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Dual Master's

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Dual Master's Degrees

The OU Graduate College allows dual master's degrees to be pursued with any two master's programs that agree to it. In practical terms, this means that both departments have to agree to shared credit hours that will count towards both degrees. Other than those shared courses, students must do all requirements for both degrees, including two end-of-program assessments (such as comprehensive exams or a master's thesis). The number of shared courses may vary by department.

The most common dual master's degrees pursued by LIS students are with the online Master of Museum Studies and the History of Science master's degree. The Master of Museum Studies is a natural fit with the MLIS since both of these fall under the cultural institution umbrella of LAMS (Libraries, Archives, and Museums). The History of Science combination might appeal to those who are interested in a career with history of science collections, science collections, or working with rare books and manuscripts.

SLIS has had conversations with the School of Social work about a dual degree with the online or on-campus Master of Social Work. There is a clear career path for people with these degrees. These Social Work possibilities are really interesting for people who want to work in public libraries, as it is becoming increasingly common for large public library systems to employ or work with a social worker. If an interested student does not have a bachelor's in social work, this dual degree might require more hours. We haven't had a student do this combination yet so we would have to work out the particulars if a student was interested.

Back in the 1980s, SLIS had two established dual degree programs, one was with the Business College for an MLIS/MBA. The other was with the College of Law for an MLIS/J.D., which is a common combination at other LIS schools. Law librarianship is a sub-specialty in the field and, while not all jobs require both the MLIS and the J.D., many jobs do require both. The College of Law is amenable to dual degrees.

The OU College of Law has recently started an online master's degree in Indigenous People's Law.  This seems like it would be a really useful addition to the MLIS for people who intend to work in tribal libraries. We do not know if a dual master's would be possible (i.e. if Law would agree), but if there is an interested student we can approach them and see. Here is more information on that program.

While we have given some examples here, there are many more possibilities that SLIS would be happy to explore for you. Art History? Childhood Education? Spanish language and literature? Let us know!

Dual Degree Procedures 

Here is the policy information concerning Dual Degrees (You can find this in the Graduate College Bulletin in section 2.2.2):


  1. Student applies to both degrees and the generic dual degree code (M455)

  2. Fill out Program of Study for first program

  3. Fill out Program of Study for second program

  4. Departmental advisors/Liaisons work together to confirm shared coursework:

    1. limited to 20% of total credit hours needed for both programs (round down rather than up for fractions)

    2. all shared coursework must be listed on both Programs, and must be appropriate for both degrees

    3. credits transferred from another institution may not be shared

    4. The double-counted courses must be appropriate for each degree.

    5. No more than one-half of the credits for coursework in each degree program, excluding research for the thesis (5980), may be S/U graded coursework.

    6. No more than one-half of the overall coursework, excluding research for the thesis (5980), may be S/U graded coursework.

    7. If changing from a single graduate degree program to a dual degree program, hours taken prior to admission to the dual degree program may be applied to both of the degrees if approved by both academic units and the dean of the Graduate College. 

  5. All deficiencies must be completed and all degree requirements, including foreign languages, non-thesis examination, and thesis, must be met for both programs.

  6. The student must graduate with both degrees in the same semester.

  7. Submit both Program of Study forms to Graduate College

When you submit your two Program of Study forms to the Graduate college, you will need to make sure that the same courses are indicated as shared in the ‘Credit’ column on both forms.  As noted above, students must graduate from both programs in the same semester, and not more than 20% of the total hours required for both degrees can be counted as ‘shared’.

MLIS and Museum Studies, the number of shared hours can be a maximum of 13 (which rounds down to 12).