FAQ: MSIM Residential & Online
Trying to decide between the residential and online MSIM modes? Get your questions answered below.
Q: Is an online MSIM degree the same as a residential MSIM degree?
A: Yes. Admissions and graduation requirements for residential and online students are identical and all graduates earn the same Master of Science in Information Management degree.
Q: What are the differences between the residential and online delivery modes?
A: All MSIM degree options (Early-Career, Early-Career Accelerated and Mid-Career) are offered in two modes, residential and online. The courses, credits and requirements are all the same.
- Program start dates: Students in the online option have four opportunities to begin the program each year (September, January, March, June). Conversely, all new residential students matriculate in Autumn.
- Application process: Application processes and timelines vary by degree option and modality, and candidates are advised to pay careful attention to the dates and details associated with their chosen program track and mode of study.
- Part-Time vs. Full-Time: All online and Mid-Career students can complete their studies part-time. Residential students in the Early-Career and Early-Career Accelerated degree options are expected to be enrolled full-time.
- Specializations: The residential options offer six specializations while the online options currently offer three of these six specializations.
Q: Are there any in-person requirements for online MSIM students (orientation or experiential learning)?
A: No. We are working to develop several optional on-campus immersion programs to enhance the learning experience for online students, but there are no graduation requirements that require in-person participation.
Q: How will the online courses be delivered?
A: Courses delivered remotely 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).
Q: Will online courses be taught by iSchool instructors?
A: All instructors teaching MSIM courses are iSchool faculty, which is composed of full-time core faculty and part-time guest faculty with deep industry and technical expertise. Online courses are designed and developed by core full-time faculty to ensure a world-class academic experience and will be delivered primarily by industry experts who infuse the courses with real-world case studies, practical know-how and cutting-edge technical skills.
Q: Do online students pay the same tuition and fees as residential students?
A: Yes. Tuition is based on the number of credits taken and the per-credit fee is the same for all students, regardless of state residency, program track or mode of study. In addition to tuition, students should budget for additional fees. Student fees assessed for the previous academic year can be reviewed here and include a non-refundable registration fee for students in self-sustaining programs ($55 quarterly). These fees tend to increase annually and are assessed on all residential and online students.
Q: Are international students eligible to apply?
A: Yes. However, online students will not be issued an F-1 visa or be eligible for Curricular Practical Training employment authorization. Depending on an international student’s location, this may impact their ability to seek employment or an internship.
Q: What are the admission rates for the online options?
A: We cannot predict what the admission rates will be for the online degree options at this point. We will share this information as it becomes available.
Q. Can I apply for both the residential and online option?
A: Prospective students are asked to carefully consider which degree option is right for them prior to applying. While it is not possible to apply to both the residential and online options with a single application, candidates are able to submit more than one application should they wish to apply for multiple options. Note that each application will require payment of a separate application fee.
Q: Can I apply as an online student if I live within driving distance of Seattle?
A: Yes, all interested applicants are encouraged to apply. We anticipate many online students will live in or near Seattle.
Q: Once admitted, is it possible to change delivery modes?
A: No. Once you are admitted to a program mode, either residential or online, you stay in that mode for the duration of the program.
Q: Can online MSIM students attend residential (on-campus) classes, or vice versa?
A: No. All MSIM students will be required to take 100% of their coursework in their designated program mode, meaning online students will only take online courses. Residential students take most or all of their courses in-person on the Seattle campus, with some limited online course offerings.
Q: Are all six specializations available to students regardless of program track/mode?
A: Not at this time. Currently, online students will be able to complete the Business Intelligence, Data Science, or Program/Product Management & Consulting specializations. Select electives from the other specializations will also be available and we plan to add courses in the coming years that will increase availability of additional specializations to online students regardless of their program track.
All six specializations are available to residential students. Residential students in the Mid-Career program track whose schedules require evening/weekend classes only have access to Business Intelligence, Data Science, Program/Product Management & Consulting, and Information and Cyber Security. Mid-Career residential students who have more flexibility can pursue the User Experience or Information Architecture specializations.
Q: Can I complete my MSIM as a part-time student?
A: All Online and Mid-Career students can complete their studies part-time. Residential students in the Early-Career and Early-Career Accelerated degree options are expected to be enrolled full-time. Students on an F-1 visa must maintain full-time enrollment while in either the Early-Career or Early-Career Accelerated residential degree option.
Q: How long does it take to earn my MSIM online?
A: Assuming a per-quarter course load of two courses (6-9 credits), the average time to degree for online MSIM students would be:
- Early-Career MSIM (65 credits): nine academic terms
- Early-Career Accelerated MSIM (40 credits): five academic terms
- Mid-Career MSIM (36 credits): five academic terms
Students can choose to take more than two courses per quarter to shorten their time to degree, or only one course per quarter as-needed to balance other commitments (maximum time allowed is six years). You will be paired with a Student Success Coach to help you come up with a degree plan that works for you.
Q: How will online students participate in events and activities to build community, network with prospective employers and engage in student life?
A: Online students will be engaged in community building activities with their core class in the online mode and will have access to success coaches who will guide their development and engage them in the life of the iSchool.
The iSchool student experience includes voluntary participation in student groups as well as virtual workshops and events delivered by Career Services and the MSIM program faculty and staff. The iSchool hosts many events weekly that are offered in a blended environment, including research talks and guest speakers.
Q: Will online students have the same access to internship and career planning resources as residential students?
A: Students in the online degree options are offered virtual one-on-one advising, help with general job search strategies, resume and cover letter workshops, interview advice, and career management modules to support their job search activities. All MSIM students, regardless of their program mode, also have access to career events and programming offered through the iSchool and the University of Washington Career and Internship Center. Some of these events will be virtual while others will require in-person attendance.
Q: What are the career outcomes for online MSIM students?
A: We will not have career outcome and placement data for online alumni until 2023 at the earliest. However, we anticipate similar career outcomes as those experienced by residential graduates.
Q: Do I have access to campus resources (UW Libraries, disability services, student employment, athletic facilities, etc.) even though I am a student in an online program?
A: Yes, as a student at the UW, you will have access to these services, though some campus resources cannot be delivered remotely. Online MSIM students have access to success coaches as well who will guide them and support them about academic concerns relating to being an online student.
Q: Does UW offer discounts on hardware (Macs and PCs) to online MSIM students?
A: No, the UW does not offer any discounts on any computing hardware.
Q: Does UW offer discounts on software to online MSIM students?
A: Yes, all UW students have access to Software for the UW (UWare) and all iSchool students have access to many more free and discounted software titles listed on our Software Resources page. Many Microsoft titles are available for free to iSchool students.
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