Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Master of Information Studies FAQ

How long will it take me to complete the course?

The complete Master's degree usually takes a student studying part-time 3 years (i.e., 6 academic session). The Graduate Diploma normally takes 2 years part-time (i.e., 4 academic sessions).

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Can I enrol in your course and commence with just one subject? As I work full-time and money is a problem, this would be my only option to continue studying.

Yes, although the normal part-time study rate is 2 subjects per session, you may choose to study just one subject per session. Provided you are passing subjects your rate of progress would be sufficient.

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Can I enrol on a full-time basis or at least with 0.75 of a full-time workload?

The normal load is 0.5 of a full-time load (with some students doing 0.25). If you wish to do a full-time load or 0.75 of the full-time load, Student Administration will require the approval of your Course Coordinator (see Staff). You also need to be aware of the problems of undertaking a high load, given other possible commitments, such as work and family, and the 14-week sessions, which mean that you will find it difficult meeting more than two sets of assignment deadlines (especially as the dates may fall quite closely together).

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How much time will I need to set aside for study?

The eight credit point subjects you will undertake will require you to spend roughly ten hours per week of study time. If you have access to study leave through your job you can ask our Student Administration office to provide you with a written statement that will state that your distance education study time is four 'face-to-face study hours' per eight credit points (equivalent to lectures and tutorials for internal students).

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What kinds of learning resources do I receive?

For each subject you will receive access to a CSU Interact site. This online tool will provide you with access to your subject outline, modules, podcasts and other resources to guide you through the subject. Your subject coordinator will communicate with you through this page and update it with any relevant information that you will need.

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What do I need to provide?

You will be required to have access to prescribed textbooks, appropriate computer facilities, including reliable, quality Internet access - preferably at home - to take advantage of the resources and support provided for you.

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What are the admission requirements for this course?

The minimum entry requirement is an undergraduate degree or equivalent in any discipline. It is required you have a basic knowledge and understanding of personal computers and to have substantial Internet access during the period you are enrolled in the course.

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Is there a compulsory residential component in this course?

There is no residential school for distance education students or for independent offshore students. Where we have a joint program (such as the CSU/Hong Kong University one), study schools may be offered.

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Is there a compulsory practical component in this course?

Yes, this course includes a Professional Study Visit (INF407) and Professional Experience (INF408). Typically, for onshore distance education students, the study visit comprises a four-day visit to information agencies in a selected city, with a group of students and a lecturer from CSU (who organises the visits). For more information on this please visit the Professional Experience website.

The professional experience is a three-week professional placement in a selected information agency.

There may be variations in this arrangement for those enrolling in our joint offshore programs or those who need to undertake a 'private' study visit, such as independent offshore students and other who are remote from the cities in which we have organised visits.

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Can I do the practical components locally?

Yes, you can choose to do the professional experience placement at a site in your local area provided that it meets our critera for an appropriate placement site. You may also chose to do your placement in a different location from where you live too. We will assist you to coordinate your placement.

With the Study Visit, unless you are eligible for an independent study visit (refer to the School's Professional Experience Officer), you will need to attend one of the study visits that we organise.

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Do I have to organise the practical components of the course?

No, when you enrol in the Study Visit subject (INF407), you will receive access to the subject outline via Interact2 which will explain what you need to do. The School of Information Studies organises a number of study visits in various Australian cities throughout the year. You nominate which on you would like to attend, our Professional Experience Officer will try to accommodate your request and all you have to do is turn up and attend (and arrange your accommodation if it's necessary for you to stay over). Here is the current schedule of Study Visits.

In the case of the professional experience, you nominate a couple of libraries in which you would like to complete your placement via the Student Placement Registration Information page. The Professional Experience Officer in the School of Information Studies will assist to set this up for you (if possible, during a period nominated by you) and liaise with you and your proposed host library. If you don't know what library you would like to work in, the Professional Experience Officer can also help you identify an appropriate one.

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When will I know what study visits are being offered?

You will receive a Subject outline once you have enrolled in the subject. It will provide detailed advice about the study visits and, in the case of onshore students, list the study visits we have organised for that year. Generally the visits are spaced out at fairly regular intervals, from March to October. Further information can be obtained from our website: Professional Experience/Study Visits

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Do I have to do the placement during the academic session? It may, for instance, interfere with my academic work.

The placement does not have to be done during academic sessions - provided the host library is agreeable, you may do it at anytime during the year. If you find that you are not able to complete the placement before the end of the session, you can apply for a Grade Pending (GP) which allows you extra time to complete the assessment for the subject.

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Can I obtain credit for the practical component?

Very few students are given credit for the Study Visit. It is intended to expose you to a varied information environment, and we find that very few students have that kind of experience. Credit is granted more frequently for the Professional Experience subject, but at present, if you do not have more than 6 months' relevant experience, you are unlikely to be given credit. If you believe you may be eligible for credit you should contact the School's Professional Experience Officer. We have guidelines that you can follow.

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What if I work in a library but am not eligible for credit? Can I do an 'in-service' placement?

You may be allowed to complete an 'in-service' placement if you are employed in a library that offers an in-service staff development program whereby members of staff can work in a difference section of the library from the one in which they normally work - someone working in a branch library, for instance, might transfer to headquarters, or someone in reference/information services to cataloguing. In this case you would enrol in the Professional Experience subject and forward the Professional Placement Proposal Form and the Student Profile in the normal way. You would also need to provide a letter from the head of the library where you work, or a senior member of staff authorised to act on his or her behalf, indicating that you will be making a bona fide temporary transfer for professional development purposes for a period of at least three weeks of full-time work. The Subject Coordinator will need to approve the proposed arrangement.

If approved the transfer will be treated by the University in much the same way as other placements.

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Does the professional placement have to a three-week block of time?

Organising a placement that consists of blocks of time other than the single three-week placement is extremely difficult and happens only under very exceptional circumstances. You are best advised to enrol in the subjects and read the requirements and, if you have special problems, contact the Professional Experience Officer.

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Am I a suitable applicant for the postgraduate course? e.g.:

  • I started a degree but didn't finish
  • I have been working in a library now for many years but I don't have a degree

The chances are that you would be better to apply for our Bachelor of Information Studies degree. If you feel, however, that your prior study and experience might arguably be equivalent to an undergraduate degree, you should contact the Course Coordinator or the Associate Course Coordinator (see Staff).

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Can I obtain credit for previous study?

Credit may be available, based on previous study and/or experience. See Admission Requirements. For this course we are most interested in your background in Information Studies.

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Can I just enrol in a Graduate Diploma, instead of a Master's degree?

This is a combined degree and diploma program. With some exceptions (for example, our joint program with Hong Kong University), you do need to enrol in the Master of Information Studies), even if you wish to complete only a Graduate Diploma. Should you wish only the award of a Graduate Diploma, you will be eligible to exit the Masters degree after completion of the core subjects (64 subject points) with a Graduate Diploma of Information Studies. See Course Information.

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Can I complete both awards - the Graduate Diploma and the Masters degree?

Yes, once you are enrolled in the Masters course you have three choices: complete the whole degree, exit with a Graduate Diploma after completing the core or, for an extra fee, obtain both awards, by taking the award of Graduate Diploma on completion of the core but continuing in the Masters program. (The fee is to cover graduation with the extra award). Both awards are recognised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) for professional membership.

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Will this course qualify me to be a librarian?

Degrees offered by the School of Information Studies are recognised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) as professional qualifications, enabling graduates to work in the full range of library and information sectors.

With the new specialisations, the School will be seeking to gain recognition from other relevant information associations.

If you plan a career in library and information services, we do encourage you to join ALIA as soon as you enter the course as a student member.

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How do I obtain professional recognition from ALIA?

Once you are eligible to join ALIA as a professional member it is up to you to contact it. If you want recognition, based on completion of the core subjects of the Masters but you have not taken out the Graduate Diploma (or it is months before you will receive the award), you can contact Student Administration to ask for documentation to demonstrate your eligibility. Alternatively you can provide the ALIA membership section with written authority (email would do) to seek confirmation from Student Administration or your Course Coordinator (see Staff). We need that authority for privacy reasons.

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Is this course recognised outside of Australia?

If you complete a professional course of study at CSU in the Information Studies area it will be recognised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and therefore it is most likely that you qualification will be recognised as acceptable for professional employment in the Information Studies area in other countries. In some countries such as Canada and the United States it should be noted that the Masters degree is considered to be the minimal professional level qualification.

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When can I start?

There are three intakes into this course each year - Session 1 in February; Session 2 in July; and Session 3 in November. The closing date for applications is one month prior to the commencement of the next session - Session 1, 1st January: Session 2, 1st June; Session 3, 1st October.

Applications are accepted throughout the year. To submit an application for this course please refer to How to Enrol or visit the course website.

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Are there Commonwealth Government Supported (CGS) positions for this course?

The Australian Government provides funding for students wishing to study at university via their CGS scheme. This used to be referred to as HECS. If you are an Australian citizen you should be eligible for a CGS position in this course. If you are concerned about fees, you could investigate a FEE-HELP loan. Information is available from the Going to Uni website. The direct cost of subjects can be found at the Student Fees website, click here for more details. This course is also offered as a full-fee paying course should you not be eligible for a CGS position.

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How much will my studies cost? I'd like an idea of how much it will cost per semester per subject and I would also like to know if there is a discount, if I pay up front, and how much it will be.

Check out possible financial arrangements through the Going To Uni website.

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How do I obtain an application form for the course?

You can apply for this course online from the course website. See also the How to Apply section.

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Is there much work for librarians? Do most of the graduates end up with jobs in the library area?

Yes, recent graduate surveys indicate that between 75% and 85% of our graduates each year are employed in the library and information sector. Many of our students enrol to further their knowledge in the general information management area, and not necessarily to work in libraries. For more information about library-related employment, go to the Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA) website.

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Can I start studying now, before the course starts? I haven't studied for years and need to get a head-start.

There is a diverse range of STUDY LINK subjects to meet the majority of early study preparation needs and academic interests. The following STUDY LINK subjects most useful to prospective Information Studies students are:

  • SSS018  Foundation Maths
  • SSS021  Transition to University Study
  • SSS022  Writing at university
  • SSS023  Introduction to learning online

For more information check out the Study Link website.

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What subjects should I enrol in?

If you are a new student, you would normally receive a pre-printed enrolment form with your offer. If you feel the need to change the form you may do so - you may, for instance, decide to complete only one 8-point subject per session, in which case it may be necessary to delete one of the subjects listed on your form. You will be able to amend your enrolment via My CSU once you accept your offer of enrolment.

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Who are my main contacts for the duration of my course?

Each subject in which you are enrolled will have a subject coordinator to contact (the School of Information Studies' website will keep you informed of who is responsible for which subject) and in the practical subjects the School's Professional Experience Officer will also help you. For general, course-related academic enquiries you have the course coordinators (and possibly a course administrator) and for the more administrative enquiries (for instance, "How do I apply for leave of absence?" or "I'm having problems enrolling online") you have a Student Liaison Officer in Student Administration. The course and subjects also have online forums, which you are encouraged to use for enquiries that are not of a personal nature.

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