MLIS Degree Options: FAQ
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: The admissions process and the degree requirements for the programs are the same. The MLIS program consists of 63 quarter credits including core courses, electives, and a final capstone project. The MLIS degree earned is reflected the same on diplomas for both program modes. Online and residential students all have the option to complete directed fieldwork and engage with student organizations.
Q: What are the differences between the Residential and Online MLIS programs?
A: Although the degree requirements are the same, there are some differences that students experience between the programs. All of the required core courses are offered every year and students take them with their program mode cohort in particular quarters. However, most elective courses rotate in the delivery mode they are offered. For example, if an elective course is offered once per year, it will be offered online one year and in-person the next. Depending on the rotation of course offerings, student interest, and the quarter, the courses available each quarter will differ between the residential and online students.
Most residential students will take the occasional online course to take advantage of the course offerings during a particular quarter. Furthermore, students who are interested in taking courses outside of the iSchool in other colleges or schools at UW will find that most of the courses are in-person. Degree planning with the MLIS academic advisor is a helpful way to plan out your courses in preferred delivery modes.
Q: How long does it take to complete the Online or the Residential MLIS program?
A: The average course load per quarter for the Online MLIS program is two courses (6-9 credits). The online program is designed to be a part-time program and completed in three years, with a maximum of six years allowed. Students who choose to take more than two courses per quarter can complete the program in less than three years. Please contact the MLIS academic advisor to make a degree plan if you are interested in being a full-time online student.
The average course load per quarter for the Residential MLIS program is three courses (10-12 credits). The residential program is designed to be a full-time program completed in two years.
Q: Once admitted, is it possible to change delivery modes?
A: Once you are admitted to either the residential or online program, you stay within that delivery mode for the duration of the program. Students are encouraged to take elective courses in the opposite mode.
Q: Can Online MLIS students attend residential (on-campus) classes?
A: Most in-person classes are prioritized for residential students during the first few weeks of registration. Online students can register for in-person classes on a space-available basis after this period.
Q: Can Residential MLIS students take online classes?
A: Most online classes are prioritized for online students during the first few weeks of registration. Residential students can register for online classes on a space-available basis after this period.
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 completing 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 degrees to make sure they are completing all requirements.
Q: Can I complete the Residential MLIS program as a part-time student?
A: Yes, students can complete the Residential MLIS program as a part-time student. However, students may need to be full-time for various reasons such as, but not limited to, financial aid, scholarships, student employment, or visa eligibility. Students are encouraged to meet with the MLIS academic advisor to create a plan that’s best for them.
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 are online courses delivered?
A: Online courses are asynchronous. Students and instructors always interact with others and engage course materials asynchronously. While there are no regularly-scheduled, required synchronous class meetings, students are expected to meet all assignment deadlines and may be asked to schedule occasional, synchronous meetings with the instructors, staff or other students.
Q: What is the Online MLIS orientation session?
A: All MLIS students are required to attend the MLIS New Student Orientation, which typically occurs one week before classes begin at the start of their program. This is part of the iWelcome Events, which include events across the iSchool to orient and welcome all new students to the iSchool. All MLIS students will have the choice to attend their MLIS Orientation in-person or virtually, regardless of their program mode (online or residential). During this orientation, new students bond with their cohort, learn about iSchool support services, and transition to graduate school. Students attending orientation in-person are responsible for their travel costs and lodging expense during their time in Seattle.
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 complete the Washington State Library Media Endorsement within the MLIS degree, regardless of program mode. Learn more about this option.
Students seeking a library media endorsement outside of Washington should check the education requirements for that state. The MLIS program can provide documentation of what classes have been taken, but cannot guarantee that our program will offer courses that meet all education requirements.
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: The Information School does not offer any discounts on computing hardware. UW does offer discounts with various companies and may have offers available for students. Admitted students can view the UW Discount Program (UW NetID required) for more information.
Q: Does UW offer discounts on software to Online MLIS students?
A: Yes, all UW students have access to Software for the UW (UWare) and all iSchool students have access to many more free and discounted software titles listed on our Software Resources page. Many Microsoft titles are available for free to iSchool students.