Hands-on learning

UBC School of Information offers students a suite of hands-on learning courses including practicums, internships, and professional experiences. Sometimes referred to as work integrated learning or experiential learning, these opportunities give students a chance to get practical experience in a work setting.  The iSchool is committed to providing quality experiential learning opportunities for students – hosts and the Educational Services Coordinator work closely together on establishing placement opportunities. Students are encouraged to carefully consider their options when selecting their placements, and consult their faculty advisor as needed.

Hands on learning opportunities are an excellent way for students to get an in-depth look at the types of information organizations they will eventually be working in. For more information on any of the opportunities below, contact the Educational Services Manager.

Professional Experience (ARST 596/LIBR 596)

Our most popular placement, the Professional Experience provides students an opportunity to work on a project in the field, under supervision of an experienced librarian, archivist, or records manager. 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 or longer time frame if that is agreeable to both the student and the supervisor.

  • 3 course credits
  • 120 hours
  • Prerequisites: completion of the core
  • Project proposals posted on the Job Board


Find forms, guidelines and more for students and supervisors on our Hands On Learning Resources page.

Practicum Placement (LIBR 595)

The practicum is a two-week placement that occurs three times  per year: December, April and August. The practicum is a job shadow opportunity to apply and observe the theory they have absorbed in real library or informational setting. By the end of the practicum the student will have a better understanding of how an information-based organization functions. Ideally students will gain an overview of the library and an appreciation of its purpose, organization and challenges.

  • 2 weeks
  • Prerequisites: completion of the core

Find forms, templates, guidelines and more for students and supervisors on our Hands On Learning Resources page.

Internship (ARST 595)

The School of Information is presently unable to offer this course. For inquiries, please contact our Educational Services Manager, Kevin Day,  at ischool.edsm@ubc.ca

The internship is a three-month long placement in which students in the Master of Archival Studies or Dual MAS/MLIS programs work full-time in a recognized archival repository under the supervision of a senior archivist. Students will gain hands-on work experience working with basic archival functions. Students must complete a 10-page final report at the end of the experience.

  • 3 course credits
  • 12 week placement
  • Prerequisites: 24 credits
  • Workplan provided for student in advance

Additional information for students and supervisors

  • Review the Hands on Learning Toolkit for guidelines and procedural information on all of the Hands on  learning opportunities offered through the iSchool.
  • Find application forms, project plan templates, and guidelines for students and supervisors on our Hands on Learning Resources page.
  • Find opportunities for Professional Experience and Internships on the iSchool Job Board.
  • All students participating in placements outside of BC are required to apply for UBC’s Risk Management Insurance. Complete form online prior to beginning your placement.
  • Review the WorkSafeBC Coverage Information to ensure you are familiar with the coverage eligibility. See the iSchool office for further details.
  • Hands on Learning Agreement – This document will need to be completed prior to commencing your placement. Please send copy of completed agreement to the Educational Services Manager at ischool.edsm@ubc.ca.