Library science graduate programs award a Master of Library Information Science or a Ph.D. in Library Information Science and include studies in information services, organization and resources. Both programs can prepare students to become librarians in schools, corporations or government offices. They might also pursue academic careers in a college or university. Certification requirements for community or school librarians apply in most states.
Prerequisites include a 4-year degree, usually with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are often required as well.
Master's Degree in Library Information Science
Master's programs in library information science typically require 33-43 credits for completion. Graduate students may specialize in administration, educational librarianship, archives and records, reference services or public librarianship. Individuals interested in law librarianship generally enroll in a dual Juris Doctor and Master of Library Information Science graduate program. Many master's level programs are offered entirely online.
In addition to coursework, library science graduate students generally complete a thesis; however, some schools allow students to participate in a capstone or portfolio project instead. Library science core classes include:
- Organizational methods for library materials
- Teaching methods for librarians
- Library services
- Information life cycle
- Library collections and resources
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Ph.D. Degree in Library Information Science
Doctoral library information science students develop critical-thinking, communication, research and leadership skills. Programs are open to applicants from all academic backgrounds and offer interdisciplinary instruction; students can take supportive electives in anthropology, history, English literature and public administration. A master's degree is not required for admittance into a doctoral library science program, and undergraduate or graduate work can be in disciplines other than library science. Most colleges have a residency requirement for library science Ph.D.-seekers.
Graduate students must take a qualifying exam to establish doctoral candidacy. After completion of all core requirements, students take a final exam before beginning on their dissertation. Library science doctoral students must complete original research for the thesis and successfully defend the thesis to a faculty panel to earn their Ph.D. Topics of study include:
- Regulations and information science
- Information and the public
- Teaching library information science
- Theories in library information science
- Advanced research methods
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a doctoral program in library information science can work in government and private sectors. Specific job titles might include:
- Library science professor
- Corporate librarian
- University chairperson
- Published scholar
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of 2015, librarians had a median salary of $56,880 annually, and librarians earned the most in California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. The BLS projected a 2% employment growth for librarians from 2014-2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information
Most public school and community librarians must hold state certifications to qualify for employment. States often require possession of a master's degree in library science and completion of a comprehensive skills assessment. A teaching certification may also be needed.
Although the job growth rate for librarians is slower than the national average, career possibilities can be found in settings ranging from schools to corporations. Individuals interested in pursuing this as a career path can choose from a master's or doctoral degree program in library information science.