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Top 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

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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
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $9765

    A preeminent public university based in Seattle, Washington, UW offers an online master of library and information science for aspiring innovators and leaders in the library and information industry.

    MLIS students can complete their courses online or take their classes on campus. UW requires students to complete 63 quarter credits, consisting of courses in information resources and services, management of information organizations, research, assessment and design, and a culminating capstone project. UW offers this online MLIS degree program at $852 per credit.

    MLIS program applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. UW also requires prospective students to submit official transcripts of records, an updated resume, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a completed online application through MyGrad. The University of Washington-Seattle Campus is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU).

  2. University of South Florida-Main Campus
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $10460

    With a strategically located campus in Tampa, Florida, USF offers an online master of arts in library and information science through its School of Information.

    This online MLIS program follows an asynchronous format. Students must complete 39 semester credits of coursework, including 18 credits of core subjects. Students take courses in basic information sources and services, research methods in library and information science, and collection development and maintenance.

    Applicants must complete the graduate application online and upload all supporting documents. UWF also requires applicants to submit their official transcripts from all previously attended higher learning institutions and pay a $30 application fee. The University of South Florida-Main Campus is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $15829

    A public land-grant research university located in Champaign, Illinois, U of I offers an online master of science in library and information science for librarians pursuing leadership roles in a variety of settings.

    U of I's MS/LIS program also provides specialized pathways in archival and special collections, data and asset management, information organization and management, knowledge management and competitive intelligence, research and information services, and youth and school librarianship. Illinois offers this online MS/LIS degree at $652 per credit for residents and $975 per credits for nonresidents.

    The MS/LIS program requires all applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline from an accredited institution. Applicants who earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in their last two years of undergraduate study do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Illinois requires all applicants to submit three letters of reference, a resume, and a personal statement.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  4. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $10491

    A premier public institution located in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian offers an online master of library science program for students who want to become leading information professionals.

    This graduate degree program entails 36 credits of coursework in two academic years. Appalachian delivers courses through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online learning.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates should submit official transcripts, three references, an updated resume, and an application fee. Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  5. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $14169

    A public institution based in Madison, Wisconsin, UW offers an online master of arts in library and information studies. The program maintains small class sizes to help foster a better teaching-learning environment for students and professors.

    Learners choose from five concentrations: librarianship, digital archives, UX and information technology, information management and analytics, and organization of information. Students may take online or in-person courses. The university provides online students with a virtual orientation bootcamp, which prepares participants for online learning activities.

    All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution. Applicants must submit all official transcripts of records, along with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credits. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Featured Online Library Science Programs

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