CAS/School Librarian Licensure Program

Halfway through my initial degree, I took a personal break to refocus and assess what I needed in my career. When I decided to rejoin the program and change to the Certificate of Advanced Study/K-12 path, the School's advisors listened to my personal challenges and made it work for me. This program truly wants to help students on AND off campus.
— Kristy Rieger (MS '14), library/information specialist at Highcrest Middle School


The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) is open to those who hold a master's degree in library and information science or a related field. Librarians, information scientists, and others in information management enroll in the program to refresh and update their skills, gain greater specialization in their professional training, or redirect their careers from one area to another. The CAS/School Librarian Licensure program enables the student to earn an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Special (K-12) LIS Endorsement for library work in elementary and secondary school environments.

The School Librarian Licensure program emphasizes the Library Information Specialist's role(s) in establishing teaching and learning communities, developing inquiring and reflective minds, promoting the effective application of technology and modeling a commitment to service, as well as the Library Information Specialist's proactive responsibility for providing access to and facilitating use of diverse library collections and resources. Depending on a person's background and education, there are two different CAS paths toward school library licensure. 


CAS Requirements | CAS Courses | School Librarian Licensure Requirements

CAS Requirements


Applicants to the CAS/School Librarian Licensure program must have completed a master's degree in library and information science, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. A minimum GPA of 3.0 also is required in the last 60 semester hours of the applicant's undergraduate degree program. When applying to the School Librarian Licensure program, students must complete the School Librarian Licensure Program application, submit an official score report demonstrating a passing score on the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency #400 (TAP), and write a "Commitment to Education" essay. The TAP, which has replaced the Illinois Basic Skills Test, is administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System. The ILTS website includes information about test dates and registration fees, as well as online study guides. As of February 2013, ISBE approved rules that allow prospective candidates to use one of the following assessments in lieu of the TAP. Tests of basic skills scores are valid indefinitely. The handout "TAP or ACT/SAT?" will help you decide which test to take.

  • Illinois Basic Skills Test 096 or 300
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and minimum ELA/Writing score of 19, if taken before September 1, 2015)
  • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 16, if taken after September 1, 2015)
  • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)

Applicants wishing to use their ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the TAP must create an ELIS account and have their scores sent directly to ISBE. See the CoTE for testing requirements. For more information please ischool-advising [at] (contact the School Librarian Program Coordinator).

Prospective applicants should see the Admissions section of our website for specific application requirements, deadlines and forms and contact the Admissions Office at (217) 333-7197 with questions.

Entry Dates

Students may enter the CAS program in fall, spring, or summer. However, application must be made to the School Librarian Licensure program no later than October 1 for a practicum field placement in the following spring semester, or February 15 for a practicum field placement in the following summer or fall semester. These deadlines apply to both on-campus and Leep online learning students.

Financial Aid and Enrollment Status

Students holding graduate assistantships awarded and/or administered by the iSchool must be registered for a minimum number of credit hours determined by the percentage time of the assistantship; students will be advised of the number of credit hours upon appointment. Students with graduate assistantships in the library or elsewhere on campus must follow the enrollment requirements for those departments. Information about applying for assistantships can be found in the Admissions section.

A limited number of tuition waivers may be available to School Librarian Licensure students during the semester of their student teaching. More information about waivers is available from the Program Coordinator.

CAS Courseload

The Certificate of Advanced Study is a 40-semester-hour course of study structured to allow students to design programs that meet specific educational and career goals. Students in the combined CAS/School Librarian Licensure program must complete education coursework, field experiences and LIS coursework. Total completion time for this program varies from student to student depending on a variety of factors. Students have five years to complete the program. Upon admission to the licensure program, students' graduate transcripts are examined by a youth services faculty member to determine which, if any, courses taken for the students' MS in LIS are equivalent to iSchool courses required for licensure. This information is provided to the University of Illinois Council on Teacher Education (CoTE) Licensure Officer when a coursework audit is requested. Each student's course program and fieldwork requirements for the CAS/School Librarian Licensure program are based on that audit and are developed by the student and his/her advisor. 

CAS Special Project

Following the completion of 32 semester hours of graduate-level coursework, the CAS student concludes the program with an 8-semester-hour thesis project. The CAS project is a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship or information science that is developed by the student in consultation with his/her advisor and concluded by a public presentation to the student's CAS committee. Examples of the CAS project for licensure students include an extensive reflection on best practice evidence as required by National Board Certification candidates or the development of a comprehensive library information science curriculum.

Examples of CAS Projects:

Credit Hours Petitioned to Count or Transfer

It is possible for students to request course credit from other departments or other institutions be counted towards or transferred to the CAS.

Up to 16 semester hours of coursework may be taken from a University of Illinois academic unit other than the iSchool (such as the College of Education) and petitioned to "count" towards the CAS. Use the "Request to Enroll in a Non-LIS Illinois Graduate Course for Credit Towards the CAS in LIS" form BEFORE registering for the course.

In addition, a maximum of 12 semester hours may be transferred to the degree, subject to review by the Curriculum Committee and the Graduate College. Transferred credits are subject to the conditions explained in the Graduate College Handbook, including the following: the credits have not been applied previously toward a degree; the credits are graded graduate-level coursework from an accredited institution; the student has achieved a grade of B or better; the credits were earned within the past five years. Transferred credits are allowed up to the following maximum limits:

  1. up to 4 credit hours of non-LIS courses from any accredited institution
  2. up to 8 credit hours of LIS courses from an ALA-accredited institution (no more than 8 total from a and b)
  3. up to 12 credit hours taken as a non-degree student at University of Illinois (no more than 12 total from a, b, and c). Courses taken as a nondegree student are not automatically transferred to the degree.

The Admissions Office can assist in this petition process. Use the Graduate School Petition online system to request a transfer of credit.

School Librarian Licensure Requirements

The CAS/School Librarian Licensure Program Checklist is designed to provide students with a summary of the requirements and steps leading to licensure. Each component is described in more detail below.

Council on Teacher Education Student Portal

The CoTE Student Portal allows students in CoTE-approved programs to monitor their licensure progress. The CoTE portal allows students to view their status on requirements such as: ICTS test scores, Bloodborne Pathogens Training, Teacher Education Safety Training and criminal background check. The portal also includes information regarding deadlines, announcements, contact information, CoTE policies, online evaluation forms and other links of interest. 

School Librarian Practicum/Early Field Experience

The practicum is a supervised field experience of professional-level duties in an approved school library placement site. It is designed to provide School Librarian Licensure students with the opportunity to work in a school environment under the supervision of an experienced Library Information Specialist with the guidance of the Program Coordinator. It is also an opportunity to integrate the educational theory and course content knowledge with the application of best principles and practices for working with youth and young adults. Students will be able to experience real issues, obstacles and solutions within the K-12 school setting by interacting with professional colleagues and engaging in professional activities while gradually assuming some teaching responsibilities.

Students will complete a minimum of 100 hours and receive a maximum of 2 semester hours of graduate credit. Prerequisites include completion of 14 hours of LIS coursework, and acceptance into the School Librarian Licensure program.  Students complete the practicum requirement the semester prior to student teaching. See a map of schools where librarians have supervised students in field experiences. New placement sites are added each semester, according to student's needs.

Student Teaching

Field experiences are critical components of a student's preparation for work as a school library media specialist. They provide the opportunity to acquire an understanding of the teaching process through guided, personal, "hands-on" experience. After successful completion of a practicum and all required IS and education coursework is completed, students will register for two student teaching placements: one in an elementary library setting and one in a secondary library setting (middle or high school). Each placement will last eight weeks under the direction of an on-site Cooperating Teacher-Librarian and a University Supervisor, who work together to support and guide students as they apply the skills and knowledge learned in their university coursework to the real world. During each placement, teacher candidates perform the full spectrum of professional activities associated with the work of a professional library media specialist. Student teaching placements are arranged throughout Illinois only. See a map of schools where librarians have supervised students in field experiences. New placement sites are added each semester, according to student's needs.

For More Information

Contact the Admissions Office with questions about the admissions process: (800) 982-0914 or (217) 333-7197, or see the Admissions section of our website. For questions regarding the combined CAS in LIS/School Librarian Licensure Program, contact Ann Ohms, program coordinator, at annohms2 [at] (subject: CAS%2FK-12%20Licensure%20Inquiry)  or via phone at 217.300.9934. 

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