School Program More Info
Syracuse University Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited ALA-accredited. Multiple professional pathways or specializations available. No GRE required to apply. Complete in as little as 18 months.
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
ALA Accredited ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required. Complete in as few as 21 months.
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Click to view more featured accredited online library science programs that are currently taking applications for 2024!

Three institutions provide an accredited Master's degree in library science in the state of California. All programs feature accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). Of these options, the University of California-Los Angeles requires students to complete studies on campus.

Are There Online Library Science Degree Programs in California?

Yes, two of the three Master's degrees with ALA accreditation are offered in a fully online format.

Students may consider the University of Southern California or San Jose State University, both offering unique course topics and resources and online library science degree programs at the Masters level. There are other library science related programs in California that have accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and are available online.

What to consider when studying library and information science online

Overall, California has among the highest salary averages and most employment opportunities for librarian careers. Individuals that do not live in Los Angeles or San Jose may consider the online format for added flexibility in their studies. Prospective students should consider technical requirements needed for their virtual experience. Many programs provide any specific needs on the program webpage or FAQ section. Common needs include a web browser compatible with the learning management system and high-speed internet access.

Common admission requirements for this program include submission of official transcripts, letters of reference, and professional resume. Transcripts should designate the completion of an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Standardized testing, such as the GRE or GMAT, may or may not be required depending on the school.

Campus Based Program Options in California

Los Angeles is home to both the University of Southern California and UCLA. This is the highest-populated city in the state with nearly four million people and provides numerous job opportunities. Individuals looking at Northern California may consider San Jose State University, which also features ALA accreditation.

The ALA provides accreditation in California and many other states across the country. Various Master's degrees may be considered in library science, including general disciplines of information, education, and library and information studies. Only the Master's degree receives recognition by the ALA for library science education.

List of the best campus-based and online CAEP, AASL, or ALA-Accredited library science degree programs in California

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

San Jose State University

PhD in Library Science Campus

San Jose State University

PhD in Library Science Online

San Jose State University

Graduate Certificate ALA Campus

San Jose State University

Masters in Library Science ALA Campus

San Jose State University

Online Masters in Library Science ALA Online

University of California - Los Angeles

PhD in Library Science Campus

University of California - Los Angeles

Graduate Certificate ALA Campus

University of California - Los Angeles

Online Masters in Library Science ALA Online

University of Southern California

Master of Management in Library and Information Science ALA Campus

Consider a Sponsored Online Library Program Taking Applications

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply. School Media Specialization available.
University of Denver
Master Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
St. John's University
Master Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
University of West Alabama
Master Online Master of Education in Library Media
Develop knowledge and skills in school library media with our online library media specialist degree.
University of West Alabama
Doctorate Online Ed.D. Rural Education: Library Media
Explore the essential role of library media within rural schools and districts.
i sponsored

In Depth Review of Available California MLS or MLIS Programs

University of Southern California's Master of Management in Library and Information Science

The USC Marshall School of Business offers the Master of Management in Library and Information Science. The program emphasizes library leadership. All courses and many resources in the program are available 100 percent online. 31 credit hours are needed to complete the program. An alternative online option is the graduate certification, requiring eight months to complete.

Students have the ability to complete this program in a span of 20 months. Course distribution is every 15 weeks across five semesters in an academic year. 13 total courses are needed, including three elective options. These topics may cover information technology, library collaboration, or archival management.

San Jose State University - Online Master of Library and Information Science

The 43 unit Master of Library and Information Science is available completely online through the School of Information. Students complete a variety of customize courses and conclude with an e-portfolio or thesis project. Faculty members work exclusively in the online program environment.

Curriculum blends together asynchronous coursework with some live requirements depending on the course. Topics include librarianship, digital curation, and data science. Internship requirement may include a virtual experience without needing to visit or obtain a position in San Jose.

University of California-Los Angeles - Master of Library and Information Science

The Graduate School of Education and Information Studies features the Master of Library and Information Science. Various specializations include archival studies, informatics, archival studies, and general library studies. Soft skills are also gained in communication, networking, and teamwork exercises.

18 total courses are needed to complete the curriculum requirements. An internship opportunity is available in the second year either on-campus or at an approved location. Students conclude with a professional portfolio or thesis report. All coursework must be completed within 10 quarters.

Typical MLIS coursework at universities in California

  • Information Users and Society – This course explores the broad range of information users and the impact of information on society. Topics include cultural, economic, technological, and political aspects that impact information access and use.
  • Information Organization and Access – Students learn the principles and methods for describing and accessing print and electronic records. Topics include current trends and technologies, models, schemas, discovery, use, and management systems.
  • Systems Design – Through hands-on exercises, students will design, develop, and evaluate an information retrieval system. Principles and methods of querying will also be discussed.
  • Collection Development and Management – Explores the principles and methodologies for developing and maintaining print and digital library collections. Students will consider user interest, usage patterns, and evaluation techniques.
  • Leadership, Supervision, and Management – This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of library leadership and management. Current trends and issues, communication skills, human resources, and evaluation strategies are discussed.
  • Applied Research Methods – An introduction to contemporary issues in library and information science research. Various research methods are explored. Students learn to apply methods to librarianship in preparation for evaluating and planning future research studies.
  • Internship – Offers students the opportunity to apply theory and best practices in a professional setting through temporary employment. Internships are supervised by a host institution and guided by a faculty member.

Organization to Know: California Library Association

Nearly 3,000 members are represented in the California Library Association (CLACLA), including individuals and businesses represented. Business memberships include those supporting libraries and media systems in addition to the services themselves. The nonprofit organization has been around since 1895 and is currently headquartered in the city of Sacramento.

The annual conference bringing together established professionals for networking and professional enhancement opportunities takes place in a number of different cities across the state. Locations that have hosted the event include San Francisco, Oakland, Pasadena, and Santa Barbara.

Other services and resources are offered through the CLA, including leadership development and summer reading programs for children. Leadership workshops are available to help build communication and management process. Meetings also help recognize and identify current problems in library systems and in the profession itself.

Top California Library Associations to Know About:

Career Options in Library Media

collections specialists when compared to others. It is only behind the states of New York and Texas, with over 8,600 workers recognized in the field. Large employment is due to the many university and public libraries that offer these positions.

Hundreds of opportunities are available in many sectors, whether it is in a public library, institution, or specialty field. The latter may feature digital collection and distribution of library material for an organization. Many of these jobs are found in the highly-populated cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

In order to receive a school librarian teaching license in the state, at least a Bachelor’s degree is required. This also includes professional preparation in librarian services, which are often included in graduate degrees. Master’s degrees are recommended or required for some positions depending on the library system or university.

Many educational programs have implemented latest innovations in technology within the curriculum. Professionals must have a significant understanding of digital media and distribution of this material. This includes how it is organized within the system their organization uses and the various tools needed to interact with digital media.

Salary Estimates for Librarians in California

California has among the highest average salaries in the country. Only the District of Columbia and Washington state have a higher average, but each has a lower percent of employment figures when compared to California.

A large number of metropolitan areas in California represent the highest-paying areas for librarians. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles among the top 10 highest-paid locations in the country. Figures range between the $80,000 to $90,000 mark in these cities.

Many locations across the West Coast have high-paying library positions, even stretching toward Alaska. These numbers drop significantly when heading eastward toward states such as Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. By comparison, the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona sees an average salary of $51,690 annually.

California Librarian Careers, Top Employers, Salary Information

Recent job postings for Library of Science degree holders in California

  • Director of Research Services at the University of California, Riverside – $74,182 to $129,802
  • Full Time Librarian, Student Success at Victor Valley College – salary $55,714 to $87,247
  • Associate Dean of Library and Learning Resources at California State University Channel Islands – salary $126,000 to $150,000
  • Library Technology Specialist at CSU, Chico, Meriam Library – salary $74,988 to $145,200
  • Head of Technical Services at the University of California, Irvine Libraries – salary $64,930 to $123,068
  • Open Educational Resources Librarian at California State University Channel Islands – salary $69,348 to $87,000
  • Instructional Design Librarian/Assistant Professor, Library Services at Norco College – salary $76,462 to $117,808
  • Library Division Manager for the Fullerton Public Library & Foundation – salary $76,835 to $98,072
  • Senior Librarian, Children’s Services for the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department – salary $34.47 to $45.08 Hourly
  • Science Librarian at Occidental College – salary $62,400