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).

The MLIS with Library Media Specialist emphasis is designed for those who wish to receive an initial or additional certification as a library media specialist. Upon completion of the degree, graduates are certified to work as school librarians/library media specialists and are certified at all grades K-12. The program is intended for students who intend to be school librarians in the state of Missouri. If you intend to pursue a library media certification program for another state, please consult your state department of education to see if our program will work for your state requirements.

There are two different pathways to this degree:

  1. For students who already hold a Missouri teaching certificate: Take the 39-hour MLIS degree program to add School Library Media certification to your existing teaching certification.
  2. For students who do not hold a Missouri teaching certificate: Take the 58-hour program which includes MLIS course work and additional hours in teacher education preparation to complete your MLIS degree and gain school library media certification.

Visit our certification page to learn more about the certification process.


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

For students who already hold Missouri teaching certificates, the program consists of 39 credit hours, including 30 credits of required courses. Each student completes a three-credit school library practicum. Elective courses are selected in consultation with faculty advisers.

For students who do not hold Missouri teaching certificates, the program consists of 58 credit hours, including 30 credit hours of library and information science content, 18 hours of professional teacher education, and 10 hours of school library practicum and internship.

See descriptions of all SISLT classes.

See Program of Study for the MLIS with Add-on School Library Media Certification — Admission 2014–2020

See Program of Study for the MLIS with Add-on School Library Media Certification — Admission 2021–Later

See Program of Study for the MLIS with Stand Alone School Library Media Certification — Admission 2014–2020

See Program of Study for the MLIS with Stand Alone School Library Media Certification — Admission 2021–Later

Tentative Course Rotation


Librarianship is a rapidly changing field that prepares you to serve new kinds of library and information users with new expectations. Technology has changed the way librarians retrieve information for their users, yet traditional services remain the same – whether in person or online. Librarians must be information experts in the information age, and our program helps prepare you to become just that.

Career Paths

Our graduates enjoy a variety of career paths. Jobs for MLIS graduates with the Library Media Specialist emphasis area may include:

  • Information literacy librarian
  • Library media specialist
  • School librarian
  • Academic librarian
  • Student success librarian
  • Youth services librarian at a public library

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?
    • At which site are you located? At the bottom of your statement of purpose, please indicate one of the following: Columbia/Mid-Missouri; Greater Kansas City Area; Great 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