Rhetoric and Composition is a great Master’s degree for Professional Writing students to pursue. However, it is often the only Master’s program that PW students consider throughout their undergraduate days; partly because they believe it is the only graduate degree that can effectively develop their professional skill-set. Students might not be aware that there are other great Master’s programs that are also very compatible with their undergraduate education, such as the Library & Information Science Master’s degree (MLIS).
A Match Made in Information Heaven
English and Library & Information Science go hand in hand. Both fields deal with research and literature/books. But as it’s name implies, Library & Information Science is more broadly focused on information and information technology, a characteristic that also forms the foundation of the Professional Writing field.
This graduate degree not only incorporates many of the theories and practices learned in Professional Writing, such as the focus on the user and usability experience, design and the organization, literacy and dissemination of information, but it also expands upon them as students can choose to concentrate in a variety of specializations. Specializations include:
- interlibrary loans
- records management
- data circulation
- database management
- media specialist
- usability/user experiences
- and many others
Students may also opt to keep their studies general and broad. Graduates of the degree can pursue jobs not only in libraries (academic, public, special) but in any information and research centers or environments that utilize information technology. With an MLIS degree, students have the opportunity to work in almost any area or career field.
Unfortunately, very few Bachelor’s degrees in Library & Information Science exist, so courses are not readily available to undergraduates. If Professional Writing students wish to pursue a MLIS they should prepare in their undergraduate years by interning or obtaining a student position at a academic or public library. Taking courses or minoring in communications, business, or information systems can also build a strong foundation for those who want to specialize. And for students that may still wish to pursue an MA in Rhetoric and Composition, there are universities that offer joint or dual degrees in both English and Information & Library Science.
Library and Information Science is a great Master’s program for undergraduates who want to explore a different avenue to further their Professional Writing skills.