We live in an age where information and knowledge are more important than ever. At the same time, knowledge and information are not always used for their maximum benefit. A master’s in library science will give you a grad-school, expert knowledge on how to collect, organize, manage, and distribute information across the academic, business, and technological sectors, while using state-of-the-art technology.
Here’s everything you need to know about this area of study, including some of the best library science graduate programs, along with career prospects, pros and cons, and more!
Best Schools for Library Science Master’s Programs
University of Washington, Information School
Master of Library and Information Science
The University of Washington is a world-renowned public university that was ranked no. 7 in the best 2022 global universities list by the US News. The university’s library science master’s is one of the best library science programs in the country. It helps students gain the necessary skills to play an essential role in any industry based on knowledge and information.
- No. of credits: 63
- Duration: 2 years
- Cost per credit: $852
- Financial aid: Federal and State aid, scholarships
- Acceptance rate: 55.9%
- Location: Seattle, Washington
- Founded: 1861
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, School of Information Sciences
MS in Library and Information Science
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is a land-grant and Public Ivy university with over 56,000 students. This master’s program is also one of the top library science programs in the US, and has consistently been in the no. 1 position for the best library and information studies programs by the US News & World report. It teaches students how to best manage, analyze, and preserve information in a range of settings and industries.
- No. of credit hours: 40
- Duration: 18-24 months
- Tuition: $7,146 per semester ($12,996 for non-residents)
- Financial aid: Loans, assistantships, graduate hourly positions, scholarships
- Acceptance rate: 63.3%
- Location: Champaign, Illinois
- Founded: 1867
The University of Wisconsin Madison, Information School (iSchool)
Library and Information Studies, M.A.
The University of Wisconsin Madison is the flagship university of the University of Wisconsin system. It is a public land-grant research university divided into 20 schools and colleges. Its master of library science degree helps students to gain expertise in handling information including organizing, analyzing, storing, and distributing it across technological and global environments. There is also the option to study this master’s program as a double degree with the UW Law School, School of Music, and the Department of History (on-campus only).
- Duration: 2 years
- No. of credits: 39
- Tuition: Refer to the tuition page
- Financial aid: Assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, loans, student jobs, grants
- Acceptance rate: 57.2%
- Location: Madison, Wisconsin
- Founded: 1848
The University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business
Online Master of Management in Library & Information Science
The University of California is the oldest private research university in California with around 40,000 students from across the USA and all over the world. Its online master’s program in library and information science explores management and leadership strategies and business operations to equip professionals for high-level careers in information management. The program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).
- Duration: 20 months
- No. of credits: 31
- Tuition: $2,035 per unit
- Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, graduate assistantship, loans
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Founded: 1880
The University of South Carolina, College of Information and Communications
Online Master of Library and Information Science
The University of Southern California’s College of Information and Communications is among the top 20 ALA-accredited institutions in the country. The school’s online master’s degree prepares students for careers in the academic, business, and industrial sectors. The course content includes information organization, community engagement, research design, and leadership in information organizations.
- No. of hours: 36
- Tuition: $572.25 per hour ($1,240 for non-residents)
- Financial aid: Loans, scholarships, grants, student employment
- Acceptance rate: 68.4%
- Location: Columbia, South Carolina
- Founded: 1801
Master’s in Library and Information Science Career Prospects
A graduate in library and information science can manage and organize information in various roles in libraries, academic institutions, government, and other organizations.
Here are the most common roles for library science graduates:
- Library Director ($64,032): A library director oversees and manages a library’s smooth operations. They ensure staff carries out their roles effectively and that information is organized properly.
- Librarian ($51,292): A librarian works in the library of a school, university, or any other organization to take care of its books, documents, and resources and allow students or other stakeholders to access this information.
- Archivist ($50,160): Archivists are usually responsible for managing and preserving valuable documents, manuscripts, and historical records.
- Digital Asset Manager ($62,213): Digital asset managers are responsible for managing, storing, and organizing digital data for companies by creating innovative databases.
- Social Media Manager ($53,001): Social media managers organize, manage, and communicate information to customers and vendors using social media profiles and sites.
With a master’s in library and information sciences, you could also have the opportunity to work as a:
- Information Technology Manager
- Rights and Reproductions Coordinator
- Competitive Intelligence Analyst
- Information Architect
- Library Manager
- Information Services Manager
Pros and Cons of Having a Master’s in Library Science Degree
As with all fields of study, studying a master of library science and working as a librarian or information science professional has pros and cons.
- Set working hours: For a librarian, work hours and schedules are typically well-defined. Unlike many other jobs, you generally won’t need to take emergency calls or do after-hours work.
- Work-life balance: Due to the well-defined nature of the work, it’s relatively easy to balance work with your personal life as a library science professional.
- Comfortable working conditions: Your work will be mostly confined to an office or indoor working areas. You won’t need to worry about a physically demanding or high-risk work environment.
- Salary: Although a master’s in library science can help you secure a range of roles with decent salaries, remuneration is not as high as salaries in high-paid fields such as tech or business.
- Technological transformation: Libraries are not traditional organizations anymore, and are undergoing technical transformations. Depending on your personality and skill set, you may thrive in this environment, but you’ll need to be able to cope with change.
Master’s in Library Science FAQs
Is a Master’s in Library Science Worth it?
Information and knowledge are more important than ever, and there is always a demand for library science graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, library science jobs are predicted to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030, around the same as the average across all industries. Therefore, a master’s in library science can lead to a range of exciting careers, especially if you are interested in information, thrive on organization, and are a lifelong learner.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Library Science?
Typically, library science master’s degrees take between one and two years to complete. Including your bachelor’s degree, it will take around five or six years to become a professional librarian.
How Much do Librarians With a Master’s Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage of a librarian or library media specialist is $60,820 per year. The pay varies depending on the role and the organization.
What are the Requirements for a Master’s in Library Science?
All library science master’s programs have a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for admission. Generally, a bachelor’s in any discipline will be considered. Excellent GPA and GRE scores help make sure your application is successful, along with letters of recommendation and a strong academic resume.
Do You Have to Take the GRE for Library Science?
This depends on the university and program. For some programs, a GRE score is compulsory, while others do not require you to submit a GRE score. Always check the specific requirements for the program you want to apply to
Having a master’s in library science doesn’t mean you have to work as a librarian. There is a wide range of roles in museums, historical archives, businesses, and research organizations for library science graduates. With so much digital information being handled today, you can also be a part of the technological revolution with a master’s degree in this field!
Ready to put in your application? Check out our helpful posts and guides to prepare the strongest application possible.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.