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MISt program FAQ

New Masters program as of Fall 2014

The following page answers questions about the new Master of Information Studies (MISt) degree. The MISt degree will be offered to students entering the program in Fall 2014. Students entering the Masters of Library & Information Studies (MLIS) program in September 2013 or before: please refer to the MLIS program pages.

MLIS/MISt program changes

Q. How will the new MISt program differ from the MLIS program?

As the field of information studies is expanding, traditional boundaries between professional occupations are changing. In addition, information professionals are expected to master a larger variety of knowledge and skills. The MISt program format provides students with more flexibility to design their pathway through the program which includes foundations courses and opportunities to focus on specific areas of interest (e.g. library studies, archival studies, knowledge management, information technology). The MISt offers also a new research-based stream for students interested in conducting research.

Q. Why is the degree name changing?

The degree name change from Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) to Master of Information Studies (MISt) to better reflect the diversity of occupations that information professionals can apply  for and the broad nature of the field of information studies. The changes in the curriculum are intended to prepare students for a broader variety of occupations, and the name change seeks to convey this intention.

Q. I'm graduating with or know someone who is graduating with an MLIS. Does this change mean that the MLIS degree is obsolete?

Not at all. The curriculum of the MLIS program has constantly changed over time, and the new degree is simply designed to provide additional flexibility to students in course selection and research options. Both degrees provide an excellent theoretical and practical base for work and research in the information fields. Both the MLIS and MISt are ALA-accredited programs for library and information professionals.

Q. The MLIS program had three streams: Archival Studies, KM & Librarianship - is the MISt program similar?

The new MISt program will offer similar course offerings but has instead two broad streams: "Course-Based" and "Research Project". In the course-based stream, students are invited to design their program of studies by focussing on one or more areas of interests such of archival studies, knowlege management, and librarianship, and information technology. Additional areas of interests may become available as new course offerings become possible.

Q. When does this program change take effect? Will the MLIS continue to be offered?

The MISt program comes into effect in Fall 2014, replacing the MLIS program. Students convocating in Winter 2015 will receive the MISt designation.


Q. Will the admissions process change for the new MISt degree?

No. The general admission requirements will not change.

Q. May I still apply for the MLIS?

No. MLIS admissions are now permanently closed. All applicants to the Masters-level program at the School of Information Studies will apply to the MISt program for entry in Fall 2014 and beyond.

For more admissions-related FAQs, please see the Admissions FAQ page.

Advising & supervision

Q. I am considering applying to the program and have questions. Who do I contact?
Prospective students: after carefully reviewing the main MISt program information and FAQs, if you still have outstanding questions, please direct general program questions to Dr. Jamshid Beheshti, MISt Program Director. For admissions-related questions, please contact Kathryn Hubbard, Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator.

Q. I have been accepted to the program. When do I have access to an academic advisor?
After acceptance to the MISt program, incoming students are assigned academic advisors upon their arrival at SIS.

Q. What is the difference between an advisor and research supervisor?

An advisor assists students with developing a program of study and provides advising support throughout the duration of the program.

Students who desire to undertake research project courses are required to seek a prospective research supervisor from among the School's faculty members; the supervision is mutually agreed upon by the student and supervisor.

Librarianship & MLIS equivalencies

Q. I'm planning a career as a librarian. Will this program meet my needs for librarianship training?

The MISt program will not differ significantly from the former MLIS program in terms of depth and range of available library studies-related courses. Students interested in librarianships will design their program with their advisor to reflect career and/or research goals, with a focus on courses in the library studies interest area. Like the MLIS, the MISt is also designed to give all students a fundamental base of knowledge which may be applied across information professions.

Q. With the MISt, will I be able to apply for positions which require an ALA-accredited MLIS (or similar) degree, in Canada or abroad?

The American Library Association accredits library and information studies programs, and does not approve individual degree names. The MISt program at the School of Information is an ALA-accredited library and information studies program, which enables graduates to apply for positions calling for an ALA-accredited MLIS or similar degrees. However, it is up to the individual employer to determine if applicants' educational and career backgrounds are suitable. Please see the ALA Accredited Programs FAQ page for more information about degree names and equivalencies.


Q. Will the MISt program offer a practicum program?

Yes. For more information, please visit the Practicum section of our website.

Program & course options

Q. Can I complete the MISt online?

No. The MISt is a campus-based program at McGill University in Montreal.

Q. I am enrolling in the MISt program. Can I take courses from another McGill department or institution related to my field of study?

With approval, students may take up to 6 credits of elective courses from other departments at McGill and/or universities in Quebec.

Q. I want to transfer credits from another degree into the MISt. Is this possible?

In special cases, credit for appropriate courses previously taken outside the School at another ALA-accredited Masters program in the area of library and information studies may be transferred to the MISt program, but only with the approval of the Program Director, and only if negotiated at the time of admission to the program. As a rule, no more than one-third of the McGill program course work (not thesis or project) can be credited with courses from another university.

Prior to admission to the program, transfer credits must be approved by Dr. Jamshid Beheshti, MISt Program Director. Requests for transfer credits will only be considered at the time of admission to the MISt program.

Q. I'm a student in another McGill program/at another institution. Can I take one or more courses from the School of Information Studies without being enrolled in the MISt program?

Graduate and post-graduate students from other programs or institutions may be eligible to take MISt courses at the School of Information Studies. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that credits are transferable to their home program. Please note that courses are delivered on campus at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. For more information, contact Kathryn Hubbard, Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator.

Research & research funding

Q. Is there a thesis option in the MISt program?

No. Like the MLIS, the MISt program is a non-thesis program. However, it provides additional opportunities for students with strong research interests. The MISt program has been expanded to include a Research Project stream allowing students to conduct in-depth individual research projects on topics of interest. Note: students in the Course Based stream also have the opportunity to take a number of research project courses.

Q. What is the Research Project stream, and who might be interested in taking this stream?

The Research Project stream is similar to the Course Based stream but includes a greater number of course credits for supervised individual research project courses. This stream is ideal for students with strong research interests and/or who are interested in pursuing further degree work after the Masters level and wish to have a strong research portfolio.

Q. I want to undertake the Research Project stream. Will I be eligible to apply for research funding?

Yes. Full-time students opting for the Research Project stream will be eligible to apply for internal and external fellowships. Prospective students and students planning to apply for external research funding: please contact Dr. Jamshid Beheshti, MISt Program Director for more information.

"Streams" & "Areas of Interest"

Q. What is a "stream"? Do I need to declare this before or during the program? Is it listed on my transcript? 

In the MISt program, there are two main streams: a "Course Based" stream, and a "Research Project" stream. Students who take the required number of research-related courses will graduate in the Research Project stream. Streams are not declared and do not show on transcripts.

Q. What are "areas of interest"? Do I need to declare this before or during the program? Is it listed on my transcript?

In the MISt program, "areas of interest" refer to area of specialization such as library studies, archival studies, and knowlege management, and information technology. 

During the first semester, all full-time MISt students entering the program will normally take the four required core MISt courses. Students will then develop a customized course of studies to support professional, personal, and academic goals. The MISt program offers flexibility for students to focus in one primary area or to combine courses from across areas.

Areas of interest are not declared and do not show up on transcripts.


After reviewing the main MISt program information and FAQs, if you still have questions, please contact us.

Admissions, registration & administrative questions Ms. Kathryn Hubbard, Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator
General program & academic questions Dr. Jamshid Beheshti, Masters Graduate Program Director
Practicum program Ms. Nathalie Blanchard, Practicum Program Coordinator