Master’s of Library and Information Studies

The MLIS degree program requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit. Students must complete all work with a grade average of “B” or better. There is a thesis and a non-thesis option for the degree.

All MLIS students who enroll in Fall 2019 or later must complete, as part of the minimum 36 hours, the following 9 hours of required courses in the first two semesters of enrollment.

  • LS 500 Information and Media
  • LS 501 Information in Communities
  • LS 513 Professional Paths

All MLIS students enrolled prior to Fall 2019 must complete, as part of the minimum 36 hours, the following 18 hours of required courses:

  • LS 500 Organization of Information
  • LS 501 Introduction to Library and Information Studies
  • LS 502 Research Methods
  • LS 507 Information Sources and Services
  • LS 560 Information Technologies

All MLIS students enrolled prior to Fall 2019 also must take one of the following courses to fulfill the required management component. Those courses include:

  • LS 508 Administration and Management
  • LS 530 Public Libraries
  • LS 531 Academic Libraries
  • LS 532 School Media Centers
  • LS 533 Special Libraries and Information Centers

Areas of Emphasis

Click the links below for details on our suggested areas of emphasis:

Academic Libraries

>> Learn to serve the needs of institutions of higher learning.

Digital Stewardship

>> Study the management of digital resources over time

Public Libraries

>> Work with public libraries and their constituents

Special Libraries

>> Study management of non-traditional library settings

Social Justice

>> Study social responsibility and diversity in practice

Youth Service

>> Serve children and young adults in a public library setting


Archival Studies

>> Understand the theory, art, and practice that informs archival work

School Libraries

>> Learn to manage school library media centers

Note: Areas of emphasis are not the same as approved specializations or certifications. These are areas to assist prospective and current students constructing their program of study in conjunction with their assigned academic advisor. Additional elective courses are offered by SLIS. Student should work with their advisor to decide if these courses are applicable to their program of study.  Archival Studies and School Libraries are specializations with their own required coursework. The other emphasis areas recommend courses that can be taken by students interested in a particular focus or type of library/information setting.

Thesis Option

Candidates for the master’s degree under the thesis plan must earn a minimum of thirty-six hours of credit, including fifteen hours of required courses, a three-hour required management and administration course, and six hours of thesis credit (LS 599); no more than six hours of thesis credit may be counted toward the degree.

Intent to elect the thesis option must be formally declared within the first nine hours of enrollment in graduate LIS courses. The declaration of intent must indicate the subject area of the research and the faculty member who has agreed to direct the thesis.

The student must identify a three-person thesis committee, to consist of at least two full-time SLIS faculty members, at least one of whom must be must be a full member of the graduate faculty; a third committee member may be a faculty member from another department of the University, a faculty member from another institution, or a well-qualified practitioner. All committee members must hold appropriate Graduate Faculty status.

The student must obtain committee approval for a prospectus for the thesis project prior to enrolling in thesis credit; a formal defense of the prospectus will constitute the final examination for the MLIS degree.

The student must complete and successfully defend a thesis that meets the requirements established by the Graduate School. The thesis defense shall be made orally before the student’s thesis committee and will be open to the public.

Intent to Declare Thesis

Transfer Credit

Graduate credit may be transferred from another university or may be elected from the offerings of other departments. No more than 9 hours of credit can be applied toward the MLIS for graduate courses taken outside SLIS, directed research courses, and internships. These hours may be combined as follows:

  • Six hours of approved credit for graduate work taken outside SLIS and 3 hours of credit for a directed research course or internship; or:
  • Six hours of credit for any combination of directed research courses and internships and 3 hours of approved credit for graduate work taken outside SLIS.


Advising Resources and Information