We know the cost of graduate education can seem daunting, but MSIS and MSLS students at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) can take of advantage of many opportunities to help defray the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses.
UNC-Chapel Hill and SILS offer merit-based support for promising incoming students, several assistantships with full-tuition support are awarded each year, our students regularly succeed in securing awards from professional organizations and other external sources, and there are many flexible, competitively-compensated employment options on or near campus.
Explore this page to learn more about the cost of attendance and potential funding sources available to SILS master's students.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition and fee rates are posted on the University Cashier's website.
Click here for estimated costs of attendance (including tuition, books, room and board, etc.) for one year at UNC provided by the University Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.
In addition, students should consider the cost of the required laptop computer.
Residents of North Carolina may attend UNC-Chapel Hill at a significantly lower cost. Please refer to the Graduate School's website for North Carolina Residency for Tuition Purposes, which contains information about NC residency requirements and how to apply for resident status.
Prospective master’s students are encouraged to apply for admission by December 1 to ensure they receive full consideration for financial aid. Specific application deadlines can be found on the UNC Graduate School’s page for specific degree programs.
Need-based assistance is handled by the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid (OSSA). Application is made by completing the FAFSA form and requesting that financial information be sent to UNC-Chapel Hill. For questions regarding need-based aid, please consult OSSA directly.
SILS awards scholarships and fellowships based on the strength of admission applications and progress made within a program after admission. No separate application is required. The SILS admission committees and the academic affairs office work to disperse all available aid to students each year. Several endowed funds have been established over the years to benefit SILS graduate students, including the Evelyn J. Bishop Scholarship Fund, Kathleen McNiece Moore Fellowship in Children's Library Services, Lisa Burmeister Computer & Information Science Fellowship, Michael Hooker Graduate Fellowship in Applied Networking, and Margaret Ellen Kalp Memorial Fellowship. Dozens of SILS students receive support from these sources annually.
Most SILS financial aid is given to students who begin their programs in summer or fall semesters, though some fellowships are awarded to those who begin in spring. If an award is made in summer, it will generally not begin until the fall semester.
PLEASE NOTE: No separate application is required to be considered for any merit-based aid from SILS, and citing specific fellowships in your application or tailoring your application materials to fit the descriptions of endowed funds is not recommended.
Assistantships generally require 15-20 hours of service per week, and recipients are not allowed to accept employment beyond the assistantship. Assistantship stipends are set at or above the minimum stipend level for terminal master’s programs suggested by the UNC Graduate School. With the exception of the EPA Library Internship Program, nominations for assistantships are based on the strength of your admission application or progress in the program. Candidates may be asked to interview or submit additional materials, but no separate applications are required.
In addition to the assistantships described below, SILS generally offers about five grant-funded and SILS-funded assistships per year, including stipends, health insurance, and full tuition support.
Carolina Academic Library Associates (CALAs): Two-year appointments with UNC Libraries; includes stipend for 12 months, health insurance, and full tuition support. Approximately eight CALAs are appointed each fall. Appointments are announced in February and early March. Candidates are matched with departments based on the needs of the various libraries and departments, as well as their own professional interests. Recent students have been appointed to assist at the Sloan Art Library, Digital Research Services, Carolina Digital Repository, Special Collections Technical Services department, UNC Music Library, Stone Center Library for Black Culture and History, Health Sciences Library, and Kenan Science Library.
Carolina Technology Associates (CaTAs): Two-year appointments in a systems or technology setting on campus or in the area; includes stipend for 9 or 12 months, health insurance, and full tuition support. The number of CaTAs varies from year-to-year depending on demand. Appointments are announced in February and early March.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Assistantships: One-year appointments, usually awarded after students complete their first year in the program; stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support. Students gain experience working for one of America's leading urban public libraries, which serves a community of more than one million citizens.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Library Internship Program: Appointments in the EPA Library in Research Triangle Park; varying length, usually made after one semester has been completed; includes stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support. Approximately six assistants are appointed each year. EPA Library Director will recruit applicants working with SILS Career Services Coordinator as positions become available.
Graduate School Merit Assistantships: One-year assistantships with minimal service requirement; 9-month stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support. Successful nominees are notified in late February.
Drs. Barbara and Robert S. Martin Research Assistantship: One-year, renewable appointments for students assisting SILS faculty members who are conducting research in the areas of children’s, young adult, or school librarianship. Stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support; usually awarded after a student has completed at least one semester at SILS. Martin Scholars have played a key role in the success of the Steinfirst Artist-in-Residency program.
Amy Elizabeth Morgan Assistantship: One-year renewable assistantship provides a stipend, health insurance, full tuition support, and an experiential learning opportunity at NoveList. Named in honor of Amy Elizabeth Morgan (MSLS ’08), a juvenile materials specialist who worked as a Metadata Librarian with NoveList for eight years prior to her death in October 2017.
Weiss Urban Livability Fellowships: One-year fellowship provides funding, learning opportunities, and practical experience; 9-month stipend, health insurance, and full tuition support. Fellows design a community project that impacts urban livability in Chapel Hill. Successful nominees are notified in late February.
A number of foundations, professional associations, and other organizations provide support to students. UNC's Graduate Funding Information Center can help graduate students find fellowships and other funding opportunities.
Visit our professional organizations page for links to a variety of information science organization websites and check out the American Library Association (ALA) scholarships page, which allows you to apply for a variety of general and speciality scholarships through one application.
External funding organizations have their own procedures and require separate applications. SILS shares notices of award opportunities with current student via listservs.
Additional Work Opportunities
Numerous student assistant positions are available in on-campus and off-campus information technology units and libraries for students in SILS programs. Students must apply directly to the individual departments or organizations for these positions. The School receives notices of part-time job and internship opportunities and makes this information available to students via the SILS jobs listserv. In addition, students are encourage to review all the resources in the Careers section of the SILS website.
Funding for Enrolled Students
Small grants are available to SILS students for assistance with research costs where unusual expenses are involved. Master’s students may apply once for up to $200 for expenses associated with their master’s paper. Grants can be made for the costs of travel, postage, compensation of human subjects, and certain other expenses. Grants are not made for the mechanical preparation of the resulting paper, i.e., typing, photocopying of the finished paper, etc. Your application must be approved before you make any expenditures for which you are requesting funds.
- Talk with your research advisor and secure the advisor’s approval for submitting a request.
- Complete the Carnegie Research Grant Application to apply for funding.
- Develop a brief statement as to how the funds are to be used, along with a proposed budget.
- Have the faculty advisor complete the advisor approval section.
- Turn in the completed application to the SILS assistant dean for administration.
- You will be notified upon approval of your application
- To apply for a cash advance for subject payments, meet with the SILS accounting technician for appropriate paperwork and instruction. To obtain reimbursement for payments, submit receipts for covered expenditures to the SILS accounting technician.
- Note on compensation for human subjects: Normally, compensation should be made via gift cards. If the student and his or her advisor decide that compensation must be in cash, the following procedures should be followed:
- Each subject must sign and date a receipt acknowledging they received payment as compensation for participation in the study. These receipts should be kept confidential, along with the signed informed consent forms, either by the advisor or with the IRB forms in the main office for five years.
- To receive reimbursement, the student should submit a receipt containing the following information: number of subjects, amount given to each subject, date(s) of disbursement, statement of who holds the subjects’ acknowledgements receiving payment, signature of student, signature of advisor.
- In case of audit, the subjects’ acknowledgements may need to be produced for review.
SILS students who are presenting their work at a professional/research conference may apply for up to $200 for expenses associated with travel to that conference. To apply, they should fill out the Conference Travel Grant Application Form. The form needs to be submitted for approval prior to the trip. Reimbursement after the meeting will be made based on submission of actual receipts. In some cases, registration fee reimbursement may be requested in advance of the conference.