Critical Information Policy Studies (CIPS)

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| ARM: Archives & Records Management | C&T: Culture & Technology | CIPS: Critical Information Policy Studies | HCDS: Human Centered Data Science | ISD: Information Systems & Design | KMIM: Knowledge Management & Information Management | LIS: Library & Information Science | UXD: User Experience Design |

CIPS Concentration liaison: Prof. Wendy Duff

Under curricular review: Not accepting applications for Fall 2024

CIPS concentration overview | Requirements | Suggested electives | Careers in Critical Information Policy Studies |

Our globalizing information society needs a new breed of professional specifically trained in critical approaches to the study of information in all its manifestations.

In a world of increasingly ubiquitous and perpetually innovating information and communications technologies where no aspect of our lives as citizens, workers and consumers is untouched by their influence, governments and businesses alike demand professionals who can make sense of fundamental social change in the transition from the old analog world to the new digital one.

CIPS professionals identify, critically describe and interpret all aspects of the information life-cycle and within the full range of social contexts. They work within the public and private sectors to ensure the creation of beneficial policies, programs, and strategies. They grapple with issues that include: the digital divide, open data, open government, data protection, privacy, intellectual property, surveillance, cyber security, telecommunication policy, copyright, and consumer rights. Similarly, they critically investigate the use of body scanners, cloud computing, Facebook, Google Street View, social networking, and emerging technologies on which we are increasingly relying.

Concentration features

  • Gain an understanding of the relationships between information and social transformation or entrenchment
  • Develop an understanding of the mutual relationships between information systems and their political, economic, historical, and cultural contexts
  • Learn to evaluate how choices about information systems affect the growth and development of institutions, and vice versa
  • Learn about the critical perspectives and methods used to acknowledge and encompass cultural and social differences
  • Acquire an understanding about how information processes are useful in the constitution of social subjectivities


This listing of CIPS resources highlights key resources in the field. It includes freely available resources as well as some licensed U of T Library databases and journals. A current UTORid is required to access the licensed resources.

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Concentration requirements

Year 1 required courses:

Year 2 required courses:

  • None


Students are required to complete a total of 8.0 credits for their MI degree.

Students are able to take their Year 1 required courses in Year 2. It is not a must to complete all Year 1 required courses in Year 1. It is, however, recommended that you complete your Year 1 required courses in Year 1 as they provide foundational knowledge. For students thinking about Co-op, you should complete all Year 1 required courses in Year 1.

Students interested in the cross section of information and museum studies may wish to apply for the Combined Degree Program (CDP) to explore areas such as digital cultural heritage, cultural information policy, the intersection of cultural memory institutions (libraries, archives and museums), digital curation, among other interests. The CDP allows students to complete both MI + MMSt degrees in three years.

Quick links to resources:

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Careers in Critical Information Policy Studies

Students looking to engage in hands-on experience, widen their professional network and engage in professional development should connect with our Careers Services. The Faculty of Information offers a variety of work-integrated learning opportunities such as: MI Co-op option, practicum, Toronto Academic Libraries Internship Program (TALint), job shadowing, and ask-an-alum.

We encourage our students to engage widely in various professional circles and broaden your horizons beyond disciplinary boundaries. Our students, alumni and faculty are members of many professional associations. Our strong ties, built over many years, with these institutions keep us all abreast of the latest trends in the industries. Throughout the year, you may find representatives and members of these associations taking active roles in assisting our students by providing relevant industry insights and networking opportunities. Examples of these include:

Please visit our Student Experience & Life page on student councils, clubs and associations that our students engage and participate actively in.

Professionals in this field can be found in many types of organizations from governmental to non-governmental organizations, think-thanks, advocacy groups, foundations, councils, and many other types of organizations.

Who hires our CIPS graduates?

Our alumni work in a wide range of organizations and industries, including: government, communications, financial services, health care, education, non-profit and more.

Sample employers include: American Express, Bank of Canada, Cancer Care Ontario, CARE Canada, Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, CPP Investment Board, Deloitte, Digital Defence Inc., Financial Planning Standards Council, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario Public Service, Rogers Communications, United Nations, United Way of Toronto, University of Toronto, and many others.

Sample roles include:

Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Consultant, Research and Analytics
Copyright Education Compliance Manager
Corporate Engagement Advisor
Humanitarian Affairs Advisor
Information Commissioner
Information Policy Developer
Information Privacy Officer
Intellectual Property Assistant
Investigator, Standards Enforcement
Policy Advisor
Policy Analyst
Policy Project Supervisor
Program and Policy Associate
Research Analyst
Research and Communications Coordinator
Senior Specialist, Digital Advocacy
Women’s and Human Rights Programs Officer