University of Alabama Online Library Science Masters Review

In some fields, getting a master’s degree is considered the only way of increasing your earning potential, while in others it’s a mission-critical first step in a successful career. Library and information science fits into the latter definition. Most professionals in library and information science are well-acquainted with the requirements involved in state licensure, which generally require a master’s degree. There’s good news, though, which is that students have a range of options for completing a library and information science master’s degree remotely.

The University of Alabama offers an online Master of Library and Information Science (though it also can be earned online), and students should know some facts and figures about what to expect before they make their final academic decisions.

About the Program

Before we dive into what makes Bama’s program good (or bad, as the case may be), let’s explore some basic things students should know.


  • Institution type: Public
  • Campus: Tuscaloosa
  • Accreditation: American Library Association (ALA)
  • Program format: Online, traditional

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $15,120
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $420

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Studies
  • Number of credit hours required: 36
  • Estimated time to completion: 24 months
  • Optional specializations: Archival Studies, School Library Media, Academic Libraries, Digital Stewardship, Information Literacy, Public Libraries, Special Libraries, Social Justice, Youth Services

Biggest Pros

What are the best aspects of the University of Alabama’s library and information science program?


Not only is a master’s degree generally considered a requirement for jobs in library science, not just any old degree will do. That’s because state law and employer preferences make a strong case for limiting your search only to programs that have been accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). Bama offers the only ALA-accredited library science master’s in the state of Alabama.


Online students in the MLIS program pay the in-state tuition rate, and all-told, students should expect to pay about $15,000 in tuition costs, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. Students can attend in-person, but that will cost about three times as much.


Bama offers many specialization and emphasis areas that range from traditional favorites like public librarianship to emerging fields like digital stewardship.

Biggest Cons

Which aspects might give students pause when considering if Bama is the right place to get their MLIS?

High in-person costs

As we mentioned, for students who want to attend classes in-person, they will come at a price. While online tuition and in-state tuition are the same rate, $420 per credit-hour, out-of-state graduate students can expect to spend almost $43,000 getting their degree.

May lack flexibility

The University of Alabama’s MLIS program can be completed entirely online, but students won’t necessarily be able to set their own schedules. That’s because online courses are delivered synchronously, meaning everyone attends a simultaneous virtual session, usually one night per week. This is a net positive since it gives students the chance to interact with their academic cohort, but other programs may be more flexible.

University of Alabama Online Library Science Program FAQs

Check out some of the most frequently asked questions by prospective MLIS students at the University of Alabama.

Do I need to take the GRE?

Bama applicants don’t have to submit a GRE score, but they must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in the final 60 semester-hours of their undergraduate degree.

Is a thesis required?

If they choose, students can participate in the MLIS along a thesis track, and these students are required to complete a thesis. But students who don’t want to complete this track are not required to complete a thesis.

Can I complete my degree entirely online?

Yes, Bama’s MLIS can be earned entirely online, or students can choose to attend in-person at the Tuscaloosa campus. For students who live out-of-state, though, in-person may be an unaffordable option, as the tuition is about three times as expensive.


Making a higher education decision isn’t easy, and the sheer numbers of institutions that offer master’s degrees in library science makes it an even tougher one. But for students who want a wide range of specialization areas for tuition costs less than $20,000, fewer options are better than Bama.

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+