US News Best Online Programs badgeThis degree is part of the library and information science program, housed in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT). The program is fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

ALA accredited


The MLIS degree program is offered completely online.

We use several different course structures to provide you with the broadest and most instructionally appropriate class opportunities.

  • Online asynchronous classes allow you to participate anytime, anywhere.
  • Online synchronous classes, scheduled at fixed times to allow online, offer real-time interaction without the drive time.

Course registration materials will indicate if a course has any synchronous sessions.

Degree Requirements

The program consists of 39 credit hours, including 18 credits of required courses.

  • Must include 15 credit hours of 9000-level courses
  • Must include 12 hours of courses taught by a full-time faculty member

Each student completes a practicum (two to three credits) in an archival setting.

For the Archival Studies emphasis, students complete three courses in consecutive semesters:

  • ISLT 9490 Archival Practice
  • ISLT 9491 Appraisal & Archival Systems
  • ISLT 9492 Data & Records Management

Note that the above courses meet the guidelines of the Society of American Archivists and are pre-approved by the Academy of Certified Archivists for their examination. Enrichment opportunities are offered in our active Society of American Archivists at University of Missouri Student Chapter (SAAMUSC).

For their remaining 12 elective credits, students may consider the complementary courses:

  • ISLT 9429 Metadata
  • ISLT 9445 Special Libraries and Information Centers
  • ISLT 9439 Digital Humanities and Information
  • ISLT 9428 History of Books and Media
  • ISLT 9409 Digital Libraries

See descriptions of all SISLT classes.

See all LIS forms and planners.

Tentative Course Rotation


An archivist selects, preserves, and makes available primary sources that document the activities of institutions, communities, and individuals. Archivists increasingly provide long-term stewardship for archival materials in both analog and digital formats – from traditional paper records, photographs, audio recordings, and moving images, to email messages, word processing documents, and websites. The core values of archivists include access and use, accountability, advocacy, diversity, history and memory, preservation, professionalism, responsible custody, selection or appraisal, service, and social responsibility. Prospective students are interested in institutional memory, commemoration in the public square, scientific or humanities data management, medical records, cultural history, collections description and preservation, and related recordkeeping activities.

Career Paths

Our graduates enjoy a variety of career paths. Some of the positions our graduates have taken include:

  • Archivist
  • Records manager
  • Collections manager
  • Film and video archivist
  • Digital preservation librarian
  • Photo archivist
  • Metadata librarian
  • Museum archivist
  • Library director
  • Access services librarian

Scholarships & Aid

SISLT Financial Aid information

MU Student Financial Aid Office

MU Graduate Assistantships

College of Education Scholarships


Before You Apply

You may test the waters by taking up to nine hours of SISLT course work, but:

  • Taking courses prior to applying does not guarantee admission;
  • Be sure to take courses that will be included in your program of study – check with the student services office before enrolling;
  • No more than nine hours will count toward your degree before you are officially accepted into the program.


The application packets should be completed by:

  • Fall admission:
    • Priority deadline: Feb. 15
    • Regular deadline: May 1
  • Oct. 15 for spring admission

All applications received after the above dates will be considered for admission in the following semester.

Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate education
  • Submit official test scores
    • For international applicants: Official TOEFL scores (if applicable) or IELTS scores (MU code: 6875, SISLT: 90).

Meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission into the program.
How to Apply

  1. Apply using our convenient online Graduate Application; incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Upload the following materials to the online graduate application:

  • Resume or CV
    • This should demonstrate high potential for success in the library and information science field.
  • Statement of purpose answering these questions (in 500 words or less):
    • Why do you want to earn a master’s degree in library and information science?
    • What areas of library and information science interest you?
    • Do you anticipate working in a particular type of library or information agency?
    • Where are you located? At the bottom of your statement of purpose, please indicate one of the following: Columbia/Mid-Missouri; Greater Kansas City Area; Greater St. Louis Area; Springfield, MO area; Nebraska; Other.
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • These should attest to your critical thinking, analytical and writing skills, demonstrating your potential as a graduate student and professional.
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • For international applicants:
    • Full admission: TOEFL paper-based test minimum 590, TOEFL internet-based test minimum 100, IELTS minimum 7.5.
    • Probationary admission: TOEFL paper-based test minimum 550-589, TOEFL internet-based test minimum 80-99, IELTS minimum 6.5-7.5. Requirements for leaving probation status may include additional language testing or course work, as designated by your advisor and LIS faculty.
  1. Have official transcripts sent to:

MU Office of Research and Graduate Studies
210 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 652113

We encourage electronic submission, but applicants can also send materials by mail to:

SISLT Student Services Office
304 Townsend Hall
Columbia, MO 65211