Top 20 Master’s in Library Science Degree Online 2020

This article will highlight the top 20 master’s degree in library science online programs.

For professionals who are interested in key positions working in a library, a degree in library science (MLS) or library and information science (MLIS) is a major career boost. Libraries at all levels, public, K-12 school, or university, benefit from having employees who are trained in caring for the various resources and effectively serving those who use the library. Students within this major can choose to focus on many different aspects of library work, from working with children to electronic information to book preservation.

More and more programs are offering their library science programs fully online. This development makes gaining all of the professional benefits of a MLS or MLIS degree much more flexible and convenient.

Our list of the best library science programs is based on the quality and effectiveness of the program (based on graduation rate and median pay after graduation) as well as the affordability. Based on this system, the top 20 online library science degree programs are:

  1. University of Washington
  2. Rutgers University
  3. University of Southern California
  4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  5. San Jose State University
  6. East Carolina University
  7. Syracuse University
  8. University of South Carolina
  9. St. John’s University
  10. University of Tennessee – Knoxville
  11. University of South Florida
  12. Appalachian State University
  13. University of Alabama
  14. Kent State University
  15. University at Buffalo
  16. Drexel University
  17. University of Pittsburgh
  18. University of Kentucky
  19. University of Arizona
  20. Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis

Reviewing the Top Master’s Degree in Library Science Online Options

20. Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

At Indiana University – Purdue, students can earn a highly affordable master’s degree in Library Science entirely online. This 39 credit hour program combines foundational courses with specialized electives, and students also have the opportunity to select “advanced electives”. Customized curriculum options include internships, directed readings, and directed research. The intensive curriculum links each student with fellow students on similar career paths, enabling them to work in teams as well as to network.

Tuition: $9,371

19. University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona
Master of Arts in Library and Information Science Online

website

The University of Arizona offers an online master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with the convenience of 3 entry points into the program each year – Fall, Spring, and Summer. The 37 credit hour program consists of 9 core units, 12 elective units, and a final portfolio. The curriculum emphasizes information organization, digital information, health sciences, law, and culture. Students can choose from 9 concentration options, including archival studies, academic or law librarianship, and medical and community health information.

Tuition: $15,594

18. University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky
Library Science Degree Online

website

At the University of Kentucky, students can earn their online Master’s Degree in Library Science while studying either part-time or full-time. This flexible 36 credit hour program consists of 4 core classes, 2 technology courses, 2 foundational courses, and 4 electives. Students can take advantage of the asynchronous, individualized schedule, and additional program options include practicum and study abroad. U.S. News and World Reports has ranked the University of Kentucky in the top 5 nationally for Health Librarianship.

Tuition: $19,762

17. University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

The highly flexible master’s program at University of Pittsburgh allows students to participate at any time from any location. The 36 credit program can be completed in as little as one year, or as long as 4 years for students who wish to study part-time. The program offers thematic branches of librarianship that cluster classes together so that students can choose courses that meet their own particular interests.

Tuition: $24,040

16. Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Master’s in Library and Information Science Online

website

Drexel University offers a unique, highly interactive degree program where students can earn their master’s degree in Library and Information Science 100% online. Drexel’s program offers four 10-week quarters per year, allowing students to take more courses in less time. The 45 credit hour program can be completed in 1 to 2 years, and the curriculum consists of one capstone project, 3 foundation courses, and 5 elective courses, chosen by the student. Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics ranks #14 nationally for Information Systems, so students can benefit from the strong technological background that the school has to offer.

Tuition: $36,727

15. University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York
Master of Science in Information and Library Science Online

website

At the University at Buffalo, students can choose between full-time and part-time when completing the Master’s in Information and Library Science, available entirely online. This affordable program emphasizes the preparation of students for professional employment in a wide range of information careers. The 36 credit hour program usually takes two years to complete, and consists of 9 core credits, as well as many electives, chosen by the student. Available areas of concentration include Law or Music Librarianship, Information Storage and Retrieval, and Public or Academic Libraries.

Tuition: $15,895

14. Kent State University at Kent

Kent, Ohio
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

At Kent State University, students can earn their online master’s degree in Library Science at the only ALA accredited LIS master’s program in the state of Ohio. Recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the top Library Science programs in the nation, the Library and Information Science program is the largest graduate program at Kent State. The curriculum includes 21 credit hours of electives in the areas of health informatics, knowledge management, library and information science, and user experience design, as well as a 1 credit master’s portfolio.

Tuition: $17,552

13. The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Master of Library and Information Studies Online

website

The 36 credit-hour, ALA accredited online program is a great option for those looking to earn their master’s degree in Library and Information Science. The online program at the University of Alabama uses the cohort model, with the goal of providing online students with support from a group of peers. This includes real-time virtual sessions, usually one night per week, so that students can share content, work in groups, and have discussions with instructors, promoting excellent networking opportunities.

Tuition: $20,645

12. Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina
Master of Library Science Degree Online

website

At Appalachian State University, students can earn one of the cheapest online master’s degrees in Library Science. The 2-year, flexible program consists of a highly interactive curriculum, blending set meeting times with flexible coursework completion options. Students have the option of studying part-time, and upon completion of coursework, students are entitled to apply for licensure and Public Librarian Certification from the state of North Carolina.

Tuition: $10,491

11. University of South Florida – Main Campus

Tampa, Florida
Master of Arts in Library and Information Science Online

website

The University of South Florida offers a highly affordable, fully online Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. The 39 credit hour program leaves room for students to take many electives in their area of choice. Additionally, the school offers coursework for those looking to become School Library Media Specialists. The 10 major research areas offered include Information Storage and Retrieval, Information Technology, Information Policy, or Information Literacy, and Archives and Record Management.

Tuition: $10,460

10. The University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee
Master of Science in Information Sciences Online

website

The Master’s Degree in Information Science program at the University of Tennessee is an ALA accredited, top ranked program that offers many hands-on opportunities, even through their online program. The program consists of 36 hours of graduate courses, including 27 hours in Information Sciences. It also includes a practicum program, which gives credit for experiential learning. The online classes promote real- time engagement between students and professors, as well as encouraging a close-knit community with others pursuing the same career pathway. Nearly 90% of the program’s graduates report employment in their field within 1 year of graduation.

Tuition: $21,019

9. St. John’s University – New York

Queens, New York
Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online

website

St. John’s University offers a fully online Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. Online students are fully eligible for all scholarships and financial aid offered by the university, and they also have access to the school’s extensive library collections. The 36 hour program consists of 4 core courses, a management course, and 7 elective courses, and takes 2 years to complete. Students may choose between 6 career focused specializations – Academic, Public, or Special Librarianship, Archival Studies, Management for Information Professionals, and Youth Services. Students must submit an electronic portfolio as an end of the program assessment.

Tuition: $25,816

8. University of South Carolina – Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

The MLIS program at University of South Carolina is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World reports, and is offered entirely online, with the exception of the required internship. This online master’s program in Library Science allows students to explore individual areas of interest as they study, adequately preparing them for their own specific career path. The program requires 36 hours of coursework, 27 of which are tailored toward career interests. Upon graduation, students are eligible to be certified and approved by the SC Department of Education.

Tuition: $20,181

7. Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York
Master’s in Library and Information Science Online

website

The exciting online Master’s program at Syracuse University combines live weekly classes, multimedia coursework, and group learning exercises. The 36-hour program is typically completed in 2 years, and the coursework combines foundational “core” classes with electives, helping each student find their niche as a librarian. Students can choose a focus area in order to graduate with a specialized skill set. Options include academic, data, instructional, public, public service, technical service, youth service or special librarianship, historical materials, management, and school media.

Tuition: $39,005

6. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina
Master of Library Science Degree Online

website

East Carolina University’s Master of Library Science program is an online degree program that is designed for students who are seeking employment as librarians and information professionals. The 39 hour curriculum combines 7 core classes, which must be taken in a consecutive series, with 6 elective classes, chosen by the student in their preferred area of focus. Upon completion of degree requirements, all students are eligible for the NC Public Library Certification.

Tuition: $13,746

5. San Jose State University

San Jose, California
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

San Jose University is leading the way in online learning, offering exclusively online classes since 2009. The school received the Online Learning Consortium’s Outstanding Online Program Award. Students can take advantage of the affordable online master’s program in Library and Information Science, a 43 hour program which can be completed in as little as 1 year when studying full-time. The curriculum, offered through SJSU’s School of Information, fully prepares students for careers as Information Professionals.

Tuition: $14,519

4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois
Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online

website

University of Illinois offers an ALA accredited master’s degree in Library and Information Science that can be completed either on campus or online. The 40 credit online option uses the internet, as well as other information technologies. The curriculum prepares students for careers in all types of informational organizations. A thesis is not required to graduate, but it is available as an option.

Tuition: $15,829

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
Master of Management in Library and Information Science Online

website

At USC, students can earn a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from a prestigious university without needing to set foot on campus. USC boasts of the only Library and Information Science degree in the nation to be offered through a top ranked business school. USC is home to an expansive network of 24 libraries and information centers. The curriculum, which is only offered online, will explore leadership and management strategies needed for the workplace, as well as business operations, preparing students for high-level careers.

Tuition: $36,161

2. Rutgers University – New Brunswick

New Brunswick, New Jersey
Master of Information – Concentration in Library and Information Science Online

website

Rutgers University’s Master of Information program is ranked #7 in the nation, and they offer an online Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. As a founding member of the iSchool Consortium, Rutgers has a distinguished record of research, education, and community outreach that spans decades. Their curriculum is people-focused, information technology-intensive, data-driven, and career-oriented. Students can take advantage of unique offerings at this renowned university, such as the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries.

Tuition: $16,295

1. University of Washington – Seattle Campus

Seattle, Washington
Master of Library and Information Science Online

website

University of Washington offers a top-ranked, affordable program for earning a Master’s Degree in Library Science completely online. The MLIS program has been accredited by the ALA for nearly 100 years. Along with internationally renowned faculty, the program has an advisory committee composed of state librarians and library directors, as well as area executives from related fields. The curriculum consists of courses in knowledge organization theory, design thinking, and information ethics, and students are offered flexible elective options as well as the opportunity for Independent Study or Directed Fieldwork.

Tuition: $9,765

This concludes our ranking of the top 20 online master’s degrees in library science.

NPCO staff
June 2020