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Student Achievement and Accomplishments

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Assessment and Evaluation of Student Achievement and Accomplishments

Graduates' Employment Outcomes

It can be quite difficult to obtain data such as employment outcomes of graduates. However, this is one of the most powerful data points for assessing the success of the program. The information below concerns MLIS students who graduated in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2017.

OU SLIS MLIS Alumni Survey, Conducted July 2019

In 2017, 67 students graduated with their MLIS, and 25 responded to the Alumni Survey (return rate of 37.3%). Of these, 18 (72%) were employed in the LIS field within one year of graduation, although some of them were working in paraprofessional staff positions rather than librarian positions. Of the 7 (28%) not employed in the LIS field, 4 had looked but been unable to find LIS employment, 2 had not sought LIS employment, and 1 obtained LIS employment more than one year beyond graduation.

Library Journal Placement Survey of 2017 Graduates, Conducted 2018

Of the 18 University of Oklahoma MLIS graduates who responded to the Library Journal survey, 17 (94.4%) were employed in the LIS field and 1 (5.6%) was unemployed.

Indirect Employment Information of MLIS Graduates

In addition to self-reported information from the above surveys, information about graduates' employment was obtained from a variety of sources:

For 32 students who graduated with their MLIS in December 2017:
Job information for 25 graduates was located in January 2019 (78% of December 2017 graduates)
84% (21) were working in library and information science jobs

For 26 students who graduated with their MLIS in May 2018:
Job information for 19 graduates was located in March 2019 (73% of May 2018 graduates)
84% (16) were working in library and information science jobs in March 2019

These LIS jobs were predominately librarian and library staff positions in public libraries, academic libraries and school libraries. Other LIS jobs included data science and technology positions and further graduate education in LIS.

Admissions, Retention, and Time to Degree Data

SLIS admits master's students on a rolling basis, to start in Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters. However, the data in this table only includes students admitted in the Fall (the Graduate College reports admissions and yield for Fall admissions only).

SLIS made a change to the admissions standards that went into effect in 2017, and simultaneously made the online degree more accessible. Data from this table show that between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017, admissions increased by 42%, which may be related to these changes.

  AppliedAdmitted% Applied Who
 Were Admitted
Enrolled% Admitted
Who Enrolled

MLIS Completion Within 5 Years of Matriculation

Cohort Start
# of Students# of CompletionsCompletion Rate

The OU Graduate College allows five years from matriculation (when students begin the program) to finish a master's program. Therefore, these retention numbers reflect students who completed the MLIS within five years. It is possible for students to petition for an extension, and the "time to graduation" data do show that a very small percentage of students complete their master's degrees within six to six and a half years. The retention numbers in this table do not include students who took longer than five years to complete.

Median Time to Degree For Students Who Graduated in These Years

20142.4 years
20152.4 years
20162.5 years
20172.4 years
20182.0 years

The minimum time from starting the program to graduating was 1.4 years in all years 2014 to 2018. The maximum time ranged from 4.0 years to 6.4 years.

Beginning in Spring 2017 SLIS moved all of the required courses online and began to teach more electives in online and hybrid formats. We did this to make courses more readily available to students. The drop in median time to degree from 2.4 to 2.0 years is likely related to this change in course format.

End of Program Assessment Outcomes During Current Accreditation Period, Fall 2014-

The OU Graduate College requires the sucessful completion of an end of program assessment to complete the graduate degree. For the MLIS, students can choose between comprehensive exams, a portfolio, or write a thesis. 

The Graduate College allows students two attempts to pass their end of program assessment experience. After two attempts, if they do not pass, they fail to receive their degree. Failure of the second attempt by MLIS students is uncommon.

MLIS Student End of Program Assessment Choices

Academic YearTotal #Comprensive ExamsPortfoliosTheses
2014-155447 - 87.0%7 - 13.0%0
2015-164734 - 72.3%12 - 25.5%1 - 2.1%
2016-176243 - 69.3%18 - 29.0%1 - 1.6%
2017-186242 - 67.7%20 - 32.3%0
2018-195833 - 56.9%25 - 43.1%0
2019-207252 - 72.2%20 - 27.8%0

As can be seen from the above table, more and more of the MLIS students are choosing portfolios as their end of program assessment option. While most students used to choose comprehensive exams, by the 2018-19 academic year, nearly half of student chose portfolio. 

MLIS Students' Comprehensive Exam Results by Semester and Year

YearSemester# Taking
# Oral

% Failed
2014Fall17 15.9%
2015Spring30 826.7%
2015Fall21 523.8%
2016Spring13 17.7%
2016Fall14 535.7%
Total 251142911.6%

SLIS has periodically made changes to the structure of the comprehensive exam. From 2012 to 2016 students took a take-home exam with no oral defense option. From 2017 forward, students who failed the written test have the option to do an oral defense of their exam. The SLIS faculty made this structural change because of an alarming trend of increased failure rates of the written exam. After the structural change, the student outcomes have returned to more expected levels. 

MLIS Students' Portfolio Results by Semester and Year

YearSemester# Portfolios# Pass Outright# Minor Revision# Major Revision# Failed
Total 102652932

Institutional Information about SLIS

Anyone can access institutional data about the University of Oklahoma academic programs through the following data sites:

Institutional Research and Reporting

This university office provides data about enrollment, credit hour production, number of students graduated by college and program, and other similar information.

Graduate College Data Portal

This new data app allows users to obtain a variety of information about students in specific programs such as demographic information, time to degree, and more. At this time, some of the data reflect FALL ADMITS ONLY. Therefore, for programs such as SLIS it only has information for some of our master's students. However, they do plan to add spring and summer admitted students eventually.

Student Support

Scholarships and Awards

For the 2019-20 academic year, SLIS distributed $34,400 to 32 recipients.

For the 2018-19 academic year, SLIS distributed $40,500 to 25 recipients.

MLIS students also receive scholarships and awards from other organizations. Some examples include:

  • ARL Diversity Scholar
  • ALA Spectrum Scholarship
  • ALA/SAA Mosaic Program Fellowship
  • Oklahoma Library Association scholarships
  • Tulsa City County Library staff scholarships
  • University of Oklahoma, and University of Oklahoma Graduate College Scholarships


Graduate Assistantships

The Graduate College reports the number of graduating students who held graduate assistant positions. They report:

# MLIS awarded44536355
# had graduate assistantship13122113

Service Learning

Experience working in libraries is an important component of education for library and archives professionals as it allows opportunities for students to combine theory with hands-on practice. Employers are keenly interested in prior LIS work experience so it is in a student's best interest to pursue these opportunities.

According to data from the SLIS Alumni Survey and the Library Journal placement survey, the majority of students who come in to the MLIS program have prior work experience in libraries or archives.

  • 68% of the OU SLIS Alumni Survey respondents worked in the LIS field before starting the MLIS program (N=25 of the 2017 graduating class).
  • 77.8% of the Library Journal resondents had worked in a library before starting the OU MLIS program (N=18, also from the 2017 class) 

In the most recent cohort, 13.9% of graduates completed master's-level internships during their MLIS programs, compared to around one-quarter in the previous two years:

  • 2019 grads: 13.9% completed internships (10 out of 72 grads)
  • 2018 grads: 25.9% completed internships (15 out of 58 grads)
  • 2017 grads: 25.4% completed internships (17 out of 67 grads)