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Application Essay

Master of Archival Studies

Prospective students should submit a brief application essay that describes their impressions, observations, and opinions in response to the three questions below. The essay may be entirely your perspective.  If it includes references to external sources, note those sources.

Essays are not expected to respond to every point listed under each question; instead emphasize the aspects of the profession that most interest you.

What is an archives? Consider the differences that distinguish archives from libraries, museums, and other cultural memory organizations.  Discuss the kinds of materials archives collect and how they differ from the what libraries and museums collect.  Explain the role archives serve within an organization, community, or society.  Describe how archives are changing in the digital era.

What does an archivist do? Consider the differences among archivists and other information professions, such as librarians, records managers, museum curators, and information technologists.  Distinguish an archivist’s work from that of a historian.  Describe tasks archivists perform when working with records, and the knowledge and skills do archivists need to perform those tasks.

What are your professional goals? Consider the kind of work do you want to do as an archivist and the types of archives you might work in.  Describe the kinds of activities do you see yourself doing five or ten years after graduating.

The essay should be 750 to 1,000 words (approximately two to three pages, double spaced).  It should be a well-organized narrative, not a sequence of questions and answers.  The ideas should be organized logically, building on each other, demonstrate your ability to write at the graduate level.