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Practicum student guide

About the program

The Practicum (GLIS 699) is 3-credit, tuition-based academic elective course for 2nd-year Master of Information Studies students. It is typically offered in the Winter semester, and consists of supervised work placement at an approved site, typically unpaid, and required course assignments (work logs, mid-term report, final paper). The fieldwork component is 100 hours, with a minimum of 50 hours (50%) to be spent on site.

The Practicum Application is due to the SIS Practicum Coordinator several months prior to the start of the Practicum semester (see application deadline on this page) Typically, students enroll in GLIS 699 as 1 course of a 4-course, full-time courseload. Credit for GLIS 699 can only be granted once during the MISt program.

A tentative program description, learning objectives, dates, guidelines, and policies will be made available in the Winter 2016 GLIS 699 preliminary syllabus. Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the preliminary syllabus before applying to the program. Please note that the program is revised and updated for Winter 2016: more information will be provided at the Practicum Information Session.

Prerequisites

Completion of 4 required courses (GLIS 601, GLIS 607, GLIS 617, and GLIS 619), and 4 complementary courses (24 credits minimum); satisfactory academic standing (GPA of 3.3/B+ or higher); approval of SIS Practicum Coordinator. Please note that specific courses may be required for specific placements, e.g., knowledge management courses for a knowledge management-related practicum.

How to apply

  1. Attend the mandatory Practicum Information Session, which will be held in mid-September (date TBA). Students will receive an invitation by email closer to the date.
  2. After the Practicum Information Session, review available sites posted on this site (log in with your McGill ID) and submit a Practicum Application form including site preferences, unofficial transcript obtained from Minerva, cover letters, and CVs to the SIS Practicum Coordinator (not to sites) by the application deadline. You may wish to discuss your site choices with your academic advisor. You will then be contacted about next steps for the interview and matching process.
  3. You will receive notification to register for GLIS 699 in Minerva after the matching process is complete and your placement is confirmed.

Practicum site postings

Practicum site postings for the Winter semester are made available to students beginning in mid September of each year.

The following is a small sample of sites which have offered Practicum placements in the past. Note: this list represents a selection of sites participating in past years; practicum sites vary from year to year.

  • Artexte
  • Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
  • Canadian Centre for Architecture
  • Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, Concordia University
  • Dawson College
  • Government of Canada
  • Jewish General Hospital Archives
  • KPMG
  • McCord Museum of Canadian History
  • McGill University: McGill Library, McGill Archives, McGill Management Forum, among other units
  • Moment Factory
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Westmount Public Library
  • World Anti-Doping Agency

Student roles & responsibilities

  • Completes all GLIS 699 course requirements and paperwork by the deadlines.
  • Arranges interview(s) at Practicum site(s) as identified by the Practicum Coordinator.
  • Registers for GLIS 699 in Minerva once the Practicum Agreement has been approved by the SIS Practicum Coordinator.
  • Completes duties assigned by the site to the best of his/her ability.
  • Conducts himself/herself professionally and appropriately as a member of the host site, within the policies and expectations of the organization, and adhereing to the agreed schedule of work.
  • Corresponds in a timely, professional manner with all parties involved with the Practicum.
  • Notifies the SIS Practicum Coordinator immediately if there are changes to the Learning and Work Plan or if a situation or issue warrants special attention.
  • Schedules an exit interview with the site supervisor at the end of the Practicum.
  • Informs himself/herself about and adheres to any course, School, or university policies, including course requirements and policies outlined on the GLIS 699 syllabus.

FAQ

What is a practicum? What is the difference between a "practicum" and an "internship"?

The terms are used differently from institution to institution. In the MISt program:

  • A "Practicum" is GLIS 699, a formalized career-focused learning experience with an on-site work component, presided over by both the School and the site supervisor. Like other courses, the elective GLIS 699 Practicum (3 credits) is offered in the academic schedule, is tuition-based, and includes required course assignments. The matching of students and sites is coordinated by the School via the Practicum Coordinator.
  • An "Internship" on the other hand, is presided over by the employer alone, may be paid or unpaid, and is not bound to the structure or schedule of the Practicum program. While valuable learning experiences, internships are not granted academic credit. As is the case for volunteer or paid work, students arrange their own internship experiences. See note below for a tip about where to start.

Can I arrange my own Practicum or suggest the recruitment of a site?

  • The School will negotiate arrangements; you do not approach a professional in the field for this purpose.
  • Yes, you may suggest the recruitment of sites to the SIS Practicum Coordinator. Although the participation of sites (or, placements at suggested sites) are not guaranteed in any way, suggestions for new sites are always welcome!  In all cases, the timeline of the Practicum must be respected. Caveat: students suggesting a site will not have priority; suggested sites may be applied to by all students in the program. Sites must have a qualified supervisor (see Supervisor page for more information,) as evaluated by the School. As the recruitment process can be lengthy, please submit any ideas for sites before August for the following Winter semester.

If I apply to the program, am I guaranteed a placement?

  • No. While the vast majority of students who apply to the Practicum program are successfully placed, neither students nor sites are guaranteed a placement or a first choice of placement. It is recommended that you register in Minerva for an additional course for the Winter 2016 semester until your placement is confirmed.

Can I do a Practicum outside of Montreal?

  • Possibly. Undertaking Practicum outside Montreal depends on a number of factors. Please enquire if you have questions. If you are interested in completing a Practicum in a nearby city (e.g., Ottawa, Gatineau), please let the Practicum Coordinator know before the site posting deadline (late August/early Sept) in order that we can investigate the recruitment of suitable site. In the case that an international practicum is approved by your Advisor, the Practicum Coodinator, and the site, and the placement is confirmed, you will have to fill out an International Travel Registry form via the Minerva Travel Registry beforehand. Please note that all travel costs are to be borne by the student. In all cases, the Practicum program timeline must be respected.

Do I have to speak French to do a Practicum?

  • Language requirements depend on the site and supervisor. While sites vary from year to year, a selection of placements is typically offered at anglophone, francophone, and bilingual sites. Language requirements are normally indicated on the site posting.

I work, volunteer, intern (or have worked/volunteered/interned) at a fantastic site. Can I do my Practicum there?

  • Typically not, with some rare exceptions (e.g., international placements, placement in a different functional unit with a different supervisor). As one of the main goals of the program is to provide students with new learning opportunities, students are strongly encouraged to seek out new sites.

My site has requested a criminal record check/health check/proof of insurance. What do I do?

  • Please contact the SIS Practicum Coordinator.

How will I know which sites to list on my Practicum Application?

  • A list of potential sites for the upcoming semester are made available on the website in early-mid September of each year. Check back for postings in the Fall.

Is the program graded? Who assigns the mark?

  • A pass/fail grade (credit/no credit) is assigned by the SIS Practicum Coordinator after all course requirements have been met.

Is it possible to undertake volunteer work or an internship opportunity outside of the Practicum program?

  • Yes! Outside of the Practicum program, some of our Master’s students also undertake volunteer work and paid or unpaid, non-credit internships. Volunteer positions and internships are organized by students themselves. For more information about seeking internship and volunteer opportunities, start here.

Forms for students

Note: forms for the next Practicum semester (Winter 2017) will be made available in September 2016.

Pre-Practicum

Student Application to Practicum
Practicum Plan & Agreement

Practicum

Weekly Log Template


Current Practicum students: log in to myCourses.