The Online MLIS Program

The Master of Library and Information Studies program is accredited by the American Library Association, and allows students to pursue a course-based degree online. This is a 13 course, part-time program to be completed within six (6) years. However, the program may be completed in less time depending on your chosen course load. 


This program is delivered entirely online. Students are not required to come to campus. Online courses are offered asynchronously (i.e. there are no scheduled class meeting times). Students are expected to be online everyday, work independently as well as collaboratively in small groups and be willing to learn new technologies.

Small group discussions are an integral part of the online experience. Online learning is demanding and students should expect to spend between 12-15 hrs per week engaging with course materials, reading and responding to fellow classmates and completing assignments.

Courses are available in three terms:

  • Fall Term (September - December)
  • Winter Term (January - April)
  • Spring/Summer Terms (May - August)

The majority of courses are offered during the Fall and Winter terms. Two courses per term is the maximum a student can take in this program, for a total of 6 courses (★18) per calendar year.

Program Requirements

The minimum requirements for the course-based MLIS is 13 courses (★39) and a capping exercise (★0). Please note that there is no thesis option for online students at this time.

See Resources + Forms for the MLIS Program Sheets.

Required Core Courses

The following core courses are required for all students in the MLIS program:

  • LIS 501 - Foundations of Library and Information Studies: All students must take LIS 501 (Foundations of Library and Information Studies) in the first semester of their program. LIS 501 is intended to provide the broad context for all of the other courses in the program, and is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for the other required courses. Check pre or co-requisites on the University Calendar before selecting elective courses.
  • LIS 502 - Organization of Information
  • LIS 503 - Reference and Information Services
  • LIS 504 - Leaderships and Management Principles for Libraries and Information Services
  • LIS 505 - Introduction to Research in Library and Information Studies
  • Two (2) designated information technology (IT) courses.

See the Course List for more info.

Information Technology (IT) Courses

The MLIS program is a technology intensive program, which prepares students for positions of responsibility across the information professions. Students will be required to take two "designated information technology courses," which are indicated with "(IT)" following the course title.

Advisors / Supervisors

Each student is assigned a Program Advisor who will provide advice and counselling in adapting the program to match career goals and objectives. Those students wishing to pursue the thesis option are also required to obtain a Supervisor to oversee their work. Students should also consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Graduate Program Manual and the University Calendar for additional information.

Academic Integrity & Ethics Training

The University of Alberta Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research requires that all graduate students complete a minimum of eight hours of ethics training as part of their degree programs. Students in the MLIS program receive ethics training in the MLIS required courses - approximately 17 hours in total. Coverage of specific topics varies between courses, but currently includes: academic integrity; intellectual property; ethics review for research with human subjects; professional values - including protection of privacy; and other ethics-related issues. Additional topics are also covered in our elective courses and as preparation for thesis-related work.

Time Limits for Completion

Candidates in the course-based route must have completed all the requirements within six years of the time they are first registered in the Master's program.

Transfer Credits

Some graduate courses taken before admission may be granted as transfer credit by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, on the recommendation of the School of Library and Information Studies, provided that the courses have not been counted towards a previous degree or diploma or to qualify for admission to the MLIS program. No more than three courses may be given transfer credit. Applicants with graduate courses from a program accredited by the American Library Association should consult the School for information regarding transfer credits and course requirements. Transfer credits requests from applicants will be reviewed after they are admitted in the MLIS program and they have accepted the admission offer. Please contact SLIS for more details, including document requirements, after you have accepted the admission offer.