Master's of Library Science in California

May 23, 2019

Students who wish to enter the field of library science can choose between several programs in California. These programs typically require a range of courses and a thesis or portfolio for completion.

The field of library science is developing quickly, as librarians take increasingly important roles in managing information, research and data within a range of industries. Those who wish to pursue a master's degree in this field can choose from several programs in the state of California. Read on to find out more about these programs, admissions requirements, and some common program completion expectations.

Library Science Graduate Programs in California

San Jose State University

San Jose State University offers a program of study leading to the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). The program can be completed entirely online. Students have the ability to customize their course of study by choosing electives intended to lead to various career pathways, including digital curation, public librarianship, and youth services. They can also choose to earn the teacher librarian credential. A robust internship program offers hands-on learning at a variety of positions in the information science field.

University of California - Los Angeles

UCLA provides students the opportunity to earn the MLIS. Areas of specialization include rare books and informatics. Internships are available with UCLA's wide range of libraries as well as Los Angeles museums and medical centers. Research centers include the Center for Global Digital Cultures and the Center for Knowledge Infrastructures.

University of Southern California

USC has developed an innovative program leading to the Master of Management in Library and Information Science. The degree is offered through the business school, and can be earned through an online program. The program is designed to develop management and communication skills for those who wish to pursue leadership positions in the library and information sciences field. A graduate certificate for those who already hold the MLIS and wish to advance to leadership positions is available as well.

California State University - Long Beach

At Cal State Long Beach, students can pursue a teacher librarian services credential. The program emphasizes meeting the school-based reading and technology needs of diverse populations. Students must hold a valid teaching credential. To earn the credential, candidates must complete eight courses. In addition, they must complete a field experience of 90 hours.

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers a Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS), with a cohort of students drawn from the Los Angeles area. Courses are primarily online; however, students attend onsite institutes around the local area during the fall and spring semester, and can choose from a range of social and professional cohort activities in LA. In addition, elective classes are offered in a hybrid format, with instruction at several local libraries. Internships are also available in the Los Angeles area.


Candidates for MLIS programs must have a bachelor's degree, and submit their transcripts. No specific major is required, however an undergraduate course in statistics may be recommended. Students should also plan to submit recommendations, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Results of the GRE exam may be required. Those who intend to pursue teacher librarian credentials might be required to have a valid teaching license.

Program Completion Requirements

Completion of the MLIS typically requires two years of full-time study. Part-time program options are available. Students are required to take a range of core and elective courses. Typically, the program will culminate with a thesis or portfolio. Those who are seeking the teacher librarian credential may have additional requirements. Read on to find out more about some common courses that students encounter during MLIS programs.

Organization and Cataloguing of Resources

This course may provide an overview of the various methods of organizing library materials. Systems of classification, such as Dewey and LCSH, could be reviewed. In addition, the technical processing of materials might be considered.

Archives and Manuscripts

This course could provide students with a background in the practice of managing archival documents, including photographs and personal papers. Specific topics might include acquisition, conservation, and access to the archives. Students may also come to understand how to display archives in either physical or digital displays.

Library Services for Young Adults

Teenagers can be a challenging population for library service professionals. This course might discuss service philosophies and policies for working with those from 11-18. In addition, the building of a collection of literature and other materials to appeal to those in this age group could be considered.

Database Management

A course in database management could provide future librarians with knowledge of the theories, design, and implementation of database systems. Students might learn about data models, storage, and efficiency. In addition, best practices in database querying using SQL is likely to be a topic.

Medical and Health Sciences Informatics

This course may examine the infrastructures involving communication and networking within a healthcare environment. Students may also be introduced to a range of resources frequently utilized in healthcare, such as PubMed, patient self-management websites, and bibliographic databases. In addition, the course may present topics related to privacy, security, and encryption in medical environments.

Earning a MLIS can provide a pathway to enter a range of information-related careers. Those who wish to pursue this degree in California have both on-campus and online options.

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