Academic Policies

The M.A. in Library and Information Science requires 36 semester hours of graduate credit. At least 24 semester hours must be completed under the auspices of the University of Iowa after formal admission to the master's program. The program is designed as a two-year master's degree program, and courses are scheduled in accordance with that model.


General University Policies

A comprehensive guide to student rights and responsibilities, Policies and Regulations Affecting Students is issued each fall.

All SLIS students are responsible for knowing the Graduate College Policies. See the Manual of Rules and Regulations as well as information in the SLIS Student Handbook.

Academic Progress

Policy on Academic Progress:

SLIS students who enter the program must receive a minimum grade of 3.0 (B) in all 36 s.h. of coursework required for completion of the M.A. in LIS where a letter grade is assigned in order to be in good academic standing with the School. Any required courses completed with a letter grade of less than B (3.0) will not count towards the M.A. degree. Courses within each category of Core and Electives may be repeated to remedy a lower grade, per the following conditions:


Students must complete each of the five required Core courses with a grade of B (3.0) or greater. Each Core course may be repeated one time.


Students must complete seven Elective courses with a grade of B (3.0) or greater where letter grades are assigned. Courses may be repeated one time. Alternately, if a grade of B- (2.67) or lower is received, another Elective course may be taken for credit toward the degree, for a total of seven Elective courses where each is completed with a B/3.0 or higher where letter grades are assigned. Note that Teacher Librarian students do not have the option to select alternate courses. Students seeking the K-12 School Library Media endorsement must successfully complete the designated certification courses with a B/3.0 or higher.

Any course may be repeated one time, if a student receives a grade of B- or lower. If the second completion does not result in a grade of B or greater, the student will be ineligible to complete the MA in LIS at the University of Iowa.

Academic Advising

First-semester students will be assigned an academic adviser who can guide the student in the selection and sequence of courses, clarifying professional goals, and in other matters. General advising is also available from the program coordinator. If a student wishes to change adviser for any reason they may discuss it with the program coordinator or director. The School administration and faculty take a personal interest in each student and are eager to help guide students.

Registration for Courses

Students will meet each semester with their academic advisers to discuss registration for the following semester. The adviser then will authorize his or her advisees to register.

When planning your schedule, remember that graduate courses are designed with the expectation that students will spend an average of 3 hours of work outside of class for each hour in class. 9 s.h. is considered full-time and is a regular course load; we encourage first-year students to take only 9 s.h.

After the first semester we advise students to carry no more than 12 s.h. within a regular academic semester. However, if you work at a job that requires a lot of hours, you should consider taking fewer than 12 hours. If you are planning to take more than 12 hours in a semester, you will need to get approval from your academic adviser.

Independent Study

The Independent Study (021:292) is intended to provide the student with specific knowledge and competency that is compatible with his or her career plans and professional development goals that is not available through any other University course offering or mechanism.

In other words, independent study should not be used to cover material that is taught in an existing SLIS course. Its primary purpose is to enable a student to expand on an idea or area of research that has grown out of his or her SLIS studies and to offer an opportunity to pursue it in more depth.

The requirements for an independent study must be as academically rigorous and demanding as those for any other course in the curriculum. Careful planning in arranging independent study is necessary since faculty time to oversee such projects may be limited.

First, submit a formal proposal, to include the following:

  • Statement of purpose, goals, and objective
  • Bibliography extensive enough to indicate prior investigation of the proposed topic or area of study
  • Schedule of topics, activities, and meeting times with instructor
  • Description of outcome or product (e.g. paper of rigorous quality, handbook or manual, multimedia production substantive web project, or programming project

Next, submit signed form to the SLIS program assistant that the instructor has agreed to oversee the independent study prior to registering for the course. Independent study forms are available in the SLIS office.


Practicum is a 3 s.h. course that offers library or information center work experience. The Practicum provides space for students to process their on-site experience and relate it to previous course work. Students may want to use Practicum to delve further into their professional interests or as a way of broadening those interests by choosing a site that exposes them to new possibilities. More information about Practicums can be found in the course description.


Students may wish to supplement their academic course work with an internship. Some internships do provide a stipend, but the majority are unpaid opportunities for the student to gain professional, hands-on experience. The School of Library and Information Science does not grant academic credit for internships, so there are no written evaluations required. However, any student considering a particular internship should consult with his or her adviser or the director of the program to ensure that the proposed internship will provide the best experience for professional development.

Leaves of Absence

Students admitted to the School of Library and Information Science are expected to enroll continuously on a full-time or part-time basis until they complete the degree. A student considering a leave of absence should consult with his or her faculty adviser before interrupting the program.

If a student's enrollment is interrupted for any reason so that they are not enrolled for three consecutive academic sessions (including the spring, summer, and fall sessions but excluding the winter session) the student must reapply for readmission. The readmission application form must be used. SLIS may require any or all of the standard application materials be provided with the application. These include new letters of recommendation, a new Personal Statement, a written explanation of the reasons for the absence, a resume or CV, or a plan for degree completion.