Emporia State University Online Library Science Masters Review

As most budding library and information science professionals know, getting a master’s degree is the key to accessing challenging and rewarding careers in the field. There are many colleges and universities that offer such degrees, including many that allow students to attend entirely or partially online, including Emporia State University in Kansas.

Let’s take a look at what students should know about this program, including its biggest benefits and drawbacks, so they can make an informed decision about their educational futures.

About the Program

Before we discuss what makes Emporia State’s library science master’s degree a good (or bad option, as the case may be), let’s check out some basic facts and figures about the school and its library science offerings.


  • Institution type: Public
  • Campuses: Emporia (main campus) and Overland Park, Kansas; Denver; Salt Lake City; Portland, Oregon; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Las Vegas; Boise; Conway, Arkansas
  • Accreditation: American Library Association (ALA)
  • Program format: Hybrid

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $9,828 in-state; $22,284 out-of-state
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $273 in-state; $619 out-of-state

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Library Science
  • Number of credit hours required: 36
  • Minimum time to completion: 16 months
  • Optional specializations: Archive Studies, Informatics, Leadership & Administration, Youth Services

Biggest Pros

What aspects of ECU’s Master of Library Science (MLS) program are likely to appeal most to the average student?


When it comes to most industries, getting an advanced degree like a master’s, is considered a step above and beyond. It usually signals that a person is particularly committed to the study and advancement of the subject, or that they are simply a habitual self-improver. But for library and information science careers, getting a master’s degree, particularly from a program that’s accredited by the American Library Association, is the No. 1 job. That’s because ALA-accredited master’s degrees are typically required for state licensure for many of the most popular jobs, like school library media specialist or public librarian. Emporia State’s program first earned ALA accreditation in 1930, making it one of the most storied in the region.


The MLS is the flagship offering of the ESU School of Library and Information Management, but the school also offers several certificate programs for those who already have a master’s degree or who aren’t interested in pursuing the MLS but want to develop expertise in a particular area. ESU offers certificate programs in archives studies, health information, informatics, information, tech and scientific literacy, leadership and administration, and youth services.

Study abroad

In addition to its vast network of regional campuses, ESU hosts international study experiences every semester (in normal, non-pandemic times). Previous trips have included Canada and Mexico as well as overseas locales like Europe. Future trips are planned to sites like South Africa and the Czech Republic.

Biggest Cons

What are some factors that weigh against the program for typical applicants?


ESU’s program is a hybrid, which is a term that varies depending on the institution. What that means for Emporia State’s MLS is that most coursework is done online, but the majority of courses students will need to complete their degrees require two face-to-face weekend intensive sessions per term. That means it’s not possible for students to complete their degrees entirely online.


In-state tuition costs are under $10,000, but non-residents should expect to pay at least $20,000 for tuition. While this isn’t wildly expensive relative to private programs, it is a pretty penny to pay for a public university degree, and other options may be less expensive.

Emporia State University Online Library Science Program FAQs

Here’s a look at a few of the questions prospective students most often ask about Emporia State’s MLS program.

Do I need to submit a GRE score?

Applicants are not required to submit a score on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) in order to be considered for admission to ESU’s library science master’s program.

How much of the degree can I complete online?

The bulk of coursework is completed online in Emporia State’s MLS program. That said, the majority of classes require a pair of two-day intensives per term, so for students who live far enough away from one of the many ESU campuses, completing this degree may be unrealistic.

Can I earn state licensure?

Yes, Emporia State has a couple of options for earning state licensure both in Kansas and South Dakota. Those who already hold a valid license in either state can earn licensure in school library media through the MLS program, while those who already have a master’s degree can complete a 29-credit, licensure-only program.


Getting a master’s degree in any field represents a major achievement, but for library science professionals, it’s an achievement that may be required to get a job in the first place. Dozens of colleges and universities across the country offer master’s degrees in library science that can be partially or entirely earned online. While Emporia State’s MLS degree isn’t one of the ones that can be completed 100% online, the widespread campuses of ESU may be appealing for many students.

Additional Resources


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+