Library and Information Science, MLIS

The role of information professionals has changed dramatically as the volume of available information has increased and technology for information search and retrieval has advanced. In response, the MLIS degree was redesigned in 2019 to offer a new foundational core that features three new courses, numerous electives that allow students to tailor the degree to their career interests, and a newly created Design Methods Sequence that highlights immersive experiential learning.

The new foundational core, based on the culture and values of librarianship and information science, will prepare students to understand the roles both information and data play in society. These courses focus on the lifecycles of data and information, data and information in systems, and the roles of information professionals in communities. The MLIS program, accredited by the American Library Association, is responsive to the information marketplace and encourages the development of creativity, professionalism, and a proactive attitude to the needs of various clienteles in library and information service environments.

Upon completion of the Master of Library and Information Science degree, graduates will incorporate the theories, knowledge, skills, ethical foundations, and social responsibilities of the information professions into critical and reflective professional practice for the benefits of individuals and communities. The MLIS degree program integrates library, archival, information, data sciences and data stewardship within the information professions.

See our Goals for Graduates of the MLIS Program.

Degree Requirements

With the possible exception of six credits of advanced standing, all course work must be completed in residence in the MLIS degree program (i.e., registering while matriculated as an SCI student) at the University of Pittsburgh.

The faculty may approve certain exceptions to the degree requirements outlined in the following sections. Approval for exceptions must be obtained prior to enrollment in the course in question and must be documented through the Records Office. See the Advising section of the SCI Catalog for more details.

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.

Students will take the six required courses* for the MLIS degree. Students must earn a B or better in each core course.

Design Methods Sequence Core (taken sequentially)

Other Core Classes

*Students should work with their advisors to ensure that they are following the proper course of study.

Students should know that a thesis is not a requirement of the MLIS degree.

Students can also pursue an MLIS degree online.

Thematic Areas

Students may elect a focused area of study which follows a more specific distribution of credits.

The areas of focus have been developed in response to needs expressed by the profession. In addition to the core knowledge of the information professions, you’ll gain specific skill sets pertinent to your career goals.

We offer several elective thematic areas: