Future Students

Is the UWM School of Information Studies (SOIS) accredited by the American Library Association?

Yes, the School of Information Studies is ALA accredited. SOIS has been ALA accredited for more than 30 years.

Can I complete the MLIS degree entirely online?

Yes, the MLIS degree can be completed entirely online.

Can I complete the MLIS degree without coming to the UWM campus?

Yes, you can complete your MLIS degree without coming to campus. While we encourage you to come to campus for orientation and graduation, it is not required. Many students find that a trip to Milwaukee to connect with fellow students, faculty and staff is well worth their time.

How much is tuition?

Tuition information for onsite courses can be found at uwm.edu/cost-aid/.
Tuition for online courses for the 2019-2020 academic year: $800/credit
Most courses are 3 credits: $2,400.

Please note: The online course fee is the ONLY fee charged for online courses. This amount is paid in lieu of regular tuition. For online courses, students pay roughly the equivalent of a 3 credit course for in-state/off-campus tuition regardless of whether or not you are a resident of Wisconsin.

What is the total cost of the program?

The total cost of the program depends on the number of courses you take per semester, the number of semesters you are enrolled, and the total number of credits you need to earn to complete your MLIS. What makes the SOIS distance education program unique is that our distance education students pay approximately 1/3 of out-of-state tuition cost.

How do I apply to the program?

You will need to apply to both the School of Information Studies and the UW-Milwaukee Graduate School to complete your application process. Please visit our admissions page for instructions: Master’s Degree Admission

What are the degree requirements for the MLIS degree?

The minimum degree requirement for the MLIS is 36 graduate credits. If you have already completed a master’s or doctorate in a field other than library and information science, you may have the MLIS program reduced to 30 credits.

Please Note: You must be registered for a minimum of one credit during the semester in which you are planning to graduate. If you decide to pursue the thesis option, you will be required to complete three additional credits in your program.

How long does it take to complete my degree?

The average SOIS online student takes between two and three years to complete their MLIS degree. Most online students take two courses (6 credits) per semester.

The average SOIS onsite student takes about a year and a half to complete their MLIS degree. Most onsite students take 3 courses (9 credits) per semester.

These are only averages and your experience will vary depending on how many courses you take per semester.

What is considered a full academic load?

Enrollment in eight or more credits in the fall and/or spring semester is full-time. Enrollment in less than eight credits is part-time. Enrollment in more than 12 credits per semester is an overload for which approval must be granted by the dean.

*Enrollment in less than four credits affects financial aid eligibility.

What is the time limit for completing my degree program?

If your program requires 36 credits, you must complete all degree requirements within seven years of your first semester of enrollment in the program.

If your program requires 30 credits, you must complete all degree requirements within five years of your first semester of enrollment in the program.

When do you accept applications and what are the application deadlines?

SOIS has no application deadlines for the MLIS program. Students are admitted on a rolling basis for fall and spring semesters, though priority consideration for scholarship opportunities will be given to those who apply by Feb. 1 for fall semesters and Sept. 1 for spring semesters.

Is there a core curriculum?

There are four required core courses:

  • 501 Foundations of Library and Information Science
  • 511 Organization of Information
  • 571 Information Access and Retrieval
  • 591 Research in Library and Information Science

I am in a different time zone. Will this make things more difficult?

Our online program has had students from all over the world! Generally speaking, courses are asynchronous in nature, which means you participate when it’s convenient for you. You will have assignments with due dates and project deadlines, so the courses are not self-paced and you must stay on track with the rest of the class. From time to time your instructor may schedule live internet chat sessions or video delivery; every effort will be made to alert students ahead of time so they can arrange their schedules or discuss the matter with the instructor. A general rule of thumb is that all due dates and times, scheduled chats or appointments are Central time.

Is the online program open to non-Wisconsin residents?

YES! The SOIS online MLIS program is available to all students regardless of geographic location.


What areas of concentration do you offer in the MLIS program?

SOIS currently offers the following concentration areas to guide your study:
Transcript Designated Concentrations

Are on campus courses offered in the evening and weekends?

On campus courses are offered during both day and evening sessions. Weekend courses are rare.

How often are the core courses offered?

The core courses are offered onsite and online during the fall and spring semesters. Onsite courses are alternated between morning and evening for the fall and spring semesters. Summer offerings of the core courses are more limited.

Are all courses offered online?

Not every semester. It is also important to remember that not every elective listed in the SOIS catalog is offered in the online or onsite format each semester.

What is the Coordinated Degree Program?

In collaboration with other academic units/departments, SOIS offers students the opportunity of obtaining two master’s degrees at the same time — one in Library and Information Science and one in a subject area. The number of degree credits needed for each of the coordinated programs is usually 12 fewer than the sum of the two programs if they were taken separately. You must apply to both programs and submit the necessary application requirements to each program. All degree requirements for both degrees must be satisfied.

What coordinated degrees does SOIS offer with other departments?

SOIS currently offers the following coordinated degrees with other departments at UWM.

  • MLIS/MA Anthropology
  • MLIS/MA English
  • MLIS/MA Language Literature & Translation
  • MLIS/MA Geography
  • MLIS/MA History
  • MLIS/MM Music
  • MLIS/MS Urban Studies
  • MLIS/MS Health Care Informatics
  • MLIS/MA Women’s Studies

Can I complete a coordinated degree program online?

While SOIS provides online courses to complete the MLIS portion of the program, other departments may not currently offer their required courses online. You will need to check with the corresponding department/school to determine if and when their degree can be obtained online.

How do I apply to the Coordinated Master’s Degree program?

The Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) program is separate from the Coordinated Master’s Degree program. If you are applying to the Coordinated Degree Program, you must also apply to the School of Information Studies as well as the other department in which you want to complete the coordinated program. You also will need to apply to the UWM Graduate School. When you complete the online application form through the Graduate School, you need to indicate which programs you are applying for, e.g., Academic Program: Graduate Coordinated Program (COORD) Academic Plan: History MA (HIST). If you are accepted into only the MLIS portion of the coordinated degree program, you can start to take classes for the MLIS, however, in order to enroll in classes you must first change your academic program from “coordinated degree” to the “MLIS” degree program.

Does the School of Information Studies (SOIS) offer graduate certification programs?

Yes, SOIS currently offers certification in:
School Library Media Certification

Does the School of Information Studies (SOIS) offer Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS) programs for post-masters students?

Yes, SOIS currently offers a CAS in:

If my job requires me to travel a lot, can I still take classes?

Yes, you can still take classes while you are away from home. If you are taking an online class, you need only have a computer and access to the internet. We also realize students may have other commitments and situations that arise that might make “attending” classes periodically difficult. Make sure you keep in touch with your professor if you anticipate any absences.

What type of career paths can a graduate with a Master of Library & Information Science select?

There are many different career paths for an individual with an MLIS:

  • Public Librarian – several different positions: reference, cataloging, administration, collection management, etc.
  • Academic Librarian – several positions: reference, cataloging, administration, collection management, etc
  • Special Libraries – Law, Medical, Business, Special Collections, Music, Art, Government, Science, etc.
  • School Library Media Specialist
  • Archives – Museum
  • Business Library
  • Information Technology Specialists
  • Technical Information Service Manager
  • Records Manager
  • Research Specialists
  • Information Entrepreneurship – Information Broker, Database Searchers, Information Consultants

How much time should I expect to devote to each course?

You can expect to devote just as much, if not possibly more, time as an onsite course. Plan on spending 10 hrs/week per course for a full semester course; double that for a 6-8 week course.

How long is a semester?

Fall and spring semesters are 14-16 weeks. Summer semesters last 6-12 weeks. UWinterim is three weeks.


What type of financial aid, scholarships, or assistantships are available for graduate students?

The School of Information Studies offers scholarships unique to our program in addition to fellowships and assistantships offered by the Graduate School.

The Financial Aid Department also has information about student loans and scholarships.

Additional information can be found on the Graduate School website:


How much is the application fee and how do I pay?

A $75 non-refundable application fee needs to be paid for admission to the Graduate School. Payment of the fee is valid for one year. Individuals who apply online may pay the application fee with a credit card.  An additional $40 processing fee is required of applicants with college level work from non-U.S. colleges or universities to cover the cost of processing and evaluating non-U.S. credentials.

Are all transcripts required for every program/course I attended even if the coursework from one institution appears on my transcripts from another institution?

You must submit official transcripts, from EACH undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended, even if work from one institution appears on your records from another institution. To be considered official, the transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School from each institution. You may submit transcripts that have been sent to you only if the transcripts arrive at UWM in envelopes sealed by the issuing institution. Photocopied, faxed or loose issued-to-student transcripts are not official.

Is it necessary to have an undergraduate degree in information science in order to apply for the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree?


Can I transfer credits from another college or university?

The maximum number of transfer credits allowable is the highest of:

  1. 12 or 14 credits or
  2. 40% of the total number of credits required for graduation.

You will need to complete a “Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation Form” and submit the form to the Graduate School. This form can be found on the Graduate School website: www.graduateschool.uwm.edu/students/current/masters/

Where can I find a listing of graduate courses and their descriptions?

You can find a listing of graduate courses on the Graduate School website:

After I am admitted, can I defer starting my program at UWM?

Once you are admitted you can defer your enrollment for up to one calendar year. After one calendar year, you will need to reapply to the Graduate School. You need to contact both the Graduate School and the School of Information Studies if you decide to defer your enrollment.

Where can I find information about policies and procedures?

The Graduate School establishes the policies and procedures for graduate students. You can locate current policies and procedures in the Graduate Student and Faculty Handbook.

If I have coursework that is similar to some of the core courses in the MLIS program, can I receive credit for these courses?

Can I take graduate level courses in SOIS prior to being admitted into the program?

You can apply as a non-degree candidate (NDC) in order to take courses before you are admitted into the MLIS program. However, this does not guarantee admission to the program. Students already admitted into the program are given registration priority over NDC students.


I am an international student. How do I find information regarding admission?

If you are a prospective graduate student to UWM, your application will be processed by the Center for International Education (CIE), International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) admission staff. Visit the CIE website at: uwm.edu/cie/

International students inquiring about an application in process should send an email to isss@uwm.edu.

Is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) required?

International students must submit the result of the TOEFL (550 is the required minimum score for the paper-based test and 213 for the computer-based) for admission to a graduate program at UWM. Students may opt to take the IBT (internet based TOEFL), with a minimum required score of 79-80; or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), 6.5 minimum score.

International students who have completed a degree from UWM or another approved institution where English is the sole language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL.

If I have to take the TOEFL, do I also need to take the GRE/MAT?

If you are required to take the TOEFL, you are exempt from taking the GRE for admission to the School of Information Studies.

How long are TOEFL scores valid?

TOEFL scores are valid for two years.

Are scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships available for international students?

There are three basic sources of support:

  • The Graduate Recruitment and Fellowship Office for graduate fellowship support.
  • The Financial Aid Office for loans and work-study (If you require a visa to study at UWM, you are not eligible for loans or work-study.)
  • School of Information Studies scholarships.

If I need to visit UWM in person, how do I get there? What are my lodging options?

There are several hotels and motels conveniently located near the UWM campus. Please view our visitor information page to obtain a map of UWM and a list of nearby lodging options.