What is the MMLIS Degree?

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The Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) degree is designed for graduate students who aim to excel as leaders in their perspective careers. This master’s program offers an innovative combination of knowledge, tools, and experience in the library, information science, and business fields, equipping graduate students with a valuable foundation for the profession. Discover what defines the top-ranking University of Southern California’s MMLIS degree and learn how the curriculum, focus areas, and emphasis on key competencies set this program apart.

In this article, read:

  • How the MMLIS Degree Program Shapes Leaders
  • Why U.S. News & World Report ranks USC #21 in the nation for Best Colleges and Universities in 2018
  • About an Innovative Curriculum Led by Experienced Faculty Members
  • The Theory Behind Emphasizing Management Competencies for Librarians
  • About Myriad In-Demand Career Options in Today’s Economy
  • What Sets the MMLIS Degree Apart

The MMLIS Degree Program Shapes the Library Leaders of Tomorrow

As an aspiring librarian or information professional, you may choose from countless graduate programs across the nation. However, unique to USC’s Master of Management in Library and Information Science program will you be exposed to a master’s level foundation of library science, information management, and business with the prestige of graduating from a Top-Ranked University, according to U.S. News & World Report, USC ranks #21 in the nation in the National Universities category. This unique program stems from a one of a kind partnership between the top-ranked USC Marshall School of Business and USC Libraries.

By incorporating a management focus, the USC MMLIS degree adds a high-value component enabling the program to shape leaders in the library and information science fields. With its innovative curriculum and concentration on management competencies, this online graduate program is designed to prepare students for leadership roles.

Through the unique partnership between The Marshall School of Business and USC libraries, the MMLIS degree program not only provides a thorough exploration of library-specific education but also incorporates a business-forward focus. This provides graduates with essential training in management, leadership, and fundraising as well as a masters-level foundation in library science and information management enabling graduates to take on higher leadership roles.

With this emphasis on business, MMLIS students acquire the ability to do more than merely offer research assistance or oversee data. They may also gain expertise in managing strategy, funds, and staff, as well as important resources both print and digital, all essential skills of today’s library and information professionals. With these in-demand skills, MMLIS graduates may establish strategic goals for organizations, lead teams, and advance the objectives of their employers across public, private, and government sectors.

Innovative Curriculum Led by Practicing Faculty Members

At USC, MMLIS faculty members are fluent in library and information science theory. However, these faculty members are not just mere theorists. Additionally, they are practitioners who have worked in the field. Their firsthand experience develops a real-world understanding of the skills, knowledge, and tools that today’s professionals must have to thrive.

Faculty members share their expertise throughout this five-semester, 100% online, 40-unit master’s program. Upon enrolling, students can expect to complete a combination of foundation courses, electives, and a research-driven capstone project. The innovative curriculum covers a range of advanced library and information science topics as well as foundational business and management theories. Students meet all requirements and submit all coursework digitally using the program’s online platform, which means students can complete this program from virtually anywhere. Highlights of the innovative MMLIS curriculum include the following courses:

  • Collection Development and Management: This course explores methods for growing and managing library collections, including assessment. Students can expect to master a variety of viable strategies for overseeing physical and digital collections.
  • Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Professionals: Examine the essential concepts and tools of business. Students can expect to gain a comprehensive understanding of management and leadership strategies, even if they do not have business or management backgrounds.
  • Management Communication for Leaders: This management course explores the essentials of both communication and leadership theory while examining strategies for improving leadership at the individual, departmental, and organizational levels. Students can expect to advance their understanding of how to provide leadership and add value to an organization while honing interpersonal skills as well as written and verbal communication skills.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations in Libraries: This specialized class covers cutting-edge developments and trends in partnerships in libraries. Students can expect to learn how to best identify potential partners, align partnerships with the library’s strategic plan, the basics of creating a memorandum of understanding, and methods for working together to achieve shared goals across teams and organizations.

Emphasis on Management Competencies for Librarians

The innovative MMLIS curriculum does more than equip graduates with expertise in library and information sciences, business and management. The curriculum also aligns with the 14 foundational management competencies for librarians as identified by ALA’s Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA).

  • Forward-Thinking Abilities: Mastering a sense of trends and the direction of the industry is important for effective leaders. USC’s Library and Information Technology Management can equip master’s students with enhanced abilities to develop innovative strategies.
  • Project Management: Guiding project teams, schedules, and budgets can help library and information science professionals move organizations forward. Taking the program’s Project Management course can help students develop a comprehensive understanding of this skillset.
  • Team Building and Leadership: High-level library and information science professionals must know how to unite and motivate teams toward shared goals. USC’s Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Professionals course can help master’s students hone their leadership skills.
  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Nurturing partnerships can help leaders expand organizational resources while increasing value. Completing the course Partnerships and Collaborations in Libraries can assist graduate students with developing key strategies for creating effective collaborations.
  • Marketing and Advocacy: Effective leaders must know how to communicate the values and objectives of an organization to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Budget Development: Leaders need a foundation in business to create budgets that meet the needs of stakeholders, departments, and organizations. Enrolling in the Collection Development and Management course can provide valuable insight into growing collections while adhering to budget constraints.

For a full list, visit www.ala.org/llama.

Myriad In-Demand Career Options

The MMLIS program’s business focus also enables graduates to pursue higher-level management positions. From branch manager to library administrator to other highly specialized library and information science occupations, MMLIS students gain an in-depth understanding of business opening the door to a myriad of in-demand careers. Below are listed some potential career opportunities for MMLIS graduates:

  • Special Collections Librarian: These professionals apply highly specialized knowledge as they manage collections, guide strategy, and provide research assistance. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who can embrace and adapt to changing technology can anticipate better job prospects in 2018 and beyond.
  • Library Administrator: Leaders who can skillfully manage people, resources, and collections may have the opportunity to direct library departments, branches, and organizations. Those who have a comprehensive understanding of business and management may be better equipped to evaluate and establish growth strategies.
  • Database Administrator: Those with expertise in digital information may pursue careers that center on creating and administering databases. Professionals who master data collection and analysis may increasingly find themselves in demand as the need for big data grows.

What Sets the MMLIS Degree Apart

  • Librarians and information professionals increasingly need traditional research skills and data processing experience, but they also manage and lead — all specialty areas that the MMLIS degree covers.
  • To excel in the most challenging and rewarding professions of the 21st century, librarians and information professionals must add and communicate their additional value through their business savvy and leadership qualities.
  • “In an increasingly evidence and data-driven sector it is more important than ever that libraries prove their value to the organization, showing a return on the investment made in them,” according to Taylor & Francis Group.

With an advanced education and innovative skill sets, MMLIS graduates have access to the necessary tools to advance their careers. Visit the Marshall School of Business at USC online MMLIS degree program to determine whether this program could help you take your career to the next level.


American Library Association
Library Leadership & Management Association
Taylor & Francis Group
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics