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 topics of interest, and more. 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.

New students are assigned an interim LIS faculty advisor when they enter the Program. Within their first year, ideally in their first semester, students should select a pathway and a faculty advisor in that pathway. Students wanting to be in the general/custom pathway can select any advisor, but should identify themselves as pursuing the general/custom pathway.

  • Academic/Special Librarianship Pathway: Dr. Andrew Wertheimer
  • Archives Pathway: Dr. Andrew Wertheimer
  • Asian Studies Librarianship Pathway/Specialization: Dr. Noriko Asato
  • Community & Cultural Informatics Specialization: Dr. Rich Gazan
  • General/Custom Pathway: Dr. Rich Gazan
  • Information Technology Specialization: Dr. Rich Gazan
  • Public Librarianship Pathway: Meera Garud
  • School Library Media Pathway: Meera Garud

Students may change pathways and advisors at any time, but should realize that changing pathways may extend the time to graduation. If the faculty member agrees to serve as the student’s replacement advisor, the student must submit an advisor change form to the Program Coordinator.

Students are encouraged to track their progress through the MLISc degree program via the basic Record of Completed Courses worksheet, filling it in each semester. Alternatively, students may also keep an expanded record with the Student Advising worksheet to track of their progress throughout the MLISc degree 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 course information, along with our Program-internal Google Drive repository of LIS Syllabi.


Beyond the required 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 Three-year Schedule of Classes to get a general idea of what is going to be offered.

Course Loads

A full-time graduate courseload 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 UH Mānoa Graduate Division.

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 to 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.

Transfer Credits

Students must successfully complete 39 credits of 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, students may 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 the LIS faculty advisor.

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 Graduate Division 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!