Today’s online MSLIS programs prepare librarians and information professionals to meet the demands of the Information Age. Upon graduation, students will be able to apply the principles, practices, technology, and values of library science to help all types of users find the information they need, where they need it—in schools, libraries, government agencies, and research institutions.
MS in Library and Information Science
Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies offers a 36-credit Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree delivered online. Through the program, students develop core skills that translate to a wide variety of careers that have a positive impact on how communities access and use information. Students learn how to bridge the gap between people, information, and technology, and explore why librarians need to be able to use technology effectively to provide quality library and information services.
In addition, the program offers a specialization in School Media for students interested in providing active curriculum support services and library and information skills instruction in elementary and secondary school settings.
Program Start Dates:
January, April, July, and October
The MS in Library and Information Science can be completed in as little as 18 months.
Admissions requirements vary by school but commonly include:
- A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) scores
- Official transcripts and letters of recommendation
- Personal essay or statement of purpose
- Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Application and application fee
Some programs waive the GRE requirement for students based on undergraduate GPA or accept other entrance exams such as the LSAT, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test. International students educated in non-English speaking countries may also be required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.
Although courses vary by school, core coursework in accredited MLIS programs is designed to provide a foundation in the theory, principles, and practices of library and information science. Topics covered include: the organization, access, and management of information resources; cataloging and classification principles; research methods; professional ethics; library automation systems; and business information resources.
Some schools also require students to take one or more technology courses in areas such as web development, database management, systems analysis, programming, or information visualization.
Common MSLIS specializations or concentrations include:
- Archives Management
- Information Science and Technology
- School Media or School Librarianship
- Special Librarianship in medicine, law, media, or academic research
Common electives include data mining, user-based design, instructional design, metadata research and analysis, and youth services.
Many schools also offer opportunities for hands-on experience through internships or practicums.
Some schools also offer a Master of Science in Library Science in School Media. Courses in these programs include educational information technology, youth services, support for students with disabilities, librarian-teacher collaboration, and reading and literacy development.
Choosing the Best Master of Library Science Program
When comparing programs, applicants should consider the characteristics that set apart the best online MSLIS programs.
Accredited: Program and university accreditation ensures that the program meets rigorous standards and that its degrees will be recognized by current and prospective employers. In the field of library science, accreditation by the American Library Association (ALA) is the recognized standard of excellence.
Most professional librarian positions in the U.S. require a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program.
Scholarships : To advance the profession, the American Library Association provides over $300,000 annually to graduate students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs. The ALA Scholarship Program offers general scholarships as well as those for support staff, underrepresented groups, and specialty areas such as new media.
The ALA also maintains a directory of scholarships and other financial assistance provided by state library agencies, state and national library associations, academic institutions, and foundations.
2U-Powered Library Science Programs
2U partners with top universities to offer their degree programs online, including master's programs in library science. Students in 2U partner programs benefit from the highest-quality online learning platform available, with access to an online campus from anywhere they have an Internet connection. University faculty lead all academic issues related to programs, including instruction and curriculum development. 2U-powered programs feature:
created by faculty and available 24/7.
in a collaborative online classroom.
between students and universities.
at field placements or immersions.
from application through graduation.
Career Paths and Opportunities
From school libraries to newsrooms and law firms, today’s librarians and information professionals have career options in a variety of settings.
- Academic librarians support the research needs of faculty and students in college and university libraries. Some academic librarians also provide classroom instruction in information literacy.
- Serials librarians acquire, manage, and maintain digital and print collections of periodicals.
- News librarians manage information resources in news organizations—helping news and editorial staff research stories and training staff in information retrieval and research techniques. They also may market existing news products or create original products by repackaging information.
- Medical and health sciences librarians provide information and research services to health professionals, researchers, and patients in hospitals, research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and other settings.
- Law librarians manage information resources and perform research in law schools, private firms, legal publishing, and government agencies. (Students should be aware that some positions require a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in addition to an MSLIS from an ALA-accredited program.)
- Systems librarians plan and manage the implementation and integration of automated systems in libraries.
- School librarians or media specialists collaborate with teachers to help students develop reading, research, and 21 st century literacy skills in K–12 settings. (Many states require school librarians to have teacher certification in another subject in addition to an MSLIS. Students should check with their state departments of education for requirements.)
In addition to these traditional roles, recent MSLIS graduates have also found positions as:
- Chief Information Officer
- Metadata Analyst
- Web Content Coordinator
- Market Insights Analyst
- Media Director
For more information on the types of libraries that employ MSLIS program graduates, visit the American Library Association here .