Graduate FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions by applicants to the School of Information:

Admissions
Orientation
Registration
Tuition and Fees
Financial Aid
Academic Common Market
Program Information
Course Information
Health Insurance and Immunization Policies
International Students

Admissions

How can I prepare for the GRE?

As a start, to prepare for the GRE, study the ISEE sample tests. GRE for Dummies is a good study guide, as are other published guides. Check your local public library or bookstore. The GRE web site has free PowerPoint software you may download to use as a study guide. Companies such as Kaplan and Solution Skills offer test-prep classes but they are costly.

Where should I send the GRE scores?

When you sit for the GRE exam, request your official scores to be reported to FSU, code 5219. Do NOT report them to a department code.

Where can I take the GRE?

To set up a GRE test date, contact a Sylvan Learning Center, other testing/test-prep center, or a college campus near you. Only as a last resort should you contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to set up a test date – ETS offers the exam very infrequently.

If my GPA meets the minimum requirement for admission (3.0 or higher), do I still need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

Yes. By University rule everyone applying for admission to graduate study in the School of Information must submit GRE scores, even if your GPA exceeds the minimum GPA standard for admission and/or you hold an advanced degree. The University will accept scores of any age, as long as they are reported in an official format.

If your scores are five years old or less, contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at (800) GRE-CALL or gre-info@ets.org, requesting them to report your scores to FSU, code 5219.

If your GRE scores are older than five years (in which case ETS will no longer report them), the FSU Office of Admissions will accept them – no matter how old – if they are reported in an acceptable form:

  • An official transcript from a previous school that has your official GRE scores posted on it.
  • A letter from the Registrar’s Office of a previous school attended certifying your scores.
  • A notarized copy of your own official score report from ETS.

How can I check on the status of my application?

To check on the status of your application, contact Student Services.

Orientation

Is Orientation required?

All degree-seeking and certificate students are required to complete Online Orientation prior to enrolling in classes. Online Orientation is presented in two parts: the University’s Online Orientation, followed by the School’s Online Orientation. They can be completed almost entirely at your own pace. After you have been admitted, you will receive information about Orientation, including instructions for obtaining your required FSU ID card and your required FSU email address.

Registration

When will I be able to register for classes as a new student?

Registration for new students occurs the week before classes begin. After you are admitted, you will receive information about the exact dates and times of registration for new students. You can also find information via the “Registration Windows” site on the Registrar’s Office web site.

How will I register for classes?

The University has online registration. The online Registration Guide contains the academic calendar, registration windows, online registration worksheet, fee information, and other registration information. Specific information about registration will be provided as part of Online Orientation for new students.

Tuition and Fees

How can I find out about the cost of tuition?

Tuition varies depending on your location, citizenship status, residency status, and program level. Information about FSU tuition rates is available through the Student Financial Services web site under Important Links.

Financial Aid

How can I find out about financial aid opportunities?

Information about FSU financial aid opportunities is available on the Office of Financial Aid web site, and on the School of Information web site. Also see the Office of Graduate Studies web site for fellowship information.

Academic Common Market

What is the Academic Common Market and how can I qualify?

Currently, the following states have a reciprocal agreement with Florida through the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market (ACM): Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Note: The Georgia Academic Common Market (ACM) certifies Georgia residents only for our Specialist and and Doctoral degrees.

If you reside in one of these states, you may be able to become ACM certified there which will allow you to pay only IN-STATE tuition rates at FSU.

Find more information on the Academic Common Market and contact your state’s Academic Common Market official to find out the steps in the certification process.

Program Information

Can I complete a degree entirely in the face-to-face format as a local or campus-based student?

No. The program largely serves an online population so most courses are offered online for the Master and Specialist degrees. However, a few courses are offered face-to-face each term, so a local or campus-based student can earn a degree taking a combination of online and face-to-face courses.

We encourage campus-based students to take FSU courses outside the department to enhance their program of study.

Courses in the Ph.D. program are offered face-to-face, except for directed individual study (DIS) and dissertation hours which entail some face-to-face interaction with the instructor of record but are not in a classroom format.

Can I complete a degree fully online?

Yes, you can complete a Master or Specialist degree fully online, and you can do it either full time or part time. Almost all LIS courses are offered in the online format. It is rare that an LIS course is ONLY offered face-to-face.

The Ph.D. program in the School of Information is an intensive research degree. It is not available online or by distance learning.

How long will it take to complete a degree?

That depends on how many courses you carry per term. Courses are typically 3 credit hours. The Master degree requires 36 hours (twelve 3 credit hour courses). Most of our master’s and specialist students work part or full time and take 6-9 hours per term, so at that rate, the program can be completed in 4 to 6 semesters. The Specialist (post-Master’s) degree is 30 hours, so the program can be completed in 4 to 5 semesters.

Both the Master and Specialist degrees must be completed within 7 years from the time you first register for graduate credit.

The Ph.D. requires 36 hours prior to taking the preliminary examination, followed by completion of a formal dissertation. The degree must be earned within 5 years from passing the preliminary examination.

Are the School of Information graduate degrees ALA-accredited?

The American Library Association (ALA) only accredits degrees at the Master’s level; consequently, only the Master’s in Library and Information Studies is ALA-accredited.

Course Information

Can I transfer credits toward my degree at FSU?

During or after your first semester of enrollment, you may submit a petition for approval of transfer credits according to instructions in the School of Information Student Services Blackboard site. You will be given access to that site early in your first semester. Below is the policy in brief:

  • Master’s students may petition to transfer up to 6 semester hours of credit from another accredited institution and/or up to 12 semester hours from another FSU academic department toward the Master (MLIS) degree. Exception: School Media students may transfer up to 9 credits from another accredited institution to document the Education courses that are required for initial Florida certification.
  • Specialist (post-Master’s) students may petition to transfer up to 6 semester hours of credit from another accredited institution and/or up to 12 semester hours from another FSU academic department toward the Specialist degree.
    Specifications:
  • Typically, transfer course(s) must be graduate level; however, an exception may be made for one (1) senior level (4000 level) course with appropriate justification. Exception: School Media students may transfer up to 9 undergraduate level credits to document the Education courses that are required for initial Florida certification. In any case, of the total hours required for the Master’s degree, at least 33 hours must be at the graduate level.
  • All transfer courses, regardless of level, must be graded “B” or better.
  • The petition for approval to transfer courses taken prior to starting the LIS degree program at FSU must be initiated before earning more than 24 semester hours toward the LIS degree.
  • The course cannot have already been counted as credit toward another degree. (The latter must be documented in writing if the course was taken while you were working on another degree.)
  • The decision to transfer credits typically depends on the relevance of the course to the field and/or your professional interests.
  • Transfer credit approval cannot be given prior to the first semester in which you are enrolled.
  • Grades earned at another institution cannot be used to improve your FSU GPA.
  • The course(s) may not be more than 7 years old at the time of your graduation from FSU.

Is there an opportunity for independent study in the program?

Students may take a maximum of 6 hours of Directed Individual Study (DIS) coursework. DIS courses are arranged with the guidance of a faculty member who agrees to become the instructor of record for the course. DIS courses are not intended to substitute for a regularly established course. Rather, they should be designed to extend knowledge and experience gained through a student’s program of study. For that reason, a DIS is usually taken late in the student’s program, to maximize on the foundation gained through other coursework.

Can you tell me something about the nature of online classes?

Our online classes are offered via Blackboard, a common online course delivery system. You will gain experience using Blackboard through online orientation. Learn more about online education.

How will I know which courses to take?

Newly admitted students complete a mandatory online orientation that provides academic advising to help you make your course selection for the first semester, and it will explain how you can continue to receive academic advising to plan your program of study.

The College has a 2-year Course Rotation Schedule that provides information about the courses we aim to offer each term for master’s and specialist students.

Health Insurance and Immunization Policies

Will I be required to comply with the University’s health insurance policy?

Graduate students living in Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties and who take at least 9 hours each term must comply with the University’s health insurance policy. All others are not obliged to comply. Details about the policy are available on the Thagard Student Health Center website.

Will I be required to comply with the University’s immunization policy?

Students living in the Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties are required to comply with the University’s immunization policy. All others are not obliged to comply. Details about the policy are available on the Thagard Student Health Center website.

International Students

How can I check on the status of my application?

To check the status of your application, contact the School of Information Student Services.

What is the enrollment requirement for international students?

Immigration regulations have strict requirements regarding enrollment of international students, particularly with reference to taking online classes. For information about those regulations, contact the Center for Global Engagement.

What are the TOEFL score requirements for admission to this program?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants whose native language is not English.

The minimum score requirements on the TOEFL are listed below for the degree specified:
Master degree: 550 on the written exam; 213 on the computer-based exam; 80 on the internet-based exam.
Specialist degree: 600 on the written exam; 250 on the computer-based exam; 100 on the internet-based exam.
Ph.D.: 600 on the written exam; 250 on the computer-based exam; 100 on the internet-based exam.

What types of financial aid are available for international students?

Generally, international students who are admitted to FSU and to our program must document that they have their own personal funds to support themselves through the entire length of their degree program. The School of Information does not have scholarships or financial aid to offer international students, but in their second term and later – not in their first term – international students may apply for a graduate assistantship. If applicants have sufficient English language skills and the necessary job skills, they may be granted one. Assistantships are not guaranteed to any student at any time. See the College’s web site for information on our assistantships and a link to the application form.

The Center for Global Engagement has information about limited financial aid opportunities for international students.

The WebJunction E-Learning Clearinghouse provides information about grants and scholarships available in the U.S. and Canada for degree programs, courses, and professional development in Library and Information Studies.

You may also wish to email the FSU Office of Financial Aid to inquire about the availability of aid for international students: ofacs@admin.fsu.edu.