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A science librarianship degree prepares individuals to work as information professionals within the context of science and technology. Science librarianship encompasses all scientific and technical fields. Another related degree program is health science librarianship Health Library Science, which is a library science degree linked to medicine and allied health research.
Click to find featured online library science programs currently accepting applications for 2023.
Are there online Science Librarianship Degrees programs?
Yes. While not all online library and information studies programs have a specific designation for science librarianship, some do. These programs typically offer curricula which focus on a specific area of science or technology.
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|Master||Online MS in Library and Information Science
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ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
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|Master||Online Master of Education in Library Media
Develop knowledge and skills in school library media with our online library media specialist degree. You will gain a foundation needed to transform education through instructional media and school library services.
Are there Bachelors in Science Librarianship Degrees programs?
Yes. Library and information studies programs at the bachelor-level are available, usually called the Bachelors BLIS. These programs teach foundational skills in librarianship, preparing graduates for entry-level library positions. Taking STEM related courses as part of the general curriculum for an undergraduate, or selecting a relevant course of study as a minor, could be a good option for someone interested in becoming a science librarian. While the bachelor's degree prepares graduates for paraprofessional work, a master's degree typically must be obtained for professional librarian positions.
Are there Masters in Science Librarianship Degrees programs?
Yes. While these graduate-level programs are not offered as widely as others in library and information studies, some colleges and universities do offer science librarianship concentrations, specializations, and pathways. Some programs also offer joint MLIS/MS degree programs, allowing students to complete their master's degree in librarianship alongside a science-related master's degree.
Are there ALA Accredited Masters in Science Librarianship Degrees programs?
Yes. ALA accredits library and information studies graduate programs. Currently there are more than 10 MLIS programs offering science librarianship degrees. More information can be found by viewing ALA accredited Master of Library and Information Science programs.
Overview of what a Science Librarianship Degree is
Science librarianship is a truly multidisciplinary profession. Science librarianship degrees allow the holder to blend skills in library and information studies with science expertise. As information professionals, science librarians have knowledge of best practices for teaching, learning, and research. Science-based expertise may include knowledge in various fields, including: biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, health sciences, medicine, or data analytics.
Science librarianship concentrations, specializations, and pathways prepare graduates for a variety of careers. Science librarians find employment opportunities in higher education, healthcare, research, nonprofit, and government.
Review of the 5 best online MLIS programs with Science Librarianship Degrees concentrations
Areas of study within science librarianship are broad. Students may specialize in data science, natural sciences, computer science, or health sciences. As such, MLIS programs offering science librarianship degrees cover a wide spectrum of concentrations. It is important to identify personal and professional goals before deciding on a program.
Each of the following fully online programs is accredited by ALA.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Science Information Pathway
This program emphasizes preparation of information professionals capable of supporting the scientific process and dissemination of science information. Students learn skills to communicate with both scientists and those who are not science experts. Recommended courses in the pathway include: Geospatial Technologies, Environmental Informatics, Specialized Information Agencies and Services, and Geographic Information in Information Sciences.
This fully remote and nationally-ranked Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) consists of 36 semester hours. Coursework in the science information pathway may be taken once three required courses are completed. Up to 9 hours of graduate courses may be taken outside of the School of Information Sciences. Students may participate in online or on-campus research opportunities. Additionally, the school offers a graduate minor in computational science.
The GRE is not required for admission and application deadlines occur in fall and spring. Tuition and fees are based on resident status, with non-resident online students paying $27,900 for the degree program. Competitive scholarships and assistantship opportunities are available for qualified students.
University of Wisconsin, Madison – Science & Engineering Librarianship and Data Management Emphasis
Students with or without previous science experience can excel in this program. Those with a prior degree in science or engineering are able to leverage their existing knowledge, while those without a science-based degree have opportunities to gain experience through a practicum or hourly work.
The emphasis includes courses that prepare students to organize information and assist information users. Students complete a STEM librarianship course in addition to selecting courses from several options, including: Database Design, Project Management, Information Visualization, and Code & Power. Another option in the program is the Data/Information Management & Analytics concentration.
A total of 39 credits must be earned to complete the online Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies, with only 3 required core courses. Students benefit from flexible scheduling and small class sizes. Regardless of residency status, online students pay $850 per credit. Scholarships and graduate assistant positions, in the form of project assistantships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships, are available.
The Catholic University of America – Data Science Course of Study
An option within the university’s MSLIS program is the data science course of study. This course of study emphasizes the management and analysis of data and data sets. Students gain skills in statistics, systems analysis, programming, and specific subject areas.
The program consists of four required core courses and four highly recommended courses. Highly recommended courses include: Introduction to Data Science, Data Visualization, Data on the Web, and Programming for Web Application. Recommended electives in the course of study include: Government Data and Information, E-science and Technology Information, and Digital Humanities. Students may also elect to complete a graduate course outside of the school in advanced statistics or computing.
Students participate in asynchronous online learning. A practicum can be completed in the D.C. area or any area the student chooses. To graduate, students must complete a required comprehensive exam during the last semester or after the last semester of the program. Tuition is $1,215 per credit, with additional discounts available to full-time Catholic school educators. Qualified students may receive scholarships or graduate library pre-professional program opportunities.
Rutgers – Data Science Concentration
Those interested in data science may choose to follow this concentration in the Master of Information program. Students in the data science concentration learn to identify data-driven problems and solve them using analytics approaches. Emphasis is placed on learning the tools, techniques, and analytics thinking skills necessary to work in areas of growing demand.
The program requires completion of 36 credits and 3 zero-credit courses (of which, one course is a professional capstone). Additionally, one technology course and two foundational courses are required. Requirements (12 credits) within the data science concentration include: Foundations of Data Science, Data Analytics for Information Professionals, Problems Solving with Data, and Database Design and Management. A number of electives (9 credits) are available, including: Metadata for Information Professional, Web Programming, and Digital Curation.
With full-time enrollment (at least 9 credits per term), this nationally ranked online program can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years. Enrollment at less than 9 credits per term will take the student 2 to 3 years to complete the program. Tuition and fees for the entire degree program for online students will be approximately $39,000. High-achieving students may be eligible for scholarships.
Louisiana State University – Health Science & STEM Librarianship
This program emphasizes preparation for a library career specializing in health sciences, medicine, engineering, technology, or science. Courses teach students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to work in a variety of professional settings, including: academic and public libraries, hospital libraries, corporations, agencies, or industrial settings.
Three required courses must be completed. Options include: Sources of Government Information, Field Experience in Libraries and Information Centers (Science and Technology), Special Topics, and Directed Independent Study. In addition to the required courses, students must also take either Resources for Science and Technology or Health Sciences Information Centers.
LSU’s MLIS may be completed online through either SLIS Online or LSU Online. Students are able to compare both options to decide which will best meet personal and professional goals. Tuition and fees will depend on which program is selected. The MLIS, whether completed through SLIS Online or LSU Online, is a 36-credit degree program.
Typical Online Science Librarianship Curriculum
Science librarianship programs prepare graduates to serve as information professionals, with special expertise in specific areas of science and technology. Curricula generally include courses that teach students how to assist students, faculty, and researchers through the use of databases, datasets, digital maps, audiovisual materials, and analog records. Many programs place an emphasis on technical services and research. Students often have the ability to gain professional experience through a practicum or explore other relevant topics through independent study.
While not all MLIS programs include this specific designation, it may be possible to design a personalized curriculum that includes scientific and technical courses outside of the program. It is important to discuss these options with a faculty advisor before enrolling in classes.
The following are sample courses typically associated with science librarianship degree programs:
Science & Engineering Sources and Services
Deep dive into electronic and analog sources and services specific to life and physical sciences and engineering. Considers key issues and trends in science librarianship and information services for scientists, engineers, and researchers. Topics include: information-seeking behaviors, databases, data sets, and scholarly communication.
This course investigates the history, role, and future of academic libraries in colleges and universities. Students explore contemporary issues and trends facing academic librarians, staff, and deans. Topics include: technology use, policies, collections and services, internal and external stakeholders, financing, and administration. There are academic librarianship degree programs available.
Special Libraries and Information Centers
This course explores the history, role, and future of specialized information agencies and the evolving role of special librarians. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of collections and services to unique user needs based on setting and context. Real-world case studies investigate special libraries and information centers in for-profit and not-for-profit environments.
Advanced Information Retrieval
Teaches advanced knowledge and skills in information retrieval, with an emphasis on applied techniques. Students develop improved skills in search strategies and evaluation methods. Hands-on experience gained through exploration of online systems and databases. There are academic librarianship degrees that focus specifically on this area.
Study of the use of information technology and digital methods to answer humanities-based research questions. Explores the role of information professionals in collaborating across disciplines in areas of data curation, digitization, data analysis, and project management. Students will explore the history and evolution, tools and techniques, scholarship, pedagogy, and trends and issues. The most common degree is the digital library science degree.
Government Information Sources
Explores electronic and analog information sources for federal, state, local, and international agencies. Students will investigate the selection, acquisition, organization, access, and utilization of government information and data. Emphasis is placed on understanding patron needs, building reference expertise, visualization, analysis, and data manipulation.
Database Management Systems
This course teaches the theory, concepts, and processes for database design and management. Through the evaluation of database management systems, students will learn to define data needs, identify and create data structures, and administer and evaluate databases. Topics include: operating systems, file organization, data integrity, logical data models, and internal data models. Students will practice designing and implementing a database application.
Data Analytics & Visualization
This course offers an introduction to big data, data analytics, and an investigation into how humans process and encode visual information. Students will explore data applications across academia, organizations, the sciences, and online. Hands-on experience gained through the design of effective information visualizations based on theory, techniques, and best practices.
Research Methods in Library and Information Science
Investigates the methods necessary for the effective design and delivery of research processes. Teaches the skills needed to analyze and evaluate existing research studies. Research techniques across varying information environments will be discussed. Topics include: problem definition, sampling, measurement, data collection, and reporting of research findings. Students will design a research project and write a research proposal.
Culminating experience applying theories and demonstrating core program competencies. Student will gain supervised professional training in an approved information setting. Preferably student will work in an area reflective of concentration. Student will be required to submit an activity log, site supervisor evaluation, and personal reflection for completion. Pre-approval for practicum site must be received from faculty advisor.
ALA requirements for Science Librarianship Degrees programs
The American Library Association determines all minimum standards which must be met for a program to receive accreditation and continuation. This includes colleges and universities offering science librarianship degree programs. ALA-accredited MLIS programs have proven they meet or exceed criteria for educational quality and public accountability, as determined by voluntary self-evaluation and peer-assessment.
What careers can you have with a Science Librarianship degree?
While a science librarianship degree is specialized, graduates still have opportunities to work in a variety of professional settings. Careers exist with hospitals and medical libraries, corporate research libraries, federal and state government agencies, publishers, and database providers.
Science librarians at colleges and universities serve undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and researchers. They may be embedded in a specific program, such as a liaison to the engineering or physical science departments, and provide research and reference support Reference and User Services. Many collaborate with peers to publish original research relevant to librarianship and science education.
Some positions may require candidates to have a second degree in a scientific field. Candidates may be more desirable to employers if they have earned a relevant master- or doctoral-level degree. Additionally, it is not uncommon for positions in science librarianship to specify that applicants should have an ALA-accredited MLIS degree.
Possible careers include:
- Science Librarian (Biology, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Physics, etc.)
- Research Data Management Librarian
- Social Science Data & Research Librarian
- Librarian for STEM Instruction & Engagement
- Science Information Officer
- Hospital Librarian
- Consumer Health Information Specialist
- Data Services Librarian
- Director of IT and Library Services
- Data Acquisitions Specialist
- Database Developer
- Scientific Data Manager
- Governance Data Quality Steward
- eScience Specialist
- Research Data Informationist
- Science Informationist
- Health Sciences Librarian