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Master of Library & Information Studies

Specializations      MLIS handbook


The Master of Library & Information Studies (MLIS) information on this page applies to students who entered the master’s program at the School of Information Studies in Fall 2013 or before only. Students applying for or entering the master's program in Fall 2014 or after: please refer to the Master of Information Studies (MISt) program pages.

For a list of courses and current timetables, please see "Master of Information Studies."


The Master of Library & Information Studies (MLIS) degree prepares graduates to work in a wide range of information environments. Three streams: Archival Studies, Knowledge Management, and Librarianship enable students to focus on specific areas of interest while completing a core set of required MLIS courses.

The MLIS degree is awarded after successful completion of the equivalent of 2 academic years of study (48 credits). Although the program is normally taken full-time, it may be pursued part-time to be completed within 5 years of initial registration.

Goals & objectives

Goals of the MLIS program

  1. To provide the intellectual foundation for careers in archival studies, knowledge management and librarianship.

  2. To foster competencies in managing information and knowledge resources.

  3. To advocate the ideal of equal access to information.

  4. To promote the appropriate use of technology in meeting information needs.

  5. To promote research in the field of library and information studies.

  6. To foster commitment to professional service for individuals, organizations and society.

Objectives of the MLIS program

Upon completion of the MLIS degree, graduates will integrate the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the historical and theoretical foundations of archival studies, knowledge management and librarianship.

  2. Articulate the issues concerning access to information, privacy, censorship, and intellectual freedom.

  3. Understand research principles and techniques that are applied in the field.

  4. Select, acquire, organize, store, retrieve and disseminate information and knowledge resources.

  5. Design, manage and evaluate information systems and services.

  6. Apply management theories, principles and techniques in libraries and other knowledge-based organizations.

  7. Assume the role of information professionals as mediators between users and information resources.

  8. Understand the nature of professional ethics and the role of professional associations.

Objectives of the Archival Studies stream

MLIS graduates in the Archival Studies stream will have:

  1. expertise in archives, records management and electronic records management to support authenticity, access and long-term preservation of records;

  2. theories and techniques in acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, description, preservation and access to records; and

  3. skills to practice in settings such as archives, libraries, museums, government agencies, academic institutions and corporate and non-profit organizations.

Graduates of this specialization are prepared for professional careers as archivists, records managers, information managers, records specialists, preservation librarians, and curators.

Objectives of the Knowledge Management stream

MLIS graduates in the Knowledge Management stream will have:

  1. critical knowledge of the creation, capture, organization, sharing, dissemination and evaluation of knowledge assets for individuals, groups and organizations;

  2. solid grounding in organizational memory, communities of practice and taxonomies of organizational knowledge; and

  3. skills to facilitate user-centered consensus-based approaches.

Graduates of this sream are prepared for professional careers as knowledge managers, online/virtual librarians, knowledge base developers, and corporate taxonomists.

Objectives of the Librarianship stream

MLIS graduates in the Librarianship stream will have:

  1. knowledge to provide library and information services in varied settings to meet the information needs of various clientele;

  2. ability to develop information systems and resources; and

  3. skills to practice in libraries and information centres in various settings (including public, academic, school, corporate, and special libraries, as well as government agencies, museums and health organizations).

Graduates of this stream are prepared for professional careers as reference librarians, cataloguers, instructional technology librarians, information specialists, online information providers, and library and information centre managers.



The MLIS degree is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). As described on the ALA Accredited Programs webpage:

"Accreditation is achieved through a review process conducted by an external review panel of practitioners and academics that verifies that the program meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. Graduating from an ALA-accredited program provides flexibility in the types of libraries and jobs you can apply for and enhances career mobility. Most employers require an ALA-accredited master's degree for most professional level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries."


Learn more about practice settings, responsibilities, job titles, potential employers, and professional associations related to Archival Studies, Knowledge Management, and Librarianship.


An optional 3-credit Practicum course allows 2nd year MLIS students to apply knowledge gained in the program through supervised practice in the field.


The MLIS program is a non-thesis program in which students undertake research as part of regular coursework. For students who wish to delve deeper into topics of interest, the MLIS program offers two independent studies research-based courses

Research seminars are presented at the School by Canadian and international guest speakers throughout the year. Although not a formal part of the MLIS program, the series offers a valuable opportunity for students to learn about current research topics and developments in the field of library and information studies.

Introductory program

All incoming MLIS students are required to participate in the introductory program to acquaint them with the many-faceted world of information and the forward-looking leadership of the library and information professions. The program takes place prior to classes and introduces students to the School, its faculty and IT, the McGill Libraries and the university. Students also have the opportunity to meet with faculty advisors and 2nd year students.

For current students

Find information for current SIS students, including student groups, awards and aid, the SIS Wiki, specialized library services, services for new students and more on the Current Students page.


Have questions about the program? View our Contact page.