Most Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

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Written by: Reese Lopez
Published: September 9, 2020

Librarians manage and organize information of all types, making resources easily accessible to the general public or other specialized audiences. A career in library science offers unique opportunities in various job environments, such as colleges, public libraries, cultural institutions, and government agencies. A master's degree typically serves as the minimum education requirement for most librarian careers. Earning a library science degree online gives students the flexibility to pursue this challenging field from the comfort of home.

This page offers an overview of master's in library science online programs, including typical courses, career options, salary potential, and scholarships for library science majors.


What Are the Goals of a Master's Degree in Library Science?


At its core, library science focuses on the theories and practices of information management, including the best strategies for collecting, retrieving, and distributing information of all types. Technology has transformed the librarianship field, and today's librarians must know how to use technology tools to manage information and assist library patrons.

Library science programs focus on best practices for gathering and organizing information while also examining the social and cultural role of both libraries and information in general. A master's program builds high-level skills in areas such as research, collections management, library administration, and information evaluation. Earning a master's prepares candidates to pursue most of the field's common careers.


Why Get a Degree in Library Science?


Earning a master's in library science online offers many professional and personal benefits. Read on for five of the most common reasons students pursue this advanced degree.

  • Career Advancement: A master's serves as the minimum education requirement for many librarian positions. The degree can help students pursue a wider variety of careers.

  • Increased Salary Potential: Along with career opportunities, master's degree-holders also benefit from generally higher salaries.

  • Wider Professional Network: Attending a graduate program enables students to form valuable connections with both peers and faculty, which can lead to professional opportunities after graduation.

  • Specialized Skills and Knowledge: A master's in library science online program builds high-level expertise in information management concepts and practices, giving students an advanced understanding of the field.

  • Personal Growth: Many students also pursue a master's degree for personal satisfaction and accomplishment. The rigor of a graduate program often appeals to lifelong learners who appreciate a challenge.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Library Science


When researching master's in library science online degrees, students should always confirm regional accreditation. Indicating academic and professional reputability, accreditation helps schools maintain compliance with national education standards and ensures that students receive a quality education.

Any legitimate college should hold either national accreditation, which primarily serves trade schools, or regional accreditation, which serves traditional four-year schools. Only regionally accredited colleges offer library science programs due to the degree's high level of specialization.

Some library science programs also hold programmatic accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). Learners can consider programs that lack ALA accreditation reputable as long as regionally accredited colleges offer them. 

Prospective students can consult the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's list of regional accrediting organizations for information on the six major regional accreditation agencies. Any college that lacks institutional accreditation from one of these six agencies should not be considered reputable or worthy of further research.


How Much Do Library Science Majors Make?


Library science graduates can pursue a variety of careers, most commonly in fields such as librarianship, archiving, and education. Given the prevalence and necessity of information in many professional fields, librarians may work in a variety of environments, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, and public libraries.

Librarian salaries vary widely based on industry. For example, librarians who work at colleges and universities earn an annual median wage of $64,130, while those who work in local government earn an annual median wage of $53,060, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Librarians may also be able to earn specialized certifications, enabling them to command higher salaries.

Librarians often work in public schools, and some may also pursue careers in higher education teaching library and information science courses. While most teaching positions at four-year colleges call for candidates to hold a Ph.D., master's degree-holders can often teach at community colleges.


FAQ


1. How long does it take to get a master's in library science?
Most master's in library science programs take 1-2 years to complete. However, precise completion time varies among programs and may depend on students' course load.

2. Is a master's in library science hard?
A master's in library science requires significant coursework and mastery of high-level information science concepts. Most programs also require candidates to complete an extensive final project.

3. Do you need a master's degree to be a librarian?
Most professional librarian positions require a master's degree. Some specialized positions, such as law librarian or research librarian, may require additional education beyond the master's level.

4. How much can you make with a master's in library science?
As with any field, librarian salary levels vary depending on location, experience level, and industry. However, the BLS reports that librarians earned an annual median wage of $59,050 in 2018.


Master's Degree Courses in Library Science


Librarians must perform a variety of roles, taking responsibility for the acquisition and organization of information along with the cultural implications of its distribution. Accordingly, library science master's programs focus on both the logistical processes of information management and the social and community role of libraries. Students must often showcase their mastery of these skills through a graduate thesis or practicum, which may require significant research into a contemporary issue affecting libraries.

The following list highlights five common courses found in MLS online programs. While specific course content and titles may vary among colleges, these courses represent key concepts and skills featured in all library science programs.

Information Organization

One of the guiding principles of library science, information organization explores the practices and theories librarians use to organize and process information resources. This course typically focuses on the tools and systems of information organization for print and electronic sources, such as classification, cataloging, subject headings, and indexing.

Technology for Library Services

Technology tools have affected the collection, storage, and retrieval of information dramatically, and modern librarians need to understand the latest technology tools. This course highlights common resources and technology issues for librarians, exploring the impact of new technologies on information-seeking behaviors.

Collection Development and Management

This course focuses on concepts and strategies for developing library collections, highlighting common policies, tools, and evaluative processes. Many courses also highlight the various external factors that affect how libraries collect, catalog, and distribute information, including copyright law, intellectual freedom, censorship, and community analysis.

Critical Issues in Media and Literature

Most programs, particularly those with a focus on public or school librarianship, include a course that emphasizes contemporary issues facing librarians, including social justice, age appropriateness, and ethic and diversity issues. This course takes a more theoretical approach to information management, examining the social issues that naturally arise from the collection and distribution of different types of media and information.

Internship/Practicum

Most library science programs include an experiential component, most commonly in the form of an internship or practicum, that enables students to gain hands-on experience in a professional information science environment. These courses may require students to apply their learning to a contemporary issue in information management.


How to Become a Librarian


Most librarian jobs call for a master's degree in library science, which typically serves as the minimum level of education for the field. Students can enter an online master of library science program with any type of undergraduate degree. These programs usually take 1-2 years to complete. 

Librarians who plan to work in public schools may need to obtain teacher certification. Some states require them to pass a standardized subject test, such as the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist exam. Some states may also require certification to work at public libraries, though this varies by location.


Career and Salary Outlook for Library Science Majors


Graduates of master's in library science online programs can pursue many employment options in various professional environments, including libraries, schools, and government agencies. A master's degree typically meets the education requirements for most librarian careers, though some highly specialized positions may call for a doctorate. This list highlights four popular career paths for library science graduates, along with a general description of their duties.

  • Librarian: Librarians manage information resources and help people find information for personal and professional uses. They often take responsibility for maintaining existing library collections and acquiring new media. Librarians may work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, K-12 schools, colleges, law libraries, or medical libraries.
    Median Annual Salary: $59,500
    Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 5%

  • Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher: These specialized teachers instruct learners in basic skills, including speaking English, reading, and writing. They may also help students prepare for their high school equivalency diploma exam. Teachers must plan and teach lessons, develop curriculum, and adapt their teaching methods to best serve students.
    Median Annual Salary: $54,350
    Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): -10%

  • Postsecondary Teacher: Postsecondary teachers instruct students at the college level, covering more advanced subjects than high school teachers. Library science graduates may be able to teach library science courses at four-year colleges, but most full-time teaching positions call for a doctorate. However, graduates of MLS online programs are qualified to teach at community colleges.
    Median Annual Salary: $79,540
    Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 9%

  • Archivist, Curator, and Museum Worker: Library science graduates may also find careers as archivists or curators, maintaining collections for institutions such as historical sites, museums, government agencies, and colleges. Like librarians, archivists acquire and organize information, but they may focus on historical records or documents with a more specialized audience.
    Median Annual Salary: $49,850
    Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 11%

Source: BLS


Scholarships for Master's in Library Science


Library science students can explore many options to finance their education, including scholarships. Some scholarships serve library science majors in general, while others may serve those from a specific background or focused on a specific field. This list highlights five popular library science scholarships along with their general eligibility requirements.

Gerald Ham and Elise Ham Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Graduate students pursuing approved programs in archival education may apply. Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, official transcripts, one recommendation letter, and an analytic or interpretive essay demonstrating their capacity to think like an archivist.
Amount: $10,000

American Library Association Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Library science students enrolled in an ALA-accredited program may apply for these scholarships. The ALA considers factors including academic excellence, leadership, and commitment to a career in librarianship. Applicants must not have completed more than 12 credits toward their master's prior to the award year.
Amount: $3,000-$5,000

Sarah Rebecca Reed Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Any student enrolled in an ALA-accredited library/information studies program may apply. Applicants must submit a one-page autobiography, transcripts, three recommendation letters, and resume. Applicants must have completed no more than 12 credits prior to the scholarship deadline.
Amount: $2,250

American Association of Law Libraries Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Current library science students planning to pursue a career specifically in law librarianship may apply. Students can apply for several scholarships with varying criteria and award amounts, but all scholarships serve either practicing or aspiring law librarians.
Amount: Varies

Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in any program that prepares them for a career in information and records management may apply. Applicants must submit transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a short essay describing how their education will benefit their information management career.
Amount: $2,000


Ranking Methodology


The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees do not make recommendations based upon preference — we back our rankings with stats. Keep reading for a 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 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 tuition and fees, the average price of living, access to financial aid and social services, and 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 a program's overall exclusivity. The final 25% of collected data depends 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 possible. Review our methodology page for more information and resource links.


30 Most Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degrees


1. Marshall University

MU is a public research university that offers several online graduate programs, including a master of education with a school library media specialist emphasis. MU's school library media specialist program prepares students to become school librarians who manage library media centers and foster information literacy among students.

Learners must complete 21 credits in the school library certification program, 15 credits of core education courses, and a three-hour clinical experience. The clinical experience allows students to gain hands-on library practice at elementary, middle, and secondary school levels. Students must also pass Library Media Specialist Praxis II Exam to obtain a K-12 certification.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and a minimum 2.5 GPA — or a master's degree and licensure as a general education teacher.

Marshall University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



2. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

IUPUI offers an online master of library and information science (MLIS) with several specialization options, including academic librarianship, archives management, and digital curation. In this master's in library science online program, students learn to preserve and organize information, manage physical and digital collections, and assist students and researchers. Learners can earn this degree entirely online. Graduates qualify for jobs as information services librarians, library media specialists, and library technicians.

The program requires 39 credits that learners can complete in 1-2 years. Foundation courses cover topics such as information sources and services, acquisitions and management of information, and library management. Students take courses in their chosen specialization, which can include an internship, library information workshops, and a submission of an e-portfolio to their advisor.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



3. Northeastern State University

NSU offers a master of science in library media and information technology that prepares students for careers as school librarians. Degree-seekers learn to leverage information and resources to support a school's curriculum and foster student learning. NSU offers the degree entirely online, but students can choose a blended format that includes monthly in-person evening courses. 

The MS in library media and information technology requires 33 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Courses cover educational research, school library administration, collection development and management of school libraries, and school library leadership and advocacy. As a capstone, students must also complete a project under the supervision of a certified school librarian.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a score above the 25th percentile on the GRE/MAT.

Northeastern State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The library media and information technology program is accredited by the American Association of School Librarians.



4. Texas Woman's University

TWU offers an online master of library science that prepares students to work in a variety of different libraries and information environments. Degree-seekers can also obtain a school librarian certification that prepares them to work in libraries at K-12 schools.

The MLS degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Courses include collection development, information organization, information retrieval, information sources and services, and library management. Students must also complete 120 hours of supervised work experience. MLS students seeking school librarian certification must complete 160 hours. The degree culminates in a comprehensive final exam.

Applicants must submit an application form, resume, statement of intent, and three recommendation letters.

Texas Woman's University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



5. University of Washington

UW offers a master of library and information science (MLIS) that gives students the practical skills to enter a knowledge-intensive industry. Graduates work as librarians, metadata specialists, web content managers, and information architects. The MLIS program is available in both residential and online formats. UW also offers a law librarianship program and a school library media endorsement program.

The online MLIS degree requires 63 quarter credits. UW delivers courses asynchronously. Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students applying to the law librarianship program also need a JD from a law school in the U.S. UW does not require GRE scores; however, the school will consider GRE scores for students with a GPA lower than 3.0.

The University of Washington is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.



6. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

UNCG offers an online master of library and information science (MLIS) that gives students skills in archival management, information architecture, and information resources management. The university also offers an MLIS with school library licensure and an MLIS with instructional technology licensure. Courses run entirely online in a primarily synchronous format.

The MLIS degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Core courses include information sources and services, information organization and access, and library administration and management. Students also complete a technology requirement, 18 credits in electives, and a capstone.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and must submit a personal statement and three references.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.



7. University of South Florida

USF offers an online master of arts in library and information science that prepares students for careers and leadership positions in library and information professions. This program runs entirely online. Graduates work in libraries, businesses, and other information-rich environments.

The MA in LIS degree requires 39 credits, including 18 credits of core courses, three technology elective credits, 18 elective credits, and a comprehensive exam or portfolio. Courses include collections development and maintenance, organization of knowledge, and microcomputer applications library and information centers. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Admission requirements include a preferred minimum GRE verbal score of 156 and quantitative score of 141. USF waives the GRE requirement for students with a 3.25 or higher GPA in upper-division undergraduate work, a 3.5 or higher in a master's program, or a doctorate.

University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



8. Appalachian State University

Appalachian offers an online master of library science that prepares students for careers as information professionals in schools or rural libraries. This program runs fully online and blends both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Learners can pursue a dual master's degree with the master of arts in educational media.

The program requires 36 credits and takes two years to complete. Courses include organization of information, strategic administration of library resources, technology and libraries, and integrating literature and media into instruction. Students must also complete an internship or practicum in an approved library where 45 hours in the field equals one credit. This degree does not require a thesis.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and competitive GRE or MAT scores.

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLS program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and recognized by the American Association of School Librarians.



9. University of Houston – Clear Lake

UHCL offers a master of science in school library and information science for students who want to work in school libraries at K-12 schools. This program meets the recommended requirements for the Texas school librarian certification.

The MS in school library and information science degree requires 33 credits and takes 18 months to complete. Core courses include selecting literature and materials for young adults, librarians as instructional partners, and administration of school library services. Students must also complete a librarian-supervised practicum at an approved school.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a valid teaching license. UHCL does not require GRE scores for students who meet the minimum GPA requirement. Students with a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 must submit GRE scores.

University of Houston – Clear Lake is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MS in school library and information science program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.



10. Chicago State University

CSU offers a master of science in library and information science that prepares students for careers as librarians, archivists, and other information professionals at colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and public or private institutions. Students can choose to specialize in one of the following areas: school libraries, archives and records management, academic libraries, or public libraries. Most courses run online or in a blended learning format.

The MS in library and information science degree takes 2-3 years to complete. Foundation courses include management and organization of libraries, database design for information storage and retrieval, and a field practicum. Students must also complete a capstone or thesis. On average, program graduates find employment within 12 months of graduation.

Chicago State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MS in library and information science program is accredited by the American Library Association.



11. University of Nebraska at Omaha

UNO offers a master of science in elementary education with an emphasis in school libraries designed for students aspiring to direct or manage a K-12 library. The degree runs online and combines graduate courses in education with literacy, technology, and library courses. Online students have access to the same faculty, courses, and resources as on-campus students.

Degree-seekers must complete 36 credits, including courses in children's literature and education, contemporary issues in education, school curriculum planning, cataloguing and classification, and managing collections in libraries. Students gain competencies in public services, technical services, and leadership and management of school library media programs.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a valid teaching certificate.

University of Nebraska at Omaha is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



12. Texas A&M University – Commerce

Texas A&M University – Commerce offers a master of science and master of education degree in educational technology library science that accommodates current educators and working professionals. This program runs fully online with no face-to-face components. Degree-seekers develop a portfolio of technology-supported learning experiences and learn the principles of learner-centered librarianship.

This degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Students take courses in administration of school libraries, web technologies for instruction, collection development, and applying instructional media and technology.

Admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, a 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, or a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit all transcripts and proof of a valid Texas teacher or principal certificate.

Texas A&M University – Commerce is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.



13. Middle Tennessee State University

MTSU offers an online master of library science that prepares graduates for careers as librarians in school, public, or corporate libraries. MLS graduates may seek school licensure. All courses run online except for two field experience courses that learners complete at a local library.

This degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Students take courses in organization of information, school library management, and digital library collections. Degree-seekers must also complete six hours of field experience, a three-hour capstone, and compile an e-portfolio for two faculty members to assess.

Admission criteria include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants must also submit all previous transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a 500-word statement of purpose.

Middle Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.



14. Jacksonville State University

JSU offers a master of science in education in library media that leads to eligibility for teacher certification in library media. This program runs entirely online and requires 36 credits. Students typically take 1-2 years to earn the degree.

Learners who lack a background in education may need to take prerequisite courses, including a survey course in special education and an introduction to graduate education and technology. Library media courses cover learning through interactive technologies, technology in school environments, and management of media centers.

Degree-seekers also complete an internship in media services where they perform duties under supervision at a school library media center. Learners must complete the Praxis II exam prior to the internship. Students need two years of teaching experience in order to graduate.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, three recommendation letters, a copy of their professional educator certificate, and a resume or CV.

Jacksonville State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.



15. North Carolina Central University

NCCU offers a master of library science program that gives students a foundation in librarianship, information services, information systems, and research methods. Degree-seekers specialize in one of seven tracks, including academic librarian, archives and records manager, digital librarian, and law librarian. Courses run 100% online.

This degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Core courses cover selection and use of information sources, management and systems analysis, and research methods.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants must submit their transcripts, two recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, and a resume or CV. NCCU does not require and will not consider GRE scores.

North Carolina Central University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



16. Western Kentucky University

WKU offers an online master of science in libraries, informatics, and technology in education (LITE) that prepares graduates for careers as library media specialists, educational technology specialists, and information service specialists in school, public, and academic libraries. Graduates qualify to seek teacher certification in school library media or educational technology.

This degree requires 30 credits and takes one year to complete. Students may transfer up to nine credits of graduate coursework with an advisor's approval. Graduates seeking certification in Kentucky must pass the PRAXIS II library media specialist exam. Students seeking certification outside Kentucky should determine certification requirements in their state.

Admission criteria include a minimum 2.75 GPA in the last 30 hours of coursework or a master's degree. Applicants must submit a letter of application, a resume, two recommendation letters, and a writing sample.

Western Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The LITE program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.



17. Sam Houston State University

SHSU offers an online master of library science that prepares graduates to become effective PK-12 school librarians. Graduates with a valid teaching license and two years of teaching experience qualify to pursue school librarian certification in Texas. Students seeking certification outside of Texas should confirm that this program meets the certification requirements in their state.

The degree requires 36 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Courses cover collection development, information services and resources, school library administration, and literature for young adults. Students must also complete an electronic portfolio throughout the program, which assesses competency in lieu of a comprehensive exam.

Admission criteria include a bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and a valid teaching certificate. SHSU prefers some teaching experience. Candidates must also submit a writing sample and pass the interview process. 

Sam Houston State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.



18. University of Central Missouri

UCM offers a master of science in library science and information services that prepares students to become school librarians in elementary, middle, or high schools. This program runs asynchronously and fully online to accommodate working professionals and teachers. 

The MS in library science and information services emphasizes hands-on education and experiential learning. Coursework includes research problems, foundations of librarianship, and a practicum in school libraries. Students can complete a practicum at the school where they teach or at a local school library if they do not work at a school. In the final research problems course, degree-seekers complete an action research project in an area of library science that interests them.

Admission requires a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA and a personal interview. 

University of Central Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The library science program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.



19. University of North Texas

UNT offers an online master of science in library science for aspiring information professionals who want to work in libraries, corporations, law firms, museums, and medical centers. Students can choose from seven concentrations, including archival studies and imaging technology, information organization, and youth librarianship. This program runs entirely online.

Students complete 36 credits of coursework, an electronic portfolio, and field experience with six months of work in a paid position or a 120-hour practicum in a library. Graduates qualify to pursue school librarianship certification in Texas.

Applicants must submit an application, resume, statement of purpose, and two recommendation letters. Admission criteria to the Toulouse Graduate School include a minimum 3.5 GPA.

University of North Texas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MS in library science program is accredited by the American Library Association.



20. University of South Alabama

USA offers a master of education in education media with a certificate in library media that prepares students to serve as school library media specialists in K-12 educational settings. This program runs entirely online. Graduates may qualify to pursue a professional educator certificate in library media specialist if they meet state certification requirements.

The degree requires 30 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. Students take courses in microcomputing systems in education, information literacy, and media center management. Learners must accumulate 300 contact hours over three internships, 150 of which must be completed in a school library media center.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 2.5 GPA, a professional educator certificate, and a minimum of two years of teaching experience.

University of South Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.



21. Emporia State University

ESU offers an online master of library science designed for non-traditional students aspiring to become librarians. While the program does not run fully online, ESU delivers most courses online with only two face-to-face weekend intensive sessions over the semester. Some courses are available fully online with no face-to-face sessions. Most students study on campus 4-6 weekends each semester to accommodate work schedules.

The degree requires 36 credits and takes 16 months to complete. Core courses cover information-seeking behavior and reference services, research in library and information sciences, and collection development. Students can choose from concentrations in archive studies, informatics, leadership and administration, and youth services. The program follows a cohort system so students progress through their courses together.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA.

Emporia State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MLS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



22. Valdosta State University

VSU offers an online master of library and information science that trains librarians for positions in academic, public, and school libraries. Learners can complete this non-thesis degree entirely online. Graduates work as archivists, children's librarians, library administrators, and instructional librarians.

The MLIS curriculum consists of 39 credits of coursework and a capstone. Core courses cover information sources and services, organization of information, and collection development. Students can specialize in various tracks, including library management, reference sources and services, technology, and youth services librarianship. Degree-seekers must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit two application essays, a resume, and three recommendations.

Valdosta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA.

Emporia State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MLS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



23. East Carolina University

ECU offers an online master of library science with concentrations in academic, school, and public libraries. The program runs entirely online with asynchronous courses to accommodate working students. Graduates qualify for North Carolina public library certification upon degree completion.

The MLS degree requires 39 credits and takes 5-7 terms to complete. Courses include academic libraries, information literacy and library instruction, materials for young adults, and library advocacy. During the first summer session, this program offers study-abroad courses that examine libraries in other countries. Students complete a portfolio as the culminating capstone project.

Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA. ECU makes admission decisions based on a holistic evaluation of an applicant's transcripts, statement of purpose, and recommendation letters. 

East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLS program is accredited by the American Library Association.



24. University of Wisconsin – Madison

UW offers an online master of science degree in library and information studies that prepares graduates for information professions such as librarianship, digital archives, information management and analytics, organization of information, and user experience design and information technologies. Learners can pursue several optional specializations that require coursework from other departments, including a certificate in leadership and the school library media specialist license.

The degree requires 39 credits and takes two years for full-time students and 3-4 years for part-time learners. Courses include research and assessment for information professionals, the public library, and digital curation and collections. Students also complete a 120-hour practicum and a portfolio.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. UW does not require GRE scores.

University of Wisconsin – Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



25. University of Southern Mississippi

USM offers an online master of library and information science for aspiring librarians. The university also offers an archives and special collections graduate certificate and a dual master's program leading to an MLIS and an MS in instructional technology, history, anthropology, or political science. Students may also pursue the school library media specialist licensure track.

The MLIS degree requires 40 credits and takes two years to finish. Learners complete required courses in areas such as library information science, cataloging and classification, and library management. The curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam and a master's project.

Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, a resume, and GRE scores. The graduate school waives standardized test requirements for the spring, summer, and fall 2021 terms.

The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association.