Understanding the Requirements for the MLS degree

There are three major requisites to qualify for the MLS degree:

1) 36 credit hours that include 18 credits of required course:

2) Digital Portfolios

MLS Portfolio (Student-constructed Website for documenting all work completed in the MLS program and how it matches to ALA core-competencies; the website is to be saved to CD and submitted to the department office to become part of the student's permanent file)

Tk20 e-portfolio [a student-paid-for Web-based account] (contains faculty-constructed assignments and rubrics for measuring learning outcomes within the six required courses, and archiving other documentation, specifically for monitoring by administration and accrediting bodies; students are required to post specified assignments into their Tk20 accounts)

3) Capstone Experience (Special Project) with the final Report submitted to the Graduate School for review and approval, and to Buley Library for access through Consuls
 

The Capstone Experience is the culmination of the entire learning experience the student achieves through this program. This would include [but not limited to] all the courses and assignments required for the degree. Toward the end of the learning experience the student proposes and carries out a Special Project (one of three options for the university-required Capstone Experience, the other two being a thesis and a comprehensive exam).

The Special Project is an original research project conceived by the student that will be conducted to benefit a client. A client, for example, could be (but not limited to) a school, a library or other related organization. For example, a student might want to research inter-library loan systems for their university library. The client would be the university library. The project might include surveying users and/or extracting statistical information from the library's databases. The product deliverable might be a PowerPoint Slide Show you would present to the officials at the university library who are considering ways to improve the current system, an Executive Summary, a curriculum, etc.

The Special Project process includes four parts. Given this example, the first part of the Special Project is the Proposal (the idea and justification for the project); students learn about and may develop their proposal in ILS 580. Once approved by your advisor, department chairperson, and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, the second part is conducting original research. The third part is analyzing the data collected and using it to inform development of the product deliverable (i.e. PowerPoint slide show). The product deliverable is intended to encompass the results of the Research in a format that could then be presented to the "client" (the university library). The final part is writing up (documenting) the entire process in a research Report. This Report, after being approved by your advisor, committee, department chairperson, and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, will be published and archived by Southern's Buley Library and will be accessible through Consuls.

The Special Project is an opportunity for the student to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained during their studies to a real world problem, demonstrating their transition from a student learning to a prepared new professional.

36 credit hours that include 18 credits of required course

The Master of Library Science degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of approved coursework. Six required courses make up 18 of those credit hours of coursework. The courses should be completed in there chronological order. A typical ILS course sequence for Master of Library Science majors, then, would be: 
 
FIRST YEAR or TERM  (12 Credits)
ILS 501 Introduction to Information Science and Technology (3 credits)
ILS 503 Foundations of Librarianship (3 credits) 
ILS 504 Reference and Information Resources and Services (3 credits) 
ILS 506 Information Analysis and Organization (3 credits) 
 
SECOND YEAR or TERM  (12 Credits)
ILS 565 Library Management (3 credits) 
ILS 580 Research in Information and Library Science (3 credits) 
ILS elective (3 credits) 
ILS elective (3 credits) 
 
THIRD YEAR or TERM  (12 Credits)
ILS elective (3 credits) 
ILS elective (3 credits) 
ILS elective (3 credits) 
ILS elective (3 credits) 

Each student will develop a plan of study (18 credits or 6 courses of electives). The plan of study is recorded on the Planned Program form, which must be approved through a signature process that includes the student; the student's advisor; the department chairperson and/or MLS coordinator; the Graduate School; and, if on a dual MLS degree and school librarian/school media specialist certification plan, the School of Education.  The MLS Planned Program form was designed to also serve as an advisement tool in that faculty have pre-marked which electives they recommend for the Academic libraries track [A]; the Public libraries track [P]; the Special libraries track [S]; and the Information Systems track [I]. There is a separate Planned Program form for students seeking a dual MLS degree and school librarian/school media specialist certification.

Students should refer to the Graduate Catalog, the department website, or the MLS Planned Program for a list of ILS/MLS elective courses. Non-ILS/MLS electives must be pre-approved by the department curriculum committee. Note:  IDS 553 Grant Writing & Funding Sources has been pre-approved as an elective for MLS students.

All students are strongly advised to take ILS 582 Library Science Practice (an internship). All students are strongly advised to take one of the following: ILS 560 College and University Libraries, ILS 561 Public Libraries, ILS 564 Special Libraries and Documentation Centers, or ILS 655 Digital Libraries.

Each course must be completed with a grade of "B" or better to count toward the MLS degree. Any changes in the courses to be taken must be approved in writing through either a Change in Planned Program form or a Revised Planned Program, which must be completed by and obtained from the student's advisor; written approvals should be obtained before the student enrolls in the course.

In order to qualify for the MLS degree, all courses on the approved Planned Program must show on the student's transcript as being completed and having a grade of "B" or better. 

Digital Portfolios

MLS students are required to maintain two types of digital portfolios: 1) a portfolio the student constructs as a Website during their first semester in the program and updates each semester with work completed in each course taken; and 2) a purchased Tk20 account that contains faculty-constructed assignments related to each of the six required courses and rubrics used by the faculty for measuring learning outcomes as demonstrated by the completed assignments the student uploads. All students in the MLS program are required to submit a Portfolio that is a digital record of the work they have completed in the MLS program and how that work relates to the American Library Association (ALA)'s Core Competences for Librarians (Approved and adopted as policy by the ALA Council, January 27th 2009). The Core Competences can be found at: http://www.ala.org/ala/educationcareers/careers/corecomp/corecompetences/finalcorecompstat09.pdf

Where appropriate, students are encouraged to also link MLS work to knowledge and competencies statements developed by relevant professional organizations. These many be found at: http://www.ala.org/ala/educationcareers/careers/corecomp/corecompspecial/knowledgecompetencies.cfm

The MLS Portfolio is a collection of the work the student completes in the courses in their program of study as well as the capstone experience (special project). This includes required courses, elective courses, internships, independent studies, and field projects. The MLS Portfolio should include a list of the courses a student has completed, including the course number and title, the course's catalog description, the learning outcomes as stated in the course syllabus, and links to the work completed in that course. The MLS Portfolio should also include a list of the ALA Core Competences [seehttp://www.ala.org/ala/educationcareers/careers/corecomp/corecompetences/index.cfm for the ALA Core Competences of Librarianship as well as statements of knowledge and competencies within specialty areas, such as special libraries, art libraries, medical libraries, etc.]. The student should then show how they meet each Competence by making a link between each competency statement and course descriptions and/or individual course work. The student, by their final semester, should complete the MLS Portfolio by adding a resume and reflection about their studies as related to their career goals. Students should gain basic skills in Website construction using html and/or a Web editor in their ILS 501 course; by updating the MLS Portfolio each semester the students will have an opportunity to renew these skills, perhaps adding additional web-construction skills in other courses or on their own. Students may also redesign and personalize their MLS Portfolio. Students with specialized career goals may wish to add additional lists of specialty area knowledge and competencies, linking their MLS course work to show how these are also met. A well-designed and well-documented MLS Portfolio can be used in whole or in part as a job-seeking or career-advancement tool. In the student's final semester in the MLS program, the complete MLS Portfolio should be transferred to a CD (or DVD) and submitted to the department office to become part of the student's permanent record. Generally, the student's Special Project Committee will review (and pass) the MLS Portfolio at the same time they review (and pass) the Special Project Report. [Students are also able to make a link within the Tk20 e-portfolio to their MLS Portfolio. This would be necessary to facilitate assessment, using a Tk20-embedded rubric that becomes part of an accreditation presentation. This should require only a few moments of a student's time to enter the URL.]

The Tk20 e-portfolio is a Web-based collection of assignments and scoring rubrics developed by the faculty and organized in Tk20 by the university. Students complete and upload the completed assignments into Tk20. Faculty then score each assignment using the rubric developed for that assignment.  The rubrics are designed to measure learning outcomes for the six required courses. Other documents could be housed in Tk20, for example, we are hoping to have each student's Annual Progress Report managed through their Tk20 account. Tk20 permits a secure, password-protected environment for managing various documents that measure student progress. Tk20 is capable of generating reports to administration; and creating an exhibit environment for viewing by accrediting bodies. It is possible for students to select and group items in their Tk20 accounts for viewing by prospective employers. Students should purchase a Tk20 account immediately upon entering the MLS program. Information about Tk20 accounts is available at: http://www.southernct.edu/education/tk20/ 

Capstone Experience (Special Project) 

All master's degree programs at Southern require the successful completion of one or more of the following individual capstone experiences: A thesis, a comprehensive examination, or a special project [2011-2012 Graduate Catalog, p. 38].

Currently, MLS students complete a special project for the capstone experience. The Special Project Requirements and Guidelines are available on the Graduate School website at: http://www.southernct.edu/grad/research/

A Special Project is an academically rigorous project that contributes in some meaningful way to the student's discipline and professional community [Special Project Requirements and Guidelines, dated July 2011].

There are four stages in the Special Project process: 1) writing a research Proposal, 2) conducting the research and analyzing the collected data, 3) designing the Product based on the findings of the research and data analysis, and 4) writing the Report of the work accomplished. [Documentation of completion of the Special Project includes a passable Proposal, a physical Product, and a final Report.] 
 
In ILS 580 Research in Information and Library Science, students will learn the basics of empirical research and the stages in developing a proposal for the Special Project.

Generally it will take two semesters to complete the Special Project, so students should plan accordingly. Generally, the Proposal is completed in the first semester (whether in conjunction with ILS 580 or working independently in consultation with the advisor); the research, Product, and final Report are completed in the second semester (working independently in consultation with the advisor). ILS does not currently align completion of the Special Project with credit hours toward the degree.

Each student will need a Special Project Committee consisting at least of the Special Project Advisor and a Second Reader. The Special Project Advisor and the Second Reader should have experience in the area in which the student will conduct research.

The first step in beginning the Special Project process should be to identify a problem or situation that a Product could help to resolve. Since the Special Project Advisor and the Second Reader are to have experience in the chosen area, the student should have identified one to three problems of interest and conducted at least of brief search of the literature to understand what is already known about that area, before identifying a potential Special Project Advisor. (Students who develop their Special Project Proposal within ILS 580 will likely retain their ILS 580 professor as the Special Project Advisor.)

The Special Project advisor must be a full-time member of the graduate faculty. The second reader can be a member of the Southern faculty, an outside agency, or another accredited university.

The Special Project Committee will evaluate the Special Project Proposal on substance, writing style, and format, which includes correct grammar, proper spelling, and consistency of chapter headings, subheadings, footnotes, endnotes, references, and bibliography. Attention to such details as writing the proposal in the future tense is imperative....The signatures of the Special Project advisor, second reader and department chairperson signify that the proposal meets the requirements set forth in this document, in the selected style manual and in The School of Graduate Studies Guide to Formatting Your Thesis, Special Project Proposal, or Dissertation. The student will then submit the Signature Sheet to the School of Graduate Studies for review and final approval. / The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies will review the Signature Sheet and provide the final approval. The School of Graduate Studies will retain the original copy of the Signature Sheet and send a copy to the student and to his/her Special Project Advisor. Upon receipt of this document, the student may commence work on his/her Special Project.  [Special Project Requirements and Guidelines, dated July 2011].

The student works closely with the Special Project Advisor to complete the Special Project. When the proposed work is complete, the student submits the developed Product, and the written final Report to their Special Project Committee and the department chairperson for review and approval. The Advisor, Second Reader, and Chairperson sign the Special Project Completion Sheet (available on the School of Graduate Studies website: http://www.southernct.edu/grad/) and submit it to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for review and final approval that the Special Project has successfully completed. After passing the Special Project an event entry should appear on the Banner transcript stating that the Special Project has been completed. 

 Last updated: March 9, 2013