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Master’s in Library Science Online Programs

Libraries have been around for thousands of years since ancient Babylonian times, yet they still play a vital role in supporting education and preserving cultural heritage and history. Become a pillar in your community by earning an online master’s in library science. Discover programs, costs, and more below.

Author: STEPS Staff
Editor: STEPS Staff
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Do you have a passion for people and a love for books? Are you interested in a career that allows you to utilize your customer service skills while building upon your information technology expertise? If you answered yes, a career as a librarian could be an excellent match for you and there is no better degree to prepare you for the job than a master’s in library science. In fact, online MLIS programs are specifically designed to prepare you for work as a librarian and will teach you the skills to help students and others find and access the books and information they need for personal and professional projects. Not only can you take satisfaction in being a pillar in your community, you may also benefit from a healthy pay rate and growing job opportunities.

To take the first step towards your new career, you need to find the right graduate program to fit your personal needs. From exploring the top online MLIS programs to understanding cost, accreditation, and learning outcomes, read on to learn what you need to know to begin your journey to a rewarding library career.

Top Online MLIS Programs in 2024

A master’s degree is a big commitment both personally and financially. To be sure that you’re investing your time and money wisely, it’s important to properly research schools before committing to an online master’s in library science program. To help you with your search, we’ve gathered information and requirements from the top online library science programs from across the U.S. that possess the accreditation that your future employers are looking for. We’ve also picked programs that are affordable, so you don’t break the bank while earning your graduate degree. Here’s a look at some of the top schools with online master’s in library science programs for 2024.

About the ranking

College Ranking Methodology

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
  • Career placement and academic counseling services.

Assign Weightings

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on their performance in a variety of key categories. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings, followed by online learning and academic quality metrics (equally weighted).

Online Learning

  • Number of online programs in subject area self-reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Percentage of graduate students at the school taking at least one class online.

Affordability

  • Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on in-state tuition for graduate students per academic year.

Academic Quality

  • Student-to-faculty ratio: Schools with lower ratios ranked higher.
  • Percentage of students admitted. More selective schools ranked higher.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: August 2023

Accreditation Glossary

ABHE: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

ABHES: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

ACCJC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

ACCSC: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission

HLC: Higher Learning Commission

MSCHE: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

NECHE: New England Commission of Higher Education

NWCCU: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TRACS: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

WSCUC: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

1

Chicago State University

Chicago, Illinois

Aspiring librarians, archivists, and information professionals can earn their master's degree in library science online through Chicago State University. The curriculum is centered on an urban focus, while allowing students to select the educational path that best suits their goals. Students choose from four specializations, including School Libraries, Archives and Records Management, Academic Libraries, and Public Libraries. All courses for the Master of Science in Library and Information Science are available online. However, students who want to become school librarians may need to complete in-person fieldwork. Upon program completion, graduates are prepared to work in schools, colleges and universities, and libraries.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Library and Information Science

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $349/credit (in-state); $675/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: 100% online
  • Accreditation: ALA
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 35%

2

Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

Emporia State University offers students an online option for earning a Master of Library Science. This program was designed to accommodate nontraditional learners who need flexible options for study. Accordingly, all of the required courses are available entirely online. After completing the core foundational courses in information handling and management, students personalize their degrees with one of six concentrations, including Archives Studies, Health Information Professionals, Informatics, Leadership & Administration, Youth Services, and Outreach and Community Engagement. Many of Emporia State's library science instructors are active professionals in the field, providing students with valuable networking opportunities as they begin their careers.

Program Highlights:

Master of Library Science

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $286.44/credit (in-state); $429.66/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: 100% online
  • Accreditation: ALA
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation HLC
Online Students 93%

Texas-based students who are interested in becoming school librarians can earn their master's degree online through Texas A&M - Commerce. Students will learn the core administrative principles at the heart of managing school libraries, with a distinct technological spin. This program emphasizes the intersection of technology and learning, training professionals who will become capable of guiding and inspiring students to explore and utilize technology. This unique degree program also allows students to earn their school librarian certification at the same time they're completing their master's degrees. After graduation, students are qualified to become a school librarian or library media specialist in the state of Texas.

Program Highlights:

Educational Technology Library Science (MS/MED)

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $758/credit (in-state); $1,166/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: 100% online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 84%

4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Accreditation SACSCOC
Online Students 48%

5