Home < Degrees < Library and Information Studies < Library and Information Studies Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees:

M.A., with available named options Campus Delivered Program, and Distance Delivered Program

Specialist Certificate

Specialist Certificate

Doctoral Degrees:

Ph.D.

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

42 credits

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

42 credits

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

51 credits including dissertator credits, 990s and 999s

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

33 credits after admission to SLIS

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

24 graduate credits after admission to SLIS

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

32 credits after admission to SLIS

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

A minimum of 33 credits must be taken from regular SLIS M.A. coursework after admission to SLIS. All SLIS M.A. courses are graduate level.*

The remaining 9 credits of coursework must be 300 level or above and may not include SLIS undergraduate courses (e.g., 301, 351).

*All LIS courses numbered 400 and above are graduate courses in that they (a) are predominately graduate student enrollment and the workload and syllabus are designed for graduate level study, or (b) evaluate graduate students separately from undergraduate students.

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of degree coursework (21 out of 42 total credits) must be completed in graduate-level courses.*

Up to half of the credits should be from academic units related to the student’s specialization (including but not limited to SLIS). All coursework must be 300 level or above and may not include SLIS undergraduate courses (e.g., 301, 351). 999s and 990s are appropriate.

*All LIS courses numbered 400 and above are graduate courses in that they (a) are predominately graduate student enrollment and the workload and syllabus are designed for graduate level study, or (b) evaluate graduate students separately from undergraduate students.

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

The majority of a Ph.D. student’s coursework need be graduate courses at 600 level and above.* Courses at the 330–500 level should be taken sparingly and must be approved by the student’s advisor.

*All LIS courses numbered 400 and above are graduate courses in that they (a) are predominately graduate student enrollment and the workload and syllabus are designed for graduate level study, or (b) evaluate graduate students separately from undergraduate students.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Students may count up to 9 credits of approved graduate coursework from other institutions. coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

With approval, UW–Madison undergraduates accepted into the SLIS program may count up to 7 graduate LIS credits (450 and above) toward their SLIS MA degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 9 approved credits of coursework numbered 450 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Students may count up to 10 credits of approved graduate coursework from other institutions.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree may count toward the specialist certificate.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

No courses taken as UW–Madison Special student may count toward the specialist certificate.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison SLIS M.A.

Students may count up to 10 credits of graduate coursework from a SLIS M.A. degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Students may count up to 9 credits of approved graduate coursework from other institutions. coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits counted toward a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the PhD degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With payment of the difference in tuition (between Special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count up to 9 approved credits of coursework numbered 450 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison SLIS M.A.

SLIS M.A. graduates who are accepted into the SLIS Ph.D. program may count up to 10 qualified credits from their SLIS M.A. degree toward their Ph.D. Qualified courses include SLIS Ph.D. seminars (900 level) and research methods courses (e.g. LIS 710).

Credits per Term Allowed

M.A.–face-to-face option:

8 to 12 credits in a regular semester is considered full time at the graduate level. Course load maximums are 12 credits in a regular semester, 8 credits in the summer term and 3 credits in the intersession.

M.A.–online option:

8 to 12 credits in a regular semester is considered full time at the graduate level. 6  credits is recommended for online students.

Credits per Term Allowed

8 to 12 credits in a regular semester is considered full time at the graduate level.

Credits per Term Allowed

8 to 12 credits in a regular semester is considered full time at the graduate level. Course load maximums are 12 credits in a regular semester, 8 credits in the summer term and 3 credits in the intersession.

Program-Specific Courses Required

Foundations Courses:

LIS 450 Information Agencies and Their Environment
LIS 451 Online Searching for Information Professionals
LIS 551 Organization of Information

Also, 9 credits from a second tier of courses and at least one graduate-level technology course. Students in archives and records management or school library media have additional required courses; for details, see the SLIS website.

Program-Specific Courses Required

See program webpage for more details.

Program-Specific Courses Required

A general research methods course is required of all students. This must be a graduate level course, and if not taken at SLIS (LIS 710) the student must present a transcript and, if possible, a syllabus to the course. In addition, students must take Ph.D. research seminar LIS 910 and are required to take a minimum of two semesters of statistics and one semester of qualitative research. Each student must take at least one course in each of three (out of four) designated areas to develop a breadth of knowledge about the field.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.0 GPA required

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

At least a 3.0 GPA required; see program webpage for more details.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.5 GPA required

Other Grade Requirements

Within the student’s total program, one grade of BC or C is allowable in either a required or elective course if it is balanced by a grade of A or AB earned prior to or concurrently with the unsatisfactory grade. A second grade of BC or C or any grade of D or F will normally result in the student being dropped from the program.

Other Grade Requirements

See program webpage for any additional grade requirements.

Other Grade Requirements

To remain in good academic standing within the SLIS Ph.D. program, a student must maintain a 3.5 overall GPA, not carry any incomplete grades in courses (other than 999s) for more than 1 semester, and pass all mastery demonstration paper deadlines by appointed deadlines.

Probation Policy

A student may be placed on probation or suspended from the Graduate School for low grades or for failing to resolve incompletes in a timely fashion. In special cases the Graduate School permits students who do not meet these minimum standards to continue on probation upon recommendation and support of their advisor.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

See program webpage for any program-specific additional probation policies.

Probation Policy

Students who fail to meet any of the above criteria will receive a letter of warning from the Ph.D. program director placing them on probationary status. They will have one additional semester (not including summer) to change their status. If they do not successfully change their status, they will be asked to leave the program. If students do not expect to successfully change their status within the probationary semester, they can request that the Ph.D. committee grant a probation extension; however, an extension will be granted only if the student can prove likelihood of success in the upcoming semester. The student should send a letter asking for an extension and providing evidence of likelihood of success to the Ph.D. program director.

Advisor / Committee

All continuing students are required to meet with their advisor prior to registering for each semester. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student’s registration.

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. 

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

See program webpage for any program-specific additional details.

Advisor / Committee

The SLIS Ph.D. Committee serves as the Progress Evaluation Committee for doctoral students. Upon admission, the SLIS Ph.D. committee chair serves as the default advisor for all students. At any point, the student may switch to a major professor/advisor based on similarities in research interests. The student’s doctoral committee shall be five members of the graduate faculty; no fewer than three are to be from the SLIS faculty and at least one shall be from outside the School.

Assessments and Examinations

Candidates must complete a minimum of a 120-hour practicum, and must complete an ePortfolio.

Assessments and Examinations

See program webpage for any program-specific assessments and examinations.

Assessments and Examinations

Each student is required to fulfill at least one teaching practicum and at least two different research practica. Students will demonstrate mastery of the required subject areas and research skills through three mastery demonstration papers and a research portfolio. Students present and defend a program portfolio and statement of intent after they have met the above requirements. Successful defense constitutes formal acceptance into candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Time Constraints

The maximum period for completion of the M.A. (under special circumstances) is seven calendar years. Contact the department for more information.

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Time Constraints

Students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

See program webpage for any program-specific time constraints.

Time Constraints

Completion of the degree should be within a three- to four-year period beyond earning the master’s degree.

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements unless assigned by program.

Language Requirements

No; however, coursework in a foreign language may be required if necessary for completing research activities.