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Master of Library and Information Studies

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Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS)

The Master of Library and Information Studies is a 36 credit hour program that offers specialized tracks within traditional library settings and supports the development of skills, knowledge, and attitudes required in information agencies and in positions of information management, storage, organization, access, and use within profit and not-for-profit institutions.

The common tracks are librarianship (school, public, and academic), archives, and data science. 


The admission policy of the Master of Library and Information Studies degree program has as its goal the selection of persons who are academically well qualified and who exhibit a potential for contributions in the area of library and information services. The School of Library and Information Studies encourages applications from students with diverse educational, geographical, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds. 

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the Graduate College, applicants must also meet the admissions requirements for the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree program. Compliance with those requirements is demonstrated by submission of the following documents:

  • An application to the MLIS program.
  • A statement of purpose and goals
  • A professional resume.
  • Three references from persons familiar with the applicant’s scholastic or employment record. 
  • GRE scores are NOT required.

Application Deadline: MLIS applications must be completed thirty (30) calendar days prior to the beginning of the semester to which the student is applying. For an application to be considered completed, it must include the supplemental documents listed above. 



For admission to full graduate admission standing in the School, the candidate must have supplied all of the items listed above and must be eligible for admission to degree status in the Graduate College. In addition, the School requires graduation from an accredited four-year college with a 3.0 cumulative GPA over their undergraduate and/or graduate work (on a 4-point scale where 4.00 is an A). 

The grade point average is based on the following:

  • If a bachelor’s degree has been earned at a regionally accredited college or university, the cumulative grade point average from the conferred degree is used. All letter-graded courses are subject to evaluation.
  • If graduate work has been completed at a regionally accredited college or university, but no master’s degree has been earned, the cumulative grade point average from the conferred bachelor’s degree is used. All letter-graded courses are subject to evaluation.
  • If a master’s degree has been earned at a regionally accredited college or university, the cumulative grade point average from the conferred degree is used. All letter-graded courses are subject to evaluation.

Applicants that do not meet the criteria for full admission to SLIS are evaluated by the Admissions and Scholarships Committee. All admission materials, not just the GPA, will be used in determining the admissibility of applicants.


A graduate of an accredited four-year institution whose grade point average is below 3.0 and who has met all other requirements for admission to full graduate standing may be admitted conditionally. Students admitted in a conditional admission status must meet specific requirements dictated by the Graduate College and the School. These requirements are established at the time of admission. For further information on conditional admission, applicants are urged to consult the current Graduate College Bulletin.  


Your assigned faculty advisor is noted in your acceptance email to the program. You may keep this advisor for the duration of your degree program or you may choose a different faculty member. If you do not know who your advisor is, contact in the SLIS office.


By the end of your first semester you should have completed and submitted to your faculty advisor the program planning form. To predict when classes will be offered, use the course rotation schedule. Course descriptions are found in the OU General Catalog, linked below.

Transfer Credit Petitions

Students may transfer up to 9 hours of courses from other OU departments or from outside institutions. A student's advisor can approve other OU courses, but courses from other institutions must be reviewed through petition by the Graduate Studies Committee.

For Credit to be Earned (pdf)

For Credit Previously Earned (pdf)


Certain college, departmental, and administrative officers of the University have a legitimate interest and need for information contained in the student's records, and are authorized access to this information on a "need to know" basis (Title 5 Student Records and Information [5.2] of the University of Oklahoma Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct for the Norman Campus). These needs include, for example, access by faculty/staff for evaluating applicants to the program and for advising/assisting the student in meeting her/his professional goals and the requirements of the program. The University endeavors to protect the confidentiality of student records as provided by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Core Required Courses

LIS 5033 Information and Society - Should be taken the first semester
LIS 5023 Management in Information Organizations
LIS 5043 Organization of Information
LIS 5053 Information Seeking and Use
LIS 5063 Fundamentals of Information Technology
LIS 5713 Research and Evaluation Methods - Generally taken the last semester

Current course descriptions are found in the OU General Catalog.

Elective Courses


LIS 5343 Archival Concepts and Traditions
LIS 5463 Archival Representation 
LIS 5473 Documents and Records Management 
LIS 5563 Archival Appraisal 
LIS 5653 Preservation of Information Materials 
LIS 5827 Internship (in an archival setting) 
LIS 5970 Digital Curation 
LIS 5970 Archives in the Museum Setting
LIS 5970 Archival Practice in the Digital Age
If this concentration interests you, you may also be interested in the Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies

Youth Librarianship

LIS 5183 Information Resources and Services for Children 
LIS 5193 Information Resources and Services for Young Adults 
LIS 5283 School Library Administration
LIS 5533 Foundations of Learning Sciences
LIS 5823 Internship in School or Public Library 
LIS 5970 Makerspaces: Theory and Practice

Focus on People, Reference, and Users

LIS 5123 Literature and Methods for Readers' Advisory Services 
LIS 5173 Diversity Fundamentals in LIS
LIS 5203 Leadership in Information Organizations 
LIS 5213 Social Informatics 
LIS 5253 Community Relations and Advocacy 
LIS 5503 Information Literacy and Instruction 
LIS 5513 Information Sources and Services 
LIS 5523 Online Information Retrieval

Collection Management 

LIS 5403 Cataloging and Classification 
LIS 5443 Collection Development and Management 
LIS 5453 Digital Collections

Technology for Information Studies 

LIS 5223 Project Planning and Management
LIS 5533 Foundations of Learning Sciences (taught through the College of Education) 
LIS 5613 Dynamic Web Development 
LIS 5633 Web Design and Implementation 
LIS 5683 Database Design for Information Organizations
LIS 5723 Cybersecurity Essentials

Data Science

LIS 5623 Advanced Data Analytics
LIS 5643 Introduction to Data Analytics
LIS 5673 Introduction to Information Visualization
LIS 5693 Information Retrieval & Text Mining
LIS 5970 Data Stewardship
If this concentration interests you, you may also be interested in the Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics for Information Professionals


LIS 5133 Biomedical Bibliography and Reference Materials 
LIS 5163 Biomedical Databases 
LIS 5827 Internship (in a medical or health information setting) 
LIS 5970 Health Informatics 
LIS 5970 Community Health Information

Other General Electives

LIS 5143 Government Information 
LIS 5233 Oklahoma Information Environment 
LIS 5970 Libraries and Popular Culture
LIS 5970 Comics and Graphic Novels in Libraries

Classes in Other Departments - if one of these classes interests you, work with your advisor 

GIS 5013 Fundamentals of GIS 
LAW 6543 Copyright 
Other OU graduate classes can be used as electives for the MLIS (up to 9 credit hours) with permission from your advisor. Work with your advisor if you have a special concentration that you would like to create. You will generally also need permission from the other department to enroll in their classes

Independent Study Courses

Work with your advisor if you are interested in doing an independent class. 

  • LIS 5823 Internship in Library/Information Centers 
  • LIS 5920 Directed Research 
  • LIS 5940 Directed Project 
  • LIS 5960 Directed Readings 
  • LIS 5980 Research for Master’s Theses

School Librarianship

Important MLIS Deadlines

Program of Study Due Dates to SLIS: 

  • For Spring Graduation: 3rd Monday in September for students (submitted by SLIS to the grad college by the First Monday in October)
  • For Fall Graduation: 3rd Monday in March for students (submitted by SLIS to the grad college by the First Monday in April)
  • *For Summer Graduation: 3rd Monday in February for students (submitted by SLIS to the grad college by the First Monday in March)

Deadlines to apply for graduation in can be found here: 


Note: End of Program Assessments are NOT given in the Summer.

MLIS Handbook

Internships and Independent Study

Internships (LIS 5823)

Employers often favor candidates with job experience. If you have never worked in the type of setting in which you want to specialize, you can enhance your knowledge and career possibilities with an internship. Many of our students already work in libraries or archives. If you are working in an LIS setting, you may wish to do an internship in a different type of setting to broaden your experience base.

If you are interested in pursuing an internship, you will work with your advisor and the SLIS office to find a setting appropriate for your interests. Dr. Buffy Smith-Edwards is the SLIS Internship Documentation Coordinator and can also help you find a great internship. You will work with Dr. Smith-Edwards on the required internship paperwork.

MLIS Internships LibGuide

In addition to internships, SLIS offers a number of independent courses that you can take to build expertise in a specialty area or to get hands-on experience. Some general guidelines include:

  • You must have your advisor's approval to take an independent course. Usually your advisor will supervise the independent course, but with your advisor's permission a different faculty member could supervise if they are a better fit for the topic, or if they are available and agree to do so
  • Independent courses are generally expected to build on knowledge gained in previously completed coursework, and they cannot substitute for a regularly taught class on that topic
  • You must have completed 18 credit hours in the program to be eligible to take an independent course

Types of independent courses include:

  • Directed Research
  • Directed Project
  • Directed Reading

End of Program Assessments

Assessment Options:
  • ePortfolio, students must submit in fall or spring (not summer)
  • Master's thesis
  • Students who started the MLIS before fall 2021 also have the option of the previous version of the Portfolio, or the Comprehensive Examination. Both options are for established students only and are being phased out of distribution. 

ePortfolio - for students who started the MLIS in fall 2021 and forward.

In your first semester in the MLIS program, please enroll yourself in the ePortfolio Canvas course and follow the instructions there for beginning your ePortfolio process. 

Portfolio 101 link:

In the middle of the semester before your last semester in the program, please fill out the following form and submit it to the SLIS office.

Intent to Present Portfolio Form (pdf)

Comprehensive Examination - for students who started the MLIS before fall 2021. Comprehensive Exminations are not an option for new students and are currently being phased out of distribution.

Comprehensive Examination Handbook (pdf)

Portfolio - for students who started the MLIS before fall 2021. Portfolio Assessments are not an option for new students and are currently being phased out of distribution.


Forms and Documents