Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

TBS Staff Writers
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Updated May 30, 2024
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Degrees in library and information science lead to fulfilling careers in museums, schools, libraries, and private collections.

Many students pursue a librarian degree online because they love reading and books. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that librarians make a comfortable salary of $61,660 per year and projects the field will grow 3% between 2022 and 2032.

Most traditional librarian jobs require MLIS degrees. However, library science programs increasingly focus on digital information and emerging technologies — skills graduates can use in a variety of roles. Companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations all need skilled professionals to help manage digital information, and a library science master’s degree can qualify you for these roles.

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What Is an Online Master’s in Library and Information Science Degree?

An online master’s in library and information science is the terminal professional degree required for most professional librarian jobs in North America. It usually takes full-time students 1-2 years to complete a librarian degree online.

Students who pursue library and information science master’s students typically aspire to work as librarians, curators, and other information professionals. Degree-seekers include students coming straight from earning a bachelor’s degree, library workers who want to qualify for higher-paying jobs with more responsibility, and professionals in other fields who want to change careers.

Master’s in library and information science degrees develop communication, interpersonal, organizational, and technology skills. Students explore the theory behind information systems and learn to use reference systems, effective search techniques, and research techniques and strategies.

Choosing an Online Program

Prospective students need to consider their own unique goals and needs when deciding where to earn a librarian degree online. Factors to consider include accreditation, cost of tuition, internship requirements, and available specializations, which can help students pursue niche careers. Below, learn more about how to choose the best online library science degree programs.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master’s in Library and Information Science Program?

Specific courses and program requirements vary by program. Core courses often include data management, information resources, and economics of information.

Library and Information Science Curriculum

Library and Information Science Professional Organizations

Joining a professional organization offers benefits like networking opportunities, access to resume and job help, and subscriptions to journals. Many professional organizations in library and information science offer membership discounts for students and recent graduates.

The largest and oldest library association in the world, ALA provides leadership in the field. Member benefits include access to online courses, professional and leadership development, and networking with other library professionals.

A division of ALA, ALCTS is a national organization for information professionals who work in technical services. Members have access to continuing education, professional development, publications, and a peer network of information exchange.

AASL serves more than 7,000 school librarians. Members can access publications, networking opportunities, professional development, and a discounted conference rate. Members can also participate in committees to gain leadership skills.

Library and Information Science Careers

Master’s degrees in library and information science lay a strong foundation for many diverse career paths, not just the ones listed below. Common occupations for graduates include librarian, college professor, and curator.

The Best Online Master’s in Library and Information Science Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

University of Southern California

  • Location-markerLos Angeles, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$57,256
  • Out-of-state$57,256
  • Retention Rate96%
  • Acceptance Rate11%
  • Students Enrolled48,321
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment17%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Location-markerChampaign, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,188
  • Out-of-state$33,127
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled51,605
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Location-markerMadison, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,273
  • Out-of-state$36,333
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate54%
  • Students Enrolled44,257
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment18%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

The University of Alabama

  • Location-markerTuscaloosa, AL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,780
  • Out-of-state$30,250
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled38,100
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment13%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Online Master’s in Library & Information Science Programs

Appalachian State University

  • Location-markerBoone, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,242
  • Out-of-state$19,049
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled19,280
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment23%
  • AccreditationYes

Best Online Programs

Masters in Library and Information Science

2023


The Best Schools

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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