Graduate Catalog

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)

Program Description

For complete course descriptions, click here.


The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at St. Catherine educates students in the principles, practices and ethics of library and information science, imbues them with a sense of service to diverse populations and prepares them to be life-long learners and active leaders in a rapidly changing information society.


We, the faculty of the Master of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University:

  • Believe that information is an invaluable resource that must be collected, organized, preserved and disseminated so that all people-regardless of age, gender, race, color, creed, ethnicity, socio-economic status, political persuasion or sexual orientation have equal access to the information they seek.
  • Maintain that intellectual freedom is vital to a democratic society. We uphold the right of all individuals to create and use resources representing diverse points of view, and we are prepared to defend those rights.
  • Support the principles of our profession's codes of ethics and strive to instill in our students the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.
  • Are dedicated to teaching the theories, knowledge and skills students need to be proficient practitioners capable of preserving the records of the past, managing current resources and transforming the future through appropriate use of technology.
  • Challenge students to become critical thinkers, active learners and creative scholars who can and will draw upon interdisciplinary studies to contribute to the body of knowledge in our field.
  • Actively encourage students to lead "from where they are," in preparation for leadership positions at their place of employment, in the profession and in the global information society.
  • Believe the interests of our profession, our communities, our nation and our world are best served through faculty/student teaching, scholarship and service.
  • Use systematic and continuous review and evaluation processes to assure quality education, both curricular and pedagogic, and to allocate human, financial, physical and technological resources appropriately.


Education: The MLIS Program's first goal is to empower students to become leaders in the information professions.

  1. To provide a rigorous curriculum that ensures general competencies and specializations in the fields of library and information science and encompasses ethical leadership, critical thinking, technological fluency and diverse perspectives.
  2. To recruit, retain and support a highly-qualified, diverse student body.
  3. To recruit, retain and support a talented, dedicated and diverse faculty who are excellent teachers as well as active participants in the library and information science professions.
  4. To provide a quality learning environment for students and faculty.

Research: The MLIS Program's second goal is to contribute knowledge to advance the discipline and improve practice.

  1. To create new knowledge.
  2. To disseminate research results.
  3. To create and nurture a productive research environment.
  4. To promote students' research.

Service: The MLIS Program's third goal is to use our expertise to serve, lead and collaborate with our communities.

  1. To increase awareness of our program's identity and purpose to better serve our communities.
  2. To serve, lead and collaborate within the department and across academic units of St. Catherine University.
  3. To serve, lead and collaborate with academic and professional communities at the local, national and international levels.
  4. To serve, lead and collaborate with community partners.

Sustaining Environment: The MLIS Program's fourth goal is to ensure excellence in the program's foundations and resources to enable it to achieve its goals and objectives.

  1. To ensure ongoing planning within the MLIS program and St. Catherine University, as well as among partner institutions and individuals.
  2. To ensure ongoing support for the program's learning and research environment.


The outcomes of the MLIS degree program are to develop information literate, reflective practitioners who have the ability to:

  1. Identify and analyze information needs and opportunities of individuals and organizations.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking by integrating relevant models, theories, research and practices.
  3. Demonstrate management, interpersonal and organizational skills.
  4. Demonstrate leadership and advocacy skills.
  5. Communicate knowledge from library and information studies and related disciplines.
  6. Demonstrate information technology fluency.
  7. Demonstrate understanding of the selection, acquisition, licensing, organization, preservation, retrieval and use of recorded knowledge and information resources.
  8. Promote and model the professional values of ethical responsibility, intellectual freedom and universal access to information.
  9. Demonstrate awareness of diverse groups and how to serve them effectively.
  10. Teach others to identify, analyze, organize and use information.
  11. Articulate a philosophy of service that demonstrates an understanding of the history, philosophy, principles, policies and ethics of library and information science and technology.
  12. Participate in ongoing professional development.


The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). It is the only Minnesota-based library and information science program, and one of only 57 in North America, to be so recognized. See the ALA website for Directory Information:

Contact information for the American Library Association (ALA): 50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL, 60611; phone: (800) 545-2433.

Major Requirements


The MLIS program is designed to educate entry-level librarians and information specialists and provide the educational foundations for lifelong professional development. Students may prepare for positions in public and academic libraries, schools or specialized libraries in the public and private sectors.

The 36-credit curriculum is composed of a range of courses to prepare students for professional responsibilities in a diverse spectrum of libraries and information organizations. There is no thesis requirement.

The maximum load is nine credit hours per semester and six credit hours in the summer session. Courses are offered weekends and evenings on the St. Paul campus. Not all courses are offered on the weekend.


The degree of Master of Library and Information Science is conferred upon candidates who have met the following requirements:

  • completion of a minimum of 36 graduate semester credits in Library and Information Science, with a minimum of 30 credits completed in St. Catherine University’s MLIS program
  • attainment of a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • satisfactory completion of the core courses: LIS 7010, 7030, 7040, 7050, and one of the following: LIS 7700 or LIS 7730. In addition, students must complete the appropriate mid-point reflection and culminating experience activities for their degree area.  MLIS students, other than those in SLMS, complete the Touchstone course, the Capstone course, and complete an approved e-Portfolio. Students in the MLIS/SLMS track must complete a pre-student teaching interview, student teaching experience and an approved e-Portfolio.
  • completion of the degree program within five years
  • filing an Intent to Graduate form with the Office of the Registrar in the semester before the anticipated graduation date
  • current resume submitted to the MLIS program office during the last semester

Students graduating also are asked to complete the graduating student survey.



LIS 7010 Introduction to Library and Information Science
LIS 7030 Organization of Knowledge
LIS 7040 Information Access Services
LIS 7050 Research Methods for Library and Information Science
LIS 7700 Management of Libraries and Information Centers
LIS 7990 Touchstone (1 cr)
LIS 8990 Capstone (2 cr)
Online e-Portfolio
ELECTIVES: 18 credits

All courses require LIS 7010 as a prerequisite, and therefore LIS 7010 is the recommended first course for all MLIS students. Students should schedule the other core courses as early in their program of study as possible. Touchstone should be taken at mid-point.

The majority of the elective courses require one or more courses as prerequisites. Prerequisites may be waived by the instructor. Students can use the online “Permission to Add a Course” form available on the Registrar’s website to request the waiver. Note: core courses LIS 7010, 7030 and 7040 are prerequisites for all 8000-level courses.


This option within the Master of Library and Information Science degree program is designed to educate students wishing to become school librarians. The prescribed course sequence also fulfills the requirements for the Minnesota School Library Media Specialist (SLMS) license. 

By pursuing this option, students learn the principles of librarianship in general and service to children and young adults in particular. Developmental psychology of the child, pre-adolescent, and adolescent is woven into the literature courses. The philosophy of education for elementary, middle and secondary school levels is an integral part of the curriculum.

Some of the topics in the curriculum include information literacy, educator collaboration, integration of the library media program into school curriculum, instructional technology, literature-based curriculum, program administration, communication and professional development.

Students graduate from this program with a firm understanding of the roles of the school librarian and the library media program within the school context and the extended school learning community. Graduates become educational leaders in their schools, districts and library systems.


To fulfill the requirements for the MLIS degree with the Minnesota School Library Media Specialist licensure, students must:

  • fulfill all the requirements for the MLIS degree replacing the Touchstone/Capstone courses with the pre-student teaching interview and the student teaching experience
  • complete the prescribed SLMS sequence of eleven courses plus one elective (36 semester credits)
  • complete supervised field experiences in library media centers
  • meet the general education and professional education requirements of the State of Minnesota
  • file an application for licensure with the Department of Education at St. Catherine University
  • pass the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (basic skills, pedagogy, and subject matter knowledge-media)

SLMS students graduating also are asked to complete the graduating student survey.


If students already possess Minnesota state education credentials, the following program of eleven specific LIS courses, one elective, pre-student teaching interview and student teaching meets the requirements for the MLIS degree plus the Minnesota School Library Media Specialist license.



LIS 7010 Introduction to Library and Information Science
LIS 7030 Organization of Knowledge
LIS 7040 Information Access Services
LIS 7050 Research Methods for Library and Information Science
LIS 7160 Leadership in Theory and Practice
LIS 7210 Library Materials for Children
LIS 7220 Library Materials for Young Adults
LIS 7240 Technology for Teaching and Learning
LIS 7250 Curriculum and School Libraries
LIS 7730 School Libraries
LIS 7283 or LIS 7286 Clinical Experience/Supervised Student Teaching
ELECTIVES: 3 credits

Note: Students who leave the School Library Media Specialist track must take LIS 7700 (Management of Libraries and Information Centers) plus the Touchstone and Capstone courses to complete the requirements for the MLIS degree.


To put into practice the knowledge gained from course work, students complete field experiences in a variety of school library settings. Upon completion of required course work, students with a teaching license register for LIS 7283 Clinical Experience/Supervised Student Teaching. Students who do not have a teaching license must register for LIS 7286 Clinical Experience/Supervised Student Teaching.

LIS 7283 (3 credits) is for educators with a current Minnesota teaching license. This is a combination of 200 hours of clinical observations and supervised student teaching.
LIS 7286 (6 credits) is for students who do not possess Minnesota teaching credentials. This is a combination of 400 hours of clinical observations and supervised student teaching.


If students do not hold Minnesota teaching credentials, they must complete the courses listed above (eleven specific LIS courses and three elective credits) and the following education and psychology courses required to meet Minnesota state licensing requirements. These courses may be taken before or at the same time as the core MLIS courses.


EDUC 5070 Teachers as Leaders in a Changing Society
EDUC 5490 School Health and Chemical Health
EDUC 5090 General Methods: K-12, Secondary
EDUC 7551 Literacy in the Content Areas
PSYC 1001 General Psychology
PSYC 2025 Lifespan Developmental Psychology


If students hold Minnesota state teaching credentials, they must complete the required LIS courses (30 credits), LIS 7283 (3 credits), and pass the appropriate content area Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exam.

If students do NOT hold Minnesota state teaching credentials, they must complete the education and psychology classes (19 credits) and the required LIS courses (30 credits) listed above, LIS 7286 (6 credits), and pass the appropriate basic skills, pedagogical, and content area Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams.


No more than six credits of incomplete grades may be accumulated at one time. If incomplete grades exceed this level, students will be restricted from further registration until incomplete course work is completed.


The degree program must be completed within five years.


Up to six semester credits earned from a regionally accredited college or university in a graduate level discipline demonstrably relevant to library and information science may be accepted at the point of admission for transfer into the MLIS program. Transfers must be requested in writing to the MLIS Associate Dean for approval.

Acceptance of transfer credit is based on the following conditions:

  • the credits were part of the institution’s approved curriculum and were offered in a program leading to a degree or certificate
  • the credits were not taken through the institution’s extension program
  • the credits were earned with a grade of B or better
  • the credits were earned within the past five years

A decision on whether to grant the transfer of credit will be made as soon as possible after the request is received, but no later than the first term during which the student is enrolled.


Students are expected to make appropriate academic progress leading to the successful completion of their degrees. Students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) throughout the program. MLIS students must have a final GPA of 3.0 in order for the degree to be awarded.

If the GPA falls below 3.0 upon taking nine semester credits, students are placed on probation. If placed on probation, they must achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of the term when the total credits taken equal or exceed 18.

Students not achieving the minimum GPA after taking 18 credits will be dismissed from the program. St. Catherine University’s MLIS program reserves the right to deny registration to any student who, in the opinion of the Program, is not progressing satisfactorily toward a degree.

Students must receive a grade of B- or greater in MLIS core courses (LIS 7010, 7030, 7040, 7050, 7700 or 7730 for SLMS, 7990 and 8990) or must retake that course.

Opportunities for Work Experience and Independent Study


Practicum is a supervised, unpaid student work experience of 120 hours (generally10 hours x 12 weeks) in an approved library or information center under the direction of a MLIS faculty member. Students meet with the faculty member in a seminar setting. Certain key assignments must be completed.

Students enrolling in the Practicum must have completed the core courses and have approval from the instructor or Associate Dean. Practicum students are encouraged to register for a practicum in the semester immediately prior to graduation. Academic credit is received for this course.


Students wishing to research a topic that is related to library and information science that is not covered in the MLIS curriculum may register for independent study (LIS 8010 Special Studies in Librarianship), working closely with a faculty member whose expertise and interests lie within the proposed research area.

Independent studies are designed for students who have completed eight courses of their program and have a grade point average of 3.3 or better or with permission of the MLIS Associate Dean. Forms for submission of independent study proposals are available online. No student may complete more than two independent studies.

Students must have sufficient background to work independently and must develop a proposal for independent study that meets the approval of the faculty supervisor and/or the Associate Dean. The independent study should be of sufficient academic and scholarly substance and merit to be worthy of at least three credits, and it should result in a product that will document both the substance and merit of the study. An independent study is not a substitute for taking a class.


No academic credit is given for an internship. An internship is a student work experience in a library or information center for which the sponsoring institution may or may not pay the student for hours worked. The sponsoring institution sets the hours, interviews the student, and provides any job training required. The MLIS office posts notices of internships.

Additional Options


For library and information science professionals who have earned an MLIS degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), the MLIS program offers a Certificate of Special Study (CSS) as part of its continuing education programs. These certificate programs are designed for those who want to:

  • develop, upgrade and update current skills and knowledge
  • acquire knowledge in the operation of and planning for special services
  • learn the impact and potential of new technologies on library services
  • assume more administrative responsibilities in the information field

The Certificate of Special Study requires 15 semester credits (five courses) beyond the Master of Library and Information Science degree. Students seeking post-master’s certificates of special study must apply for admission following the same procedures for master’s degree students. In consultation with the faculty advisors, students may design customized programs of study to meet their career objectives.


The MLIS program offers qualified E/W/O program seniors the opportunity to take up to two graduate courses (six credits). These credits serve as electives in the undergraduate program. Additionally, the courses apply toward a graduate degree if the student is admitted into the MLIS program after completing the bachelor’s degree.


Students must meet the following conditions to be considered for the Articulation program:

  • completion of at least 100 semester credits by the first day of the graduate class
  • completion of at least 16 credits in residence in the E/W/O program
  • earned an institutional cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • in need of elective credits to complete their baccalaureate degree requirements
  • the approval of both the Academic Advising Office and the MLIS program director

Applying to the Articulation Program
To begin the process, students meet with Academic Advising to confirm eligibility (see above conditions) and to obtain guidance in completing the following application requirements:

  • a personal statement indicating professional background and personal goals (1-2 pages)
  • a current résumé
  • two recommendation forms. At least one recommendation must be completed by a St. Kate’s faculty member, attesting to the applicant’s readiness for graduate academic rigor; the other recommendation may be completed by a professional supervisor.

If the academic advisor confirms that the student has met the institution's criteria for acceptance into the Articulation program, the student will meet with the MLIS director, who gives final approval based on MLIS standards and advises on course selection. The student may then register for the graduate course(s) as an E/W/O student.

Both the E/W/O and MLIS programs reserve the right to limit the number of undergraduate students in these graduate courses. Qualified students will be admitted to the Articulation program on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduate students complete all of the course work required of the graduate students in the MLIS classes. Acceptance as an Articulation student does not guarantee admission into the full MLIS degree program if the student applies for graduate admission in the future.


Applicants in the following categories may be admitted as non-degree seeking students:

  • students in other graduate library and information science programs, if the institution in which they are enrolled will accept credit earned at St. Catherine University as part of the requirements for their graduate degree
  • students enrolled in other graduate degree programs needing a course to complete certification requirements for a specific degree, and with permission of the MLIS Associate Dean
  • students with a previously earned MLIS degree

Tuition for a graduate non-degree seeking student is the same as for degree-seeking students. Non-degree seeking students are limited to two MLIS courses for a total of six semester credits, and are not eligible for financial aid.


Students in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) may choose to take MLIS courses to complete a master’s concentration in Information Services and Technology, or a post-graduate certificate in Library Leadership.

See the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership section of this catalog for more information.

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