School of Information Sciences - Library and Information Science Program

Academic Libraries Area of Interest

Fall Term of Entry only.

Libraries in universities and colleges offer challenging and rewarding opportunities to apply the core knowledge and skills of the profession in new ways to meet the demands of the dynamic networked world. The academic library environment has changed radically in recent decades as a result of rapid advances in technology, the development of online education, and emergence of cyberscholarship. Academic librarians are taking on key roles in developing institutional repositories, managing digital datasets, and evaluating research outputs alongside established responsibilities for collection development, reference services, and information literacy.

The academic libraries area of interest is designed to provide you with the theoretical knowledge, contextual understanding, and practical skills to work effectively as a librarian or information professional in a higher education sector that is continually evolving. Our teaching is informed and inspired by personal experience, current research and leading thinking in the field. The courses in this area of interest will equip you for the challenges and demands of planning, managing and delivering resources and services in academic libraries, through exploration of their historical contexts, current positions, and future directions.

The foundational course on Academic Libraries examines traditional and emerging practices in areas such as collection development, academic liaison, scholarly communication, information literacy, digital services, research data management, library design, and impact assessment. Additional courses in Reference, Research Methods, and Teaching and Learning, will help you to develop the competencies needed to fulfill the academic library’s core roles in supporting the education and research missions of its parent institution, as well as giving you the skills needed for evidence-based practice in the field.

Program of Study

Students interested in working in academic libraries will take the four required core courses in the MLIS degree.

Students choosing this area of interest will take the following additional courses.

For their remaining electives, students may choose from a wide array of courses in resources, services, technology, and management. Here is a list of suggestions:

Field Experience (LIS 2921)
The Field Experience is a 3-credit/150 hour program of supervised professional work. Although not required in the Academic Libraries area of interest, it is highly recommended, especially for students who lack work experience in an academic library. Students must have completed a minimum of twelve credit hours in good academic standing in order to register for the Field Experience.


To view the term in which a class is offered, please see the Projected Course Offerings.

Click here for the current plan of study.


The Academic Libraries area of interest is supported by a team of full-time regular faculty and adjunct faculty, all of whom are experienced practitioners in the field.

Sheila Corrall, Lead Faculty

Research interests:
Collection development and information resource management in the digital world, and the evolving roles and competencies of library and information professionals, with a particular focus on the development of librarians as research data managers and information literacy educators. Practical experience includes 13 years working at director level in university library and information services.

For more information about this area of interest, please contact our Recruitment Team at or 412-624-5230.


Financial Assistance

The Partners Program
The Partners Program provides students with real-world experience and financial support as they earn their master’s degree in Library and Information Science. In the past, students interested in academic libraries have gained experience at the libraries of Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and a variety of locations within the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

Strong Foundation

The blend of theory and application at the iSchool distinguishes its graduates in the job market, giving them a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical experience.