Master of Library and Information Science

Frequently Asked Questions: MLIS Program

What do you want to know about the iSchool's MLIS degree program?


Q: Is the Online MLIS degree the same as the Residential MLIS program?

A: Admissions and graduation requirements for the programs are identical. The MLIS program consists of 63 quarter credits including core courses, electives and a final degree project. Although the Online MLIS curriculum includes a variety of elective courses, not every elective course will be available in an online format. The MLIS degree earned is reflected the same on diplomas for both delivery modes.

Q: What are the differences between the residential and online delivery modes?

A: The MLIS program exists in two modes, residential and online. Everything is the same, (courses, credits, requirements), except the delivery mode. The online program is set up to be a part-time program, completed in 3 years. However, if you want to finish sooner, it is possible to do it in 2 years. Also, the online program does require a short residency in Seattle (~3-4 days) at the very beginning of the program. After that, the online program can be completed from anywhere in the world with the appropriate technology and internet connection.

Q: Once admitted is it possible to change delivery modes?

A: Once you are admitted to a program mode, either residential or online, you stay in that program mode for the duration of the program. It is possible (and encouraged) to take elective courses in the opposite mode. If you are in the online mode and live in/near Seattle, you can take electives on campus. Conversely, we have a number of residential students, who take electives online.

Q: I want to pursue the MLIS program in addition to another UW graduate program. Is this possible?

A: Yes, it is possible to pursue two graduate programs at the UW. The official term for this is doing an informal concurrent degree program. This requires applicants to apply and be admitted to both programs. (We recommend that applicants stagger the start of the programs by starting one program and then applying to the second during their first year. This is often easier than starting both programs at the same time.) Students enrolled in two graduate programs will work closely with academic advisors from both to make sure they are completely all requirements.

Q: Can I complete the Residential MLIS program as a part-time student?

A: No, the Residential program is a full time, 2 year program with a lock-step core.

Q: How long does it take to complete the Online MLIS program?

A: The average course load per quarter for the Online MLIS program is two courses (6-9 credits). The program is designed for students to complete the requirements for the MLIS degree in three calendar years, with a maximum of six-years allowed. Students who choose to take more than two courses per quarter can complete the program is less than three years - contact the MLIS academic adviser to come up with a degree plan.

Q: Can I apply to the Online MLIS program if I live within driving distance of Seattle?

A: Yes, all interested applicants are encouraged to apply. We have many online students who live in or near Seattle.

Q: How will the Online program be delivered?

A: The Online MLIS program has a mandatory orientation session for newly admitted students that takes place a week before autumn quarter begins; this requires all new Online MLIS students to be on-campus in Seattle for three days. After orientation, the course delivery will be fully Internet-based.

Q: What is the Online MLIS orientation session?

A: The launch of the Online MLIS program begins with a three (3) day mandatory on-campus orientation. During this time new online students bond with their cohort, learn about iSchool support services, and transition to the online learning environment. Upon the conclusion of this week, students will return home and begin their online courses. Orientation occurs the week before autumn quarter begins, and all new students are required to attend and make appropriate plans for missing work or other engagements, as well as plan for travel costs and lodging expense during their time in Seattle.

Q: Can Online MLIS students attend residential (on-campus) classes?

A: Yes, on a space-available basis. In some cases, tuition may vary for classes that are offered outside of the Information School, and students should contact the department where they are registering to verify the correct tuition rate.

Q: Do I have access to the UW Libraries even though I am a student in an online program?

A: Yes, as a student at the UW, you will have full access to the UW libraries.

Q: Can I obtain the Washington State Library Media Endorsement within the Online MLIS degree?

A: Yes, there is an option to pursue the degree and endorsement concurrently. Learn more about this option.

Q: Are certain computer specifications required for Online MLIS students?

A: Yes, details are spelled out in MLIS Technology Requirements.

Q: Does UW offer discounts on PCs to Online MLIS students?

A: Yes, through University Bookstore's Technology Center.

Q: Does UW offer discounts on software to Online MLIS students?

A: Several discount programs are available on campus for software that will be used for academic purposes. Microsoft titles are available for free or at a significant discount to iSchool students.