Kent State University

This is the review of Kent State University, School of Library and Information Sciences, Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Museum Studies.

Here are some facts about the university and program:

  • Though this review covers just the MLIS degree program and a specific concentration, the school offers a variety of MA combinations with the MLIS degree in addition to various concentrations.
  • Ranked #18 by U.S. News & World Report on the list Best Graduate Schools for Library and Information Studies in 2013
  • Most of the MLIS courses are found online
  • The program has some pretty cool  financial aid offers such as graduate assistantships for full tuition remission plus a small stipend as well as scholarships and fellowships

Kent State University is a public research university located in Kent, Ohio.

The review is based on 17 responses from graduates who finished the degree less than a year ago  to up to five years ago.

The advantages they found to the program were:

  • The program was not content specific. We studied museums as a whole rather than focusing on a particular type.
  • The program can be taught 100% online but offered various in-person workshops and the MuseLab for those looking for face to face learning experiences
  • Strength of curriculum and small class sizes: there are a large variety of courses to choose from both within and outside of the museum track. The museum track provides a great introduction to the museum field.
  • Could cherry pick from museum, library and archives specialties which enhanced marketability.
  • The professors are highly experienced in their field and know how to teach online courses
  • Advisor was always available to chat and took a great interest in helping me succeed in my goals.
  • The program makes you well prepared for creating engaging and meaningful spaces for nontraditional learning. It makes you think outside normal museum and library standards when it comes to programming.
  • The program is very interactive among peers even though most of the coursework is done online. Expect great conversations among classmates and professor feedback.
  •  Good access to relevant technology

The disadvantages of the program were:

  • More museum courses especially education/engagement
  • Could have provided opportunities to learn about the wider scope of roles in museums
  • Blackboard online learning space can be glitchy
  • Wish there was more workshops specifically for museum studies
  • Core classes can be a little too focused on (public) libraries
  • Distance learning can put some at a disadvantage when it comes to networking or practical experience especially for archival and collection classes
  • Not listening to students when expressing concerns regarding certain instructors

Based on these pros and cons, the respondents rated the program as it was when they attended 8.94/10.00.

71% of respondents do not live near Kent State University while 29% do live near the university.

29% of respondents work in a library, 18% work in a history museum, 12% work in an art museum, 12% in a specialty museum,  6% in a historical society, 6% at the National Park Service, 6% in a private or corporate collection, 6% is a contractor, and 6% outside of the museum and library field.

As for the type of work that respondents do, 35% Collections Management and Education, 23% Visitor Services/Membership and Curatorial, 18% Exhibitions and Administration, 12% Archival/Library, 6% Registration and Communication/Social Media.

Some current job titles of respondents are:

  • Teen Services Librarian
  • Museum Technician
  • Education Programs Coordinator
  • Curatorial Assistant
  • Social Media Coordinator

Some dream jobs of the respondents are:

  • Research Archivist/ Librarian
  • Curator
  • Manager of Youth Programs
  • Executive Director

My Summary:

The first impression of a program for me is usually through their website. When starting to browse around the School of Library and Information Science website I think I actually said “wow” out loud. All the details I was looking for on their website were easy to find and the site is aesthetically pleasing to boot. I realize that does not say anything about the content of the program but a site that is easy to navigate is a site I’m more likely to stay on and explore.

Moving on, based on these responses and the information I could find online, the program seems best for those interested in collections and/or education in museums or libraries. Because some perks to the program, like the graduate assistantships and MuseLab are offered on campus, I would guess it would be best to be located at least within the state though the program is online. I think this program has a lot to offer in and outside of the museum field with its dual degree programs, and various specializations.

If you would like more information about the program, here is the link to their website. If you feel I’m missing something please contact me, comment below, or fill out the survey.


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