University of Washington Online Library Science Masters Review

For prospective graduate students in library and information science, the most important decision they’ll make is where to get their degree. But a close second is whether they’ll attend online or in-person, and fortunately for these students, the majority of library science master’s programs offer the option of completing a master’s in library science entirely or partially online. The University of Washington’s high-reputation library science master’s degree is one such program.

Let’s take a look at the facts and figures and the biggest benefits of the program that students need to know.

About the Program

Before we dive into the specific positive and negative aspects of the University of Washington online master’s in library science, let’s check out some specific aspects of the program.


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

Tuition and fees

  • Expected total tuition: $53,235 (MLIS)
  • Per credit-hour tuition: $845

Degrees & requirements

  • Library science degrees offered: Master of Library and Information Science, MLIS in Law Librarianship, PhD in Information Science
  • Number of credit hours required: 63
  • Estimated time to completion: 36 months
  • Optional specializations: School Media Endorsement

Biggest Pros

What aspects of the program make it most attractive to the average student?


The online Master of Library and Information Science offered through the Information School at the University of Washington is somewhat unusual among its peers because it was designed to be completed by part-time students. This means that motivated learners should be able to continue working while they complete their degree; some other programs have designed their online MLIS degrees this way, but in most cases, they have been built to be completed by full-time students.


Completing a degree that’s accredited by the American Library Association is mission-critical for the average library science student, especially those hoping to secure jobs in publicly funded spaces like schools, museums and libraries. In most states, ALA-accredited degrees are a prerequisite to state licensure, while even in the private sector, most employers prefer these types of degrees.

Optional fieldwork

It’s an elective course, but many of the iSchool’s in-person and online students opt to complete hands-on experience in an information science setting through directed fieldwork, while others may pursue an internship. All directed fieldwork assignments in the iSchool must include a social justice component.

Biggest Cons

What factors may make students think twice about pursuing graduate study in library science at the University of Washington?

Limited specializations

While students can obtain a school library media endorsement or pursue a specialty MLIS in law librarianship, that is the limit of specialization options within the program. A robust set of electives are on offer, but some students may prefer a stronger focus on a particular aspect of library and information science.


The total cost of earning an online MLIS at the University of Washington is well over $50,000, which will be cost-prohibitive for many students. However, it should be noted that the total expected tuition cost is the same for all students, regardless of online or in-person or residency status.

University of Washington Online Library Science Program FAQs

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

Will I ever need to come to campus?

Yes, the iSchool’s online MLIS kicks off with a mandatory three-day on-campus orientation session in which students meet and bond with their classmates and learn about other aspects of the program and support system. This session was moved online for the fall 2020 orientation session, which took place amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s planned to switch back to in-person sessions once the pandemic is over.

Do I need to take the GRE?

GRE scores are optional, so MLIS students are not required to provide GRE scores to be considered for admissions. However, law library MLIS students will need to provide their score on the LSAT, and these students will need to have a JD from a U.S. law school as well.

Can I complete the in-person MLIS as a part-time student?

No, only the online MLIS has been designed to be completed by part-time learners. It’s also not possible to switch between the programs in the middle, so for students who may be leaning toward in-person learning but are concerned they may not have the time to devote, completing the degree online may be a better option.


Getting a master’s degree in any field is a major accomplishment that is possible only after a huge commitment of time, energy and financial resources. But for prospective library science professionals, earning an MLIS or other degree is the best (and possibly only) way to get the job of their dreams. Fortunately for students in Washington and beyond, the University of Washington’s top-rated MLIS is available fully online.

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+