Information Science Technology/Arts

The mission of the School of Information: Science, Technology and Arts (SISTA) is to promote research in computational methods across disciplines and teach students to understand the computational aspects of any discipline. Scholarship today is limited not by the availability of information, but by scholars' mastery of methods that can help to transform information into knowledge: methods for finding, cleaning and storing information; for aligning data from different sources; for mining and simplifying information; for coding and compressing; for simulating and visualizing; for analyzing risks and hedging against bad outcomes; for classifying, predicting and clustering; for analyzing social networks, computer networks, gene regulatory networks, and so on. As a research organization, SISTA both develops and applies computational methods to problems in many academic disciplines; problems such as discovering signaling pathways in cells, understanding musical improvisation, or building robotic homes. As an educational organization SISTA will teach a curriculum that crosses departmental and disciplinary boundaries to ensure that future generations of scholars, irrespective of their subjects, master the methods of the Information Age.

Undergraduate Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

The B.S. degree is more technical than the B.A degree and has a more solid mathematical and algorithmic basis. The B.A. degree extends the idea of a liberal arts education: We live in the Information Age, and a well-educated citizen must understand it. The BA requires less mathematics and fewer technical courses than the BS; however, it does require a minor, encouraging the BA student to specialize in one area where information science, information technology, or information arts makes a difference.

Both the B.S and B.A degrees consist of courses organized into three tiers. The first tier emphasizes foundations: dealing with enormous quantities of data, programming, digital ethics, statistics, and the fundamental ideas in information science. The middle tier goes deeper into techniques that serve multiple fields, such as sequence analysis (e.g., in biology, business, computational music, computational linguistics, etc.); and information retrieval (e.g., in digital libraries, search engines, bioinformatics, cosmology, etc.). Building on these cross-disciplinary courses, the final tier of courses is more advanced, technical, and specialized; for example, students with a particular interest in neurology or computer music might take as a follow-on to sequence analysis a course on stochastic processes. Students in the BA degree will complement SISTA major courses with minors in their particular areas of interest.

Career Options
The solid mathematical and algorithmic background and the knowledge gained in this major suit those interested in working with information search and storage, aligning data, mining information, coding and compressing, simulating and visualizing, and analyzing risks provides a strong foundation that can be applied to a variety of disciplines and career options. Graduates in this major may work with clients as broad-ranging as social networking websites, corporations, research institutes, robotic building projects, and music theory researchers. This major is also excellent preparation for graduate studies in library science, computer science, or linguistics. 

Related Web Site
School of Information: Science, Technology and Arts