2023 Best Master’s in Library Information Science Programs
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Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.
Do you want to acquire a master’s in library sciences, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best master’s in library sciences programs.
What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
- University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Offered via USC’s Marshall School of business, the master of management in library and information science has a unique emphasis on leadership skills for information leaders. The degree program has many advantages for graduates, including business knowledge and advanced management strategies for information collections. The degree program’s unique multidisciplinary nature prepares graduates for an assortment of career paths in academic libraries.
The degree uses a cohort format in which candidates finish most classes together, following the same degree program sequence. The coursework includes information science classes and business classes, which includes the class business for non-business professionals, providing learners with a multidisciplinary approach. Classes cover concepts such as collection development and management, strategic information and competitive analysis, and management communication for leaders. The degree program ends with a capstone in library and information management that reiterates key coursework concepts. Consisting of five 15-week semesters, the degree normally takes about 20 months to finish. USC has all classes completed online, with no campus visits required.
- University of Maryland, College Park, MD
The University of Maryland–College Park is the leading school in the Maryland university system and the largest college in the state, serving more than 39,000 learners every year. The school’s online master of library and information science incorporates research and practice, training degree candidates to serve as socially involved information professionals skilled in the utilize of technology. UMD has several concentration options, including school library, youth experience, and an individualized degree program plan that enables online learners to pursue their course of study.
The online master’s in library science degree program requires at least 36 credits and has thesis and non-–thesis paths. The school library concentration includes a non-thesis choice only path, while the youth experience and individualized paths include both options. Candidates who select the thesis path must finish 30 credits of degree program classwork along with six credits of thesis work. Non-thesis candidates finish 36 credits of classwork, including a three-credit field study in library service, which builds professional experience in an information science setting. All candidates must finish a degree program core that includes classes in serving information needs, achieving organizational excellence, creating information infrastructures, and creating principled inquiry. Most learners finish the degree within two years, though UMD permits a maximum of five years to finish all classwork.
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Rutgers serves learners from all 50 states and over 125 countries, operating its primary campus in New Brunswick along with a sizeable online degree program that includes a master’s of information degree with a concentration in the library and information science. Rutgers has start dates in the fall, spring, and summer to accommodate varying learner schedules. All online learners also obtain assistance from enrollment and executive coaches, who help them navigate admissions, enrollment, class selections, and connections to other campus resources and supports.
The 36-credit coursework includes core classes, concentration classes, and electives. Rutgers has substantial flexibility in class selection, allowing learners to study the concepts that best suit their professional interests. For example, learners must select three classes from the concentration core, which includes a dozen class options, such as information literacy, cataloging and classifying social informatics, and intellectual freedom. Learners can additionally pursue a concentration in school librarianship.
All candidates must finish three classes that bookend the degree program: introduction to library and information professions, colloquium in library and information studies, and an ePortfolio capstone. Learners who do not meet the minimum technology standards must additionally finish an introductory class on information technologies for library and information science.
- Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
ASU has a fully online master of library science that emphasizes the educational and social dimensions of information management. The degree program uses a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous class delivery. Learners attend one virtual classroom session each week, which is held in the evening and lasts about three hours. The rest of the week, online learners finish asynchronous classwork on their schedule. All learners must also make time for regularly scheduled live conferences with professors.
The coursework includes a total of 36 credits and normally takes about two years to finish. Candidates take 12 classes total, covering concepts such as information sources and services, integrating literature and media into instruction, and strategic administration of library resources and supports and services. All learners also finish a three-credit practicum.
Graduates can apply for both State of North Carolina Media Coordinator licensure and Public Librarian licensure. ASU also has several pathways to school librarianship licensure and instructional technology/computer licensure. Candidates seeking school librarianship licensure who are not already licensed teachers must take an additional 12 credits of classes, while candidates seeking instructional technology must take 18 more credits.
- University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
UB is home to more than 30,000 learners. The school also hosts a considerable online degree program that includes a master of science in information and library science. This adaptable degree has both fully online and blended delivery formats, with full-time and part-time options to accommodate working learners.
The degree requires 36 total credits, split between core classes and concentration electives. The nine-credit degree program core covers foundational concepts in information life cycles, information users and uses, and research methods. UB has several unique concentrations, including law librarianship, music librarianship, special libraries, and information storage and retrieval. The law and music concentrations are dual degree programs that combine the information and library science degree with either a JD or a master’s of music. Candidates pursuing concentrations outside of the dual degree programs can opt to combine several concentrations. UB also has a generalist path that enables learners to make any selection of elective classes.
Learners pursuing their master of library science degree online are able to engage in experiential learning, community activities, and networking. One of the degree program’s defining courses is the practicum, which enables participants to perform supervised information work in a professional environment. UB also hosts learner groups, departmental seminars, and chances for involvement in academic committees, all of which build relevant experience outside of traditional classwork.
- University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
The University of Alabama serves more than 38,000 learners from its campus and through its online degree program. The school’s master of library and information studies explores the socially responsible utilization and organization of information, training graduates for leadership positions in libraries and other information environments. Degree candidates investigate information in individual, organizational, and educational contexts, with a fully online format designed to accommodate working learners. The degree program uses a synchronous delivery format in which learners attend weekly virtual meetings,
The degree requires a total of 36 credits, split between the degree program core and elective classes. The 18-credit core coursework builds essential skills. Candidates fulfill the remaining 18 credits with electives, building focused knowledge in areas of professional interest. Learners must finish at least
12 library science credits, though the remaining credits may be in any relevant subject area. The coursework offerings fulfill all requirements for the State of Alabama School Library Media Certification, though learners must take endorsed classes and finish a holistic licensure exam.
- Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Syracuse’s master of science in library and information science degree program examines the community role of libraries, with 11 available focus areas, including academic librarianship, historical materials, and youth services librarianship. Online classes feature a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous delivery, with live weekly class sessions, group work, and multimedia classwork that learners finish on their schedule.
The coursework requires 36 credits, split between core knowledge and skills component, a constituent component, and a culminating exit requirement component. The 18-credit degree program core includes concepts in information resources and supports, information management, and policy, providing learners with a foundation for advanced study. The 15-credit elective component enables candidates to develop their professional skill set, getting more profound knowledge in a focused area of librarianship. The historical materials path, for example, includes classes in cultural heritage preservation, collection development, and access, and preservation of archival materials. Online learners can also design their course of study by selecting from any available information management elective classes.
The degree program’s exit requirement takes the form of either an internship or an independent research project. The internship, worth a maximum of six credits, comprises 150 supervised hours in a library or other information management organization, which can be finished either face-to-face or online. Candidates with substantial professional library experience often opt to finish the research project on an endorsed topic.
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA
UW offers an online master’s in library science degree program for busy learners who seek to advance in the field on their terms. Comprised of 63 quarter-credits, the coursework blends core classes, elective classes, and a final degree project to develop learners’ foundational and advanced library science knowledge and skills.
Learners earning the library science degree online finish a blend of asynchronous and synchronous classes. This offers them chances to study on their schedules and to study live alongside other learners in an online cohort and engage with professors. Learners enroll in six to eight credits per quarter and finish the degree program in three years or less. The degree program includes options for experiential learning via internships and studying abroad. All learners must finish a three-day on-campus orientation at the start of the degree program.
- University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
A major research college in Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh grants admission to more than 28,000 learners annually. The school’s 36-credit, online master of library and information science contains a 12credit degree program core and 24 credits of electives. The core coursework covers foundational concepts via four classes: comprehension information, knowledge organization, introduction to information technologies, and managing and leading information services. Electives allow learners to pursue any area of academic or professional interest connected to library and information studies.
Pitt also has two professional pathways designed to meet everyday information demands in the field: data stewardship and library and information services. These paths offer the same degree program core along with a defined selection of electives. For example, candidates in the data stewardship path select from classes such as information ethics, research data infrastructures, information visualization, and technologies for data preservation and data forensics. Learners have the choice of finishing a three-credit field experience as one of their electives. This 150-hour experience enables participants to apply degree program skills and knowledge to their work in the field.
- University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
The University of South Carolina is home to a versatile master of library and information science degree program that has fully online classwork, making it possible for learners to finish their degree without ever leaving home. Requiring 36 total credits, the degree program centers around six key areas. Learners take nine credits of foundation classes that build foundational skills in information science and technology. Degree candidates can pursue classes outside the department and even outside of South Carolina with faculty approval.
The program offers a school library licensure pathway via the South Carolina Department of Education, available to teachers and non-teachers. Candidates without teacher licensure must finish an additional 15 credits of classwork, which includes two internships: one at an elementary school and one at a secondary school.
- University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
The University of Missouri has a blended master of arts in library science that emphasizes education, and research. This degree requires a total of 39 credits and includes concentration options in either e-learning or school library. The 18-credit degree program core covers concepts such as cataloging and classification, information policy, emerging technology, and diversity in libraries. Learners utilize the remaining 21 credits to investigate their concentration area. The school library path has classes such as children’s library materials and library administration. In contrast, the e-learning path has classes such as digital media and instructional system design. Most degree candidates finish a practicum experience worth two to three credits, building professional skills in a library environment. The practicum may occur at a learner’s current place of employment or in another library setting that has new learning chances.
The university uses a varied blended delivery format that includes both on-campus and online classes. Online classes consist of both synchronous and asynchronous components, with some sections requiring live class meetings with set log-in times and others allowing learners to finish work on their schedule. The school has face-to-face classes at five campus locations in two states: Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis, and Omaha, Nebraska. Not all classes may be available online or through a single campus location, but program advisors can assist learners in making convenient class selections.
- University of North Texas, Denton, TX
UNT has an online master of science in library science with seven concentration options, including digital image management, health informatics specialist, law librarianship and legal informatics, and distributed learning librarianship. The college has both full-time and part-time enrollment options, and most learners finish the degree program within three years.
The library science coursework comprises a degree program core, guided electives, concentration classes, and general electives. The nine-credit core builds foundational library science skills, such as collections, information organization, and information access. Learners work with an academic advisor to select six credits of guided electives that best match their professional interests, with options including organization and control of information resources and supports, management of information agencies, and information resources and support development. Twelve credits of concentration classes allow candidates to concentrate in their area of choice.
While UNT delivers most of its degree program content online, the school does require learners to attend six days of on-campus sessions dedicated to cooperative classwork and networking with classmates and faculty. Online learners interested in additional campus experiences can enroll in classroom classes on UNT’s Denton campus and at off-campus learning centers in Houston and Dallas.
- Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
LSU has an online master of library and information science with eight optional concentration areas: academic librarianship, adult services in public libraries, archival studies, cultural heritage resource management, digital content management, knowledge management, school librarianship, and youth services librarianship. Available entirely online, the degree program requires no campus visits. Candidates normally finish the degree in about two years, though LSU allows a maximum of five years to finish all required credits.
This 36-credit master’s in library science online degree program splits its coursework evenly between core classes and electives. The 18-credit degree program core comprises six classes that cover major concepts such as information and society, information needs and information seeking, and information technologies and systems. Elective classes build advanced knowledge in various information science areas, with concentration options available for candidates who wish to concentrate on one subject.
Concentration paths require learners to select three or four elective classes in their area of choice, with an array of class offerings available. Degree candidates can also forego concentration paths and devise their general class of study, selecting any electives that match their professional interests. The library science degree program has additional elective options, including internships, independent study, and special concepts classes.
- East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
ECU’s library science degree program was established in 1939, and today, it is rated as one of the state’s top producers of school library media coordinators. The master of library science degree program emphasizes experiential learning and the utilize of technology, with an adaptable, fully online delivery format that caters to working learners. The degree program requires learners to finish a total of 39 credits and has three concentration options: academic library, public library, and school library media.
Irrespective of the concentration path, all candidates take 24 credits of core classes that build foundational knowledge. Each concentration requires 15 credits, split between focused concentration classes and electives that allow learners to investigate relevant areas of interest. The academic library concentration may lead to a graduate certificate in community college instruction, while the school library media concentration may lead to public school media coordinator licensure. Graduates from all paths are also prepared for the North Carolina Public Library Certification. All candidates must finish a professional internship that requires 110 working hours in a professional library environment.
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro serves more than 20,000 learners via on-campus and online programs. The school’s online master of library and information studies is the oldest degree program of its kind in North Carolina, with coursework arranged around the principles of free speech, open access to information, and lifelong learning. Offering both fully online and blended delivery options, the degree program normally takes around 2.5 years to finish.
The 36-credit degree coursework requires candidates to finish five core classes that build foundational information science knowledge, including information sources and services, information organization and access, and library administration and management. The remainder of the degree program comprises elective classes that allow candidates to pursue professional areas of interest. The program has pathways for both school library licensure and instructional technology licensure; candidates pursuing either license take fewer electives and more required classes. The school delivers most of its classwork synchronously, using scheduled webinars and conferences.
Along with electives, candidates can finish a professional practicum and a maximum of two independent study classes that focus on an endorsed topic of their choice. The practicum enables learners to get hands-on experience via supervised fieldwork in a library or other information management environment, bringing together class learning and professional practice.