Field Experience for MLIS Students

A field experience is a three-credit elective that incorporates two components completed over one term:

  • 130 hours of supervised professional work carried out by an MLIS student at an information service host site that provides the student with an opportunity to apply the skills, methodologies, and theories learned through coursework, and
  • 20 hours of scheduled class meetings, conferences, and on-line reflective discussion with other students registered for LIS 2921 Field Experience in a given term, and overseen by the field experience coordinator.

Please note: the definition, course prerequisites, academic and work requirements, and application process for LIS 2921 or 2924 Field Experience vary from that of LIS 2922 Practicum in School Libraries. Students in the School Library Certification Program (SLCP) must successfully complete LIS 2922 and follow the requirements of the SLCP in order to meet teacher certification requirements set by the PA Department of Education. Questions regarding SLCP requirements should be referred to Dr. Mary K. Biagini.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will clarify their career objectives while gaining insightful, resume-worthy experience at an information organization, which will help prepare them for their chosen career.

Course Registration

Students register for LIS 2921 earring three elective credits upon successful completion of the course.

Enrollment Requisites:

  • Students must have completed 12 credits of LIS coursework, before the start of the field experience.
  • Students must have earned a minimum QPA of 3.0 to receive permission to register for LIS Field Experience.
  • The student must be registered for LIS Field Experience in the term in which the supervised professional work occurs. The field experience must be completed in one term. Only extenuating circumstances will be considered for an incomplete grade and must be approved by the field experience coordinator.

Requirement or Elective

Field Experience credits are not required when earning the MLIS degree–LIS 2921 or LIS 2924 is considered an elective course. Although LIS Field Experience is not required, all students are strongly encouraged to incorporate this elective course into their plan of study in order to gain real world, experiential learning.


Students who successfully complete all requirements for LIS Field Experience earn a grade of “Satisfactory.” Students who do not successfully complete all requirements for LIS field experience earn a grade of “Unsatisfactory.” Grading will be based on performance as determined by the host site supervisor and the quality of the final report/project as determined by the Field Experience Coordinator.

Getting Started

In order to determine a viable, academically credible field experience, students must:

  • Attend information session conducted by the Field Experience Coordinator in the term prior to the field experience. For those unable to attend on-campus, the information will be made available online.
  • Speak with your academic advisor to identify a host site, a host site supervisor, and a proposed project. Submit to the Field Experience Coordinator the Application for LIS (2921 or 2924) Field Experience, including two written statements (outlined on the application).

The Registration Team will enroll students in three field experience credits after receiving documentation and approval from the field experience coordinator.

View a partial list of previous host sites and contact information. Download the Application for LIS (2921 or 2924) Field Experience for full details regarding the process of applying for and registering for the field experience.

Requirements for successful completion of the field experience

As a three-credit elective class, the LIS 2921 Field Experience comprises 150 total hours of on-site and academic work divided as follows:

Student Work Requirements

  • Complete 130 hours of work at the host site under the direction of the host site supervisor and according to the agreed upon schedule with the host site supervisor
  • Follow all policies and procedures that host site staff must follow, e.g., dress, acceptable use of technology, interactions with patrons
  • If the student is ill or if there is extreme inclement weather on a scheduled work day, the student must inform the host site supervisor in advance of scheduled work shift and must make up any missed hours.

Student Academic Requirements

  • Participate in regularly scheduled class meetings (20 hours) with the field experience coordinator and other field experience students to discuss progress, experiences, and shared challenges and learnings
  • Post remarks to a weekly field experience blog on CourseWeb
  • Prepare a mid-term report and submit to the field experience coordinator
  • Facilitate a meeting at the host site that includes the field experience coordinator, the host site supervisor, and the student
  • Submit to the field experience coordinator a final, confidential written reflection about the student’s experience at the host site framed around their career objectives and the “Goals for Graduates of the MLIS Program” that includes several examples of work developed for the host site during the experience (portfolio)
  • Confer individually with the field experience coordinator to review the final course deliverables for the Field Experience, which may include a report or a project.