Your Guide to Master’s in Library Science Online Programs (MLIS) in 2022

Working in a library may require more than a love of information and books. Those interested in working in libraries across the country can pursue a master’s in library science, also known as a master’s degree in library and information studies, or MLIS.

A master’s in library science is a graduate-level degree focusing on the cataloging and study of printed texts and digital media. A typical MLIS program covers general topics, such as the theoretical components of librarianship and more hands-on lessons about database management and organization.

The American Library Association is the accrediting body for degrees in library and information studies. The association accredits all MLIS programs in the United States and Canada. Those who want to pursue a librarian career in the United States and Canada can attend an ALA-accredited degree program.

Due to advanced technology, librarianship in 2020 is very different than it was even 10 years ago. Some would-be librarians are turning to online master’s in library science programs to master technology skills while obtaining the information they need to work in libraries. An online MLIS helps ensure a greater understanding of library resources, including technology-driven resources.

Sponsored Schools

School of Information Studies

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Master of Science in Library and Information Science

Syracuse University offers an online, ALA-accredited MS in Library and Information Science that prepares students to help communities access and understand information, technology, and media resources. The program can be completed in 18 months, and no GRE scores are required to apply.

  • ALA-accredited
  • Can be completed in 18 months
  • Optional specialization in School Media

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Online MLIS Curriculum

Courses in online library and information studies vary by school but typically include the evaluation and management of information, cross-disciplinary learning and hands-on experience. Courses may include:

  • Information architecture: The structural organization of data or shared information environments such as the art and science of labeling websites, data sets, intranets or other repositories of information.
  • Information science and technology: Courses in this category explore fundamental information science theories and information technologies. Theory and technology can be discussed and applied to practical purposes in library and information services.
  • Research methods: These courses cover advanced research methods including how to recognize and define a research problem in a professional setting to improve professional practice; how to select and use appropriate research methods such as sampling design, survey, experiment, qualitative field research and unobtrusive research to gather original data to solve the research problem and increase knowledge about the domain; how to use analytic methods like quantitative statistical analysis and qualitative analysis to analyze and synthesize the collected data into a solution to the identified research problem; and how to prepare a professional research proposal.
  • User-centered information services: The study of a library system that is user-centered as opposed to systems-centered. This area of study considers how libraries and other information technology can be organized to best suit the end user.
  • Computer science: General coursework in computer science can help MLIS students better understand data science, data analytics and data management; institutional repository management; digital libraries and digital preservation; networking hardware and software skills required to manage a computer network; integrated library systems utilizing relational databases and database design; and informatics.

Every MLIS program is unique in its requirements and course loads. The ALA requires the following standards for accredited MLIS program curriculums (PDF, 437 KB):

  • Foster the development of library and information professionals who will assume a leadership role in providing services and collections appropriate for the communities that are served.
  • Emphasize an evolving body of knowledge that reflects the findings of basic and applied research from relevant fields.
  • Integrate technology and the theories that underpin its design, application and use.
  • Respond to the needs of a diverse and global society, including the needs of underserved groups.
  • Provide direction for future development of a rapidly changing field.
  • Promotes commitment to continuous professional development and lifelong learning, including the skills and competencies that are needed for the practitioner of the future.

Online MLIS Admissions Requirements

Each online MLIS program will have its own admissions requirements and prerequisites. For detailed information about the application process you should visit a school’s admissions website. However, there are some components that you should prepare to complete:

  1. Application: Most programs require some form of application on their admissions website.
  2. Bachelor’s degree: To qualify for admission to MLIS programs, you must have a bachelor’s degree in some field. There are relatively few undergraduate library science programs, so don’t worry if that is not your field of study.
  3. Transcripts: Request transcripts from your undergraduate institution in advance of graduate program application deadlines.
  4. Test scores: Many schools require GRE General Test scores or TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students. Check with the program you are applying to, as not all schools require test scores.
  5. Resume/CV: Prepare a resume with relevant education and work history and include this in your application.
  6. Personal statement: Be prepared to write a short essay about who you are and why you are applying for this online MLIS program. Personal statements should be tailored to the specific program and school.
  7. Letters of recommendation: Get letters of recommendation from academic mentors, professional contacts or other credible people who can attest to your academic ability. The number of letters required will vary by school.

Finding the Best Master of Library Science Online Program for You

School of Information Studies

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Master of Science in Library and Information Science

Syracuse University offers an online, ALA-accredited MS in Library and Information Science that prepares students to help communities access and understand information, technology, and media resources. The program can be completed in 18 months, and no GRE scores are required to apply.

  • ALA-accredited
  • Can be completed in 18 months
  • Optional specialization in School Media

infoSPONSORED

Finding the right MLIS program is a personal process. You should carefully consider program length, accreditation status, degree conferred and class format. Some students may thrive on live classes online, while others may be looking for a program they can complete at their own pace. Here are all the online master’s of library science programs available, and a brief description of each.

Last updated: June 2020

Online Master’s in Library Science Concentrations

Some library science master’s programs allow you to concentrate in specific areas. While not available at every school, according to the ALA, concentrations can include:

  • School librarianship
  • Art librarianship
  • Health science librarianship
  • Database design
  • Archival studies

Concentrations allow a student to dive deeper into an aspect of library management.

For example, with a concentration in school media, a librarian is better equipped to deal with the demands of working in an academic setting. Programs in school media offer insight into developing and managing educational media and providing library services and resources to students of all ages. Similarly, a concentration in information management may help students gain skills in managing information acquisition, utility, retention and transfer to help a variety of organizations succeed.

Online Master’s in Library Science Careers

The first step to becoming a librarian is to obtain a MLIS or similar master’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some special librarians, such as those working in corporate, law or medical libraries, may need degrees in their specialized field in addition to an MLIS. Some employers require special librarians to have a master’s degree, a professional degree or a Ph.D. in that subject. For example, a law librarian may be required to have a law degree.

Two other categories of librarians may need additional certifications, according to the BLS.

  • Public school librarians typically need a teacher’s certification and some states require school librarians to pass a standardized test, such as the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist test. This requirement varies by state and county.
    Librarians working in public libraries in some states may need certification and a librarian license.

An MLIS degree is a requirement for almost all librarian jobs in the United States and Canada. But becoming a librarian is not the only option for those holding an MLIS. Some careers that may require or prefer an MLIS degree include:

  • Academic librarianship
  • Archiving, special collections and records management
  • Data Curation
  • Database administration and development
  • Digital librarianship
  • Digital youth and children’s librarianship
  • Information architecture and taxonomy
  • Knowledge organization
  • Law librarianship
  • Public librarianship
  • Special and corporate librarianship
  • User experience

In the median annual salary for all librarians was $60,820 the BLS reports. The median salary for librarians by industry or category was:

  • Colleges, universities and professional schools (state, local and private): $65,120
  • Elementary and secondary schools (state, local and private): $62,370
  • Information: $61,340
  • Local government, excluding education and hospitals: $54,890

Many students find a rewarding career in libraries or related fields after studying graduate library science.

Last updated: April 2022

Appalachian State University

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Master of Library Science

Boone, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Local and Archival Studies, Reference and User Services, School Library Media

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
Learn more about the Master of Library Science from Appalachian State University

The University of Alabama

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School of Library and Information Studies

Master of Library and Information Studies

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Studies

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Academic Libraries, Digital Stewardship, Information Literacy, Public Libraries, Special Libraries, Social Justice, Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Studies from The University of Alabama

Clarion University

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Department of Library Science

Master of Science in Information and Library Science

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Information and Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Local and Archival Studies, Reference and User Services, School Library Media

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Offiical transcripts
  • CV/resume
Learn more about the Master of Science in Information and Library Science from Clarion University

University of Central Missouri

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Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services

Warrensburg, Missouri

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 33

Concentrations:

School Library

Dominican University

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College of Applied Sciences

Master of Library and Information Science

River Forest, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Academic Libraries, Public Libraries, School Library

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal essay
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from Dominican University

East Carolina University

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College of Education

Master of Library Science

Greenville, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 39

Concentrations:

Academic Libraries, Public Libraries, School Library

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
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Emporia State University

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School of Library and Information Management

Master of Library Science

Emporia, Kansas

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Archive Studies, Health Information Professionals, Informatics, Leadership and Administration, Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of goals
  • Interview
  • Valid ID
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Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis

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School of Informatics and Computing

Master of Library and Information Science

Indianapolis, Indiana

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 39

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis

Louisiana State University

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School of Library and Information Sciences

Master of Library and Information Science

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of purpose
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University

Murray State University

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College of Education and Human Services

Master of Arts in Education in Library Media

Murray, Kentucky

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in Education in Library Media

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 33

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
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The University of Southern Mississippi

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Master of Library and Information Science

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 40

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Personal statement
  • Short answer response
  • Recommendations (three required)
  • Resume/CV
  • Program mode preference
  • Transcripts
  • Extenuating circumstances (optional)
  • Scholarship information (optional)
  • Official GRE scores (optional)
  • TOEFL Scores for non-native speakers
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from The University of Southern Mississippi

North Carolina Central University

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School of Library and Information Sciences

Master of Library Science

Durham, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • CV/resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS, financial statement (for international applicants)
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Northeastern State University

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College of Education

Master of Science in Library Media and Information Technology

Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Library Media and Information Technology

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 33

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • TOEFL/IELTS (for international applicants)
Learn more about the Master of Science in Library Media and Information Technology from Northeastern State University

Sam Houston State University

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Master of Library Science

Huntsville, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Teaching certification
  • Interview
  • Writing sample
  • Teaching experience (2 years)
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San Jose State University

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School of Information

Master of Library and Information Science

San Jose, California

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 43

Concentrations:

Academic Libraries, Archives and Records Management, Public Libraries, Special Libraries, Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
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University of Southern California

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School of Business

Master of Management in Library and Information Science

Los Angeles, California

Name of Degree: Master of Management in Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 40

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Management in Library and Information Science from University of Southern California

Texas A&M University

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Master’s in Educational Technology Library Science

College Station, Texas

Name of Degree: Master’s in Educational Technology Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Teacher or Principal Certificate
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or CV
Learn more about the Master’s in Educational Technology Library Science from Texas A&M University

Texas Woman's University

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School of Library and Information Studies

Master of Library Science

Denton, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Academic Libraries, Digital Stewardship, Information Literacy, Public Libraries, Special Libraries, Social Justice, Youth Services

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • CV/resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • One letter of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Library Science from Texas Woman's University

University at Buffalo

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Masters in Information and Library Science

Buffalo, New York

Name of Degree: Masters in Information and Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • GRE
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • English Proficiency TOEFL, IELTS)
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University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Master of Library and Information Science

Honolulu, Hawaii

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 39

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • GRE not required
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University of Houston

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Master of School Library and Information Science

Houston, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of School Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 33

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • GRE or GMAT
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Transcripts
  • English Proficiency TOEFL, IELTS)
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University of Illinois

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School of Information Sciences

Master in Library and Information Science

Champaign, Illinois

Name of Degree: Master in Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 40

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume 
  • English Proficiency TOEFL, IELTS)
  • Statement of purpose
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University of Kentucky

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College of Communication and Information

Master’s in Library Science

Lexington, Kentucky

Name of Degree: Master’s in Library Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Instructional Technology, Student Diversity, Curriculum and Instruction, Teacher of Distinction

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses 
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution
  • 3.0 GPA 
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Current resume or CV
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University of Maryland

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College of Information Studies

Master of Library and Information Science

College Park, Maryland

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses  
  • Unofficial transcripts 
  • Four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution 
  • 3.0 GPA  
  • Statement of Purpose 
  • Names and e-mail addresses of three academic or professional references 
  • Current resume or CV 
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores (international applicants only)
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University of Missouri

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The School of Information Science and Learning Technologies

Master of Library and Information Science

Columbia, Missouri

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 39

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from University of Missouri

University of North Carolina Greensboro

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Master of Library and Information Science

Greensboro, North Carolina

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS for non-native English speakers
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University of North Texas at Dallas

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Master of Science in Library Sciences

Denton, Texas

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Library Sciences

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

School Library, Instructional Technology Licensure 

Admission Requirements:

  • Résumé
  • Statement of purpose
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Field Experience required (120 Hours)
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University of Northern Iowa

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College of Education

Master of Arts in School Library Studies

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in School Library Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 2.5+ years

Credits: 33

Concentrations:

Archival Studies and Imaging Technology, Information Organization, Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics, Music Librarianship, Youth Librarianship, School Library Certification

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • 3.0 GPA
Learn more about the Master of Arts in School Library Studies from University of Northern Iowa

University of Oklahoma

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School of Library and Information Studies

Master of Library and Information Studies

Norman , Oklahoma

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Statement of purpose 
  • Professional resume .
  • Three letters of recommendation  
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Studies from University of Oklahoma

University of Pittsburgh

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School of Computing and Information

Master of Library and Information Science

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • 2 Recommendations
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • Official GRE scores (optional)
  • TOEFL Scores for non-native speakers
  • 3.0 GPA
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University of South Carolina – Columbia

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College of Information and Communications

Master of Library and Information Science

Columbia, South Carolina

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: N/A

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 36

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • GRE or MAT
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • English Proficiency TOEFL, IELTS)
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from University of South Carolina – Columbia

University of South Alabama

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Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences

Master of Education in Educational Media

Mobile, Alabama

Name of Degree: Master of Education in Educational Media

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1.5+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • 2 Recommendations
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • Official GRE scores (optional)
  • TOEFL Scores for non-native speakers
  • 2 Years full-time teaching experience
  • 2.5 GPA
Learn more about the Master of Education in Educational Media from University of South Alabama

University of Washington

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Information School

Master of Library and Information Science

Seattle, Washington

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 3 years

Credits: 63

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Personal statement
  • Diversity statement
  • Essay
  • Short answer response
  • Recommendations (two required, three recommended)
  • Resume/CV
  • Program mode preference
  • Transcripts
  • Extenuating circumstances (optional)
  • Scholarship information (optional)
  • Official GRE scores (optional)
  • TOEFL Scores for non-native speakers
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University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Information School

Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies

Madison, Wisconsin

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2+ years

Credits: 39

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • 3.00 GPA
  • Submit a personal statement
  • Current Resume/CV
  • 3 letters of reference 
  • Transcripts
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Wayne State University

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School of Information Sciences

Master of Library and Information Science

Detroit, Michigan

Name of Degree: Master of Library and Information Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Library Users and Communities, Library Tools and Resources, Library Systems and Infrastructure

Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university 
  • 3.00 GPA 
  • Submit a personal statement (pdf) 
  • Current Resume/CV
Learn more about the Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University