School Librarianship, MS

Our master's program in school librarianship, registered by the New York State Education Department, is authorized to recommend you for certification for the library media specialist, K–12 initial certificate. This fully online program focuses on preparing you to teach in a 21st century school library. All courses include the latest research-based, best practices occurring in the school library field. You will be exposed to strategies and techniques for teaching information literacy, based on new standards of practice as outlined in the Common Core Learning Standards and the Annual Professional Performance Review.

On this page:

Why School Librarianship at UB?

The features of our program include:

  • clinically-based teaching experiences that allow you to collect your own data to inform your teaching practice
  • creation of a digital portfolio to be shared with potential employers, as well as a video recording providing evidence of your instructional experience
  • exposure to a variety of strategies and techniques for teaching information literacy, based on new standards of practice as outlined in the Common Core Learning Standards and the Annual Professional Performance Review
  • learning how to participate in a collaborative culture where feedback is provided, including peer review of your teaching practices

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Master of Science (MS)
Credits required for completion 39
Time to completion 4 full-time semesters 
Course delivery Online
Careers Pre-K–12 school library media centers
Practicum Days 40
Application deadline Priority Deadlines
Fall: May 1, then rolling
Spring: Nov. 1, then rolling

Program Coursework

Required Courses (39 credits)

LIS 507 Information Life Cycle
LIS 508 Information Users and Use
LIS 518 Reference Sources and Services
LIS 524 School Media Center Field Experience
LIS 525 School Media Center Practicum¹
LIS 532 Curriculum Role of the Media Specialist²
LIS 534 Resources and Services for Children
LIS 535 Resources and Services for Young Adults
LIS 538 Pedagogy for School Librarians
LIS 568 Computer Applications in the School Library Media Center
LAI 574 Teaching the Exceptional Learner in the Regular Education Classroom
LIS 575 Introduction to Research Methods
LIS 585 Management of School Library Media Centers

¹ Must have completed the General Pedagogical Core Requirements, LIS 524, LIS 532, LIS 585, and have permission of instructor to enroll. If you want to teach in New York, you must also complete the required seminars (CAW, SAVE, DASA) prior to enrolling.
² Must have completed the General Pedagogical Core Requirements to enroll.

Guide to LIS 524 Field Experience and LIS 525 (E, S, P) Practicum and Portfolio

Field Experience (LIS 524): 3 credits
In this course students acquire the New York State mandated field experience hours (100 hours) through the completion of activity modules in a variety of elementary and secondary school media centers. This course is to be taken by library media students during their first 12 credit hours of enrollment.

LMS Practicum (LIS 525): 3 credits
With the approval of the instructor, students are placed in school media centers where the certified media specialist has been employed for at least three years. Two 20-day practicum experiences, one at the elementary level and one at the secondary, are supervised by a cooperating library media specialist and a member of the LIS faculty. Participation in virtual seminars and the completion of a professional portfolio are required. Students may take this course for 1, 2 or 3 credits per semester, but all three credits must be completed: LIS 525E (elementary practicum); LIS 525S (secondary practicum); and LIS 525P (portfolio).

Prerequisite(s): LIS 524, LIS 532, LIS 585 and the General Pedagogical Core Requirements. Permission of the instructor is required. To student teach in New York, students must also complete the required seminars (CAW, SAVE, DASA) prior to enrolling.

  • 6 education credits in reading, writing or language arts at the elementary or secondary level 
  • 3 credits in the psychology of learning and instruction

General Education Core in Liberal Arts and Science: 30 credits (transcripts required)
The applicant's transcripts will be reviewed and the General Education Core in the Liberal Arts and Sciences form will be completed by the school library media advisor. During this process, the applicant's undergraduate coursework will be mapped against the general education core requirements and applicants with any deficiencies will be advised on the additional study necessary to meet these program requirements:

  • Artistic Expression (3 credits)
  • Communication (3 credits)
  • History/Social Science (6 credits)
  • Humanities (3 credits)
  • Information Retrieval (3 credits)
  • LOTE (Foreign Language) (3 credits)
  • Mathematics (3 credits)
  • Natural Sciences (3 credits)
  • Writing (3 credits)

Non-academic Requirements for Certification

Fingerprinting of Applicant
All applicants for teacher certification must be fingerprinted.

Child Abuse Workshop (CAW)
All applicants are required to complete two clock hours of coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of suspected child abuse or maltreatment – available through local community colleges, BOCES, hospitals, and the New York State Office of Teaching Child Abuse Workshop Information.

Schools Against Violence Seminar
All applicants for a certificate are required to complete at least two clock hours of coursework or training in school violence prevention and intervention available through local community colleges, BOCES, and hospitals.

Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
All students must complete at least six clock hours of coursework or training in harassment, bullying, and discrimination prevention and intervention. Training must be delivered by a New York State Education Department approved provider. UB's Alberti Center is an authorized DASA training provider.

New York State Teacher Certification Examinations
Candidates seeking an initial New York State teaching certificate as a library media specialist (school) must take the following tests:

  • Educating All Students (EAS)
  • CST (Content Specialty Test) – Library Media Specialist (all grades) FIELD 074
  • edTPA for New York State (a student-centered multiple measure assessment of teaching)

Apply for Certification Through TEACH
In order to be recommended by UB IS for Library Media Specialist (school) certification in New York State, applicants must self-register in TEACH Online Services.

Application Requirements

Program Applicants

At this time, we encourage you to utilize the at-home GRE to fulfill the standardized testing requirements set forth by New York State. An at-home MAT exam is not currently being offered.

However, if you are having issues taking the at-home GRE, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at so we can work through an individualized solution to address your specific situation.

You must have received an undergraduate bachelor degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better by the intended beginning semester. Applications with lower GPA’s may still be considered and granted a “conditional admission” (see below for more information). 

Submit your completed online application, which includes:

  • Application fee: A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Graduate Record Exam or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores from tests taken within the last five years, including verbal, quantitative and writing sections. For the GRE, please use institution code 2925 and department code 4701.

    You may be exempt from the GRE/MAT requirement if one of the following is true:
    1. You already have a master’s degree and a GPA in that degree of 3.5 or greater
    2. You already have a PhD or equivalent (e.g., EdD, JD)
  • Contact information for at least three individuals who will each be asked to provide an electronic recommendation letter.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended. (UB transcripts are automatically submitted for current UB students and alumni.)
  • Statement of education and career goals: A detailed statement describing your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in the information and library studies field. Include your professional goals and objectives and indicate any area of special interest within the field.

Conditional Admission Status: You may be admitted conditionally to this MS program when you do not meet all admission requirements (most often because of an undergraduate GPA below 3.0) but your personal statements, transcripts, entrance examination scores, employment history and letters of reference demonstrate potential for success. At the end of the semester in which you have attempted 9 credit hours in the program — including two core courses (e.g., LIS 507, LIS 508, LIS 575) (courses with a grade of R/resigned do not count as attempted, but I and U do) — your academic standing will be reviewed by IS staff. At the time of the review, if you meet all the conditions of good academic standing and have no incomplete or unsatisfactory grades, conditional status is automatically lifted and you are considered to be in good academic standing.

Former/Maiden Name: Please provide us with your former/maiden name if you have one. When requesting transcripts, please ask the sending institution to indicate your current name and former/maiden name.

Admission Decision: The admission decision will be communicated to you as soon as review is complete. The decision is based on a number of factors and is the result of a thorough and deliberate process. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

International Applicant Additional Requirements
  • Official original proof of your degree
  • A copy of your passport biographical page
  • Official test scores for either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic. Test scores must be dated within two years of submitting your application.
    • TOEFL minimum score is a 250 for a computer based test, 600 for a paper based test and 79 for the Internet based test
    • IELTS minimum score is 6.5 overall
    • PTE minimum score is 55 overall
  • Financial documentation — International graduate applicants must document their ability to pay for all costs incurred while studying in the U.S.
  • An official bank statement

All financial forms and supporting documentation with required signatures must be uploaded with your application, and must be dated within one year of your intended enrollment date.

Are you an international student and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you are currently unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are canceled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

The TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition is a safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT test at a test center due to public health concerns.

Learn More

University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.