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Library and Information Science Current Student FAQ

How many classes should I take?
The rule is that for a graduate student, four-seven credits equals part time and eight or more credits equals full time.  Practically that means two classes (six credits) and three classes (nine credits).

Generally, our advice is that nine credits (three classes) is really full time,  and that can be combined with a job that is under 15 hours per week.  Going to school and working 20 hours per week would be stretching it.  It is unrealistic to expect to be a full time employee and a full time student.

If you are working 40 hours a week, one or at the most two classes will be enough.

How much time does a class take?
Generally, every three credit class requires 9-12 hours of work per week, on average through the semester (15 weeks).  In a class during a summer session (six weeks), this means 22-28 hours per week, per class.  Work includes reading, writing, viewing materials, working on projects, and communicating with the instructor and classmates.

Are online classes “live”?
Most MLS courses are “asynchronous” which means that you do not need to be online at a particular time.  Consult the syllabus or instructor if you are unsure.

What non-LIS classes can I take?
With your advisor’s approval, you can take six hours of graduate level Informatics courses.  You can also take up to nine hours of ILS classes:  courses offered by the Department of Information and Library Science at IU-Bloomington (these are almost always offered in-person).  Additionally, with pre-approval, you can take up to six credits from another ALA-accredited MLS program.  You cannot apply any other courses toward your MLS degree.

How often do you offer this or that class?
Classes for core requirements, such as reference and cataloging, are offered at least two out of the three terms per year.  Other courses are offered on a less frequent basis, depending on their importance.  There is a two-year schedule for all classes, and notes about when a course will be available next are published on the listserv.  For a specific answer, please contact Dr. Rachel Applegate

How long will the degree take?
You need to finish all coursework within a five year time span.  (You can petition for an exception).  If you take one course per term, year-round, that means four years, plus taking S401.  If you take two courses, that is two years.  Plus S401.

Is an internship required?  Desirable?  When do I do it?
An internship is not required for the degree.  If you do not have library work experience it will be very useful.  You do an internship after you have completed at least 18 credit hours (half) of your program.  Please visit this site: which also includes a link to a database of internships.

Do I really need to take S401 Computer Based Information Tools?
Yes, technology is woven through graduate coursework so these skills are essential. Within the course, pre-tests allow you to quickly demonstrate areas of expertise and move on to areas new to you.  The course will educate you in how these tools are used in library settings. You may request a waiver if you already have significant expertise in all the areas covered, which include bibliographic format and searching, web design, Office Word, Excel and Powerpoint, email and social media, etc.

How can I request a waiver?  What do I need to do?
Please contact Dr. William Helling ( if you believe you can qualify for a waiver.  The process includes testing and, if successful, some portfolio demonstration of competencies.