University of Southern Mississippi Online Library Science Masters Review

Most people who are considering a career in library and information science know that earning a master’s degree is often the most important educational step they can take to start their professional lives off on the right foot professionally.

Fortunately for students in Mississippi and across the country, the University of Southern Mississippi offers a prestigious library science degree that’s earned entirely online. Let’s take a look at what students need to know about the program’s benefits and drawbacks.

About the Program

Before jumping into what makes the Southern Miss library science program stand out, let’s check out the basics of the degree, including costs and other facts.


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

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $17,784
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $445

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science
  • Number of credit hours required: 40
  • Estimated time to completion: 18 months
  • Dual degrees: MLIS/MA in History, MLIS/MA in Anthropology, MLIS/MA in Political Science

Biggest Pros

What are the factors that play most strongly into making the Southern Mississippi MLIS program attractive for the average student?


As prospective professionals in the library science field know, getting their master’s degree from an institution that’s accredited by the American Library Association may be a requirement of state rules, especially if they’re going to work in a school or other public spaces. The Southern Mississippi program earned ALA accreditation in 1980.


Tuition is based on the number of credits taken per semester rather than residency, which means that online students in the program who don’t live in Mississippi pay the same rate as those who do. This is a very attractive feature for students who are interested in the program but live outside the Magnolia State.

Completion flexibility

While the degree is earned entirely online, students are not obligated to put their lives on hold in order to complete their MLIS at Southern Miss, and students may attend part time if needed.

Biggest Cons

Not every program is perfect for each student; what are the biggest knocks against the Southern Miss online MLIS program?

Lack of specializations

While several dual degrees are offered, within the base MLIS program, students don’t have an opportunity to create a specialization area. The program does allow for individuality in terms of elective courses, but most other programs have established at least a few academic pathways that allow students to focus on one area of the field.

Expected completion time

With 40 credit-hours required to complete the degree, the Southern Mississippi MLIS is something of an outlier. The vast majority of other schools offering this degree require 36 hours, and a handful require 30. That will make the Southern Miss degree slightly more time-consuming.

University of Southern Mississippi Online Library Science Program FAQs

Here’s a look at some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the University of Southern Mississippi online MLIS.

Do I need to submit a GRE score to be considered for admissions?

Yes, most students will be required to submit a recent GRE score in order to be considered for admission into the Southern Miss MLIS program. The school also accepts scores on the Miller Analogies Test, while students who already have a master’s degree may request a test waiver.

Will I have to visit campus?

There are no residencies, workshops or in-person seminars that online students are obligated to attend, which helps make the Southern Mississippi online MLIS a true distance-learning experience.

Can I add a specialization area to my degree?

Several dual degree options are available, allowing students to combine library science training with fields like history, anthropology and political science, but within the 40-credit MLIS, no specialty pathways have been established.


Students in library science are fortunate to have lots of options for pursuing online graduate study, but both inside Mississippi and outside the state, the University of Southern Mississippi’s online MLIS should be near the top of many students’ lists.

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+