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Master of Library and Information Science

The role of information professionals has changed dramatically as the volume of available information has increased and technology for information creation, storage, search and retrieval has advanced. The ability to manage the growing array of information tools has led to new opportunities for those who want to work in the information field, a discipline which bridges the management of both traditional and emerging information sources. The MLIS program, which is accredited by the ALA through 2020, is designed to anticipate changes in the information environment and to educate the next generation of creative and entrepreneurial information professionals who can serve in a wide variety of capacities and in various settings.

Information professionals are the human element that connects people, information, and technology.  The MLIS degree program provides a strong grounding in the skills, knowledge, and ethical practices of the information professions to prepare graduates to serve as critically reflective and actively engaged experts in the broader role of information in culture and society.  We encourage the development of creativity, professionalism, and a proactive attitude to meet the needs of various clienteles. Our graduates have careers not only in the library, archive and museum settings, but in government, corporate, non-profit, and entrepreneurial environments as well.  The MLIS program will prepare a diverse population of graduate students to make a difference in their communities through a rewarding and forward-thinking career path.

Degree Requirements

The MLIS degree is a 36-credit program that can be completed in three consecutive terms of full-time study or up to four years (twelve terms) of part-time study.

There is a series of mandatory core courses — the remaining courses are tailored to your career goals or chosen area of interest. It is important to plan carefully, in consultation with your faculty advisor, to make the best use of the educational opportunities available at the School of Computing and Information.

You will take the six required courses* for the MLIS degree:

  • LIS 2020 Lifecycles of Data and Information (to be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2030 Data and Information in Systems (to be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2040 The Information Professional in the Community (to be taken in the third term)
  • The Design Methods Sequence to be taken in three consecutive terms (Fall, Spring, Summer):
    • LIS 2021 Identifying Information Needs of Knowledge Organizations
    • LIS 2022 Implementing Solutions for Knowledge Organizations
    • LIS 2023 Integrating Solutions for Knowledge Organizations

* you should work with your advisors to ensure that you are following the proper course of study.

Upon completion of the MLIS degree, you will incorporate the knowledge, skills, ethical foundations and social responsibilities of the information professions into professional practice. See our Goals for Graduates of the MLIS Program.

Design Methods Sequence

The Design Methods Sequence (DMS) is a required three‐course sequence of experiential learning for MLIS students, where they work in teams with a partner organization to solve real‐world problems. The DMS exposes students, both experientially and conceptually, to the mindset, values, and methods of Design Thinking as an approach to finding, understanding, and solving problems. Each term focuses on different stages of the design thinking process, beginning with Identifying, moving on to Implementing, and ending with Integrating. The sequence provides essential and valuable experience that future employers are looking for in our MLIS graduates.

Thematic Areas

Aside from the required core courses that you must take, there is flexibility to personalize a program of study that meets your particular area of interest. There are certain thematic areas for which faculty advisors may suggest appropriate courses. Samples of some of these potential thematic areas have been provided. It is not necessary to follow any one of these suggested clusters of courses.

Academic Information Services

The Academic Information Services thematic area is designed to provide you with the theoretical knowledge, contextual understanding, and practical skills to work effectively as a librarian or information professional in higher education. The courses in this area examine traditional and emerging practices in areas such as collection development, academic liaisonship, scholarly communication, information literacy, digital services, research data management, library design, and impact assessment.

Archives and Information Sciences

Courses in Archives and Information Sciences focus on the use, management, preservation and access to records and information. The authenticity and reliability of records are crucial to a wide-range of industries and disciplines and courses in Archives prepare professionals for dealing with complex information systems and infrastructures. In addition to covering traditional archival theory and practice, this area will address digital and data curation, preservation, policy development, records management, digital asset management, political economies, archival systems design, curriculum development, advocacy, collective memory and social justice issues within archives.

Children and Youth Services

We acknowledge the changing landscape of children’s and young adult librarianship. Without forgetting our important roots in children’s literature, our school is preparing information professionals who can reach out to the child of the 21st century. Several library organizations have determined the core set of skills for information professionals who will work with children or young adults. The Children and Youth Services thematic area will provide you with the mandated skills as well as the theoretical knowledge necessary for leadership in the library profession.

Information Technology

Librarians and archivists need to understand various information technologies in order to design, implement, and manage digital services. This thematic area will prepare information professionals to play creative roles by mastering an array of related concepts and technologies, including database design, information architecture, digital curation, and Web design.

Public Library Services

Public librarians work with a wide range of constituents, from those who are just learning to read to those who have a lifelong love of learning. They assists children, adults, corporations, media outlets, and government agencies in the search for appropriate and reliable information. The Public Library Services thematic area is informed and inspired by personal experience, current research, and leading thinking in the field. Our courses will prepare you for the challenges and demands of planning, managing, and delivering resources and services through exploration of their historical contexts, current positions, and future directions.

School Library Certification Program

Graduates of our School Library Certification Program (SLCP) will gain the skill‐set needed to function as an effective school librarian through competency‐based and experiential learning experiences in collaboration with practitioners. A career as a school librarian is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in the information professions. The SLCP is one of only three academic programs in Pennsylvania that is approved by the PA Department of Education.


Admissions Information

We are seeking students with diverse educational and career backgrounds. Applicants for graduate study must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

Letters of Recommendation

Identify and seek the recommendations of two individuals (e.g., professors, employers, information professionals) who are in a position to evaluate your academic performance or your potential as an information professional. One reference should be able to address your academic abilities, while the remaining references may discuss your professional experience and accomplishments.

Transcripts

Only scanned copies of official transcripts will be accepted and processed at the application stage.

Standardized Test Scores

Standardized Test Scores are not required. 

Other Required Documents

Please include the following in your online application:

  • Resume
  • A statement of no more than 500 words that includes the following elements:
    • Outlines your career goals
    • Reflects on your relevant work experience in libraries, information centers, or other relevant environments
    • Highlights your relevant experience using information technology

For International Applicants

Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to participate successfully in graduate study. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). A minimum score of 80 (Internet-based)/550 (paper-based) on the TOEFL or a minimum result of Band 6.5 on the IELTS is required.