Master of Library Science Program | Maryland's iSchool - College of Information Studies - Masters Program - University Of Maryland

School of Informatics and Computing

Graduate School

Faculty of Information

Graduate School of Library and Information Science

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.

Degree Requirements

With the aid of their 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.
  • A minimum of 24 credits must be LBSC or INST courses taken in the iSchool.
  • Non-thesis option: all credits are coursework including a required 3 credit field study course.
  • Thesis option: 27 credits are coursework, 3 credits are a Research Methods class and the additional 6credits are thesis research. 

Core Courses

The core courses introduce the broad range of disciplines relevant to information studies and provide the necessary background for more specialized courses.

To be taken within the first 18 credit hours of the program:

  • LBSC 602 – Serving Information Needs
  • LBSC 631 – Achieving Organizational Excellence
  • LBSC 671 – Creating Information Infrastructures

To be taken after completion of 24 credit hours:

  • LBSC 791 – Designing Principled Inquiry

All students admitted to the MLS Program will be required to complete this set of core courses, and students must maintain a 3.0 GPA average within the core requirements.

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 be dismissed from the program.

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 final written report. Students also meet semi-regularly during the semester in a class setting to discuss assigned readings, to share their field experiences, and to build on professional development skills.

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.

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. Students may not 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.