Plan Your Program

Students complete 40 graduate credit hours to earn an MS in library and information science. All MS/LIS students must complete the two required courses, IS 501 Information Organization and Access (4 credit hours) and IS 502 Libraries, Information, and Society (2 or 4 credit hours). These courses are foundational for all areas of the field and provide a context for future coursework in areas of specialization. The remaining credit hours provide students with a great deal of flexibility and allow them to customize the MS/LIS to suit their individual career goals. Please contact your advisor if you're interested in exploring course options.

Customize Your Program

Professional Pathways

  • These pathways merely serve as guides for students as they plan their courses and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Students choose courses and experiences that uniquely fit their academic and professional goals.

Other Course Options

Practicum (IS 591)

The Practicum is a professional field experience program designed to provide the student with the opportunity to work in a professional environment under the supervision of an experienced librarian or information professional with the guidance of a faculty member. This opportunity allows students to integrate the theory and knowledge of course content with the application of principles and practices in a work environment, including these specific objectives:

  • Gain practical experience based on the understanding and application of theoretical knowledge
  • Observe the analysis of and solutions to problems arising in professional work settings
  • Interact with colleagues in a professional work environment
  • Participate in a representative range of professional activities in the work setting
  • Develop a professional self-awareness

Identify Practicum Opportunities:

To Register for Practicum:
  1. Enroll in Practicum Registration space and complete steps 1-5 outlined in Assignment 1 – Practicum Contract.
  2. Once Assignment 1 is received and approved by the Practicum Coordinator, Admissions and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.

Contracts take up to 10 business days to process.

Independent Study (IS 592)

Independent Study enables the intermediate or advanced student opportunity to:

  • undertake the study of a topic not otherwise offered in the curriculum.
  • pursue a topic beyond or in greater depth than is possible within the context of a regular course.

Independent Study should be a rigorous investigation of a highly specific topic, calling for student initiative, and requiring the formal structure of:

  • a written proposal including scope and purpose;
  • a reasonable specific statement outlining the method to be used; and
  • a description of the form in which the final product will be presented (e.g., written report, mediated presentation).

Independent Study is not available as an alternative version of a course otherwise offered on a regular basis by the School. 

To Register for Independent Study:
  1. Complete all sections of the Independent Study form except for signatures.
  2. Attach the completed proposal to this form.
  3. Have the supervisory iSchool instructor member sign the form. 
  4. Have your iSchool advisor sign the form and submit the form to the Admissions and Records staff. 
  5. Once the form is processed, Admissions and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.

If a student prefers to complete the form electronically, the student will need to submit all documentation by e-mail to their iSchool advisor. Once the iSchool advisor signs and approves the form, the iSchool advisor will submit the form for processing. 
Forms take up to 10 business days to process.

IS Practice (IS 594)

The IS Practice course provides a mechanism for full-time or part-time practice of information science in an off-campus library or information science environment. This course is for 0 credit hours and is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis. Students are fully responsible for the coordination of the pre-professional practice arrangements (applications, employer contact, contract negotiations, etc.). At the completion of the practice students must submit a written reflection of their work and their experience. A grade will be submitted by the student’s advisor upon receipt of the reflection.

*If using IS 594 for CPT requirements, please refer to the CPT registration requirements. If you are NOT using IS 594 for CPT, please proceed to registration instructions below:

To Register for IS Practice:
  1. Complete the IS594 Practice webform
  2. Once the webform is received and approved, Admissions and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.

Thesis (IS 599)

The student will, with the approval of their academic advisor, identify a problem in library or information science suitable for a master’s thesis. The student will conduct original research which

  • describes the problem 
  • reviews the related literature
  • collects and analyzes data
  • uses appropriate methods

This proposal should describe the research problem and the proposed methodology. Once the thesis is complete, the dean, on recommendation from the academic advisor, who serves as first reader, appoints a second reader. The second reader may be a faculty person outside the iSchool. The first reader (academic advisor) and second reader will confer and must agree upon the acceptability of the thesis or whether any revisions must be made before final acceptance. Should the two readers be unable to reach agreement about the evaluation of the thesis, a third reader may be appointed. Ordinarily there is no oral defense of the master’s thesis. After the readers have approved the thesis, the departmental format check will be conducted. Go to the Thesis Office website for information on completing a Thesis, including the formatting instructions, deadlines for deposit, etc.

To Register for Thesis
  1. Complete page one of the MS Thesis form, securing needed signatures.
  2. Attach the completed proposal to this form. 
  3. Give page one of the form to the iSchool Admissions and Records staff.
  4. Once this form has all required information and signatures, Admission and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.
  5. Once the examination of the thesis is complete, page three of the form will be submitted to the Admissions and Records staff.

Forms take up to 10 business days to process.

Non-iSchool Courses

  • You may transfer up to 12 hours of graduate credit from several other departments at Illinois that can be applied to the 40 required graduate credit hours for the master's degree. Enrollment in other courses is subject to department approval.

Supplemental Degree Programs

Graduate Minors

  • On-campus students may be interested in pursuing one of the graduate minors offered at Illinois.

Joint Degrees

  • MS/LIS and MA in History
  • MS/LIS and MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  • MS/LIS and MA in African Studies

Questions? I can help!

Karla Lucht

Karla Lucht (MS '07), Graduate Studies Advisor
124 LIS
(217) 244-3810