The University of Southern California will now offer an online master’s degree for management in library and information science (MMLIS), developed by the USC Libraries in partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business. Despite the inclusion of management in the title, it’s not intended just for aspiring leaders: “It is the basic qualification for professional librarians”, Ken Haycock, director of graduate programs in library and information management ,told LJ.
The MMLIS is “one of the first programs in librarianship in the United States to be affiliated with a major business school,” USC said in a statement. (Read the complete announcement at INFOdocket.com.) The MLIS at St. Catherine University in St. Paul recently moved into its School of Business and Leadership, but wasn’t originally developed there.
The MMLIS will differ from library degrees already offered by other institutions by including a required course in communication for leaders and a two-credit course in Research and Professional Applications required each semester, in which students will investigate critical, current professional problems identified by the advisory board, in teams and with faculty.
Haycock, the program’s director, is a research professor of management and organization in the USC Marshall School of Business, and previously developed and directed the online master’s in library and information science at San Jose State University.
The program will launch in May, and USC plans to apply for ALA accreditation in the fall (something it can’t do until the program is fully operational and has students enrolled).
Unlike many predominantly online programs, there is no requirement that new students travel to the campus for orientation or other seminar work. There’s a required online orientation, and conference-based face-to-face sessions are optional. However, each course has some synchronous requirements, so that students and faculty will interact in real-time. It will be offered initially on a cohort model, in which a group of students moves through all classes and phases of the program together. Students can complete the 40 required units in two years, at a cost of $1473 per unit. Financial aid and part time schedules are available. Right now, the degree is entirely coursework, but “a thesis option is anticipated,” Haycock said.
This isn’t USC’s first library degree: Beginning in 1936, the university offered a school of library science, which changed its name several times before closing in 1986, according to the Online Archive of California.