Master of Library & Information Science
The MLIS program can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students. A variety of transcript designated concentrations and areas of specialization are available which give students the opportunity to customize their elective coursework and focus their studies on a special area of interest. We invite you to explore our MLIS degree options and encourage you to contact our academic advisors or faculty mentors for guidance.
Things to know…
ALA Accredited: Our MLIS program has been continuously accredited by ALA since 1976. This accreditation is important to you as a student as many Library and Information Centers only hire graduates of ALA accredited programs.
Online & Onsite: Our flexible program options include both online & onsite degree completion (with no residency requirement). Our online program is one of the longest running online MLIS programs in the nation.
iSchool: We are a proud member of the iSchool consortium.
Ranked as a top LIS Program: We’re also recognized among the top Library & Information Studies Programs in the nation on the U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Programs” list. Ranked as #14 LIS Program in the nation! SOIS is also recognized for excellence in several individual categories. Our Archives and Preservation specialty ranks #11 and our Digital Librarianship specialty ranks #12.
Ranked #11 Best Master’s in Library Science Degree Programs (Best Public Research School) in 2022 by Intelligent.com
Highly Ranked Research: The SOIS faculty research productivity was ranked highly in two recent studies: SOIS faculty ranks 4th internationally and 2nd in the US/Canada in department contributions to library and information science (LIS) literature (2007 – 2012) as reported in a recent study in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology by Walters & Wilder and we are ranked 10th in John M. Budd, “Productivity of U.S. LIS and ischool faculty,” October, 2015, in Library & Information Science Research.
Explore our MLIS Degree Options:
Careers within the information professions vary and sometimes require specialized preparation and experience. Available transcript designated concentrations include:
A number of areas of specialization are available which give students the opportunity to customize their elective coursework and focus their studies on a special area of interest.
In collaboration with several other academic units of UW-Milwaukee, SOIS offers students the opportunity to obtain two Master’s degrees concurrently—one in Library and Information Science (MLIS) and one in a subject area. For more details on these options, please visit our coordinated degree program page.
Current coordinated degree programs include:
- MLIS/MS Anthropology
- MLIS/MA English
- MLIS/MA Language Literature and Translation
- MLIS/MA Geography
- MLIS/MS Health Care Informatics
- MLIS/MA History
- MLIS/MM Music
- MLIS/MS Urban Studies
- MLIS/MS Women’s & Gender Studies
Note: the MLIS portion of the coordinated degrees can be completed fully online.
SOIS, along with the School of Education and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers a complete program to obtain certification as a school library media specialist. This program may be used to fulfill certification obligations in Wisconsin (1902 License) and other states. We have pathways to certification for students who currently hold a teaching certification as well as for students who wish to earn certification in school librarianship. School Media Certification program. Note: This program can be completed fully online.
(Adopted March 11, 2016, Updated March 8, 2021, Updated February 2022)
The mission of the MLIS program is to educate the next generation of information professionals by offering a rigorous curriculum that fosters professional knowledge and skills, professional ethics, critical inquiry, and leadership to address the needs of a diverse and global information society.
Goals and Learning Objectives
MLIS Degree Requirements
The minimum degree requirement is 36 graduate credits, of which 30 credits must be in library and information science.
Do you currently have a master’s or doctorate?
Students who have already completed a master’s or doctorate in a field other than library and information science may have the library and information science master’s program reduced to 30 credits.
(UW-Milwaukee Graduate School Transfer of Credit Information: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/masters-requirements/ )
- INFOST 501 Foundations of Library and Information Science
- INFOST 511 Organization of Information
- INFOST 571 Information Access and Retrieval
- INFOST 799 (591) Research Methods in Information Studies (Culminating experience for the degree)
The complete list of SOIS courses can be found on the graduate school website.
Minimum Grade Requirement
The minimum grade requirement for each of the required courses is “B” (not B-). If an MLIS student fails to meet this requirement, she/he is required to retake the course. Students may retake a failed course one time. Students are responsible for the tuition of the retaken course. Until the requirement is met, students who fail to meet this requirement, cannot take another course in which that course is a prerequisite. A student who fails to receive a “B” or higher after retaking a required course will be recommended to the Graduate School for academic dismissal. (Effective: Fall 2004).
Program Completion Time Frame
30 credit hour program
within 5 years of initial enrollment
Graduation Procedures: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/masters-graduation/
Culminating Experience Requirement
MLIS students are required to demonstrate proficiency in the field of library and information science by successfully completing with a grade of ‘B’ (not B-), INFOST 799 (591): Research Methods in Information Studies – the culminating experience for the MLIS program. (Effective Fall 2016)
Please note: Students who transfer in a research methods course from another university cannot use it as the culminating experience. They will need to successfully complete INFOST 799 (591): Research Methods in Information Studies or complete the thesis to meet the requirement for the culminating experience.
Please note: The thesis option is not a requirement of the MLIS program.
Students choosing the thesis option must take 3 credits of thesis coursework (INFOST 898 Master’s Thesis) in addition to the 36 credits required for the MLIS degree; those who already have a graduate degree must complete a minimum of 33 credits.
Dual Degree Program Requirement
Students who choose the thesis option in the dual master’s degree programs also need to take an additional 3 credits of thesis coursework. Total degree credits vary among the dual master’s programs. The MLIS component of each requires 33 credits of SOIS coursework three of which would be taken as thesis credit. Students pursuing thesis options in both programs will be required to fulfill each program’s thesis requirement.
Research Methods Credit Requirement
Students in the thesis option also must take a minimum of three credits of research methods beyond INFOST 799 (591). In consultation with the major professor, more may be required by individual circumstances, but only the first three credits may count toward degree credit requirements.
Students must complete the 3 required courses in addition to the research methods requirement before defense of the thesis proposal can occur. Students must register for a variable credit thesis research course: INFOST 898, Master’s Thesis, 1-3 credits, during every semester of thesis work. No more than three credits of INFOST 898 may be counted towards the degree.
Declare Thesis Option Early!
Students may select the thesis option at any point in their course of study but are encouraged to make this decision and form their thesis committee as early as possible to avoid the necessity of taking additional coursework.
Students must pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.
The thesis defense may be repeated once.
UWM Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Formatting:
UWM Graduate School – Formal Thesis & Dissertation Requirements
The Fieldwork course (990) is designed to provide library and information science students with practical experience. In the Master’s program, the course is normally taken as the culminating educational activity prior to beginning a professional position. It is not intended for students who have had substantial previous work experience in libraries. An experienced student who desires or needs experience in a new type of librarianship might find this course to be particularly helpful. Postgraduates who are enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Study program often enroll in the fieldwork course because they wish to change professional direction.
Fieldwork offers students an opportunity to test theory in practice, to work with people in everyday situations, and to relate materials to library experience. It can help bridge the gap between the classroom and the job. Students must have completed all required courses prior to registering for the fieldwork experience.
For further information on fieldwork and placement in libraries and information centers, contact the SOIS Graduate Advisors.
Guidelines and Required Forms
MLIS Program Resources
Students considering enrolling in the MLIS program are welcome to meet with one of the School’s Graduate Academic Advisors to discuss their questions and concerns. Once accepted by the School of Information Studies, students are expected to work closely with their advisors to tailor a program that best suits their interests and career goals.
SOIS students have access to leading tools and technologies for hands-on experimentation and training. IT resources include: student technology lounges, online virtual computer lab for off-site students, free software and learning resources. For a complete list of all IT resources visit our IT Department page>>
MLIS Academic Policies & Procedures
Federal law and UWM policies mandate that programs and departments have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. The purpose of this page is to serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals, academic misconduct appeal hearings, and requests for exceptions to SOIS policies.
The SOIS Grievances and Appeals Process
Note: The first step towards resolution in any grievance or grade appeal is for the student to attempt to meet or contact the faculty member or instructor to resolve informally. This has to be done before considering further steps.
Any student in a SOIS course wishing to appeal a grade, or having a grievance, who has not succeeded to address the matter in step one, should contact the chair of the SGAC (The Student Grievance and Appeals Committee) for step two. The chair will then share the complaint with the SGAC committee. This can be done in person or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The process then proceeds as follows: The immediate focus is to activate the appropriate process(es).
- Discrimination. Discriminatory behavior is prohibited by UWM’s Discriminatory Conduct Policy (see https://uwm.edu/hr/code-of-conduct/) and inconsistent with the SOIS Statement on Diversity. As such, SOIS takes all charges and complaints of discrimination very seriously. If any individual alleges an act of discrimination, the SGAC will report the matter to the Executive Committee and refer the matter to the EDS office (Office of Equity and Diversity Services). The SGAC will also notify the Doctoral Program Committee if the instructor is a doctoral student. The individual will also be encouraged to contact EDS directly. EDS will investigate whether discrimination took place and will, when appropriate, work with the department on implementing interim measures to prevent further incidents.
- Accommodations. If a student has received a VISA (Verified Individual Services and Accommodations) from the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), the student should provide a physical or electronic copy of the VISA to the instructor. It is expected that the instructor will send the student an email acknowledgment stipulating how this accommodation request will be met. Such an email response will promote mutual understanding and clarify the details of the accommodation. If a student complains that the VISA accommodation has not been met, an SGAC member will reach out to ARC and the instructor and attempt to rectify the situation. If the instructor is unwilling to comply with accommodation, the matter will be treated as a behavioral issue (see below).
- Behavioral Issues. Based on the University Code of Conduct (see https://uwm.edu/hr/code-of-conduct/) the following steps will be taken when a complaint is made regarding an instructor’s behavior (including teaching conduct and course management issues): The SGAC will inform the SOIS Executive Committee (EC) of the complaint. The SGAC will also notify the Doctoral Program Committee if the instructor is a doctoral student. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the EC will determine whether (i) the issue can be discussed and resolved with the instructor, or (ii) the issue requires a formal investigation. In the event of a formal investigation, the EC will determine the scope of the investigation and collaborate with the Dean in effecting the process. This may include putting safeguards in place to prevent further issues from arising during the investigation. Any resolution reached by the EC (regardless of the nature of the complaint) shall be noted in the department’s personnel “working file.” If a situation appears to warrant discipline, the EC or the Dean may refer the matter to the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee (FRRC).
Grade Appeal Procedure
Approved Oct 2021 – Effective Spring 2022 Semester
The instructor of record for a course has responsibility for evaluating student work in the class and assigning grades. Instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) also may interact with students in the classroom or out-of-class communication. On certain occasions, students may experience actions on the part of an instructor or TA assigned to the course that cause the student to consider filing a grade appeal. Below are the steps for the formal appeal process.
STEP 1: Informal Resolution
Within 30 working days of the action that prompted the appeal, the student must first seek informal resolution by discussing the objection with the instructor including a written statement for their appeal. Many such situations arise as the result of misunderstanding or incomplete information, and the majority of situations in which students consider taking a formal action are resolved informally.
If the situation involves a teaching assistant, the student first should discuss the situation with the TA including a written statement for their appeal. If the situation is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student should discuss the matter with the supervising instructor for the course. Efforts to reach an informal resolution should be initiated as soon as possible in light of the Step 2 deadlines set forth below.
STEP 2: Formal Appeal to SGAC (Student Grievance and Appeals Committee)
If the situation cannot be resolved informally, the student may initiate a formal appeal. To do so, the student must, within ten (10) business days from the date that they receive the Step 1 decision, file a written statement of appeal with the chair of the SGAC ( email@example.com ) or his/her designee. The statement should:
(i) include the written statement submitted in Step 1
(ii) identify actions that will resolve the problem, and
(iii) provide a rationale for the solution.
If in Step 2 a SGAC member was involved in making the Step 1 decision, he/she must be replaced on the SGAC by an alternate.
In response to this statement, the SGAC Chair or designee will meet jointly or individually with the student and the instructor (including both the TA and the supervising instructor, if applicable) in an effort to resolve the problem. The meetings may be in person, by telephone, or any other appropriate interactive medium, such as Zoom or Teams. After gathering and considering all information it deems relevant, the SGAC will produce a report recommending a course of action. The report will be given to both the student and the instructor(s), and a copy will be retained in the School’s files.
STEP 3: Formal Appeal to the Associate Dean (for undergraduate students) or the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate students)
If the proposed resolution set forth in Step 2 is not acceptable to the student, or if no resolution has been proposed, then the student may continue to Step 3 through the following procedure: The student may appeal, within ten (10) working days of receiving a copy of the report from the SGAC.
For undergraduate students, the student should refer the appeal to SOIS’s Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will review all documents utilized during the previous steps, as well as any other materials the Associate Dean deems relevant and appropriate. The Associate Dean will independently consider this information, afford the student and the instructor(s) an opportunity to present their cases, and decide on a course of action. Following evaluation at this level, the decision of the Associate Dean of SOIS is final.
For graduate students, the student should refer the appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. For detailed information, please check the Graduate School’s outlined Academic Appeals Procedure: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/academic-appeals-procedure/.
Please note, failure by the student to meet any of the prescribed deadlines for an appeal to the next step terminates the appeal procedure.
UWM Graduate Academic Appeals and Exceptions: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/appeals-exceptions/
Exemption from required courses is automatic if the courses were taken for graduate credit at the UWM School of Information Studies within the last seven years with a grade of B or better. Courses taken at other institutions must have been completed within the three years prior to a student’s request for course exemption. Such exemptions will not result in any reduction of the number of hours required for the Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, but they may prevent unnecessary repetition of course experiences.
Please send the Course Exemption Request form to:
University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee
School of Information Studies
Attention: Toby Deutsch
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
- No more than 12 graduate credits may be transferred into a 30-credit UWM Master’s degree program and no more than 14 may be transferred into a 36-credit program.
- All 12 or 14 credits transferred may be in the field of library and information science; however, a maximum of 6 graduate credits not in library and information science but within an approved allied area may be transferred at the time of admission.
- After admission to the program, and in special circumstances, up to 6 graduate credits may be earned at other institutions and transferred for credit. Students must obtain approval from their faculty mentor for such transfers before enrolling in such courses. These 6 graduate credits are considered as part of the maximum 12 or 14 credits that may be transferred.
- All courses considered for transfer must have been taken no more than 5 years before admission to the Master’s program at UWM.
- A grade of “B” or higher must have been earned in each course.
- Credits applied toward another graduate degree are not transferable except for already established coordinated Master’s degree programs.
- Credits in library and information science courses are eligible for transfer only from ALA-accredited programs. Exceptions to this rule will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- Requests to the Graduate School for transfer of previous credits must be made at the time of application for admission. Students must obtain written approval of the transfer within one semester of admission.
- Both SOIS and the Graduate School must approve the transfer of credits.
Application for transfer of previous credits must be made during the first semester in the program. The Transfer Credit Evaluation Form is available from the Graduate School, SOIS and online at: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/wp-content/uploads/sites/519/2020/06/Graduate-Transfer-Credit-Evaluation-Form.pdf The completed form is to be returned to the Graduate School.
Please send the completed forms including transcripts of any non-UWM work to be evaluated to:
UWM Graduate School
Graduate Student Services
PO Box 340
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0340
A student whose cumulative graduate grade point average in the MLIS program falls below 3.0 will receive an academic warning and will require a “Graduate Dean’s OK to Continue”. See the Graduate School Academic Policies & Procedures for details.
Students discontinued from the program may appeal this decision by following the standard SOIS academic appeals procedure. Graduate Grievance/Grade Appeal Procedure>>
MLIS Job Titles & Employers
The MLIS program prepares graduates for careers within a traditional library setting as well as new and emerging positions in various areas such as communications, marketing, business, technology services, and research. Examples of job titles and employers include:
Emerging Technologies Librarian, Marquette University
UX Designer, Lightburn
Head of Collections Services, Kenosha Public Library
Metadata Analyst II, American Family Insurance
Reference Librarian, Milwaukee County Law Library
Community and Adult Services Librarian, Whitefish Bay Public Library
Manager of Records & Information Governance, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek
Manager of Archives and Heritage Services, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Library Specialist, Mayo Clinic Health System
UX, Information Architecture Expert, 7Summits
Youth Services Librarian, New Berlin Public Library
Reference & Instruction Librarian, Bethany Luther Memorial Library
Electronic Resources Librarian / Archivist, Rockford Univ. Howard Colman Library
Head of Library Department, K/JS Librarian, Int’l School of the Sacred Heart – Tokyo
Knowledge Manager, Eppstein Uhen Architects
Regional Librarian, SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating)
Library Director, Pewaukee Public Library
MLIS Careers – Median Salary By Job Assignment
|Occupation||2020 Median Compensation|
|Archival and preservation||$50,000|
|School librarian/School Library Media Specialist||$53,750|
|User experience/Usability analysis||$97,500|
|Metadata, Cataloging & Taxonomy||$55,000|
|Digital content management||$48,750|
|From: Library Journal Salary Survey 2020
See complete details at:
SOIS offers a variety of career resources to help students prepare for success after graduation. Our dedicated career services advisor provides networking opportunities as well as resume, cover letter and interview preparation resources.It’s never too early to start preparing for your dream job!
Visit our Career Resources Page for more information>>
MLIS Program Assessment
The School of Information Studies, Master of Library & Information Science program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association since 1976.
Master’s Degree Admission (MLIS)
The admission process for the Masters of Library & Information Science program is the same whether you are a full-time, part-time, on-site or online (including blended/hybrid) student. An applicant must meet all UWM Graduate School admission requirements in addition to the requirements of the School of Information Studies to be considered for the MLIS program.
We practice rolling admissions, but we recommend a November 1 deadline for spring and a March 1 deadline for fall – this is also the priority deadline for funding consideration.
How Do I Apply?
Please visit the UWM Graduate School website for complete details on admission requirements.
- UWM Graduate School Online Application
Upon submitting your application you will receive an e-mail from the university, explaining how to check the status of your application on our PAWS online student information system.
- One copy of transcripts (directly from each institution you attended). Send electronically firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to the PO Box listed below.
- Reasons for Graduate Study
Your statement can be one-two pages outlining your background and focusing on your educational and professional goals; what is driving your interest in the program; how the MLIS will help you get there; and what you hope to accomplish.
- Application Processing Fees
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Graduate School
Attn: Admission Coordinator
P.O Box 340
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0340
A bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, from an approved accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 (4.0 basis) is a minimum qualification of the UWM Graduate School. Note: If your undergraduate GPA is below 2.75, please contact your advisor.
Students must be admitted to both programs to be considered a coordinated degree program candidate. Please refer to the application and admission requirements of each individual program.
Acceptance and enrollment in the MLIS program are not contingent upon acceptance/enrollment in a chosen coordinated degree program. If you wish to change your application to enroll in the MLIS program only, please contact the Graduate School Admissions office: email@example.com
Please see the current list of Coordinated Degree Programs for more information.
Students must meet the University’s English Proficiency Requirement. International students whose command of the English language is not sufficient for beginning graduate study in SOIS may be able to take advantage of UWM’s English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. ESL can be a full-time program preceding MLIS studies, or it can be a part-time program during the first semester of the Master’s program in Library and Information Science.
- To enroll in classes without pursuing a degree.
- To prove your ability for success in graduate school when your overall GPA falls below the University admission requirements. (Note: NDC status does not guarantee admission to or enrollment in a graduate degree program).
It is possible to take graduate-level credits as a NDC prior to admission to the MLIS program and have them count toward the degree. The limit to the number of such credits is 12. These credits must be approved by the UWM Graduate School and SOIS in order to be counted toward the degree.
For complete details on Non-Degree Candidate (NDC) Admission, please visit the: UWM Graduate School website: https://uwm.edu/graduateschool/non-degree-admission/
What happens next?
After you have submitted all required application materials to the UWM Graduate School, the application is reviewed and you will receive a notification letter of the final admission decision by the Graduate School.