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Our Dual MAS/MLIS degree is unique in all of North America.

Master of Library and Information Studies Degree

Plan of Study

The Master of Library and Information Studies degree is awarded on completion of 48 credits of course work approved by the School plus such non-credit courses and activities (practicum, colloquia, field visits, etc.) as required. Following completion of the four Core courses a student may take up to 15 credit hours per term after consultation with their adviser, although the recommended maximum course load is 12 credits per term. Registration exceeding 15 credits requires approval from the Director and Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Courses are offered throughout the year. However, only a very limited number of courses are available during the Summer session (May - August).

It is not possible to complete all MLIS degree requirements through evening, weekend or web-based study. Students should plan on having to take a number of their courses from Monday to Friday during the day.

The minimum completion time for the MLIS program is 16 consecutive months, but students wishing to complete within this period will not have the opportunity to take all desired electives and will likely find their overall program is not as wide-ranging as might otherwise be desired. Two academic years (20 months) is the usual and recommended time taken to complete the degree.
Degree Requirements

The Master of Library and Information Studies is awarded on completion of 48 credits of work approved by the School. The required courses are LIBR 500, 501, 502, 503 (known collectively as the Core), 504 and 505. Students taking the program on a part-time basis are required to take at least LIBR 500 and 501 in their first term. All other LIBR courses require LIBR 500 and 501 as pre- or corequisites. Three or more of the Core courses are prerequisites to most advanced courses, because the Core introduces the knowledge that should be common to all librarians and information professionals in related fields. For those students who enrolled in the MLIS PRIOR to September 2011: LIBR 595 Practicum is a required course (0 credits) as this was part of the degree requirements in effect at the time of initial enrolment. UBC Policy (see http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/okanagan/index.cfm?tree=3,296,0,0) offers such students the option of meeting the degree requirements in effect at the time of initial enrolment, or meeting the revised requirements (in which LIBR 595 is not required).

The MLIS Core

The program may be started in September or January. During the first term the student will take four courses (LIBR 500, 501, 502, 503), collectively known as the Core:

  • 500: Foundations of Information Technology (3)
  • 501: Foundations of the Information Society and Information Organizations (3)
  • 502: Foundations of Resource Description and Access (3)
  • 503: Foundations of Information Sources and Services (3)

The four Core courses are designed to provide students with an introduction to the concepts basic to the Library and Information Studies field and the opportunity to enhance and exercise their intellectual skills of synthesis, criticism, and analysis in oral discussions and written work about those concepts. The Core courses cover the basic concepts of information in society, information organization, information technology and retrieval, and information agencies and provide a known knowledge/skills base on which every instructor in subsequent non-Core courses can depend. The Core courses are offered using a variety of course-delivery methods, including web-based, mixed-mode, and on-campus.

In addition, the Core courses provide an opportunity for students to experience a variety of learning situations, to identify and develop their own optimum learning styles, and to reflect upon their learning in preparation for subsequent courses and professional practice. There are many interconnections among the content of the four Core courses, each of which includes information as a major focus. The Core instructors work closely together to ensure that the sum of their courses give students an accurate picture of the profession and its challenges while providing a unified and comprehensive foundation for future study.

Part-time Study

We strongly recommend students complete the MLIS core courses on a full-time schedule (four core courses completed in the first term). Core courses are pre- or co-requisites for all LIBR electives and completing the core in the first term provides students with the most options in subsequent terms.

SLAIS programs are two-terms per year programs (fall and winter) with reduced course offerings during in the spring and summer; SLAIS is not ideally structured to support part-time studies. Students should not rely on making up credits during the spring and summer as course availability is not guaranteed and varies year to year. UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations require completion of master's degree requirements within five years of initial registration (see Duration of Study at http://www.grad.ubc.ca/faculty-staff/policies-procedures/duration-program)

Students should consult their faculty advisor about the potential impact on their program before switching from a full course load to part-time during the first term.

Core Course Considerations for Part-Time Students

Students taking the MLIS program on a part-time basis are required to take LIBR 500 and/or LIBR 501 in their first term. These two courses are pre- or co-requisite to all other courses (including the other two Core courses, LIBR 502 and LIBR 503). Part-time students are advised to complete all their Core courses within 12 months of their start date. All non-CORE LIBR courses have at least two [but more typically all four] of the Core courses as pre- or co-requisites. Part-time students must work very closely with their Advisers to ensure that their programs are designed in such a way as to allow them to take as many as possible of the desired number of courses each term. Until all four Core courses are completed it is likely students will find their course choices to be quite restricted. If students do not have the required pre- and co-requisites then they will not be able to take the desired courses. It is ultimately each student's individual responsibility to be aware of and to understand all relevant SLAIS regulations, and to ensure that he or she has the required pre- and co-requisites for all courses in which they wish to enroll.

Core Courses as Pre and Co-requisites to Required and Elective LIBR Courses

Specific pre or co-requisites for each non-Core LIBR course have been established and are given in the individual Course Descriptions. With a few exceptions, once a student completes the four Core courses they will have met the pre and co-requisite requirements for the non-Core courses. All established pre or co-requisites for LIBR courses will be strictly adhered to except in extraordinary circumstances. In such cases the student must first discuss the rationale for an exemption with his or her Adviser and then must submit a written request for an exemption to the SLAIS Graduate Adviser. The decision on whether or not to grant such an exemption will be made by the Graduate Adviser [in consultation with other faculty as needed]. Typically requests for exemptions are not granted, so it is important that students work with their Advisers on the degree plan to minimize any problems that might occur.

Students from outside the MLIS or Dual programs who wish to take courses for which they do not have the stated pre or co-requisites should request an exemption from the SLAIS Graduate Adviser. Students may obtain the necessary "Request for Exemption from a Prerequisite Course" form from the SLAIS Main Office.

Additional Required LIBR Courses

LIBR 504, and 505 are also required courses.

Elective LIBR Courses

The Core and other required courses total 18 credits; the student completes the program with either 30 credits of elective courses or 21 credits of elective courses and LIBR 599 (a 12-credit thesis - students who entered SLAIS prior to January 2006 have the option of taking a 6-credit thesis). The student selects elective courses in consultation with a Faculty Adviser to ensure a balanced program and proper sequencing. Specializations are pursued through careful course selection but specialization is not required or even desirable in many situations. In any case the program is designed to ensure that all students graduate with courses from a wide variety of topic areas.

Thesis Option (12 Credits)

A student with research interests may elect to write a thesis. The decision to do so must be confirmed with the Faculty Adviser before the end of the term in which the student completes 24 credits of course work, after which a thesis advisory committee will be established and a supervisor assigned. The thesis will be prepared and examined according to the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Courses taken Outside the Degree Program

Elective courses other than those designated LIBR at this University may be applied to the program, whether taken at this or another institution; they may total no more than 12 of the required 48 credits. Permission to apply such a course for credit must be obtained from the SLAIS Graduate Adviser before the student begins the course. Any such course must be at the 300-level or above (or the equivalent at another institution) and granting of permission will be based on the course's direct relevance to the individual's work in the MLIS program. Students must have completed at least 18 credits in their degree program before taking outside courses. A maximum of 6 credits at the undergraduate level in courses numbered 300 to 499 may be counted toward the requirements of a master's degree.

Experiential Learning (Practicum/Professional Experience/Co-op)

For students who begin their MLIS studies September 2011 or later: Field experience in an information-based centre is highly desirable for students, even those with experience in the work of the practising information professional. This may be in the form of the following optional activities: the non-credit LIBR 595: Practicum, the three-credit LIBR 596: Professional Experience or a SLAIS Co-op paid (and thus non-credit) work placement.

The non-credit LIBR 595: Practicum provides directed experience under actual operating conditions in an information agency. The practicum normally takes place in a designated time period following successful completion of 12 to 24 credits. The student may not take the Practicum before completion of the four core courses and must complete the Practicum before starting coursework for the last 12 credits of the degree. The School makes arrangements after consultation with the student. The placement is not limited to any geographic location and students often are placed at their request in libraries approved by the School in other parts of Canada, the United States, and overseas. The student must bear any cost of transportation, accommodation, etc., and the fieldwork is unpaid. Students are advised of deadlines for applying for practicum (12 weeks in advance) via the SLAIS News blog and through the student list.

Participation in credit-bearing experiential learning activities should be discussed with the faculty adviser as necessary, and confirmed with the student services coordinator by the middle of the term preceding the one in which the student will register for this course so that a project, supervisor, and placement may be arranged.
For those students who began their MLIS studies PRIOR to September 2011: LIBR 595 Practicum is a required course (0 credits) as this was part of the degree requirements in effect at the time of initial enrolment. UBC Policy (see http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=3,39,0,0) offers such students the option of meeting the degree requirements in effect at the time of initial enrolment, or meeting the revised requirements (in which LIBR 595 is not required).

The Co-op Program

For information on the SLAIS Co-op program please go to the Co-op information page. Please note that while on a co-op placement, you are registered in an Arts Co-op course; however, these credits do NOT count toward your SLAIS degree.

Credit Values of Courses

Some courses are listed in the UBC Calendar with a choice of credit value. This permits the School to offer several different courses in the same area of specialization carrying the same course number. The form (1-9) indicates that courses within a specialization group number may be taken more than once for credit (with different content each time, as designated by different letters following the course number, and worth 1-3 credits each time). Within a specialization area a letter differentiates the courses, e.g. 542A, 542B. Information on all courses is available on the Courses page. The majority of SLAIS courses are worth 3 credits, but some variable credit LIBR courses are offered for 1 credit, indicated by the form (1-3). In all cases, the maximum credit value is that which a student may obtain during the complete program of study, not the maximum for a given year.

Application Procedures: Use "Admissions" link above.

Course Descriptions: For detailed information please use the "Courses" link above.

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School of Library, Archival and Information Studies

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Tel: 604-822-2404

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