MLIS Semester Picks Up Steam

iStudent Blog

Published: February 16, 2020 by Havilah Steinman

The semester is picking up steam here at San José State University’s iSchool. Recently, the iSchool hosted an open house for the Masters of Library and Information Science program, which is accredited by the American Library Association. Whether you’re considering pursuing your MLIS, have just started your degree or are about to graduate, this event is full of important information to guide your academic and professional journey. I share some of these highlights below, and the recording of the open house is readily available here

Am I Ready for an Online Program?

The MLIS boasts a fully online, rich experience from all sides. These include virtual classes, graduations and other extracurricular events, such as the Library 2.0 conference. However, not all coursework is conducted as a synchronous meeting (e.g. with everyone logging into Zoom at the same time.)

In actuality, most student coursework is asynchronous where students can log in at the time of day that works best for their schedule. Many professors host virtual office hours in a synchronous environment but also record these sessions for students who need to access asynchronously. Each teacher sets their own rules about whether or not they will host live, synchronous classes. When browsing the class schedule for any particular semester, it will be clear whether or not students will need to attend a live class or not.

Check out this helpful resource: Choosing an Online Program. Or, if you’ve already enrolled, check out: New Student Checklists.

The Number One Library for Future Librarians

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library has incredible virtual resources for online students. In fact, there’s a research guide for every course taught at SJSU. To start exploring these resources, check out the Online Students’ Guide created by Ann Agee, one of the wonderful library liaisons ready to answer research questions via phone, zoom or email. In addition, there’s a huge library of online tutorials created by the library liaisons to help you with multiple aspects of research, utilizing the virtual reference materials available to students. 

Staying on Track To the Finish Line

The MLIS degree requires 43 units to graduate. Of that total, there are 6 required courses, or 16 units, and the rest of the 27 units are electives, including the robust internship program. The iSchool maintains relationships with over 150 organizations across the country who accept internships applications. To explore those opportunities, the internship site database lists current opportunities. There are also virtual internship opportunities for students who need that flexibility, or do not live near an internship site. Students can also create their own internship if they already have an organization in mind. For more details check out iSchool Internship Opportunities: Choose Your Own Adventure.

While the electives are completely up to the discretion of the student, the iSchool has fully developed career pathways to consult when choosing classes. Fourteen in all, the pathways range from data science to public librarianship. There are also faculty advisors that provide students guidance and consultation while moving through their program. And just in case a student has their heart set on two or more career pathways, the advising team developed the MLIS Career Pathways Course Intersection tool to show students which classes overlap in their career goals.

MLIS: Flexible, Practical, and Fantastic Class

The iSchool has about 1,900 students currently, and each year the graduates are surveyed. Ninety-eight percent of graduates say they would recommend their program! The top three strengths cited for this recommendation are flexibility, online learning environment and the curriculum. If you’re not quite ready to commit, but would like to try the program, check out the open classes option. 


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