School Library Studies Admissions

Our program

The School Library Studies Master of Arts program prepares teachers to be teacher librarians.  The program is primarily delivered online. Many of our students work full-time and are able to complete the master's degree within a few years.  All courses integrate literacy and technology skills preparing teacher librarians to lead schoolwide learning. The next cohort is planned for Fall 2019.

UNI's Continuing Education provides technical support and other services for the School Library Studies program.  For information on the course requirements, program faculty, and the teacher librarian profession, visit the School Library Studies program website.


The program is distance-friendly, yet retains a sense of identification with UNI and establishes for our students a network of colleagues throughout the state.  All coursework is offered online, and students progress through the program with a cohort group. Some courses meet once a week in the evening via online, interactive video conferencing.  The program will include one in-person, hands-on Saturday class session held on the UNI campus. Delivery methods are subject to change.

Course schedule

The program is designed for the convenience of our students, most of whom are full-time teachers. A part-time schedule is planned for each cohort group and includes courses specifically scheduled for that cohort. Cohorts typically complete two courses each semester, for a total of six credits a term. Part-time students can generally complete all coursework in 2.5 years (five semesters plus one summer). Students may choose to move through the program at their own pace, taking one course at a time or attending full time. 

For a sample cohort schedule, see the “Program Schedule” tab on the School Library Studies Continuing Education webpage.  UNI courses are dependent upon adequate enrollment. 

The master's program is 33 credits and requires a master's research paper or thesis.  (The thesis degree is 36 credits.) Teachers who want to earn a teacher librarian endorsement but not a master’s degree can complete fewer credits and earn an endorsement only. 

Teaching endorsements

Elementary girl raising her hand in the libraryOur M.A. degree, along with a valid Iowa Teaching License, meets the State of Iowa requirements for the K-12 teacher librarian endorsement #174, formerly called the media specialist endorsement.  The state also offers endorsements for elementary only (#108, grades K-8) and secondary only (#109, grades 5-12) teacher librarians.  For more information, see the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website and search for endorsement #174, #108 or #109. Out-of-state students should inquire with their Department of Education regarding specific state requirements.

A teacher librarian manages the school library program and serves as a leader in technology and literacy, a teacher of digital citizenship, and an advocate for lifelong readers.

Teachers who are interested in getting an elementary or secondary only endorsement but not a master's degree should apply to the master’s program and begin classes with a cohort group. The M.A. degree is 33 credits, but an elementary or secondary endorsement can be earned in 24 credits.  A master's degree is required for the K-12 endorsement.

If you do not have a teaching license, you must complete teacher education coursework before beginning your master’s degree in School Library Studies. If you are a post B.A. student and have been in the workforce for several years, you may wish to look into an alternative licensure program called the Iowa Intern License Pathway.

Job opportunities

Teacher librarian is a shortage area in Iowa which means there are a number of teacher librarian job openings in Iowa each year that do not have any qualified candidates.  Half of our students accept a teacher librarian position before they even begin the School Library Studies program. If you apply for a teacher librarian position and there are no endorsed candidates, the district could request that the Iowa BOEE grant you a conditional endorsement, contingent upon your enrollment in a teacher librarian endorsement program like this one.  This would allow you to start working as a teacher librarian right away, if desired.


You must be admitted to the program to join a cohort group.  A complete application includes: 1) an online application; 2) transcripts; and 3) a writing exam. 

1. Complete the UNI Graduate Admissions online application. You will be asked to create an UNI account with a CatID (username) and password.  If you are a former UNI student, you can use your current CatID and password. Select the program "School Library Studies - M.A."  Choose the delivery method "Distance Education" and the Fall 2019 term.  After you have submitted your online application, email in School Library Studies and let her know to expect your application. Once you have completed your online application, you will receive an email from admissions with directions for accessing MyUNIverse and your Student Center.

2. Request official transcripts from the institution issuing your B.A./B.S. degree and all other institutions from which you have received college credit since earning your B.A./B.S. They must be mailed--or sent electronically--directly from the institution to the UNI Office of Admissions (see Tip #4 for transcript addresses). The arrival of transcripts can take some time. Please be sure that all transcripts have been received by the UNI Admissions office. You can check on the status of your application, including the arrival of your transcripts, by logging onto MyUNIverse ( and looking at your To-Do List in your Student Center. (Submitting unofficial transcripts to can speed up the admission process; official transcripts are still needed before the admission decision can be finalized.)

When your transcripts have arrived, your application will be reviewed by the School Library Studies faculty.  Admission criteria include:

  • 3.0 GPA in a previous, completed degree program based on a 4.0 scale
  • A teaching license or completion of teacher education coursework
  • Successful performance on a writing test

3. If you meet the first two criteria, we will contact you about taking the proctored writing test

Once an admission decision has been made, you will be notified through a letter from the Curriculum and Instruction Department Head.

Middle school boys with laptops.Application questions

If you have forgotten your CatID (username) or password, contact ITS at 319-273-5555 for assistance. If you have questions about your online application or transcripts, contact Admissions at 319-273-2281.  If you have further questions about the admissions process or the writing exam, contact SLS secretary Alisa Weeks at or 319-273-2050.


All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of location. See Continuing Education for  current tuition rates. The M.A. program is 11 classes and 33 credits.

Financial aid

Although we are unable to provide advice about financial aid, we can refer you to the Office of Financial Aid (319-273-2700).  Teacher librarian continues to be a shortage area identified by the Iowa Department of Education, so you should ask the Financial Aid office how this will impact your aid opportunities. See the following resources:

Iowa Teacher Shortages: Teacher librarian is one of the Iowa Teacher Shortage Areas designated annually by the Iowa Department of Education. Teachers in shortage areas may be eligible for college student forgivable loans through both state and federal programs. 

UNI Financial Aid:  Basic information on budgeting and paying for graduate school can be found on the Financial Graduate School website. Also see information on the TEACH Grant (a grant program for those earning teaching degrees in shortage areas) and loan programs.

Teacher Award and Loan Forgiveness Programs:  Teach Iowa Scholars and Teacher Loan Forgiveness provide for funds for educators teaching in shortage areas and/or low-income schools.  These programs are administered by outside agencies, but it is recommended that you first consult with the UNI Financial Aid office about these options.

UNI College of Education/SLS Scholarships:  By March 1 of each year, applicants may apply for scholarships including the Rigmor Madsen Endowed Scholarship Fund ($1,000) which gives preference to School Library Studies students.  The Dean's Graduate Fellowship ($1500) is due March 15. Part-time students are encouraged to apply.

Graduate Assistantship or Tuition Scholarship:  Students working toward a graduate degree full time (9 graduate credits or more per semester) who wish to work 10 or 20 hours a week on campus may apply for a Graduate Assistantship in the Curriculum and Instruction department or other UNI program.  Full-time students can also apply for Graduate Tuition Scholarships.  Students are encouraged to fill out both applications which are available through the Graduate College.

Be sure to visit the Department of Curriculum and Instruction webpage for more information about scholarships and assistantships for our students.

Dates to note

You can apply at any time.  Admitted students can start the program in the fall semester.  A new cohort is planned for Fall 2019 with classes beginning Monday, August 26. UNI courses are dependent upon adequate enrollment.

The Introduction course, which is a prerequisite to all other courses in the program, has one face-to-face, on-campus Saturday class session in the first fall semester and otherwise meets online.  No other on-campus class sessions are anticipated for the new cohort.  Delivery methods are subject to change. 

Please let us know if you have any questions. We would be glad to schedule a phone or in person appointment with you.

For additional information contact

Dr. Karla Krueger
Associate Professor
Program Coordinator

Alisa Weeks
Program Secretary

(319) 273-2050