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Master of library and information science
The role of the library continues to evolve. Once a place for checking out books, libraries have transformed into multipurpose information hubs for communities and private organizations. These facilities not only provide access to books, journals, media and other collections but expand the boundaries of information and research through technology. Librarians organize, catalog, store and monitor these information channels. Many additionally direct and educate users and design programming to the needs of the surrounding community or supporting organization.
As technology transforms how we interact with libraries, professionals in the information science field require a diverse skill set. The University of Missouri (Mizzou) helps you pursue a role in or adapt to the field with a fully online master of library and information science (MLIS). Prepare to make decisions through research, develop education programs and engage users through a core emphasizing the essential principles and methods of librarianship and the information science field. Students have the option to complete this degree alone or in conjunction with a master of public affairs (MPA).
Overseeing the online master of library and information science, the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT) is a proud member of iSchools, an international coalition of leading information schools.
About the online MLIS
As technology influences the growth and demands of the information science field, more public, private and school libraries are seeking out librarians equipped to serve diverse users through education, programming and guidance. At the same time, the profession’s core principles shape how traditional and digital information is stored, organized and accessed.
For decades, Mizzou has graduated library and information professionals ready to tackle new challenges and keep pace with the field. Today, the online master of library and information science is the only degree of its type in Missouri that’s accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Mizzou received initial accreditation for the 1966–67 school year and earned continued accreditation in 2015.
Now pairing fully online course work with a practicum assignment for real-world, hands-on experience, the online master of library and information science:
- Positions existing professionals to become experts in the information age
- Equips you to assist library users through relevant and meaningful service
- Emphasizes the importance of research and leadership in the library and information science field
- Instills the values, ethics and principles of the information science professions and covers the history of librarianship
- Trains you to apply theories, research and management principles to answer questions related to library and information science
- Strengthens your analytical, technology and communication skills for organizing, evaluating and connecting users to information
- Highlights the role of the library as a community hub for programming, research, knowledge and skills-building
Official nameMaster of library and information science
Program typeMaster's degree
Academic homeCollege of Education & Human Development | School of Information Science and Learning Technologies
Delivery mode100% online
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission, Teacher Education Accreditation Council, American Library Association
*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.
As the library and information science field diversifies, more and more organizations require professionals to have an advanced degree, especially for archive management, specialty collections and private libraries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 6% growth of librarians and library media specialists through 2031.
Mizzou’s MLIS positions you to drive the profession forward in public, corporate, specialty, government and school libraries. Potential job titles include:
- Archives specialist
- Children’s librarian
- Electronic resources coordinator
- Emerging technologies librarian
- Library acquisition and e-resource specialist
- Medical reference librarian
- Research analyst
The online master of library and information science requires 39 credit hours. This amount includes 18 hours of required courses, plus a two- to three-credit-hour practicum assignment that can be based on your professional goals and location.
Based on your aspirations, consider pursuing an archival science, eLearning information professional, library media specialist or library media specialist with certification emphasis.
Courses are entirely online in an asynchronous or synchronous format that will be specified ahead of time. Occasional face-to-face courses and events may be offered. Courses are semester based, although some use an eight-week format. Students typically take one or two classes each semester and finish the program in two to four years. Students who attend full time typically finish in two years.
Most library and information science faculty are based in Columbia, MO, with faculty in Kansas City as well.
Core course work includes
Core courses go over:
- Transferring, processing and communicating information in institutional settings
- History, organizational issues, ethics and values shaping the library and information science profession
- Cataloging and classifying theories and methods
- Selecting and managing materials and collections for libraries, archives and information agencies
- Principles, trends, sources and programming in reference services and for related organizations
- Management theories for libraries and information systems
- Research and assessment skills for librarians
- Digital humanities
- Adapting services to a range of ages and community needs
Typical program length2-4 years
Typical course load1 or 2 classes each semester
Earn a dual master’s degree
With this program, you can concurrently earn a master of public affairs.
The programs have separate applications and require a minimum of 12 hours of shared 8000-level or above graduate credit. Candidates accepted to both programs complete 51 credit hours total, including 21 for the master of library and information science and 18 for the master of public affairs.
Ideal for mid-career professionals contemplating the library’s broader role within its community, this dual-degree program complements the master of library and information science’s core with courses in public and nonprofit management, public policy strategies and research methods used in public affairs. Both degrees can be completed entirely online.
Learn more about the academic process for dual master’s degree students at the Mizzou Graduate School website.
The Mizzou master's of information and library science degree is ranked in the top 20 of all ALA-accredited schools in U.S. News & World Report. The university's online master’s in education programs are ranked among the nation’s finest in two USNWR 2023 categories.
The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The College of Education and Human Development is a member of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The library and information science master’s program is accredited by the American Library Association.
Dr. Cynthia Dudenhoffer joined Mizzou in 2021 as an associate teaching professor and program coordinator for the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies. Previously, she held the role of Director of Information Resources and Assessment at Central Methodist University. She has served in many leadership roles locally and nationally, including president of the Missouri Library Association. She also serves as a professional consultant in areas of academic library accreditation, program review, project management, and leadership through innovation. Areas of expertise include emerging technologies in information agencies and data literacy.