Graduation Requirements for Master of Science in Information Science

If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree in information science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, follow these steps to start your academic journey and to complete it.

  • Email the program coordinator, Dr. Daniel Berleant at when you arrive on campus to ensure you are on the program advising list.
  • Take the four core courses. Because they also constitute the Graduate Certificate in Data Science curriculum, you can earn the certificate along the way to your master’s degree if you also apply and are accepted to the certificate program.
  • Take five graduate level electives. They can be offered by any department but must be relevant to your professional interests.
  • The project or thesis must total at least 6 credit hours. Students normally divide this across two semesters.
  • For more information, go to Search Information Science to bring up the Information Science Graduate Student Resources course shell which has information on how to propose, develop, and defend your thesis or project.

Master’s Project or Master’s Thesis?

The following are details on how to choose between a thesis and a project and what steps to follow to succeed.

  • The thesis option is normally a research project under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • The project option allows for different ways of choosing a topic.
    • Option one: Find an advisor any faculty member) who can suggest a topic that you can work on.
    • Option two: Identify a topic you want to work on, then find an advisor willing to supervise it. Check sites like or other sites that provide data challenges/similar ideas to find possible topics.
    • Option three: identify a project at your place of work or at some other organization outside the university. Then find a faculty member willing to supervise it.
    • Option four: Work in the IT industry for a semester, registering for the Cooperative Education IFSC course, then for the second semester take Graduate Project. The project will be half sized (since you only register for one semester) and has multiple options:
      • any of the types mentioned earlier, or
      • an analysis of the work done for the cooperative education period, based on an outline available from the department.

Forming Your Advisory Committee

In addition to your advisor, you need two others on your advisory committee. The advisor can help suggest or recruit them. Sometimes an advisor or committee member from outside the university does not have formal permission from the university to serve so they will need to apply for it. The coordinator can help with this.

Completing the Thesis or Project

  1. Write a proposal describing what similar work has been done by others and what you plan to do. Your committee needs to approve the proposal and sign a form which you submit to the coordinator along with your proposal document.
  2. Do the work you proposed.
  3. Create a thesis that conforms to Graduate School format specifications and submit it to the Graduate School or create a project report that conforms to typical guidelines.
  4. Prepare and then present your defense or the results of your work to your committee. Start by sending your thesis or project report to the committee members. Communicate with them to schedule your defense, which is a meeting where you present your work  for their approval.

After the defense, the committee will often request changes to the thesis and/or additional technical advances before they approve it. The program coordinator will need the form indicating their approval of the defense presentation and the written document. For a thesis, the defense deadlines are May 1, Dec. 1,  and Aug. 1. For a report, the deadline is the end of the semester.


View the information on applying to graduate. The university registrar will check to make sure you have met all requirements so you can get your degree.

For more information, please contact Dr. Daniel Berleant at