Affordable Online Master’s in Library Science Degrees

Due in part to all the changes in technology that impact the field, library science is an exciting and constantly evolving area of study. In fact, as a master’s in library science online degree student, you can play a role in developing new and efficient means of accessing information in the future.

Through an affordable master of library science degree online program, you’ll learn how to examine and apply various laws and guidelines related to information and how to use technology to drive your work in the field. You will also be able to identify and meet the diverse information needs of academic institutions, communities, government agencies, businesses, and K-12 schools. And, with a master’s degree, you’ll provide yourself with greater opportunities for advancement within the library sciences field.

Librarians and similar professionals tend to make competitive salaries, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an average median income of nearly $60,000 in 2016. Many graduates go on to work in elementary, middle, or high schools, while others serve with universities, insurance companies, and local, state, or federal government agencies.

These rankings provide you with a cohesive overview of cheap online master’s in library science degree options across the United States. They have been designed specifically to help you find fully accredited programs that offer competitive tuition rates and high-quality educational experiences. To that end, these affordable master’s of library science online programs have relatively low costs, are highly flexible, and deliver an exceptional return on investment as you take the next step in your academic and professional career.


25 Most Affordable Online Master's in Library Science Programs
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Texas A & M University-Commerce

Value Score 8.91
Average Tuition $3,630
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 81%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $202

Texas A&M offers an affordable online master's in library science degree that equips graduates with advanced technology skills. This master's degree program offers two separate tracks; learners can choose to pursue a master's in educational technology-leadership or a master's in educational technology-library science. These specializations prepare students for certification in education with a focus on teaching technology applications. Alternatively, graduates may go on to hold university, college, public, and private elementary school librarian positions. This 36-credit hour degree can be completed entirely online. Full-time learners typically graduate within two years. Up to two-thirds of the required credits can be transferred in from an accredited graduate program. Competitive applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, submit GRE exam scores, and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Some requirements may be waived for candidates with a prior master's degree from an accredited institution or licensure as a Texas teacher or principal.


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2

East Carolina University

Value Score 8.58
Average Tuition $4,434
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 30
Part-time cost per credit hour $277

Based in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University has educated library professionals since 1939. Today, ECU students can pursue a comprehensive master's in library science online. Designed for students seeking to work as librarians and information professionals, this program helps distance learners become eligible for public library certification. This 39-credit hour degree includes three different concentrations: academic library, public library, and school library media. Each of these tracks require the same eight core courses, with five additional classes that depend on a student's specialization. To graduate, distance learners must also create a digital portfolio that tracks their progress throughout the degree program. The curriculum culminates with a capstone project during the final semester. In addition to cheap tuition rates, students are eligible for several scholarships through the college of education. Applicants must submit their GRE or GMAT scores.


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3

Texas Woman's University

Value Score 8.46
Average Tuition $4,380
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 64%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $243

Texas Woman's University in Denton is the nation's largest university designed primarily for women, although the student body is now co-educational. Among its diverse online programs, TWU offers more than half a dozen different concentrations for students in their affordable master's in library science online program; these include specializations in academic libraries, health science libraries, and technical services/cataloging. For applicants interested in pursuing a dual degree, a master's of library science combined with a master's in health studies can also be completed entirely online. Depending on the class, online coursework at TCU is accessible through either the Blackboard or Canvas learning management systems. Competitive applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Test scores from the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, or GMAT are also required.


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4

Valdosta State University

Value Score 8.19
Average Tuition $4,374
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 63%
Number of Online Programs 8
Part-time cost per credit hour $243

Valdosta State University, located in southern Georgia, delivers a master's of library and information science in an online-hybrid format. This program prepares its graduates for work in academic, public, or special libraries through a series of flexible courses that are ideal for the working adult student. To graduate, students complete 39 credit hours over the course of two years. The program is conducted primarily online, although face-to-face meetings are required for some courses. Specialized tracks in cataloging, classification, library management, technology, and reference sources are available. Distance learners pursuing a master's in library science online are not required to complete a thesis in order to graduate, but a capstone project is required. Competitive applicants should have a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additionally, the tuition rate for online courses at VSU is the same for all students, regardless of their residency status.


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5

Emporia State University

Value Score 8.16
Average Tuition $5,640
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 84%
Number of Online Programs 19
Part-time cost per credit hour $235

The online master's in library science from Emporia State University is among the most affordable programs of its type in the country. This 36-credit degree program is offered in an online-hybrid format. In this style, students must spend four to six weekends each semester on campus. Learners may attend the main campus in Emporia, KS, or any of ESU's six regional campuses located in Denver, CO; Overland Park, KS; Portland, Salt Lake City, and Orem, UT; and Sioux Falls, SD. Students can choose to concentrate in archives studies, informatics, leadership and administration, or youth services. Each concentration has its own application requirements. Students who live in certain parts of Missouri are entitled to in-state tuition rates. Financial aid is available in the form scholarships and graduate assistantships, and minority students may be eligible for up to $20,000 in awards per academic year.


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6

Sam Houston State University

Value Score 7.74
Average Tuition $5,139
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 62%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $266

Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas delivers a cheap master's of library science online degree. With a focus on multimedia collections management and informational systems design, SHSU master's students are equipped with a range of technological skills. Candidates must complete 36 credit hours to graduate. For students with prior master's and teaching experience, a 24-credit school librarian certification can also be completed. Graduates are prepared to work in many different roles in school libraries, including teacher-librarians and technology coordinators. Competitive applicants should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and present a valid teaching certificate and a teacher service record. SHSU prefers incoming master's students with two years of certified teaching experience, but this is not required. Specific scholarships are currently available for new, fully-online students


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7

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Value Score 7.71
Average Tuition $4,577
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 20%
Number of Online Programs 8
Part-time cost per credit hour $191

From its campus in Norman, the University of Oklahoma delivers a master's of library and information studies. With a broad curriculum, students are prepared to work at public, private, and government institutions where they can work in information management, storage, organization, access, and use. To complete earn a master's in library science online, students choose from one of nine specializations, tailoring their degrees to fit their academic needs and interests. These specializations include archives, information technology, and children and young adult services. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit a written essay. Transfer credits from previously attended regionally-accredited colleges or universities are considered on a case-by-case basis. Candidates without a bachelor's degree have the option to enroll in an accelerated dual program; upon completion, students earn both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree.


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8

Appalachian State University

Value Score 7.65
Average Tuition $4,518
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 29%
Number of Online Programs 4
Part-time cost per credit hour $211

Based in Boone, NC, the master's of library science program at Appalachian State University is built around licensure requirements established by the North Carolina public librarian certification commission. However, this part-time program is designed for working adults seeking library certification in any state. Distance learners pursuing this master's of library science degree online complete 36 credit hours by taking classes that are taught synchronously and asynchronously. Online coursework is accessible through AsULearn, which is supported by the Moodle learning management system. While transfer credits are accepted by this program, at least two-thirds of a student's coursework must be completed at ASU. Applicants must submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. Prospective students can apply to enroll in the program in either the spring or fall terms each year.


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9

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

Value Score 6.93
Average Tuition $6,516
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $362

The University of Colorado Denver's master's degree in information and learning technologies is a specialized program in teacher-librarian leadership. This online master's in library science is geared toward students who want to teach in a professional academic setting. This curriculum integrates library management, collection development, and leadership-centered courses. Teacher librarian endorsements are also available for students seeking Colorado certification. This degree may be completed entirely online, and classes are taught synchronously. While the required coursework for this program totals 30 credit hours, students must also complete 90 hours of in-person library work experience. An additional component is the academic portfolio, which students develop throughout their time at UC Denver. This portfolio serves as the capstone project; no thesis or written exam is required to graduate. All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their state of residency.


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10

University of North Texas

Value Score 6.90
Average Tuition $5,450
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $398

The master's in library science at the University of North Texas in Denton prepares students to work in libraries, government agencies, law firms, medical centers, and museums. UNT offers special training in digital imaging technology and standard archival preservation practices, setting this program apart from others. For students with niche interests, UNT has concentrations in music librarianship, law librarianship, and distributed learning. Learners take courses synchronously in this affordable master's of library science online program. Students also participate in an intensive mentorship program that allows them to build relationships with active professionals and spend time working in a library to strengthen the skills they learned in the classroom. Although the majority of coursework is completed online, at least six days of in-person classroom attendance required in order to graduate.


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11

University of Central Missouri

Value Score 6.71
Average Tuition $6,683
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 28%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $308

Prospective students interested in pursuing work as a librarian can obtain specialized training through the University of Central Missouri's master's of library science. From its base in Warrensburg, MO, this affordable online master's in library science satisfies all of the requirements for Missouri school library media certification. Distance learners are taught to analyze, compare, and evaluate research findings; critique the literature; and apply their skills and competencies. Classes are taught synchronously, allowing students to directly network with their peers and faculty. Competitive applicants have a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. An interview with a faculty member is also part of the admission process. All distance learners pay the same tuition rate, even if they live out of state. Active military and veteran students are eligible for discounted tuition rates.


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12

University of Northern Iowa

Value Score 6.37
Average Tuition $8,050
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%
Number of Online Programs 13
Part-time cost per credit hour $447

Tailored for applicants seeking to utilize their degree in K-12 education, the master's of arts in school library studies at the University of Northern Iowa prepares graduates to work as educators. Students take courses in instructional technologies, library administration, and library resources. To graduate, students also complete a hands-on practicum in a library setting and submit a thesis-style research paper. Flexible practicum requirements allow students to accommodate full-time work commitments. Total credits range from 33 to 36 hours for this affordable online master's in library science degree. Upon completion, graduates with a valid Iowa teaching license are qualified for the K-12 teacher librarian endorsement. Applications are accepted year round, and students are instructed through a cohort model where classes are taught synchronously. GRE scores are not required for admission. Additionally, active military and veterans receive discounted tuition rates.


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13

University of Southern Mississippi

Value Score 6.34
Average Tuition $6,980
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 15
Part-time cost per credit hour $402

The University of Southern Mississippi's main campus in Hattiesburg offers a master's in library and information science online program. Students learn about archive and preservation techniques, collections management, digital libraries, and systems analysis. Graduate certificates are available in archives and special collections, youth literature, business foundations, and instructional technology. Students may also pursue dual degrees online by studying history, political science, or anthropology. To graduate, candidates must complete a total of 40 credit hours, including a master's capstone project. Full-time learners can earn this affordable master's of library science degree online in as little as 18 months. Classes are offered in a semester format with start times in the spring, summer, and fall terms. Up to six credits from an accredited graduate program can be transferred. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit GRE or GMAT scores. USM also has a military service center dedicated to meeting the financial and academic needs of active duty service members, veterans, and their families.


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14

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Value Score 5.93
Average Tuition $8,136
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 21%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $339

Among the most comprehensive and affordable master's of library science degrees online, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers a master's of library science with options to specialize in seven tracks and six dual-degree programs. It also offers a library management certificate. Specialized classes, like social science information and marketing for libraries, allow students pursuing this master's in library science online to explore niche areas of the library sciences field. The department also provides ample opportunities for professional development and employment resources, offering an online job board for current students. Distance learners develop an ePortfolio while enrolled to market their learned skills. To apply, candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation. A GRE score can also be added if students do not meet these GPA requirement.


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15

North Carolina Central University

Value Score 5.75
Average Tuition $4,491
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 32%
Number of Online Programs 5
Part-time cost per credit hour $561

The online master's in library science degree offered by North Carolina Central University qualifies graduates to work in the field of library services. Curriculum includes classes like management and systems analysis, uses and users of information, and foundations in librarianship. The school specializes in law librarianship; students can choose to concentrate in this area or pursue a dual degree to simultaneously earn a juris doctor degree. Coursework also allows for additional specializations in public, academic, or school librarianship. All courses are available online, except for electives in archives and records management, which must be completed in-person. In addition to core classes, learners are required to fulfill a language requirement comprised of coursework in a foreign language, sign language, statistics, or or a computer language. Comprehensive student support, including a digital library specializing in African American literature and research, is available to online learners. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, a GPA of at least 2.75, and submit scores from the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT.


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16

Chicago State University

Value Score 5.67
Average Tuition $5,382
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 13%
Number of Online Programs 2
Part-time cost per credit hour $299

From its base on the South Side, Chicago State University offers a master's of science in library and information science. Students complete coursework that teaches them the organizational, managerial, and analytical skills required to succeed in the information field. Most students enrolled in this affordable master's of library science online degree program elect to specialize their degree with concentrations in school libraries, archives and records management, academic libraries, or public libraries. School library licensure and a post-baccalaureate certificate in archives and records management are also available to master's and non-degree seeking students. With a strong history of supporting minority scholars, the school promotes scholarships designed for minority students. Applicants to this program must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, complete a technology skill exam, submit a writing sample, and complete an informal interview.


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17

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Value Score 5.58
Average Tuition $4,873
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 31%
Number of Online Programs 10
Part-time cost per credit hour $609

The oldest accredited library science program in North Carolina, the master's of library and information studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a 36-credit degree program. Licensure options in instruction and technology and school librarianship augment the curriculum. All coursework can be completed online through a blend of asynchronous and synchronous classes. The program also integrates state-of-the-art web conferencing and social media. This cheap master's in library science online degree culminates with a capstone experience project or research thesis. Graduates are prepared to work in academic, public, school, special, and information professions—as well as corporate and nonprofit organizations. A bachelor's degree, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and scores from the GRE are all required for admission. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher can waive the GRE requirement.


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18

San Jose State University

Value Score 5.28
Average Tuition $6,738
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 10%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $374

Online learners at San Jose State University can earn a master's of library and information science. Seminars in government information, academic librarianship, public libraries, and informational freedom are offered as electives. Most coursework is delivered asynchronously, although some classes also include occasional synchronous sessions. There are no on-campus orientations or other required in-person events; all courses, internships, academic advising, faculty office hours, guest speaker presentations, research assistant opportunities, and convocation are delivered exclusively online. SJSU also maintains a database of over 200 internship locations across the nation, helping students who are pursuing this affordable master's of library science degree online find opportunities to gain real-world experience. A post-master's certificate in library and information science is also available. Up to nine semester credits may be transferred in from previous graduate coursework. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.


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19

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Value Score 5.26
Average Tuition $8,460
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 85%
Number of Online Programs 5
Part-time cost per credit hour $470

Clarion University of Pennsylvania's master's of science in library and information science prepares students to work at all levels in the field of library administration. This 36-credit program typically takes two years to complete, although students may transfer a number of previously-earned credits to graduate more quickly. For teachers with a Pennsylvania teaching certificate, this online master's in library science can be tailored to meet requirements for the K-12 Pennsylvania library science certification. Clarion is focused on professional development and offers synchronous classes, allowing students to network with their peers and professors. All distance coursework is accessible through the D2L learning management system. A field-specific job board is also maintained on the department's website. Out-of-state online students receive a tuition discount compared to on-campus students, and additional aid is available for veterans and active duty military members.


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20

The University of Alabama

Value Score 5.00
Average Tuition $10,170
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 35%
Number of Online Programs 14
Part-time cost per credit hour $604

From its main campus in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama offers a master's of library science and information studies through its well-established online campus. Relying on the networking benefits of cohort-style learning, courses are offered synchronously during traditional academic semesters. Students can choose from eight concentration areas, including social justice, archival studies, and special libraries. Distance learners must complete 36 credit hours to earn this affordable online master's in library science. However, transfer students can apply up to nine hours of graduate coursework or completed internship credits to meet these requirements. Courses are approved for the Alabama school library media certification, although candidates for this licensure must pass an additional written exam. To apply, students should have GRE scores of 300 or more and a GPA of 3.0. Active military members and veterans are offered additional tuition relief and specialized academic support programs.


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21

Western Kentucky University

Value Score 4.96
Average Tuition $10,860
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 22
Part-time cost per credit hour $543

Western Kentucky University currently offers over 50 online and on-demand degrees. Among these is its master's of science in library media education, which prepares students to work as library media specialists, training development specialists, educational technology specialists, and information service specialists in schools, colleges, public libraries, and private organizations. This program's curriculum is delivered both asynchronously and synchronously, providing students with increased flexibility. Candidates earning this affordable master's of library science degree online can specialize in library media or educational technology. Coursework that is approved for Kentucky schools certification or public library certification is also available. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendations, GRE scores, and a written essay. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is also required for admission. Veterans and active military members are eligible to receive heavily discounted tuition rates.


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22

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Value Score 4.84
Average Tuition $8,813
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 11%
Number of Online Programs 8
Part-time cost per credit hour $439

Founded in 1926, Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College offers a master's of library and information science. Students pursuing this affordable master's in library science online are taught to collect, dissect, and distribute information in a variety of formats. Although full-time students typically earn their degree in two years, distance learners can take up to five years to complete this 36-credit program. Classes are offered synchronously, and coursework includes core studies in information technology and organization methods. Although not required, students may specialize in one of eight tracks, such as digital content management, archival studies, or cultural heritage management. Certificates in school librarianship or records and information management are also available. For those living near the main campus in Baton Rouge, graduate assistantships that can help defray tuition costs are available.


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23

University of South Carolina-Columbia

Value Score 4.82
Average Tuition $12,384
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 25
Part-time cost per credit hour $516

The University of South Carolina's master's of library and information science begins with core classes in library science theory and technology. Students spend the remainder of this 36-credit program by taking elective courses such as storytelling, digital archives, and government documents. Formal partnerships with professional librarians in the field provide students with structured mentorship opportunities that can lead to employment after they graduate. USC allows students to transfer up to 12 credits from an accredited library science program. This affordable master's in library science online program also provides several fellowship opportunities for underrepresented groups, as well as grants like the Magellen Scholar program, which provides funding for student research projects. Certified teachers, especially those licensed in the state of South Carolina, can obtain tuition breaks.


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24

Kent State University at Kent

Value Score 4.52
Average Tuition $10,864
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 9
Part-time cost per credit hour $495

Among the nation's top public universities, the online branch of Kent State University offers a competitive, research-oriented master's of library and information science degree. Online learners interact with graduate students and faculty across KSU's eight campus locations in northeast Ohio. Students pursuing this master's of library science degree online can choose from one of 14 available concentrations, a dual-degree option, or K-12 school library media licensure. Degrees can be completed entirely online or through a combination of online and on-site participation. Courses such as museum communication, digital preservation, and the public library prepare learners to work in diverse areas of the field. This program has three application deadlines before the spring, summer, and fall terms. Letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and GRE scores are all required for admission.


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25

University of Kentucky

Value Score 4.14
Average Tuition $10,439
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 3
Part-time cost per credit hour $579

The University of Kentucky's master's of library science degree offers seven different concentrations, including specializations in health information, public libraries, and youth services and literature. Coursework in this program is taught asynchronously and is accessible through the Canvas learning management system. Innovative practicums and study abroad options are open to distance learners, including an Alternative Spring Break internship position in Washington D.C. with institutes like the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, or the Smithsonian Libraries. Students pursuing this master's in library science online also have the option to congruently fulfill requirements for a school librarian certification program. An expedited MSLS program is available for distance learners seeking to lower program costs and/or graduate more quickly. Online learners pay the same tuition rate as in-state students. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit their GRE scores.


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