Master of Library and Information Science

This is a Master of Library and Information Science degree.

This degree is part of the library and information science program, housed in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT). The program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), which granted continued accreditation status in 2015.

Program Structure Go to top of page. Top

The MLIS can be completed online. A few courses may be offered on-site as well, in one of four locations:

  • Columbia, Missouri
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Omaha, Nebraska

We use several different course structures to provide you with the broadest and most instructionally appropriate class opportunities.

  • Online asynchronous classes allow you to participate anytime, anywhere.
  • Online synchronous classes, scheduled at fixed times to allow online, offer real-time interaction without the drive time.
  • Hybrid classes, combine face-to-face and online instruction.

Most library and information science faculty are based in Columbia. Clinical faculty in St. Louis and Kansas City, and a Program Liaison in Omaha, NE provide student support and coordinate extracurricular activities.


Courses are semester-based. Students typically take between one and three classes each semester and finish in two to four years. Topic strengths include:

  • LIS professional history, ethics, foundations, and values
  • Management of collections and information agencies
  • Information technology and systems
  • Services to a diversity of information users and communities
  • LIS research and assessment
  • Digital humanities
  • Archives and records management
  • Library services to children and youth

Degree Requirements

For students admitted in fall 2014 and later, the program consists of 39 credit hours, including 18 credits of required courses. Students admitted before fall 2014 are expected to complete 42-credit hour program (with 16 credits of required courses).

Each student completes a practicum (two to three credits)

Elective courses are selected in consultation with faculty advisers.

  • Must include 15 credit hours of 9000-level courses.
  • Must include 12 hours of courses taught by a full-time faculty member.

For additional information about planning your Program of Study, see the LIS Student Resources and Courses pages.


We require all students to complete a two- or three-hour practicum as part of the degree. The practicum is real-world experience in libraries and information agencies. Sometimes the practicum is an experience in another part of a library (public services versus technical services), in another kind of library (special versus academic) or in a different institution entirely (e.g. museums). Students are invited to tailor their practicum experience to their own needs and circumstances, including geography and specific areas you want to explore.
For more information, please see our Practicum page.

Graduate Examination

Prior to graduation, all students must complete a graduate examination which requires them to demonstrate mastery of the LIS Student Learning Outcomes. Students admitted prior to Fall 2016 may choose either the Comprehensive Exam or the ePortfolio. The ePortfolio will be the mandatory final product for all students admitted in Fall 2016 and later.

The Comprehensive Exam (Comps) is taken during the final semester of course work. Comps consist of one question in each of four general areas: Issues, Management, Services, and Technology, and includes coverage of all eight LIS Student Learning Outcomes. Each question is created and evaluated by one of the full-time resident LIS faculty.

The ePortfolio is an accumulation of assignments and reflections that demonstrate mastery of the LIS Student Learning Outcomes. You will need to include two specific class assignments for each of the eight LIS Student Learning Outcomes. Your performance and reflections will demonstrate that you are ready to enter into a professional career.

Missouri School Library Media Certification Go to top of page. Top

In the State of Missouri, School Library Media Certification for school librarians is granted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The University of Missouri is approved to offer courses that lead to both Stand Alone and Add-on Certification through our MLIS degree, under the Library Media Specialist emphasis area.

  • If you are already a certified teacher, you will seek Add-on Certification. Our MLIS plus add-on certification program includes the 30 required hours of Library Media Specialist content, plus an additional 9 hours of electives.
  • If you are not a certified teacher but want to be a school librarian, you will seek Stand Alone Certification. Stand Alone Certification authorizes you to teach in one specific area only (e.g., school libraries), but not to practice in other areas. Our MLIS plus Stand Alone Certification program requires 58 credit hours, and includes 18 hours of Professional Teacher Education, 10 hours of Field Experience, and 27 hours of Library Media Specialist Content Knowledge.

If you are not a Missouri resident but are seeking school library media certification, you will have to meet the certification requirements set forth by your state. School Library Connection and the American Association of School Librarians have compiled some information about the certification requirements for various states, but we recommend you contact your state’s certification office directly.