Q. When are new students admitted to the MLIS Program?

The MLIS Program admits new students in fall and spring semesters. The deadline for receipt of applications in fall semester is March 15 and for spring semester October 15 each year. Please note that these dates are firm.

Q. I'm interested in the MLIS program.  I would like to have an application packet mailed to me.

The MLIS Program no longer mails applications packets.  Applications are made online through the VSU Graduate School. The MLIS Program website provides applications guidance and links to the Graduate School for additional information.

Q. Is this a totally on-line program, or will there be face-to-face (f-2-f) class meetings?  If f-2-f is required, how often and when?

The VSU MLIS Program is an online program. Some courses might include occasional optional face-to-face meetings.

Q. What is VSU's preference for letters of recommendation?

Someone who has or is supervising you is best. We prefer letters from professors, employers, or others who know your intellectual competencies and work ethic.

Q. Does the VSU MLIS Program require the GRE, MAT, or similar examination for admission to the Program.

No. The VSU MLIS Program required an entrance exam at one time but no longer does.

Q. I am interested in attending the MLIS program. However, I do not have my vaccination records. Do I need to send them in or can I just send in the records from my undergraduate university?

From the Graduate School: The immunization record is required for enrollment - not for admission. Students enrolling in a fully online program must submit the immunization form with the distance learning exemption signed in place of submitting a completed immunization record.

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Q.  I have heard that since I already have a degree that I can "specialize" in my studies.  Is this true and exactly what areas can a librarian specialize in? 

The Program allows students to develop specialization by following curricular tracks. These tracks provide guidance and course work toward a specific specialization. The tracks and associated courses are listed on the Program’s website. Students are not required to declare a track.

Q. Do you offer a track that would result in my certification as a licensed school librarian? I am interested in a Master or Library and Information Science with initial certification with Georgia Professional Standards Commission to work in a school.  Does your program include certification?

The MLIS Program does not prepare its students for school media certification. It does qualify them for public library 5(b) certification.  We have developed together with the VSU College of Education Department of Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology a curriculum specifically structured to allow a student to earn the MLIS degree as well as qualify for school media certification. That specific curriculum requires students to take additional courses beyond the 13 courses required by the MLIS Program. For information on this process, see the three links under Dual MLIS & School Media Specialist Certification.

For additional information on the VSU College of Education Department of Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology please visit their webpage.
*Do not contact the VSU College of Education Department of Curriculum, Leadership, and Technology* unless you have been cleared to do so by your VSU MLIS adviser.

 Q. Can I take courses in the MLIS Program as a non-degree student and later apply those courses toward a degree?

As a non-degree (NOD) seeking student you may take as many or as few courses as you would like so long as prerequisite or co-requisites are met but may only apply a maximum of 9 hours (with approval) toward the degree if you become a degree-seeking student at a later time. Most MLIS courses have MLIS 7000 or its equivalent as a prerequisite or co-requisite.

Admission to the MLIS Program as a degree seeking student is a prerequisite for MLIS 7000. In practice therefore, it is difficult for a non-degree student to take MLIS courses unless s/he either already holds the MLIS degree from VSU or another institution or shows evidence of  having taken an equivalent to MLIS 7000 elsewhere.  Non-degree students are ineligible for financial aid or graduate assistantships.

From the Graduate School General Admissions:

  1. Non-Degree
    Applicants who wish to take courses only for add-on certification purposes or personal enrichment, and who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution should apply for non-degree status. In addition to the application and fee, students should submit evidence of a bachelor’s degree and the medical form by the application deadline. Proof of a bachelor’s degree may include a copy of a teaching certificate, a copy of a diploma, or a copy of a transcript.

    • NOTE: Some courses may not be available to non-degree students. Prospective non-degree seeking students are encouraged to contact the department concerned on availability of courses.

    • Non-degree students who are admitted later for degree-seeking status may apply a maximum of 9 semester hours toward the degree with approval of the advisor.

    • Courses taken as non-degree will not count for Education Specialist degrees. For Doctor of Public Administration and Doctor of Education degrees, courses previously taken as a non-degree student may be transferred into a degree-seeking program of study with the approval of one's advisor.

Q. Because I don't have my undergraduate degree in anything related to this particular program, will there be classes that I will have to take to qualify for this program?

We require an accredited bachelor’s degree in any field. In fact, having students with different backgrounds and experiences helps leaven the classroom and learning processes. We assume that entering students have no prior academic preparation for the MLIS and structure our courses accordingly.

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Q.  How long does it take to complete the program by taking one-to-two classes?  Two years?  

The program requires 39 hours or 13 courses. At one course per semester, including summers, you would progress at 9 hours per year or 4.33 years. If you took two courses in fall and spring and one in summer (15 hours per year) it would take 2.6 years.

Q. Are students allowed to just take one class per semester, or does the program require you to be part of a cohort and take at least two classes per semester?

The VSU MLIS Program is not a cohort program. You may take one course per semester. Or you may be a full time student taking nine or more hours per semester. It is not required that you take courses every semester as well.

Q. How to find semester dates?

This is different from the dates of registration. Dates of registration are on the Banner homepage, then click on Registration Dates in left column.

Q. Does the VSU MLIS Program offer a Sixth Year or Doctoral Program?

No, our program offers the MLIS only. We do not offer a sixth year specialist's degree. I would suggest you investigate other LIS programs. ALISE – an LIS educators’ association – maintains a list of its institutional members.  ALA offers a list of schools with ALA accredited masters programs. Not all ALA Accredited programs are associated with PhD or Sixth year programs (http://www.ala.org/accreditedprograms/).  Universities members of the Academic Common Market may provide in-state tuition to Georgia residents seeking the Sixth Year or PhD Program (see http://www.sreb.org/page/1304/academic_common_market.html)

Q. Are there any long-range plans for a Specialist Degree at VSU?

We would like to think we will develop other degree programs. These take time, typically more than five years to develop and move through the system.  So, yes there are long-range plans, but nothing in the near term.

Q. What is the typical course load per semester? How quickly can the program be completed?

There is no typical class load. Students carry from three to twelve hours (1 to 4 courses) per semester. The typical student enrolls in one or two courses. One’s course load should be discussed with his or her adviser. To date, one student completed the program in three semesters. Many students take six to eight semesters to complete the program.

Q.  Do credits “expire”?

The graduate school sets a seven year limit on credits viability - that is to say if a student moves through the program too slowly, he or she may lose credits as those credits age past seven years.

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Q.  (1)  I have credits towards a graduate or professional degree. Can some of those credits be transferred to the MLIS Program?

      (2)  I have successfully completed a graduate or professional degree. Can some of those credits be transferred to the MLIS Program?

Transferring graduate coursework into VSU MLIS is discussed on an individual basis with your advisor. If a student wishes to transfer in comparable graduate-level course, they must provide the course description comparable to that in the university catalog, the syllabus, and other course materials to the advisor to determine course equivalence/similarity. If the advisor determines the course is an appropriate transfer course, a course substitution form will be sent to the Graduate School for approval. The course substitution form specifies the course, hours, institution of origin, and how the course should be applied (e.g., general elective or a course substitution for an existing course in the curriculum). All transfer requests are subject to approval by the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies & Research, and grades transferred fall under the current deficiency point system.

Acceptance of transfer credit is based on the following criteria:

  • Maximum of six credit hours can be transferred.
  • Transferred courses cannot be more than seven years of age at the time of admission to the MLIS program.
  • The credits were earned at an institution that is regionally accredited.
  • The credits were earned with a grade of B or better.MLIS 7000 and MLIS 7800 must be completed at Valdosta State University and cannot be transferred.

Q. Can I take a course or two at another university while I am enrolled in the MLIS degree program and count those credits toward my degree?  

Yes, from a regionally accredited graduate or professional program as transfer credit.  For example, Clayton State University offers specialty archives courses, and the University of West Georgia offers public history courses.

Q. How do I enroll at the other institution?

Currently enrolled MLIS students who wish to take one or two courses at another graduate institution and count them toward the MLIS degree must first consult with their academic advisor for permission to do so.  If the advisor approves the requested course(s), the student should apply to the outside institution as a non-degree seeking student.  To do so, the student must ask the advisor to request and then present a letter of good standing (transient letter) from the VSU Graduate School:  http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/graduate-school/important-links-for-graduate-students.php and then follow all the application and registration procedures required by the other institution. 

Q. How many courses can I take at an external institution?

VSU Graduate School policy accepts up to six (6) credit hours from another regionally-accredited institution as transfer credit to be transferred in from incomplete graduate or professional studies programs. The MLIS Program reviews all courses offered for credit for appropriateness and congruence with the purpose of the degree program.  The MLIS Program may disallow credits towards its degree if the courses are not approved in advance or if the courses are not completed with a satisfactory grade. The student must request that the credits earned from the approved courses be transferred to Valdosta State University upon completion of the courses.  The Dean of the VSU Graduate School, by agreement with Clayton State University's Master of Archival Studies program, may allow no more than twelve (12) credit hours from that program to be applied toward the VSU MLIS degree.  Again, students must consult with their academic advisors before initiating the process of counting outside courses toward the MLIS degree.

Q. Can I use my VSU Financial Aid to pay for courses taught by another institution?

Students who wish to use their current VSU financial aid award to pay for a course at a different university must request a Transient Certificate from the VSU Office of Financial Aid. Students must work directly with the Office of Financial Aid to complete this process. The student’s academic advisor cannot advise on Financial Aid procedures. 

Students who are full-time employees of the University System of Georgia and use TAP should contact their TAP Officer directly and apply by the established TAP deadline in order for tuition to be waived by the teaching institution. 

VSU graduate assistantship awards cannot be used to pay for courses at other institutions.

 Q. What tuition and fees might I be expected to pay?

This is a complex question. First, the University System of Georgia has a highly competitive tuition and fees rate as compared to other state schools in the country. There are also different rates for online and face-to-face courses.

E-rate tuition applies to online courses. All MLIS courses are now fully online and the e-rate applies to all MLIS courses. For a discussion of online education and the e-rate, visit the Tuition and Fee Schedule. There is a link from this page that provides the e-rate or go here. The e-rate for VSU online courses is the same for Georgia residents and non-residents.

Q. How much is the overall cost to complete the program and how much does it cost per semester?

You will need to pay tuition and fees as well as buy books and other incidental costs. You may also need to buy or upgrade your computer, your connectivity, and software. Many of these are so variable it is difficult to estimate.

Q. What is the Tuition Assistance Program and do I qualify?

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a fringe benefit offered to full time employees of the colleges and universities of the University System of Georgia. It provides tuition waivers under a specific set of criteria. For more information contact your USG Human Resources Officer and review the USG web site.

Q. What are the limits to TAP?

Students using TAP at USG schools are at one significant disadvantage. They are allowed to register for classes near the very end of registration periods. At VSU there are usually two registration periods for any given semester - "early" and "regular." Registration for students taking courses under TAP is at the end of the "regular" period, often on the day or a day or two before classes begin for that semester. The TAP registration date for VSU students can be found on the School's Academic Calendar. "TAP" students may, if they wish, enroll in courses earlier than the TAP period if they elect to pay tuition and fees.

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Q. I am employed full-time in a department of a library.  Can I use that time as "Supervised Field Experience" when I take that course, or if I would need to do that time in an outside library.

You may not convert assigned work experience for supervised work experience. You may, however, earn “Supervised Work Experience” in your library if you develop a course plan (with your adviser) that places you in learning environments apart from your duty areas. You may also undertake a “Supervised Work Experience” at a different library or other related facilities.

Q. Is the future bright for job/career opportunities in library science and other information fields? In other words, will I be able to find a good career opportunity in the corporate or educational work setting?

We think so. US Department of Labor statistics suggest ample opportunities in traditional and new information professions. For example, see:“Employment of librarians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.  There will continue to be a need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. As patrons and support staff become more comfortable using electronic resources, fewer librarians will be needed for assistance. However, the increased availability of electronic information is also expected to increase the demand for librarians in research and special libraries, where they will be needed to help sort through the large amount of available information.” In addition, “Jobseekers may face strong competition for jobs, especially early in the decade, as many people with master’s degrees in library science compete for a limited number of available positions. Later in the decade, prospects should be better, as older library workers retire and population growth generates openings.

Q. Are public librarians in Georgia on the same retirement plan as public school teachers?

In Georgia, librarians are on the Teacher Retirement System, which will take into account all years on TRS, including teaching experience. 

Q. I thought that Georgia public librarians are compensated according to the state-listed salary. However, one library system has advertised a position well below that level. Is the state salary schedule a suggestion?  Also, how do the Georgia public library systems account for higher level positions, such as a director of a library? Are they paid on the same scale? Also, how do the library systems account for higher level positions? Are they paid on the same scale?

Beginning July 1, 2015, public librarians in Georgia with a Masters in Library Science degree are paid in one of two ways. The State of Georgia allocates a certain number of "state reimbursed" positions for each library system, based on its Zero Based Budgeting Funding Formula. 

These positions have a minimum and maximum reimbursement amount from the state, but the salary is set by the library system director based on experience, responsibility and job performance. There is an additional stipend in the state scale for directors. See http://www.georgialibraries.org/lib/stategrants_accounting/ for more information on reimbursement amounts.

In addition, library systems may hire additional professional librarians. If they do, those positions are funded at whatever level the system can pay.

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