M.A. Degree Requirements

The M.A. in Library and Information Science requires 37 units and can typically be completed in 2 years for full-time students. (You have up to 6 years from your admit term to complete the program.)

Core Courses

  •  9 units

As the first course a SLIS master’s student takes, LIS 504 provides an introduction to the library and information professions, to the SLIS graduate program and to roles and current issues in library and information services for the 21st Century.

Research methodology, research design, and elementary statistics. 

Introduction to the theories and practices used in the organization of information. Overview of national and international standards and practices for access to information in collections.

Distributed Electives

  • 12 units
  • Choose one course in each category
  • Students admitted prior to Spring 2018 should refer to course options in their catalog year

Cultural Perspective on Libraries & Information

Explores the interconnectedness of information forms and environments (libraries, museums, archives, electronic, mass media, etc.) from different theoretical and cultural perspectives. Contrasts each with Native American and Hispanic experiences in information and library settings.

Addresses themes associated with the production of information artifacts and issues in documenting cultural diversity across the American culture landscape. The practices of collection and documenting cultures and communities will be explored in relation to the mission of libraries, archives, historical societies and other cultural heritage institutions concerned with the acquisition of information in books, journals and other textual materials, and in sound and visual documents.

This course explores the ways in which groups of persons may be knowers and what information rights this knowledge might give them, within groups defined by their ethnic or cultural origin, e.g., indigenous peoples, ethnic and racial groups. In addition, libraries and other information services can be designed so as to foster the development and preservation of group knowledge and respect for group information rights.

Information Services & Evaluation

This course will focus on how to insure that we can reliably get quality information and will also consider information quality from the perspective of the suppliers of information.  Principles of evaluating information exchanges and sources will be discussed and topics will include the verification of the accuracy of information and the evaluation of resources in specialized subject domains.  Graduate-level requirements include a stronger emphasis on the group presentation. Participation, midterm exam, individual project, and short assignments will not contribute as heavily to the final grade.

Study of the principles and practices of descriptive cataloging for bibliographic and authority control, and resource discovery. AACR2R, RDA, MARC, Dublin Core, OAI-PMH, and selected specialized metadata schemes for all forms and formats of materials are covered.

Designed for information professionals who intermediate between information seekers at all levels and information resources in all forms including texts, images, audio, and data. Course material and assignments focus on intermediating services such as interviewing; online searching of catalogs, indexes, and open-access repositories; instruction; and reference collection curation.

This course will focus on the online retrieval and evaluation of medical literature and the issues surrounding provision of timely, relevant, peer-reviewed medical information. Emphasis will be on the development of the intellectual acuity required to provide physicians, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, medical researchers and consumers with targeted responses to medical queries. Current search modalities such as Evidence-Based Medicine will be covered both in readings and in class discussions.

Provides an introduction to the archival profession with focus on theory and practice in the areas of appraisal and acquisition, arrangement and description, reference, preservation, exhibitions, outreach, and electronic resource development.

Information Resource Development. Principles of identifying, selecting, acquiring, managing, and evaluating information resources for libraries, information centers, and other information-based settings.

The U.S. government collects, generates, publishes and distributes a vast amount and variety of information. All information professionals-even those who do not intend to specialize as government document librarians-should understand the organization of and promote access to this body of work. In this course, lectures, discussions, and readings will acquaint students with theoretical and practical knowledge. The assignments will provide opportunities for deeper exploration of government information policies and resources. Graduate-level requirements include a policy paper worth 35% of their final grade.

This course will address the impact of technology on the fundamentals of libraries, archives and records management. Many librarians, archivists and records managers who have been working for even a few years find that they need to know more about working with digital information, the shift from paper to electrons caused a shift in the fundamental nature of the professions. To thrive in the digital era, they need new skills to accomplish many of the same tasks. Collections will no longer be physical, bur virtual. Patrons will often be thousands of miles away, not just the other side of the reference desk. This course is intended to help you understand this new environment.

Management of Information Services

All information organizations (libraries, archives, museums, and public and corporate organizations involved in information management) have leadership expectations of their professional employees whether they are in management positions or not.  This course focuses the theories, principles, and practices of leadership in these organizations.  The course will cover what is leadership and how it differs from management.  It will identify what it means to be a professional-- career versus job orientation; understanding personal strengths and management styles (Myers-Briggs, Emotional Intelligence); and professional values-- customer focus, continual learning, diversity.  It will also cover understanding organizations and organizational cultures; working on teams; collaboration and negotiation; project management; data based decisions;  program development and budgeting, assessment and evaluation; communication skills and interpersonal skills-- including giving and receiving constructive feedback; managing conflict; relationship building and networking; leading change and managing up; and what to look for in a new position.

The planning/evaluation cycle as an approach to assessing various information center services.

This course provides you with a basic understanding of the theory and practical approaches to the management of information and technology in the digital information environment. Management topics considered in this course range from the strategic (planning, leadership, and policy development) to the tactical (project management, the acquisition and deployment of technology). The course combines reading, discussion, collaboration, project work, independent study, and guided hands-on practice in order to reinforce the concepts described in the project objectives.

This course will focus on a wide range of issues dealing with law library practice and administration, including but not limited to digital law libraries, collection development, law library administration, teaching legal research, database management, professional ethics and intellectual property issues. Several classes will be taught by guest lecturers, primarily librarians from the law library.

Information Technology & Networked Digital Information

This course covers theory, methods, and techniques widely used to design and develop a relational database system and students will develop a broad understanding of modern database management systems. Applications of fundamental database principles in a stand-alone database environment using MS Access and Windows are emphasized. Applications in an Internet environment will be discussed using MySQL in the Linux platform. Graduate-level requirements include a group project consisting of seven sections: Database Design; Implementation (Tables); Forms; Data Retrieval (Queries/Reports); Project Presentation; Project Report; and, Peer Evaluation.

This course is designed to introduce the basic concepts and applications of Internet-related information technology and its impacts on individual users, groups, organizations, and society. The topics in this survey course include computing basics, network applications, human computer interactions, computer-support cooperative work, social aspects of information systems, and some economic and legal issues related to digital services and products.

Study of the user interface in information systems, of human computer interaction and of website design and evaluation. Graduate-level requirements include group work and longer examinations.

Organizing information in electronic formats requires standard machine readable languages. This course covers recent standards including XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and related technologies (XPath and XSLT) which are used widely in current information organization systems. Building on a sounding understanding of XML technologies, the course also introduces students to newer standards that support the development of the Semantic Web. These standards include RDF (Resource Description Framework), RDFS (RDF Schema), and OWL (Web Ontology Language) and their application under the Linked Data paradigm. While the application of many specific XML schemas used in libraries and other information setting such as science and business will be used to provide the context for various topics, the main focus of the course is on understanding the concepts of XML and Semantic Web technologies and on applying practical skills in various settings, including but not limiting to libraries. The course is heavy with hands-on assignments and requires students complete a final group project.

This course provides a basic understanding of technology in the digital information environment along with an introduction to practical hands-on skills needed to manage digital information. The course combines reading, discussion, collaboration, project work, independent study, and guided hands-on practice. The course covers the basic installation, setup and maintenance of key systems found in the digital information environment today. Linux is used as a foundation for learning while drawing parallels to the Windows server operating system, Unix operating systems, and other operating systems.

This 3-credit course is 1 of 5 required for completion of the Certificate in Digital Information Management (DigIn). This course will provide an in-depth look at the processes involved in building and managing digital collections and institutional repositories. The course will have a strong hands-on component in which students will apply advanced resource description methods to a collection, and then build a prototype repository along with a basic access system. Students will also analyze and discuss case examples of digital collections, focusing on technology management issues and organizational strategies for building different types of collections.

LIS 672 is a prerequisite for LIS 675

LIS Electives

  • 6 units of LIS coursework

See LIS courses by concentration area

Free Electives

  • 6 units of any related coursework
  • Free electives can include individual studies, transfer units or other courses

Capstone Internship

  • 3 units
  • LIS 698 – Capstone Internship Pre-requisites: Completion of 18 units; Completion of Core courses (LIS 504, 506, and 515).  Please see M.A. Internship Policies for further details.

The purpose of the capstone project is for the student to gain professional community-focused experience while placing the learning, skills and knowledge expected of a librarian or other information professional into a real world professional context. Should the student be approved for a project in lieu of an internship, the same requirement to document expected learning objectives and align the project with SLIS competencies in the final e-portfolio reflection applies.


  • 1 unit 

This one-credit required course is normally taken in the student’s final semester before graduating with a master ’s degree in library and information science.