Best Online Master’s In Library Science Degrees 2022

A ranking of the most affordable online master's in library science degrees. Ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality.

Best Online Master’s In Library Science Degrees 2022

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Master's in Library Science Degrees for Librarians

Applicants to online master's in library science programs typically need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Other admission requirements may include at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Master's degree-seekers in the field usually complete about 12 classes. Some programs offer specializations in archival studies, law librarianship, and music librarianship.

In addition to librarian positions, graduates often secure roles as associate editors, digital archivists, and government records analysts. The following sections explore tuition costs and salary potential. This guide also covers the processes of earning a master's in library science degree and pursuing jobs in the field.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Library Science

Are librarians in high demand?

Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for librarians and library media specialists to increase 9% from 2020-2030. This projection is about as fast as average.

How much does a library science degree cost?

According to the Education Data Initiative, a master of science cost an average of $62,300 as of Oct. 2021. However, the cost of an online master's in library science varies by school.

What can you do with a library science degree?

Professionals with a master's in library science degree can become librarians. They can also pursue roles as information architects and knowledge management specialists.

Featured Online Library Science Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Degree in Library Science?

While earning a library science master's degree, students gain transferable research and analytical skills. Graduates can apply these skills to positions across industries. Learners who earn a specialization in youth services or digital collections may be more competitive for niche roles.

Many online programs feature flexible asynchronous formats. Learners in asynchronous classes can schedule their education around work and other responsibilities. Students can also save money by earning an online master's in library science. Online learners often save on housing, meals, or commuting costs. Additionally, online students can consider affordable programs nationwide.

How Much Does a Library Science Degree Cost?

Learners pursuing an online master's in library science may pay a per-credit, per-class, or per-program tuition rate. According to the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree costs an average of $66,340. In-state public schools typically offer the lowest tuition rates. Learners should also budget for program fees.

Students can finance their education through scholarships and paid internships. Learners should submit the FAFSA annually to determine whether they qualify for federal aid. Many private organizations award scholarships to master's in library science degree-seekers. Learners may also receive institutional funding.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online students may need to buy a new laptop or pay for high-speed internet. Some computer companies offer student discounts. Learners in hybrid programs should also budget for transportation costs to visit campus and internship sites. Other expenses include textbooks and class materials.

Graduates of online master's in library science programs may need additional credentials to qualify for some roles. For example, public school librarians need a state-issued license. Licensure applications and renewals require fees, which vary by state.

How Much Do Library Science Graduates Make?

According to the BLS, librarians and library media specialists earn a median salary of $60,820 per year. This salary exceeds the national median for all occupations. Librarians at higher education institutions earn the highest median salary.

Geographic location also impacts earning potential. Librarians in the District of Columbia, Washington state, and California earn the highest average salaries, according to BLS data.

After earning a library science master's degree, some graduates pursue a second master's degree or a doctorate. Specialized medical, corporate, and law libraries often prefer librarians with relevant academic backgrounds.

Courses in Library Science

Online master's in library science programs feature specialized curricula. Students explore technology's impact on the profession. Degree-seekers prepare to apply technical knowledge in the workplace, use various research methods, and manage materials. Learners develop career-specific skills during internships.

The following list highlights core courses students typically complete before beginning specialization coursework. Class names, topics, and requirements vary by program. Prospective students can consult course catalogs and contact an admissions advisor for detailed information.

  • Information Communities

    This introductory class explores forces that impact information access. Coursework examines cultural norms, political constraints, and technological progress. Students analyze the many resources librarians use to retrieve information. Learners also discuss ethical considerations.
  • Information Professions

    This class covers various jobs and specializations for graduates of online master's in library science programs. Students analyze work environments, legal frameworks, and professional resources. Participants develop the management and leadership skills necessary to foster productive work settings.
  • Online Learning

    Librarians use the internet and computer databases to help people find information. This course explores technologies for networking services, content and learning management tools, and web conferencing. Students also learn how librarians protect data.

Featured Online Education Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

How to Become a Librarian

Librarians and library media specialists typically need a master's degree. Aspiring librarians can earn a master's in information studies or a master's in library and information studies. Public school librarians must meet other academic and education requirements. The top online master's in library science programs hold programmatic accreditation from the American Library Association.

Job responsibilities vary by position and employer. However, typical duties include maintaining databases, assisting patrons, and updating library inventories. Senior librarians prepare and follow budgets. These professionals may also teach classes and train new employees. Librarians can specialize in an area such as academic, administrative services, or public libraries.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degrees 2022

#1

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prospective graduate students can flexibly earn a library and information science degree at the University of Washington-Seattle Campus without giving up their jobs and other responsibilities. Remote learners have access to the Seattle, Washington school’s catalog of 10 online master's degrees, including the master of library and information science. This adaptable degree opportunity makes graduate education accessible to caretakers, full-time workers, and anyone unable to relocate for school.

A bachelor’s in the major is a typical requirement for many master’s programs, but criteria vary depending on the degree. A big draw to a master’s is the intensive coursework that provides enrollees with advanced preparation in their field. Degree recipients can also apply to terminal programs in their field, such as a Ph.D.

Students studying from within Washington pay an average of $18,198 per year, or $32,439 if elsewhere. Paying for tuition is always a concern, and grants and scholarships are an avenue for exploration. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

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#2

University of South Florida-Main Campus

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 75%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of South Florida-Main Campus provides students with an MA in library and information science that ranks highly among similar degree offerings. The master’s degree equips enrollees with advanced training valued by employers in their profession. A terminal degree like a doctorate is the next stop for some holders of an MA in library and information science.

Many learners appreciate the school’s convenient online format. Students do not need to sacrifice other important aspects of their lives such as work and family to earn this degree. The school ensures that enrollees receive the personalized attention they need whether they study in person or online.

Unless otherwise stated, applicants need a bachelor’s to apply to this program. About 48% of applicants get accepted to this school on average, but applicants may find that programs have different averages. Paying for college is a big concern for many, and this school charges Florida residents about $8,350 per year, partially offset by financial aid options for qualifying students.

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#3

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree-seekers can choose from a variety of online graduate degrees at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The MS in library and information science is a very good option for people with a bachelor’s in a related program who want to earn an advanced degree online. Enrollees can complete the graduate curriculum remotely, ensuring they have more control over their schedules.

Students in the MS in library and information science receive more individualized attention with a 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The curriculum immerses learners in advanced knowledge and training in library and information science. Graduates leave the program well-prepared for careers in academia, business and industry, or a doctoral program in some cases.

Affordability is a top issue, and the school charges Illinois residents $14,997 per year and out-of-state residents $28,404 per year. The price of tuition is lower if learners qualify for grants and scholarships, which many do at the institution. Student loans are another option, and about 35% of enrollees use this popular funding stream to afford their education.

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#4

Appalachian State University

School Information
Location Boone, North Carolina
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prospective graduate students can flexibly earn a library and information science degree at Appalachian State University without giving up their jobs and other responsibilities. The school administers online degrees from the campus in Boone, North Carolina, and they include 10 online master's degrees such as the online master of library science. This adaptable program opens up access to full-time workers and others with scheduling challenges preventing in-person graduate education.

Applicants to master’s programs usually meet entry requirements with a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, and other criteria that vary depending on the program. There are many benefits of a master’s degree, with the most notable being higher-level job possibilities and enhanced pay. Another benefit of this degree is preparation for a doctoral program or another terminal credential.

The average tuition for students living in North Carolina is $4,839 per year, and $18,271 if they live elsewhere. If they qualify, learners can use grants and scholarships to help fund their education. Loans may also be available to help students pay for all or part of the program.

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#5

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s ranks highly among similar programs and should be of particular interest to students wanting to study online. The master of arts in library and information studies program prepares learners for high-level career opportunities not always available to those who hold a bachelor’s alone. Students earn this so they can also pursue a doctorate later on if they choose.

This program offers a format conducive to effective time-management that many learners need. Students can juggle their various responsibilities thanks to this program's flexibility. Whether enrollees are learning in person or online they study in a supportive academic environment.

For consideration, applicants need a bachelor’s to apply to this program unless otherwise stated. Those who apply can expect an acceptance rate of about 54%. Financial aid options such as loans and scholarships can help students pay for tuition, which is $10,728 per year for Wisconsin residents.

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