Masters Degree in Librarianship

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Updated on September 6, 2023
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Librarianship is often considered a simple profession involving books and computer usage. However, as technology and the modes in which modern society consumes information, librarianship has changed and grown. It has become a dynamic field in which librarians are expected to learn, analyze and instruct others how to use new technologies and how to find resources in a content-rich culture. Information is more available than ever, but quality information is not always easy to pick out among the sea of misinformation. Additionally, librarians connect their communities to local services and resources while providing additional services. For example, most public libraries offer storytimes for children, and book clubs for teens and adults. 

Librarians are also archivists, researchers, event and program planners, and basic skills instructors. To learn all the tricks in this trade, librarians complete a master’s of library and information science degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). ALA has set the standard for libraries and librarianship since 1876. They hold to the same principles while changing what librarianship looks like to meet the needs of modern society. ALA’s main purpose is to fight for intellectual freedom and to promote literacy and lifelong learning. 

In this article, we look at some of the best master’s programs in library and information science with a heavy focus on librarianship. All of these programs are accredited by ALA, and they require a number of core classes in librarianship or offer an area of study in librarianship. The distinction between these programs and other MLIS degrees is the emphasis on librarianship. Many other programs focus on information management and information technology. These programs focus on information and technology as well, but the focus is on how they relate to librarianship. 

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  • Top-Ranked MLIS Program
  • ALA-Accredited
  • Complete in 18 Months

Syracuse University

Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online


Syracuse University offers an online MS in Library and Information Science. The program can be completed in 18 months and includes the option to specialize in School Media. No GRE is required.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
  • Top Faculty & Support
  • No GRE Required

University of Denver

Master of Library and Information Science Online


University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education offers an online, ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science program. Learn from practitioners and gain the service-based skills needed to connect communities with information in the digital age. No GRE is required.*

  • Become a Literacy Leader
  • Top 10 M.Ed. Program
  • 100% Online

Arizona State University

Master of Arts in Education Online, Literacy Education Concentration


The Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in literacy education will equip you to be a literacy leader in any educational setting.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
  • 2-Year Program
  • 100% Online

St. Johns University

Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science


Gain the advanced expertise that information specialist positions require with the online M.S. in Library and Information Science program from St. John’s University.*

The University of Alabama: Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)

The MLIS program offered by the University of Alabama is an online degree and the classes are live and collaborative for an interactive experience. Students communicate with other classmates and professors and work with them to complete tasks. Most classes meet once a week and it is nearly always at night for those students who work during the day. The degree is a 36-credit hour degree and the students have the choice of taking a concentration in either archival studies or school library media. The library media track includes state certification through the Alabama Department of Education. This track is for librarians who wish to work in the k-12 public schools in Alabama. Both tracks and a more general track, prepare students for librarianship and leadership within the library and other information environments. 

How to Apply

To qualify for the program, applicants need at least a 3.0 GPA in the last year or in the last 60 semester hours during their undergraduate work. Applicants also must complete their undergraduate degree, or have a higher degree. To apply, applicants need to fill out the online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, they must submit three letters of recommendation, transcripts from any college or university attended, and a statement of purpose. No GRE scores are required, but they are accepted. 

Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) at the University of Southern California

This degree program is completely online and designed to be flexible for students who are disciplined and have a job or other commitments. The coursework is also flexible and can be customized to fit the student’s preference and career choice. Students must go full-time during their first semester, but they may drop to part-time to finish out the degree. Additionally, the degree is only 31 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 20 months. This makes the program both flexible and affordable for students. 

A unique aspect of this degree is that it is in partnership with the Marshall School of Business and it provides MMLIS students with stronger skills and knowledge in business administration as it relates to librarianship and library administration. For students who wish to focus on their business administration skills, they may take the track with a certificate in Library Management. Students can also choose a concentration in data analysis, information organization, technology advances, and librarianship, 

How to Apply

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. Then, applicants can apply online. There is an application fee to pay, and applicants will need to send in transcripts and test scores that are specific requirements for the program. Email the graduate admissions office for further information. 

Master of Library and Information Science Program at Southern Connecticut State University

The Master of Library and Information Science degree from Southern Connecticut is newly accredited by the American Library Association and it is offered fully online.  They offer a thesis option and a non-thesis option, and the degree is made up of 36 credit hours and five of the courses are core classes in organizing, managing, and retrieving information. The other courses go toward each student’s area of study. Students can customize their own area of study, or take a concentration in reference librarianship, children’s services, digital libraries, organization of information, archival studies, public librarianship, and academic librarianship.  Additionally, students can take a certification track to become school librarians in the public school system. 

How to apply

Qualifications include having a 3.0 GPA from a completed undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. To apply, submit an online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, applicants must submit official transcripts from all attended colleges and universities, an updated resume, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of interest of about 400 – 500 words in length. No GRE test scores are required. 

University of South Florida’s Master of Arts in Library and Information Science Degree

This Master of Arts degree in library and information science has been accredited by the American Library Association since 1974. It is an online degree and is 39 credit hours in length. Students can also earn their library media certificate through this program in order to become school librarians in Florida’s public school system. Or, students can choose one of the following concentrations: information literacy, visual information, archives, information technology, information policy, human information behavior, public librarianship, and academic librarianship. 

How to Apply

Applicants need a minimum of a 3.25 GPA and an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. If an applicant has attended a graduate then they will need a 3.5 GPA average from the graduate program. Or the applicant will qualify if they have a doctoral degree. Applicants who do not meet these requirements may take the GRE and if they score a 75% or higher, they may be considered for admittance. For those who qualify, fill out the online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, send in official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose essay,  an academic writing sample, and a current resume.

Master of Library Science and Information at Valdosta State University

This MLIS program is the only ALA-accredited degree in the state of Georgia. It is online and is 39 credit hours. It is made for flexibility and students can attend part-time and take one course at a time, or take additional classes and finish in as little as two years. All students must take core classes in maintaining, organizing, retrieving, and creating information. Then the student may choose their electives, or pick an area of study. The program offers concentrations in cataloging, technology, reference librarianship, and library management and administration. All tracks and courseloads teach graduates the skills to work in a library setting, learn and analyze new technologies, and provide services to communities by learning how to survey communities and analyze demographic information. 

How to apply 

To qualify for the graduate program at Valdosta State, applicants need an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA.  To apply, fill out the online application and pay the application fee.  Applicants also need to submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, an updated resume, and two MLIS application essays. Follow the online guidelines for the essays. No GRE test scores are required. 

Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

This is an on-campus program in the beautiful state of Hawaii. It is 39 credit hours with a choice of a thesis program, or a non-thesis program. Students on the non-thesis track will instead take a comprehensive oral exam. Additionally, students can earn their certification in school librarianship, or take a concentration in archives, Asian studies librarianship, public librarianship, and academic librarianship. Or, students can customize their own courses. 

How to apply

Qualifications for this program include a minimum 3.0 GPA and an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. To apply applicants need to fill out an online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, applicants need to send in a statement of objectives, two recommendation forms, and an application information form, and submit their official transcripts to the graduation division.

Master of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University

Wayne State University is an online degree and is 39 credit hours in length. They offer a customizable course load, or students can choose a concentration of study. They offer concentrations in archives, information management, digital content management, and library services. Additionally, students can earn their endorsement in school librarianship through the program. Look at the state requirements for school librarians if you want to work in the public school system. 

How to apply

To qualify for the program, you must have an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 grading scale. To apply, fill out an application online and pay the application fee. Also submit an updated resume and a statement of purpose essay.

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  • Top-Ranked MLIS Program
  • ALA-Accredited
  • Complete in 18 Months

Syracuse University

Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online


Syracuse University offers an online MS in Library and Information Science. The program can be completed in 18 months and includes the option to specialize in School Media. No GRE is required.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
  • Top Faculty & Support
  • No GRE Required

University of Denver

Master of Library and Information Science Online


University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education offers an online, ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science program. Learn from practitioners and gain the service-based skills needed to connect communities with information in the digital age. No GRE is required.*

  • Become a Literacy Leader
  • Top 10 M.Ed. Program
  • 100% Online

Arizona State University

Master of Arts in Education Online, Literacy Education Concentration


The Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in literacy education will equip you to be a literacy leader in any educational setting.*

  • ALA-Accredited Program
  • 2-Year Program
  • 100% Online

St. Johns University

Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science


Gain the advanced expertise that information specialist positions require with the online M.S. in Library and Information Science program from St. John’s University.*

Master of Library and Information Science at St. Catherine University 

The MLIS degree from St. Catherine University is online and on campus. Online courses are to allow for flexibility and on-campus classes are for providing opportunities to collaborate with other students and faculty for rich research and growth in collaboration skills. It is a 36-credit hour program and the focus is on teaching librarianship. Each student takes courses in academic librarianship, public librarianship, and librarianship in other information environments including law libraries, and special libraries. Students can also take the school librarian track and receive a library media endorsement. 

How to apply 

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 grading scale. To apply, applicants need to fill out the online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, applicants must write a 1000-1500 word essay expressing their interest in the program and their professional goals. Applications must also submit a current resume, two or three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from other colleges attended. 

Master of Library Science at North Carolina Central University 

This program is celebrated as a black university. Their MLIS program offers seven areas of study: law librarianship, digital information, public librarianship, academic librarianship, school library media, archives, and special librarian. This is an online degree that is 36 credit hours and is typically completed in two years. 

How to apply 

To qualify you need to have at least a 2.75 GPA and a bachelor’s degree. Applicants can fill out the online application and pay the application fee. They also require transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose essay, and a resume. No GRE test scores are required.

Master of Science in Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There are four wonderful ALA-accredited MLIS programs in North Carolina, but this program is the most celebrated of them all. The U.S. News ranked this program third in Services for Youth, first in Health Librarianship, and first in Digital Librarianship. The MS in Library Science program was ranked number one by QS World Rankings. The degree is offered on-campus and it is a 48-credit hour program. It offers concentrations in archives, reference services, youth and children services, database administration,  digital archives, cataloging, special collection development, and public librarianship. They also provide a certification track for students who are pursuing school librarianship in the public school system. Students will also learn to write scholarly research, collaborate with other students and faculty, and have enough community service and internship opportunities to create a compelling career and scholarly portfolio. 

How to apply

Applicants need an undergraduate degree from an accredited college and most accepted students hold a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 grading scale. Applicants should also submit any scholarly work and research they have done along with a resume, statement of purpose essay, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants should fill out an online application and pay the application fee. No GRE test scores are required.