Library and Information Science Master’s Degree

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Promote justice and equality through the power of literacy.

How do libraries serve their communities? What knowledge and skills do librarians need to ensure equitable access and use of information? How do you preserve history and memories for future generations? How can you help people evaluate the authenticity of information they receive? Explore these questions and more as a Library and Information Science student.

Here, you’ll focus on information justice and equity, community engagement, and technology use in your community. Gain knowledge and skills in user services, information and data literacy training, management, organization and discovery of information resources, data protection and privacy, and diverse cultures and communities. Put your training to work through experiential learning opportunities in a variety of settings.

Through coursework and residency workshops ranging across seven professional pathways, you’ll experience the broad reach of librarianship and information science. Explore what it means to be a librarian or information professional today. And see for yourself the impact this program can have on your career.

Accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) since 1928, our Library and Information Science program centers around one goal: to change how communities and organizations use libraries and information resources for the better. 

Our LIS degree program is 36 credits, and is typically completed within 2 years. The program prepares you for a career in a broad range of organizations, including academic institutions, public libraries, corporations, government agencies or cultural institutions. You can also review the program in our LIS Handbook.

The 36 credits are distributed as follows:

  • 18 credits in Core Knowledge and Skills
    • 3 credits in Introductory Core
    • 9 credits in Information Resources Core
    • 6 credits in Management and Policy Core
  • 15 credits in electives
    • Can be used toward a C.A.S. in Data Science
  • Graduate Immersion Milestone Event – non-credit, required
    • This 2-to-3 day residency workshop presents emerging topics in the information studies field. Students must complete one residency workshop during the duration of their program of study. You can find more information by visiting the iSchool Seminar page.

View Curriculum in Course Catalog

Here at the iSchool, our vision is to provide quality professional education for library and information science professionals. Our goals and outcomes guide our direction, provide a framework for assessing our achievement, and most importantly, communicate our beliefs in the foundational skills that modern library professionals must have.

Graduates of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science program:

  • Apply the skills and attitudes of visioning, entrepreneurship, advocacy, planning and management to leadership in the information field.
  • Manage information resources and the information life-cycle through the processes of collection development, representation, organization, preservation, curation, access, and dissemination in accordance with physical, virtual, and technical infrastructure and needs.
  • Apply appropriate pedagogical and learning theory principles in the design, development, implementation, and assessment of library instruction and learning that contribute towards an information and technology literate society.
  • Design and employ policies essential for creating and providing information services and resources guided by the values of patron privacy, equitable access, intellectual freedom, and ethical use of information.
  • Possess the skills to respect, engage, and collaborate with a diverse community in order to advocate for and construct inclusive, meaningful, and participatory library services, programs and resources.
  • Perform and assess research based practices through the application of information literacy, inquiry, and research methods including data discovery, analytics and qualitative measures.
The MSLIS program strides to cultivate leaders in the library and information profession who will become implementers and advocates for information justice and equity, community engagement, and technology use in their communities of practice. It is designed to prepare library and information professionals with a broad range of knowledge and skills needed for exemplary practice in the library and information profession.

You can discuss your interest with your faculty advisor or learn more using our LIS Handbook. Plan your program study in one or more of the following professional pathways:

User Services and Community Engagement

Whether working in a college/university library or a cultural institution such as a public library and museum, user services and community engagement is one of the core functions of libraries and cultural institutions of all types. User services librarians have the responsibilities on information literacy training, instructions, references, collection management, and outreach to diverse communities to assure equal access to library and information resources.

Sample job titles: Dean of University Libraries; Web Services Librarian; Associate Librarian of Environmental Science; Public Services Librarian; Reference Librarian; Online Learning Librarian; Outreach and Assessment Librarian; Access Services and Instruction Librarian

Archives and Special Collections

Many different kinds of institutions handling historical materials offer job opportunities for a graduate holding an MSLIS degree, including special collections within large academic institutions, small historical societies, art museums, and even zoos. Courses in this pathway are suitable for careers in cultural heritage, archives, and special collections.

Sample job titles: Photo Archives Manager; Curator of Historical Collections; Director of Special Collections; Rights and Reproductions and Digitization Assistant

Digital Curation and Services

Digital curation and services have become an increasingly important part of library operations. Digital librarian work includes the management, curation, and preservation of digitized and born digital resources, including data, in libraries, archives, and museums. These librarians develop policies and workflows, help users locate digital information and data for business or academic use, and organize digital resources for retrieval. Students interested in the digital curation and services pathway will gain knowledge of digital data systems, metadata theory and practices, programming and markup languages, and data services to the communities they serve.

Sample job titles: Data Visualization Specialist; Data and Metadata Services Librarian; Director, Data Center Services; Data Management and Curation Fellow; Data Quality Specialist; Research Data Archivist; Data Services and Visualization Librarian

Organization and Management of Information and Knowledge

Libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) are central places for the acquisition, organization, management, and dissemination of information and knowledge. Organizing and managing information and knowledge of all types, formats, and forms is the core function that supports LAM to achieve their goals and actualize their values. This career pathway has a wide range of employment potentials, ranging from LAM to government agencies, businesses, and almost any organizations that need professionals to perform functions of organizing, managing, retrieving, and use/reuse information resources.

Sample job titles: Lead Technical Services Technician; Taxonomist; Metadata and Data Curation Librarian; User Interface Specialist; Metadata and Digital Initiatives Librarian; Metadata Information Architect; Digital Projects Librarian; Content Management Analyst

Children and Youth Services

Libraries all over strive to be places that facilitate lifelong learning. When is a better time to provoke a permanent passion for curiosity than in the early years of a patron’s life? The urgency for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning initiatives in library settings, the proliferation of the makerspace movement, and the widespread use of emerging technologies from a young age prove that the role and responsibilities of children’s and young adult librarians go beyond recommending a good read. Networking and marketing are important facets of a Youth Services Librarian’s job, as well as building relationships with parents, caregivers, and teachers in the local community.

Sample job titles: Children’s Reference Librarian; Teen Services Librarian; Coordinator of Youth Services; Youth Service Librarian; Young and Emerging Adult Librarian; Young Adult/Asst. Children’s Librarian

Digital Information Systems

Modern libraries run on digital data and information systems to provide services anywhere and anytime that require technically savvy librarians to innovate, support, and maintain. Digital information systems in libraries and other types of organizations play a key role in making data and metadata findable, accessible, interoperable, and usable/reusable. Knowledge and skills in this pathway can lead to jobs not only in non-traditional positions in libraries but also in non-library settings such as corporate and government.

Sample job titles: Coordinator of Metadata, Catalog Management Librarian, Web Development Librarian, Librarian for Digital Publishing, Curation, and Conversion, Software Librarian (Configuration Coordinator), Digital Asset Management, Software Engineer, FOLIO Developer | Information Technologist II

Information Research and Analytics

Whether you are conducting research on community profiles for building a new library branch or gathering data and information on emerging trends for a market research or collecting information about products or companies for compiling competitive intelligence, the skills and knowledge in research methods and data science can go a long way in developing a career as a research librarian.

Sample job titles: Collections & Metrics Facilitator, Director of Digital Initiatives, Research Support Librarian, Research Data Librarian, Legal Research Services Librarian, Senior Scientific Librarian, Research & Library Manager

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Delve deeper, explore farther.

In addition to getting practical, on-the-job experience, you’ll have opportunities to join a research lab or collaborate with faculty on their academic work, exploring  the role of information in furthering social justice.

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Pursue your interests.

Explore topics that interest you most. Our flexible program offers focus areas and the opportunity to solidify your expertise with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science.

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Build your expertise, and your resume.

The iSchool’s tight-knit community, coupled with Orange pride, means that you’ll become part of a vibrant and active professional network when you graduate.  That’s how we’re able to place nearly all of our graduates into a variety of roles, from school districts, to libraries, universities, museums, and beyond.

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The same faculty and coursework, available online.

As leaders in technology, we’ve been teaching online for decades. Our online program combines live weekly classes, multimedia coursework, and collaborative group learning exercises with a platform to help you cultivate lifelong professional relationships with professors and alumni worldwide. You’ll learn from the same faculty and take the same courses as the on-campus program, and enjoy the same access to the Orange network when you graduate.

Online Library and Information Science Program

Meet us in Syracuse,
or online.

Join us for an upcoming event on campus or online and get to know us better. We’ll answer your questions, and show you around.

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American Library Association Accreditation Logo
Our LIS program has been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) since 1928.

The American Library Association’s Office of Accreditation regularly reviews library and information programs that wish to be accredited by ALA. Accredited MSLIS programs meet or exceed the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, which were established by the Committee on Accreditation (COA) and adopted by ALA Council. The standards address mission, goals and objectives; curriculum; faculty; students; administration and financial support; and physical resources and facilities.

The American Library Association’s Committee on Accreditation has been evaluating LIS programs since 1924. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the ALA COA as the authority for assessing the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies.

In order to maintain accreditation, an MSLIS program must submit to a regular process that involves rigorous, ongoing self-evaluation. The results of that evaluation are verified through an external review conducted by the Committee on Accreditation. In addition, every program submits data to ALA on an annual basis and submits regular biennial reports.

ALA Accredidation self-study produced by the MSLIS program (2015)

2019 COA Biennial narrative report

2017 COA Biennial narrative report

The MSLIS program at Syracuse University is accredited by the American Library Association Committee on Accreditation, with the status of Continued accreditation. The next comprehensive review visit is scheduled for Fall 2023.

Our guiding council carefully reviews competencies and course offerings to ensure that the iSchool is a leader in library and information science education, and you can find more information on the guiding council in its bylaws.

Learn More About Our Guiding Council

View detailed information about graduation rates and testing success rates, showing what graduates of our program go on to achieve.

View consumer information.

Get in touch.

Your future, starting now. Get it touch to learn more. Apply. And join us. We can’t wait to welcome you.