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College of Information and Communications

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. You can apply here. The School of Information Science Supplemental Application is accessible through the Graduate School application.

Admission to the program is selective and based on the faculty’s assessment of the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study and potential contribution to the profession.  The faculty take a holistic approach to the admissions process.  Consequently, an applicant’s entire file and interview are taken into consideration before an admission decision is made.  The following materials are required for full consideration: 

  1. The School of Information Science Supplemental Application (accessible through the Graduate School application), where applicants respond to statement provided.
  2. Official transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended (whether or not a degree was earned) indicating an earned MLIS degree.
  3. Two letters of recommendation attending to your academic performance and/or job performance — letters from friends and relatives addressing personal attributes do not qualify.
  4. International students whose native language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. View international applicant requirements » 

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.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.