Pennsylvania Libary and Information Science Degree Programs

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Updated on October 25, 2023
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Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, and it is rich in American history and natural beauty. They have lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Part of Pennsylvania borders Lake Erie, and it has Presque Isle State Park in Presque Bay and Lake Erie. There, residents and visitors can enjoy surfing, swimming, fishing, hunting, and hiking, as well as winter sports including ice skating, snow skiing, snowboarding, and ice fishing. The commonwealth enjoys all four seasons and cold winters with 20 to over a hundred inches of snow each year. Additionally, much of Pennsylvania’s history and American History can be found in the largest cities in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburg and Philadelphia. However, there are also some beautiful rural towns to consider, including Emporium, Portage, Seneca, and Hometown.

Pennsylvania is also an excellent state for higher education if you are considering an education in library and information science. Three universities offer library science degrees, and two offer MLIS degrees accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Two universities offer a bachelor’s in information science, and two offer a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science. 

This article covers each degree program in library science offered in Pennsylvania and the application process. It also looks at the career opportunities in Pittsburg and Philadelphia, and the opportunities the commonwealth has outside of librarianship. Lastly, you’ll get a good idea of what the salary will look like from the entry level up to the administration level. 

Bachelor Programs in Library and Information Science (BLIS) in Pennsylvania

A bachelor’s degree in information can either be the start of a career in librarianship, provide the skills and knowledge to become a data analyst, or information technology specialist, or open any number of job opportunities that involve information management and retrieval, analyzing information, and how society interacts with it, and helping organizations adapt to new information technology to improve their production and get information to their clients and customers. 

Information Systems Major at Drexel University

This degree is offered by the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. It focuses on high-level technologies and the human-computer relationship. Part of the coursework focuses on how humans and communities interact with information and information technology. Additionally, this degree includes a minor in business, which provides students with the knowledge to make business decisions based on data and information.

How to apply

To qualify for admission into the College of Computing and Informatics, applicants need to have completed three years of mathematics, and at least one laboratory science. To apply, fill out an online application, pay the application fee, and send in transcripts and other required documents. 

Information Science Major at the University of Pittsburgh 

This program prepares you for a variety of careers in business, software development, data analysis, and information technology. They offer classes that teach skills in technology and program design and include plenty of group work. Some of the assignments are as advanced as building and designing an app for a company or organization to help gain information or show their clients or customers how to best use a service or product. The program offers a choice of capstone options that include a research program, an internship, a team-based project, or a data driven-communication course. 

How to apply

Applicants must submit an online application and pay the application fee. Additionally, all first-year students need to send in their highest ACT or SAT scores and fill out an SRAR form to submit academic records. The applicants also applying for scholarships need to submit a personal statement. 

ALA Accredited Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) Programs in Pennsylvania

The American Library Association (ALA) is an organization that has been around since 1876. They set the standards for public libraries, academic libraries, and higher education for those studying librarianship and library science. They have adapted their standards and accreditation requirements to ensure the institutions educating prospective professional librarians will give students the skills and information they need to serve modern society and meet the demands of a growing technological culture. 

Master’s in Library Science at Clarion University

This is an online degree.  It was the first master’s degree in library science offered in the state to be accredited by ALA. Each student must take 36 credit hours of coursework, including electives and core classes. Students will take 15 credit hours of core classes that include Introduction to Information Professions, Reference Sources and Services, Organization of Information, Integrated Tech Libraries, and Management of Information Agencies and Libraries. Students can choose their own electives, or take the concentration track for Archive Studies, Reference and User Services, or School Librarianship with certification in Library Media. 

How to apply

Clarion University, a PennWest location, has an easy application process. There are two different ways to apply online, and you simply follow the instructions and pay the application fee. For questions regarding the program or the admission process, you can request more information online. 

Master of Science in Information – Library and Information Science at Drexel University

This program is offered online and on campus and can be taken part-time or full-time. Students who are taking coursework full-time finish in less than two years, and students who attend part-time typically finish in two and a half years. This degree includes coursework in librarianship, information management, and information technology. Additionally, each student will take a capstone, which is a group project to provide collaboration opportunities.

How to apply

To qualify for admission, applicants need at least a 3.0 GPA and an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. Then applicants need to send in their online application, transcripts, current resume, at least one letter of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. No GRE is required. 

Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh

This is a 36-credit hour degree that can be completed in under two years, or three terms. Students can also choose to take up to four years to complete the degree. They offer core classes in information management and a multitude of electives that can be tailored toward each student’s professional areas of interest. They have courses for public librarianship, academic information, civic engagement, youth and children’s services, and much more. Additionally, students can earn their certification for school librarianship through the program. 

How to apply

Applicants qualify for admission if they have an undergraduate degree and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Admissions also look at work experience and other aspects of academic achievement. Applicants then apply online and pay the application fee online. Cash is not accepted. 

Ph.D. in Library Science Programs in Pennsylvania

A Ph.D. in library and information science gives graduates expertise in information science and librarianship. Doctorate students conduct and publish scholarly articles and research, and the Ph.D. programs offer opportunities for collaboration with professors and other doctoral students. Graduates go on with strong professional relationships and connections to become skilled researchers, professors, and library administrators. 

Ph.D. in Information Science at Drexel University

Each student earning their Ph.D. in information Science from Drexel University will take a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation. They are also required to take one general course, two courses in research methods, two foundation courses, three specialized courses, and three seminar courses. The specialized courses include user experience, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, data science, and information science. 

How to apply

Contact the Ph.D. Program Manager to gain more information on the program and the admissions process to see if you are a qualified candidate for the program. Then apply online, pay the application fee, and send in transcripts, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume.  

Ph.D. in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh

The degree requirements for this program are 54 credit hours beyond a master’s program and a total of 72 credit hours at the minimum. 36 hours going toward the doctoral degree are coursework, and the rest go towards research and a dissertation. They offer areas of research and coursework in information behavior, archival studies, school librarianship, social information systems, health information behavior, and web-based information systems. 

How to apply

Applicants need at least a 3.3 GPA and a master’s degree from an accredited program. However, they may accept exceptional students with a bachelor’s degree. To apply, go online and fill out the application. Applicants must pay an application fee and send in three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a statement of intent, and a resume. No GRE test score is required. 

How to Become a Librarian in Pennsylvania

There are three levels of certification for public librarians and library staff. Library assistants need two years of college credit, with nine credit hours being courses in library science. A provisional librarian needs an undergraduate degree and 12 credit hours in library science. A professional librarian needs an undergraduate degree and an MLIS degree. To become a school librarian in public schools, you will need a teacher’s certification. Go to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website for more information about earning a certificate in teaching and school library media. 

What Else Can You Do with a Library Science Degree in Pennsylvania?

One of the best and largest employers in Pennsylvania is GlaxoSmithKline. They are an investment services company that researches, produces, and develops healthcare products and pharmaceuticals. They hire data scientists, user experience (UX) strategists, data engineers, analysts, and information specialists for their research and record keeping. Their headquarters are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and they have been around since 1929.  

Pennsylvania is a perfect state for those wanting to be historical researchers. The Commonwealth has over 1,000 historical organizations and museums. Some of which have been around since 1905. Pennsylvania has children’s museums, art museums, and hundreds of historical sites and museums. 

Philadelphia Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

The Free Library System in Philadelphia has over 50 locations in the city and greater metropolitan area. Each library hosts various events, programs, and classes. Some are annual, and some are weekly. They offer computer classes, English language classes, culinary programs, storytimes, book clubs, etc. The library system also offers reference services, children’s services, teen and young adult services, and resources for business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, there are plenty of museum and archive career opportunities as well. Pennsylvania has over 1000 museums, and the majority of them are in Philadelphia.

Drexel University is in Philadelphia, and it offers an MLIS degree that is accredited by ALA. They also offer an undergraduate degree in information systems and a Ph.D. in information science.

Pittsburg Library Degree Programs and Career Opportunities

There are 19 library branches that are part of the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburg, which is the free public library for the city. They offer resources for teens, children, parents, teachers, those studying genealogy, and music enthusiasts. They also provide community services like community classes, free lunches and snacks for children, and career programs. 

The University of Pittsburg offers a Master’s in Library and Information Science, which the American Library Association accredits. The university also offers a bachelor’s in information and a doctorate in library and information science. 

Salary Opportunities in Pennsylvania for Librarians

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania has 4,900 library positions, and the mean wage for librarians is $58,640 annually. The number of positions is higher than in most other nearby states, except for New York, which has over 11,000 librarian positions. The annual salary starts at around $30,000 and can go above $90,000. Typically, the higher earners are library directors or administrators with years of experience and at least a master’s in library science. Those making the lower wage often have not completed a master’s program and are working in an entry-level position. 

Additional Links

To learn more about library and information science, visit

The Pennsylvania Library Association posts current job listings and current events for librarians in the commonwealth. 

Library Science Degree Programs in Other States