University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Champaign, Illinois


The University extends its program in library and information science through an online scheduling option called LEEP. Candidates can complete the ALA-accredited Master of Science (M.S.) degree or certificate of advanced study (CAS). The LEEP server provides the Graduate School of Library Information Science (GSLIS) community with a variety of synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies that enable faculty and staff members and students to collaborate across geographic boundaries. Brief periods of on-campus instruction (an initial tenday session in the summer, followed by a long weekend each semester thereafter) are combined with Webbased instruction. The LEEP scheduling option is unique among schools of library and information science, providing significant advantages in a field that is increasingly involved in organizing and using electronic information. In its most recent ranking of LIS programs, U.S. News & World Report ranked GSLIS the top program in the nation.


LEEP's technologies support asynchronous discussions through an electronic bulletin board (class discussions via threaded text messages), live session interactivity (class presentations by faculty members, students, and guest lecturers; group Web browsing; text chatting; and break-out rooms for small-group discussions), archive of live sessions (including all class components: audio, images, and text), and collaborative document creation and editing—students can create, edit, and share documents online without leaving their Web browser. Courses may have up to 2 hours per week of "live" Internet interaction at a regularly scheduled time; additional communication and course work is accomplished at times convenient to the student. In addition to instructor-written Web pages, students use textbooks, course packs, and materials available at libraries near their homes or obtained with assistance from the Academic Outreach library. In many cases, live session lectures are recorded and made available via RealAudio from the LEEP Web pages.


The master's degree program requires 40 semester hours of graduate study, 28 of which must be taken in library and information science at the University of Illinois. A master's degree candidate with a full-time load can complete the 40-hour program in two semesters and one summer, although most LEEP students pursue the degree part-time over a longer period of time. Master's degree students must complete all requirements for the degree within five years after registering for graduate work.

The certificate of advanced study in library and information science is open to those who hold a master's degree in library and information science. This 40-hour course of study, which does not lead into the Ph.D. program, is structured to encourage students to design programs that meet specific educational and career goals. A sequence of 32 semester hours is developed by students with their advisers. Up to 16 hours may be taken outside of GSLIS. The final 8 hours are the CAS project, a substantive investigation of a problem in librarianship or information science, which is followed by a final oral examination. Time to complete the program varies widely. Full-time students may finish in two semesters and one summer, but students have five years to complete the program.


Two full-time instructional technology staff members and several graduate assistants provide training and technical support to faculty members and LEEP students. Other technical support tasks include troubleshooting when students call or e-mail with technical problems, helping faculty members put material online, setting up and monitoring synchronous sessions, and identifying and evaluating possible new technologies.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is considered one of the finest universities in the world. With a wealth of resources and highly ranked departments, the University has long been recognized for accomplishments in research and graduate education. Illinois boasts the third-largest academic research library in the United States, which includes a separate library and information science (LIS) library.


Students should wait to transfer credit until they have completed their first semester of course work. Up to 8 semester hours of graduate credit in library and information science from another ALA-accredited library science education program may be transferred. Alternatively, up to 4 hours of graduate credit that is related to but not in library and information science from any accredited institution may be transferred in place of one of the units of LIS credit. Students are not allowed to transfer core courses from other LIS programs.


The faculty's areas of interest are as diverse as the students enrolled. Highly regarded, faculty members pursue their scholarly interests and share discoveries and theories with students and colleagues alike. Current faculty projects include collaborations on campus with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and the University Library and the Center for Children's Books as well as off campus with a variety of libraries, other universities, and corporations.


LEEP students are expected to be strong academically, able to learn independently, and willing to collaborate with faculty members in refining new ways to deliver instruction. GSLIS basic computer literacy requirements are needed; additional technological knowledge is not required, but may be helpful. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. CAS applicants must have completed a master's degree in library and information science or a closely related field, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.


LEEP students pay full tuition charges at the in-state or out-of-state rates, depending on where they reside. Tuition for students in the LEEP program is charged per course. For the 2004–05 academic year, tuition and fees are $1352 per 4-hour course for an Illinois resident and $3352 per 4-hour course for a nonresident. Students budget for books and supplies, technology upgrades, transportation for campus trips, housing during campus trips, and Internet access.


Students are eligible for loans but not for graduate assistantships, which require on-campus residency. Complete information about the tuition and fee assessments is available from the Division of Academic Outreach.


Students must submit part 1 of the Application for Admission to the Graduate College and the application fee ($40 for domestic applicants, $50 for international applicants) to the Office of Admissions and Records, 901 W. Illinois Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801. All remaining items, including transcripts (two copies from all colleges and universities attended; one must be an official transcript), two essays (which replace the personal statement requested in part 2, question 5), three letters of reference in support of the application for admission and financial aid (at least one should be from an employer and one from an instructor), and a resume to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Instead of the two essays, CAS applicants must submit a brief written statement that indicates a commitment to advanced study, the reasons for seeking the CAS, and an outline of a proposed program of study, including possible CAS project areas. Applicants whose native language is not English, including U.S. citizens, must submit TOEFL scores, which should be dated no earlier than two years prior to the application date. Any applicant whose grade point average was below 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the final 60 hours of undergraduate course work must submit official scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Aptitude Test taken within the last five years.


The Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 East Daniel Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Telephone: 217-333-7197
Fax: 217-244-3302
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site:

LEEP students enter the CAS and master's programs in the summer. The application deadline for the M.S. program is March 1 for first consideration. Applications are accepted until the program is full. Applicants to the CAS program should complete their application process nine to twelve months before the intended date of registration.