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.  Most courses are taught as hybrids with some time over the Internet, some synchronous time with Adobe Connect or Zoom, and some have 1-3 days on campus (Saturdays or summers). 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.

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 call 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 summer 2016 or fall 2016 and are applying for a Master's Program.  Select the program "School Library Studies - MA." 

Transcripts must be mailed from your former academic institution directly 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 by logging onto MyUNIverse ( and looking at your to-do list in your Student Center.  If you have forgotten your CatID (username) or password, contact ITS at 319-273-5555 for assistance.

Once all your transcripts have been received, you will be notified by email from the Admissions office.  If you have not received this notice in a timely manner, it is your responsibility to contact the office of Admissions to see what might be delaying the completion of your application; contact Laurie Russell at  or by phone at 319-273-2623.

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


All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of location. See the Continuing Education FAQ page for current tuition rates.

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 and loan programs.

Teacher Award and Loan Forgiveness Programs:  Teach Iowa Scholars, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Iowa Teacher Loan Forgiveness provide for funds for educators teaching in shortage areas and/or low-income schools.  They are administered by outside agencies, but it is recommended that you 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. Due to increased interest in our program, we are planning two opportunities to begin the program with cohorts starting in summer 2016 and fall 2016Applications for the summer cohort are still being accepted.  For full consideration for the fall cohort, submit your application by June 1.

The summer cohort will take one online course (Organization of Information) from June 6 to July 29 and then take the Introduction course in the fall semester.  Summer cohort students will finish their program a term earlier than the fall cohort.  UNI courses are dependent upon adequate enrollment.

Cohort groups begin with the course SLS 5114 Introduction to the School Library Program and one other course. Groups typically complete 2 courses each semester that will be offered specifically for the cohort group, although those who wish to move through the program one course at a time also have that option, as do students who wish to be full time. All 33 hours of coursework could be completed in a 2-3 year time frame. The master's program requires a master's research paper or thesis.

The Introduction course, which is a prerequisite to all other courses in the program, meets face to face two Saturdays and uses an online learning environment. Course dates will be listed when the course schedules are published. THE INTRODUCTION COURSE FOR BOTH COHORTS WILL HAVE A REQUIRED CLASS ON THE LAST SATURDAY OF AUGUST (8/27) ON THE UNI CAMPUS. Both cohorts will also have an on-campus class session on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Once admitted, students will register online through the UNI Continuing Education enrollment process.

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

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