Academic Programs & Specializations

Master's Degree | Doctoral Degree

School Library Media | Archives Administration | Double Degree | Digital Libraries | Print Culture Ph.D. Minor

Masters' Degree

The purpose of the Master of Arts degree program is to help students gain and develop knowledge, skills, and understandings that together provide graduates with the ability to practice librarianship and information service at a basic professional level in a diverse, technological, and global society. The program also aims to provide a foundation, including relevant concepts from fields outside library and information studies, upon which students can build further competence and specialization. Specialization beyond the basic or general level can be accomplished by completing additional courses or learning experiences beyond the 42-credit master's program, or by careful selection of elective courses within the 42 credits, as exemplified by the programs and course tracks listed below. Supervised field practice also provides a valuable way to strengthen specialized study. The School cooperates with Wisconsin libraries and information agencies to provide such practice work. See the MA Program Planning Guide (.pdf, 13 pp.)

Distance Program

SLIS offers the master's degree via distance.

School Library Media Centers

To qualify for careers in school library media centers, students require preparation in two professional fields, librarianship and education. A valid teaching license is required for certification in the state of Wisconsin. Preparation in library and information studies includes course work in children's and young adult literature, administration of the school's library media center, audiovisual materials and services, computer applications, field experience, and others. See more: School Library Media Program

For those who already are Wisconsin teachers, Web-based School Library Media courses are available through the UW-System School Library Education Consortium, UWSSLEC

Specialization in Archives and Records Administration

This program is designed to prepare students for professional archival positions, and is given in cooperation with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Enrollment in the track is based upon previous academic performance, and a background in history and/or other areas relevant to a career in archives and records management. For more information, see: Archives Program

Double Degree Program

Another way that students gain preliminary specialization is to combine the master's degree in library and information studies with advanced degree work in other fields. College and university libraries especially recognize the value of master's and doctoral degrees in subject fields. In some jurisdictions, academic librarian appointments are tenure-track and may require a subject master's for continuing employment. Examples include the Dual Degree in Law & Library and Information Studies and the Double Degree in Music & Library and Information Studies.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D)

The doctoral degree is a research degree, and though the program permits specialization in course work, the emphasis is on comprehensive knowledge in library and information studies and on research proficiency. The program prepares students for careers in teaching and research. For more information, see the PhD Program description on this web site, and the PhD Program Planning Guide (.pdf, 41 pp.)

Ph.D. Minor with the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America

The Ph.D. Minor in Print Culture History is an interdisciplinary program functioning under the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School's Option A rules. To qualify, students will need written approval from their major advisor and from the Director, Ph.D. Minor in Print Culture History. See the CHPCMA web site for more information (

Digital libraries and resources track

The purpose of the Digital Library and Resources Track is to produce well rounded librarians, archivists or information specialists with solid understandings of digital information and its related technologies, standards, work practices, and policies and its management and use in libraries, archives and other information agencies. The track is also appropriate for students who wish to develop specialized knowledge of information systems or information infrastructure tools in the library, archives or information agency environments. These students often take independent study credits or courses outside of SLIS to further develop their specialized knowledge. See more: Digital libraries and resources track