The Big Picture
There are people whose job it is to preserve, promote and provide access to centuries of human achievement and imagination. They can help someone articulate the information they need, even when they're not sure they know what it is. They understand how information technologies work, and how they could work better. They provide systems and services that allow people to create and collaborate, to perpetuate their histories and cultures, and share information for the betterment of humanity.
The work these people do is critical, but not always obvious. They have different job titles, and they work in a more diverse range of organizations than you probably expect. Libraries, archives and other traditional information institutions are on the forefront of offering new information services to meet changing needs, but the essence of the profession hasn't changed: helping people articulate, seek and fulfill their unique information needs, while cultivating within them the skill and passion to find and evaluate information for themselves.
Still, a modern library and information science education is a passport to transcend traditional boundaries. Every organization needs its data accessed, analyzed and visualized, so they can make well-grounded decisions. Integrating data from diverse sources—think of the last time you scoured the Web before making a purchase decision—requires people who can find, evaluate, translate and transport information from where it exists to where it can do the most good.
Those with a library and information science education, whether they're analyzing scientific data collections or reading a book to a child, are in a position to profoundly influence people's lives.
LIS students must successfully complete 39 credits (13 classes) of approved graduate coursework to earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLISc) degree. While most students build their program of study entirely within the LIS core and elective course offerings, we encourage students to explore courses beyond LIS, to maximize the uniqueness of their educational experience. A maximum of nine of the 39 credits may be taken from other programs, with the approval of an LIS faculty advisor.
Students have five years to complete their degree work, though the LIS Program and UH Graduate Division can approve extensions in special circumstances. Most full-time students complete the program in approximately two years.
We strongly encourage students to take advantage of our many internship opportunities. There are currently more than 50 active internship sites across the state.
Most courses meet on the UH Mānoa campus once a week for 2.5 hours during the fall and spring semesters, with several evening and asynchronous online course options available each semester. Fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long, and we also offer a selection of summer courses that are usually 6 weeks long.
Though our program is primarily face-to-face, we support neighbor island students through distance education via Zoom, which we use to webcast a rotating selection of onsite courses each fall and spring semester. Most Zoom-enabled courses will have a student assistant present to support neighbor island students to participate and interact with students and faculty during synchronous courses on the UH Mānoa campus.
If you want to expand your career opportunities with an MLISc degree, please review the Programs and Admissions sections of our web site. If you have further questions about the LIS Program, send an email to LISinfo@hawaii.edu and the LIS Program Coordinator will follow-up with you within 1-3 business days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Full-time students who complete three courses each Fall & Spring semester typically complete the MLISc degree program in two years (including one summer session course).
We have had many "nontraditional" students join us after several years in a career, or who were "empty nesters" and are returning to academia after sending their own children off to college!
Applicants in these situations often have questions about the Recommendation Forms, as they may have lost touch with former college instructors or may not have employers who can complete the forms. In instances such as these, please make a brief note of your situation in your Statement of Objectives so that the LIS admissions committee can contextualize your application materials. Then, seek out people (non-relatives) who have known you for a while and who can attest to your finest qualities. In the past we have received recommendations from clergy, former military superiors, and officials at non-profit organizations where an applicant was a volunteer.
If you have concerns about returning to school, here's some things to consider:
- Consider starting on a part-time basis rather than jumping in full time. This will give you a bit more time to adjust to a new situation.
- Talk with your family about how going back to school will affect home life. Make sure they're on board with your need to focus on your studies and that they're willing to support you.
- Expect to feel some stress: deadlines, exams, research papers, and group projects can sneak up on you! Be prepared, schedule your time, and (most importantly) ask for help from your classmates and/or instructors.
- Learn to say "no" to activities and requests you don't have time for. Take time for yourself and your family to relax and stay connected.
Some older students face anxiety about taking classes with classmates younger than themselves, but keep in mind that your life experiences can give you an edge! It's entirely likely that you will have quite a lot to contribute.
If you find yourself concerned about something or struggling with school, check in with LIS Program staff for support. We want all of our students to succeed!
Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher.
Having a borderline GPA will not automatically disqualify you, but you will need to make a strong case in your Statement of Objectives application essay that you can deliver better academic results than those recorded in your academic transcripts. Providing some background information on your GPA will help the LIS admission committee members contextualize your prior academic history when reviewing your application materials.
If your GPA is significantly below 3.00, consider taking some post-baccalaureate college or university courses (for credit) before applying. Earning grades of "B" (or better) will demonstrate to the UH Mānoa Graduate Division and the LIS admissions committee that you can deliver better academic results than those recorded in your academic transcripts.
The LIS program uses a "rolling admissions" process and applications are evaluated once we have received all the required documents. When submitted before the application deadline, it typically takes the LIS admissions committee 10-12 business days to come to a decision and, after that decision, it will then take the UH Mānoa Graduate Division a few more days to process the necessary paperwork and send notification via USPS.
To check on the status of your application, please send email to: LISinfo@hawaii.edu
We offer numerous evening courses each semester that start at 5:00 PM. We also attempt to rotate required courses between afternoon and evening time slots each semester to accommodate as many different work schedules as possible. Please refer to the Schedule of Courses page to get a sense of what courses are available, and when.
For Fall and Spring semester tuition & fee information, please refer to the "Graduate General & Post-Baccalaureate Unclassified" table on the UH Mānoa Tuition & Fees page. When calculating tuition costs, keep in mind that a total of 39 graduate credits are required for the MLISc degree, that LIS graduate courses are worth 3 credits each (except LIS 691/692), and that full-time graduate student status is 8 credits per semester.
The application fee is assessed by the University and falls outside our ability to waive.
Currently, the LIS Program's distance education services are only available to students who live on Hawaii's neighbor islands. At this time we do not have the resources to support mainland or international students who wish to take courses entirely online, though our experience teaching and learning online during the pandemic may open new possibilities in the future.
Our current, pre-pandemic policy was that unless there is a documented medical condition (verified by a physician) that would prevent a student from attending class in person, residents of O‘ahu may not use the Program's distance education services. We are currently revisiting that policy in light of our experience during the pandemic.
For more information on librarianship as a career, see: the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, the American Library Association's Library Careers site, SJSU's Emerging Career Trends for Information Professionals report, Library Journal's Placements & Salaries Surveys, ALA's Career Development Resource Guide, and from Buzzfeed News "Here's What It's Actually Like To Be A Librarian" for anecdotes from the trenches.
MLISc Career Options
Content Management Analyst
Emerging Technologies Librarian
Instruction & Outreach Librarian
School Library Media Specialist
User Experience Designer
...just to name a few!
"I entered the Program knowing that I enjoyed leadership. I emerged a teacher, a mentor, a peer, a leader, and a librarian. The faculty helped me find my voice and they remain a guiding light after graduation." Liz T. (2015)
"The coursework gave me an excellent foundation, drawing on the best traditions of librarianship while incorporating forward looking ideas, new technologies, and consideration of collaborative discovery processes." Matt B. (2012)