Master of Archival Studies (MAS)

With an international reputation for intellectual leadership and strong local connections with communities and professionals, the MAS program provides an inspiring space to study archival science and develop professional skills. Records and archives play a vital role in society and students in this program will engage critically and creatively with emerging records issues, while developing the skills required to ensure that records are effectively created, organized, managed and preserved.


Application deadlines

January 15 (applications); February 1 (supporting documents)

Start date


Program length

approx. 20-24 months (longer if students participate in Co-op)

Areas of study

Nature of records and archives; Managing records from creation to preservation; Records systems and archival systems; Selection of records and their acquisition; Intellectual control; Records, archives, and the law; Ethical and professional responsibilities; History of record-keeping and archives



Admissions requirements

  • 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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Hands-on learning opportunities

UBC Faculty of Arts Co-op Program

The Arts Co-op program is a fantastic way for students in the MAS 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 MAS degree.

For-Credit Hands-on Learning Options

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

  • ARST 595: Internship (3 credits) – [this course is  currently not being offered]
  • ARST 596: Professional Experience (3 credits)
  • ARST 575R: Graduating Project (3 credits)

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



The MAS 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 records and archives. Graduates may find work in such positions as:

Archivist; digital archivist; archives curator; archives advisor; manuscripts processing archivist; electronic records archivist; audiovisual archivist; data/digital curator; e-discovery advisor; privacy and information officer; records and information manager; records administrator/specialist; records analyst; records policy and program officer; records/preservation system designer; research officer; security specialist; and others.


The Master of Archival Studies is awarded upon completion of 48 credits of work approved by the School.

The required courses are:

  • The MAS Core courses (12 credits)
    • ARST 510: Archival Diplomatics (3 credits)
    • ARST 515: Arrangement And Description Of Archival Documents (3 credits)
    • ARST 516: Management of Current Records (3 credits)
    • ARST 573: Archival Systems and the Profession (3 credits)
  • MAS required course (3 credits)
    • ARST 520: Selection and Acquisition of Archival Documents (3 credits)

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

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

*Core courses in the MAS program can only be taken by students registered in the MAS program.

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

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

In addition to the 12 credits of required Core courses, students must take 36 credits of elective courses, 6 of which may be the ARST 599: Thesis course. Students select the desired option and the elective courses in consultation with their Faculty Advisor.

It is strongly recommended that students take the following courses in their second term, especially if they intend to pursue any experiential learning in the following Summer:

  • ARST 500: Information Technology and Archives
  • ARST 520: Selection and Acquisition of Archival Documents
  • ARST 540: Archival Public Services
  • ARST 587: Preservation

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

Do NOT take courses that are not intended to be part of your program. As per UBC's policy, students should only be enrolled in courses that are part of the degree program. For example, do not enroll in undergraduate language courses.

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

If a student wishes to enroll in a course without having met the stated prerequisites, 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 MAS students can be accessed on the Courses page.

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

The educational commitments of the MAS program are set out in the Statement on Graduate Competencies. A more detailed statement on MAS Graduate Competencies is also available (PDF).  The Graduate Competencies provide a framework for the ongoing assessment of the MAS program through direct and indirect measures of student achievement. The results of the assessment are published annually on our Program Assessment page.

The MAS program can be completed on a part-time basis once the core courses are completed. The MAS Core courses are only offered once a year, meaning students are not eligible to complete the Core on a part-time basis. Once the Core requirements have been satisfied, the rest of the program may be completed on a part-time basis.

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).