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Library and Information Studies - MA/PGDip

Course Description

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.

Degree information

The programme prepares students for professional practice in the field of library and information studies. It equips them with the practical skills required for the identification, location, management and organisation of information and information stores, and fosters an understanding of the processes by which information is produced, disseminated, controlled and recorded.

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 1
-Collection Management and Preservation
-Information Sources and Retrieval
-Introduction to Management
-Principles of Computing and Information Technology
-Professional Awareness

Optional modules - students choose two of the following:
-Advanced Preservation
-Cataloguing and Classification 2
-Digital Resources in the Humanities
-Electronic Publishing
-Historical Bibliography
-Individual Approved Study
-Information Governance
-Knowledge Representation and Semantic Technologies
-Manuscript Studies
-Publishing Today
-Records Management
-Web Publishing
-Information Literacy
-Academic and Journals Publishing

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 only open to full-time students and forms part of the G030 Professional Awareness 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.


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 we try to impart are, therefore intended to apply in a wide range of different jobs.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Information Officer, Trowers and Hamlins
-News Reference Specialist, British Library
-Cataloguer, Eton College
-Librarian, BSix
-Knowledge and Information Specialist, CRU Group

As a vocational Master's, this programme prepares students for employment in the 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 occasionally 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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This well-established programme is accredited by CILIP (to 2019). It attracts 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 sponsored by industry professionals.

Students benefit from UCL's proximity to major libraries and repositories, including the British Library and the Senate House LIbrary of the University of London.

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

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Sarah Charles

"UCL offers the best programme for librarianship, as it includes cataloguing and classification modules. The subject indexing and cataloguing I learnt at UCL, in addition to volunteering at UCL Special Collections to gain experience in handling and repairing rare books, enabled me to achieve my current work position."

(Student Profile)

Emily Delahaye

"I applied to UCL because I was impressed by the core modules that covered the important concepts I needed to learn, and the lecturers who have good reputations and publish a lot in the field, which also appealed. Studying in London provides the chance to visit lots of different libraries; having access to the British Library and Senate House has made getting material for my work much easier. "


Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Normally a substantial amount (usually equivalent to about a year) of full-time employment or its equivalent in a recognised library or information service.

Last Updated

13 October 2016

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