The MLIS degree was first accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1967. An accredited program is particularly important since the overwhelming majority of public and academic professional librarian positions in the US and Canada require a master’s degree from an accredited program as a pre-condition of employment.
Attending an accredited program is important even for those whose career aspirations lie outside of libraries. Accreditation ensures that the program meets strict standards of quality.
Each MLIS degree program accredited by ALA goes through an extensive review process by its Committee on Accreditation (COA) every seven years. The review process focuses on standards set by COA that cover the following evaluative criteria: Mission, Goals, and Objectives; Students; Faculty; Curriculum; Administration and Financial Support; and Physical Resources and Facilities.
The accreditation process starts with a self-study by the program that is presented to a review team charged with completing the program review. The review team also visits the campus and prepares a written evaluation of the program that is presented to COA. COA, in turn, determines whether the program receives continuing accreditation for the subsequent seven years. The next comprehensive review for the Wayne State School of Library and Information Science is scheduled for fall 2016.