June 23 , 2005
This Policies and Procedures Handbook for the SLAIS Ph.D. program
has been developed as a guide for faculty members and students.
The policies and procedures set out have been formulated within
the overall regulations of The University of British Columbia and
the specific regulations and guidelines of the Faculty of Graduate
The purpose of the SLAIS doctoral program is to prepare
students to be leaders in the fields of research, teaching, and
administration related to archival, library, and information science.
The program is designed to provide advanced research training for
outstanding students who have already obtained a graduate degree
in archival studies, library and information studies, or equivalent;
it culminates in the production of a piece of original research.
There is one Ph.D. degree program, but students may specialize
by taking courses and writing a dissertation that focus specifically
on Archival Studies or Library/Information Studies.
The three major markets for graduates of this doctoral program are university programs in archival/information studies; public institutions or government departments such as national/provincial/state archives, university libraries, and information policy departments; and private industry where high level research, management, and product development are required.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Graduate Studies) works in conjunction with individual schools and faculties to administer graduate programs. Among the responsibilities of Graduate Studies are approving curriculum changes, determining or verifying the admissibility of students applying for the Ph.D. program, approving leaves of absence and extensions, coordinating fellowships and awards, and determining whether students are eligible to graduate. For more information about Graduate Studies' responsibilities see the Faculty web site (www.grad.ubc.ca).
Director of SLAIS
As the chief administrative officer and spokesperson for the School, the Director has overall responsibility for the administration of SLAIS programs, including the Ph.D. program. The Director delegates to committees and individual faculty members the direct responsibility for implementing the Ph.D. program policies and procedures.
Doctoral Studies Committee
The SLAIS Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC) is responsible for the development and administration of the Ph.D. program, for ensuring that the quality of the program is maintained and regulations adhered to, and for the counseling of students.
The members of the DSC are all SLAIS faculty members who are members in good standing of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, i.e. engaged in an active program of teaching, research and publication. The Director, the Chair of the DSC, and all other eligible SLAIS faculty members are automatically members of the Committee.
One Ph.D. student, chosen by the Ph.D. students, is also a Committee member.
Chair of the Doctoral Studies Committee
The Chair of the Doctoral Studies Committee participates in the administration of the Ph.D. program by:
Subcommittee on Admissions
The standing Subcommittee on Admissions to the Ph.D. program includes all members of the Doctoral Committee. Other members of the faculty are invited to attend meetings of the Subcommittee when their knowledge of the applicant or subject expertise in the applicant's proposed research area would be helpful in the admissions process. The Subcommittee will base their decisions on the three major criteria for consideration (p. 3), and on the admissibility requirements (p. 3).
Dissertation committees are established and administered as set out in the Dissertation section of the Handbook.
The School seeks outstanding students who possess the qualities to be successful independent investigators. Approval of admission is based upon an assessment of the totality of evidence in support of the application, rather than on a consideration of isolated particulars. The student must meet the overall admission standards of The University of British Columbia as established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Ph.D. students may begin their studies only in Winter Term 1 (September) in order to encourage formation of a student cohort and to enable students to take some classes as a group.
Overall, the three major criteria for consideration are:
The following are the requirements for admission to the SLAIS Ph.D. program:
Application Procedures: Overview
There are six steps for admission to the SLAIS Doctoral Program at UBC:
The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets minimum requirements for admission to any graduate program at UBC. Note that these are minimum requirements and meeting them does not guarantee acceptance to the Ph.D. Program. Please read these requirements carefully: www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/how/require.asp
If you meet Graduate Studies' minimum requirements, the first step is to find a SLAIS faculty member in whose research you would like to participate and who is willing and able to be your adviser for the first 24 months. The faculty member who advises you through your course work and your qualifying exams is known as an adviser. This is usually (but not always) the same person who supervises your work as you write your dissertation, who is known as your supervisor.
Step 1 - Finding an Adviser
Check the list of potential SLAIS advisers at ww.slais.ubc.ca/people/faculty/faculty.htm, then email the faculty member in whose work you are interested about the possibility of submitting to him/her the material required to determine whether he/she is willing to be your adviser. If the faculty member agrees to consider your request, submit the following material to the Admissions Secretary at SLAIS, to the attention of the faculty member whom you have contacted. If you contact more than one SLAIS faculty member inquiring about sponsorship, alert each of those contacted that you have done so. All material submitted for Steps 1 and 2 of the Application process will remain in the SLAIS Main Office, not in individual faculty members’ offices.
Materials Required for Step 1 of the Application Process:
Material required for Step 1 of the admissions process should be received at SLAIS well ahead of the formal application deadlines. At the latest, material for Step 1 from international students should be received at SLAIS by November 1, and material from Canadian students by December 1. Note that potential advisers will not consider your application for sponsorship unless all required documentation (see 1-6 above) has been received.
If, after considering your application for sponsorship, a SLAIS faculty member agrees to be your adviser, he/she will notify you, and you may proceed with a formal application as outlined below.
Step 2 - Formal Application Procedure
Complete an online application form [www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online/], and pay the application fee due at this point. Arrange for two official transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended, or are presently attending, to be sent to the Admissions Secretary at SLAIS. These transcripts must be submitted in original sealed envelopes in order to be considered official by UBC.
Arrange for an official report of your GRE scores and your TOEFL scores (if applicable) to be sent to the Admissions Secretary at SLAIS.
Your complete formal application portfolio at SLAIS should consist of the documents already submitted for Step 1 (letter of intent, resume, 3 reference letters) plus the originals of official transcripts and GRE and TOEFL scores (if applicable), and your completed online application form. The deadline for submitting the formal application and documents is February 1.
Steps 3, 4, 5 - Review by SLAIS Committee and Graduate Studies
When all required documents are received, your application will be reviewed by the SLAIS Doctoral Studies Admissions Committee for approval. If approved, your application will be recommended for acceptance by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Applications are reviewed as soon as they are complete, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The formal application deadline for September admission is February 1, but applicants are advised to have all documents submitted to SLAIS in advance of this deadline. Late admissions may be considered if an applicant has found a SLAIS faculty member to sponsor him/her.
Students entering the doctoral program with an approved
master's degree will be required to take four six-credit (2-term)
courses. In most cases, courses additional to these four courses
will be recommended to students. In consultation with the student’s
adviser, the student may be required to take courses in the
SLAIS Master of Library Studies program or the Master of Archival
Studies program to enhance the knowledge acquired in the student's
master's degree and to provide sufficient background for the
doctoral courses. Doctoral students will be strongly encouraged
to take graduate level courses from other UBC departments that
will increase their knowledge in their chosen area of research.
These courses are chosen in consultation with the student's
adviser, and are additional to those required for ARST 621
or LIBR 621.
The five required courses for students in the Archival stream are:
The five required courses for students in the Library and Information Science stream are:
Upon completion of course work each student will take examinations covering the major and minor areas of study. (See below)
The SLAIS doctoral program requires that students be resident in the Vancouver area for a minimum of 16 months. This time period may be broken into two segments of 12 months and 4 months at the discretion of the student's adviser and the Chair of the Doctoral Studies Program. The University of British Columbia considers all doctoral students to be full-time throughout their studies. However, in consultation with the adviser and the Chair of the Doctoral Studies Program, a student may engage in concurrent paid employment that does not interfere with full-time study.
All doctoral students admitted must register when they begin their studies and they must remain continuously registered until the degree is completed, except for periods when a leave of absence has been approved. Failure to register for two consecutive terms may result in the student being required to withdraw. Students are assessed fees until the end of the month in which they submit the final version of their thesis to Graduate Studies.
the student has completed both the Qualifying Exams and
Proposal Defence, the student is admitted to candidacy. A "Recommendation
for Advancement to Candidacy" form is then sent to the Faculty
of Graduate Studies who enter the designation "Admitted to Candidacy" on
the student's transcript (Appendix A. Current
version of form located at www.
grad.ubc.ca/forms >> Forms
for Faculty and Staff.
A student who is not admitted to candidacy within 36 months of initial registration must withdraw from the program. Extension of this period may be permitted by the Dean of Graduate Studies in exceptional circumstances.
A Program Adviser will be assigned to each student
as soon as the student is accepted, with the adviser's
agreement. The adviser must be a member of the Faculty
of Graduate Studies and must be either a tenured faculty
member or tenure-track member who has held a tenure-track
appointment for at least one year. The adviser is chosen
on the basis of expertise in the student's proposed field
of research, and normally, the Program Adviser is also
the student's instructor in the course work for the major
subject. The Program Adviser MAY ultimately become the student's
The student is free to select a different program adviser from the one assigned. The student should seek an adviser who is able and willing to spend the time and effort necessary for the advising role, and with whom a productive and comfortable working relationship can be established. Students should seek advice from the Chair of the DSC or from the Director when they wish to change, and should notify the Chair once a change has been made.
The Program Adviser's responsibilities are as follows:
Upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations,
the student will enter the dissertation stage of the
program. From the beginning of work on the dissertation
proposal through completion of the dissertation, each student
has a dissertation supervisor. The supervisor will be appointed
by the Doctoral Studies Committee at the request of the
student and with the agreement of the faculty member, who
must hold a doctoral degree, be a member of the Faculty
of Graduate Studies, and must be either a tenured member
or tenure-track member who has held the tenure-track appointment
for at least one year. The supervisor's agreement is recorded
in the student's file. If the supervisor's availability
to work with the student is compromised by lengthy scheduled
or unexpected absences, the Chair of the DSC, in consultation
with all concerned, may appoint a new supervisor.
The supervisor, after discussion with the student and other faculty members, will suggest other members of the dissertation committee to be approved by the DSC. The committee must be comprised of at least three faculty members (including the supervisor), some of whom may be from outside SLAIS. With the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the committee may also include qualified persons who are not faculty members.
Any request to change the Dissertation Supervisor must be submitted in writing by the student to the Chair of the DSC after the student discusses the change with both the current Supervisor and proposed Supervisor. Students retain the right to change supervisors with impunity. Approval for the change and the selection of another Dissertation Supervisor is recorded in the student's file.
The Dissertation Supervisor's responsibilities are as follows:
Guidance in carrying out these responsibilities may be obtained from the Graduate Studies website at www.grad.ubc.ca/policy.
The progress of all students working toward the
Ph.D. will be reviewed regularly and at least once
each year in May/June by SLAIS and the Dean of the Faculty
of Graduate Studies. A student may be required to withdraw
if progress has not been satisfactory as shown by course
work, the comprehensive examinations, progress on the
dissertation, or other requirements of SLAIS.
Normally, the Chair of DSC will direct an evaluation for each student during the May/June period. In extraordinary circumstances, the students, the adviser, or the Director may call an ad hoc evaluation meeting at any time.
Purpose of the Evaluation
The major purpose of the evaluation is to provide the student with the Faculty's joint assessment of his/her progress in the program and of his/her plans for the following year. The following people will participate in the evaluation meeting or provide input for the evaluation:
The meeting shall be conducted by the Chair of the
DSC. Part of the meeting may take place without the student
present, but the student should be present when his/her progress
to date and his/her potential for completion are reviewed.
The format of the meeting shall allow each person, including
the student, to seek clarification, to support, to rebut,
etc. any statements made.
Responsibilities of the Student Prior to the Meeting ( approved April 1, 2005)
At least two weeks before the meeting, the student will provide the Chair of DSC and his/her adviser with a portfolio consisting of the following material in the order listed. Include only information/events since the previous review. At different stages in the student’s study period (i.e. 1 st year, 2 nd year) varying degrees of importance will be placed on the items listed. If a student is unclear about items in the portfolio or their relative importance, he/she should consult with the adviser or the Chair of the Doctoral Program.
The student's progress should be described as "Satisfactory" only when all the following criteria are met:
If the student's progress is determined to be "Unsatisfactory in some areas" or "Unacceptable," the reasons for this must be relayed to the student at the meeting and communicated to the student in writing. Every attempt should be made to give the student an opportunity to improve his/her areas of deficiency. In general, students whose progress is unsatisfactory should not be counseled to leave the program until they have been at this status level for at least one year. Students whose progress is unacceptable should be counseled to consider the options available. A student may withdraw from active participation in the program at his/her request. See section on "on-leave status" below.
The qualifying exams for the SLAIS Ph.D. program (sometimes referred to as “comprehensive examinations” in other programs) consist of two parts – examination of the major area, and examination of the minor area. Examination of the major area consists of a written and an oral component; examination of the minor area has only a written component. Note that the faculty member who advises you through your course work and your qualifying exams is known as an adviser. This is usually (but not always) the same person who supervises your work as you write your dissertation, who is known as your supervisor
The student and his/her adviser will assemble a four-person Examination Committee that will adjudicate the major and minor areas by setting the exam questions and assessing the answers.
The four-person Examination Committee will consist of the adviser, one person selected by the adviser, one person selected by the student, and one person selected by the Chair of the Doctoral Program. The student’s adviser will chair the Committee.
Questions on the Major and Minor Written Examinations
The Examination Committee will set the questions for both the major and minor area exams. The questions will be based on Reading Lists for both areas approved by the Committee at least two months - preferably six months - before the exams. If a student takes courses outside SLAIS that provide most of the content of the minor area, every effort will be made to involve the instructors of those courses in the formulation of exam questions and in the assessment of the student’s answers.
Structure of the Examinations
The following policies apply:
Assessment of Exams
The major and minor examinations will be assessed separately. If the papers written to answer the examination questions present all the qualities listed in (8) above, the student will receive an Unconditional Pass. If an aspect of the papers written for either examination is weak, the student may receive a Conditional Pass and be asked by the Committee Chair to revise that paper and submit it for re-assessment within one month. After the Committee assesses the revised paper, the student will receive an Unconditional Pass or an Adjournment (see below).
If the student does not pass an examination, the student will receive an Adjournment. The Chair informs the student in writing of this decision, and the options of writing the examination(s) a second time, appealing the failing grade, or withdrawing from the program. A candidate will be permitted to re-write the examination(s) only once, within six months of the first examination. The student is responsible for scheduling the re-writing.
Students must pass examinations in both the major and minor areas to progress further in the doctoral program. Failure to pass on the second attempt will mandate withdrawal from the program. UBC procedures for appeal of assigned academic standing are detailed in the Academic Regulations section of the UBC Calendar.
Oral Examination of Major Area
The purpose of the oral examination is to allow the student to provide context for his/her written exam answers and to demonstrate additional depth and breadth of knowledge in the area. The questions of the oral examination will be related to the two questions answered by the student in the examination of the major area. Examiners’ questions will be based on peripheral or related material that contributes to a complete answer to the questions posed.
If the student receives an Adjournment (i.e. permission to write the exam a second time) in the written examination of the major area, the student will not be allowed to take the oral examination until he/she passes the written examination in the major area. If the student receives a Failure (no-credit after writing the exam a second time), the student will not be allowed to take the oral examination.
At the beginning of the oral exam the student may take the opportunity to expand on his/her answers to the written exam questions, amplifying the answers or outlining the key points. This speaking opportunity must take no longer than 15 minutes, and may be strictly oral or aided only by a power point presentation (i.e. the student is not allowed to read a prepared paper). The student may bring into the oral examination only a copy of the written exam and the notes or software for the 15-minute presentation.
Students demonstrate their ability to complete a
sound project of original research by presenting and
defending the dissertation proposal to their Dissertation
Committee. The proposal defence should be completed within
30 months of initial registration, and must be completed
within 36 months of initial registration. The Dissertation
Committee must unanimously approve the dissertation topic
and research plan before the student may be admitted to
candidacy for the doctoral degree. Approval of the proposal
does not imply either acceptance of a dissertation prepared
in accord with the proposal or the restriction of the dissertation
to this original proposal.
Purposes of the Defence
The purposes of the defence are:
If the proposal is not approved by the student's Dissertation
Committee, the student will be permitted to re-defend the
proposal once. The candidate may modify or revise the written
or presentation parts of the Defence, or both. Rejection
of the Defence a second time will normally result in a recommendation
to the Faculty of Graduate Studies that the student's registration
Organization of the Research Proposal
The format guidelines stated below are intended to be flexible. The student, in consultation with the supervisor, is free to adapt the formatting as long as the content of the proposal is complete. A well-designed proposal should provide the basis for the first two or three chapters of the final dissertation. In most cases, the proposal should be at least 30 pages long.
The proposal should consist of:
Presentation of the Proposal
The following guidelines apply to the presentation of the proposal:
A full description of the
policies that apply to UBC dissertations
and the oral defence can be found on the Faculty of Graduate
Studies website at www.grad.ubc.ca.
The following key information is excerpted
from those policies or is approved information not included
in those policies
The student must complete the defence within six years of initial registration. If the doctoral degree is not awarded within this period, the student's eligibility for the degree will be terminated and the student will be required to withdraw from the program. Under exceptional circumstances, extensions may be granted by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Prior to the final defence, a "mock" defence will be held at the School. With the exception of the student's supervisor, the examiners for the final defence may not attend, but all other faculty members and students will be invited.
The final oral examination or dissertation defence is open to all members of the University and to the public. The examination can be scheduled no sooner than eight weeks after the submission of the approved thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The Faculty of Graduate Studies strongly discourages the scheduling of defences during two blackout periods - the month of August and from December 15 to January 15. Specific information on the University's regulations regarding the oral defence can be found at: www.grad.ubc.ca/students/oralexams/
The dissertation must be presented according to the procedures and in the form as described by the Faculty of Graduate Studies at ww.grad.ubc.ca/students/thesis/index .
The examination will be conducted by:
A Chair will be appointed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies to chair the defence.
A student who finds it necessary to interrupt his/her program may apply to the Dean of Graduate Studies for on-leave status. Leave is granted when a student is best advised for personal, health, or other reasons to have time completely away from his/her academic responsibilities. Leave, not including parental leave, or leave to pursue concurrent programs is limited to one year (UBC Calendar, Faculty of Graduate Studies). Further information regarding on-leave status can be found in the UBC Calendar and on the Graduate Studies website at www.grad.ubc.ca under "Current Students - Managing Your Program."
all requirements for
the degree within a
registration. If this
is not accomplished,
the student's eligibility
for the degree will
will be required to
circumstances, apply to the Dean of
If a student fails to register for two consecutive terms, the student will be considered to have abandoned his or her program. In these cases, should the student wish to continue in the program, the student must re-apply for admission. In special cases, the student may be re-instated with the permission of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in accordance with the Faculty Policy on Re-Instatement found on the Graduate Studies' website at www.grad.ubc.ca under "Policies and Procedures - Withdrawals, Re-admission, and Reinstatement."
A student who wishes to withdraw voluntarily from the doctoral program must notify his/her supervisor in writing in order to obtain the approval of the dean, department head or director, and the graduate adviser in the home department. Further information on the policies governing Withdrawals is available on the Graduate Studies website at www.grad.ubc.ca under "Current Students - Managing Your Program."
School of Library, Archival and Information Studies
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
470 – 1961 East Mall
Vancouver BC Canada V6T 1Z1