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The Master of Library and Information Science degree is a program of basic professional education designed to prepare students for entry into positions in libraries and information centers in colleges, schools, communities, industries, and businesses.

The MLIS program provides students with a strong core of general knowledge of the profession and the opportunity to explore individual areas of interest as related to specific career preparation.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MLIS program:

1. Students will demonstrate competency in information and its organization.

2. Students will demonstrate competency in the provision of information services.

3. Students will demonstrate competency in leadership and management in the LIS field.

4. Students will demonstrate competency in research in the LIS field.

5. Students will demonstrate competency in technology in the LIS field.

6. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of lifelong learning and professional development within the LIS field.

See all MLIS Program Competencies >

Instruction is available to students in all areas through an extensive program of distributed learning. Distributed learning is an instructional model that involves various information technologies to help students learn. Over the past thirty years SLIS has offered high-quality instruction for distance and campus-based learners. All students have the option to take a course online or on campus. Most students complete their degree entirely online, although a few on-campus courses are offered each semester.

SLIS now offers a Fast Track option. The Fast Track allows students to complete the MLIS (36 credit hours, 12 courses) in 18 months by making available three specialized programs of study: Information ServicesLibrary Services to Children and Young Adults, and Cultural Heritage Institutions. Applications for Fast Track MLIS are only considered for Summer Session 1 and Fall terms. Fast Track MLIS applications are not considered for the Spring semester.

Degree Requirements

For the Master of Library and Information Science degree, an approved Program of Study with 36 semester hours of graduate course work must be completed with a minimum grade point ratio of 3.00 (B) overall.  Required courses and the technology competency requirement are designed to provide students with an understanding of the information profession.  In partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation, each student will submit an electronic portfolio documenting learning and professional growth during the MLIS program.


- SLIS 701
- SLIS 705
- SLIS 707
- SLIS 706 or the Competency Exemption Exam
- 24-27 hours of electives
- End-of-Program Portfolio

Students and their advisor will chose a minimum of 24-27 hours of elective courses.  No more than six (6) hours can be below the 700-level and courses below the 600-level will not be accepted on the Program of Study. Elective courses in the School of Library and Information Science and other graduate departments may be used to develop a specialization in one or more areas or to provide a broad, general preparation for the information professions.  A minimum of 24 graduate hours must be completed within the School. The remaining 12 hours may be taken in other related academic units of the University. Students have the option of transferring up to six semester hours of graduate course work from colleges or universities other than the University of South Carolina. Courses which will be more than six years old at the time the MLIS degree is awarded may not be included on the student's Program of Study. No more than six semester hours may be earned in independent study credit.

Students must present a grade point average of at least 3.0 (B average) on all courses taken in the program at the time of graduation. Students who earn a grade below B on more than six hours of course work or who make a grade below C in any course will not be allowed to continue in the program (see Policy A5.01, Cancellation of Admission).  Students who receive a grade below C in a course cannot apply the course toward graduation. Students who receive a grade of D+ or D in a required course (i.e., SLIS 701, 705, 707; the Technology Competency Requirement course, SLIS 706; joint program requirements; or NCATE requirements) must retake the course to attain a grade of at least C.

Additionally, Graduate School policy states that graduate students whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) drops below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation and allowed one calendar year to raise the GPA to at least 3.00. Students who do not reach a cumulative 3.00 GPA during this grace period will not be permitted to enroll for further graduate work.

Application Procedures

Admission to the School of Library and Information Science is selective and is based on the faculty's assessment of the applicant's aptitude for graduate study and potential contribution to the profession. The School of Library and Information Science takes a holistic approach to the admissions process. Consequently, all supporting documents along with the application are taken into consideration before a decision is made. The admission policies of the SLIS apply to every applicant, full-time and part-time, whether via distributed learning only, on campus, or a combination of both.

The School of Library and Information Science and the University of South Carolina provide equal opportunity and affirmative action in education and employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status. The University of South Carolina System has designated as the ADA Title II, Section 504 and Title IX coordinator the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs.

Application Requirements

• A USC Graduate School application and the non-refundable $50.00 application fee. Access the application at

• The School of Library and Information Science Supplemental Application which is accessible through the Graduate School application. The Supplemental Application includes an essay requirement. Applicants must respond to the statements provided on the application when writing the essay.

• Official transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended. The required GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

• Two letters of recommendation. The recommenders should be in a position to evaluate (a) your academic performance at the undergraduate or graduate level (e.g., faculty or instructors) or (b) your job performance (e.g., supervisors or administrators). Letters from friends and relatives which speak only of the applicant’s personal attributes will not be accepted. For guidance concerning this matter, please contact the SLIS Admissions Coordinator at 803-777-3887.

• Standardized test score report for either the GRE or MAT:

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Official score report for the GRE taken within the last five years must indicate:

• A combined score requirement for the GRE must be 294 with at least 153 on the verbal section.

• A total score of 950 on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of exams taken before August 2011. The verbal section must have a score of at least 500.

• SLIS requires a minimum score of 4.0 on the writing portion of the GRE. 

• Miller Analogies Test (MAT) Official score report for tests taken within the last five years must indicate a score of at least 410. For MAT information and testing center locations go to

• International Students: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) International students whose native language is not English must also submit an official score report with a minimum score of 570 paper-based or a minimum score of 80 on the internet-based test. TOEFL scores are available from ETS for two years. Information can be found at

Transfer Credit

A minimum of 24 graduate hours must be completed within SLIS. The remaining 12 hours may be taken in other related academic units of the University. Students also have the option of transferring up to six semester hours of graduate course work from colleges or universities other than the University of South Carolina. Transfer credit may be transferred under the following conditions:

• The credit may not be more than six years old at the time the student will graduate

• Courses which have been used to earn another degree will not be accepted

• Course work in library science must be earned at an ALA accredited library school

• The credit must be germane to the student's career objectives

• In the case of a required course, the student will present sufficient evidence (such as a syllabus or similar material) to permit determination by the advisor that the course reasonably duplicates the USC equivalent course

• The course must have been taken for graduate credit and must be recorded as such on an official transcript which has been sent from the granting institution to the USC Graduate School

• The grade received must be a B or higher

• The student must provide a course description comparable to that produced in the University catalog.  

  Columbia, SC 29208 803-777-3858