. The University of Tennessee supplies enrolled students the software needed for synchronous delivery. Other communication methods may also be employed for specific courses.

Academic Requirements

Those who have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and seek employment as a professional librarian, including a certified school library media specialist, or in a variety of other information professions are invited to apply for admission to the degree program. Applicants preferably have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.25 or above.

If a student does not meet the criteria for the GPA , but feels he or she is a strong candidate for graduate school, there is an opportunity for an alternative review of qualifications by the admissions committee. For more information, contact the School at SIS@UTK.EDU.

The ALA-accredited Master of Science degree is a 36 credit-hour program, including 3 courses required of all students. Either a thesis or non-thesis option is available.


Successful students will gain knowledge of the generation, production, management, dissemination, and uses of information; roles various organizations/institutions play in promoting the flow and use of information; understanding of the role of the information professional as mediator between information resources and their users; and understanding of the roles of various tools and technologies in facilitating access to and use of information.

Program Delivery

  • Students beginning the master’s program by distance education come to Knoxville in August for a 1-day orientation to the School and program. The orientation is required. It is important because students build community with other students and professors, which supports successful completion of the degree program.
  • Courses are delivered via the Web in synchronous (“real-time”) and asynchronous (“anytime”) modes; extensive use of e-mail, electronic discussion groups, blogging, and net forum applications supplement Web delivery. Software needed for synchronous delivery (ZOOM) will be supplied by the University of Tennessee.
  • Other delivery modalities may also be employed for specific courses.
  • Students enrolling in the master’s program by distance education should be within reasonable driving distance of a medium-sized public or collegiate library.
  • Students return to Knoxville at the conclusion of the program to take the comprehensive examination or to defend a thesis.


Residents of the state of Tennessee pay in-state maintenance fees. Residents of other states (except Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware, which pay in-state rates) will be assessed distance learning tuition rates, which are $75 more per credit hour, effective Fall 2018*. For current tuition and fee rates, view our Tuition & Fees page.

Technology Requirements

All students will use ZOOM, the School’s online software that delivers instruction. Students enrolled in the distance education program are required to have access to hardware, software, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), and meeting the specifications outlined on the Live Online page – Live Online.

*Note that University-level tuition updates may impact cost.