One of the key factors to acquiring a challenging and exciting position upon graduation is having pertinent experience.

Employers are seeking information professionals with the MLIS degree from an accredited program, as well as those with some pertinent professional experience. There are several opportunities to acquire practical experience while you pursue your MLIS degree. The Partners Program addresses this need for experiential learning, which helps enhance your resume and the likelihood of gainful employment after completing your program of study.

Host institutions utilize Partners students in a wide variety of professional positions in cataloguing, reference, special collections, interlibrary loan, metadata creation, technical services, records management, public services, and digital curation.

The Partners Program addresses a need for experiential learning, enhances your resume, and increases the likelihood of gainful employment after completing your program of study. All student who have been accepted in the MLIS program will be invited to apply for this experience.

Please contact with any questions.


Participants must be currently enrolled in the MLIS program and be U.S. citizens. Students may be full time or part time students. They may take classes on-campus or online (Please note that most partner work sites are in the Greater Pittsburgh area).

Academic Requirements

Students must:
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Earn a grade of “B” or better in each core course
  • Earn a grade of “C” or better in each elective course
  • Have no "G" grades (incomplete)

Please note: The Program Administrator will notify the site supervisor if a student is removed from their Partners placement (e.g., failure to meet the required GPA).

Other Requirements

Students must:
  • Attend a group information meeting each term
  • Submit a five-page report to the Partners Program administrator at the beginning of the summer term. This report reviews the work experience within the frame of the MLIS Goals for Graduates. It offers an opportunity for the student to discuss the experience and the host site.

Work Site Information

  • Students work 10 to 15 hours per week in the fall, spring, and summer terms.
  • The student and supervisor determine the scheduled work days and times (the student is required to contact the supervisor if this expectation cannot be met).
    • Student work schedules follow the University calendar. The student does not work when the University is not in session.
  • Changes to the Partners placement agreement, must be approved by the program administrator.
  • Hourly wages will be paid according to the host site’s payroll schedule.
  • Stipend payments will be listed in the host site job description. They will vary by site and might be made at the end of the month or at the end of each term.
  • The host site supervisor provides an oral and written evaluation to the student each term.
  • The host institution may terminate a placement for unsatisfactory performance.
  • Communication is essential to a successful experience. If an issue cannot be resolved between site supervisor and student, the Partners Program administrator should be contacted to assist in resolution.

Application Process

  • As students accept their offer of admission to the MLIS program, they will be invited to apply to the Partner’s Program by February 28.
  • Students will review the site job descriptions, locations, and desired skills. They will select three sites that are of interest to them.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to understand the demands of the position, as well as transportation and salary/stipend details.
  • Using the Partners site link, students will submit their site selections, resume, and letter of interest.
  • Students will interview with site supervisors and confirm acceptance to a position with a target date of June 30.

What is the Partners Program?
The Partners Program is an innovative out-of-the-classroom opportunity that permits students to gain critical professional experience and skills at Pittsburgh’s regional libraries, information centers, archives, cultural institutions, and corporations.

Is the Partners Program a form of financial assistance?
No. Compensation is determined by each organization and may be in the form of a stipend or an hourly wage.

Do I earn academic credit in this program
No. Your work provides a real-world experience with compensation (If interested in an academic, for credit experience, see Class Descriptions for LIS 2901 Individualized Research, LIS 2902 Individualized Research, 2921 Field Experience, and LIS 2922 Practicum in School Library Media Programs).

How do I apply?
As soon as a student is accepted into the MLIS Program, they receive an invitation to apply. The Partners application deadline is February 28 (although this might be extended under certain conditions). Instructions, links to the application, and job descriptions will be made available to you in the invitation.

How many terms is the placement and is it automatically renewable?
Partners participants work three consecutive terms: fall, spring, and summer. The renewal occurs provided that the student meets the academic and work requirements outlined in the Student Eligibility & Requirements.

Do you have to be enrolled as a full-time student to participate in the Program?
All MLIS program participants are eligible for the Partners Program (full-time and part-time / on-campus or online).

May students in other degree programs apply for Partners Program positions?
No, not at this time.

If I do not receive placement for fall, can I reapply for future terms?
Yes, if you are a part time student, completing the program over several years, you may re-apply for other terms.

If I am offered two 10-hour placements, can I accept both?
No. In fairness to all prospective students, a student will be permitted to accept only one offer.

How many hours must I work each week and how much is the salary or stipend?
Work commitment is generally 10 to 15 hours per week as determined by the host institution. Hours of work are negotiated by you and your host supervisor after your class schedule is set.

Can I work more than the proscribed 10-15 hours per week if requested by a Partners site?
Only if the suggested changes are submitted to the Partners Administrator with a revised job description. The student may not work more than 20 hours per week (per University policy).