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50 Best Master of Library Science Online Degree Programs

master's of library science
master of library science

Quick Links to Our Top 10

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  2. Rutgers University
  3. Syracuse University
  4. University of Maryland
  5. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  7. University of Missouri
  8. Valdosta State University
  9. University of Southern Mississippi
  10. Clarion University of Pennsylvania

In this ranking, we highlight our 50 best online master’s in library science (MLS) and related degree programs.

Types of degree programs covered in this ranking include the following.

  • Online Master of Library Science (MLS)
  • Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MS/LIS)
  • Online Master of Information (MI)
  • Online Interdisciplinary MS in Library and Information Science (MLIS)
  • Online Non-thesis Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
  • Online Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) in School Library Media
  • Online Library & Information Science (LIS)
  • Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS)

Gone are the days of viewing librarians as little white-haired old ladies shushing you while surrounded by dusty volumes and tomes. A much more varied profession than it once was, librarianship can be conducted in academia, government entities, medical facilities, or the public sector. Conducting research and helping people find the information they need is the foundation of what a librarian does on a day-to-day basis, but within those confines there is a lot of degrees of variation based on where the work is being conducted.

You don’t have to love books to be a librarian (although it certainly helps!), but you do need a Master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree is a must for individuals who desire to work in libraries of any kind, which understandably makes the Master of Library Science (MLS) one of the most popular online master degree programs. An additional layer of librarianship can be found in the focus on iSchools as the basis for a MLS degree program. Offering programs that study the intersection of information, human nature, and research, the iSchool designation means a school is a member of a consortium of Information Schools “dedicated to advancing the information field.” For more information, read on to learn more about some of the schools in the consortium and some of the best online MLS programs available today.

See Also: 15 Best Affordable Master’s in History

Our methodology: We studied the websites of schools that offer online Master of Science in Library Science (or similar) degree programs and also looked at sources available to the public, such as U.S. News and World Report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,the iSchools consortium, and the American Library Association accreditation database to pick the best online programs using the following three-point criteria:

  • Affordability and accessibility-1/3 (examining average out-of-state tuition and degree to which program can be completed entirely online)
  • Accreditation and commendation-1/3 (noting program-specific accreditation and accolades and/or recognition by reputable sources such as U.S. News)
  • Student support services and specializations offered-1/3 (considering easily-procured student resources and number of specializations provided for degree customization)

See Also: Best Affordable Online Master’s in History

#1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Industrial University was established in 1867 as one of the original land-grant universities (the federal Morrill Act of 1862 established a precedent to allow these land-grant institutions to use federal lands to sell and consequently fund the schools). The University would be located in the eastern central part of the state, in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana. The school opened the following year with two professors and a student body of 77. The first President, John Milton, wanted a school focused on the liberal arts—which was in direct opposition to the majority of the Illinois lawmakers and leaders who preferred a school focused on industrial arts and agriculture. Even though Milton would frustratedly resign as University President in 1880, his liberal arts vision remained with the school. Five years after he left, the school changed names to University of Illinois. By 1935 the school would again be renamed—University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (called Illinois). A public research university with over 32,000 students, regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The highly flexible Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MS/LIS) degree offered online through the School of Information Sciences at Illinois (iSchool at Illinois) offers students an elective-rich program. Two courses are required in this 40-credit hour program, and the remainder of the curriculum is constructed from the student’s selection of electives. The required courses (“Information and Organization” and “Information and Society”) helps “provide a context for future coursework in areas of specialization.” Students can choose a specialization from six suggested Professional Pathways (such as Archives and Special Collections, Data and Asset Management, or Youth Services /K-12 Librarianship), and advisors are assigned to all students to help them navigate the program and build their customized degree. Most students complete the program in about eighteen to twenty-four months, and the “robust student support” offered by the iSchool at Illinois is available from the point of admission all the way through to graduation. American Library Association (ALA) Accredited

Admissions website

See Also: 50 Best Online English Masters Programs

#2. Rutgers University

Established as Queens College by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1766, Rutgers University (officially named Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) is the United States’ eighth oldest institution of higher education, having been chartered prior to the American Revolution. The school was established as a college after the Presbyterian denomination founded Princeton University (originally called the College of New Jersey) in 1746. The Dutch Reformed denomination also wanted to provide a private college to the region, and New Brunswick was chosen as the location of the campus. The first few decades proved tumultuous, and Queens College closed on two separate occasions. After the Revolutionary War, altruistic entrepreneur Colonel Henry Rutgers donated a $5,000 bond to the school, allowing it to reopen. The school was renamed in his honor in 1825, and Rutgers College became New Jersey’s only land-grant institution after the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862. Now a public research university, Rutgers has three campuses across the state and many online programs to educate the more than 68,000 enrolled students. Regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Four designated “industry-relevant” concentrations are offered in the entirely online Master of Information (MI) degree program through Rutgers Online. Students can choose from “Library & Information Science,” “Data Science, Technology, Information & Management,” or “Archives & Preservation,” or they can build their own concentration in this 36-credit hour program. Three start dates a year and the ability to take courses full or part-time give students the flexibility that an online program promises, but with the added benefit of rigorous Rutgers academics. The Rutgers program trains students to be leaders in the field with a curriculum that helps them learn to “maximize the potential of emerging information and communication technologies.” Prospective students can assess their readiness by observing an online learning demo, and once admitted can gain the guidance and expertise of Rutgers’ Enrollment and Executive Coaches who are trained to help students access student resources and set and achieve their academic and career-oriented goals. ALA Accredited

See Also: Best & Cheapest Online Master’s in Education

#3. Syracuse University

In 1870 Syracuse University was granted a charter and opened in rented space in downtown Syracuse, New York the following year. Coeducational from the beginning, Syracuse welcomed seven female and thirty-four male students that first year. Associated with The United Methodist Church but nonsectarian since 1920, the school grew quickly in the first few decades. After World War II, Syracuse had a large influx of students due to the G.I. Bill, and branch campuses were built in other New York locations (Endicott and Utica). Now a major private research university, Syracuse also has satellite admissions locations in Los Angeles, California, Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City. Over 21,000 students are enrolled in the more than 200 academic degree programs offered through Syracuse’s thirteen schools and colleges. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provides Syracuse with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: The School of Information Studies at Syracuse (iSchool@Syracuse) offers an interdisciplinary MS in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program completely online. The 36-credit hours program can be completed in eighteen months, and “provides a thorough grounding in the knowledge, skills, and values of librarianship.” Eighteen credits of core courses are required, with fifteen credits of electives and three credits of “exit requirements.” Core coursework includes topics like “Library Planning, Marketing, and Assessment” and “Management Principles for Information Professionals.” A School Media specialization is also available for students who plan on working in elementary or secondary school libraries. Four program start dates a year give students the convenience of starting when the time is best for their schedules. There are admissions events held regularly by the iSchool@Syracuse for prospective students to learn more about the MLIS program, and these events are offered in the same manner as the online course delivery method.  ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#4. University of Maryland

Securing a charter in 1856, the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) was born. Two years later, 428 acres of farmland was purchased in what is now known as College Park, Maryland. Classes began for the thirty-four male students in 1859, and five years later the Maryland legislature secured funding through the Morrill Act of 1862. As a land-grant school, UMD had to offer a solid curriculum with focus in the areas of agriculture, mechanics, and military tactics. The Civil War caused some turmoil for the school, and finances and leadership suffered. Reopening in 1867, the school only had sixteen students. In 1916 the state took full ownership of the school, women were allowed to enroll, and the name was changed to Maryland State College of Agriculture. This name was short-lived—the school became the University of Maryland (UMD) in 1920. The flagship university in the University System of Maryland with a current student body of almost 40,000, UMD is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: A Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program is offered online through the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at UMD that “prepares graduates to be socially engaged and technologically focused information professionals, ready to create, educate, and innovate.” Structured for students from all academic and professional backgrounds, the MLIS requires 36-credit hours, and students can choose to pursue the degree with a thesis or non-thesis option. Students works with advisors to design their program, and they can select from one of two designated specializations in “School Library” or “Youth Experience,” or they can customize their degree for the “Individualized Program Plan.” he core curriculum is made up of eighteen required credit hours of classes such as “Serving Information Needs” and “Achieving Organizational Excellence,” and students who choose the non-thesis option are required to participate in a field study course ( either “Field Study in Library Science” or “Internship in School Library Programs,” depending upon which concentration they have chosen). ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#5. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is the result of a merger between two great Indiana universities. In 1969, Indiana University (IU) and Purdue University were both offering classes in Indianapolis through their extension campuses. IU had been offering classes in Indianapolis since 1891, with the first official extension campus opening in 1916, and Purdue opened an extension there in 1946. The Mayor of Indianapolis in 1968, Richard Lugar, desired “a great state university in Indianapolis,” which prompted IU and Purdue to combine all of their programs to form IUPUI. A public research university, IUPUI belongs to both parent schools’ university systems. Over 30,000 students are enrolled in the 200+ academic degree programs offered at this public coeducational institution. Regional accreditation has been provided continuously since 1972 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The Department of Library and Information Science within the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI offers a completely online Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program for students who desire to “provide creative, data-driven ideas that empower library patrons, corporations, civic groups, and our communities.” Students can select the generalist plan of study or choose between one of six designated specializations, with options such as Public Librarianship/Adult Services and Technology Management. All plans of study require 36-credit hours to graduate and begin with fifteen credit hours of foundational courses such as “Information Sources and Services” and “Acquisitions and Management of Knowledge and Information.” The intent of the program is to produce graduates that will be “reflective practitioners who connect people and communities with information,” and a departmental blog provides writings, articles and resources to help all students achieve that goal.  ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The state of Wisconsin saw a need for formal teacher training as the state grew in the late 1800s. In answer to this need, the Milwaukee State Normal School held its first classes in 1885. The school grew to become the Wisconsin State College of Milwaukee in 1951, and joined with the University of Wisconsin in 1956. This merger was the birth of University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UW–Milwaukee or UWM). Now a part of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Milwaukee states in its vision a desire to “be a top-tier research university that is the best place to learn and work for students, faculty and staff, and that is a leading driver for sustainable prosperity.” The fourteen schools and colleges provide over 180 academic degree programs to the more than 28,000 students enrolled in this intensive research public university (as classified by the Carnegie Foundation). The Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to UWM.

Program Details: With multiple specializations available and only four required courses in the 36-credit hour program, the online Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) degree offered through the School of Information Studies (SOIS) at UW–Milwaukee provides plenty of opportunities for individual customization. Covering the desires of students who want to enter into the field in known ways and also those who prefer to think outside of the box, the program has a strong career services resource and is designed to prepare graduates not only for “traditional librarian positions in public, academic and special libraries but also for careers in new and emerging information professions.” Also ideal for individuals who want to study library science as well as another complementary field, UW-Milwaukee allows students to pursue other degrees concurrently along with the MLIS. Core courses are offered online during all terms, and students generally complete the program in two to three years. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#7. University of Missouri

As the flagship institution of the University of Missouri System, the University of Missouri (known as “Mizzou”) started when Boone County locals ambitiously resolved to raise the nearly $120,000 in funds and land to offer as a bid to win “the first public university west of the Mississippi.” They were successful, and in 1839 the institution was committed to Columbia, Missouri as its location. Becoming a land-grant school in 1870, by 1890 Mizzou offered programs in education, engineering, arts and sciences, agriculture and mechanics, medicine, and law. The largest university in the state, Mizzou enrolls 35,000 students in more than 300 academic degree programs offered by the twenty schools and colleges. This public research university has continuously held regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (or the preceding accrediting body, North Central Association) since 1915.

Program Details: Offered on-site at five different University of Missouri campuses, the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program is based in the College of Education’s School of Information Science and Learning Technologies and available entirely online through Mizzou Online. Students are required to complete 39-credit hours comprised of eighteen credits of core courses, electives, and either a School Library Practicum or a Practicum in Information Agencies. The core curriculum coursework covers topics such as “Principles of Cataloging and Classification” and “Reference Sources and Services,” and the electives make up nineteen to twenty credits. Elective concentrations are available and range from Archival Studies to Public Librarianship to Youth Services, just to name a few. Mizzou Online provides a “one-stop shop for understanding requirements” web page with information on registration, resources and services and whatever support an online student could need. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#8. Valdosta State University

The South Georgia State Normal College was established in 1906 after the town leaders and local legislators advocated for a school to provide formal education to teachers for the area. The school would be located in Valdosta, Georgia, but because funding would not be appropriated by the state until 1911, the residents raised $50,000 and local Colonel W. S. West donated land for the site of the campus. The school opened in the winter of 1913 to eighteen female students. Almost a decade later the school became a full four-year degree-granting institution and the name was changed to Georgia State Woman’s College. In 1950 the school allowed men to enroll, and the name was changed again—Valdosta State College. Within six years male students outnumbered female, and many academic additions were made. Integration occurred in 1963 without issue, and the school made many efforts to become diverse and equitable. Continuing to grow, the school became Valdosta State University (VSU) in 1993 and now has over 10,500 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits VSU.

Program Details: Valdosta State offers a non-thesis Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program entirely online that “capitalizes on the latest developments in distance education and collaborative education.” The program requires 39-credit hours of coursework and can be completed in about two and a half to three years part-time. Twenty-one credit hours are devoted to the core courses, and included within that requirement are both a “Foundations of Library and Information Science” course and a “Capstone Course” in which students begin to prepare their required portfolio. Eighteen credit hours of electives are required, and students can choose “optional tracks in Youth Services, Cataloging & Classification, Library Management, Reference Sources & Services, and Technology.” A detailed new student orientation is presented online for all incoming MLIS students to help them prepare, and once immersed in the program students resources, such as advising and counseling, remain available. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#9. University of Southern Mississippi

Mississippi Normal College was established by the Mississippi legislature in 1910 to provide formal teacher education in the area. It was located in Hattiesburg and was Mississippi’s first state-supported school to train teachers. The donation of 120-acres provided the site for the campus, and in 1912 classes began for the 227 coeducational students and seventeen instructors. Ten years after the first class was held, the school was declared a full degree-granting institution, and in 1924 the name was changed to State Teachers College. Changing again in 1940 to Mississippi Southern College, the school would only be known by that name for twenty-two years—changing to The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) in 1962. That decade also saw the first African-American students admitted, and the 50th anniversary of desegregation was celebrated campus-wide in 2015. A public research university, Southern Miss has a second campus in Long Beach and is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: Students in the online Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree through the Southern Miss School of Library and Information Science can choose to pursue a licensure track if they specifically want to work in school libraries, and they also have the option of combining the MLIS with another degree through the Online at Southern Miss dual degree offerings. Dual degree choices include Instructional Technology, History, Anthropology, or Political Science. The singular, non-licensure degree program requires twenty-two credits of core coursework and covers topics such as “Foundations of Librarianship,” “Collection Development and Management” and “Fundamentals of Information Science.” Students then choose fifteen credit hours of electives and complete a final master’s project in order to graduate. Online at Southern Miss provides an Office of Online Learning to make sure students have a positive and fruitful experience, and through that Office students can access around-the-clock support, information on online learning at Southern Miss, and articles written by fellow students. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#10. Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Carrier Seminary of Western Pennsylvania was established in Clarion, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1867. The coeducational Seminary was named for the family who donated money and lumber to the school, and began educating students in 1871. A teacher training program began that same year. The normal school program was unofficial for sixteen years—gaining prominence and official recognition when the school transitioned into the Clarion State Normal School in 1887. The state of Pennsylvania purchased the school in 1915 and it became a full college, Clarion State College, in 1929. In 1982, all state colleges in Pennsylvania were assumed from the Department of Education to be housed under the newly-formed Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Now known as Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion has a mission of providing “transformative, lifelong learning opportunities through innovative, nationally recognized programs delivered in inclusive, student-centered environments.” The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides Clarion University with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: The two distinct library science master’s degree programs at Clarion University are available exclusively online. Students can choose the 39-credit hour Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) in School Library Media degree program if they are looking for a program which provides “courses that prepare students to be school librarians.” For those who want a degree that is not geared towards school librarianship, the 36-credit hour Master of Science in Information and Library Science program is available. In addition, the 36-credit hour program offers concentrations in Management of Information Agencies, Information Access, Reference and User Services, and Local and Archival Studies. A dedicated Library Science web page provides suggested career paths based on students’ interests, and also provides job posting for soon-to-be or recent graduates of the program. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#11. San José State University

San José State University, originally known as Minns’ Evening Normal School, was established in 1857 by George Minns, and has become the oldest public higher education institution located on the West Coast. Opened in San Francisco, California to educate teachers, the school transitioned into the California State Normal School in 1862. The school would move to a new campus in San Jose in 1871, and a little over ten years after that open a branch campus in Los Angeles (this branch would evolve into UCLA). The school would grow and add sports programs, and change names several times to eventually become San José State University (SJSU) in 1974. The founding university of the California State University system, this public coeducational university has a current enrollment of more than 30,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges provides regional accreditation to SJSU.

Program Details: The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program at San José State University is offered through the School of Information solely online, which means that every aspect of the program is offered online including “courses, internships, academic advising, faculty office hours, guest speaker presentations, research assistant opportunities” and fellow student interaction and collaboration. Students can begin the 43-unit program in the fall or the spring and attend the asynchronous classes whenever is most convenient for them (a few synchronous courses do have set login times for participatory classes). With only six required courses, students can tailor the degree to their specific academic goals, with twenty-seven units of electives covering topics ranging from “School Library Media Materials” to “Issues in Public Libraries” to “Preservation Management.” Prospective students can learn more about online learning at San José, the MLIS program, and all the resources available through the School of Information’s virtual open house events. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#12. University of Kentucky

The Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College of Kentucky was established in 1865 by John Bryan Bowman (an attorney, educator and landowner) to participate in the Morrill Act of 1862. The school was chartered that same year as a public department of the newly formed private Kentucky University in Lexington, Kentucky. Differences in theology and financial problems prompted the A&M College to begin seeking independence in 1878 and become its own institution in 1880. The campus for the school (known then as State College) remained in Lexington, and women were admitted for the first time in 1880. When the school gained university status in 1908 it was renamed State University, Lexington, Kentucky—but eight years later it would become University of Kentucky (UK). Kentucky’s flagship institution and the largest in the state, UK is a public university with over 30,000 enrolled students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides UK with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: Students of the Library & Information Science (LIS) program at UK School of Information Science (iSchool) in the College of Communication and Information can complete the Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program entirely online. A great deal of customization is also available–students can opt for a general studies track, or they are able to choose from one of six concentration areas: Academic Libraries, Health Information, Information Technology & Systems, Public Libraries, School Libraries, and Youth Services and Literature. School Librarian certification is an option or students who choose the School Libraries concentration, as long as they hold teacher certification. All tracks consist of 36-credit hours, and all concentrations (aside from School Libraries) require four core courses–the remainder of the credits are made up of concentration electives. A culminating Exit Assessment “provides the opportunity for students to reflect on and evaluate what they have learned and gained from the program.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#13. Wayne State University

They were several pieces that contributed to the development of Wayne State University, Michigan’s third largest public research institution. The first piece was the Detroit College of Medicine, which was established in 1868, merging with the Michigan College of Medicine in 1885. Also in the 1880s, the Detroit Normal Training School for Teachers was founded but became a part of the College City of Detroit in 1924, as did Detroit’s College of Pharmacy and Detroit City Law School. Unifying altogether in 1933, the schools became Wayne University in 1934—named after both the city of Detroit’s county location and Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. The school would be renamed one last time in 1956—Wayne State University (WSU). Located on over 200 acres in Detroit, WSU currently enrolls over 27,000 students in almost 350 academic degree programs in its thirteen schools and colleges. The Higher Learning Commission grants WSU with its regional accreditation.

Program Details: The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program at Wayne State University School of Information Sciences (SIS) has a mission of preparing “professionals for leadership roles in libraries and other information organizations.” The 36-credit hour program requires a common core of classes, but then offers three emphasis areas, or “pillars,” on which students can choose to focus their studies. The pillars are Library Services, Information Management, and Archives & Digital Content Management–each prepares students for differing careers with a different set of coursework. Advisors are assigned to help students discern the best pillar to choose for the academic path that will best help them reach their career goals, and many other support services (such as the MLIS Orientation, Information Meetings, Career Advising, and the SIS Tech Help Desk) are available throughout the duration of the program. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#14. Kent State University

The Lowry Normal School Bill of 1910 was the Ohio Legislature’s response to the need for more formal teacher training in the state. The Bill would create two new normal schools to educate teachers—one school for the Northwestern part of the state, and one for the Northeastern. The town of Kent wanted the eastern school, and the Kent Board of Trade committee was determined Kent would be the location. Several early mishaps for the state commission site-scouting team (being left at the train station, a very muddy potential school site, etc.) could have led to the school being in another town, but the Board of Trade members wined and dined them during the now-famous “blue-gill dinner,” and the rest was history. Now a public research university, Kent State University began with less than 50 enrolled students but now has nearly 40,000 currently enrolled. The Higher Learning Commission grants Kent State with regional accreditation.

Program Details: The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program offered online through Kent State University’s School of Information (iSchool) provides fourteen predetermined specializations–or students can develop their own track in this incredibly individualized degree. Students can even change their specialization during their course of study if they determine another one better suits their needs and career goals. Working with an advisor, Kent State MLIS students design this 37-40 credit hour program in which electives make up the largest part. Twelve core credits and between four and seven final requirement credits flank the twenty-one credits of electives that students can choose. For the culminating requirements, all students complete a one-credit hour Master’s Portfolio, but they can choose from four options: a practicum experience, a final Master’s project, a final Master’s paper, or a thesis, which must be defended. Whichever option is chosen, all online students get full advising support through the online advisory center called “Blackboard Learn.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#15. University of Arizona

When the Morrill Act of 1862 was passed by the United States federal government, the Arizona Territory Legislature moved towards developing a land-grant university for the Territory. Even though Arizona would not be a state for another twenty-seven years, the school was established in 1885 and would be located in the town of Tucson. Construction began in 1887 on the first permanent building, Old Main, and the first classes were held four years later in 1891. That first year six professors and 32 students participated in Arizona’s inaugural university, and now the University of Arizona (UA) is a coeducational high-research public university (as designated by the Carnegie Foundation) with over 42,000 students currently enrolled. From an original campus of about 40 acres to a modern campus on over 380 acres, UA offers over 350 academic degree programs and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: UA Online offers an entirely online Master of Arts in Library and Information Science (MA-LIS) through the School of Information (iSchool) at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. With a goal of educating students towards “professional opportunities in a wide variety of environments, including libraries, archives, publishing, the internet and technology companies,” the MA-LIS degree program requires 37-credit hours. Students take five core courses in topics like “Organization of Information” and “Ethics for Library and Information Professionals,” and the remainder of the program is made up of the student’s choice of electives and a 1-credit hour ePortfolio. The online student experience at University of Arizona reaps all the benefits of a reputable education, but with the added bonus of flexibility and convenience. Tutorials and sample classes, dedicated enrollment teams, student academic success specialists–these are just some of the resources available to UA Online students. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#16. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Two years before Tennessee would become a state, the Southwest Territory met in Knoxville, Tennessee and chartered Blount College in the fall of 1794. The first public university to be established west of the Appalachian Divide, the nonsectarian, all-male school struggled in its first few decades. Several name-changes would occur and the campus would relocate, and by 1869 the East Tennessee University (as it was then known–the name would change again in 1879) would become a recipient of funds from the Morrill Act of 1862. Now the flagship institution in the University of Tennessee System, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT or UT Knoxville) has designation both as a land-grant and a sun-grant (one of six universities in the United States working on sustainable and ecologically-friendly alternative energy sources) school. A research university of the highest level (as determined by the Carnegie Foundation), UT Knoxville has over 28,000 coeducational students currently enrolled. Regional accreditation has been provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges continuously since 1897.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Information Science at UT Knoxville’s School of Information Sciences (SIS) is a 36-credit hour online program with lots of opportunities for personalizing the degree. Three courses are required: “Information Environment,” “Information Representation and Organization,” and “Information Access and Retrieval.” These three classes serve as the prerequisites to the vast selection of electives, and seven Career Pathways are offered through the SIS as a way to individualize the broad arena of Information Sciences. Working closely with their advisors, students can choose a pathway to hone in on the coursework necessary for their particular career goals. Pathway possibilities include Academic Librarianship, Digital Collections, and Youth Services, just to name a few, and students can choose a thesis or a non-thesis culmination to the degree. For students who opt for the non-thesis option, they must complete a comprehensive exam or an ePortfolio in order to graduate. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#17. Long Island University

Founded in 1926 as a coeducational school with the “guiding principle of educating and empowering men and women from all walks of life,” Long Island University (LIU) has long embraced diversity. Expanding in 1951 with the purchase of the Hillwood estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post (aristocrat heiress and owner of General Foods) on Long Island’s Gold Coast. From the first campus located originally in Brooklyn, New York, to LIU Post to multiple non-residential campuses to LIU Global, this private nonsectarian school offers more than 500 academic degree programs to the over 20,000 enrolled students. Small class size and a faculty including “numerous Fulbright Scholars” keep this school, which was started as a way to offer an affordable and exceptional education to people of all backgrounds, thriving and growing. Regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: The Palmer School of Library and Information Science at LIU Post offers a Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree program with a School Library Media specialization completely online. Claiming that “the school library represents the buried treasure at the core of our civilization,” LIU’s online MSLIS degree requires 36-credit hours to graduate. In addition to the general MSLIS degree requirements, School Library Media Specialist students must also take courses such as “Instructional Design & Leadership,” “Management of the School Media Center,” and “Teaching Methodologies K-16 Librarians.” For students who desire a different MSLIS path or who already possess their master’s degree, LIU Post also offers a fully online eighteen-credit hour Certificate of Advanced Study in Archives and Records Management. Three required courses are supplemented by a student’s selection of three electives, with class choices such as “Film and Media Collections,” “Digital Preservation,” and “Appraisal of Archives and Manuscripts.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#18. St. John’s University

The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn in New York, the Most Reverend John Loughlin, instructed the brothers and priests of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian order) to acquire several old farms in 1867 in order to develop St. John’s College. Within three years the school had begun, with six professors and 47 students. As the school grew and added new schools, the name was changed in 1933 to St. John’s University, Brooklyn. St. John’s outgrew the Brooklyn location (although some of the schools and offices would remain there until 1972), and the Vincentians bought land in Queens to form a larger campus in 1955. This private Roman Catholic research university now also has New York campus locations in Staten Island and Manhattan, and overseas in Rome and Paris. More than 20,000 students make up the current enrollment, and regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: St. John’s University offers a fully online MS in Library and Information Science degree program through the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. St. John’s makes sure the students in this 36-credit hour program are able to “demonstrate leadership in facilitating the information needs of a variety of patrons and clients, and are prepared for . . . diverse settings” once they graduate–often in just two years. The degree is flexible and open to customization–twelve credits of core courses and three credits for a management course allows for twenty-one credits to go towards a chosen specialization. Students have six specialization options: Academic Librarianship, Archival Studies, Law Librarianship, Public Librarianship, Special Librarianship, and Youth Services. Promising online classes that are just as “engaging as those that take place in traditional classrooms,” St. John’s also provides plenty of academic rigor and online student resources and services. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#19. North Carolina Central University

The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua was established by Dr. James Edward Shepard in Durham, North Carolina in 1909. The school opened in 1910 with the intention of fostering “the character and sound academic training requisite for real service to the nation” for African-American students. The first fifteen years saw many changes–the school would be sold and renamed multiple times before the state designated it the North Carolina College for Negroes in 1925. This was monumental in that the school became the “first state-supported liberal arts college for black students” in the United States. The school would go through two more name changes: first in 1947 to North Carolina College at Durham, and then in 1969 to North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Along with all other four-year public schools in the state, NCCU became part of the University of North Carolina System in 1972. Regional accreditation is granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program at the NCCU School of Library and Information Sciences is completely online and has a dedicated academic advisor to assist all online students in the program. There are seven predesignated concentration tracks offered in this 36-credit hour program; students can choose from Academic Librarian, Archives and Records Manager, Digital Librarian, Law Librarian, Public Librarian, School Media Coordinator, or Special Librarian. With the guiding principle that “education has no boundaries,” NCCU Online offers the “same quality and engaging learning experience” in their online programs. Students at all levels of the online MLS program receive the benefit of many student resources and services–potential students can take online readiness quizzes to assess their online-learning abilities, and graduates of the program can stay connected and learn of new opportunities through the NCCU SLIS Alumni network. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#20. University of Washington

The University of Washington (UW) was established in Seattle, Washington in the fall of 1861, securing its history as one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast. At the time of its founding, Washington was still just a territory, and the school was actually named the Territorial University of Washington. In 1869, Washington was granted statehood, and the school and city of Seattle had grown exponentially. Now the flagship institution of Washington’s six public universities, the organizational vision of UW is to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.” With over 54,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students currently enrolled, two other campuses in Bothell and Tacoma, and sixteen schools and colleges, the University of Washington is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Program Details: The online Master of Library Science (MLIS) degree program at the UW iSchool starts off with a three-day required on-campus residency. In those three days, new students go through an orientation, form a community with the online cohort group, meet the professors, and become familiar with the “iSchool support services and transition to the online learning environment” at the end of the residency. The remainder of the 63-quarter unit program is entirely online and mostly asynchronous. Students in the program engage in core courses (such as “The Question of Information,” “Instructional and Training Strategies for Information Professionals,” and “Research, Assessment and Design”), electives from within the program of iSchool or other departments, and a final Master’s project. One of the favorite electives is the Directed Fieldwork (DFW) course, which allows students the “structured opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience in a library or information science setting” for graduate credit. ALA Accredited

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#21. University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin was formulated prior to Wisconsin becoming a state, but it wasn’t actually established until statehood was achieved in 1848. Seventeen students began classes the following year at the old site of the Madison Female Academy in Madison, Wisconsin, but a permanent location was soon acquired. Campus is now over 936 acres for this public research university formally named University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) since 1971, and as the flagship institution in the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Madison is also the official state university of Wisconsin. A land-grant and sea-grant institution as well, UW-Madison currently enrolls almost 44,000 students and embodies the guiding principle of the “Wisconsin Idea.” This principle influences student, faculty, and staff at UW-Madison to perform public service and be progressively involved in their communities by claiming that “education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.” UW-Madison has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913.

Program Details: The Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies is a “progressive and challenging program” offered both on-campus and online through The Information School (iSchool) at UW-Madison. Online students of this 39-credit hour degree program begin the program with a week-long “Bootcamp” residency on the Madison campus. Students have many opportunities to explore the program that week, like meeting fellow students and the iSchool faculty, examining the curriculum and online delivery method, and hearing from current students about practicum experiences and student resources. The curriculum consists of only three required classes to give students the chance to craft their specialized degree from the electives that are most meaningful to them and their career goals. There are predetermined concentration areas offered, but not all are available 100% online. Each year the iSchool presents webinar information sessions to answer questions that prospective students may have–recordings of past webinars are available throughout the year.  ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#22. University of Alabama

In 1818, the Alabama Territory was granted the opportunity to designate a township in order to establish an institution of higher education. Alabama became a state the following year, and in 1820 The University of the State of Alabama was founded. Tuscaloosa was chosen as the school’s location, and when it opened for classes in 1831, 52 students had enrolled. The Civil War devastated the campus–only seven buildings remained unharmed, and the school reorganized and reopened in 1872. Just over twenty years later women were allowed admission, and in 1956 the first African-American student was both admitted and expelled only three days later due to the promised violence directed at her and the school’s inability to protect her. This student, Autherine J. Lucy, would go on to graduate from UA with a Master’s degree in 1992–nearly forty years after she first enrolled. University of Alabama (UA) is the flagship university in the University of Alabama System, and also the oldest and largest with over 38,000 students. Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The UA School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) offers a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program with a curriculum that can be completed entirely online. At least 36-credit hours are required for graduation, eighteen of which are core courses in topics such as “Research Methods,” “Organization of Information,” and “Information Sources and Services.” One management course is required, and students have choices from a selection of classes like “Administration and Management” and “Academic Libraries.” The remaining classes are chosen from six areas of emphasis–two specializations are also available, and there is the choice between and thesis and a non-thesis option. Students begin the program as a cohort in the fall with an on-campus orientation, and participate in classes synchronously. The student’s experience is the “top priority” at SLIS, and many resources and services are available to assure a positive academic journey. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#23. Emporia State University

When Kansas gained statehood in 1861, a provision for a state university was included in the state constitution. There was competition between several towns to be the school’s location, and even though Emporia was not chosen to house the university, it gained the Kansas State Normal School in 1863. The school opened in 1865 with eighteen students, and the school’s president was the only professor. The classes were located in temporary classrooms until the first permanent building was finished in 1887. That same year, the first two students graduated. Within the next decade the Normal School grew to be the largest school in the state and the largest teacher-training normal school in the nation, and by the end of the century African-American students were allowed admission. Because of the growth in the academic offerings and several branch campuses (which in turn would become independent universities), several name changes occurred through the years before the final name—Emporia State University—was picked in 1977. This public university is the one of the three oldest in the state of Kansas and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Library Science (MLS) at Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) is a cohort-based, 36-credit hour program. With a goal of preparing “creative problem solvers who will provide proactive client-centered services in information agencies,” the program requires twenty-two hours of core courses such as “Information-seeking Behavior and Reference Services” and “Collection Development and Management.” Fourteen-credit hours of electives can go towards a concentration in Archives Studies, Informatics, Leadership and Administration, or Youth Services. All coursework is facilitated online, but students are required to attend several weekend intensives each semester. Depending on the region in which the student lives, their on-campus requirements could be at one of the Emporia SLIM locations in Emporia and Overland Park, Kansas or in Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, or Portland, Oregon. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#24. University of South Carolina

South Carolina College opened for class in Columbia, South Carolina in 1805 having been established four years earlier. The first class had nine students and two professors to teach them, and the school di well in its first fifty years. The Civil War, however, brought devastation to the state and the school, and the College had to close its doors. In 1873 the school reopened as the University of South Carolina (USC) with a clearly progressive and equitable mindset. Students of all races were admitted, which was almost unheard of for a public university in the South during Reconstruction. The South Carolina General Assembly quickly closed the school, reopening it as an all-white institution and designating Claflin College for African-American students. It would take almost 100 years for this to be reversed—now, this flagship school of the University of South Carolina System serves more than 34,000 students of all backgrounds. A public doctoral-research university, USC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

Program Details: Offering a “blended online” delivery method, the USC Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program through the School of Library and Information Science in the College of Information and Communications allows students to earn their degree “a quality education wherever students are, wherever students learn.” Only nine hours of the 36-credit hour program are required, so students have the opportunity to really customize the degree with the electives they choose. Advisors work closely with the distance education students to help them determine the best selection of classes for their career goals. Students have their choice of electives which include topics like “storytelling, children’s literature, music libraries, digital archives, government documents and planning library facilities.” An electronic portfolio is the culmination of the program. Current students and graduates alike benefit from the media offerings available online. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#25. Texas Woman’s University

The Girls Industrial College was established by the Texas Legislature in order to “to provide a liberal education and to prepare young women.” Constructed in Denton, Texas, the campus’ first building (“Old Main”) opened in 1903, and just two years later the name of the school became the College of Industrial Arts. The school grew in scope, but continued to remain a college solely for women, so the name changed two more times–in 1934 it became Texas State College for Women, and in 1957 to Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Branch campuses have been opened in Dallas and Houston, and men were admitted to limited programs beginning in 1972–although men were granted full admission in 1994, the school is still predominantly female. Through all three campuses, over 15,000 students are currently enrolled in this public university, with a vision to be “known as the premier public university for a woman-focused education and leadership development.” Regional accreditation for TWU comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The 100% online Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program at the Texas Woman’s University School of Library & Information Studies (SLIS) is a 36-credit hour program with eight program tracks available. Students can customize the degree, which requires twelve credits of core courses, with a track in Academic Libraries, Public Libraries, School Libraries, Special Libraries, Health Science Libraries, Information Technology, Technical Services/Cataloging, or Community Informatics. The MLS degree is for professionals who desire to work in information settings, but for students who prefer to conduct research in information settings TWU also offers a completely online Master of Arts in Library Science (MA in Library Science) degree program. MA students can choose from the same program tracks to specialize their degree, and they are required to complete 39-credit hours in order to graduate. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#26. University at Buffalo – SUNY

In 1846 a private medical school was established in Buffalo, New York by Milliard Fillmore (who would go on to be President of the United States a few years later). The University of Buffalo served the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area, and 89 students began obstetrics classes in 1847. A law school and undergraduate college joined the growing school in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the school became more comprehensive through the years. The State University of New York (SUNY) System purchased the school in 1962, and it was renamed State University of New York at Buffalo (known as University at Buffalo, UB, or SUNY Buffalo). SUNY Buffalo is the flagship university in the SUNY system and enrolls the largest number of students at just over 30,000. This public research institution has campuses in both Buffalo and Amherst, New York, and is designated as a sea- and space-grant university. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation.

Program Details: Through the Graduate School of Education Online (GSE Online), SUNY Buffalo offers an entirely online MS in Information and Library Science degree program. Allowing students up to five years to complete the program part-time, a minimum of 36-credit hours is required. Students must take nine credits of core courses (“Information Life Cycle,” “Information Users and Uses,” and “Introduction to Research Methods”) and can take at least 27 credits of electives. Concentration possibilities include Collection Development, Information Organization, Information Management, Public or Academic Libraries, Reference Services, or Special Libraries. There are dual-degree possibilities as well. Also online, the degrees are Music Librarianship with an MA in Music, Law Librarianship with a JD degree, and an MS in School Librarianship degree. Students engage in the mostly asynchronous courses through the UBlearns online delivery method. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#27. East Carolina University

In the early 1900s two eastern North Carolina towns both made appeals to the North Carolina General Assembly for a teacher training school in their areas. Both appeals were denied, but the impetus towards building a normal school for the eastern part of the state had begun. In 1907 an act was passed to found a school, and Greenville won the bid. The East Carolina Teachers Training School opened in 1909 with 104 female and nineteen male students. Just over a decade later, the school transitioned from a two-year to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Several changes in name would occur before the school was renamed for the final time in 1967 to East Carolina University (ECU). This public, doctoral research university is a sea-grant institution with almost 29,000 enrolled students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits ECU.

Program Details: ECU’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Education presents a 39-credit hour Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program completely online. With a program that is “especially attuned to the needs of non-traditional students seeking to become school library media coordinators or public librarians,” the ECU MLS offers specializations in Academic Library, Public Library, and School Library Media. All students who complete the program are eligible for the North Carolina Public Library Certification if they choose to pursue it. Eight core courses are required, and the required classes cover such topics as “Introduction to Reference,” “Research Literacy in Library Science,” and “Collection Development.” Courses are presented in a set of three tiers and must be taken sequentially. Each MLS student is assigned a faculty advisor to help them as they advance through the program, and they must complete an MLS portfolio to “demonstrates mastery of professional skills, abilities, and dispositions required for the practice of the profession.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#28. Florida State University

As one of the oldest and largest universities in the state, Florida State University (FSU) can trace its earliest days to the West Florida Seminary, which was created in 1851. Classes began in Tallahassee, Florida in 1857. The Tallahassee Female Academy, which first opened its doors in 1843, was merged with the seminary in 1858, and the school was now coeducational. During the Civil War, a military school was added and transformed the school into The Florida Military and Collegiate Institute. In 1905, the Buckman Act passed Congress, and the school was dissembled as the coeducational and racially-integrated school it had become. Three distinct schools were created out of this—one for men, one for women, and one for African-American students. The remnants of the school became Florida State College for Women, which, after much student activism and decades of change, finally came to be known as the FSU of today. Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The School of Information (iSchool) at FSU’s College of Communication & Information offers a fully online Master of Science in Information degree program. The 36-semester hour program allows students up to seven years to complete the degree, and they can choose between ten predetermined specializations or develop their own individualized plan of study. Whichever course of study is chosen, all MS in Information students at FSU will “gain the theoretical basis needed to build the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to function effectively in professional positions within Information Studies.” Students have the choice of pursuing the thesis option, in which six of the 36 credit hours must be devoted to the thesis, and a Supervisory Committee must be formed to oversee the student’s progress. There is also the option to pursue a Master of Arts as opposed to the Master of Science degree–if students choose the MA path, they must complete at least six semester hours in a humanities-based field.  ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#29. Simmons College

John Simmons, a wealthy Boston, Massachusetts businessman, passed away in 1870 and left his fortune to two daughters and two granddaughters. He also made provisions in his will to fund Simmons Female College, an institution that would provide a comprehensive liberal arts education “to enable the scholars to acquire an independent livelihood.” The school was chartered in 1899 and began offering classes in 1902 to 146 students. Over the next few years a permanent location was found and buildings constructed, and women from all backgrounds were granted admission. By 1915 the name of the school officially became Simmons College. Now this private non-sectarian college remains for women-only within its undergraduate programs, but is coeducational in its master’s degree programs. Almost 6,000 students are enrolled in the more than 50 academic degree programs, and Simmons has two campuses and several online programs. Simmons College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree program is offered fully online through the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Simmons College. It’s the same program as far as content, curriculum, and faculty as the the on-campus program, but with the benefit of convenience and flexibility with all classes being offered asynchronously. The 36-credit hour program allows for two track options–students can select the DYO (Design Your Own) option, or choose the Archives Management concentration to focus on learning to “establish and maintain proper repositories in public and private organizations.” DYO students are required to take the three core courses which focus on “information organization, information services, and technology.” When crafting the rest of their program, DYO students then work with an advisor to pick their 27-credits of electives. The SLIS provides many opportunities to get to know the school and the programs through online information session webinars and resources. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#30. Drexel University

The Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry was founded by Philadelphia banker Anthony J. Drexel in 1891. Coeducational from the beginning, Drexel had a vision “of preparing each new generation of students for productive professional and civic lives while also focusing our collective expertise on solving society’s greatest problems.” For many years the school was not a degree-granting institution, but in 1914 the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded and in 1927 the first Master of Science degrees. Two name changes would reflect the school’s growth—to Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936 and Drexel University in 1970. In the past two decades, Drexel University has enjoyed a period of growth and expansion. Now this private research university has more than 26,000 enrolled students in the three Philadelphia campuses and online programs, and regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Drexel University Online offers the MS in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree program online through the College of Computing and Informatics. Assuring a “solid introduction to the field, logical progression of coursework, and wide variety of electives,” the 45-credit hour program is presented in four ten-week quarters each year instead of the two-semester traditional school year. This schedule allows students to take more courses over a shorter period of time in order to complete the program relatively quickly. Required coursework makes up eighteen credit hours, and includes core classes such as “Information Professions and Professionals” and “Data and Digital Stewardship.” Three concentration options are offered in Digital Technology Services, Information and Data Services, and User and Community Services. Drexel provides a wealth of support and resource opportunities for the online student and presents webinars to give prospective students a glimpse into online programs and support. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#31. Louisiana State University

Several land grants were made in the early 1800s by the federal government to fund a “seminary of learning” in Louisiana. Established as a military academy in 1853, the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana opened in 1860 with nineteen students and five instructors. The Civil War would prove devastating for the school in this location—it would close and reopen several times. In 1869, the school moved to its permanent location in Baton Rouge and was renamed Louisiana State University the following year. Independently in 1874, Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College opened in New Orleans to take advantage of the Morrill Act of 1862. This new school merged with Louisiana University in 1877, and the school would be officially renamed Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College (LSU). This public coeducational university is the flagship of the Louisiana State University System and a land-, sea- and space-grant institution with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Offered through the School of Library & Information Science (SLIS) at LSU’s College of Human Sciences & Education, the Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program is obtainable entirely online. Requiring eighteen hours of core coursework and eighteen of chosen electives, the 36-credit hour program provides eight possible specializations to customize the degree. The specializations are entirely optional, and range from Adult Services in Public Libraries to Cultural Heritage Resource Management to Digital Content Management–the program promises the “flexibility to explore a variety of careers” in addition to the expected careers in librarianship. Starting either in the fall or spring, students can engage in the program full or part-time, and can complete the program in as little as two years (but have up to five if they need more time). The SLIS publishes a eNewsletter each semester with information on the programs, faculty, and student resources. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#32. University of Pittsburgh

With the conviction that “the strength of a state greatly consists in the superior mental powers of the inhabitants,” Hugh Henry Brackenridge would petition the state of Pennsylvania to charter the Pittsburgh Academy in 1781. By 1819 the school had grown in enrollment to such an extent that the school was rechartered as the Western University of Pennsylvania. Tragically, the school was destroyed in the Great Fire of Pittsburgh in 1845, but the school was allowed to use a local church’s basement as temporary quarters while a new campus was underway. Fires would haunt the institution, destroying several buildings through the years. This caused the school to move further outside of the downtown area, into Pittsburgh’s North Side. In 1908 the name was changed to University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), and both women and African-American students had joined the white males as admitted students at this point. This state-related research has regional accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information has partnered with Pitt Online to offer a Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program that is a mirror of the reputable on-campus MLIS program. A 36-credit hour program, the asynchronous coursework (which utilizes “the latest skills and technologies available in the library and information fields”) can be completed on a part-time basis in about two years. The online program offers two pathways for students to specialize their degree–Data Stewardship or Library and Information Services. Depending on what pathway a student chooses, the core coursework varies based on the focus. Ideal for individuals from any educational background, the online program makes sure that “graduates will incorporate the theories, knowledge, skills, ethical foundations, and social responsibilities of the information professions into professional practice for the benefits of users.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#33. University of Southern California

The efforts and wealth of four key players in the history of Los Angeles are responsible for the development of California’s oldest private research university. In 1879 Judge Robert Maclay Widney rallied Protestant horticulturalist Ozro Childs, Irish Catholic former-Governor John Gately Downey, and Jewish banker, Isaias W. Hellman to donate 308 lots of land. This land was used to build a campus and secure some initial funding to institute a university that would allow admission to all students regardless of sex, religion, race or color. Originally affiliated with the United Methodist Church (UMC), the University of Southern California (USC) opened its doors in 1880 with a faculty of ten instructors and 53 students. The main campus sits in the University Park district of Los Angeles, and over 40,000 students are currently enrolled in this sea- and space-grant institution. Now a non-sectarian school, USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: Students of the Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) degree at USC Marshall School of Business can complete the program entirely online, with no on-campus requirement. Full-time students “work in team-based cohorts” to complete the 40-unit degree in only eighteen months–taking eight units per semester. The program is one-of-a-kind as it is offered uniquely through a business school. Providing a “robust leadership, management and library and information sciences focus,” coursework covers topics like “Management Communication for Leaders,” “Library and Information Technologies,” and “Research and Professional Applications.” Students have the option to follow the Library Leadership track, or they can customize the degree to their needs. Ideal both for those who want to advance in the field of library science or those who want to enter it, the MMLIS online degree “program is uniquely designed to prepare professional librarians, educators and other information professionals.” ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#34. University of North Texas

The Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute opened to 70 coeducational students in rented classroom space above the B.J. Wilson Hardware Store in downtown Denton, Texas in 1890. The school would go through six name changes before becoming the University of North Texas (UNT) in 1988, and it would grow in size, location and curricular offerings—and begin admitted African-American students in 1954. Originally a private institution, the school became public in 1901 when the state took control. Now the flagship institution in the University of North Texas System, there are additional universities in Dallas and Fort Worth and a satellite campus in Frisco. With over 38,000 students currently enrolled and more than 225 academic degree programs, this public top-tier research university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) degree program at UNT’s Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and Redesign (CLEAR) is offered online through the Web Institute. Classes are accessible at any time, but there is a six-day in-class requirement for this 36-credit hour program. Called Onsite Institutes, the six days are generally spread over two semesters. Students work in a cohort to participate in the nine credit hours of required core courses, which cover “Information and Knowledge Professions,” “Information Organization,” and “Information Access and Knowledge Inquiry.” An academic advisor helps students select the remaining twenty-four hours of electives; eighteen credits must be made from choices within the College of Information’s Department of Information Science, and six can be chosen from other programs. In addition to dedicated academic advising services, a detailed list of resources and support is made available to online students. ALA Accredited

#35. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The State Normal and Industrial School was established in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1891. Local educator, Dr. Charles Duncan McIver, was diligent in the creation of the school for women. Ten acres of donated land formed the campus for the nearly 200 students who enrolled in class in 1892. The school would change names several times but remain all-female until 1962, when it began transitioning to a coeducational institution. By 1964 the school had fully incorporated men into the student body, and with that change came the final name—University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). The state of North Carolina restructured the state-supported university system in 1971, consolidating all schools into one University of North Carolina (each of the sixteen schools still maintains their own Board of Trustees and Chancellor). UNCG is the largest public research university in the Triad region of NC, and enrolls nearly 20,000 students currently. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits UNCG.

Program Details: UNCG Online’s Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program through the Department of Library and Information Studies “is an intellectually rich, community-centered, and hands-on program for library and information education, innovation and service.” Offered entirely online with both synchronous and asynchronous classes, the 36-credit hour program provides the same curriculum and exceptional faculty support as the on-campus program. Core courses cover topics such as “Organizing Library Collections,” “Information Sources and Services,” and “Library Administration and Management,” and the program ends with a Capstone experience. The elective choices are varied, and students can depend on advisor support when choosing their remaining classes. Readiness assessment quizzes are available for prospective students to determine if they are ready for the rigors of UNCG’s online curriculum, and with the goal of providing “online learning opportunities that empower students and impact the greater community through new technologies and innovative curriculum design,” potential students can be assured they will find a good fit at UNCG. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#36. University of Oklahoma

At the end of 1890, George W. Steele (the Territory of Oklahoma’s first governor), signed a bill to create three schools for the territory. One of the schools would be a state university, and it would be located in the town of Norman. Locals in Norman had contributed over 400 acres of land for the school’s campus, and the Norman Territorial University would hold classes in a downtown building in 1892 as the campus was being constructed. In addition to buildings on campus, the first University President, David Ross Boyd, began a “tree project,” in which hundreds of trees were planted to beautify the space. In 1907 Oklahoma was granted statehood, and the school was renamed University of Oklahoma (OU). This public research university is a land- and space-grant institution with over 31,000 enrolled coeducational students. The flagship university of the state, the Higher Learning Commission provides regional accreditation to OU.

Program Details: A fully online program, the OU College of Arts & Sciences School of Library & Information Studies Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program “prepares students to enter the job market with the theoretical and practical knowledge they need to be successful.” The 36-credit hour program offers three options for culminating the degree–an exam, thesis, or portfolio, and students have up to five years to finish the program. Six required core courses cover topics like “Information and Knowledge Society” and “Research Methods and Evaluation Methods.” The remaining coursework is comprised of elective choices made with advisor guidance, and students can choose their electives from over 30 classes in five focus areas: Information Technology, User Services, Archival Studies, Organization of Information, and Management of Libraries and Information Centers. Each student is assigned an advisor “based on the student’s interests” to help pick concentrations and successfully navigate through the program. ALA Accredited

Admissions website

#37. University of South Florida

When Samuel Gibbons served as a state representative for Florida in the 1950s, he was a catalyst for the creation of the University of South Florida (USF). Known as the “Father of USF,” his efforts proved successful when the governor signed a bill into law in 1955 to charter the school. Located in Tampa, the school would open for classes in 1960—one claim to fame for USF is that it is the first independent state university to be developed and constructed in the 20th century. The Tampa campus is joined by two other schools in the USF System—USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. USF Tampa is the doctoral granting campus in the System and a major metropolitan university; the USF System has an enrollment of over 48,000 students. Designated as a space-grant university, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges grants USF with regional accreditation.

Program Details: The USF School of Information presents a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science degree program that “includes the competencies and skills which are essential for a library and information science professional to perform at a high level of proficiency.” The degree is obtainable entirely online and requires 39-credit hours to graduate. Six required core courses are followed by the student’s selection of electives, which include choices such as “Visualization of Knowledge,” “Law Librarianship,” and “Books and Related Materials for Young Adults.” Advisors are provided to students to help them pick the best electives to reach their academic and career goals, and to culminate the program each student must compile an ePortfolio with “appropriate artifacts and . . . a focused narrative which best represent their synthesis of program outcomes.” Students within the state of Florida can pursue an Educational Media Specialist focus–the Florida Department of Education requires these students to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination in School Media to receive certification. ALA Accredited

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#38. University of Iowa

Just a few months after Iowa was officially granted statehood in 1847, the State University of Iowa (in 1964 the Board of Regents approved allowing the school to be called “University of Iowa” in conversation. UI or Iowa is how the school is most often referred to) was founded. Classes would begin on the Iowa City campus in 1855 for the 124 students. A distinguishing feature of the university was its desire to be coeducational from its beginning—there were 41 women along with the 83 men in that first group of enrolled students. This progressive admissions policy helps Iowa claim the honor of being America’s first university to admit both men and women. The second largest university in the state, albeit the oldest and the flagship institution, Iowa is also a space-grant institution. The 1,700-acre campus sits on the banks of the Iowa River, and over 33,000 students are currently enrolled. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits this public research university.

Program Details: The MA in Library and Information Science at University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is “especially designed for working teachers interested in becoming school librarians.” A 36-credit hour program, several on-campus requirements include orientation, two summer session weekends, and the Capstone “Poster Presentation and Poster Reception.” Coursework is available online via synchronous video conferencing, and students participate in two courses each semester, allowing them to finish the program in two years. The curriculum is divided into twelve-hour Tiers, with the first Tier focusing on introductory courses in the foundations in culture, concept, computing, and context. Tier two provides choices for a program track, and Tier three allows students to pick their electives. Elective choices are varied and include options such as “Information Policy and Ethics,” “Analysis of Scholarly Domains,” and “Topics in Book Studies.” ALA Accredited

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#39. The Catholic University of America

A discussion regarding a national Catholic institution of higher education was first held at the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore. This meeting between U.S. bishops in 1866 started the conversation, but it would be at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1885 that a name was chosen for the school: The Catholic University of America. Established as a graduate school and research center in 1887 with approval from Pope Leo XIII, the location for the school would be on 66 acres in the District of Columbia. Classes began in the fall of 1889, mainly consisting of lectures literature, philosophy, theology and scripture. The school began offering undergraduate degree programs in 1904. Now a comprehensive, pontifical university with nearly 7,000 students, Catholic University is a private coeducational institution. The only university established by U.S. Catholic bishops, Catholic University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Details: Two tracks of the Master of Science in Library Science degree program at CUA’s Department of Library and Information and Science (LIS) are available in the online hybrid Online & Weekend Learning Program (OWL) format. Through OWL, students engage in the same two courses a term as their cohort and attend four monthly on-campus weekend requirements a semester. Online classes are delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, and students can choose from the Generalist or the School Library Media tracks. Aspiring to be a “center of excellence that transforms the roles of libraries and information professionals for the betterment of human society,” LIS requires 36-credit hours for both tracks, and they can both be completed in two years. Four core courses make up twelve of the credit hours and cover subjects such as “Organization of Information” and “The Information Professions in Society.” ALA Accredited

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#40. University of Rhode Island

The Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was established in 1888 with funds acquired from the Morrill Act of 1862. The site of the land-grant school was on the former Oliver Watson 140-acre farm (which was built in 1796 and still sits as the oldest building on campus) in Kingston. The school changed names to the Rhode Island State College in 1909 and the University of Rhode Island (URI) in 1951. As the principal public research and flagship university in Rhode Island, the main campus is still in Kingston, but there are several smaller campuses in other cities in the state. With over 16,000 students enrolled, there are nearly 130 academic degree programs in the eight colleges within the institution. Envisioned as a “community joined in a common quest for knowledge,” URI is also a sea-grant institution, with regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Program Details: The Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program is offered by URI’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS). Housed within the Harrington School of Communication and Media, the MLIS program helps “develop leadership skills, the capacity to support people’s lifelong learning, and advance their digital literacy competencies in the global information age.” A fully online program, 36-credit hours of classes construct the degree. In addition to the General MLIS track, three focus area tracks are available to customize the degree in School Library Media, Digital Media, and Libraries, Leadership, & Transforming Communities. A highly interactive program, information of faculty news, student achievements, and alumni accolades are made readily available for prospective students to read about and incorporate through GSLIS News & Stories. ALA Accredited, CAEP Accredited, RIDE Certified, and AASL Recognized

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#41. Chicago State University

Cook County Normal School opened in Blue Island, Illinois in 1867 with 62 enrolled students. This teacher training school met for classes in a railroad freight car, finding a more suitable location in 1870 (the new permanent site included a model grammar school). The Chicago Board of Education took control of the school in 1897, and renamed it Chicago Normal School. The school would change names several more times, and in 1965 the school was brought under the State of Illinois. The name was changed to Illinois Teachers College: Chicago South at that time, but two years later changed again to Chicago State College. This name was also short-lived—1971 would see the school renamed Chicago State University (CSU). The next year the school would move to a new location—161-acres on the Southside of Chicago. This comprehensive public university currently enrolls over 7,000 students and is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree program through the Department of Information Studies at Chicago State University’s College of Education has been approved for online delivery by their regional accrediting body, meaning the majority of courses can be accessed via the internet. Fifteen-credit hours of required core courses include classes like “Introduction to Reference Services” and “Foundations of the Information Professions,” and students make up the rest of the program with their chosen specialization’s required specifications. Specializations include Academic Library, Public Library, Archives and Records Management, and School Libraries. With a mission of preparing “diverse populations who are intellectually and ethically informed individuals with well-defined skills and knowledge who are capable leaders, creative thinkers, and contributing citizens,” all students in the MSLIS program complete the degree with a Capstone course and a thesis. Actively seeking accreditation from ALA

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#42. Sam Houston State University

Austin College opened in Huntsville, Texas in 1851—and Sam Houston, the iconic Texas politician, attended the dedication of Austin Hall. The school moved, but Austin Hall remained and was used as a school for boys for several years. In 1879, town residents purchased the building to use for the foundation of a teacher training school. The Sam Houston Normal Institute opened that fall, and served as a school to train educators for several decades. In 1919, the school transitioned to a full four-year program and became Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1923. As the school grew and expanded in curricular offerings, the word “Teachers” was dropped from the name in 1965, and in 1969 the name was changed one last time to Sam Houston State University (SHSU). SHSU is the third oldest public university in the state, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: The 36-credit hour Master of Library Science (MLS) at SHSU is offered entirely online for Texas residents through the Department of Library Science in the College of Education. With the goal of creating “competent professionals for school librarianship,” the MLS curriculum focuses on topics such as “Literature for Children,” “School Library Media Center Administration,” and “Internet for School Media Specialists.” To culminate the program, all MLS students must produce a Library Science Portfolio in which they are “expected to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the body of knowledge gained during their courses.” In addition, graduates of the MLS program who already possess a Texas teaching license and have taught for two years will be able to sit for the School Librarian Certification exam. Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and recognized by the American Association for School Librarians (AASL) 

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#43. Appalachian State University

Dr. Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty established Watauga Academy in the mountains of North Carolina in 1899. Initially to provide a quality education for the children in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains, the school transitioned into a teacher training institution by 1903. Dr. Dougherty led the school as President for 56 years, through the change to Appalachian Training School in 1903 to Appalachian State Teachers College in 1929. The school grew through the decades, becoming Appalachian State University (Appalachian) in 1967—four years later Appalachian joined the University of North Carolina system, and now this pubic coeducational university on 1,200 acres in Boone, North Carolina enrolls over 18,000 students. With a mission of preparing “students to lead purposeful lives as engaged global citizens who understand their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all, Appalachian is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: Offered entirely online, the Master of Library Science (MLS) degree program at Appalachian State University creates graduates who are “uniquely prepared for a career in librarianship.” The 36-credit hour program “reflects Media Coordinator (School Librarian) competencies” required by the State of North Carolina and can help lead to Public Librarian Certification through the North Carolina Public Librarian Certification Commission. Housed within the Reich College of Education Department of Leadership and Educational Studies, the MLS is ideal for students who desire to work as librarians in either schools or public settings. Courses include topics such as “Integrating Literature and Media into Instruction” and “Building Connections Through Community and Culture,” and students have two options for an experiential learning requirement: a field placement or an internship. Advisors are available to help students pick the best experience for their career goals. Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and recognized by the AASL

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#44. University of Central Missouri

From humble beginnings as Normal School No. 2, the University of Central Missouri (UCM) has grown to encompass a campus of over 1,500 acres and enroll more than 12,000 students. Established in Warrensburg, Missouri in 1871, the teacher training school started with just “a few dozen students” and soon became known as the Warrensburg Teachers College. Going through many name changes—Central Missouri State Teachers College in 1919, Central Missouri State College in 1945, and Central Missouri State University in 1972—the school would finally become UCM in 2006. Under the “Learning to a Greater Degree” mantra, UCM focuses on engaged learning, future-focused academics, worldly perspective, and a culture of service. This public state university offers over 150 academic degree programs through the five schools and colleges, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: Available fully online since 2011, the UCM Master of Science in Library Science and Information Services degree is a program offered through the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development (ELHD). A minimum of 35-credit hours is required to complete this program that fulfills “the requirements for certification as a library media specialist in the State of Missouri.” Classes are three-credit hours and include topics like “Action Research in School Libraries,” “Curriculum and the Media Center,” and “Children’s, Adolescent, & Young Adult Literature,” and a final research paper covers two of the required credit hours. Online “classes are enhanced with many social supports,” so students have access to resources and interaction to help make their experience more meaningful. Meaningfulness is important at the ELHD Department, which has the goal of producing “graduates who are reflective thinkers, committed to ensure the learning, development, and success of those they serve.” Accredited by the CAEP and recognized by the AASL

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#45. University of Colorado Denver

Comprised of two major campuses, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has a main campus in Denver, and the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Starting independently, both campuses came together to form a single university institution in 2004. With a history as early as 1883, the University of Colorado opened the Department of Medicine and Surgery. The University of Colorado was located in the city of Boulder, but in 1892 moved the Department to Denver to appeal to more students. After a bit of a rocky history, this institution became the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In 1912, the University of Colorado founded an Extension Center in Denver. This satellite campus thrived and became known as the University of Colorado – Denver Center in 1964. In 2004, these two schools merged as one, and by 2011 was officially renamed University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. CU Denver is a public research university with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: CU Denver offers an online Master of Arts in School Library degree program that is the only one of its kind in the state. Courses in the 30-credit hour program are concurrent, and students progress through them sequentially, finishing in about two years. The innovative curriculum through the School of Education and CU Online offers classes such as “Developing Self-Paced Online Courseware,” “Creative Designs for Instructional Materials,” and “Social Media and Digital Cultures” (classes are subject to change). Four key areas are the focus of the MA degree: Technology, Learning curriculum, Human development, and Applied know-how of learning institutions. Rather than a comprehensive exam or a thesis, students engage in a Capstone and prepare a professional portfolio to exhibit the information they have gained and ways they have incorporated it into their approach to librarianship. Accredited by the NCATE

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#46. Valley City State University

Established as a normal school to train teachers in Valley City, North Dakota in 1890, Valley City State University began as a two-year teacher’s college. In 1921, the school was granted full four-year degree-granting status and became Valley City State Teachers College. The school had a boom in academic program offerings after World War II, and changed its name to Valley City State College to reflect that growth in 1963. The name was changed yet again in 1986 to State University of North Dakota-Valley City, but just the next year officially became Valley City State University (VCSU). A laptop university, VCSU is situated on a 55-acre campus and is one of the four regional universities among the eleven institutions of higher education in the North Dakota University System. This public land-grant university enrolls nearly 1,500 students and has regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: For students who have decidedly education-focused career goals, VCSU provides an online Master of Education with a concentration in Library and Information Technologies (MEd/LIT). The courses have all been intentionally and “specifically designed for online instruction,” and all faculty have been specially trained to provide best practices in online instruction. A 37-credit hour program, courses cover topics like “Supervision and Assessment of Teachers & Learners,” “Contemporary Cataloguing for the School Library,” and “Literacy and Literature for Child & Young Adults.” The program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in education who desire to become Library Media Specialists in North Dakota–an optional Summer Institute provides the opportunity for networking and practicum experience. Even if students never come to campus, student services and support resources are made available to them, such as career services, counseling, and technology assistance. Accredited by NCATE and recognized by AASL

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#47. Western Kentucky University

A vision for a teacher training college began in 1876 with the founding of the private Glasgow Normal School and Business College in Glasgow, Kentucky. This school would move to Bowling Green nearly a decade later in 1884 and become Southern Normal School and Business College. Glasgow Normal School was sold, and a new state-sanctioned school took its place in 1906. Western Kentucky State Normal School opened for classes in 1907, but it would grow and expand in academic offerings—granting four-year degrees in 1924 and master’s degrees in 1931. In 1909, it merged with Potter College (a women’s college that had opened in 1890) and move to that campus. More name changes and mergers occurred before the school would become Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 1966. Now with more than 21,000 students currently enrolled, WKU is a public research university with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.

Program Details: Offered completely online, the WKU Master of Science in Library Media Education (MS-LME) degree is a rich, multifaceted program that can lead to a variety of careers. Requiring at least 30-credit hours, students take fifteen hours of core courses and must participate in a research course (in some cases this may be waived–students should check with their advisors to see if they qualify) in addition to their chosen electives. Core courses include classes such as “Issues in Library Media Education” and “Survey of Educational Technology Practices,” and two concentrations are available–Library Media Specialist and Educational Technology. A Student Resource Portal provides links to all manner of services, so online students at WKU are fully supported as they proceed through their program. Accredited by NCATE and the Association for Educational Communication Technology (AECT) and recognized by AASL

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#48. Texas A&M University Commerce

William Leonidas Mayo founded the East Texas Normal College in 1889 in Cooper, Texas. Mayo also served as the first president of the private institution to train teachers. A tragic fire devastated the school five years after if opened, forcing it to move to a new location in Commerce, Texas. The school did well in Commerce, and in 1917 it came under the leadership of the State of Texas as the newly renamed East Texas State Normal College. The school would add more academic programs and change names through the years before consolidating within the Texas A&M University System in 1996. Texas A&M University-Commerce (“A&M-Commerce”) is the second-largest and fifth-oldest in the System, and has multiple satellite campuses across the state. A coeducational public research university, A&M-Commerce has over 12,000 enrolled students and is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Details: Ideal for professionals who want to work as leaders in the school libraries of Texas, the completely online Educational Technology – Library Science (ETLS) Master’s degree program can be pursued either as a Master of Education (MEd) or a Master of Science (MS). Both degrees require 36 semester hours to graduate, and offer classes such as “Information Reference and Mediographic Services,” “Developing General and Specialized Collections,” and “Introduction to Educational Computing.” The program housed within the Department of Higher Education and Learning Technologies, and most students finish in two years. With a curriculum that “focuses upon the development of a philosophy of educational technology that incorporates literacy, integration, and research related to best practices in the use of current and emerging technological trends,” students graduate with the skills to gain School Librarian certification in the State of Texas.

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#49. University of South Alabama

Mobile, Alabama had various extension programs but no school of its own in the 1960s. Local community leaders determined a more concentrated and dedicated institution of higher education was needed for the southwest part of the state. In 1963, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill to establish an independent university for the area, and the University of South Alabama (officially called “South” or USA) was created. Classes began in the summer of 1964 for the 276 enrolled students—by that fall enrollment had increased to 928. Now more than 16,000 students are enrolled in the over 100 academic degree programs offered in the nine colleges and schools of USA. This public research university has a 1,200-acre main campus in Mobile, several satellite campuses, and a state-supported medical school. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides regional accreditation to South.

Program Details: The Master of Education (MEd) with a Certification in Library Media at the Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences in USA’s College of Education and Professional Studies is a completely online degree program, and although geared towards students from Alabama, students from other states may be able to obtain certification in their states as well. A 33-credit hour program, students are required to accumulate 300 contact hours in an internship. Graduates gain the skills to “design, evaluate, and implement educational and instructional technology in the classroom” through the interdisciplinary curriculum. Eighteen core hours of educational media classes include topics like “Microcomputing Systems in Education,” “Information Literacy,” and “Trends and Issues in Educational Media.” One course each in the field of Instructional Design and Development and Educational Psychology are followed by the student’s choice of electives to make up the remainder of the degree. Accredited by NCATE

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#50. University of Northern Iowa

In 1866, an orphanage to care for the children left without either parent by the Civil War was opened in Cedar Falls, Iowa. As the children grew into adults and moved out, the building was converted to the Iowa State Normal School to train teachers in 1876. In 1909. the first of several name changes occurred. The school would become Iowa State Teachers College in 1909, State College of Iowa in 1961, and finally University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in 1967. Experiential service-learning is a hallmark of the school, and the nearly 12,000 enrolled students are encouraged to “make impactful contributions to society and become an engaged citizen through hands-on community service activities that are integrated into regular course offerings.” Almost 90 academic degree programs are available across the four colleges, and this public university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details: The online Master of Arts in School Library Studies degree program provides Iowa residents the skills and resources to “qualify for the K-12 teacher librarian endorsement in Iowa.” Offered through the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UNI’s College of Education and presented in the cohort format, students can choose between a thesis or a non-thesis option. For the non-thesis route, students must complete 33-credit hours–the thesis option requires an additional three credits. All coursework is available online, and there is one on-campus Saturday requirement held in the first fall semester. Each cohort of students move through the program together, taking two classes a semester in topics such as “Library Resources for Children” and “Reference Services and Information Retrieval.” A Student Guide resource page provides all the information distance learning students will need to be successful as online learners at UNI. Aligned with ALA and AASL standards

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor