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College of Mass Communications and Information Studies


Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Library and Information Science

Interested in a specific career in the field of library and information science? Our Certificate of Graduate Study is an 18-hour post-master’s degree program offering specialization in areas such as library administration, information science, technical services, information and records management, or information systems design.

Students planning careers in school libraries might choose to enroll in this program to complete state certification requirements. In some areas of specialization, all course work will be taken within the library school. In others, there will be an interdisciplinary educational approach in which the student takes elective courses in other USC departments, such as computer science, business administration or education.

Admission Guidelines

Start by gathering your materials and information. Applications are online.  The School of Library and Information Science Supplemental Application, accessible through the Graduate School application, includes an essay requirement. Applicants must respond to the statements provided on the application when writing the essay.

To apply, you’ll need your official score from the GRE, MAT or TOEFL:

  • For students having taken the GRE in the last five years but before August 2011, combined scores need to be 950. Verbal scores need to be at least 500.
  • For students taking the GRE after August 2011, combined scores need to be at least 294, with a verbal score of at least 153.
  • You will need a minimum score of 4.0 on the writing portion of the GRE.
  • For students taking the MAT within the past five years, official scores need to be at least 410.
  • International students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)  and submit a score report with a minimum paper-based score of 570 or minimum internet-based score of 80. The IELTS is not accepted. 

For more information, go to the websites for the GREMAT and TOEFL. The USC institution code is 5818. 

Other application requirements include:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A Master of Library and Information Science degree earned from an American Library Association accredited university.
  • Your official academic transcripts from all colleges or universities attended.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for both degrees .
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters should evaluate your undergraduate or graduate academic performance or your job performance. Letters from friends and relatives about your personal attributes will not be accepted. If you have questions, call the admissions coordinator at 803-777-3887 for guidance.

Once you’ve completed your application, submit your forms and documentation to the Graduate School, along with your application fee.

Degree Requirements

You will take 18 hours in library and information science or a related field, which includes 15 elective hours, an internship and end-of-program portfolio. 

Some of our students earn this certificate while also earning their master’s degree here. These students are allowed to use six hours of master’s credit toward their certificate, providing the hours are in the proposed specialized area. However, if your degree is from another ALA accredited university, or you’ve already earned a master’s degree in library and information science, you’ll have to take 18 hours.