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 1972. 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 on of the longest running online MLIS programs in the nation.
  • Top 15 LIS Programs: We’re also ranked in the top 15 LIS Programs in the nation by US News & World Report
  • iSchool: We are a proud member of the iSchool consortium.
  • 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:

MLIS Concentrations (Transcript Designated)

Careers within the information professions vary and sometimes require specialized preparation and experience. Available transcript designated concentrations include:

MLIS Specializations

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.

MLIS Coordinated Degree Programs

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:

Note: the MLIS portion of the coordinated degrees can be completed fully online.

MLIS + School Media Certification

SOIS, along with the School of Education and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers a complete program to attain certification as a school library media specialist. This program may be used to fulfill certification obligations in your state. If you currently hold a teaching certification or if you have desire to work in the K-12 environment we consider the School Media Certification program.
Note: This program can be completed fully online.


MLIS Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

The minimum degree requirement is 36 graduate credits, of which 30 credits must be in library and information science; up to 6 credits may be selected from approved related areas.

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, under special circumstances up to 6 of these credits may be from another field in a closely allied area with advisor consent.

Core Courses

  • INFOST 501 Foundations of Library and Information Science
  • INFOST 511 Organization of Information
  • INFOST 571 Information Access and Retrieval

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 core courses is “B”. If an MLIS student fails to meet this requirement, she/he is required to retake that core course. Students have only one chance to retake a failed core course. Students are responsible for the tuition of the retaken course. If a student fails to meet the minimum core course requirement, she/he cannot take another course in which that core course is a prerequisite until the requirement is met. A student who fails to receive a “B” or higher after retaking a core course will be recommended to the Graduate School for academic dismissal. (Effective: Fall 2004).

Program Completion Time Frame

36 credit hour program
30 credit hour program
within 7 years of initial enrollment
within 5 years of initial enrollment

Culminating Experience Requirement

MLIS students are required to demonstrate proficiency in the field of library and information science. INFOST 799 (591): Research in Library and Information Science is 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 in Library and Information Science or complete the thesis to meet the requirement for the culminating experience.

MLIS Thesis Option Guidelines

Thesis Coursework

Students choosing the thesis option must take at least three credits of thesis coursework INFOST 898 in addition to the 36 credits required for Culminating Experience, making the minimum credits required for the thesis option 39 credits. However, only 3 credits of thesis coursework may count towards the total degree credit requirement of 39.

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). More may be required by individual circumstances, but only the first three credits may count toward degree credit requirements. Either INFOST 890, Advanced Research Methods in Information Studies, or a comparable course chosen in consultation with the major professor, can contribute towards satisfaction of this requirement.

Students must complete the 3 core 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.


Master’s Thesis Checklist

UWM Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Formatting:

UWM Graduate School – Thesis/Dissertation Defense Deadlines:




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 core courses required 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

These forms are in PDF format, which can be viewed and printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

MLIS Program Resources

MLIS Advising & Mentoring

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 and their assigned faculty mentor to tailor a program that best suits their interests and career goals.

Faculty Mentors

mlis_curriculum-mentorAt the time of admission to the master’s degree program, a faculty mentor will be assigned to each student. The letter of admission to the master’s degree program includes the name and contact information of the faculty mentor and an invitation to consult with him or her.

A faculty mentor can help the student choose appropriate courses and works with the student to plan a program of study, concentrating on courses that will strengthen the individual’s career goals.

Students registering for their first semester in the program

An exception is made in the case of incoming students registering for their first semester in the program. If they are not able to see their assigned faculty mentor before beginning the program, the graduate academic advisor will act as interim mentor for the first semester only.

Changing faculty mentors

Students are free to change faculty mentors if they find another faculty member more closely matches their area of interest. Normally a student first asks the faculty member if he/she is willing to serve as their faculty mentor. Once agreed, the student should contact the SOIS Student Services Coordinator to record the change.

MLIS Computer Literacy Requirements

Computer Literacy Areas

mlis_curriculum-comp-lit-requirementsSOIS assumes that incoming students possess a basic knowledge of information technologies. Instructors will assume the following on the first day of class unless otherwise stated:


Microcomputer System Software

A basic familiarity with relevant graphical user interface environments, e.g., Macintosh or Windows, including the ability to format and copy disks, create directories, copy, delete, and view files.

Word Processing

A basic ability to create, edit, save, print, and manipulate document files with at least one common commercial word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect.

Information Retrieval

Ability to use an online library catalog and to search bibliographic databases commonly found in a library, e.g., InfoTrac, Academic Index, Wilson indexes, ProQuest, at a basic level.

Data Communications and Networking

Students should be able to send, receive, and print electronic mail messages. In addition, they should have a basic familiarity with access to tools such as the World Wide Web using a graphical or text-based browser.

Basic Software Troubleshooting

Ability to perform basic troubleshooting by using online help and by following instructions in standard manuals.


Students without the listed competencies may acquire them before the first semester of enrollment by any of several means:

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.

Graduate Grievance/Grade Appeal Procedure
Informal Resolution of Grievance/Grade Appeal

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 in the advising process. 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 grievance or grade appeal. In that case, the student must first seek informal resolution by discussing it with the instructor. Many such situations arise as the result of misunderstanding or incomplete information. 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. If the situation is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student should discuss the matter with the supervising instructor for the course.

If the difficulty cannot be resolved informally, the student has thirty (30) working days from the date of the instructor’s action to initiate a formal appeal as indicated below. Therefore, efforts to reach an informal resolution should be initiated as soon as possible.

Formal Grievance/Grade Appeal Procedure

Step 1

Within thirty (30) working days from the date of the action prompting the appeal or grievance, the student may file with the Associate Dean or PhD Program Director as appropriate or his/her designee a written statement of appeal. The statement should describe relevant facts surrounding the appeal/grievance and identify actions that will resolve the problem to the student’s satisfaction. In response to this statement, the Associate Dean, Program Director or designee will meet jointly or individually with all parties in an effort to resolve the problem and will prepare a written “mediation report” of the results of his/her mediation efforts. The meeting may be in person or by telephone or other appropriate interactive medium. The report will be given to both the student and the instructor, and both the statement of appeal and the mediation report will be retained in the School’s files.

If a proposed resolution is agreeable, the student will be asked to indicate formally that the matter is resolved.

If the proposed resolution is not acceptable to either the student or the instructor,
or if no resolution has been proposed, then the process continues to Step 2.

Step 2

If the situation is not resolved in the Step 1 process, the student or the instructor may request, within ten (10) working days of receiving a copy of the written mediation report, that the Associate Dean, Program Director or designee send the appeal/grievance to the SOIS Student Grievance and Appeals Committee (SGAC). The SGAC will gather and consider all information it deems appropriate, afford the student and the instructor an opportunity to present their cases, and recommend a course of action in its own report. The report will be given to both the student and the instructor, and a copy will be retained in the School’s files.

If a proposed resolution is agreeable, the student and instructor will be asked to indicate formally that the matter is resolved.

If the proposed resolution is not acceptable to either the student or the instructor, or if no resolution has been proposed, then the process continues to Step 3. Both the student and the instructor will be informed that the decision arising from Step 3 is final.

Step 3

If the situation is not resolved in the Step 2 process, the student or the instructor may request, within ten (10) working days of receiving a copy of the written report from the SGAC, that the appeal/grievance be referred to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The Associate Dean will review all documents, independently consider all information s/he deems appropriate, afford the student and the instructor an opportunity to present their cases, and decide on a course of action.

Following evaluation at this level, the decision of the Dean of the Graduate School is final.

Failure by the student or the instructor to meet any of the prescribed deadlines for an appeal to the next step terminates the appeal procedure.

UWM Graduate Academic Appeals and Exceptions: http://uwm.edu/graduateschool/appeals-exceptions/

Contact: Associate Dean Laretta Henderson

MLIS Course Exemptions
Exemption from some of the core courses required for the Master’s Degree on the basis of previous course work is considered at the time of admission. Students who intend to seek such exemptions should submit, at the time of application to the School of Information Studies, the “Course Exemption Request Form”. If the course exemption is not granted, students may appeal the decision to the Dean.

Exemption from core 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.

Course Exemption Request Form (pdf)

Please send the Course Exemption Request form to:
University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee
School of Information Studies
Attention: Assistant Dean
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

MLIS Transfer of Credit
All transfer of credits is governed by the Graduate School regulations. (See UWM Graduate Academic Policies & Procedures for details.) In general, these regulations require that:

  • 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: http://www.graduateschool.uwm.edu/forms-and-downloads/students/transfer-credit-evaulation-form.pdf The completed form is to be returned to the Graduate School.

Graduate Transfer of Credit Form

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

MLIS Grade Maintenance
Semester’s End Procedure

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 a 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 National Salary Ranges

Occupation 2013 Median Compensation
Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers $46,300
Public Library Director $59,392
Library / Branch Manager $55,383
Digital Content Manager $52,000
Youth Services $40,947
Instructional Librarian $48,375
Reference Librarian $48,000
School Librarian $58,000
Special Librarian $51,000
Usability Designer/Researcher $78,075
Metadata Librarian $47,500
Digital Asset Manager $62,167
Outreach Librarian $51,558
From: Library Journal Salary Survey 2014 and

career_resourcesCareer Resources

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>>


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.

Admission Requirements

Minimum Qualifications for all Applicants

A bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, from an approved accredited institution.

Evidence of English Proficiency

Undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 (4.0 basis) are a minimum qualification of the UWM Graduate SchoolNote: A student whose undergraduate GPA is below 2.75 may be admitted if the applicant can furnish substantial evidence of capacity to do satisfactory graduate work. Such evidence might be proof of an advanced degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher high quality performance in postgraduate work; or a high score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).

Satisfactory scores on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants whose overall GPA as calculated by the UWM Graduate School is at least 3.0 or who possess a graduate degree are exempted from this requirement.

GRE Test Information: http://www.takethegre.com/
MAT Test Information: www.MillerAnalogies.com

Two letters of recommendation from persons who can testify to the applicant’s likelihood of success in the master’s program in Library and Information Science. Reference letters from former teachers or employers are preferred.

Coordinated Degree Program Admission
Coordinated Degree Program applicants should follow the MLIS admission/application procedure. Students must indicate to which coordinated degree program they are applying to on both the SOIS and UWM Graduate School online application forms.

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 is 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: gradschool@uwm.edu

Please see the current list of Coordinated Degree Programs for more information.

International Student Admission
International applicants should follow the MLIS admission/application procedure as well as the UWM Center for International Education (CIE) admission requirements found at: http://uwm.edu/cie/international-admissions/ 

English Proficiency
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.

Non-Degree Candidate (NDC) Admission
This admission category (also referred to as Graduate Special) is used for the following:

  • 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: http://uwm.edu/graduateschool/non-degree-admission/

How Do I Apply?

To be admitted, you must apply to both the School of Information Studies and the UWM Graduate School

Apply to the School of Information Studies
  • School of Information Studies Online MLIS Application (available in the SOIS online application portal)
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (The SOIS Online Application portal includes instructions for submitting the required minimum of 2 letters of recommendation)

Need help with the School of Information Studies online application portal?
View the helpful user video tutorial: SOIS Online MLIS Application User Tutorial

Apply to the UWM Graduate School
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.
  • GRE or MAT (if applicable)
  • One copy of transcripts (directly from each institution you attended). Send electronically gradschool-staff@uwm.edu or mail to the PO Box listed below.
  • Reasons for Graduate Study
  • Application Processing Fees
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Graduate School
    Attn: Admission Coordinator
    P.O Box 340
    Milwaukee, WI 53201-0340

What happens next?

After you have submitted all required application materials to both SOIS and the UWM Graduate School, the application is reviewed and you will receive a notification letter of the final admission decision by the Graduate School.