Master of Library Science Program
The Master of Library Science (MLS) program provides a comprehensive foundation in research and practice in library and information science. MLS instructors apply the insights developed in scholarly research, as well as practical experience, to enhance the quality and scope of services in a variety of information settings. The program provides a comprehensive foundation for professional careers in libraries, information centers, archives, and other agencies engaged in information activities. The MLS program is fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and courses are offered at the university’s College Park campus, at the Universities at Shady Grove, and online.
With the aid of an advisor, the MLS student devises a plan of study to meet the graduation requirements:
- 36 credit hours of academic work to be completed with a minimum B (3.0 GPA) average within five calendar years from the first registration.
- At least 24 of the 36 required credits must be LBSC or INST courses taken in the iSchool.
- Non-thesis option: all credits are coursework including a required three (3) credit field study course.
- Thesis option: 30 credits are coursework and the additional six (6) credits are thesis research. If you choose the thesis option, the field study course is encouraged but not required.
The core courses introduce the broad range of disciplines relevant to information studies and provide the necessary background for more specialized courses. They must be completed within the first 18 hours of the program:
- LBSC 601 Information Use, OR LBSC 605 Archival Principles, Practices and Programs (for students in the Archives, Records, and Information Management specialization), OR LBSC 640 Library Media Specialists as Information Professionals (for students in the School Library specialization)
- LBSC 650 Information Access
- LBSC 670 Information Structure
- LBSC 690 Information Technology
*As of Fall 2013 the iSchool will be implementing a new core.
A student who earns a course grade of C, D, or F in a core course is placed on academic probation (in the College) and reviewed by the College’s Master’s Committee. The Master’s Committee may require the student to repeat the course or recommend to the Graduate School that the student is dismissed from the program.
New MLS Core Courses – Fall 2013
As the result of a comprehensive review of the Master of Library Science (MLS) program, the required core courses for all students seeking an MLS degree have been revised to better reflect the current and future state of practice and service across the information professions. Beginning in Fall 2013, all students admitted to the MLS program will be required to complete a new set of four core courses:
Within the first 18 credits of the program:
- LBSC 602 - Serving Information Needs
- LBSC 631 - Achieving Organizational Excellence
- LBSC 671 - Creating Information Infrastructures
After completion of 24 credit hours:
New students in the School Library or Archives specializations will continue to be required to take LBSC 640 (School Library) or LBSC 605 (Archives) in addition to the new core courses.
Field Study Requirement
All non-thesis option students are required to complete a three (3) credit field study course. Students choose a field study experience appropriate to their individual career goals, in which they obtain professional experience under the direct supervision of a professional librarian or information specialist. Students spend a minimum of 120 hours during the semester at the site and produce a written report. They meet regularly during the semester with the instructor to discuss assigned readings and to share their field experiences.
The appropriate field study courses are:
Archives specialization: LBSC 703 Field Study in Archives, Records and Information Management
School Library specialization: LBSC 744 Internship in School Library Programs
All other MLS students: LBSC 707 Field Study in Library Service
Many local institutions sponsor field experiences including the Library of Congress, George Meany Memorial Archives, Maryland State Library, National Agricultural Library, National Archives and Records Administration, Smithsonian Institution, and University of Maryland Libraries. For a comprehensive list of partnering institutions, please visit our field study database.
General guidelines about the field study courses may be found here.
Management and Administration Course
All students must take a course in management and administration. All MLS students, except for those who are pursuing the School Library specialization, are required to take LBSC 635 Management and Administration for the Information Professional. Students in the School Library specialization instead take LBSC741 Seminar in School Library Media Program Administration. This course will be integrated into the core as LBSC 631 beginning Fall 2013.
The remaining six courses may be a combination of College of Information Studies courses and graduate courses from other departments or other universities. A thesis is optional.
Special Topics Courses and Independent Studies
LBSC 708 Special Topics in Information Studies
Special Topics in Information Studies may be repeated. However, credit will not be given for repeating the same special topics section, as indicated by the letter suffix and title. MLS students may not take for credit both a special topics section and the same course after it is converted to a permanent course. No student may earn more than 9 credits under LBSC 708, or more than 12 credits in LBSC 708 and LBSC 709 combined.
LBSC 709 Independent Study
A MLS student may register for only three credits of LBSC 709 Independent Study per instructor per semester. A MLS student in the thesis option may include no more than three credits of LBSC 709 Independent Study in his/her program. No student may earn more than 9 credits under LBSC 709, or more than 12 credits in LBSC 708 and LBSC 709 combined.