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Library & Information Studies: Distance Option

Master of Arts in Library & Information Studies

UW-Madison iSchool student looks through shelves of books

Work with people, information, and technology to solve problems and promote the public good. The iSchool’s online master’s program in Library & Information Studies prepares you for a career in library, nonprofit, or business settings.


Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Online Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies offered by the Information School (iSchool), combines a top research university academic experience with strong community, excellence in career and academic advising, and personal attention. The quality of the iSchool experience is reflected in our graduates’ strong job placement rates in national comparative statistics.

You will learn to use, develop, and manage cutting-edge technologies to promote information access and use, and data management. The 39-credit program includes a one-week residency at the beginning of the first year, which allows you to meet and work with faculty, staff, and members of your cohort. Orientation and training will prepare you to be an effective online learner.

Our Online Master’s Degree balances flexibility for students with a high-quality academic program and dedicated career services and advising staff. A required 120-hour field-experience practicum, near your home, prepares you to apply what you learn in a real-world setting, while polishing your career skills and gaining real-world experience.

Is this program right for you?

The UW–Madison Online Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies offered by the Information School (iSchool), combines a top research university academic experience with strong community, excellence in career and academic advising, and personal attention. The quality of the iSchool experience is reflected in our graduates’ strong job placement rates in national comparative statistics.

You will learn to use, develop, and manage cutting-edge technologies to promote information access and use, and data management. The 39-credit program includes a one-week residency at the beginning of the first year, which allows you to meet and work with faculty, staff, and members of your cohort. Orientation and training will prepare you to be an effective online learner.

Our Online Master’s Degree balances flexibility for students with a high-quality academic program and dedicated career services and advising staff. A required 120-hour field-experience practicum, near your home, prepares you to apply what you learn in a real-world setting, while polishing your career skills and gaining real-world experience.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution. An undergraduate program that includes breadth in liberal arts and sciences is required.
  • Have an undergraduate degree in any major. Undergraduate coursework in library and information studies should not be so extensive as to dilute the liberal arts component of the bachelor’s degree.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent based on the last 60 semester credit hours OR a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • The GRE is not required, nor are submitted scores considered.
  • Provide an English proficiency test score if your native language is not English or your undergraduate instruction was not in English.

To apply:

  • Online application.
  • Resume.
  • Statement of purpose or reason for graduate study.
  • Contact information for three references.

 

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Program highlights

  • Our program is entirely online, with a four-day in-person orientation that allows you to meet UW faculty and learn keys to succeeding in the online master’s program.
  • Our program has been accredited by the American Library Association since 1924. You’re enrolling in a program with a long legacy of preparing innovative and informed professionals.
  • Complete a culminating 120-hour field experience practicum near your home to apply what you’ve learned in a real-world setting.

How you'll learn

  • Online curriculum, with a required 120-hour field experience practicum near your home.
  • Complete a four-day residential “boot camp” to begin the program.
  • Online courses are primarily asynchronous, with some synchronous online meetings. Coursework follows the UW–Madison semester schedule, with timed content units, discussion board topics, and due dates for exercises and final projects.
  • Participate in online sessions, a field experience practicum, and completion of an e-portfolio.

Sample curriculum

Tier 1: Required Courses

  • Information: Perspectives & Contexts
  • Information: Organization & Search
  • Research and Assessment for Information Professionals

Tier M: Management

  • Information Services Management
  • Public Library Administration
  • Strategic Information Services

All MA students must complete at least one Tier M course for a minimum of 3 credits.

Tier T: Technology

  • Code & Power
  • Digital Tools, Trends & Debates
  • Intro to Information Architecture & Interaction Design for the Web
  • Information Experience Design, Testing & Evaluation
  • Digital Curation & Collections
  • Database Design & Management
  • Digital Humanities Analytics

All MA students must complete at least one Tier T course for a minimum of 3 credits.

Practicum

In addition to the courses, students are required to complete a 120-hour practicum. Most students fulfill the practicum requirement by taking LIS 620, Field Placement in Library & Information Agencies.

Electives

All other courses needed to meet the 39-credit minimum for the MA program are considered electives.

E-Portfolio

Completion of the e-portfolio is a graduation requirement for all students. Portfolios will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Heather Johnson wanted to go back to school for a master’s degree in library studies, but couldn’t do it the traditional way. She found the flexibility she needed in UW–Madison’s iSchool Online Master’s program.

Ready to learn more about Library & Information Studies: Distance Option?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach

Heather Johnson

 Sometimes when it’s the middle of the night and you’re working on a project, it’s nice that you can send out an email and get a response back from your professor in a timely manner. That lets you know, ‘Hey, you’re maybe miles away, but you’re not alone, I’m here to help you.  

Heather Johnson, Student
Read more about Heather