Most Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

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A masters in library science doesn’t always lead to a career as a librarian.

Most Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degrees Badge

Remove from your mind past stereotypes of librarians. And libraries for that matter. The shushed atmosphere of the libraries of your past are transforming into inviting, digitally-advanced, and community-centered organizations.

And many libraries exist without brick-and-mortar confines at all. A degree in Library Science will give you the tools to collect, preserve, organize and otherwise manage digital—as well as physical—collections.

This is a highly transferable degree which will give you skills for the public and private sector.

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Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

What kind of Master’s degree in Library Science degree should you get?

Having a general idea of what kind of career you want will help you find the right degree. If you want to work in schools, look for NCATE or CAEP-accredited programs that lead to licensure. If school licensure isn’t important, look for programs with ALA accreditation or iSchool membership.

And online programs are now a great alternative to campus-based programs. If you want to continue to work while you study—or simply like the flexibility and affordability that online study provides—our ranking of the most affordable online Master’s in Library Science programs will help you find a great program.

For more general information, check out our list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities for a Graduate Degree.

How much money do people make with a Master’s degree in Library Science?

Having a Master’s in Library Science can land you in a variety of jobs—so generalizations about pay don’t make a lot of sense. Nevertheless, for a well-educated librarian, the salary range is pretty respectable. Here are some median salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Librarian: $57,680 per year
  • Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers: $47,230 per year
  • Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary: $71,580

It’s worth noting that the BLS does not take into account the myriad jobs that are “library science” related, but do not involve working in a physical library or museum. Management of digital collections is a big part of the future of librarianship—see this article for encouragement!

What can you do with a Master’s degree in Library Science?

Of course, you can become a librarian in a school, university, or public library. That is the obvious answer and those jobs will always be possibilities—though even the nature of those jobs has changed dramatically.

But librarianship is an increasingly technology-focused profession. And that will continue to be true in the foreseeable future. So here are a few less conventional job possibilities for those with a Master’s degree in Library Science:

  • Curator, Media Resource Center
  • Archival Consultant
  • Information Resources Manager
  • Digital Reference Librarian
  • Manager, Information Services
  • Metadata Analyst

What are the requirements for a Master’s degree in Library Science?

Admission requirements vary widely depending on the type of degree program. But here are some common requirements for admission to a library science program :

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A letter of intent (outlining your specific career goals).

For a Master’s in Education program, you may also need to have an initial teaching licensure and teaching experience in addition to your bachelor’s degree.

What are the most affordable online Master’s in Library Science degrees?

To find the most affordable online degree programs, we scour the internet for Master’s in Library Science programs and compile their tuition data. We then make sure that all the schools on our list are regionally accredited—the gold standard of accreditation for universities and colleges.

And all of our data comes from publicly available sources—so you can verify it yourself by checking out college websites, U.S. News and World Report, and the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Good luck in your search for a great (and affordable) program!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. East Central University
    Location

    Ada, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the town of Ada, in south-central Oklahoma, East Central University is a small, public, teaching university with a history as a teachers’ college. The school currently offers over seventy degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level, with small class sizes and dedicated faculty. Their online programs are extending the reach of high-quality programs to nontraditional students.

    Program Features

    East Central University offers an online, NCATE-accredited Masters of Library Media designed for students planning to become a School Library Media Specialist in grades PK-12. The program is in alignment with state and national professional standards and guidelines and covers all areas of school librarianship, including technology. Special attention is given to the development of the student as a consumer of research. Courses include:

    • School Library Administration
    • Materials Selection
    • Cataloging and Classification

    Notables

    East Central University’s Master of Library Media is a 32-credit program comprised of 18 credits of required coursework and 14 credits of specialization courses, a portfolio, and electives. The program is fully online. To become a certified media specialist in Oklahoma, you’ll need a valid standard Oklahoma teaching certificate in an approved area and pass the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).

  2. Texas Woman's University
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Denton, Texas, Texas Woman’s University is actually a co-ed, public university that specializes in areas like nursing, education, business, and nutrition. The school boasts a diverse student body and a high return on investment— and their Library and Information Studies programs rank in the top 35 nationally.

    Program Features

    Texas Woman’s University offers an affordable Master of Library Science degree that is accredited by the American Library Association. The program prepares students to work in a variety of information environments—from academic libraries to public and technical libraries. Students gain a foundational understanding of library and information studies as well as specialized training. Courses include:

    • Foundations of Library and Information Studies
    • Information Retrieval
    • Information and Communication Technology

    Notables

    TWU’s Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of seven required courses (21 credits), a practicum, and 12 credits of electives. Students can use their electives to focus their program on their specific career goals, creating a program track of their own choosing. This is a very affordable, high-quality program and many TWU students and graduates have been named ALA Spectrum Scholars.

  3. Texas A&M University-Commerce
    Location

    Commerce, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Texas A&M-Commerce is a nationally ranked public university and the second largest school in the Texas A&M University System. Since the late nineteenth century, Texas A&M-Commerce has been providing high-quality education programs for the people of Texas. And their strong online presence is extending the reach of their “personal, accessible, and affordable” programs to off-campus students.

    Program Features

    Texas A&M-Commerce offers a Master of Science and Master of Education in Educational Technology. The degrees are in Educational Technology-Leadership and in Educational Technology-Library Science. Students can also choose coursework in two certification areas to prepare educators for teaching Technology Applications and for becoming school librarians. Courses include:

    • Information Reference and Mediagraphic Services.
    • Cataloging and Classification
    • Developing General and Specialized Collections

    Notables

    Texas A&M’s online Master of Educational Technology degrees are both available 100% online, with no face-to-face requirements. The program is comprised of 36 credits of required coursework, which includes a practicum and one elective. And for those interested in the M.Ed. program, school librarian certification is approved by the State Board for Educator Certification for the state of Texas only.

  4. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the rainy seaport city of Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is a public research university that ranks among the top public schools in the US. The school is home to many prestigious graduate programs, and their Library and Information Science program currently ranks as second-best in the country (U.S. News and World Report).

    Program Features

    The Information School at UW offers an affordable, online Master of Library and Information Science that promises the practical skills you need to advance your career. UW’s program prepares students to be leaders in any knowledge-intensive industry, from digital libraries to special collections or school libraries. Options within the program include:

    • Law Librarianship (ranked best in the U.S.)
    • School Library Media Endorsement

    Notables

    UW’s Master of Library and Information Science is a 63 quarter-credit program. The online program is designed as a three-year, part-time program, with students enrolling in 6-8 credits per quarter. Students who wish to take additional courses, may do so. The curriculum is based on a set of core courses giving foundational knowledge, with enough electives that students can tailor the program to their own career aspirations.

  5. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University is a public comprehensive university that ranks among the top ten regional universities in the South. The school was originally founded as a teacher’s college in 1899, and currently offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors on campus or through their robust online system.

    Program Features

    Appalachian State University offers an online Master of Library Science for students interested in careers in school librarianship or public librarianship. The program is nationally recognized by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and is also accredited by CAEP. Online students work in small classes in a fully immersive and collaborative educational environment. Courses include:

    • Collection Development and Management
    • Information Sources and Services
    • Technology and Libraries: Tools, Resources, and Issues

    Notables

    Appalachian State’s online Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 11 required courses and an internship. Completion of the Master of Library Science program entitles the graduate to apply for licensure from the State of North Carolina as well as Public Librarian Certification from the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission.

  6. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Commonly known as UNC Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a nationally ranked, public liberal arts research university and a member of the University of North Carolina System. The school has invested heavily in online learning and their graduate Library Information Studies program ranks in the top 25 nationally (U.S. News and World Report).

    Program Features

    UNC Greensboro offers an affordable, online Master of Library and Information Studies that promises to prepare you for an exciting and rewarding career in a field that is broad and deep in its vocational variety. Accredited by the American Library Association, the program provides an intellectually rich, community-centered, and hands-on curriculum for library and information education, innovation and service. Courses include:

    • Researching Opportunities in Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
    • Foundations of Library and Information Studies
    • Collection Management

    Notables

    UNC Greensboro’s online Master of Library and Information Science is a 36-credit program designed for either working or full-time students—the average completion rate is 2.5 years for part-time study. The curriculum is very flexible and comprised of four required courses, supplemented by a full complement of elective courses in specialized information resources, archival management, and computer applications.

  7. University of North Texas
    Location

    Denton, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located near Dallas in the city of Denton, TX, the University of North Texas is a large public research university that frequently appears on college rankings. The flagship university of the University of North Texas system, UNT houses ten colleges and two schools, including a highly ranked Library and Information Science department.

    Program Features

    UNT’s Department of Information Science offers an online Master of Science in Library Science which provides students with the skills to be successful professionals in a variety of library, archival, and information settings. The department is ALA-accredited and a member of iSchools— a consortium of Information Schools that shares a fundamental interest in the relationship between information, people, and technology. Courses include:

    • Information and Knowledge Professions
    • Information Organization
    • Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry

    Notables

    UNT’s online MS in Library Science is a 36-credit program comprised of 9 credits of required courses and 27 credits of guided and general electives. The program offers a significant amount of flexibility for students to tailor their degree to their professional interests. Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis with only six days of in-person classroom attendance required.

  8. Murray State University
    Location

    Murray, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the town of Murray, Kentucky, Murray State University is a primarily 4-year public university which emphasizes experiential learning and a personalized approach to education. The school ranks among the top 35 regional schools in the South and is home to many highly regarded graduate programs, like their M.Ed. in Library Media.

    Program Features

    Murray State’s College of Education and Human Services offers a CAEP-accredited, online Master of Education in Library Media for both initial certification and certification in Library Media. The school provides training for future school librarians, with a focus on learning, leadership, and literacy. The curriculum covers information in all its forms, from paper-based to digital. Courses include:

    • Integrating Educational Technology
    • Curriculum Development
    • Research to Improve Student Learning

    Notables

    Murray State University’s online M.Ed. in Library Media is a 33-credit program, comprised of 7 required courses, plus electives and practicums. All students take part in 3 practicum classes in which they work in a school library under the supervision of an experienced and certified school media librarian. Students seeking initial certification in education must meet all requirements for admission to Teacher Education, including completing 200 hours of field experience.

  9. North Carolina Central University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Originally founded as the first public liberal arts institution for African Americans, North Carolina Central University is now a highly-ranked master’s comprehensive university in Durham, NC. Their graduate programs—like Library and Information Studies (which U.S. News and World Report ranks at #27 nationally)—continue to garner national acclaim.

    Program Features

    NCCU’s School of Library and Information Sciences offers an online Master of Library Science program with several concentrations. The program is accredited by the American Library Association, and prepares students with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a wide range of Library and Information careers. There are seven possible tracks which include:

    • Academic Librarian
    • Archives and Records Manager
    • Digital Librarian
    • Law Librarian

    Notables

    North Carolina Central University’s online MLS program is comprised of 36 credits (the School Media concentration requires 39 credits). All concentrations share six core courses which provide a foundational knowledge. Other requirements vary in terms of resources and services courses, a librarian specialization course, and recommended electives. All students have the chance to experience libraries as information centers for collaboration and investigation.

  10. Western Kentucky University
    Location

    Bowling Green, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A public university located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University ranks among the top public universities in the country. The school, which was originally founded in 1906, has gone through a significant transformation in recent decades, leading to high rankings for both their on-campus and their acclaimed online programs (US News and World Report).

    Program Features

    Western Kentucky University offers a Master of Science in Library Media Education which is a dual concentration program in information services (LMS) and educational technology (EDTECH). This is a broad-based degree which prepares students as library media specialists, training development specialists, educational technology specialists, and information service specialists. Students choose from two concentrations:

    • Library Media Specialist Concentration
    • Educational Technology Specialist

    Notables

    WKU’s MS in Library Media Education- Library Media Concentration is a 33-credit program which prepares students for certification as a P-12 School Media Librarian in Kentucky. And if you are already a teacher in Kentucky then you can take advantage of the Kentucky P-12 Professional Educator Rate—a special tuition rate ($395 per credit hour) for Kentucky teachers in specific master degree programs.

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