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Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)

Up-to-date knowledge and skills for information professionals

Information professionals are the human interface that connect people, information, and technology. The work of information professionals is essential to the public good because it supports equitable access to information for all, helping to ensure an informed society and a vibrant democracy.

They play a leadership role in the identification, organization, preservation, and effective use of information expressed in a variety of formats. While information professionals traditionally have worked in institutions such as the library, today their skills are needed in all sectors of the economy.

Accredited by the American Library Association, our Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree was ranked 10th by U.S. News & World Report in the magazine’s 2014 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

The MLIS degree is a 36-credit program that can be completed in three consecutive terms of full-time study, or up to four years (twelve terms) of part-time study. This program is offered on-campus and online (with the exception of the Archives and Information Sciences pathway).


Pathways

Our three pathways were crafted to help you develop the necessary expertise to match your career goals. There may be specific areas of focus within each pathway that you would like to concentrate on in order to deepen your knowledge, or you may wish to cultivate a broad knowledge and skill base that covers several areas of interest.

Archives and Information Science

Fall Term of Entry only.

Recordkeeping, from governmental to organizational to personal, is one of the most ancient and essential human and institutional functions. Records are created and maintained for purposes of evidence; accountability; and personal, social and corporate memory. Archives serve a crucial cultural function, providing society with a sense of identity and memory. Records management programs help organizations to be compliant with regulatory agencies, responsible to constituent groups, and effective and efficient in the use of informational resources. Critical to the administration of records is the maintenance of records over long periods of time, traditionally called preservation and now being influenced by discussions concerning digital curation and stewardship.

Our Archives and Information Science program is one of the leading programs of its kind in the United States. You can earn your MLIS degree here, gaining an in-depth knowledge of:

  • records and recordkeeping systems;
  • digital records management;
  • archival appraisal and access;
  • the history and evolution of recordkeeping systems;
  • digital preservation, curation, and stewardship.

The career opportunities available to those students in this pathway are expanding beyond the traditional archives setting. Many of our graduates work in government agencies, institutions of higher education, professional organizations, corporations, and not-for-profits. For a selected list of employers of our graduates, please click here.

Our program will give you the skills and knowledge to identify and analyze recordkeeping systems from legal, evidential, historical, and cultural perspectives. Students study in an engaging and intellectually stimulating environment, taking courses in diverse topics including:

  • appraisal and records scheduling;
  • organization and representation of unique materials;
  • reference and access;
  • advocacy and public programming;
  • legal and ethical issues;
  • preservation of library and archive collections;
  • digitization, digital preservation, and digital curation;
  • research methods for archival research; and
  • management of archives, preservation, and records programs.
FIELD EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIES

You may also have the opportunity to work on research projects and publications. This program is designed to provide you with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills for managing and making decisions concerning records in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings requiring archival and preservation expertise. As part of your course of study, you can gain critical experience through a for-credit field experience in an archives, library, arts or related organization. Before beginning a field experience, it is expected that the AIS student will have completed or be in the process of completing all the required AIS courses offered in the first two terms.

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REQUIRED PROGRAM OF STUDY

Students follow a prescribed program of study over a one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) program. This is an on-campus program of study, providing ample opportunity for face-to-face interaction with faculty.

These courses provide a rigorous grounding in archival, preservation, and records management theory, methodology, and practice. Each course offers a careful building on theoretical knowledge and practical applications.

To view the term in which a class is offered, please see the ‘Year at a Glance’ page found here.

The pathway’s Course of Study can be found here.

FACULTY

The Archives and Information Science pathway is supported by a cadre of full-time regular faculty and adjunct faculty who are leading scholars and practitioners in the field. This program is among the small number of graduate programs in archives featuring more than one regular faculty member dedicated to teaching and research in this area.

Richard J. Cox, Professor

Alison Langmead, Assistant Professor

Miriam Meislik, Media Curator, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

RESOURCES

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

For more information about this pathway, please contact us.

Data Stewardship

Fall Term of Entry only.

The Data Stewardship Pathway will provide an introduction to data curation, digital preservation, and data science. It will frame these topics within the broader context of data informatics, digital scholarship, research integrity, disciplinary diversity, and cultural change. In addition to setting the stage from a policy perspective, this Pathway will provide the practical skills needed to carry out effective research data management and preservation as well as situate these practices in the wider landscape of open science and open scholarship. This Pathway draws on data initiatives from across the globe including the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. In each course, relevant case studies and exemplars will be provided to illustrate concepts and principles with tangible practice. It will equip graduate students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies to work in a range of data stewardship roles found in libraries, archives, data centers, governments, industries, and businesses.

The foundational course on Data Stewardship examines traditional and emerging practices in areas such as research data management, data preservation, data infrastructures, information ethics, and more.

PROGRAM OF STUDY

Students interested in this Pathway will take the four required core courses in the MLIS degree.

  • LIS 2000 Understanding Information (must be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2005 Knowledge Organization
  • LIS 2600 Introduction to Information Technologies (must be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2700 Managing & Leading Information Services

Students choosing this pathway may also choose from the following courses

  • LIS 2194 Information Ethics
  • LIS 2676 Research Data Management
  • LIS 2677 Research Data Infrastructures
  • LIS 2678 Data Science for Library and Information Professionals
  • LIS 2680 Database Design and Applications
  • LIS 2690 Information Visualization
  • LIS 2970 Special Topics: Technologies for Data Preservation and Data Forensics
  • LIS 2970 Special Topics: Linked Open Data
  • Disciplinary Metadata, Ontologies and Informatics (Under development)
  • Project Management and Teamwork (Under development)
Field Experience (LIS 2921)

The Field Experience is a 3-credit/150 hour program of supervised professional work. Although not required in the Data Stewardship Pathway, it is highly recommended. Students must have completed a minimum of twelve credit hours in good academic standing in order to register for the Field Experience.

Current students wishing to complete a field experience must follow the application process outlined on our Intranet. You will need an active Pitt email (example: sct114@pitt.edu) and Pitt password to login.

FACULTY

The Data Stewardship pathway is supported by a team of full-time regular faculty and adjunct faculty, all of whom are experienced practitioners in the field.

Liz Lyon, Lead Faculty

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

The Partners Program
The Partners Program provides students with real-world experience as they earn their master’s degree in Library and Information Science. In the past, students interested in academic libraries have gained experience at the libraries of Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and a variety of locations within the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

For more information about this pathway, please contact us.

Library and Information Services

Fall Term of Entry only.

Information professionals are the human interface that connect people, information, and technology. They play a leadership role in the identification, organization, preservation, and effective use of information and cultural artifacts. The work of information professionals is essential to the public good because it supports equitable access to information for all and helps to ensure and informed society and vibrant democracy. While information professionals traditionally have worked in cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, their skills are now needed in all sectors of society. Now more than ever, the world needs highly qualified specialists in libraries and information services.

PROGRAM OF STUDY

Students interested in this Pathway will take the four required core courses in the MLIS degree.

  • LIS 2000 Understanding Information (must be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2005 Knowledge Organization
  • LIS 2600 Introduction to Information Technologies (must be taken in the first term)
  • LIS 2700 Managing & Leading Information Services
Field Experience (LIS 2921)

The Field Experience is a 3-credit/150 hour program of supervised professional work. Although not required in the library and information services pathway, it is highly recommended. Students must have completed a minimum of twelve credit hours in good academic standing in order to register for the Field Experience.

FACULTY

The Library and Information Services Pathway is supported by a team of full-time regular faculty and adjunct faculty, all of whom are experienced practitioners in the field.

Leanne Bowler, Lead Faculty

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

The Partners Program
The Partners Program provides students with real-world experience as they earn their master’s degree in Library and Information Science. In the past, students interested in academic libraries have gained experience at the libraries of Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and a variety of locations within the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

For more information about this area of interest, please contact us.


Experiential Learning

We offer numerous ways to help students engage in valuable experiential learning opportunities with a wide variety of area museums, libraries, schools, corporations, cultural institutions, archives, and more.

While earning his MLIS degree, Harrison Behl  gained real-world experience with archiving audiovisual materials through a placement at KDKA-TV. According to Behl, “This allowed me to see first-hand the challenges in preserving sound and video materials. I was able to bring my questions into the classroom and connect the theoretical perspective with practical application.” Upon graduation, Behl was hired by the Library of Congress as a Processing Technician dealing with the preservation and conservation of audiovisual carriers, photographic materials, 3-D artifacts, and paper documents.  He is currently an audiovisual specialist at the New York Public Library.

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Statute of Limitations

The MLIS degree must be completed within four years of the first term in which courses were taken after admission. The full-time course load is 9 to 12 credits per term; thus, a full-time student will complete the program in three or four terms. The part-time course load is 3 to 6 credits per term, which permits the part-time students to complete the program in 6 to 12 terms.


Our Curriculum

Our program provides a blend of theory and application and lets you select the pathway that aligns with your personal career goals. It is a program that has been producing leaders in the information professions for over 100 years, while continually evolving to keep pace with rapidly changing technology.

Core Courses

All students will complete a set of core courses that provide framework to the theories, knowledge, skills, ethical issues, and social responsibilities of information professions.

  • Understanding Information (LIS 2000)
  • Organizing and Retrieving Information (LIS 2005 or 2224)
  • Information Technology (LIS 2600, 2610, 2670, or 2635)
  • Management of Information Services (LIS 2700, 2215, or 2774)

Questions?

Contact:  Shabana Reza, Recruitment and Admissions

Phone: 1-800-672-9435 or 412-624-3988

Email: shabana.reza@pitt.edu