Master's of Science in Library and Information Science
A total of 36 semester hours of graduate credit is required for receipt of the Master's of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree, of which 30 semester hours must be taken in Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America and completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B). Candidates for the MSLIS degree must also pass a comprehensive examination.
The university normally expects that requirements for master's degrees will be completed within three years. Students who do not complete their coursework within four years of enrolling in the program must petition the faculty in writing for an extension of time. Extending the completion of coursework beyond this point requires the approval of both the school's faculty and the dean.
Baseline Technical Requirements
Successful completion of the program requires competencies in basic computer applications, such as email, word processing, Internet use, and use of library systems. Students also need regular access to computer and Internet resources. There are lists of Essential and Important requirements to aid prospective and current students in assessing their needs. For students wishing to enhance their computing skills, we offer a series of free Saturday workshops every semester. These cover basic skills that are not taught in regular courses. Workshop topics and schedules are updated each semester. CUA and LIS also offer computer lab facilities for student use. CUA computer labs are available across campus. LIS maintains a computer lab as well as laptops for students to check out. The Technology Inventory provides a detailed list of LIS resources.
All students are required to complete with a passing grade the following core courses: CLSC/LSC 551, 553, 555, and 557. These courses cover the central elements of the curriculum: acquisition and organization of information, retrieval and dissemination of information, technological applications, information sources and services, and the important policies, standards, and ethical issues facing information professionals. A core course requirement may only be waived if the student has comparable transfer credit. Students are urged to complete the core courses within the first 18 semester hours of coursework. Please see our Course Catalog for an overview of these core courses. You may also select a Course of Study for your degree, which can help guide your course selection.
Letter grades are given to students taking courses for credit unless these courses are graded "pass-fail." The quality of a student's performance in a particular course, including such factors as ability to meet deadlines and participation in class discussion, is the only basis for a grade. Faculty will provide feedback to students evaluating the performance on which a grade is based.
Students are cautioned that any grade below a full B (3.0) is considered marginal in Library and Information Science programs, and grades of C are viewed with grave concern. One failing grade or two C grades may result in dismissal. Students receiving low grades should consult with instructors and advisers immediately about ways of improving their academic performance.
Students in Library and Information Science are expected to be aware of and adhere to the information in the General Section of the Graduate Announcements on Grades and Grade Reports (including Incompletes, Unethical Practices, Academic Honesty, Change of Grade, Dismissal) and Change of Enrollment (including academic leave, change of course, withdrawal from a course and withdrawal from the university).
Candidates for the MSLIS degree must pass a comprehensive examination. Students may not register for this examination earlier than the final semester of coursework. Registration for the examination requires a minimum GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.0 for courses taken in Library and Information Science, with no provisional reports of incomplete (I) remaining on the student's record. Comprehensive examination briefings and an explanation of procedures are held each semester.
The school sends written notification to students informing them of the results of the comprehensive examination. Those who fail must retake the entire examination in a subsequent term. Candidates who fail a second time are no longer eligible to receive a master's degree.
The comprehensive examination tests a common knowledge base that will qualify the candidate to perform professionally and provide a foundation for the individual to acquire greater expertise as needed. Questions from former semesters and more details are available on the school's Comprehensive Exams webpage.