The Portfolio

The portfolio is designed to help students develop the competencies needed to achieve their academic and career goals and to transition successfully to the workplace upon completion of their program. The various modules within the portfolio emphasize the development of skills and attributes that can be transferred to a wide range of career paths. Two of the modules (grant writing and information literacy) are required of all students, regardless of degree program or stream. The remaining elective modules are individually tailored by the students, under consultation with the stream advisor and/or supervisor, to align with their career interests and the skill gaps that they wish to address. Upon completion of the portfolio, students will have the opportunity to showcase their achievements during a department event. Please note that students will be completing the modules throughout the program of study; actual registration in MLCS 795 and/or MLCS 796 occurs when all the modules have been successfully completed.

Required modules (five week workshops)

These two modules are completed in your first term of study.

Grant Writing

Run by an MLCS professor, this required module provides students with practical knowledge about grant writing (including research, nonprofit, and project management). Students will be trained in identifying funding sources, developing grant-writing skills, addressing the appropriate audience, preparing a CV or resume, and drafting a proposal. Through individual and collaborative work, students will learn how to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, provide and integrate constructive feedback, and confidently advocate for themselves and their projects.

NB: Students in first year take both required modules, Grant Writing, followed by Information Literacy & Scholarly Communication.

For schedules and information on all MLCS graduate workshops, please click here.

Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication

Run by Humanities & Social Science librarians, this required module provides students with a practical understanding of the nature of professional conversations in their field and how to participate. Students will learn to identify and use a variety of information discovery tools and techniques as they explore the most relevant and appropriate sources of information. Students will complete a variety of tasks tailored to help develop a research inquiry (questions) and acquire strategies that address a broader worldview and recognize information gaps and new investigative methods. Questions might address copyright, open access, public domain, and the economics of information; proper attribution and citation; ethical management, dissemination, and preservation of information.

NB: Students in first year take both required modules, Grant Writing, followed by Information Literacy & Scholarly Communication.

For schedules and information on all MLCS graduate workshops, please click here.

Elective modules

MA-course choose 4; MA-thesis and PhD choose 1

Academic Service
Students choose a council, committee, or other service duty to join at the University of Alberta to complete this module, such as the MLCS Graduate Student Council, with a commitment of one year for a minimum of 15 hours. During this service, students gain insight into administrative tasks and participating in university life, building a network and collaborating as part of a team, developing leadership skills, problem solving skills, etc. Students will be expected to maintain a log where they maintain notes and reflections per meeting, produce a formal report for the final departmental council in April/May, and prepare a short presentation for interested graduate students at the beginning of the following term.
Community Service Learning

Aided by the CSL team, students will collaborate with a local community group to design and carry out a research project or activity (including risk assessment and ethics training) aimed at achieving mutual benefit. By testing and challenging theoretical concepts through a hands-on experience in the nonprofit sector, students will learn how community-based organizations generate their own knowledge and best practices in order to address social issues and their root causes. Students will reflect critically on the successes and challenges of their community work in the form of a journal. Skills gained will include: strategic or creative problem solving, developing confidence and emotional maturity, championing for social change and collaborative work. This module will require a 20-hour time commitment.

For more information on Community Service Learning, click here for their website

Conference Presentation
Students will learn to identify relevant calls for papers (ideally peer-reviewed); write a strong, engaging abstract or poster that pushes disciplinary boundaries and engages in global citizenship; participate in the peer-review process; develop a presentation and, where applicable, PowerPoint or other visual accompaniment; implement public performance techniques (organization of ideas, communication skills, time-management, body language, and so on); and, finally, become familiar with networks in the area(s) of expertise as well as with the important topics in the field, nationally and internationally.
Data Collection

Through this self-directed module students will utilize the methods of their disciplines and formulate research questions with step-by-step plans for answering them. Students will gain confidence and competency in the systematic collection, organization, and/or visualization of information in order to answer a research question or questions (e.g., surveys or questionnaires; pedagogical experiments; tests and evaluations; interviews; archival work; creating a database of analyzable material; annotated bibliography). Through practical, hands-on experience and reflection, students will develop an understanding of both the process of information management and the pros and cons of different methods of data collection.

Note: Data collection involving human participants must first be approved by the Research Ethics Office.

Digital Creation
Students develop and hone skills related to the creation, management, or maintenance of digital, web- or app-based tools or content related to innovation in their field. Activities may include the conceptualization or development of a dynamic website, a digital archive, significant work on (i.e. editorial role) an online journal, generate content collaboratively, or other open access work. Students will also gain understanding of how web-based and digital tools communicate project results to a broader audience and facilitate networking across disciplines, public spheres, and internationally.
Exhibition, Performance, or Creative Work
This module provides students with an opportunity to stage or curate an exhibition, produce a performative activity, or compose a creative work that effectively combines critical theoretical insight and accessible artistic production. Students may, individually or in collaboration, produce a polished exhibit, performance, or creative piece within their field of study demonstrating the acquisition of expertise in exhibiting, performing, or composing a critically informed work for the public.
Public Scholarship, Literary Journalism, or Creative Nonfiction

The goal of this module is to compose a written piece of 2000-2500 words on a topic related to the student's field of study intended for a broad and diverse audience (members of the general public, readers from different cultural backgrounds, scholars of varying disciplines, etc.). Students will thus actively learn how to build connections between different communities of readers and become leaders as cultural communicators. They will also gain jargon-free writing skills and develop a confident voice that takes up an authoritative position while learning about civic and social responsibility.


Dr. Russell Cobb, "Why Do So Many People Pretend to Be Native American?" This Land Press, August 2014
Lynn Coady, "The Twilight of the Patriarchs" Eighteen Bridges, March 2013

Review Article
In this self-directed module students compose one review article or multiple individual reviews totaling 2000-2500 words. Students will critically assess a significant recent text in their field (for example, scholarly work, film, exhibition, performance), reassess a classic, or take a comparative look at two or three texts that address new directions. Students will gain critical perspective on and orientation in the field, critique the significance and impact of scholarship, develop a confident and authoritative voice, and acquire genre-specific writing skills.
Teaching Portfolio (extension of MLCS 650)

The teaching portfolio consists of materials that showcase students' teaching achievements and strengths. Students will identify the skills that potential employers seek, research what constitutes a professional teaching portfolio, and learn to clearly and confidently represent their abilities. Students will also be asked to critically examine their teaching and envision ways of changing, adapting, or improving their skills. Depending on the components, this module may count towards FGSR's Graduate Teaching and Learning Program. Note: The teaching portfolio must be significantly different from the assignment prepared in fulfilment of MLCS 650.

Possible materials for inclusion (*required)

  • Statement of teaching philosophy
  • List of courses taught and/or other assigned teaching duties
  • List of professional development activities
  • *Sample lesson plans, course outlines, tests, activities, audio-visual materials, etc. with accompanying commentary
  • Examples of student work (obtain permission from student first)
  • *A "dream syllabus"
  • *Self-assessment of your teaching
  • Assessments of your teaching by students, peers, supervisors/mentors
  • Your publications or presentations on teaching-related topics
  • Statement on inclusivity in the classroom, syllabi, and assignments


Sample online portfolios

Monic Ostergren: Online Teaching Portfolio
Adapting for Special Needs Learners
Fang Liang: An Enthusiastic Chinese Teacher

Teaching Workshops

In this module, students attend teaching workshops to receive pedagogical training in order to put theoretical knowledge into practice, gain confidence, become better listeners, learn to provide constructive feedback, meaningfully employ multimedia tools, or deal with specific situations in their classroom. Workshops are also an opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas. Students will complete 15 hours of FGSR Graduate Teaching Development sessions, plus an additional 10 hours of teaching workshops of their choice (pre-approved by the advisor). They will then write 5 short reflections of 250-750 words each. Completion of this module also fulfills Level 1 of FGSR's Graduate Teaching and Learning Program.


Academic Impressions Webcasts: a series of webcasts on a variety of topics, including teaching and learning issues.

Support for Teaching: A list of resources from the Centre for Teaching and Learning. 


Students will carry out an accurate and original translation of a source text of at least 3000 words. The translation must be supplemented by a critical commentary of at least 300 words contextualizing the source text, explaining significant translation choices as well as the translator's position. A successful translation will demonstrate the student's cultural and linguistic understanding of the source and target language, familiarity with translation techniques, and knowledge of translation studies concepts. Skills gained include communicating successfully across cultures and geographical contexts as well as generating new knowledge.


University of Alberta Libraries Translation Guide