Skip to Content

College of Mass Communications and Information Studies


Specialist in Library and Information Science

Want to refresh and update your knowledge and skills? Consider our specialist degree. It’s a post master's degree program for librarians, information managers and other related professionals who have worked in the field for at least two years to enhance their knowledge of computer-based information systems, web design, networking and a host of other specialized information systems.

In recent years, the library and information professions have undergone significant and rapid change. This degree gives students an opportunity to revitalize and update their knowledge and skills.

Admission Guidelines

Start by gathering your materials and information. Applications are online

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 verbal and quantitative scores need to be 950. Verbal score needs 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. 
  • 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) with a paper-based score of at least 570 or an 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 Master of Library and Information Science degree from a program approved by the American Library Association.
  • If your master's degree in library and information science is not from an accredited program, or if you have a master's degree in a related field, you can be admitted after completing an introductory course, a course in information retrieval and meeting the technology competency requirement. Consideration is made on an individual basis.
  • Your official academic transcript from all colleges or universities attended — whether or not you earned a degree.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Generally, a minimum of two years of full-time experience in a library, school library or information agency. 
  • A resume outlining your experience and a statement of purpose describing the specialization you intend to study.
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters should evaluate your professional performance and potential.

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

Degree Requirements

This is a 30 hour program of required and elective coursework that is specifically tailored to a student’s career objectives. In general, these objectives should be oriented towards gaining specialized skills, changing specialization or upgrading professional skills and knowledge. Students must have taken an introductory research course before admission, if they haven't already.

We have two structured paths for this degree:

  1. For students who are already certified as school library media specialists to become certified as district-level school media coordinators.
  2. For students who want to learn more about new developments in technology and how to implement them daily in schools.

At least 18 hours must be taken within the school. The additional 12 hours may be taken in other USC departments, and up to nine credit hours may be transferred from another institution. Up to six hours of previous graduate work may be included if the courses meet certain conditions.

A research project resulting from some phase of the program and demonstrating the ability to conduct, synthesize and utilize basic research in the area of specialization is optional. Students have the option of working with an advisor to complete their project.

Students will complete an end-of-program portfolio documenting their learning and professional growth.