Degrees & Certificates

Master of Arts in Library and Information Science

Welcome to the University of Iowa. We offer a 36-semester hour graduate program that allows students to gain an understanding of principles of the library and information profession with an emphasis on cutting-edge technological concerns. This is a two-year program offered both on campus and online in a synchronous mode. Full-time students should plan 9 hours per semester to complete the degree on schedule, with course offerings designed to meet degree requirements on that schedule. Apply now or learn more by reading below.

We do not require a BA in any particular discipline; SLIS students enter the program with a wide variety of course work and experience. For those students pursuing school media certification it is important to note that state regulations require teacher licensure in order to be a teacher librarian or school media specialist in the state of Iowa.

Skills that are beneficial in library and information professions can be learned from many disciplines. Prospective students should demonstrate proficiency and interest in technological tools, promoting lifelong learning, and a desire to serve a community of library users.

For more information about our online program please go here.

Joint Degrees and Certifications

Students who are interested in pursuing specialized areas of librarianship can review a full list of available topics, including suggested elective coursework, at Specialized Focus Areas. Listed below is further detail regarding our Certificate and Joint Degree options. **Please note that some certificate options or individual courses may be available on-campus only.

School Media Certification

The School of Library and Information Science offers a state-approved distance education program leading to endorsement as a school media specialist (K-12), which includes School Library Media Certification and an M.A. degree.

Students in the Teacher Librarian Program should plan to take 6 hours per semester for 6 semesters, including two summers, in order to complete the TL endorsement and the MA in LIS degree. (TL curriculum) Students who are interested in school librarianship but do not have an Iowa teaching license may take an additional 30 semester hours in the College of Education in order to qualify for the teaching license.

Licensed teachers who are currently employed in Iowa schools and who would like to pursue school librarianship may apply to the Teacher Librarian Program to earn the MA in library and information science and the school library media endorsement. For more information contact Christine Kolarik.

Public Digital Humanities Certificate

Over the recent decade, Digital Humanities has constituted a powerful new movement, creating new forms of scholarship and allowing for new methods and forms of publication in the humanities. In general terms, Digital Humanities can be defined as the use of computing technologies to bring new technological methods to address traditional questions in the humanities. Humanities disciplines study human artifacts and interpret what they mean for our culture. The library has been the crucial resource for this work, providing access to the written record as well as a place of contemplation and inquiry for engaging it. Digital Humanities does not replace this model so much as add rich new possibilities for the study of these same kinds of interpretive questions.

The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities requires 12 s.h. of coursework. These courses build on the infrastructure and success of the Public Humanities in a Digital World initiative. All SLIS students in good standing are eligible to pursue the certificate. **For more information including availability of online courses please contact

Informatics Certificate

We live in a world of information. Students admitted to SLIS who are interested in Informatics may earn an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in one the following areas: Information Science, Health Informatics, Bioinformatics, and Geoinformatics. Expand your skills and knowledge by completing your Informatics certificate while earning your MA in LIS. For more information contact Professor Juan Pablo Hourcade.

Special Collections Librarianship Certificate

The Special Collections Librarianship Certificate is designed to meet the Society of American Archivists’ (SAA) Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies. Students interested in working in special collections, archives, manuscript repositories, and other organizations that preserve primary source materials may complete the certificate to have this specialization reflected on their transcript. The certificate may be completed by any student currently enrolled in the MA in Library and Information Science and earned alongside the UICB Book Studies certificate and other joint degrees and certificates.

The 15 s.h. Special Collections Librarianship Certificate includes 12 credits of required coursework that introduces students to the core theories supporting the collection and management of rare books, archival records, and manuscripts. The elective course allows students to further specialize and focus on archival work, rare books, or digital curation and preservation and prepares students for the diverse range of careers in libraries, archives, special collections, and manuscript repositories. For more information on required and elective certificate courses please see certificate curriculum.

Interested students must complete the Special Collections Librarianship Certificate Plan of Study. For more information, please contact

MA and Certificate in Book Studies

The Book Studies and Library and Information Science Studies program (BLIS) enables students to earn a master's degree in library and information science and a certificate in book lindsay-mattock@uiowa.edustudies. The program requires admission to both the School of Library and Information Science and the Center for the Book certificate program. Admission deadline is February 1st for the following fall.

The joint MA/Certificate offers multiple pathways into professional engagement with artifacts, such as rare and artist books, available in archives and libraries. Students select courses that enable them to gain skills and knowledge in areas of service such as conservation, cataloging, instruction, and outreach. The combined program is a 51 semester hour degree. Students must take at least 27 hours of SLIS courses and 15 hours of book arts, studies, and technologies courses. The remaining 9 hours may be taken in either SLIS or the UICB, or from another unit (provided these remaining credit hours meet the approval of their SLIS advisor). **The Certificate in Book Studies is not currently available as an online program. For more information regarding the certificate please contact

MA in LIS and MFA Center for the Book

We also offer a joint Master of Arts in Library and Information Science with the UI Center for the Book Master of Fine Arts. This joint program allows library and information science students to also gain expertise in the the book arts, book history, and material book studies. The tandem degrees provide librarians and book artists with credentials reflecting a depth of skills and knowledge that have been used to secure positions in special collections libraries and archives. This double credential program requires 81 semester hours of coursework. Students must take at least 24 hours of SLIS courses and 51 hours of book arts, studies, and technologies courses. The remaining 6 hours may be taken in either SLIS or the UICB.

A list of UICB courses can be found here. Please note the UICB Center for the Book Master of Fine Arts is not currently available as an online program. For more information regarding the MFA program please contact

Students interested in a librarianship career with a more general interest in the physical book should consider the BLIS program.

Law Librarianship

The School of Library and Information Science offers a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Arts with the College of Law. The primary goal of this joint program is integration of the two areas of study. Students in the joint program may apply a limited amount of credit toward both degrees. Effective Fall 2019 up to 6 s.h. in law may be applied toward the M.A. in library and information science; up to 12 s.h. in library and information science may be applied to the J.D. Students in the joint program take law courses their first year and begin taking School of Library and Information Science courses in their second year. Separate application to each degree program is required. Applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the joint degree program. For more information, see College of Law in the General Catalog. Elective courses are also available for those wishing to specialize in law Librarianship but who do not wish to pursue the J.D.

Interdisciplinary Ph.D.

Students who are enrolled in a PhD program in another academic unit may apply to pursue a joint interdisciplinary PhD through the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) and their current academic unit. Interested students should obtain consent from SLIS and their home program or department. Additionally, SLIS students may work with SLIS and a second academic unit to create an interdisciplinary Ph.D.

The Graduate College website provides an Outline of Procedures for Approval of Graduate Programs in Interdisciplinary Studies (Master's and Doctorate) and should be reviewed by those interested in pursuing the joint interdisciplinary PhD.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with SLIS please contact