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2022 Best Online Master's in Library Science Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 4/25/2022
2022 Best Online Master's Degrees in Library Science Badge

Our rankings list below shows the best online master's in library science degrees based on the highest alumni earnings one year after graduation. Students generally pursue this degree to better understand information and how it relates to people and technology. Coursework for a Master of Library Science (MLS) may focus on the latest research and strategies used in modern school libraries, including lessons on the information life cycle and various research methods. Importantly, an MLS is typically required to become a librarian. 

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Online Library Science Master's Degrees You May Be Interested In

2022 Best Online Master's in Library Science Degrees

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Sam Houston State University 81 81 $51,622
# 2 #2 Rutgers University 78 $50,890
# 3 #3 University of Maryland - College Park 75 $49,873
# 4 #4 Texas A&M University - Commerce 72 $49,242
# 5 #5 San Jose State University 70 $48,739
# 6 #6 St. John's University 65 $47,517
# 7 #7 Appalachian State University 61 $46,613
# 8 #8 University of Central Arkansas 59 $46,140
# 9 #9 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 59 $46,077
# 10 #10 Syracuse University 58 $45,905

2022 Online Colleges Offering Master's Degrees

Ranking Details

#1 Sam Houston State University

  • Salary Score: 81
  • Median Starting Salary: $51,622
  • Locations: Huntsville (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is a large, public institution offering a 36-credit MLS. Coursework focuses on building professional school library skills, particularly information literacy and the use of advanced library technology. Students receive training in managing collections and working collaboratively with teachers and students. Graduation requirements include a one-semester internship.

At SHSU, students use Blackboard to access primarily asynchronous courses, complete homework assignments, and engage with classmates. As they near graduation, students may want to take advantage of the school's career development services.

#2 Rutgers University

  • Salary Score: 78
  • Median Starting Salary: $50,890
  • Locations: New Brunswick (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

At the large, public institution, Rutgers University, prospective librarians may enroll in a 36-credit Master of Information. Coursework is designed to teach students how they can use library systems, programs, and services to address informational needs. Graduate students may map out their own programs based on career goals or select one of five standardized concentrations: (1) archives and preservation; (2) data science; (3) library and information science; (4) school librarianship; (5) or technology, information, and management.

Rutgers students use the digital platform, Canvas, to access course materials asynchronously, interact with peers, and submit assignments.

#3 University of Maryland - College Park

  • Salary Score: 75
  • Median Starting Salary: $49,873
  • Locations: College Park (MD)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

A large, public institution, the University of Maryland - College Park offers a 36-credit Master of Library and Information Science. The program is designed to give students a solid foundation in two important aspects of library science: research and practice. Enrollees may design their own programs based on personal career goals, or they can select from six other concentrations: (1) archives and digital curation, (2) diversity and inclusion, (3) intelligence analytics, (4) legal informatics, (5) school library, or (6) youth experience. Full-time students often complete the degree requirements, including writing a thesis or completing a field study, in two years, while part-time students may need longer.

At the University of Maryland, students use Canvas to access their online course materials, submit assignments digitally, and engage with classmates through discussion forums.

#4 Texas A&M University - Commerce

  • Salary Score: 72
  • Median Starting Salary: $49,242
  • Locations: Commerce (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Texas A&M University - Commerce, which is a medium-sized, public university, offers a dual Master of Education/Master of Science in Educational Technology Library Science. Coursework explores how technology is redefining the school librarian's role and the delivery of instructional information. Most students complete the 36-credit program in two years. Upon graduating, students are certified to serve as School Librarians or Library Media Specialists in the state of Texas.

Library science students use the myLeo Online platform to access course materials, complete homework assignments, and participate in class discussions. Texas A&M provides academic advising and career development services to online students.

#5 San Jose State University

  • Salary Score: 70
  • Median Starting Salary: $48,739
  • Locations: San Jose (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

San Jose State University (SJSU) is a large, public institution offering a Master of Library and Information Science degree. The program is designed to prepare graduates to work in various library environments, and students can customize their degrees by selecting from a wide range of electives. To graduate, students must complete 43 credit hours, which include an internship and either a thesis or e-portfolio project. Full-time students typically complete the program in 18-24 months, while part-time students may need up to three years.

SJSU uses the Canvas learning platform to deliver primarily asynchronous courses, although some courses include live streaming class sessions. Tech support, career counselors, and academic advisors are among the resources available to online graduate students.

#6 St. John's University

  • Salary Score: 65
  • Median Starting Salary: $47,517
  • Locations: Queens (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Affiliated with the Catholic church, St. John's University is a medium-sized, private non-profit with the distinction of being an Asian American-serving institution. Its Master of Science in Library and Information Science requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in two years. Enrollees can work toward specific career goals by selecting one of five areas of specialization: (1) academic librarianship, (2) archival studies, (3) management, (4) public librarianship, or (5) youth services.

St. John students use Blackboard to view course materials, complete assignments, and interact online with classmates and instructors. Graduate students have access to the school's student services, such as library collections, mentors, and academic resources.

#7 Appalachian State University

  • Salary Score: 61
  • Median Starting Salary: $46,613
  • Locations: Boone (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

An online Master of Library Science is available at Appalachian State University, a large public institution. This flexible program is suitable for students pursuing high-level positions in schools and libraries. Thirty-six credit hours are required to complete the program, which lasts for approximately two years at a part-time pace. Students will need to attend class meetings at a set time but can complete coursework at any time.

After graduation, North Carolina students can apply for a Media Coordinator License and Public Librarian Certification from the North Carolina Public Certification Commission. Eligible applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and meet the institution’s graduate school admission requirements.

#8 University of Central Arkansas

  • Salary Score: 59
  • Median Starting Salary: $46,140
  • Locations: Conway (AR)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Central Arkansas is a public institution with a medium-sized student population offering an online Master of Science in Library Media and Information Technologies. This program — which is recognized by the American Association of School Librarians — prepares students to pursue a career as a K-12 librarian media specialist. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours, which includes courses such as Collection Development, Global Information Services, Introduction to Library Science and Information/Recreational Programming, and Research Methods.

Students can enroll in the program during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. The program requires students to attend classes at a set time, but they can complete coursework asynchronously.

#9 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Salary Score: 59
  • Median Starting Salary: $46,077
  • Locations: Chapel Hill (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill is a large, public institution that offers a Professional Science Master's in Digital Curation and Management. With courses on digital curation, metadata architecture, and information assurance, this program focuses on the selection and preservation of digital assets. Graduates may find employment in a variety of public and private organizations. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours, including a one-semester internship.

At UNC, online course materials, assignments, and class discussions are delivered through Canvas. Students may take advantage of various resources, such as academic advising, mental health support, and the LGBTQ+ Center.

#10 Syracuse University

  • Salary Score: 58
  • Median Starting Salary: $45,905
  • Locations: Syracuse (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Syracuse University is a medium-sized, private non-profit. Its Master of Library and Information Science is focused on equal access to technology and helping underserved populations. Students can choose among six professional pathways: (1) data curation and services, (2) organization and management of information and knowledge, (3) user services and community engagement, (4) digital information systems, (5) children and youth services, or (6) information research and analytics. Syracuse also offers a Master of Science in Library and Information Science: School Media for aspiring K-12 school librarians. Full-time students often complete either 36-credit program in 18 months.

At Syracuse, students use the Blackboard digital platform to access course materials, submit assignments, and engage with instructors and peers in an online environment.

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Online Master's in Library Science Overview

While some programs require at least 40 semester hours before the degree is awarded, full-time students might be able to earn an online master’s degree in library science in two years. In addition, students who have already completed coursework at another ALA-accredited program may be entitled to transfer credits. Many programs require a capstone project or thesis as well as an internship experience or practicum before the master’s degree is awarded. There are a variety of different master’s degree programs that students can pursue, including the following:

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS):

Students who pursue this track gain fundamentals in information systems management as well as in librarian studies. Technical courses might include Information Architecture, Database Administration, Telecommunications, Enterprise Network Management, Data Mining, and Project Management.

Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) or Master of Library Science (MLS):

These programs prepare students to work in environments like corporate, academic, or public libraries. In addition to core library science courses that discuss the ethics, politics, and history of bibliographic data standards and the written word, courses might include Government Documents, Classification and Cataloging, Principles of Searching, Business Reference Solutions, Conservation and Preservation, Issues in User Services, and Integrated Technologies in Libraries.

Master of Arts in Library Science (MA):

Students pursuing a Master of Arts in Library Science focus on sharpening their analysis and research skills. Graduates of these programs are prepared to enter field-specific doctoral degrees, and possible courses of study might include Research Methods, Communications Technology, Information Services, Information Retrieval, Organization of Information, Library Collections Development, and Library Management.

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