Skip to main content

Business Intelligence specialization

The Business Intelligence (BI) specialization builds analytical, managerial and baseline technical skills to help you learn to manage the process of transforming data into business insights. The MSIM program provides pathways to ensure students from all technical backgrounds are able to succeed in this specialization.

Request program information

Our enrollment coaches can help you determine if MSIM is right for you. Your coach can also support you as you apply and enroll.

By submitting this form, I agree to be contacted via email, phone or text to learn more about the programs at the University of Washington.
Home / MSIM Online / Business Intelligence Specialization

Business Intelligence specialization overview

This specialization has a managerial/strategic focus but also incorporates modern analytics and data warehousing toolsets to provide foundational exposure to key technologies.

UW MSIM students can complete the Business Intelligence (BI) specialization across any of the three degree tracks offered: Early-Career, Early-Career Accelerated, and Mid-Career. Compare our degree tracks to find the path best suited for you.

Skills developed:

Derive insights from data by building analytical, managerial and baseline technical skills.

Design, implement and leverage business intelligence systems from a managerial and strategic lens.

Develop relational database and SQL knowledge and be exposed to key concepts, such as dimensional data modeling; extracting, transforming and loading data (ETL); machine learning; online analytical processing (OLAP); data warehouse architecture.

Develop data visualizations for strategic management.

Elective courses in the Business Intelligence specialization

This specialization consists of three courses on business intelligence and data science that will help you hone your skills across key concepts, systems and technical tools through a managerial lens. 

Learn more about the core, elective and Capstone/practicum courses in the UW MSIM curriculum and the career options available to MSIM graduates. 

Introduces a broad, non-technical overview of key concepts, skills, and technologies used in “data science”. Provides a high-level introduction to common data science pipelines, such as experimental design, data collection and storage, basic analytics, machine learning, and data visualization, focusing on analyzing in real-world datasets using industry standard statistical packages.

Provides a broad overview of business intelligence (BI) including foundational BI concepts, strategies, techniques, and technologies. Primary emphasis is on the strategic and managerial perspective, focusing on how one designs, implements, and leverages business intelligence systems and strategies in management and leadership roles.

Introduces fundamentals of how to architect and develop business intelligence systems for decision making. Topics include dimensional data modeling; extracting, transforming, and loading data (ETL); online analytical processing (OLAP); data warehouse architecture; developing data visualizations to answer key business questions. Prerequisite: IMT 576; recommended: students are expected to have basic relational database and SQL knowledge. IMT 543 is recommended for students without this knowledge.

Job titles reported by recent MSIM graduates

  • Business analyst
  • Business intelligence developer
  • Business development consultant
  • Market research analyst
  • Program manager
  • Software engineer
  • Solutions engineer

Watch: Where can an MSIM degree take you?

“[Business Intelligence] also gives me the tools to analyze data and find insights that could be lost without a technical understanding of the information available.” 

Julieta Sanchez, ‘17

Hear from one of our BI students

BI industry stats


is the median advertised salary for business intelligence jobs requiring a master’s.


business intelligence jobs are available.


is the projected growth rate for business intelligence occupations over the next decade.

Source: Lightcast Occupations and Job Postings, April 2022 to March 2023.

Alumni spotlight

Meet Marquisha Hicks, a ‘22 alum who earned her MSIM degree online from her home in California. Learn about her student experience and how the Business Intelligence specialization advanced her career as an operations unit chief for a mission-critical capitation payment system.

“I chose business intelligence because I wanted to use tools to create data visualizations and make decisions advising others on the possibility and implications of the data found.

I am very happy with my decision to specialize in business intelligence.”

“I was able to leverage the skills learned from my MSIM degree into a promotion at work. 

I got the job because of the questions I asked about their data warehouse, my knowledge of business intelligence, and how I communicated the benefits of producing data visualizations for their stakeholders.”

“I see my MSIM taking me to higher levels of management in business intelligence and data analytics. I also see it opening doors to network with like-minded individuals focused on the power of DEI.

Information management and business intelligence have the ability to evoke change and I want to be a part of the movement by discovering new ways to give back to my community.”

Scheduled events

Lunch and Learn
Wednesday August 7, 2024
11:00 a.m. PT

Admissions information

Before you apply, please thoroughly research the UW iSchool and the MSIM program. Accordingly, you should be familiar with the vision, mission and values of the iSchool and have a general understanding of the academic design of the MSIM program, including its curriculum and specializations. Please be sure to use this foundational knowledge as the basis for responding to the prompts on the application. If you have questions or need help applying, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Request program information

Our enrollment coaches can help you determine if MSIM is right for you. Your coach can also support you as you apply and enroll.

By submitting this form, I agree to be contacted via email, phone or text to learn more about the programs at the University of Washington.

Featured articles

A student writes in a notebook next to an open laptop.
August 1, 2022
Information is an increasingly important and indispensable asset, and it’s not hyperbole to say that information is the lifeblood of organizations.
An information manager prepares a presentation on a laptop.
April 30, 2021
Data and analytics are transforming industries, creating dramatic changes that demand strategic responses.
A business intelligence analyst works on a tablet.
April 19, 2021
As a business grows, the more its data — sitting in unknown and unseen digital spaces — can reveal about its customers, market share and efficiency.
A data analyst sits at a desk working on their computer.
April 19, 2021
The field of information management grows more important by the moment. Data expands continually — and with it, the potential to gain valuable insights.