Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Questions for Applicants | Questions for Current Students | Questions for Graduating Students

 

Applicants

Be sure to also read the Admissions Process Overview before beginning the application process.

About the Master’s programs

The Master of Archival Studies (MAS) degree prepares graduates for careers in the management of records (in all media and forms) along their life-cycle, from creation to permanent preservation. Graduates may work as archivists, digital archivists, digital asset managers, records managers, privacy and information officers, and more. The Master of Library & Information Studies (MLIS) degree prepares graduates to manage information in all formats. That includes organizing, accessing and retrieving information, in digital, print, or other formats. Graduates typically work as librarians, information managers, data asset managers, indexers, literacy specialists and more.

The Dual MAS/MLIS program, in which students pursue both degrees at the same time, is for students interested in acquiring the skills and knowledge required to work in both libraries and archives, as well as a number of other information environments. Employment opportunities increase with qualifications in both disciplines.

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) program is a multi-disciplinary academic master’s degree, and does not by itself qualify graduates to work as teachers or children’s librarians. It does, however, allow for deeper study into children’s and young adult literature of all types, and is of interest primarily to those who are, or who intend to be, involved in teaching, school or public library services, writing, editing/publishing, theatre/film, storytelling, or affiliated fields. Most of these positions will require additional educational credentials.

The MLIS and MAS programs are 48 credits. Most students complete 12 credits per term, and take a term to obtain related employment experience, so 20 months is the typical length spent completing either the MLIS or MAS degree. It is possible to complete in 16 straight months for those who wish to accelerate their program of study. Those in the dual degree program take longer, generally 28 to 32 months. The MACL degree requires 24 credits of coursework (typically completed in two terms) and a six-credit thesis, which can take at least two terms and sometimes more. You are permitted up to five years to complete your master’s degree, which helps accommodate those interested in part-time studies. UBC iSchool offers several web-delivered courses over the academic year; however it is not currently possible to complete any iSchool program entirely by distance.

Tuition fees are set by the University. The official and most current information can always be found in the UBC Calendar.

International students are also eligible for the International Tuition Award in the amount of $3,200 annually (2013-14 figures).

Many MAS, MLIS and MAS/MLIS students find relevant student employment during the time at the school. In addition, many students choose to participate in the Co-operative Education Program and spend at least one term earning money and gaining valuable work experience as well. Be sure to apply for external funding  as part of your preparation for application and study. iSchool students have been quite successful in competitions for these, even before arriving at the school.

About Applying

When evaluating files, the Admissions Committee focuses on three aspects of an application:

  1. Transcripts: The minimum academic requirement for admission to graduate study at UBC is an upper second class (also known as B+) in the senior-level courses of your undergraduate degree, in any discipline.  You can find out more on these minimum requirements at the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) website. The iSchool Admissions Committee welcomes degrees in all disciplines. In keeping with our goal of increasing the diversity among our students, we look for degrees in the sciences and social sciences. Degrees in the humanities are most common and quite welcome as well.
  2. Letters of reference: Three are required. At least two of them should be academic; that is, from an instructor who has taught you. If your marks are at the lower end, this is even more important. If it has been some time since you finished your degree, try to contact an instructor anyway. Don’t be shy – they receive these requests regularly and will tell you if they aren’t able to provide a letter of support. If you are unsuccessful, consider taking a university-level academic course or two to give yourself an academic reference. As a second choice, provide a reference from employers who can speak to your potential to succeed in graduate-level work. Letters from family or friends are less useful, academically speaking.
  3. Your responses to the questions: Here is where you can differentiate your application from all others. In your responses, we are looking for evidence of interest and passion in the profession, and that you understand where this degree might take you. Here you can also discuss the skills you bring in technology, teaching or leadership.

This is an issue for those whose degrees have a lot of non-theoretical or non-critical coursework. Such degrees may include those in Music Composition (as opposed to theory), Library or Archival Science, Theology, or Studio Arts. Essentially the committee wants to see upper-level coursework that demonstrates critical thinking and engagement with theory, as well as an academic writing component. Examples of such courses might include those in Art History, Music Theory, Comparative Religions, as well as English, Political Science or History. If it is not clear on your transcript, be sure to point out such courses in your application (under “Is there anything else you’d like to add?” or in your resume). Encourage your academic referees to address these issues in their letters of reference.

If your GPA is at or below the minimum requirement for admission, consider taking some upper-level (3rd year or 4th year) academic courses at your local university and achieve first-class standing (A- average). This will demonstrate your academic ability, and give you stronger academic references too. Spend time preparing your application and discuss your draft responses with someone who has graduated from a similar program, or who has completed graduate studies. Follow some related blogs to gain an understanding of issues and trends. Subscribe to the alert services in your academic library databases.  Be informed in responding to the questions.

Our programs are competitive and we receive more applications than we have spaces. Due to the number of applications, unfortunately we cannot provide detailed information on specific applications. In evaluating applications, the admissions committee looks at many factors including GPA, letters of reference, related experience, and understanding of the program and the field. All of these components must demonstrate potential to be successful in a rigorous graduate program and the profession. While you may reapply, unless you have significantly changed your application do not expect a different decision.

Applicants currently enrolled in another ALA-accredited MLIS program or equivalent may apply to transfer into the MLIS, MAS, or Dual programs. You must follow the regular admissions procedure, and will be considered by the admissions committee at the same time as other applicants. All normal requirements for admission to UBC must be met or exceeded. No students whose academic record in any way does not meet our minimum requirements will be accepted as a transfer student. Please state in your application that you are intending to transfer some credits to UBC. All requests for transfer must be made prior to starting classes. The process of evaluating credits for transfer will begin after the applicant has been offered and accepted admission to UBC. The syllabus used for each class being considered for transfer is required. All transfer credit requests will be decided by the iSchool Graduate Advisor, with input from UBC iSchool faculty, on a case-by-case basis. A maximum of 18 credits may be applied to the UBC degree program. UBC regulations regarding transfer credits for master’s students will apply.

Student Experience: Life at the iSchool

Our student body numbers between 200- 250 tudents at any time. Approximately 15 to 20 are in the doctoral program and the rest are in master’s level programs. Approximately 25% of our student body holds an international study permit. The majority of these are from the United States; the rest are from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. About 80% of our students are female; more than a third speak at least two languages, more than 20% hold a prior master’s degree, and the average age of a current iSchool student is 31 years, across all programs.

One of the iSchool’s strengths lies in its experiential learning course offerings. Students obtain hands-on experience through credit-bearing internships and practicum placements. The three-credit professional experience course offers students the opportunity to work in the field under the supervision of a librarian or archivist. The co-operative education program connects iSchool students with paid employment directly related to their degree. And finally, iSchool has developed a strong relationship with practitioners in the field who hire iSchool students in part-time positions as student librarians, archivists, digitization assistants, research assistants and more – again providing real-world experience directly connected to their programs of study.

 

Current Students

Students can find additional FAQs for Graduate Students on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ Managing Your Program page.

Courses and Registration

Students can take a maximum of 15 credits per winter term, or 30 credits per winter session -- that's usually 5 courses per term. Many students take fewer than 5 courses per term, allowing for time to work, play, or study. It's up to you on how many credits you take. Four courses is considered a full-time workload. Always be aware of drop and withdrawal dates -- you might want to lighten the load if things seem too much. Keep in mind that credit load requirements may apply for on campus housing, student loans, scholarships, etc. It's your responsibility to ensure you meet these requirements if applicable.

Students in the MAS and MLIS programs can take up to 12 credits outside of the program. Students in the Dual program can take up to 9 credits outside of the MLIS and MAS programs.

For details on how to take a course outside of your degree program, visit the courses page.

To take any course outside your program (including iSchool courses that are not in your specific program), begin by getting the instructor’s permission. Then fill out the "Application for Credit for External Courses” form available on the Forms and Resources for Students page. If the course is outside of the iSchool, include the syllabus and a statement explaining why it will benefit your program of study. Send the application and supporting documents to the Program Assistant, who will give it to the Graduate Advisor for review and approval. Pre-requisites may not apply, but in some courses you may be given some additional reading in advance by the course instructor to ensure you are prepared for the course content.

For additional details on how to take a course outside of your degree program, visit the courses page.

Registration dates and times for the Winter Session are available in June, and Summer Session dates are available in late February. Check the Student Service Centre (SSC) regularly for your personalized registration date and time, which are subject to change.

Students can place themselves on a course wait list. Go to https://applications.arts.ubc.ca/secure/index.php, login in with your CWL and follow the instructions. If a seat opens up, you will be notified by the office staff and will have to confirm you still want the space.

Students can audit a course by asking the instructor of the course for permission and completing the Change of Registration from. See the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Change of Registration form. Fill out the "Audit" section of the form, and obtain the course instructor's signature and the graduate advisor signature. Then submit it to the iSchool Program Assistant for processing. Completed forms must be processed before the start of the first class. Keep in mind that it is within the instructor's rights to require that auditing student do all of the assignments if that's what the instructor decide. Auditing is at the discretion of the instructor, but in all cases audit students are not permitted space in a course until all of the for-credit students on a course wait list have been offered spaces.

Student can find out the course drop date without a “W” on their transcript by visiting the UBC Enrolment Services website on Course Change Dates. This information can also be found on the course listing through the SSC (Student Service Centre).

Student can find out the course drop date without a “W” on their transcript by visiting the UBC Enrolment Services website on Course Change Dates. This information can also be found on the course listing through the SSC (Student Service Centre).

Students should contact UBC Enrolment Services to clear their tuition fees. Once the fees are cleared, students will be able to add or drop courses.

Students should contact the iSchool Program Assistant to check that the degree status for the changed program is open for course registration.

Students can find out the room their class will be taught by looking at the timetables. Students can also find this information on the SSC under Registration - Course Schedules. (Note: Courses in the Terrace Lab will appear as "SEE DEPT" in the SSC).

Students will be registered into WISE courses in SSC once the WISE class lists have been confirmed during the middle of term.

Students should speak to their faculty advisor for suggestions. There may be a possibility to do a directed study, directed research, practicum and/or professional experience. Another possibility is to take an outside course from another department.

Administrative Matters and Issues

Students can get a letter to extend their study permit or visa from the department by sending an email to the Program Assistant (slais.program@ubc.ca). Please include start date, prospective end date, any financial support, awards etc. Information on post-graduation work permits, please see the UBC Student Services section on securing a post-graduation work permit.

Students can apply for a leave of absence by completing the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Leave of Absence Form. Students should also consult with the iSchool Graduate Advisor. Completed forms with rationale can be submitted to the Program Assistant for processing.

Students can book equipment by contacting iSchool Information Assistant, who will confirm once it’s been booked.

Through the SSC (Student Service Centre), under Grades and Record. If you need a personalized letter, send an email request to the Program Assistant. The request must include your name, program, student number, to whom it is to be addressed and when you need the program verification letter.

Students can find job postings for both student and professional employment opportunities at the iSchool News Blog.

If you lost an item, please check with the Information Assistant in the Main Office. If the lost item was outside of the iSchool, please check at the UBC Library circulation desk in the Barber Centre. You can also check with Campus Security office at the UBC Bookstore on East Mall.

Students who plan to withdraw from the program will need to contact the iSchool Graduate Advisor. An email request with rationale and withdraw date must be sent to the Graduate Advisor and email copy (cc) the Program Assistant. Access cards must be returned and inquiries about iSchool fees should be directed to the Program Assistant. Inquiries about tuition fees are directed to Enrolment Services.

Students who request a name change must bring supporting legal documentation (i.e., marriage certificate) to the iSchool Main Office to update the School’s records. Student must also contact Enrolment Services to update Campus records. For further details, see the Student Services website.

Students must update all contact information in the SSC, and also provide it to staff in the Main Office.

Lockers are assigned on a first come, first serve basis at the start of every September, January and May terms, after the iSchool Orientation session on the first day of the term. If you would like to sign up for a locker, please come to the Main Office front desk anytime after the Orientation session.

Students who plan to be outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District on an educational activity for an entire term may request a U-Pass exemption letter by contacting the Program Assistant. The request must include student number and when to you need the letter.

Student tuition fee inquiries are directed to Enrolment Services.

The deadline for grades to be completely submitted is one week after the last day of final exams. Please check that your grades are submitted before ordering a transcript. If the grades have not yet been submitted, contact your course instructor.

Health and Safety

If you do see a suspicious person in the secured iSchool area, please contact the information desk or a faculty member. Each guest that comes to the iSchool must check in at the information desk.

First, stay calm. Familiarize yourself with the emergency exits, location of extinguishers, exits and areas of refuge in advance so you will know what to do. Be prepared by reading the information at the Irving K. Barber Safety Resource Centre.

If you need a simple finger bandage, you can go to front desk reception. The IBLC Floor Wardens and Security personnel can also provide some basic first aid. If it is a more serious injury, go the UBC Hospital Urgent Care Centre at 2211 Wesbrook Mall.

You can pay for Student Accident Insurance by contacting the Administrative Assistant. Student Accident Insurance is an optional insurance plan which provides accident (not illness) coverage for UBC students and post-doctoral fellows engaged in coursework-related activities in environments where the risk of injury is greater than in a classroom, e.g. laboratories, clinical practice, field work. It provides a $50,000 maximum benefit for death or dismemberment and a $5,000 limit for other medical related expenses, e.g., ambulance, prescription drugs. Students must have the BC Medical Plan or its equivalent from another province in place (basic medical care) in order to be eligible for Student Accident Insurance. The cost to enrol in the Student Accident Insurance program is $7 per student per year. For details, please see Student Accident Insurance.

International students can get more information about iMED from International House.

Graduating Students

Students who plan to graduate must apply for graduation through the SSC. Lockers and mail boxes should be cleared out by end of term. Any outstanding tuition fees for the current and previous terms must be paid in full, but you do not need to pay fees for the upcoming term.

You can contact the Program Assistant (ischool.program@ubc.ca) to look over your transcript of grades to confirm that you have met requirements.

Students can apply for graduation in SSC in the last month of their term.

Students who missed the deadline need to complete the late application for graduation form. You will need to contact Enrolment Services to get the form.

Students can request a program completion letter in the Student Service Centre (SSC) through Graduate Studies. The letter is available once all program requirements are met and the student's record is marked complete by Graduate Studies. Students are able to print their own letters of program completion or degree conferral through the Student Service Centre (SSC).

Graduation photos in gown and hood are organized by LASSA. Please contact a LASSA member to assist you.

You can find information to apply for departmental graduating awards at http://www.slais.ubc.ca/admissions/admissions-awards.htm

The iSchool's graduation reception happens the same day as convocation. Notices are sent individually to students regarding the date, time and location. If you would like to bring extra guests to the graduation reception, you can contact the Information Desk. Extra tickets are $15 per person.

Students can book their own grad gown and hood by contacting the UBC Bookstore. See http://www.graduation.ubc.ca/ubc-vancouver/for-students/graduation-gowns/

Graduating students can get information about getting tickets for convocation at http://www.graduation.ubc.ca/ubc-vancouver/for-students/

You will receive a notice through SSC for confirmation of graduation.

Tuition fees for the upcoming term do not need to be paid if you are graduating this term. The fees will be cleared up by Graduate Studies.