Library and Information Science students are expected to be aware of and adhere to policies regarding grades and academic standing (including Incompletes, Unethical Practices, Academic Honesty, Change of Grade, Dismissal), and Change of Enrollment (including academic leave, change of course, withdrawal from a course and withdrawal from the university) as approved by the Vice Provost's office. Please refer to the School of Arts and Sciences Information and Resources for Current Graduate Students. The following is only a summary of these University Policies.

Course Load

The normal course load for full-time students is 9-12 credit hours per semester. Students who wish to take more than 12 credits, up to a maximum of 15, in the same semester, must have a grade point average of 3.7 and receive approval from their academic adviser and the chair. Permission will not be granted during the term when a student is taking comprehensive exams. This policy applies to spring, summer, and fall semesters.


Letter grades are given to students taking courses for credit unless these courses are graded "pass-fail." The quality of a student's performance in a particular course, including factors such as ability to meet deadlines and participation in class discussion, is the only basis for a grade. Faculty will provide feedback to students on their academic performance.

Students are cautioned that any grade below a full B (3.0) is considered marginal in Library and Information Science programs, and grades of C are viewed with grave concern. Students receiving two grades of C or a single grade of F are subject to dismissal from the program. Students receiving low grades should consult with instructors and advisers immediately about ways of improving their academic performance.

Academic dismissal is made by the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.


A provisional report of I (incomplete) may be given to a student who, for legitimate reasons, has not completed course requirements, provided that work already completed is of passing quality. The student and the instructor must complete and sign the Request for Incomplete form before approval. Students receiving more than one incomplete may not take further coursework while more than one provisional report remains on their record.

Students granted provisional grades of I (incomplete) must complete all work and have permanent grades reported to the registrar by the midpoint of the next academic term (i.e., the midterm date specified in the registrar's academic calendar), whether the student is enrolled during that term or not. If by that date the incomplete (I) is not replaced by a passing grade, the grade of F (failure) will be recorded for the course. Any Request for an Extension of this deadline must be made in advance of the deadline and approved by the dean as well as by the instructor. Students are reminded that grades of F normally result in dismissal from the program. Faculty must fill out a Grade Change/Disposition of Incomplete form to record final status of incomplete.

Academic Leave

A student in good standing who must interrupt her or his studies for adequate reason, such as prolonged ill health or military service, may be granted academic leave for a stated period, usually not to exceed one year. The student should apply in writing by filling out the Academic Leave form, in advance of the semester for which permission is requested, to the chair of the department and the dean of the school, stating the specific reasons for requiring the leave.

The period of academic leave is not counted as part of the time allowed for the completion of residence or other degree requirements. Any incomplete (I) grades that are outstanding must be changed in accordance with the policy on Incomplete Grades by the date published in the Academic Calendar, whether a student is registered for the current semester or not. If the academic leave extends beyond the period approved by the academic dean, the student will be considered to have withdrawn from the university and must reapply for admission to be reinstated and satisfy current degree requirements.

Transfer or Waiver of Credit from other Fields

Courses outside the field of library and information science may be approved for transfer. The purpose of allowing courses to be taken outside of the professional program of the school is to give students opportunities to gain competencies which are not available in the school, but which will substantially contribute to their education as information professionals. The student must demonstrate how the course will materially and specifically contribute to the student's professional education, make the student's program a more cohesive whole, and lead to a specific educational attainment for the student. Students without previous library education courses or extensive experience are advised to confine their efforts to library and information science courses. When the transfer of credits is approved by the dean of the school, the student will receive a letter verifying the transfer.

A maximum of six semester credit hours may be transferred or waived to reduce the length of the M.S.L.I.S. program under the conditions listed below.

Transfer of Credit for Courses from Another Institution

Students may request that six semester credit hours of graduate coursework from another institution be accepted for transfer into the M.S.L.IS. program. Students requesting transfer of credit must submit a completed Transfer of Credit Request Form for each course; an official transcript issued to the school directly from the institution attended, and catalog descriptions of the course. The transfer must be approved by the student's adviser and the dean of the school.

Guidelines for acceptance of credits are as follows:

  1. The student has already successfully completed 12 semester hours in the school with at least a 3.0 average.
  2. The courses were taken by the student after receiving the bachelor's degree.
  3. A grade of B or better was received in the course(s) for which the transfer of credit is requested.
  4. The course(s) taken are designated on the official transcript of the granting academic institution as graduate courses, and the transcript is on file in the office of Library and Information Science. (An official transcript is one issued by the institution attended that is forwarded directly to the school office and bears the seal of the university, the signature of the registrar, and the date of issue.)
  5. The student is not already excused from six semester hours because the student holds a graduate degree in another subject area.

Approval for transfer of credit involves a number of factors, including the accreditation status of the institution from which graduate courses are transferred, the specific content of the courses, and their relevance to the program of study that the student is pursuing at The Catholic University of America. A primary consideration is that the transferred courses not duplicate the content of courses taken in the master's degree program at Catholic University.

Waiver of Core Courses

Although no more than six semester hours can be accepted for transfer, some coursework in library and information science may be acceptable in lieu of core courses in the school, but such acceptance of one or more course waivers will in no way result in a decrease in the number of credit hours required for the M.S.L.I.S. An elective course must be taken for each course waived.

Students must petition for waiver of core courses by completing the appropriate request form. An official transcript and a catalog description must also be submitted. Waivers of core courses must be approved by the student's adviser and the dean of the school.

Previous Graduate Degree Exemption

A student who holds one or more accredited graduate degrees when admitted to the school will be automatically exempt from six semester credit hours, but all remaining credit must be earned within Library and Information Science. An official transcript of the graduate degree must be submitted at the time application is made to the school.

Courses at Off-Campus Sites

The program also offers courses at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. These courses are open to non-employees of the Library of Congress on a space-available basis.

All students should expect to earn credits on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as not all courses can be available at an off-site location. Information about off-campus programs and specific course offerings for a given semester is available from the LIS office and the Web site. In fall, spring and summer sessions, the department usually offers two courses at the Library of Congress. We also offer a few online courses and a few hybrid courses each semester, in which online material substitutes for some class meetings.

Courses Open to Undergraduates

Courses at the 500 and 600 levels are open to undergraduates at The Catholic University of America, who may begin graduate studies in library and information science while fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements. The students must obtain the permission of their advisers as well as the chair of Library and Information Science. Credits earned in excess of those required for the undergraduate degree may be applied toward the M.S.L.I.S. program only after the undergraduate degree has been conferred and the student has officially applied and been accepted by the Admissions Committee to the program.

A graduate student may begin graduate work while fulfilling the requirements for an undergraduate degree if, in the opinion of the school dean of the graduate school where enrollment is sought, the student’s academic performance and promise justify such action.  

Similarly, undergraduates may be permitted to undertake graduate studies as students in joint degree programs, for example, B.A./M.A. in the same field. In such cases, the student will be enrolled as an undergraduate until the undergraduate program is completed. Graduate courses earning undergraduate and graduate semester credit must be pre-approved by the chair of the department (where applicable) and both the undergraduate and graduate deans of the school.

When the student takes graduate courses during his or her undergraduate studies, these semester credits will be applied towards the master’s degree after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred. Furthermore, semester credits earned in graduate level courses in excess of those required for the undergraduate degree may be applied toward an advanced degree after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred.

Undergraduate students enrolled in graduate level courses will be graded according to the graduate grading scale.

Disability Services

The Department of Library and Information Science is committed to making its programs and information accessible to all qualified individuals with documented learning, physical, or other disabilities. The location of some classrooms may make it necessary for us to make special accommodations, and we are very willing to do so. However, only through voluntary disclosure of a disability to the Office of Disability Support Services (Pryzbyla Center, Suite 207,, 202-319-5211), as early as possible, can we respond. After the initial disclosure to the office, students will receive a letter each semester from that office to expedite a request for reasonable accommodations.

For more information, visit our Accessibility page