MLIS Program Courses

Library and Information Studies (LIS) courses are normally restricted to MLlS students. Students outside of the MLIS program interested in taking an LIS course are encouraged to inquire about special permission.

A variety of elective courses are scheduled each academic year, though not all elective courses may be offered in each year. The availability of elective courses may be subject to instructor availability or other factors. Some elective courses may be restricted to on-campus or online students. 

Note: Effective Spring 2024, on-campus course electives will mostly be offered in an online, asynchronous format. This decision follows a pilot project that ran from Spring 2022 to Spring 2024 that enabled SLIS to offer on-campus course electives in compliance with the Faculty of Education's enrollment policy. SLIS students were consulted during the pilot project and graduates have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience through the Exit Survey upon program completion.

Current and admitted students must check Bear Tracks for timetables, course availability, and delivery mode (online or on-campus). Questions should be directed to the Graduate Program Administrator at

All SLIS students are required to take the five (5) core courses plus two (2) IT-designated courses. The remaining MLIS program course requirements will be met with elective courses plus the LIS 600 Capping Exercise. See the Required and Elective Courses section of the MLIS page for more information. Students in the MA/MLIS, MBA/MLIS, and thesis-based MLIS will have different course requirements. 

A complete listing of prerequisite and co-requisite courses, and other detailed course information, is available in the University Academic Calendar

Subject Categories

LIS courses are grouped under the following subject categories:

Core Required Courses

LIS 501 – Foundations of Library and Information Studies

An introduction to the historical, current, and potential roles of libraries and of library and information professionals in western society.

LIS 502 – Organization of Information

An introduction to the organization of knowledge and information focusing on theory and principles for application in a variety of settings.

LIS 503 – Reference and Information Services

An introduction to reference and information services and resources. Includes history and varieties of reference services, user populations, instruction, ethics, access issues, the reference interview, search strategies, evaluation of services, and the organization, selection, evaluation, and use of major information resources.

LIS 504 – Leadership and Management Principles for Library and Information Services

An introduction to the principles and practices of leadership and management in the professional lives of librarians, archivists, and other information service practitioners.

LIS 505 – Introduction to Research in Library and Information Studies

An introduction to the fundamental concepts, approaches, methodologies and uses of research in library and information environments. Includes research design, proposal writing, identifying and defining research problems, critically evaluating and analyzing research, and applying research findings to solve practical problems in libraries and information centres

Information Technology (IT)

All MLIS students are required to take two (2) IT courses as part of their program. 

LIS 530 – Technology, Information, and Society (IT)

A critical and interdisciplinary examination, incorporating human and social perspectives, of technology in the context of libraries and information organizations and of the complex relationships among technology, information, and society. Prerequisite: LIS 501 or consent of instructor.

LIS 533 – Database Design for Information Management (IT)

This course covers the core database concepts for the design, creation and manipulation of relational data.

LIS 534 – Information Architecture: Web Design for Usability (IT)

An examination of the principles and practice of web usability, with a focus on information architecture, layout and design, metadata, and other topics related to effective web design and management. Includes an introduction to HTML and other web coding.

LIS 538 – Digital Libraries (IT)

An introduction to the concept, development, types and trends of digital libraries. This course will focus on the creation, organization, access, use and evaluation of digital libraries with a view to socio-economic and cultural issues.

LIS 539 – Emerging and Evolving Technologies (IT)

This course will cover an introduction to different emerging and evolving technologies that are (or can be) used in the Library and Information Science (LIS) and other domains. Includes an introduction to different aspects of Open Source Software (OSS); Social Media such as wikis, blogs, mashups and social networking; and other emerging technologies and concepts such as cloud computing.

LIS 598 – Special Topics 

A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies may be examined as demand and resources permit. Pre-requisites are variable; contact department for more information. LIS 598 IT courses include:

  • Information Retrieval (IT)

Management and Leadership

LIS 542 – Library Preservation, Security, and Risk Management

An introduction to and an overview of the role and activities of preservation administration on libraries of all kinds.

LIS 545 – Management of Human Resources

The field of human resource management and its application in library and information services.

LIS 598 – Special Topic: Management of Financial Resources

A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies may be examined as demand and resources permit. Pre-requisites are variable; contact department for more information. 

Information and Knowledge Organization and Practices 

LIS 507 – Introduction to Knowledge Management

An introduction to different concepts and theories related to knowledge management (KM). Includes knowledge and knowledge management theories and models, KM design, KM informatics, tools and technologies for managing knowledge and an overview of issues in KM.

LIS 532 – Metadata

This course introduces students to the concept, development, applications and evaluation of metadata in various digital information contexts. Through a combination of practical exercises, including classification, cataloging and RDA, students will critically examine metadata issues, standards, and best practices, and will evaluate the role of metadata in discovery and access systems.

LIS 543 – Human Information Interaction

An examination of individual and collaborative information needs, uses and practices in context. Students will develop an understanding of the crucial interaction between people and information.

LIS 598 – Special Topics 

A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies may be examined as demand and resources permit. Pre-requisites are variable; contact department for more information.

Critical Issues, Perspectives, and Social Justice in LIS

LIS 540 – Indigenous Library and Information Studies in a Canadian Context

An introduction to Indigenous Library and Information Studies within a Canadian context. This course will focus on Indigenous approaches to Storytelling, Traditional Knowledges, data sovereignty, social responsibility, collections and services, programming, research, and reference. This is a community-led course that encourages reciprocal relationships with local Indigenous communities.

LIS 541 – LIS Services in Culturally Diverse Society

Examines the central concepts of diversity and inclusion and a range of related issues and contributions with respect to specific populations and traditionally underrepresented groups, and their support systems, in library and information settings.

LIS 549 – Selected Topics in Information Policy

An examination of selected topics in information policy including a focus on origins, policy and regulatory environment and current issues. Selected topics regularly examined are intellectual property; telecommunications policy; access to Information, privacy, and surveillance.

LIS 592 – Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility in Librarianship

An examination of the central concepts of intellectual freedom and social responsibility and the range of related issues impacting librarians, library institutions, and library associations.

LIS 598 – Special Topics

A current topic of significance to, or a special aspect of, library and information studies may be examined as demand and resources permit. Pre-requisites are variable; contact department for more information.

Information, Media, and Digital Literacies 

LIS 526 – Instructional Practices in Library and Information Services

Theory and practice related to the teaching roles of the librarian or information professional. Includes planning, implementation and evaluation of pedagogical approaches for the design of effective information literacy and professional development instructional sessions.

LIS 585 – Multimedia Literacies

An introduction to the theories, practices and implications of multimedia literacies. Examples of multimedia texts include print, video, audio, CD-ROM, DVD, computer programs, digital games, hypermedia, internet sites, graphic forms, electronic books, and text-based toys, games and commodities. The course will explore the cultural, social, commercial, and educational issues raised by the proliferation of such texts.

LIS 591 – Publishing

An examination of trends and issues in publishing, particularly the impacts of media and digital technology, and of the critical intersections among the publishing industry, contemporary society, and the library and information professions.

Archives, Collections, and Records Management 

LIS 531 – Collection Management

An analytical approach to collection management including the acquisition, review and evaluation of collections.

LIS 593 – Introduction to Archival Studies

Introduction to theories, standards and methods used in modern archives, with an historical overview and an emphasis on critical and contemporary theory and practice.

LIS 594 – Records Management

The theory and techniques of records management.

Specializations in Information Organization

LIS 520 – Information Resources in Specialized Fields

Information resources and their administration in a specialized field and for a specialized clientele. The emphasis is on the nature of the field, problems of collection development, bibliographic access, retrieval and use by the clientele, and administrative issues in solving these problems. Specialized fields regularly examined are law, business, and health sciences. Prerequisites are variable. Specialized fields may include:

  • An Introduction to Health Sciences Librarianship
  • Science and Technology Information Resources and Services
LIS 595 – Issues and Trends in Public Librarianship

This survey course examines public librarianship from a community-led framework, which emphasizes the collaborative nature of developing and implementing library services. The course focuses on issues and trends in public librarianship, including programming, technology, library governance, service models, and services for diverse communities. 

Stories, Reading, Literature, and Book History 

LIS 510 – Storytelling

The past and present forms of storytelling, including the oral tradition, the function of the storyteller, the selection of material and the techniques of telling stories and listening to stories.

LIS 515 – Materials for Young Adults

Materials for young adults of junior and senior high school age, young adults' reading interests, and current trends and issues in young adults' literature.

LIS 516 – Canadian Literature for Young People in Schools and Libraries 

A survey of Canadian children's materials from books for babies to those aimed at the young adult market. Focus on contemporary works, trends in both publishing and content, and issues such as censorship, multimedia forms and the Internet.

LIS 586 – History of the Book

The historical, aesthetic, and economic bases of the "book" and its role in the recording and preservation of information and ideas. Note: This course is only available to on-campus students. 

Individual Study, Special Topics, Capping Exercise, and External Courses

LIS 597 – Advanced Scholarship and Research in LIS

In-depth exploration of systematic approaches to scholarship and research in library and information studies for students pursuing thesis-route master’s programs or other advanced projects.

LIS 599 – Directed Study

Further study of special topics and issues, based on knowledge acquired in previous courses or on significant prior experience. Topic and course weight to be approved by the School. Prerequisite: consent of department. Restricted to students in the on-campus MLIS offering.

LIS 600 – Capping Exercise

The required capping exercise for the MLIS degree is an ePortfolio representing examples of the student's course work, leadership and innovation potential, communication skills, and involvement in professional life. Normally students are expected to begin developing their ePortfolio during their second semester. The ePortfolio must be completed and submitted during their final term of coursework. It will demonstrate that the student has met the Program Level Learning Outcomes (PLOs) of the MLIS degree. Note: students in the thesis-based MLIS or MA/MLIS programs are not required to take LIS 600. 

LIS 697 – Advanced Scholarship and Research in LIS (Doctoral Level)

In-depth exploration of systematic approaches to scholarship and research in library and information studies for students pursuing doctoral programs or other advanced projects. Permission of the instructor is required.

LIS 699 – Directed Study (Doctoral Level)

Further study at the doctoral level of special topics and issues, based on knowledge acquired in previous courses or on significant prior experience. Topics must be approved by the School.

External Courses

MLIS students have the option of taking up to three (3) graduate-level courses of ★3 each (★9 total) from other departments at the University of Alberta. Students interested in taking external courses must receive approval from their advisor.