Book History is a dynamic and rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary study that examines the book as an artefact in material culture. This programme brings together theory and practice in new and innovative ways. We study the production, circulation and reception of books from manuscript to e-books, paying attention to the histories of reading and authorship.
The programme integrates traditional bibliography, advanced theoretical approaches, training in special collections, and hands-on experience. You will be taught by leading experts at the University’s renowned Centre for the History of the Book. Field trips and work placements will allow you to take advantage of the exceptional collections in Edinburgh.
The programme attracts outstanding students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. The degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
You will complete two core and two option courses, along with training in research methods. You will then complete a supervised, independently-researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.
Option courses may include:
Work placements allow students to take advantage of the exceptional resources in Edinburgh for the study of books in order to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial in their future careers.
Placements may take place internally, for example in the Centre for Research Collections at the University Library, or externally with several partner organisations.
You will receive training from the placement supervisor, and will undertake well-defined projects in the course of your placement, such as cataloguing, conservation, collation, digitisation and other kinds of work.
You will reflect on your placement in a poster presentation, and it will provide material for an academic essay. Regular academic oversight of the work placement will be provided by the Course Organiser.
By the end of the programme, you will have a firm grasp of:
This programme will equip you with the detailed knowledge and research skills you need to progress to a research degree and continue a career in academia; or you may pursue a career in publishing, libraries, and the cultural heritage sector. You will graduate with a number of highly transferable skills in communication, project management and analysis that will give you an advantage, whatever your chosen career.
The programme provides you with an understanding of contemporary information and records management issues. It pays special attention to the management of digital records and electronic resources, and how to manage these alongside analogue resources.
You will develop skills in the core competencies of archives, records, and information management, creating and managing digital records, digital curation and preservation issues, archival theory, user needs, and description,
cataloguing, and navigation.
The programme consists of six courses spread over two semesters. You will take courses in:
Optional courses include:
To graduate with the MSc you will also need to complete a course in research methods and professional studies, and produce a dissertation.
As a graduate, you will be well placed for a career as an archivist, records manager or digital curator within a variety of public and private organisations.
Positions held by recent graduates include Assistant Archivist and Records Manager.
The Library and Information Studies MA provides the ideal foundation for career progression in library or information work. The one-year programme is accredited by the professional association, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), and offers students a wide range of up-to-date learning opportunities while helping to develop strong networks designed to enhance their employability.
The programme prepares students for professional practice in the field of library and information studies. It strengthens traditional principles with cutting-edge approaches and helps students understand how information is produced, disseminated, controlled and recorded. It provides students with the practical skills required to identify, locate, manage and organise information.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of six core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma, six core modules (90 credits), two optional modules (30 credits), full-time nine months or flexible study 2-5 years, is offered.
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, computer laboratory and classroom practicals, with a strong emphasis on active learning and the acquisition of practical skills. Assessment is through a mixture of essays, reports, examination and practical assignments such as website design and the creation of indexing tools.
The work placement is open to full-time (compulsory) and part-time (optional) students and forms part of G030, The Library and Information Professional module. The work placement gives students experience of how the techniques they have learned may be applied in practice. Placements last for two weeks, and are undertaken at the beginning of the third term. We arrange placements individually for each student and do our best to match the placement with their interests and experience.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Library and Information Studies MA
The programme aims to be broad-based: we are not trying to produce graduates who can work in only one kind of library or information service. The skills and competences we aim to develop are intended to apply in a wide range of different sectors.
Recent career destinations for this degree
As a vocational Master's, this programme prepares students for employment in the library and information sector, and, in most cases, for promotion from their pre-library school role as a library assistant to a qualified librarian role, such as senior library assistant, assistant librarian, librarian and library manager. Students also choose careers in information provision, such as taxonomists and web designers. There are specialist employment agencies that place students in both short-term and permanent positions, so if students do not find their ideal post straight away, they usually find suitable employment while continuing to seek their ideal post.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL has been the home of professional library training and education since 1919. The current programme continues to attract an outstanding team of researchers, teachers, students, practitioners and information industry leaders. It combines an appreciation of the traditional library with the latest developments in internet and digital technologies to develop an understanding of the ever-evolving information environment.
Networking opportunities include a two-week work placement, regular journal club and speaker events, guest lectures by professionals and career seminars led by industry professionals. Additionally, in terms of expanding its international connections, the programme has been granted precandidacy status by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association (ALA). Precandidacy status is an indication that the programme has voluntarily committed to participate in the ALA accreditation process and is actively seeking accreditation.
Students benefit from UCL's proximity to major libraries and repositories, including the British Library, UCL Special Collections and the Senate House Library of the University of London.
The Library and Information Studies MA/PG Diploma has been accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) as professional level qualifications for a period of five years from the 2014 student cohort intake.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Information Studies
68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.