Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies

The graduate certificate in Archival Studies will provide a formal indication of training which is imperative for securing an archivist position. It will endorse the abilities and knowledge of the certificate holders, thereby increasing their marketability.

  • Most job ads for archivist positions require an MLIS from an ALA accredited program (Which OU SLIS is). They also require that the applicant has completed archival studies course work. The graduate certificate in Archival Studies will be a useful tool for MLIS students who are seeking archivist jobs as it easily verifies for employers that graduates have an archival studies background. 
  • Also, the national organization for archivists, the Society of American Archivists (SAA), supports graduate certificates in archival studies citing research that hiring managers view them favorably, and even offering their own SAA certificate programs.
  • While most archivist jobs require an MLIS, many also state “or related degree” with archival coursework. The American Historical Association shows in research on historians’ jobs that some percentage of degreed historians end up working in archives. For those students with related degrees rather than MLIS degrees, the graduate certificate in Archival Studies could be a useful tool for seeking employment in archives.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for archivists, curators, and museum workers will grow at a rate of 7% from 2014 to 2024 (2,100 new jobs)

Program Requirements - 12 hours (four courses) from the following:

Required Courses: 6 hours (2 courses)

LIS 5343 Archival Concepts
LIS 5563 Archival Appraisal

Guided Electives: Choice of Two: 6 hours (2 courses)

LIS 5463 Archival Representation
LIS 5473 Documents and Records Management
LIS 5653 Preservation
LIS 5970 Digital Curation

One archives course is taught every semester: fall, spring, and summer. To see when specific courses are scheduled, please see the Archives section of the course rotation schedule.


General information about admissions to graduate certificate programs is available from the OU Graduate College. It includes:

"All students who intend to pursue a graduate certificate must complete the online application for graduate admissionA student who is admitted to a graduate degree program is not automatically granted admission to associated graduate certificate programs (including embedded certificates). Students enrolled in a graduate degree program who intend to pursue a graduate certificate must apply to add the graduate certificate program.

Students admitted solely to graduate certificate programs:

  • are not candidates for a degree
  • are not assured future admission to a degree program
  • are not eligible for financial aid
  • are limited to the maximum number of hours required for the graduate certificate"

Applicants must have earned at least a Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher. Conditional admissions may be considered for G.P.A.s lower than 3.0.

The graduate certificate can be pursued in a number of ways:

  • Students in the MLIS program can concurrently complete the archives certificate and the courses will count towards both the degree and the certificate
  • Students in other OU graduate programs can concurrently complete the archives certificate and, depending upon the rules of their graduate program and their advisor's permission, should be able to count up to 9 credit hours of the graduate certificate as general electives in their graduate program
  • People who are not currently students at OU, but who have a completed a bachelor's or higher degree can pursue the graduate certificate

Additional specific information about graduate certificates is available in this Graduate Bulletin from the Graduate College.