Compare online master’s in library science (MLIS) programs
Contribute to academic and professional organizations as well as support your community with research and information management skills.
Why earn a master’s in library science online?
Lead information management
Manage, organize, and retrieve information effectively, both digital and physical, to help your organization stay informed.
Serve a broader community
Help your community navigate information more efficiently, separate reliable sources from misinformation, and be engaged members of society.
Advance technology skills
Stay up to date with, and adapt to, the latest trends and technologies in the information field from database management to data analysis.
Browse ALA-accredited online MLIS programs New
What can you do with an online master’s in library and information science?
Earning your master’s in library science online can increase your career opportunities across a wide range of fields related to information management, librarianship, and organizational research. Are you passionate about working with your community? You could pursue a job as a public librarian working in academic or school libraries to help others access information and promote educational outreach programs. Looking to specialize in research and archiving? You could become an information specialist in charge of managing an organization’s resources, conducting research, or developing new database management strategies.
No matter what kind of library science job you choose to pursue with an MLIS degree, you will be equipped with the key information management skills you need to bridge the gap between people and ideas.
Is there a difference between MLIS and MLS degrees?
A master’s in library and information science (MLIS) degree and a master’s in library science (MLS) degree can be used interchangeably and are largely the same program. MLS was historically the more common term used for a master’s in library science, but as the field of library science increased its focus on information-related topics and technology, many universities began using the term MLIS.
So what is the difference between a master’s in library science and master’s in library and information science? Despite the different acronyms, MLIS and MLS programs both train professionals to be information leaders for their organization or community.
MLIS degree requirements for admissions
Master’s in library science degree requirements can vary depending on the program and institution. However, a bachelor’s degree in computer or data science, or a related information and technology field, can be helpful when applying for a master’s in library science. Professionals with experience in research, data collection, information management, community engagement, or archiving can apply their experience in an online MLIS program.
Typical application requirements for a master’s in library science degree include but are not limited to:
Letters of recommendation
How to apply
Once you’ve chosen your Master of Library and Information Science program, fill out our interest form so an admissions advisor can get in touch with you. You will connect with your advisor to discuss the program, admissions requirements, and the unique career goals you wish to pursue with a master’s in library science before beginning your application.
What you’ll learn
An online master’s in library science curriculum empowers learners through a focus on information management, librarianship, and archival expertise. As an online master’s in library science learner, you will take a variety of courses that cover both core topics in library science, as well as elective courses, in areas such as data management or information technology. Here are three featured topics that will help you learn key library science and communication skills:
Information technology — Stay at the forefront of information technology trends by learning to create and maintain digital libraries, utilize large information systems, leverage digital archives, manage important data, and much more.
Research and fact-checking — Promote critical thinking skills for your organization by helping others to explore vast quantities of information, discover credible and reliable sources, and understand hallmarks of misinformation.
Community engagement — Play an active role in your community and increase their information literacy through event planning, workshop creation, educational programming, historical archiving, and cultural preservation.
Library and information science jobs to pursue with an MLIS degree
Earning an online master's in library and information science allows you to pursue a wide range of career opportunities in fields related to information management, librarianship, and archiving. Some of the library science jobs that you could pursue after earning your MLIS degree include:
Librarian and library media specialists — Manage library collections, organize programs and events, and promote information literacy across a variety of settings including public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, and corporate libraries.
Information specialist — Access information resources, conduct research, and support decision-making processes across a range of organizations and government agencies.
Archivists and curators — Preserve and manage cultural and historical materials in collections and museums.
Library director — Oversee operations of a library to ensure it meets the needs of readers, operates within budget, and aligns with the organizational or community goals.
Master’s in library science job outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of librarians and library media specialists is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031 — about as fast as the average for all occupations.Footnote 1 However, there are a number of other jobs that you could pursue with your MLIS degree that could further align with your career goals and possibly grow at a faster rate.
Master’s in library science salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for librarians and library media specialists in 2021 was USD61,190 per year.Footnote 1 Please note, however, that the highest 10% of librarians and library media specialists earned more than USD97,870 in 2021.Footnote 1
Frequently asked questions
A master’s in library and information science degree prepares learners with key information management and archiving skills such as database management, research, archiving, and much more. Graduates of MLIS programs can pursue careers as librarians, archivists and curators, information specialists, library directors, and a variety of other information management-related roles.
Whether or not earning a master’s in library science is worth it to you depends on your own unique career goals. The growth of the field for librarians and library media specialists, for example, is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031 — and the median pay for librarians and library media specialists in 2021 was USD61,190 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Footnote 1 Be sure to explore other library science jobs that may match your interests and their potential for growth.
Earning your Master of Library and Information Science will typically take anywhere from 18 months. Like most online master's programs, an MLIS degree can take several years to complete on a part-time basis.
An artificial intelligence master’s will help you apply in-demand AI skills such as advanced machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and data engineering as well as develop a strong understanding of AI ethics. Each of these AI skills will help prepare you to work cross functionally and apply your skill set across a wide variety of industries such as technology, energy, marketing, finance, healthcare, and policy to name a few.
Master’s in library and information science degrees are typically accredited by the American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world.
While a bachelor’s degree in computer or data science, or a related information and technology field, can be helpful when applying for a Master of Library and Information Science, you may still be able to succeed in the program with your own unique professional and academic experience.