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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.

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 using eLearning, requiring Internet access and a web browser.  Some courses meet once a week in the evening via interactive video conferencing.  The program will include 1-3 in-person, hands-on Saturday class sessions held on the UNI campus.  Delivery methods are subject to change.

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 website.

Girl raising her hand in library

Teaching endorsements

Our MA 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) and secondary only (#109) teacher librarians.  For more information, see the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website and search for endorsement #174, #108 or #109.

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 MA 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 BA 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. We do not provide advising for these programs, but contacts are listed on the state website.


You must be admitted to the program to join a cohort group.  A complete application includes: 1) an online application; 2) transcripts from the institution issuing your BA/BS degree and all institutions attended since earning your bachelor’s degree; and 3) a writing exam administered by the School Library Studies staff after the first two items have been received. 

Your first step is to complete the UNI Graduate Admissions online application. You will be asked to create an UNI account with a CatID (username) and password, or if you are a former UNI student, you can use your current CatID and password.  Indicate that you would like to attend UNI in Fall 2018 and are applying for a Master's Program.  Select the program "School Library Studies - MA."   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.

The second step is requesting transcripts from your former academic institutions.  They must be mailed directly from your former institution to UNI.  The arrival of transcripts can take some time. Please be sure that all of your transcripts have been requested and 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.

When your transcripts have arrived, your applicaton 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

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

Middle school boys with laptops.

Once an admission decision has been made, you will be notified through a letter from the Curriculum and Instruction Department Head. If admitted, you will be assigned to a cohort group and will be eligible to register for classes.

Admissions 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 MA 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: Iowa Teacher Shortage Areas are 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.  Teacher librarian K-12 is on the 2015-2016 Iowa Teacher Shortage Area list.  

UNI Financial Aid:  Basic information on budgeting for and financing graduate school can be found here. 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 Curriculum & Instruction/SLS Scholarships:  By February 15 of each year, qualified applicants may apply for SLS scholarships of $1000 (Rigmor Madsen and/or Mary Lou Kirk).

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 in the Curriculum and Instruction department may apply for a Graduate Assistantship and Graduate Tuition Scholarship.  Applications are available through the Graduate College.

Dates to note

You can apply at any time.  A new cohort usually begins each fall with the next cohort tentatively scheduled to begin in Fall 2018.

The cohorts are designed for part time students.  Groups typically complete two courses each semester that are offered specifically for that cohort group.  For a sample cohort schedule, see the Program Schedule tab on the Continuing Education  webpage.   Part-time students can generally complete all coursework in a 2-3 year time frame. Students may also move through the program one course at a time or attend full time.  The master's program requires a master's research paper or thesis.  UNI courses are dependent upon adequate enrollment.

The Introduction course, which is a prerequisite to all other courses in the program, has 1-2 face-to-face Saturday class sessions and uses an online learning environment.

Please let us know if you have any other questions at this point. We'd be happy to schedule a phone or in person appointment with you if you have additional questions.

For additional information contact

Dr. Karla Krueger
Associate Professor
Program Coordinator

Alisa Weeks
Program Secretary

(319) 273-2050