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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Categories

General Information about the M.L.I.S. Program

What is the M.L.I.S. program like at Kent State University?

  • The M.L.I.S. degree program at Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) has a history of excellence. As the only American Library Association-accredited master's program in Ohio, SLIS at Kent State is the center of library and information science scholarship, research and education in the state, and among the top 20 programs in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Students in the M.L.I.S. program prepare for professional careers in all types of libraries and information centers, as well as for positions within the information industry. They may pursue a general M.L.I.S. degree or choose a specialization.

What types of students are in the M.L.I.S. program?

  • There are more than 600 students in our master's program, ranging in age from their early 20s to early 60s. About 50 percent of our students currently work in libraries. Their undergraduate majors vary widely, from English to history, dance to computer science. This is a field that appeals to people from many different kinds of backgrounds. It is also typically a field that attracts a higher number of women than men. Many of our students already hold another master's or professional degree.

Can I pursue another master's degree at Kent State while pursuing my M.L.I.S.?

In what semester can a new student start the M.L.I.S. program?

  • New students can start the M.L.I.S. program in the fall, spring or summer semester.

Is it possible to specialize in the M.L.I.S. program?

  • Yes. Our career planning Guidesheets list key electives and workshops recommended for various specialty areas. We recommend taking at least one elective from three elective areas listed on the Program Statement: "Access to Information" electives (A), "Organization and Representation of Knowledge" electives (O/R) and "Administration and Management" electives (M). The Guidesheets will help you select appropriate electives from each group to develop a focus area for your M.L.I.S. degree.
  • You can choose courses and workshops from several of the Guidesheets. Some students choose to combine the Children's and Young Adult Guidesheets, for example, while others take elective courses from both Information Technology and another area. Various combinations are possible.

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Admissions and Applications

Where can I find application materials?

What should I include in the "Statement of Career Goals"?

  • The Statement of Career Goals should identify your educational background and experience, indicate the career track(s) that currently interests you and describe how completing the M.L.I.S. degree at Kent State will help you realize your professional and career objectives. You should also briefly discuss what you think is one of the most important current issues in the field of Library and Information Science. It is important to note that the Statement of Career Goals provides the school with a writing sample to help us determine your readiness for graduate study. Additionally, the goal statement is used to match you with an appropriate faculty advisor.
How is my overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) determined?
  • If you have only attended one undergraduate institution, your final GPA will appear on your degree transcript. If you have attended more than one undergraduate institution, your GPA will be based on all undergraduate courses you have taken before and after completing your degree. Graduate-level course credits do not affect your undergraduate GPA.

Which transcripts do I need to submit?

  • You must request a transcript from any academic institution(s) at which you earned eight (8) or more credits. If your total undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0, it is to your advantage to submit transcripts for any graduate courses you have completed, regardless of the number of credits earned.

Do I have to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam)?

  • Applicants are required to take the GRE only if their total GPA from the highest completed degree is less than a 3.0. Note that total GPA includes grades for all courses taken at the relevant level (baccalaureate or master's) at all institutions.

Do I need library experience to apply to the M.L.I.S. program?

  • No. Prior experience working in a library is not needed for admission.

Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required if you earned your undergraduate degree outside of the United States. However, TOEFL scores may be waived for those students who completed a degree in the United States. For more information about TOEFL or IELTS requirements, please visit our M.L.I.S. admissions page.
How long does it take to receive a decision about my admission to the program?
  • Your application packet is not considered complete until the application, all letters of recommendation, the Biographical Sketch, the Statement of Career Goals, transcripts and any required standardized scores have been received by the Office of Graduate Studies. Once your application packet is complete, you can expect to receive a decision in approximately two to three weeks. In cases where applicants are are being considered for conditional admission, the process may take additional time.

Can I apply for the K-12 School Library Media specialization if my teaching credentials are outside of Ohio?

  • Before applying, students whose teaching credentials are outside of Ohio should contact the Ohio Board of Education at http://www.ode.state.oh.us for information on how to obtain their Ohio teaching certification. This does not include students who are concurrently working on their initial Ohio teaching licensure at the time they apply for the K-12 School Library Media specialization through SLIS. Students not wanting Ohio licensure but wanting licensure in their own state should consult their own state requirements for reciprocity.

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Courses and Scheduling

Which courses should I take first?

  • Students in the M.L.I.S. program who are under catalog year 2013 and later must take LIS 60000 in their first semester. Students should take the remaining five core courses - LIS 60001, LIS 60002, LIS 60003, LIS 60600, and LIS 60610 - early in the program. Since the electives you wish to take may require one of the core courses as a prerequisite, it is advisable to finish the core courses within the first 18 hours of your program. Students in the K-12 School Library Media specialization should visit the K-12 School Librarianship page of the SLIS website for a list of courses.
  • We strongly recommend that LIS 60600 (Foundations of Library and Information Science) and LIS 60003 (Information Technology for Library and Information Professionals) should be taken within the first 9 credit hours of the M.L.I.S. program. 
  • Students may begin their LIS 60670 Culminating Experience or LIS 60199 Thesis after the successful completion of 24 credits hours (including all core courses), optimally as part of the last 9 credit hours of the MLIS program.  LIS 60604 is also highly recommended for those students who plan to complete a Thesis, a Culminating Experience Research Paper, or a Culminating Experience Project.
How do I know which catalog year I should follow?

If you were admitted in a fall semester, then you follow the catalog for that year. If you were admitted in spring or summer, you follow the previous fall catalog. You may change your catalog year forward, but you may not change it to a previuos year.  If you are unsure of your catalog year, please email slisinform@kent.edu for assistance.

When do I need to submit the Program Statement to my advisor?

  • You should meet with your advisor during your first semester to complete your program statement. If you plan to register for courses other than the required core courses or are unsure about an appropriate course load for your first semester, you should contact your advisor prior to registration.
Which courses can I count on being offered each semester?

When I tried to register for a course, the system indicated that the course is "closed." What does that mean?  

  • If a course is closed, that is another way of saying that it is full and no seats are available. You may place yourself on the waitlist for the course through the Waitlist Request page on this site.

If a course is full, can the instructor register me?

  • No, instructors cannot register students for courses that are full (closed.)  Students must place themselves on the waitlist for the closed course. Visit the Waitlist Request page; you will need your FlashLine user name and the Course Registration Number (CRN) number.

How do I waitlist for a course?

  • If you find that a course is indicated as "closed," you may place yourself on the waitlist for it. Visit the Waitlist Request page; you will need your FlashLine user name and the Course Registration Number (CRN) number.
  • As openings occur in courses, students on the waitlist will be contacted in the order in which they waitlisted themselves. Students will be contacted by all available phone numbers, and then by email if unreachable by phone. We ask that students return these calls/emails as quickly as possible even if they do not wish to be registered for the course. This will allow us to register students who wish to be enrolled and to contact other students on the waitlist.
  • Following registration, students should review their schedule for accuracy and make arrangements for tuition payment through the Bursar's office. Students who are dropped from courses due to non-payment and still wish to take the course may be required to place themselves on the waitlist for that course.

When and where are classes held?

  • You can earn the M.L.I.S. degree at Kent State Universtiy's Kent Campus, at the SLIS Columbus site or completely online. When you register for a class, please pay attention to the class details in the schedule regarding when and where a class is held. Specifically, in the class schedule, each class entry has its "Meeting Dates," "Days," and "Time" to indicate when the class is held, and "Location" to indicate where it is held. Online classes have their locations listed as "WEB COURSE." 

What is an online course?

  • An online course is delivered through the Internet and Web-based software. Online courses will be delivered online through Blackboard, Kent State's virtual classroom management system. Students receive course content, submit assignments, complete exams and interact with the instructor and other students through Blackboard.

What is the practicum?

  • Completing a practicum is strongly encouraged for those who do not have any library experience. A practicum provides professional experience in a setting relevant to your degree focus and must be supervised by someone with a Master of Library and Information Science degree.
  • Practica may be completed for the three-credit Culminating Experience (LIS 60670) or may be taken as the elective Practicum in Libraries and Information Centers (LIS 60692) for two or three credits. Only one practicum experience may be applied towards your M.L.I.S. degree. If you complete the elective practicum (LIS 60692), you will be required to select the research paper or research project option for your Culminating Experience (LIS 60670). You may ask any full-time SLIS faculty member to supervise a practicum. For more information, review the Culminating Experience & Elective Practicum details on the Forms and Downloads page.

Can I take workshops?

  • The School of Library and Information Science offers approximately 20 workshops each semester. Workshops are worth one or two graduate credits, last approximately two to four days for on-site workshops, or one to several weeks for online workshops. Workshops are open to SLIS students as well as to professional librarians, teachers and others interested in library and information science. With your advisor's approval, you can apply a maximum of four workshop credits toward your M.L.I.S. degree. Be sure to consult the Workshop-Course Overlap List to make sure the workshop you are planning to take does not overlap in content with an LIS course. You cannot receive credit for both a course and a workshop with similar content.
  • Visit the Workshop Catalog to see the vast array of workshops offered in SLIS. Before registering for the workshop, you should submit the Request for Workshop Credit form to your advisor.

Can I transfer graduate credits that I have already earned?

  • If you have completed graduate-level course work and the classes have not been counted toward another degree, then you may request to transfer credits into the program.You must complete the Request for Transfer Credit form and review related transfer credit policies and procedures as included on the form.

Can I receive credit for previous years of work experience at a library?

  • No, the school does not award academic credit for previous work experience in a library.

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Time and Enrollment Requirement to Complete M.L.I.S. Program

What is the shortest amount of time needed to complete course work for the M.L.I.S. degree?

  • Technically, students can complete the M.L.I.S. degree in three or four semesters by enrolling in 9 to12 credit hours each semester. Please note that many elective courses are only offered every three to five semesters, so it is advisable to extend your program of study in order to take an elective that is particularly relevant to your career goals. Students are advised to consult with their academic advisor to plan an individual program of study and prepare for the competitive job market.

How long do I have to complete coursework for the M.L.I.S. degree?

  • Students are expected to complete all requirements for the master's degree and certificates of advanced study and graduate within six (6) consecutive years from the date of initial enrollment. Students who exceed this time limit may petition for a one-year extension without being required to repeat any coursework taken within the six years prior to the one-year extension. Additional time extensions will require that coursework older than seven years be retaken. All courses used to meet the requirements for graduation may be no older than seven years at the time of graduation.  
  • You may request a one-year extension of your time limits by sending a letter or email to the director of the School of Library and Information Science. The letter should include an explanation of why you were not able to complete your coursework within the time limit, how you plan to complete your final coursework (your plan of attack) and the specific semester that you plan to graduate. All of these points need to be addressed in your written communication. After the director receives your request, your file will be reviewed and a recommendation will be sent to the College of Communication and Information for a final decision. You will be notified by mail of this decision.
  • Effective in Fall 2012, a Leave of Absence policy is in place for degree-seeking graduate students. This policy applies to ALL graduate degree-seeking students at Kent State, regardless of their start date. Basically, degree-seeking graduate students are expected to be enrolled at least one term per year. If you wish to take a leave of absence from your studies, you must apply for the leave BEFORE you take time off, and it must be approved in advance, or it will be considered that you have voluntarily withdrawn. If you are a degree-seeking student without a leave of absence approval, and you are not enrolled at Kent State for a year, you MUST reapply to the degree program if you want to continue your study. The entire policy is available in the SLIS Student Handbook.

How do I apply for time extension?

  • You may request a one-year extension of your time limit by sending a letter or email to the director of the School of Library and Information Science. The letter should include an explanation of why you were not able to complete your coursework within the time limit, how you plan to complete your final coursework and the specific semester that you plan to graduate. All of these points need to be addressed in your written communication. After the director receives your request, your file will be reviewed and a recommendation will be sent to the College of Communication and Information for a final decision. You will be notified by mail of this decision.

How do I apply for a leave of absence?

  • A leave of absence is granted to degree-seeking graduate students in active status who must be away from their studies for one or more semesters due to personal, family, financial or other compelling reasons. To be eligible for a leave of absence, students must have completed at least one full term of enrollment (on a part-time or full-time basis) and be in good academic standing.
  • The Request for Leave of Absence Form should be submitted prior to the start of the term for which the leave is requested, but no later than the last day of classes in the term in which the leave is taken. A retroactive leave of absence will not be granted.
  • Prior to applying for a leave of absence, students should consider its potential implications for such matters as funding (including assistantships and veterans benefits), loan repayment, immigration status, health insurance, university housing and time-to-degree completion. For further information about the effect on these areas, we recommend that you contact Student Financial Aid at finaid@kent.edu or 330-672-2972.
  • International students should contact the Office of Global Education at 330-672-7980 before the initiation of a leave of absence and before returning to campus, in order to ensure compliance with SEVIS regulations and visa restrictions.

How many hours do I need to take to be a full-time student?

  • You must be enrolled in at least eight (8) credit hours to be considered a full-time student and may carry no more than 16 hours in any semester. 

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Financial Assistance

How competitive are graduate assistantships?

  • Typically, the school receives a large number of applications for the 10 or 11 graduate assistant positions. Applications are reviewed by a committee to select a group of finalists for interviews before graduate assistantships are awarded.

What is required of graduate assistants?

  • Graduate assistants are assigned to two faculty members at either the Kent Campus or Columbus site and must work a total of 20 hours per week for 15 weeks, in exchange for full tuition remission and a stipend. The appointments are typically made for the academic year, beginning with the fall semester, but may also continue through the summer semester. Graduate assistants usually help faculty with their research projects, with their courses or with other duties as assigned.

What types of scholarships are available for students in library and information science?

  • Various types of scholarships are available in varying amounts. Most are awarded in the fall to enrolled students. Applications are made available at New Student Orientation in August. There are also a variety of other local and national scholarships for students pursuing the M.L.I.S. Please consult the Scholarship page for more information.

Whom shall I contact if I have questions about my financial aid?

  • We recommend that you contact Student Financial Aid at finaid@kent.edu or 330-672-2972.
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Email and Technology

What email account do I need to use?

  • SLIS students are assigned an email account through the university that ends with "@kent.edu." Please note that it is your responsibility to check your Kent email regularly or have it forwarded to your personal email account. This Kent email is the only one that is used to communicate official announcements and notifications by the university, school, your advisor and course instructors, even if you indicate your email preference otherwise. 

What is FlashLine? What is my FlashLine login user name and password?

  • FlashLine is a Web portal that provides Kent State University students, faculty and staff with intranet and Internet services.
  • Your FlashLine user name (user ID) is everything before the "@" symbol in your Kent State email address. For example, if your Kent State email address is jdoe1@kent.edu, then your FlashLine user name would be jdoe1. Your FlashLine password is the same as your Kent State email account password.
  • To access FlashLine, you can log in from the any page on the SLIS website, in the upper right corner.

How do I sign up for the SLIS listserv?   

  • The listserv is the school's primary mechanism for sharing information about the program. Messages announce breaking news, course or individual class changes, cancellations, new job postings and more. It is also a forum where students are encouraged to discuss topics pertinent to the field of libraries and information science.
  • Subscribing and unsubscribing directions are below. From the account you wish to subscribe / unsubscribe, send an email message using the following information:
    • To subscribe:
      To: listserv@listserv.kent.edu
      Subject: Subscribe
      Body: subscribe KSUSLIS-L First_name Last_name
      NOTE:  "First_name" means YOUR first name, and "Last_name" means YOUR last name.

      Once you have subscribed, you can send messages by addressing them to: ksuslis-l@listserv.kent.edu.

    • To unsubscribe:
      To: listserv@listserv.kent.edu
      Subject: Unsubscribe
      Body: signoff KSUSLIS-L

What computer skills do I need? What are the technology requirements for SLIS students?

  • The technological proficiencies and technology requirements for online students are applicable to all SLIS students. Please read the Proficiencies and Tools for Online Students page for details on what's expected.

How do I use Blackboard, the university-supported course management system?

  • Tutorials and other resources can be found here. If you are encountering problems with your access or the system, contact the university Helpdesk at 330-672-HELP (4357).

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Graduation

What are the requirements for graduation?

  • M.L.I.S. students under catalog year 2013 and after must successfully complete 37 semester hours (catalog years 2012 and before must complete 36 semester hours) with a GPA of 3.00 or higher, except for students pursuing the M.L.I.S. + K-12 School Library Media Specialization. The M.L.I.S. + K-12 School Library Media specialization for catalog year 2011 and after requires 39 semester hours (catalog years 2007-2010 requires 36 hours) with a GPA of 3.00 or higher. The 37 semester hours required for the M.L.I.S. degree include six core courses and a Culminating Experience (CE) or Master's Thesis. For M.L.I.S. students pursuing the M.L.I.S. + K-12 School Library Media Specialist, this includes eight core courses and a Culminating Experience (CE). Please refer to the program statement for your catalog year.

How do I apply for graduation?

  • Graduation applications must be submitted online via FlashLine before Friday of the first week of the graduating semester. Graduate students in the College of Communication and Information, including SLIS students, should follow the instructions for applying for graduation at http://www.kent.edu/CCI/Advising/cci-graduate-graduation-application-process.cfm.
  • It is your responsibility to submit a graduation application by the published deadline for your graduation term. You may view your submitted graduation application via FlashLine, Student Tools & Courses, then Apply for Graduation > View Submitted Graduation Application. Also, please be sure to check your address on FlashLine to ensure that your diploma will be sent to the correct address.

I am graduating this semester; how do I obtain a letter confirming completion of degree coursework?

  • If you are graduating this semester, you may request a letter stating that you have completed the requirements for your degree and confirming that you have applied for graduation. Email your request to the SLIS office ( slisinform@kent.edu) with the following information:
  • Name and Title of the person to whom the letter should be addressed
  • Library, school or company name
  • Complete mailing address
  • Fax number, if available
  • Your complete mailing address
  • These letters will be generated after all grades have been posted. If a fax number is provided, they will be faxed as quickly as possible, and the original will also be sent. A copy of the letter will also be sent to you.

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Careers and Employment Opportunities

Why should I get an M.L.I.S.?

Does the School of Library and Information Science help students with the job search process?

  • Students can register with the Career Services Center at Kent State for professional job search assistance. You should also consult the resources on our Career Planning page. In addition, there is a collection of books on resume writing and interviewing in the SLIS student lounge on the Kent Campus. Both the Kent and Columbus locations have bulletin boards with job postings, and job announcements are posted regularly to the school's listserv.

How long does it take to find a job once I receive my M.L.I.S. degree?

  • The length of time it takes to find a professional library job will vary from student to student, but surveys of SLIS alumni from the past five years have indicated that 92 percent of our graduates found employment within 12 months or more of completing the master's program. Many of these were students with no previous library experience. Approximately 88 percent of our graduates with library experience found employment within the first 12 months after graduation.

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More Information

Where can I get more information about SLIS?
  • The SLIS website includes information about the School of Library and Information Science courses, requirements, faculty, programs and facilities. Also, you may call the school at 330-672-2782 or email slisinform@kent.edu to get additional information.

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