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Library and Information Studies

Portfolio Guidelines

The portfolio project (or thesis—see below for thesis guidelines) is the culmination of the MLIS Program. It consists of six parts and a presentation:

  1. A 50-word summary and a 10-page paper about a significant issue in the field of Information Studies
  2. A 1000-to-1200-word statement about the student's future career goals
  3. Examples of work the student has done in his or her MLIS classes:
    1. One (or more) example from a core course
    2. One (or more) example from an elective course in the student's specialization area
    3. A major paper (one that counts for 40% or more of the student's grade) from an elective class taught by a ladder faculty member
  4. A list of completed and in-progress courses
  5. A record of the student's advising history
  6. A professional resume or CV (see the ALA Resume Guide for help)
  7. (Optional) Other supporting documentation

For the full portfolio guidelines, please see the IS Website.

Presentation Resources

Thesis Guidelines

The thesis (or portfolio project—see above for portfolio guidelines) is the culmination of the MLIS Program. To complete the thesis, the student must do the following:

  1. Submit a form to the Graduate Division nominating a committee of 3-4 faculty members by the end of winter quarter of the second year
  2. Meet the following four eligibility requirements to submit a thesis proposal:
    1. GPA above 3.0
    2. Entrance requirements complete
    3. Core and Research Methods courses complete or in progess
    4. No outstanding incompletes
  3. Write the thesis (usually 60-90 pages--students can take up to 12 units of independent coursework for thesis preparation) according to the instruction on the formatting guide.
  4. (Optional) Attend a Graduate Division thesis information session
  5. Present the thesis:
    1. Get feedback from the committee chair
    2. Provide the other committee members with the revised draft
    3. Schedule the presentation (far enough in advance so the other members have time to provide feedback)
  6. Submit the Thesis

For the full portfolio guidelines, please see the IS Website.

Portfolio Tips

These portfolio tips from alumni are courtesy of SGB: 

Issue Paper Topic Ideas

If you're not sure what issue to write about, try browsing some of these lists of recent topics in the field:

And of course, try browsing the databases listed on the Articles and Databases page.

Developing Your Research Ideas

If you already have a topic but are having trouble narrowing or broadening it, try topic mapping:



Thank you to the UCLA Library Inquiry Labs for allowing the use of their video and of the handout below.

Writing Resources

Citation Management

Because your issue paper or thesis uses a lot of sources, you might want to use citation management software to keep track of them. The UCLA Library provides support for Zotero and Endnote, two major citation managment systems.

Other Useful Resources

The Professional Development and Portfolio Design class (IS 400) is usually offered in the Fall quarter and is designed to help you prepare your portfolio.


You will need several bound copies of your portfolio.

  • You can purchase binding services in person through the UCLA Store, Monday–Friday 8am–5pm.
  • Copymat Westwood, located at 10919 Weyburn Avenue, offers a discount for printing IS portfolios (be sure to bring your portfolio as a PDF).
  • You can also purchase binding services online through UCLA's Document Services. Be sure to specify the type of binding and covers you want under "Print Options." UCLA Document Services only takes Visa cards (not cash, and not other credit cards). To pay with a Visa card, make sure that your billing address is correct and type "Visa" in the "Account" box under "Review and Complete." Bring the card with you when you go to pick up your order.
  • Alternatively, you can find a store that provides binding services near you by searching for "printing services" on Yelp.