Why This Matters

  • CHOOSE FROM OVER 20 POTENTIAL CAREER PATHS

    Library science is a very versatile degree that prepares graduates to work in public, school, or specialized libraries; museums; non-profits; and academic institutions.

  • DEMAND FOR ARCHIVISTS TO RISE 14% BY 2026

    As more businesses and institutions shift from paper to electronic files, the need for archivists who can safely and properly digitize documents is increasing at a faster-than-average pace.

  • EARN $25,000 MORE PER YEAR WITH A MASTER’S

    A master’s degree is typically required to work as a librarian in an academic or public library setting. The annual median wage is $59,050, compared to $34,050 for a non-degree library assistant position.

Our Research

We primarily reviewed programs that offer a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree, although we also included Master of Science (MS) in Library Science degrees. The different degree types may have different pedagogical approaches, but both offer the training necessary for careers in library science.

All of the programs listed are offered at regionally accredited institutions. The American Library Association (ALA) accredits MLS programs in the U.S. Most, but not all, of the programs on our list have ALA accreditation. Others are accredited through the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP).

We included programs delivered through in-person, online, and hybrid formats. The programs are ranked by evaluating their reputation, faculty, cost, and course strength, and giving them an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 88 hours to write this article
  • 162 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 242 education programs we compared

The Top 46 Online Master’s in Library Science Programs

Best Online Master's in Library Science Degree Programs
01
Sam Houston State University

intelligent score 99.91

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $320.25 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 936-294-1151

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
UNC Greensboro

intelligent score 99.2

Award Best for Out-of-State Students

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Out-of-State Students

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library and Information Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department Department of Library and Information Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit $637.50 per credit

accreditation American Library Association, ALA

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 336-334-3477

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library and Information Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Western Kentucky University

intelligent score 95.53

Award Best Public University

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Public University

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Library Media Education
Available Concentrations: Library Media Specialist, Educational Technology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

Department Department of Library Science

Estimated Cost per Credit $707.00 per credit

accreditation National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, Association for Educational Communication Technology, NCATE, AECT

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 270-745-5173

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Library Media Education
Available Concentrations: Library Media Specialist, Educational Technology

Required Credits to Graduate 30 credits

01
Middle Tennessee State University

intelligent score 94.39

Award Best Field Experiences

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Field Experiences

Delivery Format Online

Programs Masters in Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $522 per credit; Out-of-State: $783 per credit

accreditation NCATE

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 615-898-2233

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Masters in Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
University of Central Missouri

intelligent score 94.11

Award Good Value

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Good Value

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $349 per credit

accreditation Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, American Association of School Librarians , CAEP, AASL

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 660-543-4111

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services

Required Credits to Graduate 33 credits

01
Clarion University of Pennsylvania

intelligent score 93.86

Award Student Recommended

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Student Recommended

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library Science
Available Concentrations: Reference and User Services, Local and Archival Studies, School Media, Certificate in Advanced Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 40 credits

Department Department of Information and Library Science

Estimated Cost per Credit $676.60 per credit

accreditation American Library Association, ALA

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 814-393-2000

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Library Science
Available Concentrations: Reference and User Services, Local and Archival Studies, School Media, Certificate in Advanced Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 40 credits

01
Minnesota State University, Mankato - Graduate Studies

intelligent score 92.16

Award Best Advisors

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Advisors

Delivery Format Online

Programs M.S. in School Library and Information Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 34 credits

Department College of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit $411.00 per credit

accreditation Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, CAEP

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-722-0544

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs M.S. in School Library and Information Studies

Required Credits to Graduate 34 credits

01
SUNY at Albany

intelligent score 91.96

Award Best School Librarian Focus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best School Librarian Focus

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Information Science School Library

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $196.38 per credit; Out-of-State: $685 per credit

accreditation American Library Association

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 518-442-3980

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Information Science School Library

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
University of Kentucky

intelligent score 91.65

Award Best in the South

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best in the South

Delivery Format Online

Programs Masters Degree in Library Science
Available Concentrations: Academic Libraries, Health Information, Information Systems, Public Libraries, School Librarian Program, Youth Services and Literature

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College of Communication and Information

Estimated Cost per Credit $647.00 per credit

accreditation American Library Association, ALA

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 859-218-0956

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Masters Degree in Library Science
Available Concentrations: Academic Libraries, Health Information, Information Systems, Public Libraries, School Librarian Program, Youth Services and Literature

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
University at Buffalo

intelligent score 91.37

Award Best Music Librarianship Focus

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Music Librarianship Focus

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Information and Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department School of Education

Estimated Cost per Credit In-State: $939 per credit; Out-of-State: $1,266.55 per credit

accreditation American Library Association

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 716-645-2110

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs Master of Science in Information and Library Science

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Best in the Southeast
North Carolina Central University
01
Flexible Completion Time
University of Missouri
01
Best Archival Studies Focus
St. John's University
01
Best Business Focus
University Of Southern California
01
Best Financial Aid
University Of Denver
01
Best Information Technology Focus
Northeastern State University
01
Best Electives
The University of Iowa - School of Library and Information Science
01
Best Educational Technology Focus
Texas A&M University-Commerce
01
Best in the Midwest
Indiana University - Online
01
Best in the Northeast
Long Island University
01
Best Public Research University
University of Maryland
01
Long-Running Program
The University of Alabama
01
Most Affordable
Valdosta State University
01
Most Specialization Options
Texas Woman's University
01
Most Military Friendly School
University of Southern Mississippi
01
Best Part-Time Program
University of Northern Iowa
01
Best Dual Degree Options
Appalachian State University
01
Best in the West
San Jose State University
01
Simple Enrollment Process
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
01
High Retention Rate
University of South Carolina
01
Nationally Recognized
East Carolina University
01
Best Hybrid Program
Chicago State University
01
Best Dual Degree Options
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
01
Best Scholarships
University of Wisconsin-Madison
01
Best Alumni Network
The University of Oklahoma
01
Best Cohort-Based Program
Emporia State University
01
Best in the Southwest
University of Arizona
01
Most Customizable
Rutgers University
01
Best Research-Focused Program
Kent State University
01
Alumni Recommended
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
01
Best in the Northwest
University of Washington
01
Best Private University
Dominican University
01
Most Flexible
Louisiana State University
01
Most Experienced Faculty
University of Pittsburgh
01
Best Private Research University
Syracuse University - School of Information Studies
01
Most Interactive Curriculum
Drexel University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Although not all MLS programs have ALA accreditation, attending an ALA-accredited program will give you the best advantages when it comes to finding a job. Some employers, particularly public libraries and schools, require job candidates to have a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program. If you choose to attend a non-accredited program, be sure to talk to an advisor about what your career options will be post-graduation.

Individuals who go on to work as librarians in public schools typically need teaching certification. In some states, public librarians need to be certified as well. The certification procedures and requirements vary by state, and they may affect where you earn your degree and in what format (online versus in-person). If you’re planning on working in a school or public library, review your state’s requirements, and be sure to select a program that fulfills those requirements.

Many programs, even those offered fully online, have experiential learning components that involve working on-site in a library or related setting. Students who are enrolling in an online program should find out what, if any, in-person requirements the program may have and confirm that they can fit into their schedule and lifestyle.

Professional librarians have the option of becoming members of the ALA for networking, career development, and leadership opportunities.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Library Science programs:

  • Does this program have the specialization that I want? As a broad field, library science has many opportunities for specialization in areas like educational technology, archives and records, academic librarianship, and digital preservation. Now is a good time to explore options for specialization and select a school that will let you focus on your area of interest.
  • Am I eligible for this program? Generally, MLS programs accept students from all academic backgrounds, but programs specializing in academic librarianship may require students to already have teaching certification. Be sure to review admissions requirements carefully to ensure you have the necessary qualifications before applying.

As you research programs, you will also want to check out their application requirements and deadlines. Knowing what materials you need to submit and when they are due ensures a smooth, stress-free application process. You can find this information on the program’s website or by contacting the school’s admissions office.

It’s also important to consider how you will finance your degree. Ask your program about scholarships, assistantships, and loans. If you are currently employed, find out if your job offers tuition assistance benefits.