Master of Science Degree
GSLIS graduates understand both the theory and the practice of library and information science (LIS): they have studied the foundations and principal ideas of the discipline and have been introduced to the values and expectations of the profession. We foster critical thinking about the literature of LIS and related fields and encourage high standards of professionalism and service. Our graduates are prepared to develop and evaluate resources and programs, and to understand the needs of many different kinds of users. Students who have completed our ALA-accredited program are equipped to anticipate social and technological changes, and to promote change that advances the profession, improves technology, and encourages positive social transformation.
Graduates of our master's program are qualified to pursue careers as librarians and information scientists in the information industry. Many master's students and recent graduates cite the opportunity to design their own programs of study as a major advantage at Illinois; examples of specializations include reference and information services (including an emphasis in community college librarianship), design and evaluation of information systems, services for children and young adults (including K–12 Library Information Specialist Certification), community information systems (including the Certificate in Community Informatics), data curation, and special collections librarianship.
Courseload and Limits
The master's degree program requires 40 hours of graduate study, including two core courses, "LIS 501: Information Organization and Access" and "LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society." Additionally, each semester, students pursue electives from a broad range of LIS course offerings. MS students may also opt to earn up to 12 hours in graduate electives through other UIUC courses and/or request transfer of LIS coursework from an ALA-accredited master's program (maximum 8 hours) or, alternatively, graduate level coursework from any accredited institution (maximum 4 hours).
The usual full-time course load is 12 hours during the fall and spring semesters, four hours during the four-week Summer Session Term I, and eight hours during the eight-week Summer Session Term II. A master's degree candidate with a full-time load can complete the 40 hour program in two semesters and one summer, though many students choose to continue in the program for an additional semester or two. Master's degree students must complete all requirements for the degree within five years after registering for graduate work. International students pursuing the degree on-campus are required to maintain full-time status (the equivalent of 12 hours in each semester of the academic year).
Students usually enter the master's program in the fall semester and take the required core courses, "LIS 501: Information Organization and Access" and "LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society." Students may also enter the program in the spring and summer semesters. LEEP online students begin in Summer and now have a Spring enrollment option.
The Graduate College requires students to maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.75. The credit/no-credit option applies only to courses taken outside the library and information science curriculum and to courses taken as "non-degree." Hours taken under the credit/no-credit option are not computed into the grade-point average and may not be applied to a degree in library and information science.
Students have two interchangeable scheduling options for master of science degree course work: an on-campus schedule and the LEEP online education option. When considering which scheduling option to apply for, students should think about which course work delivery method they will predominantly use: if they think they'll be taking most or all of their courses on campus, then they should apply for the on-campus program. If they think they'll be taking most or all of their courses online, then they should apply for LEEP. However, once students are admitted, they may have the option to enroll in courses using either option, depending on their needs. Administrative staff and advisors will work with students during registration to make sure they are able to enroll in the classes that best meet their needs for any given semester.
Please see the Computer Literacy Requirements for information about basic technical competencies.