Online MLIS with No GRE Required for Admissions

School Program ALA Accredited?
Syracuse University Online MS in Library and Information Science
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science

There are a growing number of online MLIS programs that do not have the GRE requirement for entry to their program (standardized Graduate Records Examinations test for entry to graduate school).

Historically, most graduate programs required prospective students to submit GRE scores as part of the application process. However, there are a growing number of Master of Library Science (MLS) programs that have waived the stipulation, particularly with the rise of online library science degrees.

Does No GRE Requirement Affect the Quality of an Online MLIS Program?

Eliminating the GRE from the application requirements does not devalue the quality of a MLS program. In fact, there are many highly-ranked schools and MLS programs that no longer ask for students' test scores. This includes library science programs that have been accredited by the ALA (American Library Association).

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test designed to measure a student's aptitude across a variety of subjects. The test is similar to the SAT in that many graduate programs use students' scores to determine their academic proficiency.

Click to find online library science programs currently accepting applications.

If there is no GRE requirement, what do they require for admissions?

Instead of the GRE, these programs rely on other criteria to admit students instead. This can include a student's undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. While some students may choose to take the GRE to increase the number of programs they are eligible to apply for, students who do not want to take the test will still have many program options to choose from.

What exactly does it mean for a MLS program to not require the GRE?

If a program doesn't require prospective students to submit GRE scores as part of their application, that means students can skip the test and apply without having to get a certain score. Some MLS programs list the GRE as an optional application requirement. Here are some of the top reasons why a MLS program may not ask for a student's GRE scores.

  • Other admissions requirements better demonstrate a student's aptitude: A school may want to assess a student's academic proficiency through other measures, such as undergraduate performance, computer literacy skills, past work experience, and future career goals. This is considered a more holistic approach to graduate admissions and may give a clearer picture of a student's strengths and capabilities.
  • The GRE is not a measure of future success: Another reason may be that some schools have determined that the GRE isn't a relevant indicator as to whether or not a student will be successful in their program. The GRE measures a specific range of skills, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Some MLS programs may decide that these benchmarks are not effective in establishing whether a student is right for their program.
  • Not as applicable to online MLIS programs: Many online MLS programs have waived the GRE requirement. Online programs require different skills to succeed than a typical graduate program. For that reason, the GRE may not be a useful way to gauge a student's future academic performance in an online MLS program.

Featured Online Library Programs

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Website
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply.
University of Denver
Website
Master Master of Library and Information Science
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
St. John's University
Website
Master Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
East Central University
Website
Master Master of Education in Library Media

Are there ALA Accredited MLS Programs with No GRE required?

Employers often prefer to hire candidates that have graduated from a MLS program that's accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). ALA accreditation demonstrates that a MLS program has met a variety of criterion for educational excellence. Accreditation is contingent on the quality of the MLS program, including its curriculum, faculty, and accessibility to students.

The ALA's comprehensive list of standards for accreditation does not specify that a MLS program include the GRE as part of its admission policy. Because it's not a factor for accreditation, there are many ALA-accredited MLS programs online that do not require the GRE. Most of the MLS programs listed on this website are accredited by the ALA.

Other MLS programs that are accredited by the ALA and do not require the GRE include:

Best 10 online MLS programs that do not require a GRE for admission

1. University of Southern California

The USC Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) is offered in partnership with USC's Marshall School the Business. The curriculum emphasizes leadership and management and is designed for students who are interested in high-level careers in the library science field. Students who already have a MLS degree have the option of completing a Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Management. This advanced certification program is designed to improve graduates' leadership skills in the workplace.

While GRE or GMAT scores are not required, prospective students are asked to show relevant work experience to be admitted to this program. Applicants must demonstrate a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or higher. Students must also complete an online application and submit a $155 application fee, three letters of reference, and official transcripts from any colleges or universities attended.

Students must complete 31 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $1,995 per credit.

2. The University of Alabama

The University of Alabama's Master of Library and Information Studies is a synchronous, online program. Curriculum focuses on digital and emergent media. A key component of the program also includes fieldwork and UA has more than 100 partners for internship opportunities in the US and abroad. This program's cohort model encourages interaction and collaboration amongst students. With only three required courses, students are encouraged to explore topics related to their future career paths through a wide variety of electives.

To be eligible for admission, students must have an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Admission requirements also include an application form and fee, a statement of purpose, a resume, undergraduate transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.

To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours. Tuition costs $420 per credit hour.

3. University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) is one of the oldest MLS programs in the country, and has been accredited by the ALA since 1924. This program allows students to customize their degree with a variety of courses across different subject areas. With options to complete the program in-person or online, this MLIS program also offers five concentrations and two named certificate programs. This degree program also emphasizes the importance of gaining experience through fieldwork to better prepare graduates for their future careers.

Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Any undergraduate major is acceptable, though coursework must demonstrate a breadth of liberal arts and sciences. Applicants must have achieved an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. International students must complete an English proficiency test and provide proof of funding.

A total of 39 credits is necessary to complete this program. Tuition costs $850 per credit for online students.

4. University of North Texas

The University of North Texas Master of Library Science (MLS) program emphasizes knowledge, theory, and technology as the foundational principles of their curriculum. Students can choose between seven concentrations, which include music librarianship, law librarianship, and youth librarianship, among others. This MLS program also offers several non-degree certificate programs, including a school librarian certificate, a certificate of advanced study in rural library management, and graduate academic certificates, which are available in a variety of subject areas. Students can choose to complete their MLS degree online, in a residential format in Denton, Texas, or via an off-campus format in Houston, Texas.

To apply for this MLS program, students must complete the online application and pay the $75 non-refundable application fee. Applicants must also submit their undergraduate transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.

To complete this program, students must take 36 credit hours. Tuition costs $768.58 per credit hour for Texas residents and $1,177.58 for out-of-state students.

5. Syracuse University

Syracuse University's School of Information Studies offers several advanced degree options for students interested in library and information science. Students can choose between a Master of Science in Applied Data Science, a Master of Science in Information Management, a Master of Science in Library and Information Science, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science: School Media. All programs are designed to be flexible, collaborative, and applicable to a vast range of careers.

Applicants must submit an online application and a non-refundable fee of $75. Other admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a resume detailing employment history and academic experience as well as relevant professional and community activities.

To graduate, students must complete between 34 and 42 credits, depending on which program they're enrolled in. Tuition ranges between $1,734 to $1,782 per credit hour.

6. Sam Houston State University

The Sam Houston State University Online Master of Library Science (MLS) program is designed specifically for students interested in pursuing a career in school librarianship. Curriculum focuses on technology and information literacy in a school setting. Students can expect to learn methods for collaborating with teachers and managing a diverse range of multimedia collections. For those who have already completed a MLS degree or teaching certificate, Sam Houston University offers a condensed School Librarian Certification program.

To apply, prospective students must complete a graduate application and submit a $45 application fee. Other admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts that demonstrate a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a copy of a valid Texas teaching certificate, a Teacher Service Record, an interview, and a writing sample. An additional $35 fee for the Texas Education Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs is also required.

Students must complete 36 credits to graduate from this program. Tuition costs $598 per credit.

7. San Jose State University

San Jose State University's Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program offers a wide range of courses and concentrations. With the goal of preparing students for a variety of career paths, this program encourages participants to customize their curriculum to fit their interests and career goals. This program is completely online, though SJSU does offer an innovative internship program with more than 200 opportunities available to students looking to get on-site experience. Students are also able to complete several certificate programs to bolster their degree.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better. Prospective students must also confirm that they have "a general understanding of computers and technology" as well as "access to a computer with internet connection and appropriate software."

43 units are required to graduate. Tuition costs $474 per credit.

8. Drexel University

The Drexel University Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program is known for its innovative curriculum, which focuses on technology and information management. Courses are designed to be interactive and engaging as well as convenient and flexible. Students can expect to take three foundation courses and five core courses, as well as additional elective courses. A capstone project requirement encourages students to get useful field experience before graduating.

To apply, prospective students must submit a completed application, official undergraduate transcripts, one letter of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

45 quarter credits are necessary to graduate. Tuition costs $1,342 per credit.

9. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Master of Science in Information Sciences (MSIS) teaches students to expertly manage, navigate, and analyze data. Students can choose to complete the program online or in-person. 11 career pathways are available for students to explore, including academic librarianship, archives and record management, user experience, and data curation and data management, among others. This program also offers a variety of research and internship opportunities designed to give students hands-on experience that will prepare them for their future careers.

Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts that demonstrate a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Other admission requirements include a written statement, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a $60 application fee.

Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $700 per credit for in-state students and $775 per credit for out-of-state students.

10. University of Buffalo

University of Buffalo's Master of Science in Information and Library Science (MSIS) is a fully online program that offers flexibility and versatility in degree specializations. Students can pursue a general track of education, or choose a concentration in music librarianship, law librarianship, or school librarianship. Interactive seminars, practicums, special projects, and directed study courses allow students to explore topics about information management, organization, and retrieval. Electives focus on a broad range of topics related to public, academic, and special libraries.

To apply, prospective students must submit an online application and a $50 non-refundable application fee. Applicants must also provide three letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, and a statement of education and career goals.

36 credits are required to graduate. Tuition costs $471 per credit for in-state students and $565 per credit for out-of-state students.

Why do some MLS programs require the GRE?

MLS programs that require students to submit their GRE scores as part of the application process do so for a variety of reasons. Because the GRE is a standardized test, it’s considered an objective way to evaluate and compare students’ academic aptitude. This can be useful for MLS programs that have a high volume of applicants. The GRE is also intended to be an effective method of determining a student’s capabilities across a broad range of subjects and skills.

MLS programs may use a student’s GRE scores to ensure they meet a certain standard of proficiency in these benchmarks. They may even mandate that students achieve a certain score in order to be admitted. Other MLS programs only require students to submit GRE scores if their undergraduate GPA isn’t above a certain level (usually 3.0). While not all MLS programs use the GRE as part of the application process, some programs do because they believe it can be useful in projecting how successful a student will be in their program.

What are other typical admissions requirements for No GRE MLS programs?

MLS programs that do not require the GRE often ask students to provide other materials with their application instead. These additional requirements are intended to provide a more holistic understanding of a prospective student’s academic history and capabilities. Admission requirements vary between schools but often include the following:

Bachelor’s Degree

Prospective students must have previously earned a bachelor’s degree to apply for a MLS program. Most MLS programs will ask applicants to submit transcripts or a diploma as part of their application. Some programs may even require that students earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher to be admitted.

Statement of Purpose

Many MLS programs request that applicants include a personal statement explaining their reasoning for applying to a MLS program. This written response should include information about a prospective student’s academic history, work experience, and career goals. Some students also choose to write about why they are interested in a specific school’s program.

Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters are a standard requirement across most graduate program applications. Letters should be written by individuals who have first-hand knowledge of a prospective student’s academic and professional capabilities.

Resume

Some MLS programs ask applicants to provide a current resume as part of their application package. A resume provides important insight into a prospective student’s work history and academic qualifications.

Computer Literacy Skills Test

While it’s rare, some MLS programs require prospective students to complete a computer literacy test as part of the admission process. This can be an important indicator of success, especially for online MLS programs as a certain level of computer skills are necessary to complete that type of program.

Program Quality for No GRE MLS Programs vs. GRE Required Programs

Despite what one might expect, there is not a lot of difference in the quality of MLS programs that require GRE scores versus those that do not.

The ALA does not require MLS programs to ask for prospective students’ GRE scores to be accredited. For this reason, there are many ALA-accredited MLS programs that are of high academic quality and do not require the GRE.

Many online MLS programs have chosen to waive the GRE requirement because it’s not as relevant to the format of their program. Other MLS programs have forgone the GRE requirement in favor of other application materials, such as a resume or computer literacy skills test.

None of these changes affect the quality of the curriculum of a MLS program as they only have to do with the admission process.

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