Completing your degree
M.A. Degree Completion Options
Any student may elect to complete the requirements for the Master of Arts in Library and Information Science with either of the following research culminations:
- Option A: Career Development Portfolio
- Option B: Master's Thesis on a research interest of the student's choosing
Option A: Career Development Portfolio
The Career Development Portfolio is typically completed during your final term. It may, however, be done in the previous semester if you will have completed 30 semester hours and all required courses by the end of that term. Please make sure to check that you have completed these requirements by reviewing the appropriate MA charts on the SLIS website. It is important to make sure that the semester hours reflect the number of credit hours offered when you took the course.
Career Development Portfolio Instructions and Schedule
As the final requirement for your degree, you will build a Career Development Portfolio to help you reflect on your career goals, assess your preparation for professional work, and identify plans for lifelong learning related to knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for your future career.
Career Development Portfolio Documents
To meet the requirements for graduation you must submit all the required materials, meet with your faculty advisor, and complete any required revisions by the stated deadlines. Failure to satisfy these requirements will result in a delay in your graduation (Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, section X. J). Please see the detailed steps below.
1. Career Development Portfolio Submission
Students intending to pursue a Doctoral Degree after graduation will be allowed to submit their CV and other pertinent application materials in lieu of a career development portfolio.
Upload your Career Development Portfolio as a single .pdf document by the stated deadline. Your Portfolio must include:
- Completion of one required exercise related to ALA Core Competencies.
- Two additional exercises from a list of choices. Students applying for jobs after graduation are strongly encouraged to complete the Resume and Cover letter exercise.
2. Faculty Review
Following the submission of your Portfolio, each student will be assigned to a faculty member who will serve as the Portfolio Advisor (this may or may not be the same faculty member assigned as your academic advisor). The Portfolio Advisor will contact you and work with you to revise and develop your application materials. It is your responsibility to make an appointment with your assigned advisor by the posted deadline for Portfolio Review.
Option B: Master’s Thesis
A graduating student may opt to write a thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Master of Arts in Library and Information Science. Preparation of a thesis (SLIS:6580) carries 6 semester hours of credit and has the following prerequisites:
- Libraries, Culture, and Society (SLIS:5010)
- Foundations of Computing (SLIS:5020) OR SLIS:6140 Digital Environments OR SLIS:6335 Metadata Theories and Applications OR SLIS:6040 Media Production Workshop
- Information Organization (SLIS:5030)
- Management, Teams, and Leadership (SLIS:6170))
- Information and Inquiry (SLIS: 6115)
Students who decide to write a Master’s Thesis are required to follow the format and style guidelines as set forth in the Graduate College Thesis Manual. at https://grad.uiowa.edu/academics/thesis-and-dissertation
The thesis option requires the following:
- The student identifies a thesis advisor and two thesis committee members. It is recommended that this step take place no later than two semesters prior to the thesis defense. The committee must be approved by the program director and the Graduate College. One committee member may come from a relevant department outside of SLIS. Two members must be tenure track faculty from within the SLIS department, including the thesis advisor.
- The student develops the research problem, completes a comprehensive literature review, and proposes a method for study with advice and counsel from the thesis advisor, and in consultation with the other committee members. The proposal is to be written using the following format (headings): Research Problem, Literature Review, Proposed Methodology.
- Upon recommendation of the thesis advisor, the student arranges a meeting of the thesis committee to review the proposal. Copies of the proposal are to be delivered to the committee members no less than one (1) week before the proposal meeting.
- The purpose of the proposal meeting is for the committee to make suggestions and recommendations to the student for the study. The student is responsible for recording the suggestions and recommendations of committee members.
- After the proposal meeting, the student and thesis advisor confer and review the outcome of the proposal meeting.
- The student carries out the study, conferring with the thesis advisor and other committee members as they deem necessary.
- Once the major portion of the research has been completed (for example, the data has been collected), the student composes the thesis document, including the information written for the proposal, as well as the results and conclusions of the study.
- The advisor reviews the thesis and determines its readiness for defense.
- Once the thesis has been approved for submission, the student delivers the thesis to all members of the committee no less than five (5) working days before the defense.
- The student is responsible for convening the defense meeting with their thesis committee.
- After the defense, the student makes any necessary corrections. The student’s thesis advisor is responsible for ensuring that any required revisions are completed.
- Once the thesis has been corrected and signatures are obtained from all committee members, the student deposits the finished work in the Graduate College Office.
Dates for preliminary and final deposit of a thesis are a part of the University’s Official Calendar and must be adhered to. The student is responsible to meet all thesis deadlines outlined by the University’s Official Calendar.