Advising Overview

From the first advising session at orientation to the last semester on campus, LIS faculty and staff take good care of our students, helping them plan their courses, research, and more.

New students are assigned an LIS faculty advisor when they are accepted into the Program. The advisor guides students through the Program, recommending courses based on a student’s professional goals and academic interests. Students must consult with an advisor each semester to discuss academic plans and get approval for course registration.

Students are welcome to ask another faculty member to serve as advisor at any time and if the faculty member agree to serve, the student must submit an advisor change form to the Program Coordinator.

Students are encouraged to maintain a copy of the Student Advising Worksheet, and to fill it in each semester to keep track of their progress throughout their Program in requirements and electives, scholarships and awards, and professional group participation.

When seeking information about courses, students should feel free to talk to many different people in addition to the faculty advisor: classmates, other faculty members, and librarians can be great resources for learning more about courses. For questions about a specific course, it’s a good idea to find out who is teaching the course and ask them directly – or review the course descriptions page for previous syllabi.


Beyond the required “core” courses, students will select elective courses from the course offerings for a total of 13 courses (39 credits). Students work with their faculty advisor to select courses that match their interests and professional goals.

Please understand that not all courses are offered every semester: some are only offered every two or three years, so be sure to review the Tentative Four-year Schedule of Classes to get a general idea of what is going to be offered.

Course Loads

A full-time graduate course load is eight credits. Note that for Federal financial aid purposes, graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time (4 credits) to be eligible for financial aid.

Per LIS Program policy, students may enroll in a maximum of 12 credits per semester. Students who wish to take more than 12 credits a semester must file an appeal form with the Program. Students who wish to take more than 15 credits a semester must obtain approval from the Dean of the Office of Graduate Education.

Students who are employed or have familial obligations should consider enrolling in only one or two courses per semester to avoid overloading themselves.

During summer sessions, students are limited one course at a time during a three-week summer session and two concurrent courses in a six-week session due to the intense nature of the compressed time periods.

Academic & Professional Goals

Why did you decide to join the LIS Program? What kind of work do you enjoy doing? What kind of information professional do you want to be? These are questions that you should think about as you move through the LIS Program. We encourage students to take many different kinds of classes to create a broad foundation for professional life. Also it’s not uncommon for a librarian to do many kinds of tasks on the job, and broad preparation will help you in your first jobs.

Some ideas to think about while you are in the LIS Program:

  • Read this website and the Office of Graduate Education website carefully, so you are familiar with the requirements for graduation. Don’t let anything surprise you in your last semester!
  • Investigate scholarship and paid internship opportunities to help finance your education.
  • Review the information presented by professional organizations, stay in touch with recent grads, and keep an eye on both job advertisements and the resumes and public web pages of people who work where you’d like to work someday.  This will show you the many kinds of jobs MLISc degree holders have and may help you decide what direction you want to take.
  • Participate in one of the student groups to showcase your professional involvement and perhaps your leadership abilities.
  • Look at the internships for credit – these are a unique opportunity to get professional experience while a student. You can do a total of two internships for six credits in the fall or spring semesters.
  • To demonstrate your professional contributions in a more formal way, consider doing a research project. You can write a thesis for the MLISc degree (particularly recommended for those who are considering academic librarianship or a PhD), or take an LIS 699 Directed Reading and/or Research class where you can design your own project for credit. Even if you’re not doing a thesis or 699, faculty are happy to help you prepare and submit your work for publication.
  • Create and maintain a web presence to show off your coursework, CV/résumé and various experiences to prospective employers.
  • Have fun! Library Students are a talented, generous and smart group of people who can inspire each other to great things. Enjoy your experience in your classes and your work!