Frequently Asked Questions | Archival Studies

Course & Academic Questions

What is the Archives Concentration?  

The Archival Studies Concentration emphasizes theoretical and practical archival experiences. Students who specialize in the Archival Studies Concentration are qualified for careers in a wide variety of settings, including: archives, libraries, manuscript repositories, special collections, records management agencies, private corporations, government agencies, and religious organizations. The Archival Studies Concentration is a credential which appears on your transcript, and is completed within the MLIS program.

Can I complete the Archival Studies Concentration online?  

Yes, students can complete the Archival Studies Concentration fully online or onsite.

How many credits do I need to complete the  Archival Studies Concentration?  

15 credits within the MLIS program.
The credits breakdown:

MLIS 36 credit program
12 credits = Core Courses
15 credits = Archival Studies Courses
9 credits = Electives

MLIS 30 credit program (for those in coordinated degree programs or a previous Masters degree)
12 credits = Core Courses
15 credits = Archival Studies Courses
3 credits = Electives

Where do I find information about tuition and fees for the program?

The costs & fees for the archival studies program are the same as the MLIS. For more information, please see:

What is 650 Introduction to Modern Archives Administration?

650 Introduction to Modern Archives Administration is the foundation course for the Archives Concentration. This course will introduce you to the archives profession, archives administration, main uses of primary sources in academic research, and archival issues regarding the Internet and other technologies. The course serves as a prerequisite for most other archival courses.

When should I take 650: Introduction to Modern Archives Administration? 

We recommend you take 650 in your first or second semester.  650 is the absolute prerequisite for the archives courses.  

How do I declare for the Archival Studies Concentration?  

Students interested in the Archives Concentration must officially declare for the concentration. The form to officially declare for the concentration may be found here: (form.doc) | (form.pdf)   

When can I declare the Archival Studies Concentration?  

We recommend students declare the archives studies concentration after completing 501 and 650 Introduction to Modern Archives Administration. For information about these two courses see   

Is there a deadline for enrolling in the Archival Studies Concentration?  

No, but we recommend that you take 650: Introduction to Modern Archives Administration as soon as possible (many students take it in their second semester) to determine if you know you are interested in archives.

I declared for the Archival Studies Concentration but am no longer interested in pursuing the concentration. What do I do?   

Please send an email to that states that you would like to withdraw from the Archival Studies Concentration.   

What classes should I take?

Students in the Archival Studies Program must complete 650.  Fieldwork is not required for the concentration, but is highly recommended for students with little archives experience.
Many of the MLIS courses are relevant to a career in archives. Although the following do not count towards the concentration, you may find them useful as general electives:
  • 603: History of Books and Printing
  • 660: Information Policy
  • 682: Digital Libraries
  • 714: Metadata
  • 717: Information Architecture and Knowledge Organization
  • 780: XML for Libraries
  • 785: Database Management Systems for Information Professionals
  • 788: Information Systems: Analysis and Design
  • 821: Seminar in Library Administration

How can I know when classes will be offered?  

650 is offered every fall and spring semester.  Other classes are offered on a rotating basis, usually every fourth semester, pending faculty availability.

What is 759 Fieldwork?

759 Fieldwork is an opportunity for you to work at a repository during a semester. Fieldwork is intended for students to gain practical experience in an archives doing tasks such as processing collections, reference services, or creating digital collections. The type of work that you do will depend on your background and the repository.

When should I do my fieldwork? 

Fieldwork can be done after you have successfully completed 650: Introduction to Modern Archives Administration with a grade of B or higher.  To earn the required 3 credits of fieldwork you must work for 150 hours in a repository.  This averages to 10 hours a week during the fall or spring semesters and 12.5 hours a week during the summer semester.  

How do I find a fieldwork site?  

You should identify a site, but Archives Program staff will work with you on coordination with the site supervisor, approval, and planning. We are able to help you find a site if you need further guidance. Please see the fieldwork instructions for more information

How do I apply for 759 Fieldwork?

Complete this form (form.doc) | (form.pdf) and submit it to Students must complete 501 and 650 (with a grade of B or higher) before doing their fieldwork experience.

I have taken 501 and 650. I want to do my fieldwork experience (759) but do not know which repository I want to work at. What are my options?

Do not worry! We are here to help. The archival faculty and staff will work with you to find an appropriate fieldwork location. On the Fieldwork application form, indicate that you would like assistance in being placed at a repository for your fieldwork experience.

Can I petition to get XYZ to count for the concentration or the CAS?  

Yes, this can be done via petition. First you must speak to your faculty mentor to obtain his/her recommendation on the suitability of the selected course for your program of study. Next, you must complete the “Petition for Exception of Alternative Course” form and submit it to the Archival Studies Program Director for approval at
Petition for Exception of Alternative Course: (form.doc) | (form.pdf)

How are the Certificate of Advanced Studies and the Archival Studies Concentration different? 

The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) is a post-masters 15-credit program.  The Archival Studies Concentration is a transcript-designated concentration that is pursued within the MLIS program.

How do I complete the CAS program?

As you get closer to completing the program please email the Archival Studies Program
( We will review your transcript and then submit paperwork to the UWM Graduate School. After your paperwork is processed you will receive an official transcript and a certificate from SOIS. Most students receive these materials within 4-8 weeks after grades have been posted at the end of the semester. You do not have to apply to graduate

General Archival Studies Program Questions

How will the program communicate with me?  

The Archival Studies Program will communicate with you through email.  

How do I get on the Archival Studies Program email list?  

Students in the CAS program are already on the email list.  Students in the MLIS program have to submit the Archival Studies Declaration.  

Can I do Alternative Spring Break even if I am not in the archives program?  

Yes, Alternative Spring Break is open to all MLIS and CAS students.  See the Alternative Spring Break page and “Frequently Asked Questions” for more information: