2007-2008 Directory of Institutions Offering
Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies
This directory offers summary information only. Please consult the school directly for in-depth information regarding programs, course offerings, distance education programs, admissions, financial aid, and degrees.
Last updated October 15, 2007
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This directory provides information about library and information studies programs that are accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA Office for Accreditation publishes the directory annually and provides the opportunity for programs to update their entries online when information changes.
Each entry includes contact information, the name of the accredited program, date through which it is accredited, and distance education opportunities. If you have any questions about a program, please contact the program directly. ALA accredits master's programs in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico only.
Programs are listed alphabetically by the state or province in which the primary campus is located. There is an index by institution at the end of the directory.
Some entries have a notation of (Conditional) next to them. This indicates conditional accreditation—a status assigned to a program that must make changes to comply with the 1992 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies to enable accreditation beyond the date specified by the Committee on Accreditation (COA). Please note that these programs are fully accredited under the Standards.
The directory includes LIS distance education offerings available at each program. Programs may offer distance education through traditional extension programs with faculty on-site or through interactive video, the Internet, or other technologies. Prospective students should verify with the program the extent to which a full master's program can be completed off-site. Distance education offerings change frequently, so prospective students should inquire with the program for the most current information.
“Guidelines for Choosing a Master's Program in Library and Information Studies” is designed to help prospective students select a program. For more detailed information, prospective students should visit the website and request catalogs and applications from programs in which they are interested.
Prospective students should consider several factors when choosing a graduate program for a master’s degree in library and information studies. These include both personal and professional considerations such as career plans, interest in various specializations, geographic mobility, distance learning opportunities, and financial resources. These guidelines suggest some information-gathering techniques to assist prospective students in choosing a program.
The master’s degree in library and information studies is frequently referred to as the MLS; however, ALA-accredited programs offer degrees with names such as Master of Arts, Master of Librarianship, Master of Library and Information Studies, or Master of Science. The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-545-2433, Ext. 4282) offers information on careers in library and information studies and on selecting an ALA-accredited program.
Graduating from an ALA-accredited program enhances your career mobility and provides greater flexibility in the types of libraries, information centers, and jobs for which you can apply. The majority of employers require an ALA-accredited master’s for professional positions. Some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries.
ALA accredits master’s programs in library and information studies in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. ALA policy recognizes the ALA-accredited master’s degree as the appropriate professional degree for librarians and information professionals. For school library media specialists, a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is also appropriate. ALA’s policy states that that "[T]he master's degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master's degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education is the appropriate first professional degree." (ALA Policy 54.2.2)
ALA accreditation indicates that the program has undergone a self-evaluation process, has been reviewed by peers, and meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies that were established by the Committee on Accreditation and adopted by the ALA Council in 1992. The Committee on Accreditation evaluates each program for conformity to the Standards, which address mission, goals and objectives, curriculum, faculty, students, administration and financial support, and physical resources and facilities.
Gathering Basic Information
Although all programs accredited by ALA’s COA meet the Standards, there is a considerable diversity among programs. We encourage prospective students to contact programs directly for specific information. To help in your decision we suggest that you review the program’s web site; talk to the faculty, students, and alumni; and ask librarians in your area to answer questions about your specific interests and concerns.
To get the latest information about the programs in which you are interested, visit the program’s web site or request a print catalog. These resources provide information on the program’s mission, goals and objectives, curriculum, current and future course schedules, application deadlines, and admission requirements and procedures.
Visiting the schools you are considering can help you select the program that best meets your goals. While you are on-site, investigate university facilities such as computer and library resources. The general campus environment, availability of affordable on-campus housing or housing near the university, child care facilities, and extra-curricular activities may be important to some prospective students. If you notify a program of your intention to visit, meetings can be arranged with administrators, faculty members, and/or students.
The ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment web site (www.ala.org/hrdr) also provides links to many resources to help you obtain information when selecting a program. At this site you will find information on scholarships, placement, salaries, and general career information.
Individual institutions and programs establish their own admission requirements, which vary from program to program. Generally, programs require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent, e.g., B average). Many programs require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores; a few accept the Miller Analogies Test or have no test requirements. Students from outside the United States may be required to take The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Most programs request that students provide several letters of recommendation and a statement of educational and professional objectives. Some programs may also require a personal interview. Entering students may be required to demonstrate computer skills or successful completion of remedial computer courses early in the program.
Considerable variation exists in curricula offered by the programs, such as the number and types of required courses. The number of academic credit hours required for a master’s degree also varies from 36 semester hours to 72 quarter hours. Some programs emphasize full-time studies, while others have a larger percentage of part-time students; however, most have a time limit for completing a degree.
Many programs can be completed in one calendar year with full-time attendance; some require two academic years to complete the program. Programs requiring a thesis or practicum may require more time to complete.
Choosing a Specialization
Some students enter a master’s program knowing what they want to do when they graduate, some have not made a decision, and some see their interests shift once they are exposed to the wide variety of types and settings in which librarians and information professionals work. Plan a program of study based on an assessment of your past experiences, education, personal strengths and interests, geographic mobility, intended career path, and future plans. Although you should be aware of job market opportunities, you should not necessarily let them dictate your choice to specialize. Faculty advisors can help in the process of developing a program of study that fits your needs.
All ALA-accredited programs require courses that provide general preparation to practice in the profession. Some programs also offer specialized tracks or courses that permit or encourage concentration in a specific area of library and information studies (for example, school librarianship, art librarianship, health science librarianship, database design, or archives). The opportunity to specialize depends on the availability of relevant courses, on focused class project/paper opportunities, and the availability of practica or student employment options.
Flexibility and Distance Learning
Flexibility in fulfilling course requirements may be important to students who work or live away from a campus or in an area that does not have an ALA-accredited program. Most programs allow students to take independent studies, courses in other schools, graduate departments, or universities and apply the credits towards the master’s in library and information studies.
Many ALA-accredited programs provide distance-learning opportunities for students through a variety of delivery methods. In some cases students can complete the entire program at a distance; in other cases some on-campus courses or regional residency may be required. Because these offerings change very frequently, prospective students should contact the program directly for the latest information on distance learning options.
Financial aid can consist of scholarships, teaching or research assistantships, grants, work-study programs, loans, and tuition assistance. The program administers some financial aid opportunities while others are administered through the general university financial aid office. There may be reciprocal tuition agreements between states that can reduce tuition or provide tuition waivers. In addition, some employers provide tuition assistance as a fringe benefit to employees.
Prospective students should contact the institution and program to obtain information on financial aid and scholarships. In addition to work-study, other part-time positions may be available at local area libraries or information settings. Work in an information setting not only helps finance your education—it also provides valuable experience.
Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies, an annual compilation available from the ALA Committee on Education, provides listings of financial aid from a variety of sources. In Canada, prospective students should also contact the Canadian Library Association (www.cla.ca).
Scholarship application deadlines vary and may be as early as a year in advance of the term of enrollment.
Most programs offer some type of job placement service for both current students and alumni. Some have a designated placement officer, while others use faculty for job search advising. Most programs receive job listings from around the country, although some programs may be better able to help graduates find jobs in the local area. You may wish to inquire to the program about placement statistics to learn about the types of jobs obtained by recent graduates. The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment web site (www.ala.org/hrdr) also provides information on placement, salaries, and general career information.
The job market for library and information professionals is cyclical and varies by type of institution, job function, and geographical area. The availability of positions may be dependent on available funding resources and replacement needs. Many graduates also find positions in settings other than traditional libraries; these may include special libraries, software or hardware development companies, information management firms, indexing and abstracting agencies, and information technology firms.
Sources of Further Information
American Association of School Librarians. ALA and AASL: Assuring Quality in School Library Media Education Programs. Includes the ALA/AASL Standards For Initial Programs for School Library Media Specialist Preparation and a list of National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)-accredited and AASL-recognized school library media education programs. Can be found online at http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aasleducation/schoollibrarymed/schoollibrary.htm .
American Library Association. Office for Accreditation. Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library & Information Studies, Chicago, 1992. Adopted by the Council of the American Library Association on January 28, 1992. Effective January 1, 1993. Presents the standards to which ALA-accredited LIS programs must adhere. Can be found online at www.ala.org/accreditation.
American Library Association. Office for Accreditation. Accreditation Process Policies and Procedures. Chicago, 2nd ed., 2006. Effective December 1, 2006.
The accreditation manual for the ALA Committee on Accreditation. Can be found online at www.ala.org/accreditation.
American Library Association. Committee on Education. Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies. Chicago.
Annual directory of scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships available from schools, national and state library associations, state library agencies and other groups. Published usually in late fall listing aid for following academic year. ALA Committee on Education, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4277. Can be found online at www.ala.org/scholarships.
American Library Association. Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. Guide to Employment Sources in the Library and Information Professions. Chicago.
Annual listing of national and state associations, schools, and other agencies that provide placement services and/or job position vacancy notices for library and information jobs. Available from the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment or in the Bowker Annual: Library and Book Trade Almanac (New Providence, New Jersey: Bowker), which is available in most library reference collections. Can also be found online at www.ala.org/hrdr.
American Library Association. Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. Career packet. Chicago.
Variety of materials on library and information careers and education. Includes a list of other associations providing career information on various specializations in library and information work.
Association for Library and Information Science Education. Library and Information Science Education Statistical Report. Chicago, IL.
Annual report providing information on faculty, students, curriculum, revenues and expenditures, and continuing education on individual programs and composite data. Can ordered online at www.alise.org.
“Placements and Salaries.” Library Journal. New York: Reed Business Information .
Annual compilation of new MLS graduates’ employment sites and salary data. Published in the fall with information on previous year’s graduates. Journal is found in most local libraries. Current reprint also available from ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment at 800-545-2433, Ext. 4277.