ARST 596 (3) Professional Experience [cross-listed with LIBR 596]

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


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


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


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.


  • 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, the amount of supervision, and opportunities to provide feedback on the student’s performance. If the supervisor and student will not be working in daily contact, we recommend weekly meetings at the very minimum, depending on the nature and scope of the work.
  • Supervisors are asked to complete the Supervisor Interim Report form about mid-way through the project and the Supervisor’s Final Report Survey  upon completion of the project.


All the documents below are accessible via the iSchool Resources website.

  • A Project Plan  is required before project work begins. The plan outlines the timeline and target dates of project deliverables (including due date for the interim report) and should be approved by the Supervisor. Once the plan is received students will be registered in the course by the Educational Services Manager. Examples of Project Plans available on the iSchool Resources site.
  • Students are required to complete the Hands on Learning Agreement documentbefore beginning their placement.
  • One Student Interim Report: This report should discuss how the project is progressing, any new skills/knowledge acquired, insight you may have gained regarding your own interests and strengths, reflections on the field, and any problems/issues that have come up.
  • Final Student Report: to be submitted upon completion of the project OR Poster Submission: See submission guidelines and use the online form to upload your poster!

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. Approved projects are posted to students on the iSchool Job Blog, under the category Professional Experience. Students: Check the brief project descriptions; if one interests you, contact the Educational Services Manager for the full proposal. You then apply by submitting a resume and cover letter via the online form. The Educational Services Manager receives submissions, and 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 Educational Services Manager.

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 Educational Services Manager, who will register the student in the course.

The Educational Services Manager 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, and must complete the Hands on Learning Agreement before starting work.

All the documents below are accessible via the iSchool Resources website.


  • Professional Experience Project Proposal Form
  • Supervisor Interim Report form
  • Supervisor’s Final Report Survey


  • A Project Plan template
  • Hands on Learning Agreement form
  • Professional Experience Application form
  • Student Interim Report form
  • Final Student Report form
  • Student Risk Insurance form


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

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