Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

Explore the best online master's in library science degrees, what jobs the degree can lead to, and expected salaries for jobs in this field.
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  • Librarians oversee libraries and help people find information.
  • To become a librarian, you typically need a master's degree in library science.
  • You can choose concentrations based on your interests, including school librarianship and youth services.
  • A master's in library science can lead to well-paying jobs that pay close to $100,000 annually for the highest 10% of earners.
Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Library Science

Librarians have a valuable job in our society. They champion our access to information; support our freedom to read, learn, and research what we want; and track down whatever materials we can't find ourselves.

If a career in library science sounds right for you, an online master's in library science degree might be a great fit. Here's how to get started:

  • Explore this page to determine if this path is the right choice for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online master's in library science programs, as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for your schedule, pocketbook, and career goals.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top 10 Online Library Science Master's Programs

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#1 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

San Jose State University

  • San Jose, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost:
In-State | $3,588 per semester for full-time students
Out-of-State | $525 per credit

Credits to Graduate: 43

San Jose State's master of library and information science degree is mostly asynchronous, and is run through its School of Information. The program has continuously held ALA accreditation since 1969.

Students must complete a thesis or e-portfolio to graduate. The curriculum includes electives like AI in the library, web 2.0 and social media, and digital humanities. 

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in any field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program does not require GMAT or GRE test scores. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
89%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
37,133
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#2 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $889
Out-of-State | $889

Credits to Graduate: 63

The online MLIS from the University of Washington's Information School provides a foundation in library and information science and includes information technology and social/ethical cores. Learners can complete the entire program online or attend some classes in person if they live in the Seattle area. 

The curriculum includes classes like preservation and conservation of library materials, collection development, and indigenous systems of knowledge. Students can complete the part-time online program in three years by taking 6-8 credits per semester.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,927
Out-of-state
$38,757
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,605
Out-of-state
$29,763
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
52,434
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#3 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of North Texas

  • Denton, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $451
Out-of-State | $655

Credits to Graduate: 36

The University of North Texas' MS in library science program equips professionals for diverse roles and applications at libraries and information agencies. This program has continuously held ALA accreditation since 1965.

Students typically enroll on a part-time basis and complete the program in two years. Participants choose from six concentrations, including information organization, knowledge management, and music librarianship. Students have the option to complete the program completely online or attend some in-person classes in several states, including Texas. Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,295
Out-of-state
$18,111
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,350
Out-of-state
$13,694
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
42,441
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of Maryland-College Park

  • College Park, MD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $950
Out-of-State | $1,930

Credits to Graduate: 36

The master of library and information science program at the University of Maryland readies students for roles within information institutions, allowing them to choose between a field study track or a thesis track. Students further customize their experience by completing elective courses that match their career goals.

The program offers focus areas such as archives and digital curation, youth experience, and legal informatics. It provides both in-person and online options, and typically requires around two years to complete. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a resume/CV, and essays.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$36,683
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,360
Out-of-state
$34,120
Retention Rate
95%
Acceptance Rate
52%
Students Enrolled
41,272
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

Sam Houston State University

  • Huntsville, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $598
Out-of-State | $598

Credits to Graduate: 36

Sam Houston State University's online master of library science program works to prepare graduates for roles related to school librarianship. It emphasizes essential skills like school library management, evaluation of children's and young adult literature, and information and digital literacy.

The curriculum comprises 11 core courses and one elective. Students must also submit a portfolio to graduate. Coursework prepares graduates to sit for the school librarian certification exam in Texas. To qualify for admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a valid Texas teaching certificate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,856
Out-of-state
$15,648
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,765
Out-of-state
$13,108
Retention Rate
73%
Acceptance Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
21,612
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#6 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of Missouri-Columbia

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $535
Out-of-State | $535

Credits to Graduate: 39

The online master of library and information science from the University of Missouri-Columbia degree is run by the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. It requires a hands-on practicum. Mizzou's MLIS graduates may qualify for roles like children's librarian, archives specialist, or research analyst. 

Online courses may take place synchronously or asynchronously and last eight weeks. Students can add an emphasis in eLearning information professional, archival science, library media specialist, or library media specialist with certification. Full-time learners can graduate in 1-2 years.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,017
Out-of-state
$28,992
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,950
Out-of-state
$27,245
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
31,401
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $432
Out-of-State | $877

Credits to Graduate: 39

The University of South Florida's MLIS program, offers a fully online, asynchronous MA in library and information science through its School of Information. The program can prepare students for leadership roles in libraries and other information organizations.  

The curriculum includes core courses like organization of knowledge, collection development and maintenance, and research methods in library and information science. Students must submit a portfolio to graduate. 

The program offers a specialization in school librarian/media specialist that requires students to take the Florida Teacher Certification Examination in School Media.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,350
Out-of-state
$19,048
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
49,708
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  • Knoxville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $700
Out-of-State | $775

Credits to Graduate: 36

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville's MSIS degree, via the College of Communication and Information offers an online MS in information sciences with an optional field experience. The interdisciplinary program can prepare graduates for diverse career paths, including library science, data analysis, and user experience design.

Students take three core courses: information technology foundations, information concepts and foundations, and information organization and retrieval. They learn to organize, analyze, and manage information and data. The program does not require the GRE for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,332
Out-of-state
$29,522
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,468
Out-of-state
$29,656
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
31,701
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes

Cost per Year:
In-State | $6,223
Out-of-State | $19,951

Credits to Graduate: 36

The Department of Information, Library, and Research Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers a fully online, interdisciplinary MLIS degree that features mostly synchronous courses. The UNC Greensboro MLIS curriculum explores topics like information architecture, archival management, social media, and information resources management.

The program offers optional school library and instructional technology licenses. Learners can get hands-on experience in the field by completing practicums and volunteer work with information organizations in their local communities. The program accepts applications year-round.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,422
Out-of-state
$19,581
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,219
Out-of-state
$18,937
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
19,038
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Best Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees of 2024

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

ALA Accredited: Yes (conditional)

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $290
Out-of-State | $1,020

Credits to Graduate: 39

Students can earn a tech-focused master of library science (MLS) from East Carolina University's College of Education in Greenville, North Carolina. The program offers three completely online concentrations in public library, academic library, and school library media. 

Full-time students can graduate in five terms, while it takes seven terms for part-time learners to complete the degree. The curriculum includes classes like introduction to reference, materials for young adults, and digital libraries. All MLS students must complete a capstone portfolio to graduate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,749
Out-of-state
$17,898
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
28,021
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
74% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Why Is ALA Accreditation Important?

The American Library Association (ALA) accredits 68 programs at 64 institutions across the U.S. ALA-accredited programs often post their status prominently on their websites.

A degree from an ALA-accredited program can qualify aspiring information literacy specialists for many professional jobs, including leadership roles in schools and public systems.

Not only do most employers like to see accredited degrees, but attending an ALA-approved program can help you build a valuable professional network of peers, professors, and alumni.

How Much Does an Online Masters in Library Science Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average master's degree costs $19,749 per year in tuition alone. As a gross national average, that figure can look much different when broken down school by school. Keep in mind that the sticker price is merely a ballpark figure for the cost of a degree.

Online learning, studying in the state where you live, and choosing a public institution are three simple ways to lower college costs.

Remember, too, that earning a master's in library science can raise your salary above the national average, so the cost of not attaining your degree may be higher than going to school.

Average Annual Tuition of a Master's Degree

Public Institution

$12,394

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$28,445

Source: NCES

Is an Online Master’s in Library Science Worth It?

Suppose you dream of working in an academic or school library, or aspire to a leadership role in an archive or information management company. In that case, you probably need a master's in library science.

This degree can build on any undergraduate major to provide you with essential skills in research, organization, data management, and information analysis. These skills transfer easily into many other fields, even if you never opt to become a librarian.

An MLIS opens your future up to more than conventional information management roles. Library science graduates can work as chief information officers, managing editors, senior information specialists, instructional designers, or chief curators.

Earning your degree online can improve your digital skills while saving time and money. Consider these benefits of earning your library science degree online:

Benefits of a Master's in Library Science

  • Qualify for high-paying librarian jobs
  • Gain in-demand information management skills
  • Meet requirements for librarian certification programs
  • Work in diverse settings
  • Strengthen job prospects

Reasons to Get Your Library Science Degree Online

  • Keep working while you earn your degree
  • Balance school and other obligations
  • Maintain flexible class and work schedules
  • Control the pace of your education
  • Learn from anywhere you want

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master’s in Library Science?

Median annual wage for librarians and library media specialists

$61,660

Median annual wage for the highest 10 percent of earners

$98,650

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

You can expect to make a median annual salary of $61,660 as a librarian, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs in colleges, universities and professional schools paid the most, at $63,970 per year in 2022. More general information science positions paid the least at $51,220 each year.

Elementary and secondary schools offered a median pay of $62,910 for librarians, while local government roles (excluding education or hospitals) paid $58,330.

Are Concentrations Available for Master's in Library Science Degrees?

In addition to studying to become a librarian, a master's in library science degree gives you plenty of concentration options. Depending on your preferences, you can focus on specific areas that can benefit you later in your career.

Some popular specializations include the following:

  • Information Architecture: This concentration helps students develop the skills to construct and manage websites as information resources.
  • Law Librarianship: Students take courses in legal informatics, law library management, and legal information services. Graduates with this concentration may work for law libraries, information publishers, or organizations that use legal information resources.
  • Archives: Graduates with an archives concentration should know how to preserve and manage photographs, records, medical records, digital images, and digital information databases.
  • School Librarianship: Students discover how to assist educators and pupils with learning resources and how to integrate technology into schools. This concentration may help students qualify for their state's educational media specialist license.
  • Youth Services: This concentration emphasizes youth literature, storytelling for information professionals, and the culture of youth information services in diverse communities.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Library Science Master's Degree?

Graduates with a master's in library science often become public librarians, school librarians, or specialized librarians working in corporate, law, or medical settings.

The library science degree also gives you the skills, knowledge, and credentials to take on various other roles, including working in businesses, museums, and administrative services.

Graduates can also work outside of libraries and become teachers or researchers. The table below contains some library science careers.

Common Library Science Career Paths

  • Librarian and Library Media Specialists
  • Archivists and Curators
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • High School Teacher*
  • Library Director
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists

*May need additional certification or licensure

More Questions About Earning a Master's in Library Science Online

Can I become a librarian without a library science degree?

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According to the BLS, you'll need a master's in library science to qualify for most librarian jobs. School librarians and other library professionals need a bachelor's or master's degree. A teaching certificate may also be required for school-related positions, but requirements vary by state.

Do I need to take the GRE for a master's in library science?

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Each university sets its own distinct admissions standards for each program. Many programs do not require the GRE, while others only ask for GRE scores from applicants with GPAs below 3.0. A few master's in library science programs may accept the Miller Analogies Test instead of the GRE.

How long does it take to get an online master's in library science?

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Most master of library science programs require 30-40 credits, which amounts to about two years of full-time study -- depending on your program and specialization. However, you can complete your degree in 12-15 months by enrolling full-time in an accelerated program. Meanwhile, part-time enrollment may take up to three years.

What classes will I take in a graduate library science program?

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You'll take classes that will give you a broad and specialized library education. You can expect to take classes such as:

  • Library and Information Science
  • Information Organization
  • Management of Libraries and Information Centers
  • Archives and Manuscripts
  • Materials and Services to Diverse Populations

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in library science?

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Library director is one of the highest-paying jobs you can get with a master's in library science. You can earn up to $117,000 a year in this role, according to October Payscale data. Other high-paying jobs include law librarian (up to $99,000), archivist (up to $74,000), and reference librarian (up to $73,000).

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges.com. Page last reviewed November 22, 2023.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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