Masters (MSLS) in Library & Information Science
Bridge the gaps that exist between people, information and technology. In our fully online, ALA accredited program, you will learn to design and develop knowledge-organization systems. This program will prepare you in becoming a librarian or an information professional in a public library, an academic library, a health science library, an archive, a museum, a government agency, a law library, or any other information center.
U.S. News and World Report ranks it as a top 3 program in health information and a top 20 program in library science.
At a Glance
Credits and Tuition Cost (2023-2024)
Masters in Library & Information Science overview
What You'll Learn
In addition to our core curriculum, we offer concentration areas to best prepare students for their future careers in unique areas of library science.
- Health Information
- School Librarian Program (allows for concurrent school media certification/rank change in KY) If you wish to become certified as a school librarian, you must also have a valid teaching license.
- Youth Services and Literature
- Academic Libraries
- Information Systems
- Public Libraries
- Generalist (for students who want to forge a degree plan based on their professional aspirations)
- Information Organization and Retrieval: Delve into advanced techniques for cataloging, classifying, and organizing diverse types of information resources. Learn how to create efficient systems for retrieving information, both physically and digitally, to meet the needs of library users.
- Collection Development and Management: Gain expertise in selecting, acquiring, and curating a wide range of materials, from traditional books to digital resources and multimedia content. Learn to assess user preferences and needs, manage budgets, and ensure that library collections remain relevant and engaging.
- Information Technology and Digital Services: Explore cutting-edge technologies and digital tools used in modern libraries. Learn to develop and manage online databases, design user-friendly interfaces, and provide guidance on utilizing digital resources effectively, catering to the evolving information-seeking behaviors of library patrons.
You have the option to complete a practicum and/or study abroad as part of your degree. In addition, the program offers competitive spring break internships in Washington, D.C., at institutions like the National Library of Medicine and the Smithsonian Libraries.
- LIS 600 Information in Society
- LIS 601 Information Search
- LIS 602 Knowledge Organization
- LIS 603 Management in Info Organizations
How to Apply
- Three letters of recommendation (Only an email address is required. Our system will ask them to upload their letter.)
- Personal Statement - 200-300 words on why you want to go into this field and what do you hope to accomplish through this program
- CV or Resume
School Librarian Certification
Requirements for school media librarians may vary from state to state, so it is important to take this into consideration as you plan for your degree. If you are planning to enroll in UK's MSLS degree program as an out-of-state student seeking concurrent school media certification, please know you may need to hold a KY teaching license to complete a certification program here. If you are a current student seeking concurrent certification in Kentucky but plan to move/become a school librarian elsewhere, please check with that state's certification board to ensure yours will transfer.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Program
What’s the difference between an MSLS and a MLIS?
Prospective students will find that different programs award similar degrees with different names. These might include master of science in library science (MSLS), master of library and information science (MLIS), master of information science (MSI), and others. The important thing to pay attention to is whether the program you are considering is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). All of these degrees lead students down the same career path, and one is not better than another.
Should I enroll as a full-time student?
This depends on each student and their ability to manage the heavy course load of enrolling full-time- which is 9 credit hours (or 3 classes) per semester. Students who enroll full-time may find it difficult to keep even a part-time job. Students who are able to manage a full-time courseload can take advantage of our Graduate Tuition Cap and save on tuition, which offers a flat tuition rate per semester when enrolled in 9 or more credit hours.
Do I have to come to campus?
No. Our program is fully online and asynchronous. While it isn’t self-paced, students do have the flexibility of completing assignments during hours that are more convenient for them.
What should I expect in online courses?
It's important to know how to approach learning in an online degree program. Online classes are not harder nor easier than in-person classes, but they are different due to their asynchronous modality. This means students going into an online master's program should expect to:
- Develop a routine: Login to your online class routinely (we recommend at least once daily) to receive updates and contribute meaningfully to ongoing discussion boards.
- Be good time managers: Determine when you have time to work on coursework throughout the week so you don't fall behind or put off assignments until the last minute.
- Communicate: If you are having any trouble, message your peers and/or your instructor right away to ask for help or clarification. Never be afraid to reach out to your instructors or Student Affairs if you need assistance--we have many resources to help you, but we need to know your situation to act accordingly on your behalf.
If you need additional support in navigating the online classroom, Canvas (our learning management system) has a number of helpful tools including a module for new students that walks everything you need to know about navigating information in your online class.
What enrichment opportunities exist in your program?
All students are encouraged to pursue a practicum placement for which they can receive academic credit. Additionally, students have the option to take independent studies to help further their expertise in a specific area. We also offer a competitive Alternative Spring Break program to our students each spring. Students are placed at institutions like the National Library of Medicine and the Library of Congress. We also have a student chapter of the American Library Association which regularly sponsors activities for students.
Is this program ALA accredited?
Yes, University of Kentucky's Master of Library Science program is ALA accredited. This ensures students are eligible for all MLS positions upon graduation, and reflects the school's commitment to a contemporary and quality education.
Does it matter what undergraduate degree I received?
No. As long as you have a four-year degree from an accredited university, with a 3.0 GPA, you are a candidate for our program. We have students with degrees in history, English, chemistry, and nearly every other discipline in our program.
What are the admissions criteria for the library science master’s degree?
Admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, a graduate GPA of at least 3.00 (if applicable), 3 recommendations, and a personal statement. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
What are career prospects for people with an ALA accredited degree?
Interested applicants should review material available to them including the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and information from ALA. Additionally, students may want to review job ads locally, or in areas where they would be willing to relocate. Always keep in mind that while the typical job for someone with an ALA accredited degree is a librarian, there are other jobs where the skills you learn will be applicable. This could include working as a knowledge management specialist, information broker or database administrator. Read more at the ALA website.
How much does the program cost?
Your cost may vary based on how long it takes you to progress through the program. Part time students (less than nine hours) are charged an hourly rate. Full time students are charged a flat tuition fee for all hours 9 or higher. The cost per credit hour is listed near the top of this page. To see the full-time rate, please visit https://www.uky.edu/studentaccount/tuition and look for “Graduate Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses – full time”.
Is there a tuition cap?
Yes! As an incentive to be enrolled full-time (more than 9 credit hours) exclusively in a distance education program, students receive a capped tuition rate. To see the current term’s capped tuition rate, please visit https://www.uky.edu/studentaccount/tuition and look for “Graduate Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses -- full-time.” This is the per semester rate you will pay when enrolled for more than 9 credit hours.
ALA Program Outcomes
Licensure & Authorization
Where you live matters when completing distance education activities. If you will live outside of Kentucky while completing your program, please check the Distance Learning Authorization & Licensure page to confirm that the program can be offered in your state or country, and if relevant, that it meets professional licensure requirements in your state. Please note: Admission and enrollment in a fully-online program can NOT lead to the issuance of a J-1 or F-1 student visa.AUTHORIZATION & LICENSURE INFO
Once you become a student, you will have access to a wide variety of academic support services to maximize your success. These services are available completely online to meet the needs of our online students.