Graduate Certificate in Archives & Special Collections

The School of Library and Information Science offers an 18-credit hour graduate certificate program in archives and special collections. The program aims to prepare students for careers in archives and related fields such as special collections or cultural repositories. It combines online courses related to archival history, theory, methods, organization, and ethics, with an archival practicum, which can be arranged at an archive or special collection near the student. 

The certificate can be earned with an MLIS degree*, a related master’s degree, or as post-master’s certificate for those holding an MLIS or master’s degree in a related field. (Non-LIS graduate students are required to take LIS 505: Cataloging and Classification as a prerequisite.) 


Archival Certificate

Except for the practicum, all required coursework is completed online.

Required courses:

  • LIS 646: Introduction to Archival Theory and Practice (3 credits)
  • LIS 647: Introduction to Archival Organization (3 credits)
  • LIS 648: Archival Practicum (3 credits)
  • LIS 645: Digital Preservation (3 credits)
  • LIS 652: Metadata for Digital Collections (3 credits)

 Electives (choose one):

  • LIS 506: Cataloging Multimedia Objects (3 credits)
  • LIS 533: History of the Book (3 credits)
  • LIS 580: British Studies (3 credits)
  • LIS 631: History of Libraries (3 credits)
  • LIS 634: History of Children's Literature (3 credits)
  • LIS 692: Special Problems (on an approved archival topic) (3 credits)
Additional course information, including full descriptions of each course listed above, may be found here.

Certificate Assessment

After completing the required coursework, students are required to write a 2500- to 4500-word research paper on an approved topic related to archives or special collections. Instructions for the paper are available here (PDF).

Plan of Study

All students enrolled in the certificate program are required to create a plan of study. Completed plans of study should be sent to the Program Advisor, Dr. Matthew Griffis, and the Department Director, Dr. Teresa Welsh. Students that change their plans of study are strongly encouraged to create an updated plan and submit it to Drs. Griffis and Welsh. A blank plan of study form (for enrolled students) is available here (xls).

Practicum Placements (LIS 648)

Since SLIS has no placement office, students are expected to locate their required practicum placement and negotiate duties and tasks with their prospective onsite supervisors. A description of the LIS 648 course as well as a copy of the practicum handbook (which includes all required forms) are both available on the course descriptions page.

**The research paper required for British Studies 587 may be used as the certificate assessment if it is on an archival or special collections-related topic.

Questions about the program? Feel free to contact the Program Advisor, Dr. Matthew Griffis, Assistant Professor.

* 12 credit hours can count for both a certificate and MLIS.

** The research paper required for British Studies 587 may be used as the certificate assessment if it is on an archival or special collections-related topic.