University of Southern California Online Library Science Masters Review

The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California is home to an online master’s degree in library and information science that many prospective professionals in the field will find compelling.

While it’s not the ideal program for every person, let’s check out what students should know about the program and what its biggest pros and cons are for the bulk of potential students.

About the Program

Before jumping into the factors that work in USC’s favor when it comes to master’s degree candidates in library science, let’s check out the basics of the school and the relevant degrees offered.


  • Institution type: Private
  • Campus: Los Angeles, California
  • Accreditation: American Library Association (ALA)
  • Program format: 100% online

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $79,800
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $1,995

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Management in Library and Information Science
  • Number of credit hours required: 40
  • Estimated time to completion: 20 months

Biggest Pros

What aspects of the USC library science program are the most appealing for the average student?

Business focus

USC is unique among major universities offering master’s degrees in library science in that the degree is housed in USC’s well-regarded Marshall School of Business. This makes the program ideal for students who are hoping to blaze a leadership trail through their careers, offering management-based coursework alongside information science training.


The stamp of approval from the ALA is a requirement for many jobs, especially those in publicly funded settings like schools, museums and library systems. Even in jobs where state law doesn’t mandate ALA-accredited programs, most employers strongly prefer candidates with this type of education.

Center for Library Leadership and Management

Unique to USC, CLLM is a member-based board of directors that provides expert advice and guidance for the library science program at USC, helping to keep the program at the forefront of theory and practice in the field of library management.

Biggest Cons

What factors might make students think twice about considering USC for their library science degree?

No specialization options

Though students can choose from a handful of electives, USC’s library science master’s does not allow them to carve a unique educational pathway in the form of a specialty or focus area. Most other programs do have a few established focus areas or specialization options.


At a total cost that’s upwards of $70,000, a library science master’s from USC will cost a pretty penny; quite a few pennies, actually. Given its unique business-minded focus, this may be well worth it for specific students to whom that appeals, though.

USC Online Library Science Program FAQs

Here’s a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the St. John’s University Master of Science in Library and Information Science program.

Do I need to take the GRE or GMAT for the USC online library science program?

No, students do not need to show scores for either the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), though they will need to provide a CV or resume that illustrates work experience relevant to the library science field in addition to a bachelor’s degree, though that can be in any field.

Why is the degree offered through a business school for the USC online library science program?

The academic focus of the University of Southern California’s library science degrees go beyond the scope of a typical library science degree into the leadership and management side of the field. Offering the degrees through the Marshall School of Business gives library science students the chance to learn certain aspects of library management that they might not otherwise glean through traditional information and library science training.

Can I get my degree while I work a full-time job in the USC online library science program?

Yes, though students who need to continue working full time will likely find that they need a bit more time than others to complete their degrees. Full-time students should be able to make their way through required coursework in 20 to 24 months, so depending on their other commitments, full-time workers/part-time students will typically need at least another year.


Earning any master’s degree is a major accomplishment, but it requires an equally major investment of time (and money). So library science students should consider all their options; fortunately, many master’s programs in library and information science are offered online, and St. John’s online MSLIS program is an excellent option for almost any student.

Additional Resources


Avatar photo

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+