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Best Online Master’s Degrees in Library Sciences

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Library Sciences

If you’re interested in earning your online master’s degree in library science, keep reading for a detailed look at several programs. We’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can submit an application that stands out, get accepted, graduate, and land the job of your dreams.

It sounds like every book-lover’s dream: spending all day in a library and assisting patrons in locating the books and information they need. Yes, please! Libraries serve important roles in every community, not only providing knowledge and entertainment but also serving as a safe space that promotes equity and teaches problem solving. An online master’s in library science prepares graduates to serve as librarians in a variety of areas, including references, technical services, youth and children, archivist/special collections, cataloging/meta data, law, and more.

When considering which master’s in library science online program is right for you, you’ll have lots of factors to consider, including cost, flexibility, curriculum, and student support. This page highlights everything you need to know about some of the top online programs, along with career projections and a preview of typical costs for obtaining a master’s in library science online.

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Library Science for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create 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.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Boston, MA
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Three concentrations from the Master of Science in Library and Information Science at Simmons University can be completed entirely online. Virtual students can choose the design-your-own curriculum option or specialize in Archives Management or Information Science and Technology. Each online class is asynchronous, meaning students can choose study times that work best for them. Additionally, Simmons offers several scholarship, fellowship, and work study opportunities to online students.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Library and Information Science

    • Credits: 36
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $1,365/credit
    • Mode: Fully online or on campus
    • Accreditation: ALA
  • Nashville, TN
    Private not-for-profit $$

    Trevecca Nazarene’s Master of Library and Information Science takes just 15 months of online study. Current educators can add a librarian endorsement to their teaching license in the program, while those from other fields can earn a full MLIS degree. Students progress through the program with a cohort of peers. After graduation, students are ready to work as librarians in K-12 settings supporting research, literacy, and technology skills.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Library and Information Science

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 15 months
    • Cost: $699/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: CAEP
  • Fresno, CA
    Private not-for-profit $$

    Fresno Pacific University’s MA in School Library and Information Technology prepares students to become school and teacher librarians. This 100% online program focuses on building collaboration skills, teaching experience, and educational technology expertise. Each course is taught by faculty with extensive experience as teacher librarians. After graduation, students are ready to become information and technology specialists and instructional leaders in K-12 schools.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Arts in School Library and Information Technology

    • Credits: 37
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $730/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: CCTC/WASC
  • River Forest, IL
    Private not-for-profit $$$
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Program Spotlights: Library Science Master’s Degrees Online

For the most part, a master’s in library science is required to become a librarian. Anyone interested in gaining the skills and knowledge they need to serve in public, private, school, or corporate libraries must graduate from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Online master’s in library science programs vary in their delivery, goals, outcomes, and courses. However, they all must meet certain requirements and standards to be accredited. 

As you begin your research, it’s important to consider your own unique requirements. Do you want to focus on one concentration, such as archival studies or youth and children? How important is a flexible class schedule or financial aid opportunities? Most of all, will the program provide you with a degree that will help you achieve your career goals? 

We’ve highlighted three schools below that offer top-rated online master’s degree programs in library science. 

University of North Texas

Program details: The Library Science Master of Science at the University of North Texas is offered fully online, allowing students the flexibility to meet both their personal and professional obligations. Graduates will be prepared to be information professionals in public and academic libraries, along with libraries maintained by government agencies, corporations, law firms, medical centers, or museums. They’ll be qualified for careers as reference, youth and children, cataloging, law, and digital librarians. Students choose from six concentrations: Archival Studies, Information Organization, Knowledge Management, Law Librarianship and Legal Informatics, Music Librarianship, or Youth Librarianship. The program culminates in a practicum and a capstone project.

  • Admissions requirements: Application, transcripts, statement of purpose and goals, resume, and two letters of recommendation. No GRE is required.
  • Credit hours: 36
  • Cost: $16,500 (in-state); $20,520 (out-of-state)
  • Accreditation: ALA

Syracuse University

Program details: Graduates of the Master of Science in Library and Information Science Online program at Syracuse University will be prepared to make a difference in their communities, promoting access to technology, encouraging digital literacy, being leaders in their organization and community, and changing how people and organizations use libraries and information resources for the better. Students learn to collect, classify, retrieve, store, analyze, and distribute information. Learners choose a specific professional path and focus their studies on User Services and Community Engagement, Data Curation and Services, Organization and Management of Information and Knowledge, Children and Youth Services, Digital Information Systems, or Information Research and Analytics. They can also earn a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science, Information Security Management, Enterprise Technology Leadership, or School Media.

  • Admissions requirements: Application, transcripts, personal statement, resume, and two letters of recommendation. No GRE is required.
  • Credit hours: 36 (can be completed in 18 months)
  • Cost: $1,872/credit hour
  • Accreditation: ALA

The University of Arizona

Program details: Graduates of the Library and Information Science Master of Arts at The University of Arizona learn the disciplines, ethics, and values of library and information science. Coursework takes an interdisciplinary approach and considers the diverse populations graduates will work with in their careers. Students in this online master’s in library science focus their coursework in areas such as archival studies; academic or public librarianship; digital information management and curation; legal information, law librarianship and scholarly communication; or medical and community health information.

  • Admissions requirements: Application, transcripts, statement of purpose, resume, and two letters of recommendation
  • Credit hours: 37
  • Cost: $900/credit hour
  • Accreditation: ALA

How Much Does an Online Master’s Degree in Library Science Cost?

Earning a master’s degree in library science online is a major financial commitment. However most librarian positions require a master’s degree, so it’s necessary to achieve your career goals. The good news is that many master in library science programs offer an online option, allowing a flexible schedule so you can continue working and earning as you complete your degree. 

In addition, opportunities for financial aid are available to help you offset the cost of your education. Most schools offer scholarships, assistantships, or fellowships. The University of Washington is a great example of a school that provides a comprehensive scholarship list.

You can also seek traditional funding opportunities including federal student aid, student loans, or employee tuition reimbursement. You’ll find independent scholarship opportunities on sites such as OnlineColleges.me. The ALA offers multiple scholarships and financial aid options. To round out your financial aid investigation, learn more about completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (better known as the FAFSA) and get answers to your biggest questions about financial aid options.

The price tag for your program will vary widely based on the school you choose. We’ve highlighted the cost of five online master’s in library science programs below. 

How Much Your Online Master’s in Library Science Could Cost

SchoolNo. of CreditsCost per CreditTotal Tuition
Indiana University 39$492.50$19,207.50
Louisiana State University36$555$19,980
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign40$680 (in-state);
$941 (out-of-state)
$27,200 (in-state); $37,640 (out-of-state)
San Jose State University43$525$22,575
Syracuse University36$1,872$67,392 + fees

What to Expect in Your Online Master’s Degree Program in Library Science

Students who enroll in a master of library science online program can expect to learn a broad range of skills and gain expertise that prepares them to work as librarians, curators, archivists, researchers, educators, and more. They learn skills in research, cataloging and indexing, digital archiving, youth and children librarianship, ethics, trends in libraries, program development, project management, and more. 

Most programs require students to complete an internship/practicum and a capstone project. A practicum gives students an opportunity to use what they’ve learned in the real world. A capstone project requires that students identify a problem within library science in a real-world setting and develop a research or design solution to address it. 

Completing a master’s in library science online allows students to do coursework from anywhere they have a computer and Internet connection. They develop relationships with their professors and classmates via email, message boards, video calls, and sometimes live classes. Schools typically use a program such as Blackboard, which allows students to access lectures and syllabi; submit assignments; and take tests. 

Common Online Master of Library Science Courses

Information Organization

This course covers the theories, systems, and practices required to be successful at information organization. Students gain a thorough understanding of the functions of library catalogs, indexes, meta data, and Internet search engines. Advanced information organization courses cover how practitioners and researchers can better understand the needs and behaviors of library patrons, students, business professionals, attorneys, and scientists.

Introduction to Research

Courses that cover research offer a deep understanding of the tools, methods, and practices pertinent to program evaluation and library and information science research. Coursework covers topics such as ethics, research design, literature reviews, data analysis, and reporting research to different types of users. In some courses students perform research projects, developing skills in the research uses of libraries and providing a broader understanding of the needs of library patrons.


Cataloging and classification courses cover the theories, principles, and practices needed to successfully organize materials and information. This may include resource description, Library of Congress subject headings, RDA Registry, classification theory, and application of classification schemes including Dewey Decimal classification, Library of Congress classification, and other systems. Coursework may also include information about cataloging nonstandard materials such as audiovisual materials, the evaluation of bibliographic records, and exposure to authority control.

Preservation and Digitization

Preservation and digitization courses cover best practices in ensuring unique and rare materials are protected and accessible. Students learn the current issues libraries, archives, and museums face. Coursework provides information and skills related to access, digitization, and preservation of information and a focus on technology and how it impacts preservation processes. This may include future accessibility, authority, control, legitimacy, ethics, management, authorship, and more.


Many programs require that students complete an internship or practicum as part of their master’s in library science online program. Through this, students have an opportunity to gain real-world experience, forge connections, and uncover insights that complement their classroom learning. The number of hours required varies by program, but students can expect to spend 120-140 hours in the field.

Job Outlook: What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Library Science?

While being a librarian is the most common career path, when you earn a master’s in library science online you have many other opportunities as well. Your master’s education provides the knowledge and skills to excel not only in librarianship but also in processing and archiving historical materials, knowledge management, and the collection and organization of large amounts of materials. Graduates work in different types of libraries, museums, government agencies, healthcare and law settings, and schools. Most, if not all, of these jobs require a master’s degree. 

The job outlook for graduates with an online master’s in library science is on par with the national average for career growth. Library science jobs generally pay well. We’ve highlighted three career paths and their pay below. 

Librarians and Library Media Specialists

Librarians help people find books, resource materials, and information, along with conducting research for both personal and professional use. Their day-to-day duties vary based on what setting they work in, which can include community libraries, law libraries, children’s libraries, schools, or medical libraries. They are responsible for organizing materials, managing the library database, creating library programs, researching new books and materials, and more.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022


Archivists appraise, process, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historical materials. They ensure safe storage and accessibility to documents, along with identifying the source of archival materials by applying their knowledge. Archivists determine which records and materials are appropriate for acquisition. They work in government offices, museums, universities, or hospitals.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Postsecondary Teachers in Library Science

Professors instruct students in university and college settings in their academic area of expertise. Professionals with an online master of library science teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, develop instructional plans and curriculum, grade coursework, and perform advising duties. They may also conduct research and publish scholarly papers.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

FAQs About Online Master’s Programs in Library Science

Choosing to pursue your master’s in library science online is a huge—and exciting—decision. But no matter how much you’re looking forward to getting your master’s degree, you probably still have a ton of questions about curriculum, costs, schedules, flexibility, student support, and how long it will take to complete your degree. Any program you’re considering will help you get answers to those questions, but we’ve compiled six of the most pressing questions our readers have shared about obtaining their master of library science online.

  • Are online master’s degree programs in library science fully online?

    The availability of a fully online master of library science programs varies from school to school. However, more and more schools are offering fully online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Some programs also offer hybrid options, in which some classes are available online and others require a visit to campus. Most online master of library science programs require a practicum or internship in a real-world library setting in your community.

  • What does the admissions process look like for this degree?

    Admission to a master’s in library science online program has similar requirements to other graduate programs. Specific requirements will vary from program to program. In general, applicants can expect to submit an online application, transcripts, resume, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Some schools ask for test scores, such as the GRE, but many are moving away from this requirement.

  • How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in library science online?

    The length of time it takes to complete a master’s in library science online depends on a number of factors related to both a student’s personal situation and the school’s requirements and course availability. Students typically choose to complete a program full time, which is the fastest option. For students seeking a different pace, some programs also offer part-time or accelerated options. Most require 36-42 credit hours and take 12 months to two years to complete.

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their master’s in library science?

    Schools that offer their students fully online programs are more committed than ever to providing the same amount of student support and services as on campus. Expect to have tech support available to you, along with traditional student services such as health and wellness, networking opportunities, and library and research access. Most importantly, many programs offer their students career services, such as interview and resume preparation, job listings, and job fairs.

  • Can I work while pursuing an online master’s in library science degree?

    An online program offers students the flexibility they need in their schedules to continue working while they complete their master’s degree. Online coursework is delivered either synchronously (which means students are required to be online at certain times) or asynchronously (which means students are able to complete their coursework at times that are convenient to them). Asynchronous classes provide the most flexibility, so students can work at whatever time is best—whether that’s at 3 pm or 3 am.

Other Master’s Degree Options in Education

If you’re interested in a master’s degree in education but are unsure what specialization to pursue, check out these other degree pages to learn about your options:

Master’s Degrees in Education – Curriculum and Instruction

Master’s Degrees in Education – Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Master’s Degrees in Education – Educational Leadership

Master’s Degrees in Education – Higher Education

Master’s Degrees in Education – Music Education

Master’s Degrees in Education – Special Education (SpEd)

Master’s Degrees in Education – Teaching