Clarion University Online Library Science Masters Review

For most fields and industries, candidates with master’s degrees are attractive because they’ve gone above and beyond what’s expected. But for those in library science, a master’s degree is typically considered a must-have, which is why students may be excited to learn that they have many options for completing the necessary education online. One option is Clarion University’s fully online Master of Science in Information and Library Science.

Let’s check out what prospective students should know about this program and what aspects might make it ideal (or not) for them.

About the Program

Before we dive into specifics about the benefits and drawbacks of Clarion’s online library science master’s, let’s check out some basic facts and figures.


  • Institution type: Public
  • Campus: Clarion, Pennsylvania
  • Accreditation: American Library Association (ALA)
  • Program format: 100% online

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $18,576 in-state; $20,052 out-of-state
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $516 in-state; $557 out-of-state

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Science in Information and Library Science
  • Number of credit hours required: 36
  • Estimated time to completion: 30 months
  • Optional specializations: Reference and User Services, Local and Archival Studies, School Library Media

Biggest Pros

What are the most positive aspects of Clarion’s MSLS program when it comes to the average student?


In every field, there’s usually at least one major organization that provides accreditation, the signal that a degree meets some basic educational standards in the industry. For library science professionals, that means getting a degree that’s accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Clarion’s MSLS program is accredited by the ALA, and this is particularly crucial for library science students who are planning on careers in schools or public libraries. That’s because in most states, the licensure required to work in many of these places is contingent upon completion of an ALA-accredited master’s degree.

Fully online delivery

Unlike a few other major programs in the library science arena, Clarion’s MSLS is only offered online, which means all students in the program are taking their courses from a distance.

Unique joint degrees

Clarion offers a pair of joint MSLS degrees that help students combine their library science education with coursework in either history or law. The MSLS/JD is offered through a cooperative program with Widener University’s law school, while the  MSLS/MA in history is offered in partnership with Shippensburg University. While neither of these joint degrees can be earned entirely online, they speak to Clarion’s interest in ensuring students are well-rounded.

Biggest Cons

What are some factors that work against the program?


It’s certainly not the most expensive program out there, but out-of-state students can expect to spend more than $20,000 on tuition, which puts Clarion’s program at above average among public institutions. Also, in some other programs, out-of-state online learners are able to pay the same rate as in-state residents, but that’s not the case with Clarion’s MSLS.

Limited specializations

Clarion’s MSLS program offers a total of three specialty focus areas, including the MSLS in School Library Media, and all three are heavily skewed toward work in schools or public libraries. While this may appeal to the majority of students, for those who are interested in a more technologically innovative course of study, there may be better options.

Clarion University Online Library Science Program FAQs

Here’s a look at some of the questions prospective students most frequently ask about the Clarion University online MSLS.

Do I need to take the GRE?

Students whose undergraduate GPAs are below 3.0 must submit a score of at least 412 on the Miller Analogies Test or a combined score of at least 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE. The only exception is for students who have a graduate degree in another field with a GPA of at least 3.0 for the degree.

Is an internship or research project required?

To complete their Clarion University MSLS, students must complete either an internship (for 3 credits) or a research project (for 3 credits).

Can I complete my degree entirely online?

Yes, all of Clarion’s MSLS students take their classes online. The only potential exception would be for students who do choose to complete an internship, as they may be required to do that in-person, depending on their internship site.


A master’s degree in library science is more than just an academic achievement. It’s the price of admission for most careers in the field, so it’s good news for students that Clarion University offers a fully online MSLS degree.

Additional Resources


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Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at, formerly (LSL). Join us today and become a community curator. We can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Learn more about me on Google+