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Information Science Major

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Information Science

9,115 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
6,516 Master's Degrees Annually
#53 in Popularity
$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
Bachelor’s Degree 9,118
Master’s Degree 6,516
Associate’s Degree 906
Graduate Certificate 390
Undergraduate Certificate 374
Basic Certificate 309
Doctor’s Degree 166

What Information Science Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to IS were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

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

When studying IS, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a IS student include the following:

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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 Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science?

9,118 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
26% Percent Women
44% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 9,115 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in information science in 2019, making it rank #53 in popularity. This major tends to be male dominated. About 74% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of IS Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,472
Black or African American 1,373
Hispanic or Latino 866
White 4,203
International Students 599
Other Races/Ethnicities 605

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in IS. About 6.6% 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?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of information science students with a bachelor’s degree is $56,900 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $45,975 (25th percentile) and $61,000 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to IS.

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 the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
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. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to IS have obtained the following education levels.

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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 the 2018-2019 academic year, 479 schools offered some type of information science program. 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

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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