The University of Illinois School of Information Sciences is recognized as a premier institution, consistently named the top LIS school in the nation. The School has earned its reputation by creating pioneering and innovative educational opportunities, including the oldest extant LIS doctoral program in the country (1948), our award-winning Leep online learning program (1996), and an advanced degree in digital libraries (2005).
Today, the School is a charter member of the iSchools Project, a community of schools interested in the relationship between information, technology, and people and committed to increasing the visibility of the field of library and information science. Founded in 1893, the School helped establish and develop the methods used in the field of LIS. Today we continue this tradition by translating the core principles of library science—information organization, access, use, and preservation—to meet the needs of our information society. This natural integration of library science and information science allows for opportunities to enhance and strengthen learning, teaching, and research: we understand that fluency with current technologies is important to all information professionals, from librarians, archivists, and museum curators to information architects, web developers, and data managers.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is considered one of the finest universities in the world. With a wealth of resources and highly ranked departments, Illinois long has been recognized for accomplishments in research and graduate education.
People use information for analysis, inquiry, collaboration, and play—and in so doing, change the world. The School of Information Sciences is dedicated to shaping the future of information through research, education, and engagement, both public and professional. Our mission is to lead the way in understanding the use of information in science, culture, society, commerce, and the diverse activities of our daily lives.
The campus has identified four goals as part of The Next 150 Strategic Plan. The following are statements of the goals for the School of Information Sciences within the larger University context.
- Maintain global leadership in education for the information professions
- Strengthen excellence in areas critical to international stature
- Foster an inclusive college community at all levels
- Steward resources for sustainable success and growth
- Increase the visibility of our social impact
National Reputation for Teaching and Research
In the 2017 U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate professional schools of library and information science, our School was once again selected as number one, a position held since the publication first started ranking library and information studies programs. Our School also placed highly in a number of specialty groups, including a first-place ranking in Digital Librarianship as well as Services for Children and Youth, a third-place ranking in School Library Media, and rankings within the top ten for Archives and Preservation, Health Librarianship, and Information Systems.
In past surveys, library educators ranked Illinois first overall among schools of library and information science in providing the highest quality education at the master’s and doctoral levels and for faculty members who contribute most significantly to the advancement of the profession through research, publication, and leadership.
Our researchers partner with many organizations and have a number of research collaborators, both on campus and around the world. Major funders include the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Science Foundation.
Comprehensive Educational Offerings
Students may pursue MS/LIS, MS/IM, and PhD degrees and a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) with the opportunity to specialize through such programs as the MS in Bioinformatics and the CAS in Digital Libraries.
Many master’s students and recent graduates cite the opportunity to design their own programs of study as a major advantage at Illinois. Areas of emphasis include:
- information organization and knowledge representation (including a Specialization in Data Curation)
- information resources, uses, and users
- information systems
- history, economics, and policy
- management and evaluation
- social, community, and organizational informatics (including the Certificate in Community Informatics)
- youth literature and services (including School Librarian Licensure)
A master's degree candidate with a full-time load can complete the 40-hour program in two semesters and one summer, though many students choose to continue in the program for an additional semester or two.
Students have flexible scheduling options for MS/LIS and CAS degree coursework: students may pursue their degrees either full time or part time and can take courses on-campus, through the Leep online learning option, or a combination of both. Leep online learning brings students to campus only for brief periods of study; remaining coursework is completed remotely, using varied formats that include Internet-based courses with real-time audio and visuals.
Generous Financial Assistance
Generous financial assistance is available in the form of fellowships, graduate assistantships, and student loans. All fellowships and assistantships include both a stipend and a tuition and service fee waiver of at least the in-state cost. Graduate assistantships are the primary source of financial aid, and are awarded by the School, the University Library, and a variety of other campus units. The great majority of on-campus students receive financial support; assistantships generally are available only to regular on-campus students, but all students may be eligible for student loans.
Facilities, Services, and Resources
Our building, a former university fraternity house, was first renovated for occupation by the School in 1992 and then doubled in size by a construction project—begun in 1999 and completed in 2001—that added 29,000 square feet to the building. UIUCnet Wireless Access is available throughout the building.
Research is overseen by the Research Services and further supported by several School resources: the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship, which conducts research on the use and impacts of information resources and tools in scientific and scholarly inquiry; The Center for Children's Books, home of a 16,000-book examination collection; and the Communications Office, producer of Library Trends and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and other LIS-related publications.
Illinois has one of the largest public university collections in the world, which includes the Library and Information Science Virtual Library. The University Library's Mortenson Center for International Library Programs fosters international tolerance and peace and ensures access to information by strengthening ties among the world's libraries. The University hosts the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
All of the above resources provide research opportunities as well as student employment.
We equip students with the theories and practices of library and information science through the study of the foundations, principles, and ideas of the discipline and the status and expectations of the profession. We maintain an online list of job openings and help students and alumni locate position listings. Staff assist students in preparing resumes and mastering job interview techniques and also provide advice on job-hunting strategies.
Recent master’s graduates have accepted posts in all types of libraries and in a variety of other organizations, including consulting firms, library vendors, and technology companies.
The PhD program is research-oriented and designed to prepare outstanding scholars in library and information science. Almost all PhD graduates assume academic faculty, research, and administrative positions.