View program description and requirements in the 2015/16 MISt Student Handbook.
The School offers two Master of Information Studies (MISt) degree programs. Program requirements and courses:
- Master of Information Studies (Non-thesis)
- Master of Information Studies (Non-thesis) - Project. Includes an 18-credit research project component.
Both MISt programs prepare graduates to work as information professionals in a wide range of information environments, or to pursue further research and academic studies in library and information studies. Offered on campus at McGill University, the programs are comprised of required courses around which students create an individualized program of study based on career and academic goals. Courses are available in areas of interest such as library studies; knowledge management; information and communication technology; and archival studies. Students have the flexibility to focus on one area of interest or combine courses from across information studies domains.
Both the MISt and the MISt - Project are a non-thesis programs in which students may complete research-related coursework. For students who wish to delve deeper into topics of interest, the MISt - Project program allows students to complete 18 credits of research-related credits.
The MISt degrees are awarded after successful completion of 48 credits, typically taken over two years in Fall and Winter semesters. 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, & learning outcomes
- To provide the intellectual foundation for careers as information professionals.
- To foster competencies in managing information and knowledge resources.
- To promote the appropriate use of technology in meeting information needs.
- To promote research in information studies.
- To advocate access to information as a fundamental human right.
- To educate service-oriented information professionals.
- Understand the historical and theoretical foundations of information studies.
- Identify key issues and debates in information policy.
- Understand research principles and techniques that are applied in the field.
- Select, acquire, organize, store, retrieve and disseminate information and knowledge resources in any format.
- Design, manage and evaluate information systems and services.
- Understand the role of technology in the field.
- Apply management theories, principles and techniques in information and knowledge-based organizations.
- Facilitate the interaction between users, and information and knowledge resources.
- Understand the nature of professional ethics and the role of professional associations.
- Describe the key historical, theoretical and ethical foundations in the field of information studies.
- Assess, organize and manage information and knowledge resources.
- Articulate the issues concerning access to information such as copyright, privacy, censorship, and intellectual freedom.
- Apply information and communication technology (ICT) concepts to designing, managing and evaluating information systems.
- Apply the principles and practices of information literacy.
- Critically evaluate scholarly and professional literature and apply basic research methods.
- Apply management principles and techniques, including those related to project management.
- Analyze information needs and user requirements at individual, organizational, and community levels to provide effective information services.
- Demonstrate communication, problem solving, and decision-making skills in a collaborative environment.
- Explain and appreciate the diverse roles and responsibilities of information professionals in various organizational and societal contexts.
An optional 3-credit Practicum course allows 2nd year MISt students in either MISt degree to apply knowledge gained in the program through supervised practice in the field.
The School's master's program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), an internationally-recognized body which assures quality, innovation, and value in Library and Information Studies education. 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."
The MISt program prepares students to work as information professionals in established and emerging information-related fields. Visit the Careers page for additional information and links.
Advising & supervision
Q. I am considering applying to the program and have questions. Who do I contact?
Prospective students: after carefully reviewing the main MISt program information and FAQs, if you still have outstanding questions, please direct general program questions to
the gpdm.sis [at] mcgill.ca (MISt Program Director). For admissions-related questions, please contact Kathryn Hubbard, Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator.
Q. I have been accepted to the program. When do I have access to an academic advisor?
After acceptance to the MISt program, incoming students are assigned academic advisors upon their arrival at the School.
Q. What is the difference between an advisor and research supervisor?
An advisor assists students with developing a program of study and provides advising support throughout the duration of the program.
Students who desire to undertake research project courses are required to seek a prospective research supervisor from among the School's faculty members; the supervision is mutually agreed upon by the student and supervisor.
Librarianship & MLIS equivalencies
Q. I'm planning a career as a librarian. Will this program meet my needs for librarianship training?
The general MISt program does not differ significantly from the School's former Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program in terms of depth and range of available library studies-related courses. Students interested in librarianships will design their program with their advisor to reflect career and/or research goals, with a focus on courses in the library studies interest area. Like the MLIS, the MISt is also designed to give all students a fundamental base of knowledge which may be applied across information professions.
Q. With the MISt, will I be able to apply for positions which require an ALA-accredited MLIS (or similar) degree, in Canada or abroad?
The American Library Association (ALA) accredits library and information studies programs, and does not approve individual degree names. The MISt program at the School of Information Studies is an ALA-accredited library and information studies program, which enables graduates to apply for positions calling for an ALA-accredited MLIS or similar degrees. However, it is up to the individual employer to determine if applicants' educational and career backgrounds are suitable. Please see the ALA Accredited Programs FAQ page for more information about degree names and equivalencies.
Q. Does the MISt program offer a practicum program or internship?
Yes, the program offers a popular practicum. The optional, 3-credit Practicum program (GLIS 699) is open to students in the second year of the MISt program. As the terms "practicum" and "internship" are sometimes used interchangeably in university settings, it is important to note that the GLIS 699 Practicum is a credit course offered within the academic timetable, and is comprised of required course assignments in addition to a set number of hours of supervised field practice at an approved practicum site. For more information, please visit the Practicum section of our website.
Program & course options
Q. Can I complete the Master of Information Studies (MISt) degree online?
No. The MISt degrees are campus-based programs with face-to-face teaching and learning at McGill University in downtown Montreal.
Q. I am enrolling in the MISt program. Can I take courses from another McGill department or institution related to my field of study?
Q. I want to transfer credits from another degree into the MISt. Is this possible?
In special cases, credit for appropriate courses previously taken outside the School at another ALA-accredited masters program in the area of library and information studies may be transferred to the MISt programs, but only with the approval of the MISt Program Director, and only if negotiated at the time of admission to the program. As a rule, no more than one-third of the McGill program course work (not thesis or project) can be credited with courses from another university.
Prior to admission to the program, transfer credits must be approved by the MISt Program Director (gpdm.sis [at] mcgill.ca). Requests for transfer credits will only be considered at the time of admission to the MISt program.
Q. I'm a student in another McGill program/at another institution. Can I take one or more courses from the School of Information Studies without being enrolled in the MISt program?
Graduate and post-graduate students from other programs or institutions may be eligible to take MISt courses at the School of Information Studies. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that credits are transferable to their home program. Please note that courses are delivered on campus at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. For more information, contact Kathryn Hubbard, Administrative & Student Affairs Coordinator: admissions.sis [at] mcgill.ca
Research & research funding
Q. Is there a thesis option in the MISt program?
No. Like the MLIS, the MISt program is a non-thesis program. However, the MISt program has been expanded to include a MISt - Project degree allowing students to conduct in-depth individual research projects on topics of interest. Note: students in the general MISt degree also have the opportunity to take a number of research project courses.
Q. What is the MISt Project degree, and who might be interested in taking this degree?
The MISt Project degree is similar to the general MISt degree but includes a greater number of course credits for supervised individual research project courses. While both degrees prepare students for careers in the information professions, this degree is ideal for students with strong research interests and/or who are interested in pursuing further degree work after the Masters level and wish to have a strong research portfolio.
Q. I want to undertake the Project degree. Will I be eligible to apply for research funding?
Yes. Full-time students opting for the MISt - Project degree will be eligible to apply for research-related internal and external fellowships. Prospective students and students planning to apply for external research funding: please contact the MISt Program Director at gpdm.sis [at] mcgill.ca for more information.
Q. What are "areas of interest"? Do I need to declare this before or during the program? Is it listed on my transcript?
In the MISt program, "areas of interest" refer to area of specialization such as Library Studies, Knowledge Management, Archival Studies, and Information and Communication Technology. Read more about areas of interest and recommended related courses here.
During the first semester, all full-time MISt students entering the program will take the four required MISt courses. Students will then develop a customized course of studies to support professional, personal, and academic goals. The MISt program offers flexibility for students to focus in one primary area or to combine courses from across areas.
Areas of interest are not declared and do not show up on transcripts.