In addition to the Denton and Houston programs, the Department of Information Science offers its ALA-accredited MLIS program to cohorts of students in various locations in the United States. Most of these cohorts are grants funded and offered in collaboration with local organizations.
In 1999, the Master of Science program and UNT became the first in the nation to offer the Learning Resource Endorsement online. The program met with immediate success. In Spring 2001, enrollment increased 40 percent over the previous spring due to the popularity of the web-based courses. In response to the needs of students pursuing all or part of their program in distance learning mode, the department maintained the requirement for face-to-face meetings and launched the first On-site Institute in June 2001.
The On-site Institutes, in the form of face-to-face meetings, have now become an integral and required part of the learning experience for all students working toward the master’s degree. In 1999, the department began offering the master’s degree at out-of-state locations in collaboration with local institutions. The first cohort was offered in Minnesota when the department collaborated with St. Cloud State University and University of Minnesota Law Library. In 2001, the department collaborated with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and began the first Nevada Cohort in 2002.
The out-of-state programs continued to thrive with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, IMLS, grant-based cohorts in Nevada and Utah, Georgia, and the Pacific Islands. The Nevada-Utah Cohort was funded by two Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants awarded in 2003 through a collaboration with the Nevada State Library, UNLV, and the Las Vegas/Clark County Library District. In 2004, IMLS awarded the department a grant to recruit 20 bilingual students to complete a master’s degree online. The program was designed to help alleviate the problem of unfilled professional positions in both academic and public libraries along the Texas and New Mexico border. This was followed by the Georgia, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and the LEAP cohorts. The LEAP cohort covers American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia including the states of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap, and the Republic of Palau. The graduates of this cohort were the first native Pacific Islanders to earn master's degrees in library and information science.
The Educating Librarians in the Middle South, ELMS, program was funded by IMLS and began in January 2013. The cohort was a partnership with UNT Libraries and in collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, UAMS. The purpose of the grant was to increase the number and the diversity of librarians and information stewards in the Middle South region for the rapidly changing library science and digital curation field. Thirty students enrolled in the UNT master's program for training in 21st Century library skills with an emphasis on digital content management.
The LIS master's program continues to have a strong presence across the country, with cohorts currently being offered in Virginia, West Virginia, Greater Los Angeles, Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Arkansas and Tennessee, New Mexico, Lubbock/Amarillo, El Paso, and Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.