Master of Science in Library & Information Sciences Syracuse University - iSchool
Promote justice and equality through the power of literacy.
How do libraries serve their communities? What knowledge and skills do librarians need to ensure equitable access and use of information? How do you preserve history and memories for future generations? How can you help people evaluate the authenticity of information they receive? Explore these questions and more as a Library and Information Science student.
Here, you’ll focus on information justice and equity, community engagement, and technology use in your community. Gain knowledge and skills in user services, information and data literacy training, management, organization and discovery of information resources, data protection, and privacy, and diverse cultures and communities. Put your training to work through experiential learning opportunities in a variety of settings.
Through coursework and residency workshops ranging across seven professional pathways, you’ll experience the broad reach of librarianship and information science. Explore what it means to be a librarian or information professional today.
Accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) since 1928, our Library and Information Science program centers around one goal: to change how communities and organizations use libraries and information resources for the better.
The MSLIS program strives to cultivate leaders in the library and information profession who will become implementers and advocates for information justice and equity, community engagement, and technology use in their communities of practice. It is designed to prepare library and information professionals with a broad range of knowledge and skills needed for exemplary practice in the library and information profession.
You can discuss your interest with your faculty advisor. Plan your program study in one or more of the following professional pathways:
User Services and Community Engagement
Whether working in a college/university library or a cultural institution such as a public library and museum, user services and community engagement is one of the core functions of libraries and cultural institutions of all types. User services librarians have the responsibility for information literacy training, instructions, references, collection management, and outreach to diverse communities to assure equal access to library and information resources.
Sample job titles: Dean of University Libraries; Web Services Librarian; Associate Librarian of Environmental Science; Public Services Librarian; Reference Librarian; Online Learning Librarian; Outreach and Assessment Librarian; Access Services and Instruction Librarian
Archives and Special Collections
Many different kinds of institutions handling historical materials offer job opportunities for a graduate holding an MSLIS degree, including special collections within large academic institutions, small historical societies, art museums, and even zoos. Courses in this pathway are suitable for careers in cultural heritage, archives, and special collections.
Sample job titles: Photo Archives Manager; Curator of Historical Collections; Director of Special Collections; Rights and Reproductions and Digitization Assistant
Digital Curation and Services
Digital curation and services have become an increasingly important part of library operations. Digital librarian work includes the management, curation, and preservation of digitized and born-digital resources, including data, in libraries, archives, and museums. These librarians develop policies and workflows, help users locate digital information and data for business or academic use, and organize digital resources for retrieval. Students interested in the digital curation and services pathway will gain knowledge of digital data systems, metadata theory and practices, programming and markup languages, and data services to the communities they serve.
Sample job titles: Data Visualization Specialist; Data and Metadata Services Librarian; Director, Data Center Services; Data Management and Curation Fellow; Data Quality Specialist; Research Data Archivist; Data Services and Visualization Librarian
Organization and Management of Information and Knowledge
Libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) are central places for the acquisition, organization, management, and dissemination of information and knowledge. Organizing and managing information and knowledge of all types, formats, and forms is the core function that supports LAM in achieving their goals and actualizing their values. This career pathway has a wide range of employment potentials, ranging from LAM to government agencies, businesses, and almost any organizations that need professionals to perform functions of organizing, managing, retrieving, and using/reusing information resources.
Sample job titles: Lead Technical Services Technician; Taxonomist; Metadata and Data Curation Librarian; User Interface Specialist; Metadata and Digital Initiatives Librarian; Metadata Information Architect; Digital Projects Librarian; Content Management Analyst
Children and Youth Services
Libraries all over strive to be places that facilitate lifelong learning. When is a better time to provoke a permanent passion for curiosity than in the early years of a patron’s life? The urgency for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning initiatives in library settings, the proliferation of the makerspace movement, and the widespread use of emerging technologies from a young age prove that the role and responsibilities of children and young adults librarians go beyond recommending a good read. Networking and marketing are important facets of a Youth Services Librarian’s job, as well as building relationships with parents, caregivers, and teachers in the local community.
Sample job titles: Children’s Reference Librarian; Teen Services Librarian; Coordinator of Youth Services; Youth Service Librarian; Young and Emerging Adult Librarian; Young Adult/Asst. Children’s Librarian
Digital Information Systems
Modern libraries run on digital data and information systems to provide services anywhere and anytime that require technically savvy librarians to innovate, support, and maintain. Digital information systems in libraries and other types of organizations play a key role in making data and metadata findable, accessible, interoperable, and usable/reusable. Knowledge and skills in this pathway can lead to jobs not only in non-traditional positions in libraries but also in non-library settings such as corporate and government.
Sample job titles: Coordinator of Metadata, Catalog Management Librarian, Web Development Librarian, Librarian for Digital Publishing, Curation, and Conversion, Software Librarian (Configuration Coordinator), Digital Asset Management, Software Engineer, FOLIO Developer, Information Technologist II
Information Research and Analytics
Whether you are conducting research on community profiles for building a new library branch or gathering data and information on emerging trends for market research, or collecting information about products or companies for compiling competitive intelligence, the skills and knowledge in research methods and data science can go a long way in developing a career as a research librarian.
Sample job titles: Collections & Metrics Facilitator, Director of Digital Initiatives, Research Support Librarian, Research Data Librarian, Legal Research Services Librarian, Senior Scientific Librarian, Research & Library Manager
Delve deeper, explore farther.
In addition to getting practical, on-the-job experience, you’ll have opportunities to join a research lab or collaborate with faculty on their academic work, exploring the role of information in furthering social justice.
Pursue your interests.
Explore topics that interest you most. Our flexible program offers focus areas and the opportunity to solidify your expertise with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science.
The same faculty and coursework, available online.
As leaders in technology, we’ve been teaching online for decades. Our online program combines live weekly classes, multimedia coursework, and collaborative group learning exercises with a platform to help you cultivate lifelong professional relationships with professors and alumni worldwide. You’ll learn from the same faculty and take the same courses as the on-campus program, and enjoy the same access to the Orange network when you graduate.
The 36-credit LIS curriculum is designed to prepare librarians who have the broad range of knowledge and skills needed for exemplary practice in the library and information profession. Students in the School Media specialization should consult the School Media specific curriculum.
I. Core Knowledge and Skills (15 credits)
LIS core courses provide a solid grounding in the knowledge, skills, and values of the library and information profession. The 18-credit LIS core has three parts:
Introductory Core (3 credits)
- IST 511 Cultural Foundations of Information Studies
Information Resources Core (9 credits)
- IST 605 - Reference and Information Literacy Services 3 credit(s)
- IST 613 - Library Planning, Marketing, and Assessment 3 credit(s)
- IST 616 - Information Resources: Organization and Access 3 credit(s)
Management Core (3 credits)
- IST 717 - Library Leadership and Management 3 credit(s)
II. Electives (18 credits)
Students take 18 credits of electives allows students to extend their core knowledge and skills in directions of their choice. Electives can be selected from graduate courses in the iSchool, including those from the Information Management or Data Science programs. In selecting courses that are not LIS-focused, the student should consult with his/her faculty advisor to ensure their appropriateness. A student should consider how any elective will add to his/her knowledge and skill set as an emerging professional.
- IST 564 - Accessible Library & Information Services 3 credit(s)
- IST 604 - Cataloging of Information Resources 3 credit(s)
- IST 607 - Digital Humanities for Librarians, Archivists, & Cultural Heritage Workers 3 credit(s)
- IST 611 - Information Technologies in Educational Organizations 3 credit(s)
- IST 612 - Youth Services in Libraries and Information Centers 3 credit(s)
- IST 615 - Cloud Management 3 credit(s)
- IST 617 - Motivational Aspects of Information Use 3 credit(s)
- IST 619 - Economics of Digital Transformation 3 credit(s)
- IST 622 - Introduction to Preservation of Cultural Heritage 3 credit(s)
- IST 624 - Preservation of Library and Archival Collections 3 credit(s)
- IST 625 - Enterprise Risk Management 3 credit(s)
- IST 626 - Information Justice & Community Engagement 3 credit(s)
- IST 628 - Arrangement and Description of Archival Collections 3 credit(s)
- IST 631 - Theory of Classification and Subject Representation 3 credit(s)
- IST 632 - Management and Organization of Special Collections 3 credit(s)
- IST 635 - Collection Development and Access 3 credit(s)
- IST 638 - Indexing and Abstracting Systems and Services 3 credit(s)
- IST 641 - User-Based Design 3 credit(s)
- IST 645 - Managing Information Systems Projects 3 credit(s)
- IST 646 - Storytelling for Information Professionals 3 credit(s)
- IST 649 - Human Interaction with Computers 3 credit(s)
- IST 651 - Scripting for Ent Data Sys 3 credit(s)
- IST 654 - Information Systems Analysis 3 credit(s)
- IST 659 - Data Administration Concepts and Database Management 3 credit(s)
- IST 661 - Managing a School Library 3 credit(s)
- IST 662 - Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals 3 credit(s)
- IST 663 - Instructional Leadership for School Librarians 3 credit(s)
- IST 664 - Natural Language Processing 3 credit(s)
- IST 668 - Literacy Through School Libraries 3 credit(s)
- IST 671 - Foundations of Research Methods in Information Studies 3 credit(s)
- IST 672 - The Public Library as Institution 3 credit(s)
- IST 674 - Academic Librarianship 3 credit(s)
- IST 676 - Digital Data and Services in Libraries 3 credit(s)
- IST 681 - Metadata 3 credit(s)
- IST 682 - Cultural Competence for Information Professionals 3 credit(s)
- IST 687 - Introduction to Data Science 3 credit(s)
- IST 707 - Applied Machine Learning 3 credit(s)
- IST 715 - LAMS: Libraries, Archives, Museums 3 credit(s)
- IST 719 - Information Visualization 3 credit(s)
- IST 735 - Copyright for Information Professionals 3 credit(s)
- IST 772 - Quantitative Reasoning for Data Science 3 credit(s)
- IST 776 - Research Methods in Information Science and Technology 3 credit(s)
- IST 973 - Internship in Information Studies 1-6 credit(s)
III. Exit Requirement (3 credits)
The exit requirement for the LIS degree is IST 773, a three-credit reflective portfolio.
Students are expected to take IST 773 in the final term of the MSLIS program to facilitate a holistic, comprehensive, and reflective demonstration of the competencies they’ve learned in the program by drawing from their classes and experiences to show what they have learned.
The primary purpose of this course is to allow students to reflect on their body of work and make explicit connections between coursework and experience.
Programs of Study for Specific Types of Libraries or Library Positions:
The generalist core provides a solid grounding in the knowledge and skills of librarianship. Most electives are designed to provide conceptual and practical knowledge and skills that apply across types of libraries. For students wishing to prepare for a specific type of library or position, there are many ways to tailor your program of study to these interests. These include:
- Choosing topics pertaining to your areas of interest for papers and projects in core and elective courses.
- Choosing an iSchool Certificate of Advanced Study to combine with the master’s degree.
- Choosing electives that are particularly appropriate for a particular type of library or position.
- Developing an elective internship that gives you practical experience in your area of interest.
Your advisor can work with you to plan a program of study that will prepare you for positions in your area of interest while also providing you with solid generalist knowledge that will allow you to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.
Here at the iSchool, our vision is to provide quality professional education for library and information science professionals. Our goals and outcomes guide our direction, provide a framework for assessing our achievement, and most importantly, communicate our beliefs in the foundational skills that modern library professionals must have.
Graduates of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science program:
- Apply the skills and attitudes of visioning, entrepreneurship, advocacy, planning, and management to leadership in the information field.
- Manage information resources and the information life-cycle through the processes of collection development, representation, organization, preservation, curation, access, and dissemination in accordance with physical, virtual, and technical infrastructure and needs.
- Apply appropriate pedagogical and learning theory principles in the design, development, implementation, and assessment of library instruction and learning that contribute toward an information and technology literate society.
- Design and employ policies essential for creating and providing information services and resources guided by the values of patron privacy, equitable access, intellectual freedom, and ethical use of information.
- Possess the skills to respect, engage, and collaborate with a diverse community in order to advocate for and construct inclusive, meaningful, and participatory library services, programs, and resources.
- Perform and assess research-based practices through the application of information literacy, inquiry, and research methods, including data discovery, analytics, and qualitative measures.
Build your expertise and your resume.
The iSchool’s tight-knit community, coupled with Orange pride, means that you’ll become part of a vibrant and active professional network when you graduate. That’s how we’re able to place nearly all of our graduates into a variety of roles, from school districts to libraries, universities, museums, and beyond.
- $63,340 Average starting salary of last year’s class
- #6 Ranked #6 by U.S. News and World Report
Library and Information Science Career Services & Support
Your Library and Information Science program will include internship or practicum experience that will give you opportunities to apply your classroom learnings in the field.
Internships and Practicums
Library and Information Science students are required to complete an internship. Those students pursuing the School Media program must complete a practicum. You may register for internship credit after completing half of your academic program. To receive credit, your internship needs to meet certain criteria, and you must track your progress throughout the experience.