Medical tool and books

Concerns over the provision and quality of health care and a strong interest in health care resources and research have created a need for health information professionals. The purpose of this course of study is to produce information professionals with knowledge of health sciences resources and the organization, retrieval, and management of such resources in order to meet the needs of clinicians, researchers, nurses, other health care professionals, policy developers, and the general public. Students who complete this course of study will have the competencies to work as health information professionals in the following information environments:

  • Academic health sciences libraries
  • Hospital libraries
  • Public libraries
  • Special libraries, such as pharmaceutical libraries, corporate libraries, and federal libraries.

Students who pursue this course of study may be qualified to apply for positions such as:

  • Health information specialists
  • Medical librarians
  • Medical records specialists
  • Health Informationists
  • Medical Informatics


This course of study is designed to foster the development of professional competencies in the six areas identified by the Department of Library and Information Science (see The Professional Competencies for Graduates of the Masters in Library Science Degree Program). Specifically, this document aims to help students develop competency in the five areas listed below. These competencies are closely aligned with the recommendations of the Medical Library Association’s “Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success: The Educational Policy Statement of the Medical Library Association” (2007).

  1. Knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) related to health sciences information resources and information systems. The KSA covers competencies in professional ethics, information organization, services, and resources.
  2. Knowledge of the health sciences, the health care environment, and the policies, legislation, issues, and trends that affect the health care environment.
  3. Health information technologies, including database management, usability testing, knowledge of user behaviors and commitment to user-centered design of information systems, such as systems for personal health records and electronic medical records.
  4. Research, including knowledge of research methodologies and statistics, and ability to conduct research and present research effectively.
  5. Leadership and management, including the ability to promote collaboration, participate effectively in collaborative projects, and manage projects successfully.


The four core courses will lay a solid foundation for this course of study. Several mid-level and advanced courses will provide opportunities for students to obtain specialized knowledge and skills in the health sciences area and develop proficiency in organizing health sciences resources and providing information services to users.

Required Courses (4 courses: 12 credits)

  • 551: Organization of Information
  • 553: Information Sources and Services
  • 555: Information Systems in Libraries
  • 557: The Information Professions in Society

Highly Recommended Courses (Take 5 courses from this group: 15 credits)

  • 838: Health Sciences Information
  • 871: Health Informatics
  • 524: Actionable Intelligence
  • 633: Information Retrieval and Analysis
  • 635: Human Information Behavior
  • 675: Research Methods
  • 654: Database Management

Other Recommended Courses (take 3 courses from this group: 9 credits)

  • 650: Information Architecture & Web Design
  • 615: Metadata
  • 612: Foundations of Digital Libraries
  • 637: Government Data and Information
  • 638: E-Science and Technology Information
  • 695A: Practicum in a healthcare setting

695A: Practicum in a healthcare setting
Students will work as professionals under the supervision of a practitioner. Practicum sites can be a medical library in a university, a hospital library, a public library, a think tank library, a government agency specializing in health care, or a business library.

Courses* mapped to Competency Areas

Information Organization Services & Resources Information Technology Professional Identity & Management
Required 551 553 555 557
Highly Recommended

(take five)
871 524



654 675


Other Recommended 615



*Practicum (695A) is not mapped in this table.

Health Sciences Course of Study Checklist (.docx)

Online Resources and Publications

For more information about health sciences information and recent trends, the following resources might be of interest to students:

Recorded Webinar - February 8, 2017

Unique Aspects of Health Sciences Librarianship - free recorded webinar and ongoing discussion - a presentation by ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Latino SIG of the Medical Library Association (MLA)

Professional Associations

Professional associations provide a variety of resources for students, professionals, and paraprofessionals including continuing education classes and seminars, networking opportunities, listservs, and much more. Most have student discounts and some offer mentoring programs for new graduates. Some associations related to health informatics include:

Revised September 2018