Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects librarian positions to grow 3% through 2029. By then, there will be more than 150,000 available jobs in the field.


    Graduates can specialize as administrative services, public, academic, user services, special, school, or technical services librarians. Special librarians can further focus on medical, law, or corporate library sciences.


    The median annual salary for librarians is $59,500. That’s almost $29,000 more than the median annual wage of $30,560 for non-degree library technicians and assistants.

Our Research

We reviewed many master’s in library science programs. Most of these are Master of Library Science (MLS) programs, but there also are some Master of Science (MS) in Library Science programs.

Our list includes on-campus, online, and dual-mode programs, so many individuals should be able to find a workable option.

All of the programs on our list have regional accreditation, and many are accredited through the American Library Association (ALA) or Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP). The ALA accredits MLS programs, while CAEP awards accreditation to MS programs.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 72 hours to write this article
  • 202 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 231 education programs we compared

The Top 34 Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs

Best Master's in Library Science Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Attending an ALA-accredited MLS degree program will make you attractive to potential employers, but not all degrees are accredited by the ALA. Before enrolling in a program that’s not ALA-accredited, discuss your postgraduation employment outlook with an informed and impartial adviser.

If you want to work in public school libraries, you’ll likely also need to earn a state-issued teaching credential. Teaching certificates or licenses might require a bachelor’s degree in education or a similar field, and you might need to pass a postdegree exam.

If you intend to work in public school settings, an MS in Library Science that’s accredited by CAEP might be a suitable choice. MS programs tend to have a stronger emphasis on educational philosophies and techniques compared to MLS programs.

The majority of master’s in library science programs have an in-person experiential learning component, including most online programs. Make sure a program’s in-person component will be compatible with your schedule prior to applying.

After earning a library sciences degree, librarians can become members of the ALA. Membership is optional, but the organization offers helpful networking and career development opportunities.

What’s Next?

Ask these questions as you consider master’s in library science degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? MLS degree programs generally accept students who have bachelor’s degrees, regardless of the degree focus. A few programs that specialize in academic librarianship might require applicants to have a teaching credential. Make sure you meet a program’s requirements prior to applying.
  • What tests are required for this online degree? Many master’s in library science degrees don’t require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or another standardized test before applying. A few might require a sufficient GRE score, though, so check with individual programs to find out whether you’ll need to take the exam.

Once you’ve compiled a shortlist of programs that interest you, check the schools’ websites or contact them to learn about the admissions process. You’ll need to know which application materials you must submit and when they’re due.

Also think about how you’ll cover the cost of tuition. Ask programs about financial aid and scholarships. If you’re employed, you might have access to tuition reimbursement or remission from your employer.