25 Best Masters’ Degrees in Library Science 2020

| Staff

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Today, information is as abundant and accessible as ever. The following 25 Best Master’s Degrees in Library Science equip individuals to manage this information in compelling and dynamic ways. 

In today’s Information Age, we can access a world of knowledge at our fingertips. But the amount of information available to us can be overwhelming if not optimally organized and presented. That’s where librarians and information specialists come in.

The following 25 Best Masters’ Degrees in Library Science emphasize the significance of information in modern society. Each program trains students to procure, present, and protect the information in a variety of settings. Through electives and specializations, students can personalize their plans of study to meet their career goals in the world of information. Graduates may work in academic, public, school, and special libraries, in historical archives and government information agencies, and beyond. Information specialists’ work helps promote learning, awareness, and intellectual freedom in society. 

With the growth of digital media, a master’s degree in Library Science is as relevant and vital as ever. According to the 2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, librarians earned a median salary of $59,050 in 2018. The demand for librarians is growing at a projected rate of nine percent, which is about as fast as average. Information technology occupations are growing at a project rate of 13 percent, with a median salary of $86,320 in 2018. Experts are needed to preserve not only rare books and historical documents but also online materials and data, and to connect people and information through both traditional and dynamic, technology-driven sources.

Best Masters’ Degrees in Library Science

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 25 Best Masters’ Degrees in Library Science for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 

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Accredited Online College Programs

Here are the 25 Best Masters’ Degrees in Library Science for 2019 – 2020!

  1. University of California, Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California, Los Angeles, offers GSH's top Master of Library and Information Science program. The degree program covers archival, information science, and library theory, as well as information seeking, retrieval, and technology expertise. The core curriculum consists of four required courses: Artifacts and Cultures, Description and Access, Systems and Infrastructures, and Values and Communities. Students may choose from five approved specializations: Archival Studies, Informatics, Library Studies, Media Archival Studies, and Rare Books/Print and Visual Culture. Students are also given opportunities to engage in professional internships with organizations across Southern California. The program culminates in each student's presentation of either a portfolio or research thesis.

    UCLA was established in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California. Today, it is a public research university and a member of the 10-campus University of California system. A land-grant institution, UCLA is a member of the Association of American Universities. It is also considered one of the nation's "Public Ivies." The university's library system holds over nine million volumes across 12 libraries and 11 additional facilities. The university's MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association and ranked No. 14 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. Newsalso ranks UCLA No. 23 in innovation, No. 19 overall, and the No. 1 best public university in the nation.

  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a Master of Science in Library and Information Science. The degree program incorporates real-world application through assistantships, community service, research, and work experience. It requires 48 semester hours of graduate-level coursework. Students can choose from informal concentrations such as Academic Libraries, Digital Libraries, and Special Libraries and Knowledge Management. Required MSLS courses include Human Information Interactions, Information Resources and Services, and Resource Selection and Evaluation. All students must also fulfill an information technology competency requirement and write a master's paper.

    Chartered in 1789, UNC-Chapel Hill is one of three schools to hold the title of the oldest public university in the United States. The public research university is the flagship campus of the 17-member University of North Carolina system. UNC is counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." Chapel Hills' library system holds more than seven million volumes, and the university's North Carolina Collection is the most extensive collection about any single state in the nation. The university is also home to ibiblio, one of the world's largest public information collections. The American Library Association has accredited the university's MSLS program since 1934. U.S. News & World Reportranks the program third in the nation, and first in both digital and health librarianship. The site also ranks UNC No. 30 overall nationally, eighth for best value, and fifth among public schools.

  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a Master of Science in Library and Information Science. The degree program can be completed residentially or online. The online program uses real-time virtual classrooms. All students must attend an on-campus orientation. The program includes two required courses: Information, Organization, and Access and Libraries, Information, and Society. Students can follow one of six possible professional pathways, such as Archival and Special Collections, Data and Asset Management, and Youth and K-12. Students are offered opportunities to participate in extracurricular and networking activities and to engage in internships and field experiences.

    U of I was established in 1867 as an industrial institution. Today, it is the flagship research institution of the University of Illinois System. The U of I library system houses the second-largest university library collection in the United States, after Harvard University. It includes more than 20 departmental libraries, which hold more than 24 million items. The American Library Association has accredited the university's MSLIS program since 1926. U.S. News & World Reportranks the program the No. 1 graduate-level Library and Information Studies program in the nation. It also lists the university No. 46 overall in the country and No. 13 among public institutions.

  4. University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Texas at Austin offers a Master of Science in Information Science. The professional degree program offers a flexible curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership roles in the information field. It consists of 40 semester hours of coursework. The core curriculum consists of three core courses: Information in Social and Cultural Context, Perspectives on Information, and Understanding Research. Students are offered several focus area options, including Archives, Digital Humanities, Health Informatics, Librarianship, and Web Development. Students may also choose to pursue a School Librarian Certificate. The program culminates in the student's choice of a master's report or thesis, a professional experience project, or a school library practicum. All students must also complete an electronic portfolio.

    Founded in 1883, UT Austin has the eighth-largest single-campus enrollment in the United States. The campus is home to 17 libraries, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center holds one of the remaining 21 complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible, one of the earliest and most valuable printed books in the world. U.S. News & World Reportranks UT Austin fifth in graduate Library and Information Studies programs nationwide. The site also lists the university No. 49 nationally, No. 16 in innovation, and No. 15 among public institutions.

  5. University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Wisconsin - Madison offers a Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies. The degree program can be completed either residentially or online on a full-time or part-time basis. It is a generalist program, meaning it covers a variety of careers involving information. It requires 39 credits of study. Requirements include three core courses, at least one course in both management and technology, a field experience, and an electronic portfolio. Once they complete the requirements, students can focus on one concentration area or mix courses across areas. Concentration areas include Archives in a Digital Age, Data & Analytics, Librarianship, and User Experience & Information Technology. Students have the option to enhance their degree with a certificate in Innovation and Organizational Change or Leadership.

    Founded in 1848, UW-Madison is an establishing constituent of the Association of American Universities. The American Library Association has accredited the university's MA in Library and Information Studies since 1924. U.S. News & World Reportranks the program No. 14 among graduate-level Library and Information Studies programs nationwide. The site also lists the university No. 49 nationally and No. 15 among public institutions.

  6. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida State University offers a Master of Science in Information degree program. The program covers areas including information architecture and technology and youth information needs and services. The program requires 36 semester hours of study, which can be completed entirely online. Students may choose to follow a specialized program of study in an area such as cultural informatics, health informatics, or web design. Core courses include Information Organization, Management of Information Organizations, and Research Methods in Information Studies. Each student must also satisfy at technology skills requirement, with course options such as Digital Libraries, Managing Makerspaces, and Network Administration. Students may also choose to pursue a master's thesis, though it is not a requirement for the degree.

    Founded in 1851, FSU is the oldest continuous higher education site in Florida. Located in Tallahassee, it is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. FSU is a public sea-grant and space-grant research university. The FSU Library System home to one of the most significant document collections in Florida. The university's MS in Information program is accredited by the American Library Association and ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.The site also lists the program first in School Library Media. The university is ranked No. 70 in National Universities, No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 26 in Top Public Schools.

  7. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Washington offers a Master of Library and Information Science. The degree program can be completed in an in-person or online format. The residential program is designed to be completed in two years on a full-time basis, and online students can progress through their studies at their own pace. Students have the option to pursue a Law Librarianship program or School Library Media Endorsement. MLIS students are also offered opportunities to study abroad, complete a directed fieldwork internship, and engage in research projects and events. Graduates of the program are equipped for information management roles in corporate, nonprofit, and library settings.

    Founded in 1861, UW is the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state. The university has a main campus in Seattle's University District and satellite campuses in the Washington towns of Tacoma and Bothell. The university includes one of the largest library systems in the world, with more than 26 university libraries. U.S. News & World Reportranks UW's MLIS program second in the nation and first in Law Librarianship. The site also ranks UW No. 59 in National Universities, No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 20 in Top Public Schools.

  8. University of Maryland, College Park
    Location

    College Park, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Maryland, College Park offers a Master of Library and Information Science. The degree program incorporates social engagement and a technological focus in its approach to information science. It can be completed online, in person, or a hybrid format. Students can choose from programs of study in areas such as Archives and Digital Curation, School Libraries, and Youth Experience. The MLIS program requires 36 credit hours of study. The core curriculum consists of four courses: Achieving Organizational Excellence, Creating Information Infrastructures, Designing Principled Inquiry, and Serving Information Needs. Students can choose to complete a field study experience or research thesis to graduate within three years. Founded in 1856, UMD is categorized in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation and counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." Its MLIS program is accredited by the American Library Association and ranked eighth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The site also lists the university No. 63 overall nationally and No. 22 among public institutions.

  9. Rutgers University - New Brunswick
    Location

    New Brunswick, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rutgers University offers a Master of Information degree through its School of Communication and Information. The degree program is data-driven, career-oriented, and intensive in information technology. It can be completed online or on campus. Students can choose from seven concentration areas, including archives and preservation, interaction design and informatics, and school library media. Course offerings include Human Information Behavior, Interaction Design, Research Methods, and Planning Outreach Services. The curriculum culminates in the production of an electronic capstone portfolio. Graduates of the program are prepared for careers as archivists, data scientists, knowledge managers, librarians, technologists, and web designers.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers the oldest and flagship Rutgers campus consists of smaller schools throughout New Brunswick and Piscataway, New Jersey. Historically a private liberal arts college, Rutgers is now a public state research university. It is also a land-grant institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. The New Brunswick campus is counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." The American Library Association accredits the university's Master of Information program. U.S. News & World Reportranks the program seventh nationally and first in School Library Media. The site also lists the university No. 56 overall nationally and No. 17 among public institutions.

  10. Indiana University Bloomington
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Indiana University Bloomington offers a Master of Library Science degree program. The program has a strong focus on digital media in the realm of information and librarianship. It requires 36 credit hours of study. Course requirements include Perspectives in Librarianship, Representation and Organization, User Services and Tools, and an internship in the field. Optional courses include Database Design, Human-Computer Interaction, and Metadata. Students will gain hands-on experience working with archives, manuscripts, and rare books. The majority of MLS students work at IU libraries and documentary institutions on campus. Graduates are prepared for careers in academic, public, and special libraries.

    Founded in 1820, IU is the flagship institution of the Indiana University system. The public research university is also the largest in the system by enrollment. The American Library Association accredits the university's MLS program. U.S. News & World Reportranks the program the ninth-best graduate-level Library and Information Studies program in the nation. The site also ranks IU 89th in National Universities and No. 38 in Top Public Schools.

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