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Master of Library Science, MLS

Are you equipped to help patrons at libraries across the world? You will be when you complete the University of Central Missouri’s affordable, 100% online Librarian master's degree program. Since our Master of Library Science is exclusively online, you can adapt your graduate studies to fit your lifestyle while earning your graduate degree.

Reading and learning is for everyone

Our vision for the Master of Library Science program at UCM aspires to provide transformational education by creating an inclusive learning community that connects learners worldwide with practitioners in their field of study. Your classmates may include students from Germany, South Korea and rural China — as well as all over the United States.

Our faculty bring answers directly from libraries to you, sharing real-world challenges and solutions from their industry experience. Once you graduate, you'll be a 21st-century librarian. Your skills and experience will stand out from the competition graduating from other library science colleges.

Our Library Sciences master’s degree is accredited by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Master of Library Science program accreditation

Our Library Sciences degree program also has pre-candidacy status for accreditation with the American Library Association (ALA)*. This will benefit you in your career, especially if you’re interested in a job at a public, state or academic library, rather than a school library. We’ve already updated the program curriculum, so our graduate students are prepared to work anywhere.

*UCM's Master of Science in Library Science program has been granted precandidacy status by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association. Precandidacy status is an indication that UCM has voluntarily committed to participate in the ALA accreditation process and is actively seeking accreditation. Precandidacy does not indicate that the program is accredited nor does it guarantee eventual accreditation of the program by ALA.

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94% job placement rate

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#2 Librarian master’s degree in U.S.

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100% online master’s degree program

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Electives, practicum hours, research

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AASL and CAEP accredited program

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ALA accreditation pre-candidacy status

What you will study

Every Library Sciences degree program course will enhance your favorite skill: connecting people with books. We offer a couple of program options to choose from based on your career goals and interests:

  • The Masters of Library Science offers students a core curriculum of 24 credits designed to meet the ALA Core Competencies of Librarianship. Students can also choose from 12 hours of electives.
  • The School Librarian concentration is designed for graduate students who want to be an educator in a school library. This specialized coursework provides the information-literacy skills you need to work with both students and teachers. 
  • The School Librarian concentration plus initial teacher certification adds specialized education courses and a student-teaching internship experience, so you can teach in a classroom.

Whichever Library Sciences degree option you choose, your training will be informed by real-world experience. Our instructors bring industry knowledge into the virtual classroom and directly to you, passing on lessons from their days as school librarians, public librarians, academic librarians and more.

Some of our most popular courses include:

  • Children’s, Adolescent and Young Adult Literature: Even in today’s world of streaming services and social media, people still love reading books. This course will spark your inner bookworm and offer expertise in connecting young people with the right books for them.
  • Technology in Libraries: This course trains you in the most current technology available, giving you an edge over competing job applicants for library science colleges.


Excellence in Library Science

  • As one of the most affordable online Library Science degrees, ranked by, the University of Central Missouri’s Master of Library Science, MLS program ensures you receive top training without paying top dollar.
  • With one of the best Library Science master’s degree programs in the country, ranked by Intelligent, UCM offers you excellent academic quality at a low cost.
  • The vast majority of graduates successfully build careers in our field. Our program has a 94% placement rate in Library Science master’s jobs.
  • With AASL and CAEP accreditations, UCM’s Library Sciences master’s degree program has been tested and proven by the experts, so you — and your employer — can trust your education will serve you well.
  • Our graduate program curriculum also already follows American Library Association (ALA) accreditation standards. Currently, the UCM Library Sciences master’s degree program is in pre-candidacy status for ALA accreditation, which will benefit graduates in their careers — especially if you are interested in a job at a public, state or academic library.


Unique learning opportunities with a Masters of Library Science

Our Masters of Library and Information Science gives you the real-world experience you need to hit the ground running after graduation.

  • Practical experiences: From day one, you'll be completing projects you can use in your career, like designing reading promotion projects, coordinating collection development policies and cataloging books.
  • Research opportunities: You may work with program faculty on a research paper and get published before you even graduate. Research topics have been as diverse as our graduate students, centering around the school librarian’s role in supporting teaching, the impact of STEM in libraries and parents choosing public library story times, just to name a few.
  • Capstone project: Choose a topic within the library science area you are most passionate about. This gives you an opportunity to deep-dive into your favorite library topic and receive thoughtful feedback on your work from our expert faculty.

For more information about program requirements, admissions, practicum and research opportunities click here.


What can you do with a Master of Library Science, MLS degree?

As a graduate from the University of Central Missouri’s master’s in Library Science program, you will be equipped to:

  • Design inclusive spaces that welcome every individual your library serves.
  • Oversee your staff as an effective manager and prepare budgets that meet the needs of the library.
  • Be a competitive employee or candidate for jobs - bringing policies, advocacy and professional development to your library.

By earning your Master of Library Science degree from the University of Central Missouri, you can increase your job security. Librarians are needed in all 50 states and all over the world, in nearly every K–12 school, every university and every community. Library Science master’s jobs are always in demand, in big cities and small towns alike.

Beyond job security, our Masters of Library Science degree can also lead to advancement in your career. Our Masters of Library Science degree can help prepare you for different positions within a variety of libraries. The potential for a better salary with our Master of Library Science, MLS degree may surprise you — many school districts offer raises to employees with additional college credit hours.




Financial assistance options for your Masters of Library Science degree

As one of the most affordable online library science degrees among library science programs, the University of Central Missouri’s Master of Library Science ensures you have the support you need to succeed. 

Explore our financial aid options to get help paying for college, such as program scholarships for Library Science grad students:

  • Suzanne Foster Scholarship in Library Science
  • Beatrice Ricks Library Scholarship
  • Dr. Aileen Helmick Memorial Scholarship in Library Science

A Masters of Library Science from the University of Central Missouri is a valuable investment in a lifetime career. You'll get a high-quality, future-focused education at an affordable cost.


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Take your degree further.


Do your career goals include school administration or teaching library science classes? You may benefit from our collaborative LIS graduate program with Murray State University. Your graduate studies will be targeted and streamlined to get your advanced degrees faster than if you had completed them at different times. You’ll complete a streamlined path which includes specialized coursework, research, internship and dissertation courses across both universities to simultaneously earn two graduate degrees:

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Explore programs related to the Masters of Library Science.


Is your goal to be a leader in your field? Do you want to be the one patrons and staff turn to for answers? Are you a lifelong learner, always interested in strengthening your technology and research skills? You may be interested in exploring another UCM degree program:


Graduation, Retention, and Placement Rates

Our retention rate from our 2022-2023 cohort is 80%. Most students graduate from the program in 2-3 years, but UCM allows up to 8 years. 
Our students are often busy, working adults and a majority are part-time students. 
Our most recent placement rate from the Career and Life Design Center is 100%.


Cohort Year Fall 2017 Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Fall 2022
Fall-to-Fall Cohort Size 15 16 18 21 18 20

% Cont. to Year 2

86.67% 75.00% 72.22% 71.43% 83.33% 80.00%
% Cont. to Year 3 86.67% 43.75% 72.22% 61.90% 72.22%  
% Cont. to Year 4 86.67% 62.50% 77.78% 61.90%    
% Cont. to Year 5 86.67% 56.25% 77.78%      
% Cont. to Year 6 86.67% 56.25%        
Cohort Graduates 13 9 13 11 10 1
Cohort Graduation % 86.67% 56.25% 72.22% 52.38% 55.56% 5.00%
Total Declared Majors (MS) 78 68 81 70 74 74


Source: UCM Academic Digital Innovations and Analytics


Accreditations and Accolades


UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri


Nationally recognized by the American Association of School Librarians

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2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Library Science Degrees


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