Librarian Degree Programs and Courses

A master's degree is the standard level of education required for librarians. Read about programs at the associate's through doctoral degree levels, including topics of study. Schools offering Archival Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

To become a librarian, the type of credentials you need depends on whether you work in a public, corporate or school library. Most librarians will need to ultimately complete a master's degree, but individuals working in a school or corporate setting may not need an advanced degree.

Programs Associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; dual master's degrees; school library media specialist certification programs
Courses Indexing, library management, collection preservation, information policy
Median Salary (2017)* $58,520

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Undergraduate Degrees Are Available?

Available 2-year degrees for aspiring librarians include an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Library Science or Library and Information Services and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Library and Information Services. Credits earned in an associate program may transfer to a 4-year school, and some associate degree programs can be completed online.

At the 4-year degree level, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in a field such as library and information science, information science, library informatics or information and library services. Programs are offered on-campus or entirely online, though required internships may need to be completed in-person.

What About Graduate Programs?

Graduate degrees include a Master of Science in Library and Information Science or a Master of Library and Information Science. You may be able to select a degree specialization, such as archives management or school librarianship. Dual degree programs are offered at some schools; in addition to a master's program in library science, you could earn a master's degree in history or English. Master's degree programs are available online.

Some schools offer programs that lead to certification as a school library media specialist. You'll need to earn a teaching license before enrolling in one of these programs. School library media endorsement programs are sometimes offered in combination with master's degree programs.

Available doctoral degrees include a Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Sciences. These programs can require 3-6 years of study. Doctoral classes can be completed online in some programs, but attendance at on-campus seminars may be required.

What Undergraduate Courses Will I Take?

In an associate degree program, you'll take classes in fundamental library science topics such as the following:

  • Indexing
  • Abstracting
  • Technical information systems
  • Collection development
  • Cataloging

Bachelor's degree programs teach information retrieval and analysis, media production, library management, digital library technology and information systems design. Internships or practicums with real-world information organizations may be required in order to earn an associate or bachelor's degree.

What Graduate Courses Will I Take?

In a librarian master's degree program, you'll study archive techniques and theories, information classification, database design, collection preservation and library planning. In many cases, you'll need to pass a comprehensive exam and complete a research project prior to graduation. You could also potentially study the following courses in a master's degree program:

  • Information professions and professionals
  • Library services and resources
  • Leadership and management
  • Data organization
  • Web design

Doctoral librarian programs explore topics like research issues, information policy, information ethics and literacy. Completion of a research-based dissertation is a major component of most doctoral programs.

What Can I Do With Different Kinds of Credentials?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require public librarians to have at least a master's degree (www.bls.gov). School librarians may only need a bachelor's degree, but they usually also need teaching licensure. To earn a teaching license, you'll need to complete a bachelor's program, a teacher training program and a state-administered licensing exam. There are no universal, minimum degree or certification requirements for corporate librarians.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Syracuse University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Syracuse
  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available