Table of Contents > College of Communication and Information Sciences


Director: Dr. Ann E. Prentice, Office: 513 Gorgas Library


Through excellence in teaching, research, and service, SLIS is committed to educate socially responsible information professionals prepared to empower diverse populations in a multitude of contexts, communities, and cultures.


To advance the theory, art, and practice of professions specializing in the use and creation of information in traditional and emergent forms.


Since its beginnings more than forty years ago, SLIS has developed a unique interdisciplinary personality that blends the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We support a mutual belief in and respect for those we serve. This is evident in our strong support of intellectual freedom, access to all, and the tenets of social justice.

SLIS Strategic Plan

Educational Objectives

The educational objectives of these graduate programs are as follows:

  • Teaching. Provide students with the knowledge, skills, understanding, and diverse technologies to meet the changing informational and cultural needs of diverse populations and organizations. Foster leadership skills and abilities in all students, provide opportunities within the program for students with leadership potential to exercise their abilities, and encourage students as graduates to seek out and assume leadership roles. Improve and develop students' critical and conceptual thinking skills.
  • Research and creative activity. Augment and advance knowledge through basic research and improve professional practice through systematic inquiry into its nature, standards, and principles.
  • Service. Apply the insights and knowledge gained through research and instruction in service to public- and private-sector organizations.

Facilities. The School classrooms, faculty offices and shared spaces are housed on the fifth floor of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library in the heart of the campus.  Student spaces provide desktop computing, printing, laptop workstations, individual and group work spaces, professional resources and a collection of children and youth literature.  A student lounge is conveniently located for relaxation and refreshment. 

Academic Common Market (ACM).  The School of Library and Information Studies participates in the ACM, an agreement among selected Southern states to share academic programs at in-state tuition rates. Residents of the states of Arkansas, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia may make an ACM application to attend the MLIS program.  If accepted, The University of Alabama will pay the out-of-state portion of the student’s tuition.  Residents of Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee may apply to the ACM to attend the MFA in book arts program, also with UA’s paying the out-of-state portion of tuition.  Background information on the ACM, a list with the contact information for each state’s ACM Coordinator, and an online application to the UA Academic Common Market.

A number of departmental assistantships (which not only pay a stipend but also cover some out-of-state fees), as well as a number of scholarships, are available each academic year. For information Contact the Director of the School of Library and Information Studies.


Regular Admission Requirements

An applicant whose credentials meet the following minimum requirements may be considered for regular admission:

  • a grade point average of at least 3.0 overall or 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, based on a 4.0 system
  • an acceptable score on the entrance examination (minimum test scores: general test of the GRE verbal and quantitative=300 or MAT=50th percentile)

Not every student whose credentials meet the stated quantitative standards is admitted.

Information about the GRE is available from the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08540. The MAT is given by the testing service of most colleges and universities and may be taken by appointment. Applicants should plan well in advance so that examination results are available when needed to support an application for admission. Braille editions of the GRE and the MAT can be obtained from The University of Alabama, Test Service, Box 870108, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0108.

Application instructions may be obtained from the Graduate School's website. 

Conditional Admission Requirements

An applicant whose credentials do not meet the stated requirements may be considered for conditional admission if the following minimum requirement is satisfied:

  • a grade point average of at least 2.5 overall and a GRE or MAT score acceptable to the School and the Graduate School

A graduate student admitted conditionally removes the condition by earning an average of "B" or better for the first 12 semester hours of graduate-level work completed and by satisfying any other conditions specified by the School at the time of admission. If the 12 hours are completed in a term in which the total credits exceed 12, the evaluation is made on the basis of all graduate-level work completed at the end of that term of enrollment. Failure to remove the condition within the first 12 hours of graduate work will result in the student's being dropped from the program. A student who satisfies the condition automatically assumes the status of a regularly admitted graduate student.

Nondegree Admission Requirements

A student may be admitted as a nondegree student if that person has either a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or an acceptable test score: 50th percentile on the MAT or 300 on the GRE general test. No more than 12 hours may be taken as a nondegree student and applied to a degree.

See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information on admission to all programs.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the MLIS degree must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, completing all work with a grade average of "B" or better. A thesis is not required. All MLIS students must complete, as part of the minimum 36 hours, the following 18 hours of required courses:

LS 500 Organization of Information
LS 501 Introduction to Library and Information Studies
LS 502 Research Methods
LS 507 Information Sources and Services
LS 560 Information Technologies

And one of the following:
LS 508 Administration and Management
LS 530 Public Libraries
LS 531 Academic Libraries
LS 532 School Media Centers
LS 533 Special Libraries and Information Centers

Thesis and Coursework Plans

Two plans are offered for the master’s degree:

Plan I: Thesis. 

Candidates for the master’s degree under the thesis plan must earn a minimum of thirty-six hours of credit, including fifteen hours of required courses, a three-hour required management and administration course, and six hours of thesis credit (LS 599); no more than six hours of thesis credit may be counted toward the degree.

Intent to elect the thesis option must be formally declared within the first nine hours of enrollment in graduate LIS courses.  The declaration of intent must indicate the subject area of the research and the faculty member who has agreed to direct the thesis.

The student must identify a three-person thesis committee, to consist of at least two full-time SLIS faculty members, at least one of whom must be must be a full member of the graduate faculty; a third committee member may be a faculty member from another department of the University, a faculty member from another institution, or a well-qualified practitioner.  All committee members must hold appropriate Graduate Faculty status.

The student must obtain committee approval for a prospectus for the thesis project prior to enrolling in thesis credit; a formal defense of the prospectus will constitute the final examination for the MLIS degree.

The student must complete and successfully defend a thesis that meets the requirements established by the Graduate School.  The thesis defense shall be made orally before the student’s thesis committee and will be open to the public.

Plan II: Coursework. 

Candidates for the master’s degree under the coursework plan must earn a minimum of thirty-six hours of credit, including fifteen hours of required courses and a three-hour required management and administration course.

Transfer of Credit and Credit for Non-Letter Graded Courses

Graduate credit may be transferred from another regionally accredited university or may be elected from the offerings of other departments. Thesis credit cannot be transferred from another university.  No more than nine hours of credit can be applied toward the MLIS for any combination of graduate courses taken outside SLIS, directed research courses, internships, and thesis credit. These hours may be combined as follows:

Plan I: Thesis. 

Six hours of thesis credit and three hours of credit for directed research course or internship; or:

Six hours of thesis credit and three hours of approved credit for graduate work taken outside SLIS.

Plan II: Coursework. 

Six hours of approved credit for graduate work taken outside SLIS and three hours of credit for a directed research course or internship; or:

Six hours of credit for any combination of directed research courses and internships and three hours of approved credit for graduate work taken outside SLIS.

Time Limit

All requirements for the master's degree must be completed during the six years (18 consecutive semesters) immediately preceding the date on which the degree is to be awarded.


A thesis evidencing research capacity, independent thought, and the ability to interpret materials is required of all master's degree candidates who pursue Plan I: Thesis. The subject chosen must be related to library and information studies and must be approved by the student’s thesis director, the student’s thesis committee, and the SLIS Director.

The thesis committee must include three individuals, including at least two full-time SLIS faculty members, at least one of whom must be must be a full member of the graduate faculty; a third committee member may be a faculty member from another department of the University, a faculty member from another institution, or a well-qualified practitioner.  All committee members must hold appropriate Graduate Faculty status.

The candidate must give members of the examining committee a minimum of two weeks to read the thesis before the date of the final oral examination. A final oral examination is required of all students completing a thesis.  All members of the thesis committee must be members of the UA graduate faculty and must attend the final oral examination unless there are extraordinary circumstances warranting the graduate dean's approval of the absence prior to the defense meeting.

Theses must comply with the regulations set out in A Student Guide to Preparing Electronic Theses and Dissertations, available on the Graduate School's website. Approval of the thesis by the graduate dean is necessary before graduation.

The thesis should be completed, if possible, while the student is in residence at the University. To request permission to complete a thesis in absentia, the student must, before leaving the University, submit a satisfactory outline of the thesis, as well as evidence that adequate facilities are available where the work will be done, to the head of the student's major department.

Protection of Human Subjects for Research

Scientific research involving human subjects has produced substantial benefits for society, but it also has posed troubling ethical questions. The mission of the University's Institutional Review Board for Protection of Human Subjects is to ensure that research involving human subjects is conducted ethically. University and federal policies require that review and approval to use human subjects in research precede the research. In the case of thesis research that involves the use of human subjects, the principal investigator – normally the student – is responsible for contacting the college Human Research Review Committee to obtain approval for the planned research.  Both the student and the thesis chair are responsible for completing Institutional Review Board training; guidelines for training can be found at

The request form for IRB approval can be accessed from

Application for Graduation

Each candidate for a master's degree must apply for graduation through the Office of the Graduate School during the first week of the term in which requirements for the degree are to be completed. The form "Application for Degree" is required for this purpose, and must be completed online.

Student Learning Outcomes for the MLIS

Teaching. Upon completing the SLIS MLIS program, all students should:

  • have acquired a basic core of knowledge in the field: the creation and production, organization and access, selection and evaluation, preservation, dissemination and use of information
  • understand the nature of professional ethics, display a committed professional attitude, value the role of professional associations, and be committed to individual professional development
  • understand the opportunities and challenges of a variety of information settings, their functions, and the users they serve and be able to approach the design and management of services and systems
  • value teaching and service as ways to advance the field
  • have knowledge of current research, an understanding of research processes and methods, and an ability to analyze and critically evaluate research and apply it to professional duties
  • understand the significance of concepts and contributions of other disciplines to library and information studies and the importance of library and information studies theories, principles, and concepts to other disciplines
  • be aware of and sensitive to the impact of information practices, services, and programs on diverse, underserved and multicultural communities
  • understand the appropriate technologies and their applications within particular contexts for the organization, retrieval, management, and dissemination of information
  • be able to communicate cogently, clearly, and persuasively
  • support the development and improvement of library and information services in general with special focus on the people of Alabama and the southeastern United States

Research and Creative Activities. The SLIS faculty:

  • publish papers and reports in journals, monographs, and other publications devoted to librarianship, information science, and related disciplines
  • present the results of research, inquiry, and creative endeavors to peers at professional meetings and exhibitions
  • undertake applied research projects including consulting assignments that augment and advance knowledge

Service. The SLIS faculty and staff provide advice and assistance to libraries and information centers that help them to enhance the services they provide.

  • The SLIS faculty and staff undertake consulting assignments.
  • SLIS provides opportunities for faculty and students to participate in professional associations, to promote the profession, and to assume leadership and policy-making roles.
  • SLIS faculty, staff, and students participate in the work of the University and the School through service on committees and working groups.

Class A Library-Media Certification

A candidate for the MLIS degree who seeks an Alabama Class A Library-Media Certificate must first have fulfilled the requirements for a teaching certificate at the baccalaureate level. Two years of successful teaching must also have been completed prior to receiving Class A certification as a library-media specialist. Certification may also be granted by the Alabama State Department of Education to a person who holds an MLIS degree, completes two years of successful teaching as a school library media specialist, and is recommended by the principal or superintendent who supervised the two years of work.

In addition to completing an approved program of studies, the candidate is required to earn a satisfactory score on a comprehensive examination administered by the School of Library and Information Studies. The approved program of studies for certification is as follows:

Instructional support area


LS 500 Organization of Information


LS 501 Introduction to Library and Information Studies


LS 504 Media Production and Utilization


LS 507 Information Sources and Services


LS 532 School Media Centers


LS 542 Instructional Design and Development


LS 560 Information Technologies


LS 572 Internship in School Media Centers


    (requires a minimum of 300 clock hours)




Foundation of professional studies


Three semester hours are to be earned in courses that meet the foundation of professional studies requirement, as defined by the granting institution. Students who have not already completed a survey course in special education must also take SPE 500 Introduction to Exceptional Children and Youth (or its equivalent). Such students must complete a minimum of 39 semester hours for the degree.






LS 502 Research Methods






LS 521 Materials and Services for Children


LS 522 Materials and Services for Young Adults



Total semester hours


If courses equivalent to any of these required courses have been taken previously, substitutions may be made, with the approval of a faculty advisor.



The program leading to the MFA in the book arts degree is a 60-credit-hour program of study comprised of four areas: printing and publishing, bookbinding, papermaking, and the history of the book, with a program emphasis on the book as an integrated unit. Students may pursue one of three concentrations: printing and publishing; bookbinding; or a fusion of the two, focusing on the whole book. Emphasis is placed on developing craft skills based on historical principles and techniques, as well as artistic expression. The MFA in the book arts program develops professional-level book artists who have well-honed technical knowledge of the various facets of contemporary bookmaking, an intimate personal involvement with their specific areas of interest, and an understanding of the role of the book in society.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may submit a score for either the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test in support of the application for admission. Admission requirements for the MFA program in the book arts are consistent with those for the MLIS degree program. A portfolio is not required; however, students are encouraged to submit one. Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the MFA degree in the book arts must earn a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit, including at least 6 hours in the history of the book and 3 hours in a historical/theoretical course appropriate to the goals of the individual student; at least 33 hours in the book arts studio; and 12–18 hours of electives within or outside the book arts program. All coursework must be completed with a grade average of "B" or better. All students enter the program in the fall and spend four semesters in residence.

All MFA students must complete, as part of the 60 hours, the following required courses:

BA 520 Printing I—Elements of Printing


BA 521 Printing II—Printing and Typography


BA 530 Binding I—Elements of Binding


BA 531 Binding II—An Exploration of the Paper- and
Cloth-Bound Book  


CIS 655 History of the Book: Book as Artifact


CIS 654 History of the Book: Print Culture and Society


BA 592 Graduate Symposium


BA 599 Creative Project Production, Thesis, and Exhibition


NOTE:  No more than 20 percent of courses required for a degree may be taken on a pass/fail basis, and as with all graduate programs at the University, at least 75% of courses must be completed with a letter grade of either A or B.

Those students concentrating in printing and publishing also must complete the following:

BA 522 Printing III—Printing and Parallel Editions


BA 523 Printing IV—Printing and Publishing


Those students concentrating in bookbinding must also complete the following:

BA 532 Binding III—Leather Binding


BA 533 Binding IV—Binding Exploration


Those students concentrating on the whole book must also complete advanced coursework in both printing and binding. The configurations of advanced courses will be determined through discussion with the book arts faculty. Students who are not enrolled in the MFA program and who wish to take book arts classes must obtain permission from the instructor before enrolling.



The Graduate School | UA Catalogs | Graduate Publications | Contact