Degree Programs

Master of Library Science (MLS)

Goals and Objectives for the Master of Library Science Program
The Master of Library Science (MLS) is a 36 credit hour program accredited by the American Library Association. The program is innovatively designed to meet the new challenges of our profession. Students in the program are introduced to the roles and functions of libraries in contemporary society.  They become familiar with key policy issues and technological trends, and with how these issues and trends affect libraries and information centers of all kinds.  Students learn to manage and evaluate collections, respond to the information needs of patrons, and to use technology to improve access to information.  Students who complete the program are prepared for careers in library administration, public services, technical services, reference services, and collection development at public, school, academic, and special libraries.

ILS has identified the following primary goals and objectives for the MLS program. Upon completion of the MLS program, graduates will be prepared to:

Approach Professional Issues with Understanding

  • Understand the social, political, ethical, and legal aspects of information creation, access, ownership, service, and communication
  • Anticipate emerging trends and respond proactively

Assist and Educate Users

  • Analyze and identify the information needs of diverse communities of users
  • Educate users and potential users to locate, use, and evaluate information resources and tools
  • Analyze and evaluate information systems and services in a variety of settings

Develop and Manage Collections of Information Resources

  • Design and apply policies and procedures that support the selection and acquisition of information resources for particular communities of users
  • Manage, evaluate, and preserve physical and virtual collections of information resources
  • Uphold ethical and legal standards in acquiring, leasing, preserving, and providing access to information resources

Represent and Organize Information Resources

  • Understand and apply principles of representation and organization

Manage and Lead libraries and Other Information Organizations

  • Perform basic managerial functions, including planning, budgeting, and performance evaluation
  • Communicate effectively to a variety of audiences
  • Apply theories of organizational behavior and structure

Use Research Effectively

  • Design, conduct, interpret, and take action based upon research and evaluation

Deploy Information Technologies in Effective and Innovative Ways

  • Implement and evaluate information and communication technologies for efficiency, usability and value to users


The Master of Library Science degree requires 36 credit hours of graduate course work in Information and Library Science and a digital literacy requirement (see below).  The ILS website provides information about dual degree requirements and transfer credit.

MLS Foundation Requirements: (15 cr.)

  • ILS-Z 501 User Services and Tools (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 503 Representation and Organization (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 550 Persepectives in Librarianship (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 605 Internship in Library and Information Science (3 cr.)*
    • * Must complete 18 ILS credits before taking and approval form is required

Complete one course from the following:

  • ILS-Z 511 Database Design (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 512 Information Systems Design (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 516 Human-Computer Interaction (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 517 Web Programming (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 532 Information Architecture for the Web (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 534 Search (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 554 Library Systems (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 556 Systems Analysis and Design (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 634 Metadata (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 636 Data Semantics (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 637 Information Visualization (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 652 Digital Libraries (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 656 Digital Publishing Standards and Systems (3 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 661 Concepts and Contemporary Issues in Human-Computer Interaction (3 cr.)

Electives (21 cr.)

MLS electives must be ILS courses. Choose from:

  • Any 500/600 level ILS course
  • ILS-Z 601 Directed Readings (1-6 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 602 Directed Research (1-6 cr.)
  • ILS-Z 603 Workshop in Library and Information Science (1-3 cr., often 1.5 cr.)
    • These workshops focus on practical, professional skills. You can count up to 6 credits of Z 603 toward your degree.
  • ILS-Z 604 Topics in Library and Information Science (3 cr.) (professional issue topic)
  • ILS-Z 629 Topics in Information Sources and Services (3 cr.) (professional issue topic)

Digital Literacy Requirement
Basic digital literacy is essential to your success as an information and library professional. This is as true for youth services and reference librarians as it is for metadata and digital collections librarians.

You are expected to have basic technology skills upon entering the MLS degree program - or to acquire those skills in your first semester.  The following list includes technologies with which you should be competent. These are IT Training courses offered at no cost by University Information Technology Services (UITS) - descriptions and links to all of the courses below can be found at this website.

Standard productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or open source alternatives

  • Word 2013: The Essentials
  • PowerPoint 2013: The Basics
  • Excel 2013: The Basics

Basic Unix commands, including copying, moving, and deleting files and directories; and editing text files with vi, emacs, or pico

  • Unix: The Basics
  • vi: Unix Text Editing
  • Common communications and file transfer tools such as ssh, sftp and scp

Basic HTML and CSS for creating web pages and other digital content

  • HTML5 and CSS: The Basics
  • Cascading Style Sheets: The Basics
  • Cascading Style Sheets: Layout & Design
  • CSS3: An Overview
  • Dreamweaver CS6: The Basics
  • Bibliographic management tools
  • Zotero
  • EndNote: The Basics

Indiana University's University Information Technology Services (UITS) offers many excellent training opportunities, including instructor-led workshops and self-paced online courses. As an IU student, you can take advantage of these training opportunities at no additional charge.

You can also develop required skills through many free online training opportunities, such as those offered by Codecademy.

Accelerated Master of Library Science

The accelerated program allows you to take 12 graduate-level credits during your senior year in the Department of Information and Library Science concurrently with your remaining undergraduate requirements. With this approach, once you complete your undergraduate degree, you will only need 24 credits to earn a master's degree, which can be completed in one year.

Students apply for the program during their junior year and are eligible for ILS courses during their senior year. Students complete 12 credits of graduate coursework during their senior year and 6 more graduate credits the summer after graduation. Summer work can either be graduate coursework or an internship. Students can complete the Accelerated Master's degree by taking 9 credits of coursework in each of the next two semesters.

The requirements for the degree are the same as the regular MIS or MLS degree, and no courses taken at the undergraduate or graduate level are allowed to count towards both an undergraduate and a graduate degree.

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