Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies

Archival studies programs have become common in the United States in recent decades. In an era of historic change in recordkeeping practices and an increasingly competitive job market, students pursuing careers in archives and records management today need formal credentials based on a rigorous education in the theory and practice of the profession.

The Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies provides a specialization in an area of growing interest within the Library and Information Science field as well as an opportunity to learn more about archival practices as they affect the composition and meaning of cultural artifacts and the historical records. In addition, this certificate program offers advanced continuing education opportunities to practitioners working in libraries and archives, especially on the challenges posed by the emergence of digital recordkeeping.

The program is designed to give students foundational core knowledge of the archives profession. The curriculum is structured around the guidelines for graduate programs set by the Society of American Archivists, ensuring that students have a comprehensive understanding of professional archival standards that may not otherwise be acquired without an archives concentration in their graduate level education.

Student Learning Outcomes

This program is established according to the official guidelines of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) for graduate archival studies programs.

The archives certificate outcomes are to acquaint students with the core knowledge of the profession, focusing on the nature of records and the basic archival functions of records appraisal, acquisition, arrangement, description, preservation, reference, access, outreach, and archives administration. Students will also gain essential contextual knowledge of the sociocultural factors shaping archival records as they are created and managed over time in different communities of practice and localities.

The certificate requires a minimum of 12 to 15 credit hours in total (depending on admissions qualifications), including 9-12 units from required courses, and 3 units from an elective course. Students completing the certificate only are advised to present a minimum of 18 units of courses consisting of core archival knowledge to meet Society of American Archivist recommendations for Graduate Programs in Archival Studies.  

- Required Courses: [12 units]

  • LIS 504:  Foundations of Library and Information Services (3 units)

As the first course a School of Information Archive Certificate student takes, LIS 504 provides an introduction to the library and information professions, to the School of Information graduate program, and to roles and current issues in library and information services for the 21st Century. (LIS 504 may be waived for students with an existing Library and Information Science degree from an American Library Association accredited Program).

***Students must take LIS 504 before enrolling in LIS 540.

  • LIS 540:  Introduction to Archives (3 units)

Provides an introduction to the archival profession with focus on theory and practice in the areas of appraisal and acquisition, arrangement and description, reference, preservation, exhibitions, outreach, and electronic resource development.

  • LIS 640:  Archival Appraisal and Description (3 units)

This course considers different approaches to the archival profession. The course will conduct in depth discussions on theory and practice in the areas of appraisal and acquisition, arrangement and description, reference, preservation, exhibitions, outreach, and electronic resource development. The course may include site visits to archives on or near the UA campus.

  • LIS 671:  Digital Curation and Preservation (3 units)

This course introduces students to the emerging field of data curation and preservation by examining the full range of practical issues involved in managing digital collections from the time they are created through creation of preservation plans and management issues for the long term. Topics include information organization, resource description, technical architectures, services in the digital environment, and fundamental problems and potential solutions for long-term digital preservation. Above all, the course aims to provide an up-to-date view of systems design and policy issues students are likely to encounter in working with digital data.

- Elective Course: [Select 3 units from the following]

  • LIS 530:  Cataloging and Metadata Management (3 units)
  • LIS 541:  Preservation (3 units)(available to main campus students only)
  • LIS 557:  Documenting Diverse Cultures and Communities (3 units)
  • LIS 570:  Database Management and Development (3 units)
  • LIS 584:  Introduction to Copyright (3 units)
  • LIS 641: Community-focused Archives and Museums (3 units)
  • LIS 672:  Introduction to Applied Technology (3 units)
  • LIS 673:  Managing the Digital Information Environment (3 units)
  • LIS 674:  Preserving Digital Collections (3 units)
  • LIS 675:  Advanced Digital Collections (3 units)
  • LIS 693:  Internship (3 units)
  • LIS 699:  Independent Study (3 units)

Transfer Credits

Students can transfer up to 6 credits from other accredited institutions with the approval of the Archival Studies committee.

As of August 2012, the following courses from the Arizona State University Public History Program are accepted:  

  • 502 Public History Methodology
  • 598 U.S. Cultural Institutions and Public Practice

Up to 12 units can be shared between the certificate and Master's degree. Up to 6 credits can be shared between certificates.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences