Master of Library and Information Studies

UBC School of Information is a leader in information studies, ranked first in the world for graduate education in library and information management. The ALA-accredited MLIS program supports a range of career pathways for students, including data services, information interaction and design, librarianship and cultural heritage.



Application deadlines

September intake: January 15 (applications); February 1 (supporting documents)
January intake: June 1 (applications); June 15 (supporting documents)

Start date

Can be started in September or January

Program length

approx. 22-28 months (longer if students participate in Co-op)

Areas of study

First Nations Curriculum Concentration; Data services; Librarianship; Community and culture; Information interaction and design; Designing for People; Information sources and services; Digital resource management; Information analysis and management; Services and management of information organizations; Youth services and literature


  • Faculty engaged in various research projects including community engaged learning, data visualization, social computing and human computer interaction
  • Strong connections to local and provincial library community
  • Specialization opportunity in First Nations/Indigenous knowledge stewardship
  • Hands on experience opportunities including job shadowing, project based work, and paid co-op work terms
  • State-of-the-art learning and research facilities at a world-class university


  • Undergraduate degree, with a minimum B+ average.
  • Applicants should also have strong academic references, and provide three reference letters.

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First Nations Curriculum Concentration (FNCC)

The First Nations Curriculum Concentration is one of the only specializations in North America that enables students to focus on Indigenous information initiatives and systems, including language preservation, digitization, research and governance. The concentration prepares students to work with, and within, Indigenous communities, and in cultural heritage organizations. 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.

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Designing For People 

Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores human behaviour in technology-rich environments with the goal of informing the design and testing of new technologies. UBC offers a collaborative, cross-disciplinary program called Designing for People (DFP). The DFP is a research-oriented program, structured as 12 credits of specialization components that enrich another degree program. Students receive a degree in their home department but their program is enhanced with core knowledge from anchor courses and electives. Students are required to complete a research thesis with their DFP supervisor(s). To learn more about this specialization or how to apply, visit the DFP at UBC website.


Hands-on learning opportunities

UBC Faculty of Arts Co-op Program

The Arts Co-op program is a fantastic way for students in the MLIS program to supplement their income and apply their skills in a real world environment. While on a co-op placement, students are registered in an Arts Co-op course; however, these credits do NOT count towards the 48 credits required for the MLIS degree.

For-Credit Hands-on Learning Options

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

  • LIBR 595: Practicum (0 credits, but recognized on transcript)
  • LIBR 596: Professional Experience (3 credits)
  • LIBR 569R: Graduating Project (3 credits)

Students can learn more about these experiences on our Hands on Learning page.



The MLIS 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 information and collections. Graduates of the MLIS program go on to careers as librarians, information managers, researchers, analysts, interaction designers, web content specialists, and more. An average of 85% of our graduates are employed within six months.

job sectors after graduation


The Master of Library and Information Studies is awarded on completion of 48 credits of work approved by the School.

There are five required courses for the MLIS  program: the MLIS Core courses (taken in the first semester),

  • LIBR 506: Human Information Interaction (3 credits)
  • LIBR 507: Methods of Research and Evaluation in Information Organizations (3 credits)
  • LIBR 508: Information Practices in Contemporary Society (3 credits)
  • LIBR 509: Foundations of Resource Description and Knowledge Organization (3 credits)

and a required course, LIBR 504, which may be taken after the completion of the core.

  • LIBR 504: Management of Information Organizations (3 credits)

*Students participating in the program on a part-time basis are required to take LIBR 508 and 509 in their first term. The remaining two Core courses (LIBR 506 and 507) require LIBR 508 and 509 as pre- or co-requisites. All four of the Core courses are prerequisites to all non-Core courses, as the Core introduces knowledge that should be common to all librarians and information professional in related fields. Core courses in the MLIS program can only be taken by students registered in the MLIS program.

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

Please note that the Core courses are the prerequisite for all electives.

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

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

During the first term the student will take four courses (LIBR 506, 507, 508, 509), collectively known as the Core:

  • LIBR 506: Human Information Interaction (3 credits)
  • LIBR 507: Methods of Research and Evaluation in Information Organizations (3 credits)
  • LIBR 508: Information Practices in Contemporary Society (3 credits)
  • LIBR 509: Foundations of Resource Description and Knowledge Organization (3 credits)

The four Core courses are designed to provide students with an introduction to the concepts basic to the Library and Information Studies field and the opportunity to enhance and exercise their intellectual skills of synthesis, criticism, and analysis in oral discussions and written work about those concepts. The Core courses cover the basic concepts of information in society, information organization, information technology and retrieval, and information agencies and provide a known knowledge/skills base on which every instructor in subsequent non-Core courses can depend. The Core courses are offered using a variety of course-delivery methods, including web-based, mixed-mode, and on-campus. The Core instructors work closely together to ensure that the sum of their courses give students an accurate picture of the profession and its challenges while providing a unified and comprehensive foundation for future study.

Elective Courses

Students in the MLIS program have the option of tailoring their program to suit their specific needs. Every MLIS student will be assigned an academic adviser who can assist students with selecting elective courses and questions regarding the curriculum.

Please note that the Core courses are the prerequisite for all electives.

With the approval of the Graduate Advisor, a student may apply to the program up to 12 credits for courses other than those designated 'LIBR.' Please complete the Application for Credit for External Courses for each course, and submit to the iSchool Graduate Advisor.

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 LIBR courses. All established pre- or co-requisites for LIBR courses can be found on the individual course pages and will be strictly adhered to except in extraordinary circumstances.

In such cases the student must first discuss the rationale for an exemption with his or her Advisor and then must submit a written request for an exemption to the iSchool Graduate Advisor. The decision on whether or not to grant such an exemption will be made by the iSchool Graduate Advisor [in consultation with other faculty as needed].

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

The MLIS program is Accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), and was awarded Continuing Accreditation Status (review in 2023). The ALA accredits masters programs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and many employers in North America require a degree from an ALA-accredited school for professional positions. View our latest Accreditation Self Study (PDF 2016).

A student with research interests may elect to write a thesis. The decision to do so must be confirmed with the Faculty Advisor 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.

Although completion of the MLIS Core courses on a full-time schedule (four core courses completed in the first term) is highly recommended, it is possible to pursue the MLIS degree on a part-time basis. Core courses are pre- or co-requisites for all LIBR electives and completing the core in the first term provides students with the most options in subsequent terms.

Part-time students are advised to complete all their Core courses within 12 months of their start date. 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).

The educational commitments of the MLIS program are set out in the Statement on Graduate Competencies. The Graduate Competencies provide a framework for the ongoing assessment of the MLIS 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.