MLIS Guidelines

MLIS Guidelines

It is to your advantage to plan your academic career sooner rather than later in the program so as to assure that you:

  • Take the courses you want.
  • Take the courses you need.
  • Take enough courses according to your graduation timeline.

You should feel encouraged to contact your advisor to seek out their advice on selecting courses, working towards your degree, and preparing yourself for your post-MLIS career. To help your advisor answer your course selection questions, please fill out the advising checklist, along with courses you are interested in taking (see Mapping Your Academic Program). If you don’t know who your advisor is, login to the Advising Records (AdRx) application at One.IU. You may change your advisor once you determine or switch a specialization. Review the Course and Career Advising list above to identify options and email Angie Harmon.

Some courses have pre-requisites before allowing you to enroll in them. Review these by looking at the Library and Information Science courses page. For pre-requisites required for a course but not for a specialization, those credits will count towards a student’s electives.

Foundations note: S500 and S507 are foundation courses for every specialization effective Fall 2022 (and including students starting in Summer 2022). S500 and S507 can be taken sequentially or at the same time, but effective Fall 2022 they are the first two courses every LIS student must start with. If taking one course,
S500 is the first one you must take.

Review the Registrar’s registration page for details on dates you may sign-up for courses. This page will also provide information on how to use the system to register your course selections.

Register as soon as possible. When you wait to the last minute, either a class may ‘fill’ with other students, or it may be cancelled due to an observed lack of interest.

If a class is full, be sure to place yourself on the waitlist. The department cannot plan on accommodating additional needs until and unless it sees that people are interested in a class.

When someone registered for a class drops it before the semester starts and you are on the waitlist, you will be notified. You must affirmatively register for the course at this time.

Faculty cannot add students to a course directly: they must come through the waitlist.

You may transfer in a maximum of 6 credits from Luddy School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering programs. You may also transfer in a maximum of 6 credits from any program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). No other transfers are allowed. Contact the director of the program for details, exceptions, and approvals.

Incompletes are not automatically granted. You may arrange a grade of “I” or incomplete for a course with an instructor for special circumstances. You and the instructor must agree upon the terms for completing the course.

Students who have multiple incompletes (2 or more) will be blocked from registering for additional LIS courses until there is only one (or zero) outstanding incomplete, or the student presents the department chair with a plan of action for completing all incompletes in a timely way.

Students need to have completed the majority of course work (75%+) at an acceptable level of achievement. Deadlines for the work for an incomplete to be finished are at the instructor’s discretion. The deadline can be no longer than 1 year from the end of the semester, but can be earlier if the instructor specifies that.

All graduate courses that apply to the MLIS degree must be taken within a five-year time period, to ensure intellectual integrity and currency of content. This includes courses taken as a non-degree graduate student, prior to admission to the degree.

A one-year extension can be granted upon request with explanation of the unusual circumstances involved. No more than one year can be granted.

In rare circumstances, older courses can be “revalidated” if evidence is presented that the person has current knowledge of the topic. Please contact the chair for information about this.

It is unrealistic to expect to be a full time employee and a full time student.

The federal financial aid rule is that for graduate students, four to seven credits equals part time and eight or more credits equals full time. Practically that means two classes (six credits) for part time and three classes (nine credits) for full time. Only students who are working 10 hours a week or less, with limited family obligations, can expect to be successful with 12 credits.

Nine credits (three classes) is a full time commitment. It can be combined with a job that is 15-20 hours per week.

For those working 30-40 hours a week, many students are successful with two classes at a time.

The most common reason to drop a course is that the student realizes they are taking too many courses. This has significant financial consequences; IUPUI refund dates and federal financial aid requirements are strictly enforced.

A specialization appears on your transcript, not your diploma. Current specializations (and dual degrees) are listed on the website, along with degree (course) checklists.

  • A specialization is not required.
  • Use the degree checklists as advice on courses to take.
  • You many discuss with your advisor and make progress toward your desired specialization from your first semester onward.
  • Formally declare your specialization when you submit your intent to graduate form.

Advisors can approve course changes or waivers to fit your circumstances and course availability. The course number 604 is used for new course topics; these eventually are dropped or become regular courses. These new courses can be applied to specializations even when they are not listed on the degree checklists; have your advisor approve them. All changes should be confirmed via email and entered in your student records by your advisor.

LIS has dual-degree agreements with Public History, Philanthropy, Health Informatics, and Law. These degrees are very specific, institutional, arrangements. You can only do these specific dual degrees; dual degrees offered by ILS-Bloomington are in partnership with Bloomington departments: there can be no cross-campus dual degrees, although, if you wish, you could pursue two degrees at the same time.

The benefit to you is a reduction in the total number of credits compared to taking each degree separately. The constraint is that you need to be admitted to both programs at the same time (or within the first semester of starting one program). You need to apply separately to each. You also need to finish both of them at the same time: even when you have finished all the credits for X degree, you cannot be awarded X until Y requirements are also met. Out of state students receive the LIS (Luddy School) scholarship for LIS credits only;
the credits for the other program are billed to and controlled by the other program.

Students can take up to six hours of independent work or more if the advisor thinks it’s best for the student.

Independent study options include:

  • S601: Directed Readings
  • S602: Directed Research
  • S605: Internship
  • S606: Project in Information and Library Science

There are two segments of LIS ePortfolio development, each with its own goals. Descriptions below serve as broad outlines for each ePortfolio’s design. Detailed step-by-step instructions, tutorials, sample exemplars, and rubrics are provided to students in the ePortfolio site.


LIS faculty follow the following definitions of achievement for graduate course grades.

Grading scale
A100% to 96.0%

Outstanding achievement. Student performance demonstrates full command of the course materials and evinces a high level of originality and/or creativity that far surpasses course expectations.

A-< 96% to 90.0%

Excellent achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all requirements in a superior manner.

B+< 90.0% to 87.0%

Very good work. Student performance demonstrates above-average comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all Modules as defined in the course syllabus.

B< 87.0% to 84.0%

Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations, demonstrates understanding of the course materials, and performs at an acceptable level.

B-< 84.0% to 80.0%

Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.

C< 80.0% to 70.0%

Unsatisfactory work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete and inadequate understanding of course materials. An incomplete may be granted under special circumstances.

D< 70.0% to 60.0%

Student has failed the course. An incomplete is not an available option.

F< 60.0% to 0.0%

Student has failed the course. An incomplete is not an available option.