Master’s Degree

The Master of Library and Information Science (MLISc) degree is designed to encourage students to explore and apply diverse coursework and experiences to craft an individualized program of study applicable to a range of information environments, to become effective, reflective professionals.  We regularly review, assess and evolve our program in consultation with students, alumni, professionals, employers and other stakeholders.

The 39 credits needed for the MLISc degree consist of six core courses (18 credits), an entering/exiting seminar sequence (3 credits total) and six approved electives (18 credits).

Core: Students are required to take at least one course corresponding to each of the six LIS Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Courses on this list not applied toward core requirements can count as electives:

SLO1 Services: Design, provide, and assess information services

LIS 601 Introduction to Reference and Information Services*

SLO2 Professions: Apply history and ethics to develop a professional LIS identity

LIS 610 Foundations of the Information Professions
LIS 654 Archival Ethics and Profession

SLO3 Resources: Create, organize, manage and discover information resources

LIS 602 Resource Discovery
LIS 605 Metadata Creation for Information Organization
LIS 615 Collection Management
LIS 645 Asian Research Materials and Methods
LIS 651 Archival Arrangement and Description

SLO4 Technologies: Evaluate and apply information technologies

LIS 655 Digital Archives
LIS 656 Moving Image Archives
LIS 661 Informatics
LIS 665 Digital Instruction
LIS 672 Technology for Libraries and Information Centers

SLO5 Cultures: Analyze and apply knowledge about information needs and perspectives of indigenous cultures and/or diverse communities

LIS 630 Community Engagement
LIS 631 Introduction to Hawaiʻi and Pacific Librarianship
LIS 634 Multicultural Resources for Diverse User Groups
LIS 662 Asian Informatics

SLO6 Management: Demonstrate skills necessary to manage and work effectively within information organizations

LIS 614 Navigating Information Organizations
LIS 650 Management of Libraries and Information Centers
LIS 658 Archival and Special Collections Management

*Note: Students must earn a final grade of B- (or better) in LIS 601; students who earn a lower grade are required to repeat the course.

You may also want to view our Curriculum Map by SLO & Pathway for a more comprehensive overview of course options.

Seminar sequence: Students are also required to complete a 3-credit seminar sequence during their entering and exiting semesters. One of the primary goals of the seminar sequence is for students to develop, refine and complete the culminating thesis or portfolio.

First Semester Seminar (FSS): 0 credits; entering semester
LIS 691 Masters Seminar: 3 credits, exiting semester

Electives: The remaining 18 elective credits are drawn from a combination of LIS and other graduate-level courses approved by the student’s faculty advisor. Students are encouraged (but not required) to design an individualized program of study via six professional pathways.

Culminating Experience

Plan A (Thesis): As part of the 39 required credits, thesis students must take 6 credit hours in LIS 700 Thesis Research and 3 credit hours in an approved research methods course. To advance to candidacy and become eligible to enroll in LIS 700, students must complete at least 15 credits of coursework, and defend a thesis proposal in a private meeting with their thesis committee. While it is strongly suggested that all committee members physically attend the thesis proposal defense meeting, remote participation is permitted. Upon approval of the committee, students advance to candidacy, conduct their research, and present their results at a public defense. The thesis option is introduced in a Thesis Orientation held at the start of every semester, supported in coursework and regular advising sessions throughout the program, and completed as part of LIS 691 Masters Seminar, taken in the semester the student expects to graduate. Intent to choose Plan A over Plan B must be declared by a student’s second semester in the program.

Plan B (Non-thesis): All Plan B students are required to create and present a reflective portfolio consisting of artifacts and evidence from approved course assignments and other professional experiences throughout the program, demonstrating mastery of the six program SLOs. The portfolio is introduced in the first semester as part of the First Semester Seminar (FSS), supported in coursework and regular advising sessions throughout the program, and compiled, presented and assessed in LIS 691 Masters Seminar, taken in the semester the student expects to graduate.

School Library Media Specialist Licensure

The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB) must license students interested in becoming school library media specialists in the Hawaii Department of Education (HDOE). As part of the licensure process, they must complete the School Library Media Specialist track for the MLISc Program. The LIS Program also works with the UHM College of Education to comply with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) guidelines.

Those who enter the LIS Program to earn HTSB licensure must also have completed an accredited teacher education program. Preparation for teacher training must include courses in developmental psychology, curriculum and instruction, teaching of reading, and student teaching. If these prerequisites have not been met at the time a student enters the MLISc degree program, he or she may concurrently take course work to meet these requirements.

While other states and private schools may not require the same course work as the HDOE, students are strongly encouraged to follow the licensure track if they intend to work in school libraries.

Licensure Requirements:

In addition to the MLISc curriculum outlined below, students on the School Library Media Specialist track must also complete the following requirements:

  • LIS 686 Information Literacy & Learning Resources
  • LIS 696 Practicum in Librarianship

Children and Youth Services (pick any two):

  • LIS 635 Traditional Literature & Oral Narration
  • LIS 681 Books & Media for Children
  • LIS 682 Books & Media for Young Adults
  • LIS 683 Services in Public Libraries
  • LIS 693 and LIS 694 Special Topics, as they relate to services for children and youth