Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the Information Quality Graduate Program at UALR.

Q. What degrees are offered in the program?

Answer: The UALR Information Quality Graduate program offers the following three programs of study:

  • Graduate Certificate in Information Quality
  • Master of Science in Information Quality
  • Information Quality Track in the Integrated Computing PhD Program

Q. What is Information Quality?

Answer: Information Quality is an emerging discipline concerned with maximizing the value of an organization’s information asset and assuring that the information products produced by an organization meet the needs and expectations of the people and system that use those products.

Q. Is Information Quality the same as Data Quality?

Answer: Depends upon whom you ask.  Although many experts use the terms information quality and data quality interchangeably, they are used to denote different concepts in the UALR program.  Information quality is used as the title of the program because it encompasses the entire discipline and in addition to technical issues, information quality addresses important management aspects such as, quantifying the business impact or poor quality data, making the business case for improving the quality of information, creating strategies for sustainable quality and governance of information, and building an environment and culture of quality information in an organization.  Data quality is a critical part of the information quality discipline that is focused on assuring that data in an information system conforms to particular requirements and specifications.  At a high-level, information quality is about increasing the value of information, and data quality is about assuring that it conforms to requirements.

Q. Will courses be available online?

Answer: Yes, class lectures for courses supporting the Information Quality Graduate Program will be broadcast live by Internet using Blackboard Wimba technology.  Live webcast schedules coincide with the days and times listed for the the on-campus course.  Most courses are scheduled one time per week starting at 2300 UTC (6:00 pm US CDT) and lasting for 2 hours and 40 minutes, but some classes may be scheduled at other times.  Lectures for each course are recorded and can be viewed by students at a later time.  The fall semester runs from about August 21 through December 15 and the spring semester from about January 5 to May 15. The exact dates for each semester vary and can be found on the calendar on the UALR homepage.

Q. Are the courses offered on a regular basis?

Answer: Yes, to help students plan their program of study, the courses supporting the Graduate Certificate, Master of Science, and PhD programs are offered in regular cycle

Fall Semester

  • INFQ 7303, Principles of Information Quality
  • INFQ 7367, Information Quality Policy and Strategy
  • IFSC 5345, Information Visualization
  • IFSC 7320, Database Systems and Information Architecture
  • At least one Information Quality Elective (INFQ Prefix) and at least one non-IQ Elective (IFSC, MGMT, or other Prefix)

Spring Semester

  • INFQ 7342, Information Quality Tools and Industry Landscape
  • INFQ 7322, Information Quality Theory
  • IFSC 7310, Information Systems Analysis
  • At least one Information Quality Elective (INFQ Prefix) and at least one non-IQ Elective (IFSC, MGMT, or other Prefix)

Q. Is there any distinction on the student’s transcript between degrees earned in-residence and those earned by remote students in the IQ program?

Answer: No, because our degrees are tied directly to our on-campus program.  There are not separate sections for on-campus and online.  Each course offered in the program is assigned a specific meeting time and location on the UALR campus, and each class meeting is webcast.  Students whether local or remote can attend the class in-person, by webcast, or later by recorded archives.  In addition, all major examinations in the course must be taken in-person, either with the instructor on campus or with an approved testing service/proctor service in the case of
remote students.  All students whether local or remote work at the same pace and cover the same material.  Unlike traditional online classes, the assignments and exams in the IQ classes are not offered on demand.  They are released to all students both local and remote on the same schedule, and all course work must be completed within the semester that the course is offered.

Q. Will I need special equipment or software to participate online?

Answer: No, students should be able to access the lecture broadcasts anywhere there is a computer with a browser and high-speed Internet connection.  A headset with microphone and earphones is recommended for students who want to participate via audio interaction with the instructor and other class members.

Q. Are remote online students graded differently than local on-campus students?

Answer: Grading in each course will be different depending upon the instructor but in all cases local and remote students complete the same assignments and exams and are graded in the same way.  The only difference is that remote students will be responsible for finding an acceptable university-based or commercial proctoring service convenient to their locations.  Students residing withing 25 miles of the UALR campus are required to take their examinations on campus at the time and date designated by the course instructor.

Q. What are the requirements for an exam proctor?

Answer: If you are a remote student living at least 25 miles from campus you are responsible for finding your own proctor at a library, community college, or university in your area. An acceptable proctor includes:

  • A librarian at an academic or public library
  • Testing centers at 2 or 4 year colleges and universities
  • Commercial learning/tutoring centers
  • A Learning Center or officer of higher rank than the student if in the military
  • Corporate education centers

For more information on proctor requirements see the distance learning link.

Q. How do I apply for admission to the program?

You can apply online for admission to the program as follows:

  • Go to https://boss.ualr.edu/pls/prod/bwskalog.P_DispLoginNon and follow the link for “First time user account creation”
  • When you reach the “Select an Application Type” page, select “P. Graduate Degree Seeking” in the Application Type drop-down menu box
  • When you reach the point in the application where it asks “Planned Course of Study”, select
    • “INFQ – GC” for the graduate certificate program
    • “INFQ – MS” for the Master’s program
    • “IGCPQ” for the Integrated Computing PhD IQ Track

To learn more about applying to UALR, just visit the UALR’s Admissions website (http://ualr.edu/admissions/).

Please note that the UALR Graduate School will not accept transcripts sent directly from students. You must request your previous school to send official copies of your transcripts directly to the UALR Graduate School.  This process is explained in more detail in the application instructions online.

Q. Do I have to take the GRE or GMAT before I apply?

Answer: It depends on the program. The GRE and GMAT are not required for the Graduate Certificate Program, but the GRE is always required for PhD applicants. In the case of the Master of Science program, either the GRE or GMAT is generally required, but will be waived for student who have completed the UALR Graduate Certificate Program in IQ with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Q. What factors are considered for admission?

In addition to overall academic performance, applicants should also have had coursework or professional experience in computer programming, database systems, and applied statistics. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are also critical as demonstrated by scores on the verbal and analytical writing section of the GRE exam, and for international students, the TOEFL exam. Although not required, professional work experience adds weight to the application.

Q. How much does it cost to complete the program?

Answer: The table below shows the 2011-12 Academic Year rates for tuition and fees for courses taken in the UALR Information Quality Graduate Program. These rates do not include books or supplies and historically have been subject to regular yearly increases of about 3 to 4%. Total program costs are estimated based on the minimum hours required for each program and actual charges will vary for each student. Students who are Arkansas residents pay at a lower rate.

Estimated Program Costs Based on 2011-12 Rates

Program

Arkansas Resident

Non-Resident

Per Credit Hour

319

650

Graduate Certificate (12 Hrs)

3,830

7,790

Master of Science (33 Hrs)

10,532

21,422

PhD Program (75 Hrs)

$23,936

$48,686

Q. What are the job opportunities for graduates of the program?

Overall the demand for information quality and information technology skills is strong, and the graduates from the program are finding jobs in data and information quality roles in industry and government. Several large organizations are actively involved in the program and have offered scholarships, internships, and employment opportunities to our students.