Skip navigation

Southern Miss Master in Library and Information Science Earns #1 National Ranking

Mon, 06/15/2020 - 09:21am | By: Tara Burcham

What do you get when you take dedicated faculty driven to help their students succeed and an institution committed to quality? The number one ranked fully online Master of Library Science program in the nation, according to Online Schools Report.

Online Schools Report uses student satisfaction and data including admission rates and the number of programs offered online. In addition, OSR’s methodology examines the number of degrees offered, median graduate debt, and percentage of graduating students within the department.

One of the key elements OSR looks at is graduation rate, and the MLIS program’s strong graduation rate contributed to its strong ranking. “We are extremely proud of our graduation rate for our MLIS program,” stated Director Teresa Welsh. Welsh explained that this success is “due to our faculty's mentoring and engagement with students in advisement and in live online classes and the perseverance and dedication of our students.”

Online Schools Report also recognizes programs who offer “multidisciplinary understanding of information sourcing, organization, and research to effectively create a library where things are in logical places for perusal.”

One of the many strengths of the MLIS program at Southern Miss is the diverse curriculum. Students are required to take foundational courses such as reference, cataloging, collection development, and library management as well as a technical course that requires development of an e-portfolio with digital artifacts. Students choose elective courses based on their desired career including academic libraries, public libraries, school libraries, archives and special collections.

All the MLIS courses are online except a study-abroad course offered in London each summer where students may earn 6 elective credit hours in a course on British libraries, archives, and special collections.

As an accredited program with strong classes, Welsh notes that “students can expect quality from our program due to accreditation by the American Library Association, which maintains rigorous standards. Southern Miss is one of only 62 universities in the U.S. and Canada with ALA-accredited programs.”

According to Welsh, the #1 ranking is due to the work of many on campus. “Our administration is dedicated to constantly improving the quality of our programs, and our faculty work hard to deliver relevant and engaging coursework to our students. This ranking exemplifies the commitment of everyone at Southern Miss.”

For more information about the fully online MLIS degree, visit