Master of Archival Studies (MAS)

Mission Statement:  The MAS program prepares professionals to exercise creativity, integrity and leadership in designing, implementing and promoting programs and systems for the creation, organization, management, preservation and effective use of records and archives. 

Program content focuses on:

  • Nature of records and archives
  • The life-cycle of records from creation to preservation
  • Records systems and archival systems
  • Selection of records and their acquisition in archives
  • Intellectual control of records and archives and provision of access
  • Records, archives and the law
  • Ethical and professional responsibilities
  • History of record-keeping and archives

Graduates may find work in such positions as:

Archivist; digital archivist; archives curator; archives advisor; manuscripts processing archivist; electronic records archivist; audiovisual archivist; data/digital curator; e-discovery advisor; privacy and information officer; records and information manager; records administrator/specialist; records analyst; records policy and program officer; records/preservation system designer; research officer; security specialist; and others.

The educational commitments of the MAS program are set out in the Statement on Graduate Competencies. A more detailed statement on MAS Graduate Competencies is also available.  The Graduate Competencies provide a framework for the ongoing assessment of the MAS program through direct and indirect measures of student achievement. The results of the assessment are published annually on the Program Assessment page of the website.

The Master of Archival Studies is awarded upon completion of 48 credits of work approved by the School.

The required courses are:

  • The MAS Core courses (12 credits)
    • ARST 510: Archival Diplomatics (3 credits)
    • ARST 515: Arrangement And Description Of Archival Documents (3 credits)
    • ARST 516: Management of Current Records (3 credits)
    • ARST 573: Archival Systems and the Profession (3 credits)
  • MAS required course (3 credits)
    • ARST 520: Selection and Acquisition of Archival Documents (3 credits)

Please note that Co-op credits DO NOT count towards the 48 credits required the MLIS degree.

Students in the MAS program should be familiar with the school's Academic Regulations, which contain details on:

  • Advancement Regulations
  • Examinations, Assignments & Attendance
  • Academic Work Load

In addition to the 12 credits of required Core courses, students must take 36 credits of elective courses, twelve of which may be the ARST 599: Thesis course. Students select the desired option and the elective courses in consultation with their Faculty Adviser.

With a few exceptions, once a student completes the four Core courses they will have met the pre- and co-requisite requirements for the non-Core courses. All established pre- or co-requisites for ARST courses can be found on the individual course pages and will be strictly adhered to except in extraordinary circumstances.

If a student wishes to enroll in a course without having met the stated prerequisites, the student must first discuss the rationale for an exemption with his or her Adviser and then must submit a written request for an exemption to the SLAIS Graduate Adviser. The decision on whether or not to grant such an exemption will be made by the Graduate Adviser [in consultation with other faculty as needed].

The full list of courses available for MAS students can be accessed on the Courses page.

First Nations Curriculum Concentration (FNCC)

The First Nations Curriculum Concentration (FNCC) is designed to prepare information professionals to work effectively with Aboriginal communities in support of ongoing developments in Aboriginal culture and languages, self-government, treaty negotiation and litigation.
During their program of study, iSchool students enrolled in the FNCC develop a strong foundation in their chosen program (MAS, MLIS, or Dual MAS/MLIS). In addition, they build a deep appreciation for the influence of the information professions on Indigenous histories and ongoing Indigenous initiatives. As an integral part of the concentration, students are supported in gaining experience working in Indigenous-oriented information organizations.

Students interested in pursuing the FNCC can access more information here.

UBC Faculty of Arts Co-op Program

The Arts Co-op program is a fantastic way for students in the MAS, MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS programs to supplement their income and apply their skills in a real world environment.

For information on the Co-op program, please visit the Co-op information page. Please note that while on a co-op placement, you are registered in an Arts Co-op course; however, these credits DO NOT count towards the credits required for your degree.

For-Credit Experiential Learning Options

Students also have the opportunity to complete unpaid field work for academic credit. Students in the MAS program have the following course-based experiential learning options:

  • ARST 595: Internship (3 credits)
  • ARST 596: Professional Experience (3 credits)
  • ARST 575R: Graduating Project (3 credits)

Students can learn more about these Experiential Learning options here.

A student with research interests may elect to write a thesis. The decision to do so must be confirmed with the student's Faculty Adviser before the end of the term in which the student completes 24 credits of course work, after which a thesis advisory committee will be established and a supervisor assigned. The thesis will be prepared and examined according to the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Program Start Date

  • The program may only be started in September.

Average Length of Program

  • The average completion time for the MAS program is between 1.75 and 2 years.

Minimum Length of Program

  • The minimum completion time for the MAS program is 16 months.

Maximum Length of Program

  • UBC's Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations require completion of master's degree requirements within five years of initial registration (see Duration of Study).

Part-Time Study

  • Because the MAS Core courses are only offered once a year, students are not eligible to complete the Core on a part-time basis. Once the Core requirements have been satisfied, the rest of the program may be completed on a part-time basis.