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Online MLS Programs from ALA Accredited Schools

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Does becoming a librarian, museum curator, or someone well versed in the intricacies of Library Sciences intrigue you? If yes, an online MLS program from an ALA-accredited school might be the right fit for you.

Before enrolling in an ALA-accredited MLS program, you need to know what ALA accreditation is, what constitutes an MLA program, and where you can enroll in one. This article will help you get into the best ALA Accredited schools around the US.

Let us look at all of this and much more in this comprehensive outlook on the various elements of ALA-accredited MLS programs.

What is a Master’s in Library Sciences (MLS) Degree?

Master’s in Library Sciences (MLS) is an interdisciplinary field of study concerning the collection, organization, management, preservation, and prioritization of books and other informative materials in libraries. It borrows tools from versatile domains, including management, information technology, and education.

For this purpose, it is also related to various subfields such as documentation science, bibliography, information management, knowledge management, etc. This degree is generally a prerequisite for a professional librarian position in a public or private library.

The Difference Between MLS and MLIS Programs

MLIS, also referred to as Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), is a master’s degree closely related to MLS but relatively recent. MLS is the older of the two and more common. The “I” in MILS was added with the sole purpose of reflecting the growing need for modernity in libraries and concerning studies.

Both programs are eligible for ALA accreditation and may even have the same courses, graduation requirements, and admissions. However, the type of program determines the degree name. Other names of ALA-accredited degrees, frequently referred to as MLS, are Master of Information Studies, Master of Arts, Master of Librarianship, Master of Library and Information Studies, or Master of Science.

What Jobs Do You Qualify for With An MLS Degree?

An MLS degree qualifies you for several jobs, most common of which is a librarian, but not the only one. ALA’s Library Salary Database aggregated the salary data for 68 library positions from more than 35,000 individual salaries of actual employees in academic and public libraries in the United States.

Public Librarian

Public librarians specialize in outreach, publicity, reference, technology, collections, and public relations. They also perform professional librarian services for the public.

Public Library Director

Public library directors have a variety of responsibilities, including reader advisory tools, interlibrary loans programs, managing online public access catalogs, training new librarians, conducting community outreach programs, overseeing marketing strategies, and representing a library at different levels.

Private Librarian

Universities, corporations, private foundations, or corporations are the workplace of private librarians where they usually deal with internal clients and carry out usual librarian responsibilities along with certain additional ones.

Technology Access Manager

Technology access managers are concerned with program planning, management, and assessment activities and carry out technological responsibilities such as devising strategic initiatives and proposing target staffing levels and schedules.

Library Archivist

Library archivists work towards preserving, organizing, and sharing information about their respective domains and may work in private or non-profit organizations. Therefore, they also need to be well versed in archives management or information sciences.

Curator

A curator researches, authenticates, and categorizes collections of art and history based on evaluation and looks over the sale, purchase, loan, and exchange of these items.

Museum Technicians

Museum technicians oversee the preparation and restoration of exotic items in museum collections and exhibits and related logistic requirements. They are also responsible for their record maintenance and protection.

What Does ALA Accreditation Mean?

ALA stands for American Library Association; the most prominent and oldest library association globally works towards advancements in the library and information studies standards. Obtaining ALA accreditation means passing the rigorous evaluation process carried out by meticulous experts in various domains. An external panel of academics and practitioners looks through a program’s goals, curriculum and teachers, physical and financial resources, and the administration and students to make sure that they meet the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, or any other degree.

Requirements For Entering An ALA Accredited Online MLS Program

Many programs or institutes have different requirements for entering an ALA-accredited program, the most common of which are as follows.

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • A 3.0 GPA
  • Submission of GRE results
  • Submission of other related test scores such as GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or MAT
  • Other specific requirements that a particular institute may have

The Importance of ALA Accreditation

ALA accreditation holds paramount importance for an MLS program as it augments career mobility by rendering you eligible for versatile jobs. Several professional-level positions necessitate graduating from an ALA-accredited program. Choosing an accredited school is synonymous with attaining high-quality education enough to prepare you for all kinds of work-related circumstances. Since an ALA-accredited program meets the standard set by the American Library Association and Committee on Accreditation and is evaluated by peers, it makes the perfect choice for a sound educational career in the eyes of recruiters and students alike.

Masters of Library Science (MLS) Programs

University of Tennessee- Knoxville

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers a 36-hour online MLS program with Academic Librarianship; Data Curation and Data Management; Digital Collections; Geographic Information; Information Organization; Public Librarianship; Science Information and Data Science; and Youth Services as career pathways. Although others can be considered, applicants with a 3.25 GPA are preferred. Students are required to attend a one-day on-campus orientation during the start of the course. Tuition comes up to $626-701/credit hour.

Texas Woman’s University

Texas Woman’s University offers an entirely online and extremely affordable 36-hour MLS program. Tuition comes up about $260-675/credit hour with three start dates per year. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA or GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or MAT exam scores for those below this benchmark. With thesis as the final project, this program is excellent for a career in academic, public, school, and corporate libraries.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University offers online MLS with a concentration in Public Library, Academic Library, and School Library Media. Additionally, the program requires 39 credits divided into 13 courses, and applicants need to have a 2.7 GPA and a GRE or MAT score. Students must pay a tuition of $249-894 per credit hour.

Emporia State University

Emporia State University offers a hybrid MLS program with online courses and weekend intensives, typically two times per semester. Concentration areas are Archive Studies, Informatics, Leadership and Administration, and Youth Services. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA, but probationary admissions are available. This program requires at least four full-time semesters to complete. Tuition comes up to $343-665/credit hour, but Kansas residents have to pay lower rates.

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Online MLS offered by this school is only available to students from neighboring Hawaiian Islands and has concentration areas of Academic/Special Librarianship, Archives, Asian Studies Librarianship, Cultures/Communities, Informatics, Public Librarianship, and School Library Media. This program has 39 credits which culminate in a thesis, and up to 9 credits of work can be transferred from another ALA-accredited program. Admissions occur in fall and spring and require a 3.0 GPA, with tuition up to $650-1,545/credit hour.

Indiana University

Indiana University’s online MLS offers concentrations in Archives and Record Management; Art Librarianship; Digital Curation; Children’s and Young Adult Services; Data Science; Digital Humanities; Information Architecture; Digital Libraries; Music Librarianship; and Rare Books and Manuscripts. Admission requirements are the same as others; a 3.0 GPA. GRE is a requirement for those with a GPA lower than 3.0 and degree holders from non-US institutions and those who do not have English as their first language. Internships are required for this 36 credited program, and tuition is $451-1,434/credit hour.

North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University offers online Master of Library Science or the Master of Information Science as online programs with 36 credit hours and $257-892 tuition per credit hour. Concentration areas include academic librarian; archives and records manager; digital librarian; law librarian; public librarian; school media coordinator; or special librarian. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, foreign language reading comprehension, and GRE or GMAT score.

Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) Programs

University of South Carolina-Columbia

The online MLIS program at the University of South Carolina-Columbia includes several elective options, primarily asynchronous courses. The course has 36 credits, 27 of which are in the applicant’s area of interest. Admission requirements are a 3.0 GPA and acceptable scores on the GRE or MAT. Tuition costs $672/credit hour, but the program is affordable overall.

St. Catherine University

St. Catherine University confers online MLIS in various formats, including 100% online or evening and weekend classes, which subsequently affect the duration of the degree. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA or GRE or MAT scores for students below this threshold. The University offers two admission deadlines per year and tuition costs $923 per credit hour.

University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi confers an asynchronously taught, 100% online, and affordable 40-credit MLIS program with 22 required courses, 15 electives, and 3 for the master’s project. A student must complete the program within five years. Students are required to have a 3.0 GPA in the last two years of undergraduate study, GRE or GMAT scores, letters, essays, and proof of immunization (or exemption) for measles and rubella.

San Jose State University

Online MLIS at San Jose State University comprises 43 credits: 6 core courses and 27 electives culminating in a thesis or e-portfolio project. The tuition fee comes up to $474 per credit hour in this 100% online and customizable course delivered either asynchronously or through web conferencing. Admission does not require a resume, letters of recommendation, or GRE scores, only a 3.0 GPA. International students are encouraged to apply.

University of Washington

MLIS program at the University of Washington comprises 63 quarter credits, with tuition coming up to $805/credit hour. Students are required to stay at the campus for three days at the beginning of the course only, and the rest of the program is primarily online.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers an MLIS program with concentrations available in Archival Studies, Information Organization, Information Technology, or Public Library as well as specialty areas in Academic Libraries; Digital Libraries; Information Literacy; Information Law, Policy & Ethics; Public Libraries; and Special Libraries. This 100% online program has 36 credit hours which culminate in a research project. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 2.75 GPA.

Syracuse University

Syracuse University’s online basic MLIS or the MLIS: School Media program, accredited by the ALA since 1928, have 36 credit hours (18 of required coursework, 15 of electives, and 3 of exit requirements). A student can complete the course in 18 months. Classes are held in person once a week. During the program, students are required to attend at least one immersion experience on-campus. Tuition comes up to $1,500 per credit hour.

University of Alabama

The MLIS program offered by the University of Alabama comes in both hybrid and online options. Therefore, online students have a campus orientation at the start of the fall semester only. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA and an acceptable score in either GRE or MAT. Tuition is very affordable; $375/credit hour.

University of Maryland-College Park

30% of students in the MLIS program of the University of Maryland-College Park take the course online. Specializations are available in Individualized Program Plan, School Library, and Youth Experience. 2.1 years is the typical time for this degree, and tuition comes to $651-1,404/credit hour. Recent statistics show that 97% of graduates received at least one job offer, and 1 in 5 students received employment at their fieldwork site, which is necessary for this program.

Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University’s online MLIS program is an excellent fit for students intending on continuing their jobs or family lives during school and consists of 39 credit hours of coursework. Students in or out of state pay the same tuition; $532/credit hour. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA, but probationary admission is also possible.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The online MLIS program at UNC Greensboro offers specializations in Archival Management; Database Structure, Evaluation, and Utilization; Information Ethics; Information Organization and Access; or Information Resources Management. Tuition rates are very affordable ($279-534/credit hour), and admission requires a 3.0 GPA and GRE, which is waived for those with a 3.5 GPA or prior master’s degree.

Wayne State University

Wayne State University offers an online MLIS course of 36 hours with Archives and Digital Content Management, Information Management, and Library Services as the three main areas of study. In addition, nine credit hours taken at another ALA-accredited program can be transferred. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA, but alternate methods exist for those with GPAs between 2.5 and 2.99. Tuition of this MLA program costs $742/credit hour.

University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma offers a 36 credit hours online MLIS program with concentrations in Academic Librarianship, Archives; Children and Young Adult Services; Information Organization; Information Technology; Public Librarianship; Reference Services; School Library Media; or Special Librarianship. Students have to pay a tuition of $213-824/credit hour. Admission requirements for this program include a 3.0 GPA, but conditional admissions are possible.

Kent State University

Kent State University offers a 37-40 credit hours MLIS program two times a year for those with a 3.0 GPA. GRE scores are only required of those with a lower score than this threshold. Online programs do not offer all available specializations, but tuition is affordable; $628-1,854/credit hour.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers an online MLIS in both asynchronous and synchronous portions with concentrations in either Library and Information Services or Data Stewardship. Tuition for this program is $954-1,599/credit hour, and a maximum of 6 credits can be transferred. This degree can be completed in either one year with three consecutive semesters or three to four years.

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

This school offers a 36 credit-hour online MLIS program with 18 credits in core courses and 18 in electives. Academic Librarianship, Adult Services in Public Libraries, Archival Studies, Cultural Heritage Resource Management, Digital Content Management, Knowledge Management, School Librarianship, and Youth Services Librarianship include the areas of specialization. A 3.0 GPA is required of applicants, but probationary admissions can be given to those with at least 2.75. Tuition per credit hour comes up to about $481.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island offers an online MLIS program of 36 credit hours with concentrations in School Library Media; Digital Media; or Libraries, Leadership & Transforming Communities. Applicants are required to have a 3.0 GPA and proof of residency in the case of in-state students. Tuition comes to $706-1,401/credit hour, and three start dates are offered every year.

 Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) Programs

University at Buffalo

Information and Library Science MS offered by University at Buffalo has both hybrid and online formats. A student can enroll in either full-time or part-time course study. This program has music librarianship, law librarianship, information management, information organization, information services, information storage and retrieval, public or academic libraries, or special libraries as specializations and 36 credits to be completed in four semesters full time.

St. John’s University

Online MS Library and Information Science from St. John’s University concentrates on academic Librarianship; Archival Studies; Law Librarianship; Management for Information Professionals; Public Librarianship; Special Librarianship; and Youth Librarianship and can be completed in two years.

The total comes up to 36 credits: 12 core courses, three management, and 21 electives. It is a 100% online course and costs $1,285 per credit hour. A 3.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree make up the admission requirements, but conditional admissions for students with low GPAs are possible.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a 100% online MSLIS after an on-campus orientation. Concentration areas include Archival and Special Collections; Youth and K-12; Information Organization and Management; Research and Information Services; Data and Asset Management, Knowledge Management, and Competitive Intelligence. Moreover, applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 have the GRE requirement only. Finally, tuition comes up to $636-1,053/credit hour and is lower in the state.

Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America offers MSLIS in a synchronous and asynchronous hybrid online format with four Saturday face-to-face classes per semester. Applicants may waive six credits if they have a graduate degree at the time of admission. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA and GRE test scores, which are waived for those with a GPA of more than 3. The tuition fee comes up to $1070/credit hour.

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky’s online MSLS takes 36 completely asynchronous credit hours to complete and provides areas of specialization in Academic Libraries, Health Information, Information Systems, Public Libraries, School Librarian programs, Youth Services, and Literature, or Generalist. There are three start dates per year for those with a 3.0 GPA and GRE scores (waivable for those with a Ph.D.). Taking some classes face to face is also available for desiring students, and tuition per credit hour is $674.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

The Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers a 100% online MSLS in School Library Media or Information and Library Science. The course has 36 credit hours of work, including 3 for Capstone Apprenticeship. Moreover, up to six credits can be transferred into the program, which starts three times per year. Tuition is around $500-540 per credit hour. Students in the Information and Library Science program can specialize in managing information agencies, information access, reference and user services, or local and archival studies.

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers online Master of Science in Library Science and the Master of Science in Information Science programs with 120 hours of practicum work and $358-766 tuition per credit hour. The courses are online except for six days of on-campus learning. Specializations for the MS-LS program include Archival Studies & Imaging Technology; Distributed Learning Librarianship; Information Organization; Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics; Music Librarianship; Youth Librarianship; and General Program of Study. Admission requirements are the same as other universities.

Drexel University

Online MSLIS at Drexel University offers specializations in Information and Data Services, Digital Technology Services, or User and Community Services. Courses start four times per year at either full time or part-time. Tuition is $1,228/credit hour, but special tuition rates for alumni, military and members of partner institutions are available. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and GRE scores, but those with a 3.2 or higher GPA are exempt from the GRE requirement.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan offers an online Master of Science in Information degree specializing in Digital Archives and Library Science, Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience, and Data Science and Analytics. This program has 48 credit hours with introductory, advanced, and mastery coursework and an internship. Financial aid and scholarships are available for deserving students.

Master of Art in Library and Information Science (MALIS) Programs

University of Wisconsin-Madison

MA-LIS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has five concentrations for on-campus programs, but not all are available online. The ALA has accredited this school since 1924, and the tuition is a little higher ($800/credit hour) than the usual in-state graduate rates. However, the program is very flexible overall and has small classes.

Florida State University

Florida State University offers online MA in Information as well as MS in Information with concentrations in General Librarianship; Public, Academic, and Special Libraries; Health Informatics; Information Organization; Leadership & Management; Reference Services; Technology & Networking; Web Design; Youth Services; and Specialized Study in Museum Theory & Practice. Tuition is $444-1,076/credit hour, and the admission process is holistic. Classes meet one evening from Mon-Thurs per week.

Masters of Information (MIS) Programs

Rutgers University

Rutgers University offers an online degree of Master of Information with a customized program of study and concentrations in Library and Information Science; Data Science; Technology, Information, and Management; Archives and Preservation; Informatics & Design.

The tuition costs $900 per credit hour, and admission requirements include GRE scores (only for those students who do not have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0), scores from alternate exams, or completed advanced or master’s degree. This program has the added ease of three start dates per year and is 100% online.

Masters of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) Programs

University of Southern California

USC offers an online MMLIS with three courses per semester and five 15-week sessions completed in 20 months. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA minimum and relevant work experience. Tuition for this uniquely designed course comes up to $1,800/credit hour.

Final Thoughts – Get Started With An Online MLS Program!

A degree acknowledged and approved by an institution working towards enhancing the quality and standards of libraries naturally paves the way for better professionalism and career aspects in the field of librarianship and related studies.

Of course, you can attain all of this and much more from any school, but here’s the catch: you can get an MLS degree online right from the comfort of your home, where you can set your schedule, your timetable, and even your daily wardrobe! Interested? Yes, please! Let’s head over to Geteducated.com to gain a better insight into this domain.

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FAQs about Online MLS Programs from ALA Accredited Schools

Question: What is an ALA-Accredited MLS Degree?
Answer: An ALA Accredited MLS Degree program that the ALA Committee has endorsed to meet the Accreditation’s Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library Studies.

Question: How do I get an ALA Accreditation?
Answer: You can get an ALA Accreditation by a review procedure held by an external review panel of practitioners and academics. This panel evaluates if the program meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies.

Question: What kind of courses are offered in an Online MLS Program?
Answer: An MLS program is diverse, with numerous courses and subtopics associated with it, all taught in online sessions. These courses are related to research methodology, cataloging, book preservation, digital preservation, library management, information center maintenance, collection development, archives management, and children’s literature.

Question: How much time does it take for ALA Accreditation?
Answer: ALA Accreditation is somewhat a long process and usually takes a year or two but may take more.