What is a MSIS/MLIS degree?

Information is a growing global resource that requires a special set of skills to study, manage, organize, and present in the digital age. The MSIS and MLIS degrees are designed to provide theoretical and practical skills to prepare students to be leaders in the rapidly evolving information field.

The master of science in information studies and the master of library and information science are equivalent terminal degrees, launching students into a number of potential careers in the rapidly expanding field of information. Our degrees provides the tools a student needs to study, manage, and innovate information systems. Students can choose areas of study ranging from traditional information fields including libraries, museums, and archives, to evolving and developing fields including metadata, cybersecurity, electronic records, web usability, big data analytics, information visualization, and digital asset management.

Programs at all three universities, The University of Texas at Austin, San José State University, and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, are  accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).


Courses of Study

Students receive advising to assist them in selecting appropriate courses to satisfy program requirements as well as explore and focus on their individual areas of interest.

All 3 programs provide students with options to specialize through certificates, endorsements, graduate portfolios, and/or dual degrees. Elective courses enable students to specialize in areas including design, archives, preservation management, and human computer interaction. In addition, students may be able to enroll in courses in other departments on campus, take individual studies, and/or transfer credit from courses completed at other universities.


The University of Texas at Austin

Students enrolled in the MSIS program complete a minimum of 40 graduate credit hours. All courses are offered on-site, face-to-face. These 40 hours include 9 hours of foundation or core classes, 27 hours of elective courses, and a 4 hour capstone with electronic portfolio.

Our curriculum is designed to support both general and specific educational goals, allowing students to tailor the program to their interests or to follow a prescribed curriculum for specific certification. It is impossible to list all the specialist roles that may be filled by graduates of our program, but we do emphasize general areas of research and practice within the School of Information:

  • Archival Studies
  • Digital Libraries
  • Human-Computer Interaction & Information Architecture
  • Organization and Retrieval of Knowledge and Information
  • Preservation and Conservation of Physical and Digital Artifacts
  • Development, Management, and Evaluation of Collections and Services
  • Cult. Heritage Development, History & Mngmnt of the Cult. Record
  • Information Policy, Ethics, and Advocacy
  • User Behavior
  • Health Informatics
  • Information Work and Workers
  • Social Informatics


San José State University

The MLIS program at the San José State University School of Information is delivered 100% online in our award-winning and supportive online learning environment. Students relish the program’s flexibility that affords customization to personal interests, career goals, and schedules.

The 43-unit program begins with a one-unit introductory course to online learning technologies, followed by five required courses and 27 units of electives. Students can choose their electives from 13 diverse career pathways, building a comprehensive skillset demanded in the 21st century information profession.

Beyond their course work, students engage in leadership development, research projects, and professional networking opportunities through our student chapters of professional associations, peer-reviewed Student Research Journal, workshops and conferences, student assistantships, and internships.


University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

UH Mānoa offers a hybrid program of in-person and online courses. Students pursuing a MLIS degree complete at least 39 graduate credits, including 5 required core courses, 1 of 2 required management courses, at least 1 advanced technology course, and at least 6 elective courses. Students have the option of completing a master’s thesis or taking an oral examination.