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College of Information and Communications

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    We are ranked in the top 20 of ALA accredited schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Master of Library and Information Science

Admission Guidelines

Admission to the School of 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. We take a holistic approach to the admissions process. All supporting documents, along with the application, are taken into consideration before a decision is made. The admission policies apply to every applicant.

Getting Started

If you’re applying to one of our graduate programs, start by gathering your materials and information.

Complete the online Graduate School application.  Additional prompts related to your experience in Library and Information Science are part of the application. An essay is also required; you must write your essay in response to the five statements included in the instructions.

We do not require scores from the GRE or MAT for the MLIS degree. If you have current scores and would like to submit them with the application, we will review them with the other application materials. If you choose to submit a test score, you’ll need your official score from the GRE (the USC institution code is 5818) or MAT

  • For students taking the GRE, scores need to be at least 294 (verbal + quantitative) with a score of at least 153 on the verbal section and 4.0 on the writing section.
  • For students taking the MAT (must have been taken within the past five years), official scores need to be at least 410.

Other application requirements include:

  • Your official academic transcripts from all schools attended — whether or not you earned a degree. This includes transcripts from transfer institutions. If you graduated from the University of South Carolina, your transcripts may already be on file.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students who do not have a 3.0 may still be admitted. Contact us if you have questions about your GPA.
  • Professional résumé.
  • 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 803-576-7773 for guidance.
  • International students whose native language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. View international applicant requirements»

The application must be submitted online and requires an application fee. Your application will not be processed at the Graduate School without the $50 fee.  It is best to pay the fee online with a credit or debit card. You may submit supporting documents after submitting your application. Your application will not be reviewed until all required documents are received. It’s best to arrange for document transfers and transcripts well in advance of the application deadline.


Term Priority Deadlines Final Deadline
Fall May 1 June 1
Spring October 1 November 1
Summer February 1 March 1

* Students who submit their application and Graduate Assistant application by priority deadlines will be considered first for open GA positions.

*Applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship should complete the graduate assistantship application. The deadline for GA applications is April 1 for the Fall and Summer terms and October 15 for the Spring term.

Frequently Asked Questions

All courses are offered online, with the exception of school library in-person practicums and other internships. The majority of courses are asynchronous. The program is designed to be completed while also working full-time.

Unofficial transcripts can be submitted with your application. If admitted, you will need to submit your official transcripts to continue in the program. Unofficial transcripts are submitted by the applicant and must include the institution name, dates of coursework, and final GPA. Official transcripts are delivered by the institution or a parchment delivery service on the institution’s behalf.

Transcripts from ALL previous institutions, even institutions where transfer credits were earned, must be submitted. Visit this page to view how and where to submit official transcripts.

Yes, we do offer a limited number of funding each term. Federal aid is available, as well as South Carolina teacher loan forgiveness. Visit this page for more information on graduate funding.

Credits not previously used to earn a degree may be considered to be transferred into the program. If this is your second master’s degree at USC, you may be eligible to transfer in credits earned for your first master’s degree. We generally only allow Library and Information courses to be transferred into the program.

Once all application materials have been received, it typically takes three weeks to receive an admissions decision.

We evaluate applications based on several criteria besides undergraduate GPA. Applicants who have demonstrated experience in Librarianship or Information Science who also have an undergraduate GPA below a 3.0, may be admitted conditionally or asked to take non-degree courses prior to applying to demonstrate academic readiness at the graduate level.

Contact us for specific guidance regarding your academic background.

You can view all courses and descriptions in the graduate bulletin. Please note that not all courses listed are offered each semester.

View tuition information here. The hourly (per-credit) cost is listed, and most courses are three credits.

Contact us with specific questions about which tuition rate you would pay.

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