FAQs

Table of Contents

  1. Admissions/Enrollment: application requirements, timelines, exams, immunization, undergraduate degree, application packets, registration
  2. Financial Aid and Tuition: cost, financial aid
  3. Course and Degree Information: course format, course-load, specialist or doctoral degrees, degree tracks/specialization, credit expiration, certification, licensure, supervision
  4. Non-degree Seeking: certification, financial aid, course availability, credits
  5. External Institutions: transfer credits, external students seeking VSU credits, VSU students seeking external credits
  6. Career Opportunities: field growth, salary, retirement plans

ADMISSIONS/ENROLLMENT

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 Sept. 30 each year.

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

Please email mlis@valdosta.edu to obtain additional information about the MLIS degree program.

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

The VSU MLIS Program no longer requires an entrance exam.

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.

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

Letters from employers, professors, or others who know your intellectual competencies, work ethic, and LIS work experiences. We prefer someone who is currently or has supervised you in the past. 

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.

Q. How to find semester dates?

The Academic Calendar is available at http://catalog.valdosta.edu/academic-calendar/

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

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FINANCIAL AID AND TUITION

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.

All MLIS courses are fully online and VSU e-rate tuition applies to all MLIS courses. The e-rate for VSU online courses is the same for Georgia residents and out-of-state students. For a discussion of online education and the e-rate, visit the Tuition and Fee Schedule or go to the eTuition and Online Graduate Courses page.

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. You can obtain tuition information on the Tuition and Fee Schedule page or the eTuition and Online Graduate Courses page.

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. Registration for students using the TAP benefits opens on July 15 for the fall semester, November 15 for the spring semester, and April 15 for the summer semester.  Please visit the Registrar’s Student Resources page to see the appropriate Registration Guide to confirm each TAP registration date. "TAP" students must fully withdraw from the TAP program to enroll in courses earlier than the TAP period.

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COURSE AND DEGREE 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 delivered fully online. Students are not required to come to campus unless they wish to participate in their commencement ceremony.

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 specializations by focusing on elective courses in their areas of interest. These clusters of electives provide guidance and course work toward a specific specialization. The areas of interest are listed on the Program’s website.

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. However, it does qualify them for public library 5(b) certification. In collaboration with the VSU College of Education and Human Services Department of Leadership, Technology, & Workforce Development we have developed a curriculum specifically structured to allow a student to earn the MLIS degree as well as qualify for the Georgia 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 and Human Services Department of Leadership, Technology, & Workforce Development please visit their webpage.

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

No, our program offers the MLIS only. If this is something you are interested in pursuing we would suggest you investigate other LIS programs. ALISE – a 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 that are 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?

The typical student enrolls in one or two courses per semester. One’s course load should be discussed with his or her adviser. The majority of 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.

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.

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NON-DEGREE SEEKING

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

The MLIS program does not currently offer non-degree seeking admission except for those who already hold an MLIS degree and are seeking to take additional MLIS classes for continuing education or personal enrichment. Please email mlis@valdosta.edu to find out about applying for non-degree seeking admission for purposes of continuing education. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible for financial aid or graduate assistantships.

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.

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EXTERNAL INSTITUTIONS

Q. (1) I have credits towards a graduate or professional degree. Can some of those credits be transferred to the MLIS Program?
Q. (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, courses taken from a regionally accredited graduate or professional program may be accepted 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.phpand 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, via special agreement with Clayton State University's Master of Archival Studies program, may allow up to 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.

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CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

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 this statement from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Employment of librarians and library media specialists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 15,200 openings for librarians and library media specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Communities are increasingly turning to libraries for a variety of services and activities. Therefore, there will be a need for librarians to manage libraries and help patrons find information. Parents value the learning opportunities that libraries present for children because libraries have information and learning materials that children often cannot access from home. In addition, the availability of electronic information and media materials is expected to increase the demand for these workers in research and special libraries, where patrons may need help sorting through the large amount of digital information and collections materials.

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 https://georgialibraries.org/stategrants_accounting/fy-2022-funding-formula-guidelines(Inclusive).pdf 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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