District of Columbia Masters in Library Science

The job of a typical librarian bears little resemblance to what they would have been doing on a daily basis just a couple of decades ago. Today’s librarians must be experts in fields like informatics and information science because they’ll need to help people access information across a range of ever-evolving systems.

Library science professionals can work in diverse fields like education, law, medicine and more, but a successful career typically begins with a master’s degree. Let’s take a look at graduate study in library and information science in the District of Columbia, as well as what students are likely to encounter when they begin job hunting.

District of Columbia Master of Library Science Programs

Most library science jobs require a master’s degree, but there are many types of degrees and specialty areas that allow students to create a unique educational experience.

Universities with library science programs usually offer only one or two types of library and information science degrees, but these degrees tend to have similar-sounding acronyms. The most common include MLS (Master of Library Science), MSLS (Master of Science in Library Science), MIS (Master of Information Science), MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) and MSI (Master of Science in Information).

Students in D.C. should prioritize earning their degree from a program that has been accredited by the American Library Association. This is a requirement for many positions in schools and public libraries, and for jobs that aren’t covered by legal mandates, most employers prefer candidates who have degrees from ALA-accredited programs.

One university in the District of Columbia offers an ALA-accredited master’s in library science, so let’s explore what students need to know about the program.

Catholic University

  • Institution type: Private
  • Delivery method: Traditional
  • Main campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Total expected tuition: $42,840
  • Degrees offered: Master of Science in Library and Information Science, MSLIS/JD, MSLIS/MA in History, MSLIS/MS in Biology, MSLIS/MA in Musicology, MSLIS/MA in English
  • Graduate certificates offered: Cultural Heritage Information Management, Library Leadership and Management

The sole ALA-accredited master’s in library science or a related field in the museum-rich city of Washington, D.C., is at Catholic University. This traditional program can be completed only on the campus in the University Heights area of the nation’s capital.

Many concentration areas are available, including community services librarianship, cultural heritage information management, data science, digital libraries, organization of information and school library media, which leads to certification for public school libraries.

No thesis is required, but students must pass a comprehensive final examination no earlier than their final semester of coursework. Most students complete their degrees in two years, but some students may petition to extend their time limit to four years.

Learn more

District of Columbia Library Science Outlook

The typical librarian in the District of Columbia can expect their salaries to be among the national leaders. According to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for librarians and media collections specialists in D.C. is more than $87,000. This is much higher than the overall national average of $58,000, and no other state has a higher average wage for these workers.

In addition to high wages, D.C. looks to have among the best short-term outlooks when it comes to job openings for librarians and related workers. The Department of Labor reports that librarians and media collections specialists should see employment rates rise by 7.5% through 2028, which is slightly higher than the growth rate expected for all of these workers in the U.S. (6.4%).

All other library and educational workers have an even more robust growth rate in employment. Openings for these workers are expected to increase by 11.6% in D.C. through 2028, which is much higher than the overall U.S. rate of 5.7%, putting the district at No. 8 nationally.


The amount of information out in the world is ever-expanding. For individuals with the advanced training required to help others find the information they need to broaden their horizons, the District of Columbia remains one of the best places in the country for library science professionals.


Avatar photo

Sarah J

Sarah J is Chief Editor and Founder at MastersinLibraryScience.net, formerly LibraryScienceList.com (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+