Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs

With the rise of digital media and online publishing, one might be surprised to find out that there is still a high demand for librarians. In fact, according to the BLS, careers in library science are projected to grow by 9% from 2016-2026 and earn an average median salary of $58,520 per year, though income may vary depending on your state. Librarians are responsible for helping people conduct research and locate information in a variety of library settings, such as schools, government offices, and public facilities. This field is highly competitive and requires a lot of training. To become a librarian, you must earn a master’s in library science through an American Library Association accredited program. In addition to traditional library science coursework, many programs now include classes and concentrations for students looking to work as digital librarians for one of many digital media sources.

Methodology

To be considered for our list of most affordable online master’s in library science degree programs, the institution must be regionally accredited and offer master’s in library science online degrees, or some closely related variation of the MLS degree. We looked at approximately 85 accredited colleges and universities that offered online MLS programs and narrowed our search by selecting the most affordable schools. To further narrow our selections, we attempted to include only institutions that had received at least one ranking or recognition from a major publications like U.S. News and World Report. We then listed our top 25 schools and programs in order of raw affordability with data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics – NCES College Navigator.

#25 – University of Illinois

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Champaign, Illinois

Website

University of Illinois - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

ALA accreditation – University of Illinois’ online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,224

The University of Illinois offers students an online master’s in library science via distance learning. The degree is housed in the UI School of Information Sciences and is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The degree features a wide range of course options and only requires students to take two foundational courses, including information organization and access and libraries, information, and society. Once two courses are complete, students can choose a pathway that fits their career interests. Pathways include archival and special collections, data and asset management, information organization and management, knowledge management and competitive intelligence, research and information services, and Youth and K-12. U.S. News and World Report ranks the program #1 in best library and information sciences program.

#24 – Wayne State University

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Detroit, Michigan

Website

Wayne State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Wayne State University offers an ALA-accredited online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,164

Wayne State University provides online MLS programs for those interested in graduate level coursework working towards an American Library Association (ALA) accredited degree. The curriculum consists of 36 credits, including 18 core credits and 18 specialization credits. Specializations include library services, information management, and archives and digital content management. Common core classes include access to information, information technology, introduction to the information profession, and library administration and management. Admission requirements include bachelor’s degree, 3.0 GPA, personal statement, and current resume. Applicants not meeting the 3.0 GPA threshold can apply under alternative admission standards. U.S. News and World Report ranks Wayne State University #223 in national universities.

#23 – University of Washington

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Seattle, Washington

Website

University of Washington - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

GRE scores recommended – University of Washington’s online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,272

The University of Washington’s Information School offers an online library science degree for individuals seeking the convenience of distance learning delivery combined with rigorous curriculum. Admission requirements include personal statement, diversity statement, three recommendations, resume, and transcripts. Students with an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0 are encouraged to submit GRE scores. The online MLIS degree requires a visit to the UW campus for a 3-day orientation. The entire program is 63 quarter credits and may include courses such as instructional and training strategies for information professionals, management of information organizations, and organization of information and resources. U.S. News and World Report ranks the UW MILS program #2 in library science programs.

#22 – University of Kentucky

Online Master’s in Library Science

Lexington, Kentucky

Website

University of Kentucky - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

ALA accredited and affordable – University of Kentucky’s online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,726

The University of Kentucky is one of the top online MLS programs accredited by the American Library Association. The program is offered through UK’s College of Communication and Information and is available fully online. Students can choose from a wide variety of concentrations such as academic libraries, health information, information technology and systems, public libraries, school libraries, youth services and literature, or a generalist option. Core classes include information in society, information seeking, information representation and access, and management in library information science. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of Kentucky #20 in best library and information studies programs and #4 in health librarianship

#21 – Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Website

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

LSU’s online master’s in library science offers specialization options.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,447

LSU offers an online library science degree through its School of Library & Information Science. The program includes 36 semester credit hours, including 18 core credits and 18 elective credits. Required courses include information and society, information needs and information seeking, information technologies and systems, and organization of information. Although not required, students can choose specialization areas including academic librarian, cultural heritage management, adult services in public libraries, digital content management, youth services librarian, archival studies, and knowledge management. U.S. News and World Report ranks Louisiana State University #133 in national universities and #37 in best library and information studies programs.

#20 – Western Kentucky University

Online Master’s in Library Media Education

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website

Western Kentucky University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Designed for teachers – Western Kentucky University’s online master’s in library media education.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,780

Western Kentucky University offers a library science online program featuring a unique curriculum with a dual concentration in library information services and educational technology. The program prepares graduates for top positions as library media specialists, training specialists, and educational technology specialists within a wide variety of public and private organizations. Admission requirements include 3.0 GPA in last 60 credit hours, resume, two letters of recommendation, and minimum 3-page writing sample. Students without teacher certification who are seeking initial certification must submit GRE scores. The program consists of 33 credits, including concentrations in library media specialist and education technology specialist. WKU is ranked #32 in regional universities South.

#19 – Jacksonville State University

Online Master’s in Library Media

Jacksonville, Alabama

Website

Jacksonville State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

GRE scores required – Jacksonville State University’s online master’s in library media.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,918

Jacksonville State University offers an online master’s in library science designed for currently licensed educators with a teaching certification in any area. Completing the Jacksonville State program, students will be eligible for master’s level certification in library media for grades P-12. The admission process includes transcripts, FBI background check, GMAT/GRE/MAT scores, three letters of recommendation, teaching certification, resume, and interview. Courses include children and young adult literature, curriculum integration of technology, learning through interactive technologies, and psychological principles of learning. U.S. News and World Report ranks Jacksonville State University #89 in regional universities South for its 2018 cohort of institutions.

#18 – Middle Tennessee State University

Online Master’s in Library Science

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Website

Middle Tennessee State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Middle Tennessee State’s online master’s in library science is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,594

Middle Tennessee State University offers a master’s in library science online for individuals seeking graduate level curriculum in library sciences and technology they can use to leverage career growth and master additional skills and knowledge within the field. The program is 36 credits with all courses being delivered online. Students are required to complete two field experiences as a way to gain practical experience. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, submit three letters of recommendation, and write a 500-word statement. Major core courses include collection development and user services, librarianship, organizing library resources, reference materials and processes, and understanding research for evaluation in libraries. MTSU is ranked #231 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#17 – Murray State University

Online Master’s in Library Media

Murray, Kentucky

Website

Murray State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Affordability! Murray State University’s online master’s in library science is under $10,000 per year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,504

Murray State University offers one of the top online MLS programs for educators seeking certification in library media within an educational context. The program conflates library science courses with the latest technology platforms and trends librarians need to know to assist students with learning in a rapidly changing digital society. The program consists of 33 credits–all delivered online with the exception of three practicum courses where students gain valuable experience working under the supervision of a librarian in their local community. Students without prior certification must complete a semester of student teaching. U.S. News and World Report ranks MSU #32 in regional universities South.

#16 – San Jose State University

Online Master’s in Library and Information

San Jose, California

Website

San Jose State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

San Jose State University’s online master’s in library science is ALA accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,155

San Jose State University provides an online library science degree that prepares graduates for a career in information services within a wide variety of contexts and organizations. The program is 100% online including all coursework, internships, and research assistant opportunities. There are no on-campus orientations, classes, or events. The vast majority of coursework is asynchronous, meaning students can complete tasks as their schedule allows. The San Jose State program has been educating students since 1928 and has been online since 2009. The program is fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). U.S. News and World Report ranks SJSU #35 in regional universities West.

#15 – University of Houston

Online Master’s in School Library and Information Science

Houston, Texas

Website

University of Houston - Online Master's Library Science

18 months from start to finish! University of Houston’s online master’s in school library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,710

The University of Houston’s College of Education offers a library science online program for educators seeking a rigorous graduate level curriculum designed for elementary, middle school, and high school educators. The program consists of 33 credits and can be completed in only 18 months taking three courses per semester for three semesters. The program’s mission is to teach and train students with the requisite skills to increase student learning regarding information and research as well as technology. Classes include administration of school library services, applications of technology, librarians as instructional partners, selecting literature and materials for young adults, and school library systems and services. UH is ranked #192 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#14 – University of Maryland University College

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Adelphi, Maryland

Website

University of Maryland University College - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

University of Maryland’s online master’s in library science is ALA accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,514

The University of Maryland University College offers a library science online program for individuals seeking graduate level education in the information sciences. Graduates go on to work for a variety of agencies and organizations including government, private industry, non-profit, and public institutions in positions such as librarians, archive professionals, child and youth services, information systems, researchers, and more. The program is fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Courses include achieving organizational excellence, creating information infrastructures, designing principled inquiry, and serving information needs. The UMUC program is ranked #5 in archives and presentations, #5 in information systems, and #5 in school library media by U.S. News and World Report.

#13 – University of Southern Mississippi

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

University of Southern Mississippi - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Ranked and ALA accredited – University of Southern Mississippi’s master’s in library science online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,218

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online master’s in library science fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and designed for students seeking a fully online degree program with no on-campus requirements. The Southern Mississippi program includes courses such as cataloging and classification, collection development and management, foundations of librarianship, fundamentals of information science, and reference and information sources. The program includes a general track as well as a track that prepares students for school licensure. Graduates go on to work for a variety of organizations including government, private industry, non-profit, and other public sector entities. USM is ranked #231 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#12 – University of North Carolina

Online Master’s in Library and Information Science

Greensboro, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

UNC Greensboro offers an accredited online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,047

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers an online library science degree for students seeking a distance learning delivery combined with rigorous curriculum. The curriculum is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous delivery and requires no on-campus visits. The UNCG program is the oldest accredited program in the state of North Carolina and is fully accredited by the American Library Association. GRE and other test scores are waived for individuals with a 3.5 or higher undergraduate GPA. Students can specialize their coursework for a variety of sectors and institutions including academic, public, government, public schools, and more. U.S. News and World Report ranks UNCG #231 in national universities.

#11 – University of Central Missouri

Online Master’s in Library Science and Information Services

Warrensburg, Missouri

Website

University of Central Missouri - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

University of Central Missouri’s online master’s in library science requires an earned bachelor’s for admission.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,906

The University of Central Missouri’s master’s in library science online is geared towards teaching and training students to become school librarians in the K-20 system. The curriculum is a blend of library science classes and features a focus on information technology used in today’s technologically advanced classrooms and schools. The degree is delivered entirely online and is accredited by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Acceptance into the program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a 2.75 cumulative GPA, and a personal interview. UCM is ranked #87 in regional universities Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

#10 – Appalachian State University

Online Master’s in Library Science

Boone, North Carolina

Website

Appalachian State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

The online master’s in library science at Appalachian State is ALA accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,899

Appalachian State University offers an online library science degree consisting of 36 credits that is fully accredited by the American Association of School Librarians and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The program’s courses are delivered in synchronous and asynchronous formats. The synchronous delivery includes a 3-hour class where students and instructors gather in a virtual setting once per week. The degree is designed to be completed in two years with part-time enrollment. Applicants must submit a resume, transcripts, three references, and hold a bachelor’s degree. GRE scores can be waived in some instances. Courses may include collection development and management, collaborative media program planning and evaluation, integrating literature and media into instruction, and strategic administration of library resources and services. App State is ranked #8 in universities South by U.S. News and World Report.

#9 – University of Colorado

Online Master’s in Information and Learning Technologies

Denver, Colorado

Website

University of Colorado - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

30 credits + 90-hour internship. University of Colorado’s online master’s in information technologies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,839

University of Colorado at Denver offers one of the top online MLS programs that prepare librarian educators to make positive impacts in the institutions in which they lead and instruct. The UC-Denver program’s curriculum combines curriculum development, technology, and leadership training to make for a well-rounded course of study that results in skillful and knowledgeable librarians. The program includes 30 credit hours as well as a 90-hour internship where students can gain hands-on experience. A teacher’s license is desired, but not required to gain admittance into the program. University of Colorado Denver is ranked #205 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#8 – University of South Alabama

Online Master’s in Educational Media

Mobile, Alabama

Website

University of South Alabama - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Ideal for teachers – University of South Alabama’s online master’s in educational media.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,578

The University of South Alabama offers a master’s in library science online designed for educators seeking graduate level training in media and library technology. The goal of the program is to assist students to design and implement curriculum and technology into libraries and media centers in a P-12 educational setting. Completion of the program may qualify students to earn a Class A professional educator certificate in library media provided they hold a Class B certificate. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school, a valid Class A or B master’s level teaching certificate, and 2.75 GPA. Additionally, applicants must submit a two-page personal statement, resume, and have two years full-time teaching experience. USA is ranked #230 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#7 – North Carolina Central University

Online Master’s in Library Science

Durham, North Carolina

Website

North Carolina Central University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

NCCU’s online master’s in library science is a top ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,411

NCCU offers a fully online MLS designed to provide students with a foundational knowledge in research methods and informational systems. Students can concentrate their degree in one of seven areas, such as digital library sciences, archives and records management, and social media coordination. This program consists of 36 total credit hours. All coursework is accessible at any time and all assignments may be completed asynchronously. Distance learners have the option to accelerate their program and graduate within one year. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and have graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

#6 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Library Science Education

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

East Carolina University’s online master’s in library science is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,270

East Carolina University offers one of the top online MLS programs designed to teach and train future and current school library media coordinators. The program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and provides graduates with the opportunity to procure librarian and information professional jobs in various settings including K-12, universities, community colleges, and public libraries. The program admits new students during the fall and spring semesters. Applicants must have a minimum 2.7 GPA, GRE/MAT scores, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Courses may include foundations of library and information science, instructional foundations of the school library media program, and research literacy in library science. ECU is ranked #194 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#5 – University of North Texas

Online Master’s in Library Science

Denton, Texas

Website

University of North Texas - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

University of North Texas offers an online master’s in library science that is fully ALA accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,165

The University of North Texas offers a master’s in library science online that intersects information science, library science, and technology. The program is designed to teach and train graduate students to become librarians within a wide variety of contexts and organizations across the public and private sectors. The American Library Association accredited program can be completed on a full or part-time basis and is delivered mainly online. The program does require students to spend a total of six days on campus. Courses may include information access and knowledge inquiry, information and knowledge professions, metadata and networked information organization and retrieval, and organization and control of information resources. UNT is ranked #230 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#4 – Texas Woman’s University

Online Master’s in Library Science

Denton, Texas

Website

Texas Woman's University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

The online master’s in library science at Texas Woman’s University is ALA accredited and highly ranked with U.S. News.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,072

Texas Woman’s University’s online master’s in library science is an American Library Association (ALA) accredited program designed to train and teach graduates to obtain careers in information management within a variety of different industries and sectors. Students can choose from a wide selection of career tracks including academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, special libraries, health science libraries, information technology, technical services and cataloging, and community informatics. Admission requirements include 3.0 GPA, resume, bachelor’s degree, three letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose. No test scores required if GPA is 3.0 or above. TWU is ranked #230 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#3 – Valley City State University

Online Master’s in Library and Information Technologies

Valley City, North Dakota

Website

Valley City State University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Ranked and affordable – Valley City State’s online master’s in library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,916

The Valley City State University library science online program is a master’s degree program designed to prepare graduates to become licensed school library media specialists. All curriculum is designed to be taught online and was created to adhere to standards set by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the American Association of School Librarians, and the American Library Association. Courses may include applied research in current school library issues, collection development for 21st century school libraries, contemporary cataloging for the school library, and integrating information literacy and research standards. VCSU is ranked #42 in regional colleges Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

#2 – Texas A & M University

Online Master’s in Educational Technology and Library Science

Commerce, Texas

Website

Texas A & M University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

Affordable and accredited – Texas A&M’s online master’s in educational tech and library science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,194

Texas A&M University at Commerce offers a master’s in library science online designed to teach and train graduates to become educational technology professionals or becoming school librarians. The program is entirely online with no campus residential requirements or face-to-face coursework. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with 2.75 UGPA or a master’s degree with a 3.0 GPA. Students must also submit all transcripts and have a valid Texas teacher or principal certificate. Courses may include applying instructional media and technology, books and related materials for children and young adults, developing general and specialized collections, and web 2.0 technologies for instruction. Texas A&M Commerce is ranked #230 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#1 – East Central University

Online Master’s in Library Media

Ada, Oklahoma

Website

East Central University - Top 30 Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs 2018

The online master’s in library science at ECU is the #1 most affordable program on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,820

East Central University offers an online master’s in library science designed to prepare students to become school library media specialists in P-12 classrooms within public and private school settings. The program is delivered entirely online and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Graduates must hold a teaching certificate in an approved area and pass the OSAT test to become a certified library media specialist in Oklahoma. Courses include administration and use of instructional media, curriculum and the media center, principles of instructional design, and survey of emerging technologies. ECU is ranked #96 in regional universities West in by U.S. News and World Report.

GSH Staff
October 2018

This concludes our list of the top 30 affordable online master’s in library science degree programs for 2019.