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Course content

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.

About this degree

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.

Core modules

  • Cataloguing and Classification
  • Managing Collections
  • Supporting Information Users
  • Managing Information Organisations
  • Using Technology in Information Organisations
  • The Library and Information Professional

Optional modules

  • Students choose two of the following:
  • Academic and Journals Publishing
  • Collections Care
  • Database Systems Analysis and Design
  • Digital Resources in the Humanities
  • Electronic Publishing
  • Historical Bibliography
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Governance
  • Individual Approved Study
  • Knowledge Representation and Semantic Technologies
  • Manuscript Studies
  • Organizing Knowledge
  • Web Publishing

Dissertation/report

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.

Placement

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

Careers

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

  • Librarian, National Library of Singapore
  • Library Assistant, University of Oxford
  • Intranet Content Co-ordinator, Baker Tilly
  • Library Assistant, The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • News Reference Specialist, British Library

Employability

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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. 

Accreditation

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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.


Visit the Library and Information Studies (MA/PGDip) page on the University College London website for more details!

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