10 Great Deals: Master of Library Science Online 2019

Great College Deals - Top Online Degrees-01You may be interested in attaining an online master’s in library and information science, but you are worried that you lack the educational background. It is true that many master’s programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in the same area of knowledge as the advanced degree, but the field of library and information science, interestingly enough, actively seeks prospective master’s students who come from a wide range of backgrounds.

Partly because of the prevalence of technology, librarians increasingly are finding that they work within a community and are tasked with providing a greater variety of services than in the past. Librarians work with people of all ages. Today, librarians may be found not only in public libraries, but in businesses, hospitals, museums, and government agencies.

On any given day, librarians may find their work schedules will include social media management, website building, reference work, database design, cataloging, instruction, implementing library services, as well as a number of other activities. A short listing of skills that graduate school will develop for a career in library science involves oral and written communication, analytical thinking, organization, creativity, the motivation of employees and associates, and independent judgment.

During the final semester of the master’s program, students will complete a research thesis. For students planning to work in a school setting, a teacher’s certificate will likely be required. The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) is a fairly recent type of degree. As you read the school entries, you will see that there are several different ways to designate the program, such as Master of Information Studies, Master of Librarianship, or Master of Information, among others.

The following guide contains more information about achieving your online master’s degree in library and information science, how to utilize your degree, and the career positions that are open to you after graduation.

What does a master’s degree in library and information science do?

With an online advanced degree in the field of library and information science, you will be qualified to fulfill a wide range of jobs in many different settings, such as in corporations, academia, and governmental offices and agencies, including the military. Wherever there is a need for collection, research, and analysis of information, the skills and expertise of a librarian will be in high demand.
In considering only one job description, that of an academic librarian, it is easy to see that the job tasks are numerous and varied. An academic librarian may, all in the course of one day, respond to readers’ questions; catalog and classify the library’s resources; recruit, hire, and manage staff members; organize both paper-based and electronic documents, and maintain responsibility for the library’s computer systems. In addition, an academic librarian must ensure that the library’s materials fulfill the needs of all the users.

What does the degree cover?

An online master’s in library and information sciences equips students with a strong background in communication, systems development, philosophy of library service, administration, policy-making and interpreting, organization, staff management, and technology. Coursework includes the usual library subjects of collection development, archiving, reference work, cataloging, the history of libraries, media for children or young adults, information resources, the organization of information, overview of research methods, or pedagogy. Various degree specializations are possible, such as an emphasis on computer science and the related topics of information architecture or database design.
The curriculum for obtaining an MLS degree will vary a great deal from school to school. Often students will need to enroll in a practicum or internship, and the requirements of a particular institution should be understood. The last semester of graduate school will involve a proposal and the production of a thesis.

What jobs are available for degree holders and what is the job outlook for the profession?

Librarians work within the four major types of libraries, each with its own kinds of managers and users. Academic libraries are instituted to serve colleges and universities. Public libraries exist for the use of municipalities of all sizes. (Thirty percent of 2016 graduates are employed in public libraries.) School libraries meet the needs of children from kindergarten through grade 12. (Forty percent of librarians work in elementary and secondary schools.) Special libraries are located in specialized places, like museums, the military, hospitals, corporations or private businesses, and governments.

Some job titles include business librarian at a business university, library managers or directors, digital humanities librarian, geographic information system map specialist, supervisory librarian at a state or national library, technical information specialist, creative projects manager, archival consultant, web analytics manager, data management services librarian, and director of community service. More job titles will be given in the answer to the FAQ about salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field of library science will grow 9% in the period 2016-2026, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

What salaries can I expect in this field?

Here are a few annual average wage figures:

Public Libraries: $44,780
Archives and Special Collections: $45,710
College and University: $46,688
Elementary and Secondary School Librarians: $53,218
Medical Librarian: $53,866
Acquisitions: $57,749
Non-Profit Organizations: $58,396
Junior Colleges: $65,540
Private Industry: $73,272
Legal Services: $78,530
Academic: $17,500-$80,000
Computer Systems Design and Related Services: $83,940
Government: $27,099-$106,000

As with most careers, location plays a part in earnings. Washington, D.C., for instance, has the need to employ many more librarians than a state that is not centrally located, and the salaries reflect the difference. In D.C., the annual mean wage for librarians is $84,090, and in Wyoming, it is $52,690.
Nationwide, the average full-time salary for employed 2016 graduates was $51,798.
(Salary information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LibSource, and The Library Journal, Oct. 2017.)

Why should I study online instead of in a traditional college or university?

Online schools have many appealing features, such as the ability to earn a degree while fulfilling personal responsibilities such as a job and a home life. You will not spend time traveling to and from classes nor will you have traffic or parking hassles. Many colleges and universities offer a lower rate of tuition for those taking online classes. Accelerated programs are also an option.

How do I find the online master’s program in library and information science that is right for me?

Assessing the pros and cons of an online school involves the same procedures as assessing a traditional institution. You would search for accredited colleges, for instance, with attractive student to faculty ratios, and you would ascertain whether a school’s coursework fulfills the degree requirements. You would want a school with affordable tuition. You would seek an online school with reliable, accessible technology support. After-graduation resources are also very important. All of these factors may be checked electronically.

Does getting an online degree get me a different diploma than people who go to a brick-and-mortar institution?

Attending an online school for your master’s degree in library and information science will earn you the exact same diploma as if you had attended the brick-and-mortar college or university. The word online will not appear on your diploma. In many cases, you will have the same instructors that you would have had if you had physically attended the school.

How will I pay for an online master’s degree in library and information science?

As you read the information for the schools listed here, you will notice that many of them offer a discount to online students off the tuition rate that is charged to traditional students. Also, the higher out-of-state tuition may often be waived for online students. Applications for federal student aid and scholarships are made in the same way for online schools as for traditional schools.

What kind of skills does online college require?

Whether students attend an online or a traditional school, they should possess certain qualities, such as personal discipline and the ability to organize and prioritize responsibilities. Tests can be found online to assess these qualities. You will also need a certain level of technological proficiency, but the fact that you have read to this point in this document attests to your abilities.

How were these rankings arrived at?

A number of factors entered into this ranking of the 10 best deals on online master’s degrees in library and information science programs. These factors are broken down in the bullet points below. Where there is a tie on points in school rankings, tuition cost will be the deciding factor. Another factor is a school’s student to faculty ratio, as well as bonus points that may be awarded for tuition breaks for out of state online students. A more detailed breakdown of the process is described here.

#10 – University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

The University of Missouri kicks off this list of the top 10 great deals on an online master of library science for 2019.

Online Master of Library and Information Science

Website
Points: 11
Enrollment: 33,239
Tuition: $23,172
The University of Missouri was the first public institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. With a student to faculty ratio of 19 to 1, the school offers an online master of library and information science that is a 39 credit hour program including coursework in the organization of information and digital libraries. The University of Missouri offers an online, graduate tuition rate of $360 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#9 – University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

The University of South Florida’s school mascot is the Bull.

Master of Arts in Library and Information Science Online

Website
Points: 11
Enrollment: 42,861
Tuition: $19,048
The University of South Florida is the fourth-largest institution of higher learning in the Sunshine State. With a student to faculty ratio of 22 to 1, the school offers an online master of arts in library and information science that is a 39 credit hour program, including coursework in instructional graphics and history of libraries. The University of South Florida offers an online, out of state, graduate tuition rate of $877.17 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#8 – North Carolina Central University

Durham, North Carolina

North Carolina Central University has a low student to faculty ratio.

Online Master of Library Science

Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 8,094
Tuition: $19,106
North Carolina Central University is an HBCU that was established in 1891. With a student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1, the school offers an online master of library science that is a 36 credit hour program including coursework in uses of information and research methods. North Carolina Central University offers an online, out of state, graduate tuition rate of $891.64 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#7 – University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has a low hourly tuition rate for online students.

Master of Library and Information Studies Online

Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 19,647
Tuition: $18,937
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro was established in 1891, and the school mascot is the Spartan. With a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1, the school offers an online master of library and information studies that is a 36 credit hour program, including coursework in archival management and information ethics. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers an online out of state graduate tuition rate of $534.41 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#6 – University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

The University of North Texas’ athletic programs are known as the “Mean Green.”

Online Master of Science in Library Science

Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 38,145
Tuition: $12,794
The University of North Texas was established as a teacher’s college in 1890. With a student to faculty ratio of 26 to 1, the school offers an online master of science in library science that is a 36 credit hour program, including coursework in information organization and knowledge inquiry. The University of North Texas offers an online, graduate, non-resident tuition rate of $505.16 per credit hour. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#5 – East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

East Carolina State University offers a 36 credit hour master of library science online.

Master of Library of Science Online

Website
Points: 13
Enrollment: 28,962
Tuition: $17,898
East Carolina University is the third-largest institution of higher learning in the Tarheel State. With a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1, the school offers an online master of library science that is a 36 credit hour program, including coursework in technology for libraries and materials for young adults. East Carolina University offers an online, out of state, graduate tuition rate of $877.35 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#4 – University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi does not charge out of state tuition to online students.

Online Master of Library and Information Science

Website
Points: 13
Enrollment: 14,552
Tuition: $16,419
The University of Southern Mississippi is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with high research activity. With a student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1, the school offers an online master of library and information science that is a 40 credit hour program including coursework in library management and library information science. The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online graduate tuition rate of $446.12 per credit hour, regardless of residency. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#3 – Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia

Valdosta State University has a low hourly tuition rate for their online Master of Library Science.

Master of Library and Information Science Online

Website
Points: 13
Enrollment: 11,375
Tuition: $15,750
Valdosta State University began life in 1906 as a Normal College for the education of teachers. With a student to faculty ratio of 20 to 1, the school offers an online master of library and information science that is a 39 credit hour program, including coursework in services in the knowledge society and resources for clients. Valdosta State University offers an online, out of state, graduate tuition rate of $505.50 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#2 – Texas Woman’s University

Denton, Texas

Texas Woman’s University was established in 1901.

Online Master of Library Science

Website
Points: 14
Enrollment: 15,655
Tuition: $12,142
Texas Woman’s University is the largest public institution of higher learning in the US that primarily serves women. With a student to faculty ratio of 19 to 1, the school offers an online master of library science that is a 36 credit hour program, including coursework in information organization and collection development. Texas Woman’s University offers an online, out of state, graduate tuition rate of $674.56 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#1 – Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois

Dominican University tops this list of 10 great deals for an online master of library science in 2019.

Master of Library and Information Science Online

Website
Points:15
Enrollment: 3,522
Tuition: $17,993
Dominican University is a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning affiliated with the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. With a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1, the school offers an online master of library and information science that is a 36 credit hour program, including coursework in the organization of knowledge and facilitating use knowledge. Dominican University offers an online, graduate tuition rate of $850 per credit hour for this program. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

By Jennifer W. Eisenberg
September 2018

This concludes our ranking of great deals on online master’s in library science degrees.