30 Most Affordable Top Master’s in Library Science Online Degree 2020

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A career in library and information services can be the perfect fit for intellectually curious students seeking a rewarding and community-oriented career. The programs on our list of the 30 Most Affordable Top Master's in Library Science train students in resource management, information organization, digital literacy, research methods, information technology, and much more. This training prepares graduates to join exciting careers in many different settings. Graduates become information professionals serving in public and school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries maintained by museums, law offices, and more. Common career titles include reference librarians, youth and children's librarians, archivists, and special collections managers.

Most of the programs on this list are delivered entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. A few programs require students to attend orientation sessions or workshops on a physical campus. In many cases, the programs offered by these 30 schools represent a long history of library science instruction. Many of the programs began more than 100 years ago, and the oldest was founded in 1901. The majority of the programs listed here hold accreditation from the American Library Association. 

Within the computing informatics industry, library and information science is recognized for being one of the fastest-growing fields. Students will enter a job market that's expected to grow by 9% through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In 2017, the Library Journal surveyed graduates of Library Information Science programs and found an average full-time salary of over $50,000. Students can enhance their career opportunities by selecting an area of specialization offered by many programs listed here. Common specializations include Youth Services, Academic Librarianship, and Public Librarianship. School Librarianship programs are offered by many universities here. These are programs designed for students seeking licensure to become certified school librarians. These programs typically require students to complete at least one practicum experience and pass a licensure test.

Ranking Methodology: "It's science!"

The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference – we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves finances and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25% of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review. 

Want to Learn More? 

The amount of information available for specific degrees is plentiful, and Best Master's Degrees aims to provide as many resources as we can. Check out our Methodology page for more information and resource links.

 

#30 – Emporia State University 

Master of Library Science

Emporia, KS
Website

The Master of Library Science from Emporia State University is designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers in library and information management. Accredited by the American Library Association, the 36-credit-hour program is delivered in a cohort format to maximize professional networking opportunities. Students will take classes in two weekend-long intensive sessions, along with online instruction through the Canvas learning management platform. Face-to-face courses can be completed at the university's six locations found throughout the state of Kansas. The program offers several concentrations, including Archives Studies, Informatics, Leadership and Administration, and Youth Service. Students earn 22 of their credit hours through required coursework, which includes Foundations of Library Science, Information Management, Collection Development, Research Methods, and a Capstone Assessment. Students will also complete technology-focused courses in web design, database design, and information technology. A graduate Archives Studies Certificate is also available from the university. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,670

 

#29 – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Master of Library & Information Science

Milwaukee, WI
Website

Earn your Master of Library & Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and prepare for a range of careers focused on information services. The program is offered in both online and in-person formats and conforms to the standards of the American Library Association. The university's School of Information Studies offers a number of concentrations within the major, including Archival Studies, Information Organization, Information Technology, and a Public Library concentration. Students can also tailor their studies to meet individual career goals by specializing in areas such as academic libraries, digital libraries, information law, and special libraries. Students will complete 36 graduate credits, with at least 30 coming from courses in library and information science. Candidates who already hold a master's or doctorate degree may be able to reduce the credit load to 30. Required coursework includes foundational courses in library and information science, information organization, and information access and retrieval. The program concludes with a research methods course. Students lacking in professional library experience have the opportunity to complete graduate fieldwork as part of the degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,555

 

#28 – University of Oklahoma 

Master of Library and Information Studies

Norman, OK
Website

Become skilled in the collection and dissemination of information with the Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Offered by the university's School of Library and Information Studies, the degree program focuses on all forms of information, including traditional library materials and digital and physical assets. Students will complete a total of 36 hours of coursework and may finish their degrees with either a comprehensive examination, written thesis, or graduate portfolio. To apply to the program, students will need to submit a statement of purpose, a professional resume, and three reference letters, in addition to the university's standard graduate application. Candidates will also need a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA; otherwise, students may be admitted on a conditional basis. Applicants with prior graduate experience may qualify to transfer up to nine credit hours toward the degree. Required coursework covers topics in information management, information and knowledge resources, and research methods. In addition to core classes, students will earn 18 hours of elective credit, which must be approved by their graduate advisor. The program holds conditional accreditation from the American Library Association. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,158

 

#27 – Valdosta State University

Master of Library and Information Science

Valdosta, GA
Website

The information age is changing the world of libraries, and the Master of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University will help stay at the cutting edge. Students will gain the necessary experience to serve as librarians in academic, public, and special library settings, along with a range of other information-focused careers. The non-thesis program includes 39 total credit hours and is completely online. The degree's curriculum exposes students to information administration, finding resources for clients, services in the knowledge society, and technical knowledge of library systems. Students will complete core coursework in library and information science, library management, cataloging and classification, and research methods. A capstone course, MLIS 7800, is taken at the end of students' studies. Within the program, students can select from optional tracks including Youth Services, Cataloging and Classification, Library Management, Reference Sources and Services, and Technology. The graduate program has been accredited by the American Library Association and meets the standards for Accreditation of Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,630

 

#26 – Texas A&M University-Commerce

Master of Science or Master of Education in Educational Technology – Library Science

Commerce, TX
Website

The Master of Science or Master of Education in Educational Technology – Library Science from Texas A&M University-Commerce each provide a broad understanding of informational systems. The programs are also open to students seeking careers as school librarians, and state certification is available. Students complete 36 semester hours entirely online and will earn a graduate major in Learning Technology and Information Systems. Coursework covers topics in cataloging and classification, information reference and mediographic services, general and specialized collections, library administration, and more. Students have the opportunity for hands-on learning through a 160-hour practicum in a library media center. The degree program also includes a research and capstone component, which requires students to develop a digital portfolio and program evaluation. Courses are delivered in seven-week sections, and most students will earn their degrees within two years when studying full-time. To apply for the program, students will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, while the school librarian program requires applicants to have a valid teacher or principal certificate or license. The program is only offered to students residing full-time in the U.S. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,796

 

#25 – University of Houston-Clear Lake 

Master of Science in School Library and Information Science

Houston, TX
Website

Enhance the learning environment for young students with the Master of Science in School Library and Information Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Students seeking careers in a school library setting, whether at the elementary, middle, or secondary level, will be well-prepared to support learning and literacy efforts. All 33 credit hours of the program are completed online, and students who take classes full-time can expect to earn their degrees in 18 months. The program begins with a required professional education core, which includes classes in multicultural education, statistics, research design, and technology. School library coursework covers subjects in literature for young students, school library collection management, media technology, and administration. The degree also includes a three-hour practicum, which can be completed in the student's home district. Students who complete a one-hour professional preparation seminar will qualify for school librarian certification. The graduate program is open to students who have a current teacher's license and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. A Graduate Record Examination score may be required for candidates whose GPAs are between 2.75 and 3.0. The university's College of Education also recommends that candidates have at least two years of teaching experience in order to earn School Librarian certification. Additionally, a 46-credit-hour Master Technology Teacher graduate degree is available from the university. Both programs hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,664

 

#24 – Sam Houston State University

Master of Library Science

Huntsville, TX
Website

The Master of Library Science from Sam Houston University provides the educational background to become a qualified and skilled school librarian. Students will be exposed to leading information technology while learning to collaborate with teachers to enhance learning environments. Students will earn 36 credit hours while building a graduate portfolio that analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates their knowledge. The portfolio is completed in place of a comprehensive examination. The program's curriculum includes topics in collection development, information services, literature, research design, and digital technology. A library internship is also included as part of the degree. Upon completing all coursework, degree candidates will be eligible to sit for the Texas state School Librarian Certification examination. Successful candidates will need a valid Texas teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework. An optional 24-hour School Librarian Certificate is available for students who currently hold a valid teacher's license and have already earned a master's degree. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,516

 

#23 – University of Kentucky

Master's in Library Science

Lexington, KY
Website

Grow your skills as an information specialist with the Master's in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. The degree is designed for students considering a career as a librarian to help current librarians take their careers to the next level. Students have opportunities to design the degree to fit their career goals, whether that's in a public, academic, school, or health sciences setting. The 36-credit-hour program is delivered entirely online, and classes are taken in an asynchronous format, allowing for maximum flexibility in the student's schedule. All students will complete four required core courses in information seeking and retrieval, information representation, and library information science management. Students also build an understanding of technology through the program's Information Technology requirement before moving into the program's elective component. Additionally, students have the opportunity for practicum experiences, study abroad, and independent study. Students seeking advanced licensure may elect to complete the curriculum plan for School Media Librarian P-12 Certification. Extra coursework in literature and the development of a school media portfolio are required for the certification program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,762

 

#22 – Drexel University

Master's in Library & Information Science

Philadelphia, PA
Website

Become an asset to students and professionals in a range of settings with the Master's in Library & Information Science from Drexel University. Students will gain a robust technological background while also building skills as an educator through the online program. The program delivers courses in four 10-week quarters and consists of a total of 45 credits. Students will complete five core courses that introduce topics in library information services and operations, information ethics, and information management. Beyond the core requirement, students also complete a series of foundation courses and five electives, which range from classes in archive management to academic library services, resources for children, and information literacy. The program also includes a two-term capstone project that prepares students for a professional work environment. Candidates will need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Students with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.19 are asked to submit a score from the Graduate Record Exam or provide proof of relevant employment in a library or information science field. The program has been accredited by the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $36,727

 

#21 – Louisiana State University 

Master of Library and Information Science

Baton Rouge, LA
Website

Expand your career horizons with a flexible and personalized Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University. The program is delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format. Students will earn 36 hours and earn the degree entirely through coursework, and a thesis is not required. Though not mandatory, students may select from a wide range of specializations that can help meet specific career goals. Specializations include Academic Librarianship, Adult Services in Public Libraries, Archival Studies, Knowledge Management, Digital Content Management, and more. Students who already possess a master's degree can supplement their education with the department's certification offerings in Archival Studies, School Librarianship, and Records and Information Management. Core coursework for all students includes subjects in information management and organization, information technology, research, information organization, and information seeking. To gain unconditional admission, students will need a minimum 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate studies. Probationary admission is awarded to students with a minimum 2.75 GPA and an official composite score from the Graduate Record Examination of at least 300. Other standard graduate admissions test scores may also be considered. The program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association since 1931.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,437

 

#20 – University of Missouri 

Master of Library and Information Science

Columbia, MO
Website

Tap into the world of information services with the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri. Students may complete the degree entirely online or choose a blended program that includes some campus visits at one of the university's five locations in Missouri and Nebraska. Offered by the College of Education's School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, the degree program is semester-based and can typically be completed in two years. Students earn the bulk of their credit hours through required courses and a three-credit-hour practicum. The practicum requirement can be completed in either a school library or an information agency setting. The balance of credit hours is earned through a selection of electives, which include classes in academic librarianship, archival studies, digital humanities, digital libraries, e-Learning information, management and administration, and more. Graduate Record Examination scores are not required for admission. However, qualified applicants will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the final 60 hours of study. The program has been accredited by the American Library Association

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,833

 

#19 – Kent State University 

Master of Library & Information Science

Kent, OH
Website

Build a rewarding career with the Master of Library & Information Science from Kent State University. This broad program is designed to help students reach a number of career and academic goals. Students can select from seven cluster areas consisting of a total of 19 pathways, including applied data science, digital humanities, information access and discovery, information organization, and more. Students pursuing careers in a school setting can opt for the K-12 School Library Media specialization that leads to multi-age licensure. The university also offers a number of dual-degree options for students who want to combine two areas of expertise. Options include a dual Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Business Administration degree and a combined Master of Library and Information Science and Master of Education degree. In all programs, courses are delivered entirely online through the Blackboard Learn education management system. Currently, the university offers the only program in the state of Ohio accredited by the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,552

 

#18 – University of Southern Mississippi

Master of Library and Information Science

Hattiesburg, MS
Website

Become a leader in the information age with the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. The degree can be completed entirely online and includes a wide range of options to meet students' individual goals. Regardless of concentration, students will earn 22 hours through required courses. Topics include library information science, cataloging and classification, library management, librarianship, and research methods. Students will then earn 15 hours through electives before taking a comprehensive examination to complete the degree. The program allows students to focus their studies on instructional technology and various disciplines with political science. A special concentration leading to School Library Media Specialist licensure is also available. To complete the licensure requirements, students will complete a school library practicum, along with courses in children's literature and library instruction. Students can also earn an online graduate certificate in Archives and Special Collections through the university. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,773

 

#17 – Wayne State University

Master of Library and Information Science

Detroit, MI
Website

The Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University expands your knowledge of information services by exposing students to the principles and practices of librarianship. The degree is grouped into pillars that contain a wide range of specializations designed to help students pursue specific career goals. Students may choose from pillars in Library Services, Information Management, and Archives and Digital Content Management. In total, students will complete 36 graduate credit hours, with 18 earned in the Information Sciences professional core. The remaining 18 credit hours are earned through the student's area of specialization. All classes are offered online, though select courses may be available in a face-to-face format. Core classes introduce students to topics in the information profession, including information technology, information access, knowledge organization, and library administration. Students may also pursue a School Library Media Specialization by completing specific coursework. A research component must also be completed by all students. The university's MLIS degree holds accreditation from the American Library Association. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,366

 

#16 – East Carolina University

Master of Library Science

Greenville, NC
Website

Build a deep understanding of information organization with the Master of Library Science from East Carolina University. The online degree draws its history back to 1939 when the first library science program was offered at ECU. The program prepares students for careers in both public and school library settings and can lead to North Carolina Public Library Certification or North Carolina Licensure. The program requires the completion of 39 semester hours of credit, with 24 stemming from core courses, which all students must complete. These courses provide an overview of library and information sciences and reference, library technology, literacy research, information organization, and library administration. Students will also become skilled in the development of special collections. Beyond the core coursework, students may select from several areas of focus. These areas include Academic Librarianship, Public Librarianship, and School Librarianship. Both the Academic and School Librarianship areas allow opportunities for specialized internships to provide students with hands-on professional experience. The program has been accredited by the American Association of School Librarians and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The program also holds initial accreditation from the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,746

 

#15 – University of South Carolina 

Master of Library and Information Science

Columbia, SC
Website

Enhance the information services in your community by earning a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. The degree program offers the chance to earn certification as a school librarian or pursue an area of interest. Students who already hold a valid teacher's license will complete one internship as part of the school librarian certification, while students seeking initial certification will complete two. Candidates will also complete an End-of-Program portfolio and must pass the PRAXIS II specialty area test for Media Specialist/Library Science. The degree requires a total of 36 credit hours for all areas of interest, and all classes must be completed with a ‘C' average or better. Students with previous graduate experience may transfer up to six hours of coursework from other universities. The program accepts candidates who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with at least a 3.0 GPA. Candidates will also need to meet minimum test score requirements on a standardized graduate admissions test. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,181

 

#14 – University of North Carolina at Greensboro 

Master of Library and Information Studies

Greensboro, NC
Website

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers students the opportunity to become experts in information services with the Master of Library and Information Studies. The program is delivered in an online, synchronous format designed to emphasize interaction among students and faculty. Students complete 36 credit hours, culminating in a capstone experience in place of a written graduate thesis. The university offers both School Librarian licensure and Instructional Technology licensure options. The degree's curriculum is customizable, and students can select a plan of study that will help meet career and academic goals. Core courses include a foundational course in library and information science, an overview of library and information services, and coursework in library administration and management. Students will also complete at least one course from the degree's technology requirement and a total of 18 credits of electives selected with the aid of a graduate advisor. Qualified candidates will need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, however, a score from the Graduate Record Examination is not required. The program is the oldest of its kind in the state of North Carolina to hold accreditation from the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,396

 

#13 РSan Jos̩ State University

Master of Library and Information Science

San Jose, CA
Website

San José State University offers the Master of Library and Information Science to students seeking an intellectually stimulating career that will enhance the lives of others. The program is delivered in 43 units and concludes with either an e-portfolio or a graduate thesis. The university provides a wide range of electives, giving students control over their degrees and career goals. The program enjoys a long history, with the first library science courses offered in 1928, and the degree has been available entirely online since 2009. The program is open to students who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and who graduated with at least a 3.0 GPA. The university does not require test scores from a standardized entrance examination. All students are required to complete coursework in information communities, information retrieval systems, online learning, and applied research methods. Electives include topics in government information sources, school library media materials, automated library systems, database management, and more. Students also have the opportunity to take part in the MLIS internship program after completing all required coursework and at least nine units of electives. The degree currently holds accreditation from the American Library Association through 2021. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,519

 

#12 – University of North Texas 

Master of Science in Library Science

Denton, TX
Website

Expand your knowledge of information studies with the Master of Library Science offered by the University of North Texas. Students will build the skills and background necessary for careers in public, academic, and special libraries. The program is delivered mainly online, although students will be required to attend six days of classroom-based instruction. Students can choose from a range of program areas, including Archival Studies and Imaging Technology, Distributed Learning Librarianship, Information Organization, Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics, Music Librarianship, Youth Librarianship, and a general program. Students may also seek School Library Certification. Regardless of program selection, all students have the opportunity to take part in a practicum ranging between 120 and 180 clock hours depending on the program. Students will take nine credit hours of core coursework, which provide an overview of information organization and access. The remaining credit hours are earned through both general and guided electives, and at least four courses from the student's chosen area of study. The program holds accreditation from the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,600

 

#11 – Syracuse University 

Master of Science in Library and Information Science

Syracuse, NY
Website

Become an asset to your community as a skilled librarian through the Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Syracuse University. Students complete a total of 36 credits to earn the degree and can expect to complete their studies within two years. Students earn three credits through introductory core coursework, an additional nine credits in the program's information resources core, and six credits in management and policy coursework. Students can also focus their degree through the careful selection of 15 credits in electives. Emphasis areas include Academic Librarianship, Data Librarianship, Historic Materials, Instructional Librarianship, Management, and more. The university also offers a school librarian specialization. The program concludes with a residency workshop, which takes place over two to three days and offers a chance for collaboration and networking with fellow students. The program has held accreditation from the American Library Association since 1928.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $39,005

 

#10 – The University of Alabama 

Master of Library and Information Studies

Tuscaloosa, AL
Website

The University of Alabama offers the Master of Library and Information Studies for students seeking a rewarding career as information resources. Students will complete 36 credit hours, which are delivered entirely online. Students build leadership skills by studying a curriculum that includes management courses and a broad foundation in library and information studies. The university offers several suggested areas of emphasis, including a focus on Academic Libraries, Digital Stewardship, Public Libraries, Special Libraries, Social Justice, and Youth Services. Specializations in Archival Studies and School Libraries are also available. Students who wish to continue their studies beyond the graduate level may choose to complete the program's optional thesis. Applicants may apply at any time throughout the year, and admission is open to students with at least a 3.0 GPA in the final 60 hours of their undergraduate degree. The program also requires a score from a graduate entrance test. Students who already hold a graduate degree or who have five years of professional experience within the field are not required to submit test scores. All students also must attend a two-day orientation at the university's Tuscaloosa, AL, campus.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,465

 

#9 – University of Pittsburgh 

Master of Library and Information Science

Pittsburgh, PA
Website

Broaden your understanding of information and its many forms with the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students maximum flexibility to integrate academic and personal responsibilities. The degree is divided into thematic areas, which provide students with numerous ways to meet career and academic goals. Students can select from focuses in Academic Information Services, Archives and Information Services, Children and Youth Services, Information Technology, Public Library Services, or a program leading to School Library Certification. All students enrolled in the program complete a Design Methods Sequence of three required courses. The sequence introduces students to real-world issues in information studies and provides opportunities for collaboration with fellow students. The program admits students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Standardized test scores are not required. The American Library Association has awarded the program continued accreditation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,040

 

#8 – Appalachian State University 

Master of Library Science

Boone, NC
Website

The Master of Library Science from Appalachian State University gives you the skills you need to be a leader in a variety of library settings. Students who complete the degree program will be eligible to earn North Carolina Media Coordinator or Public Librarian certification. The degree consists of 36 credit hours earned entirely online, and courses are delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Students are required to complete coursework in a range of library science topics, including collection management, information organization, library technology, and research methods. A thesis is not required to earn a degree. To join the program, students will need to possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Admissions examinations are required for all applicants with a GPA of less than 3.4. Five or more years of relevant job experience may be substituted for GPA and examination requirements. Appalachian State also offers a dual degree program that combines the MLS with a Master of Arts in Education Media. The program has been recognized by the American Association of School Librarians and holds accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,491

 

#7 – University at Buffalo 

Master of Science in Information and Library Science

Buffalo, NY
Website

Build a strong background in information services with the Master of Science in Information and Library Science from the University at Buffalo. The degree meets the standards of the American Library Association through an in-depth curriculum that surveys the principles and practices of library management. Students will complete 36 credits delivered entirely online. Program coursework starts with a nine-credit core providing an overview of research methods, information life cycles, and information users and uses. Students may select from several concentrations within the degree, including Music Librarianship, Public Libraries, and Special Libraries. Information Organization, Information Services, Information Management, Information Storage and Retrieval, and Law Librarianship. Students interested in the Law Librarianship concentration may choose to join the Legal Information and Analysis degree program, which leads to both a Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Information Library Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,895

 

#6 – Rutgers University 

Master of Information

New Brunswick, NJ
Website

The innovative Master of Information from Rutgers University helps students build an understanding of information structures and organizations. Several concentrations are available within the degree program, including Data Science, Library and Information Science, Library Media, Archives & Preservation, Technology, and more. The flexibility of the program also allows students to collaborate with faculty advisors and design their own personalized academic pathways. Students earn 36 credits through 12 online courses. Full-time students typically graduate in 18 months, while students studying part-time can look forward to earning their degrees in two to three years. The program begins with students completing one foundational and one technology course in their first semester. Students will also complete an introduction to professions within information science and take part in a colloquium in library studies. The degree concludes with a professional capstone. Students in the School Library pathway will follow a specific course of study required for state certification. The program has been accredited by the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,295

 

#5 – University of Washington 

Master of Library and Information Science

Seattle, WA
Website

The University of Washington's online Master of Library and Information Science is a convenient way to advance your career prospects in the information services field. Students complete the degree in three years through a part-time course of study that includes six to eight credits per quarter. Enrollment in additional credits is encouraged where students' schedules allow. The program includes a three-day mandatory on-campus orientation session. Students will meet their online cohort members and interact with faculty members, in addition to engaging with support services offered by the university's iSchool. Following the orientation, all coursework can be completed asynchronously, giving students maximum flexibility. Students will complete a total of 63 quarter credits, earned through core coursework, electives, and a final degree project. Required classes include Information Services and Collections, Management of Information Organizations, and a two-part capstone. The university also offers a residential graduate degree program at its Seattle campus. Online students are encouraged, when possible, to enroll in electives offered on campus to take advantage of networking and collaboration opportunities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,765

 

#4 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Master of Science in Library and Information Science

Champaign, IL
Website

Take advantage of a stimulating and rewarding degree program with the Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students can pursue a number of careers through the various degree pathways offered by the university. The program offers pathways in Archival and Special Collections, Data Management, Information Organization and Management, Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence, Research Services, and Youth and School Librarianship. All students will complete two foundational courses in information organization and libraries & society. Students can add hands-on practical experience to their degree by participating in an optional practicum. Independent study and thesis options are also available for students looking to customize the degree offering. Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree and a score from a graduate entrance examination. Students who already hold a master's degree or doctorate, or who earned a GPA higher than 3.0 in their undergraduate studies, are not required to submit test scores. With a long history, the degree program has been continuously accredited since 1926 by the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,829

 

#3 – University of Southern California 

Master of Management in Library and Information Science

Los Angeles, CA
Website

Pursue a leadership role in a range of information service careers through the Masters of Management in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern California. Housed within the university's Marshall School of Business, the unique degree offering combines structured management coursework with exposure to the principles of information studies. Online students have full access to the university's instructional services, including academic advising, student advising, and faculty mentorship. Students will earn 40 credits over the course of five semesters. Courses are completed in team-based cohorts, and all classes are delivered online with no requirement to visit campus. Students will complete 12 core courses with topics in library science, business fundamentals, research methods, management communication, and more. Students enrolled full-time can complete the program in around 20 months. The university offers a graduate certificate in Library and Information Management for candidates who already hold a master's degree in another field. The certificate program includes 16 credits and is conducted entirely online. Both the American Library Association and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business have accredited the degree and certificate programs. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $36,161

 

#2 – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies

Madison, WI
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Become an information asset in your community with the Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With five areas of emphasis, the degree program can prepare students for a wide variety of information-related degrees. Emphases include Librarianship, Archives in a Digital Age, Data/Information Management and Analytics, Organization of Information, and User Experience Design and Information Technologies. The online degree requires students to complete 39 credits, with at least 33 earned during residency at the university. The program also includes an interactive practicum component, giving students a way to gain hands-on professional training through 120 clock hours of field experience. Required coursework presents topics in information organization, search, and research for information professionals. Students will also take at least one management and one technology-focused course. A School Library Media program leading to state licensure in Wisconsin is also available to both experienced teachers and students seeking initial licensure, though some restrictions may apply.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,169

 

#1 – University of Maryland, College Park 

Master of Library and Information Science

College Park, MD
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With the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland, students will be equipped to fulfill leadership roles in information-focused organizations. Within the degree are several specialization areas, including Archives & Preservation, Digital Librarianship, Information Systems, School Library Media, and Services for Children and Youth. Students will earn 36 credit hours to complete the degree, with at least 24 credits completed in library science, information, or instructional courses. Core classes include Serving Information Needs, Achieving Organizational Excellence, and Creating Information Infrastructures. Students will also either take part in a field study experience or complete a graduate thesis. The thesis plan is designed for students looking to gain experience in research and academic writing. A total of nine credit hours are included in the thesis, and students can expect to exceed the 36 credit-hour minimum requirement. A unique dual degree offering that combines the MLIS with a Master of Arts in History is also available. Both degrees require 24 credit hours in each field unless the student chooses an intense specialization within the MLIS, such as School Library Media. The degree program is accredited by the American Library Association.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,790