iSchool Expands Access to MSIM, Offers Fully Online Options

Student sitting at table on the University of Washington campus

The University of Washington Information School is increasing access to its world-class Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) degree. Beginning in 2021, the iSchool will offer fully online options for its three program tracks: Early-Career, Early-Career Accelerated and Mid-Career. Admissions and graduation requirements for residential and online students are identical, and all graduates earn the same Master of Science in Information Management degree. Read the full press release.

By offering its MSIM degree options online, the iSchool increases access to transformational education to students across the country and around the world. The new degree options also meet growing demand from working professionals who need additional flexibility to pursue a master’s degree while balancing personal and professional commitments; online students can take classes part-time while working full-time.

MSIM students gain the critical, analytical and management skills necessary to lead complex, information-intensive initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of these skills, as organizations from the private and public sectors transform their operations and supply chains to respond to global challenges.

MSIM graduates seek jobs in rapidly growing fields, including business intelligence, data science, product management, information consulting, and strategic oversight. The MSIM degree does not require any prerequisite course work, allowing students from all undergraduate backgrounds to obtain skills that put them in-demand in today’s highly competitive job market.

The details

Beginning with the 2021 admissions cycles, prospective MSIM students will select their program delivery mode: online or residential.

The online degree options are highly flexible to increase access for individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of their location, work schedule, family commitments or preferences. Core elements enabling this accessibility include:

  • Program start dates: Students in the online options have four opportunities to begin the program each year (September, January, March, June). The iSchool is now enrolling for a Spring 2021 program start.
  • Application process: Admission to the online degree options is rolling, with decisions offered within two weeks of interim application deadlines.
  • Flexible schedule: Courses delivered online have some synchronous (real-time) elements, but are mostly asynchronous so you can participate on your own schedule. Synchronous sessions will take place in the early morning or evening Pacific time on weekdays and weekends (approximately 1 hour a week, per course).
  • Study from anywhere: The online degree options do not have any in-person requirements, allowing students from around the world to participate. International students are eligible to enroll.
  • Customized learning: MSIM students in the online degree options can tailor their degree to their career goals by completing one or both available specializations in Business Intelligence or Data Science.

More information about the online degree options is available online or by attending an upcoming webinar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the iSchool adding these new MSIM degree options? What problems does the expansion address?

The new online options are being added in response to student demand and in an effort to make MSIM more accessible to individuals from all backgrounds around the world. In particular, we hope to increase access to the MSIM program among those unable to participate in the residential options due to their location, work schedule, family commitments or preferences.

What is the timeline for the new offerings?

The iSchool will welcome its first cohort of online students in March 2021 for a Spring quarter program start. Applications for this first cohort open Aug. 25, 2020, and will close Feb. 11, 2021. Prospective students interested in the Early-Career, Early-Career Accelerated and Mid-Career tracks are encouraged to apply. Visit the admissions page for details.

How does this change affect current iSchool grad students?

While the iSchool does not anticipate any impact on current graduate students, we recognize that the addition of three fully online options may cause some incoming students to rethink their academic plans. If you are an incoming graduate student (MSIM or MLIS) and would like to talk to an academic advisor about the MSIM program online as it relates to your career goals and academic plans, please contact us immediately at

Will the online options offer the same level of academic rigor and hands-on experience as the residential options?

Yes. All MSIM students will be held to the same standards regardless of their mode of study. The curriculum and graduation requirements for residential and online students are identical and all graduates earn the same Master of Science in Information Management degree.

All MSIM online courses are designed and developed by iSchool core and long-term guest faculty. Online and residential MSIM students will participate in optional and required hands-on learning experiences to hone their skills in real-world situations, engage with their peers, and learn from industry professionals.

To learn more about the different options and which might be right for you, visit our program comparison chart.

Do the online degree options have different admission requirements?

No. The admission requirements are the same for all MSIM candidates, regardless of their program track or mode. The only requirement to apply to the MSIM graduate program is a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. (If your degree was earned outside the United States, it must be equivalent to a 4-year degree from the U.S.). We do not require that applicants have a bachelor's degree in a specific area or that they take any specific prerequisite courses.

Application processes and timelines vary by degree option and modality; learn more about the admissions process for online candidates.

How will these changes impact MSIM admission decisions and rates moving forward?

We cannot predict the specific impact these changes will have on admit rates for the MSIM program overall, however, we do not expect this expansion to significantly alter the acceptance rate into our residential degree options.

Competitive applicants to either the residential or online degree options will demonstrate an understanding of MSIM in their application and elucidate how their chosen degree option supports their academic and professional goals.

Additional questions?

Visit our FAQ about the two delivery modes, or contact the Information School student services staff at