School of Library and Information Studies

On-campus MLIS

Program Requirements

The MLIS program may be completed on-site at the University of Alberta. 48 credits or equivalent are required for completion. 

The following courses are required for both the thesis and course-based routes of the MLIS program: 

  • LIS 501 Foundations of Library and Information Studies: All students must take LIS 501 (Foundations of Library and Information Studies) in the first semester of their program.  LIS 501 is intended to provide the broad context for all of the other courses in the program, and is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for the other required courses.  Check pre- or co- requisites on the University Calendar before selecting elective courses.
  • LIS 502 Organization of Information
  • LIS 503 Reference and Information Services (for those admitted Fall 2012 onwards)
  • LIS 504 Leaderships and Management Principles for Libraries and Information Services
  • LIS 505 Introduction to Research in Library and Information Studies
  • Two designated information technology (IT) courses.  

IT Courses

The MLIS program is a technology intensive program, which prepares students for positions of responsibility across the information professions.

Students will be required to take two "designated information technology courses," which are indicated with "(IT)" following the course title.

Advisors / Supervisors

Each student is assigned a Program Advisor who will provide advice and counselling in adapting the program to match career goals and objectives. Those students wishing to pursue the thesis option are also required to obtain a Supervisor to oversee their work. Students should also consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Graduate Program Manual and the University Calendar for additional information.

Course-Based or Thesis Route (*48-credits)

All MLIS applicants are admitted to the course-based route.  You have the option to change your selection once you are in the program. Students interested in completing the thesis-based MLIS may change their program route to the thesis route after their 1st year of study in the course-based MLIS program.

Course based route: 16 courses and a capping exercise = *48-credits
Thesis based route:  13 courses and a thesis paper = *48-credits

The minimum requirement for the MLIS (course-based) degree is 16 single-term courses and a capping exercise (course-based route) or 13 single-term courses and a thesis (thesis route). 

The decision to pursue a thesis depends on the nature of the student's research interests and career goals. Students interested in pursuing the thesis route should review the School's Thesis-based MLIS Procedure.

Program Sheet
See the Forms Cabinet for MLIS (course-based) program sheet.

Academic Integrity & Ethics Training

The University of Alberta Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research requires that all graduate students complete a minimum of eight hours of ethics training as part of their degree programs. Students in the MLIS program receive ethics training in the MLIS required courses -- approximately 17 hours in total. Coverage of specific topics varies between courses, but currently includes: academic integrity; intellectual property; ethics review for research with human subjects; professional values - including protection of privacy; and other ethics-related issues. Additional topics are also covered in our elective courses and as preparation for thesis-related work.

Time Limits for Completion

Candidates in the course-based route must have completed all the requirements within six years of the time they are first registered as a probationary graduate student or candidate in the Master's program. Thesis-based students must complete all requirements within four years.

A student who is registered full-time (i.e., carries at least 9 units of course weight during one term)  in the MLIS program will normally be able to complete the degree requirements in two years.

Transfer Credits

Some graduate courses taken before admission may be granted as transfer credit by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, on the recommendation of the School of Library and Information Studies, provided that the courses have not been counted towards a previous degree or diploma or to qualify for admission to the MLIS program.  Applicants must request transfer credits in their application package. The Admissions Committee will make the decision on transfer credits and the recommendation to FGSR. No more than three courses may be given transfer credit. Applicants with graduate courses or a BLS from a program accredited by the American Library Association should consult the School for information regarding transfer credits and course requirements.