ARST 596 (3)


For any questions about the Professional Experience, please contact the Educational Services Coordinator at

Cross-listed with LIBR 596

These guidelines are designed to give students and supervisors an understanding of the nature, scope, and requirements of the Professional Experience course.

Structure of the Course
Setting Up a Project


ARST 596: Completion of the MAS Core plus courses directly relevant to the nature of a project. It is strongly recommended that students take the ARST 596 in their second year of study.


After completion of a Professional Experience project, the student will have developed the following:

  • Experience and skill in applying theory to a particular area of professional practice in a particular library, organization, or information service
  • Experience in project planning and management, under supervision, but with considerable independence and initiative
  • Skills in time management and priority planning
  • Interpersonal skills needed to work professionally and effectively within an institution or organization

Structure of the course

Professional Experience course provides students an opportunity to work on a project in the field, under supervision of an experienced librarian, archivist, or records manager, for course credit. Students spend 120 hours on the project, equivalent to the time they are expected to spend on a regular course. The project is typically carried out over a 12-week term, but it can be condensed into a shorter time frame if that is agreeable to both the student and the supervisor. Projects spanning more than a term are also permitted, though students may not significantly exceed 120 hours in total work.

What kinds of projects are acceptable?

  • Projects should have considerable intellectual, analytical and critical challenge of a professional nature, and with some definable outcome.
  • Students should be able to carry out the project work with considerable degree of independence.
  • Ideally projects should be designed to be completed in the estimated 120 hours. Projects may be components of a larger project, however.
  • A professional librarian or archivist must agree to supervise the student.


This is a pass/fail course. A pass grade awarded when the agreed upon terms of the project are met and upon submission of all of the required written reports from the student.


Any costs incurred in carrying out the project is to be borne by the host institution. Students are not allowed to receive both credit and financial rewards for the project. Since the project is being done for academic credit, paying of a salary for time spent on the project is not appropriate. However, acknowledgement of the student’s contribution to any publication resulting from the project is expected.



  • Regular communication channels should be established between student and supervisor, including an initial meeting to come to an agreement about the nature and expectations of the project.
  • Supervisors are asked to fill out the Supervisor’s Interim Report Form about mid-way through the project and the Supervisor’s Final Report Survey upon completion of the project. Forms should be emailed to the Coordinator of the course as an attachment. Interim and final reports are shared with the student, unless requested otherwise.


  • A Project Plan is required before project work begins. The plan outlines the timeline and target dates of project deliverables (including due dates for BOTH interim reports) and should be approved by the Supervisor. Once the plan is received students will be registered in the course by the Student Services Coordinator. Examples of Project Plans available here.
  • Two interim reports. These reports should discuss how the project is progressing, any new skills/knowledge gained, and any problems/issues that have come up.
  • Final Report Form to be submitted upon completion of the project OR Poster Submission: See submission guidelines and use the online form to upload your poster!

Setting up a project

There are two ways to set up a project:

  1. Organizations wishing to set up a Professional Experience project with a student may submit a Project Proposal Form (see below) to us. Approved projects are posted to students on the iSchool News Blog, under the category Professional Experience. Check the brief project descriptions; if one interests you, contact the Student Services Coordinator for the full proposal. You then apply by sending a resume and cover letter to the SLAIS Student Services Coordinator, who will contact the project hosts.
  2. Students may initiate a project by approaching organizations about possible projects suitable for the course and their experience. A resume MUST be included in this process. Once a project idea is agreed upon between student and organization, a Project Proposal Form should be completed by the Supervisor and submitted to the School for approval, via the Student Services Coordinator.
  3. In either case, once a project has been approved, the student will work with the host to develop a project plan. Both the project plan and resume are to be sent to the Student Services Coordinator, who will register the student in the course.


The Student Services Coordinator will register the students in the course once the project has been approved by the School and a project plan has been submitted and approved. The student is responsible for determining a project plan with the project supervisor.


Supervisor forms

Student forms

For more information contact:
Educational Services Coordinator
Phone (604) 822-2461
Fax: (604) 822-6006