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MA Archive Administration (2-5 years)

Course Description

Archival material is unique and irreplaceable; its range infinite and inexhaustible. Often described as the 'documentary heritage' or the 'raw material of history', it has a significant dual role: on the one hand it offes a wealth of source material in the context of culture and heritage, supporting popular interest in family and local history and many areas of academic study; on the other it has a significant legal function in providing evidence of past decisions, practices and policies.

By studying archive administration at postgraduate level, you will learn professional principles and techniques and acquire the core skills which will enable you to play a part in the preservation, management and exploitation of an invaluable informational and historical resource.

This course is designed to provide individuals already working in an archive or records management environment, with the training that will equip them with the skills, knowledge and professional qualification to further their career at a professional level.

This professional course is accredited at Diploma and Masters level by the Archives and Records Association (formerly Society of Archivists).

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/archive-administration-distance-learning-masters/

Suitable for

This Degree will suit you:

- If you wish to receive first-rate training in Archive Administration
- If you wish to gain the knowledge and skills needed to enter professional work in Archive Administration
- If you wish to nurture an interest in palaeography and diplomatic.
- If you wish to enter the emerging marketing of Archive Administration and Digital Information Management.

Course detail

Aberystwyth’s Department of Information Studies is the leading provider of distance learning degrees in this subject area. The Department pursues a student centred, flexible, open learning approach which has proved not only popular with our students, but very successful in managing to make studying at a distance as rewarding and enjoyable as possible.

Our distance learning students participate in residential study schools and are supported by web-based conferencing facilities which enable them to communicate with each other – whether consulting about a particular assignment in one of the module conferencing areas, or just enjoying a light hearted exchange at the electronic students café - and with staff, easing the feeling of isolation that can sometimes be felt by distance learners.

The university has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It placed the university in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.


The Diploma/MA in Archive Administration is divided into two parts: Part I (120 credits) is the taught course, successful completion of which reaches Diploma-level. Part II (60 credits) involves writing a dissertation, to be submitted for the Master’s-level qualification.

Tuition is provided through printed study packs containing the core learning material, supplemented by a resource pack and a conference area on Blackboard (the computer conferencing facility), which provides information updates relevant to the course, and a directory of websites referred to in the study packs. Assessment is by means of a variety of written assignments including essays and reports. You can progress at your own pace, taking between two and five years to complete the course. On average, you should expect to spend 10 to 15 hours a week studying.

Students on all courses are required to attend Study Schools in Aberystwyth. For most students this means attending three schools of approximately 4-5 days duration each year. For the rest of the time you will work through specially designed self-study module packs supported by online learning materials.


The progamme is assssed on the basis of coursework in part One and the dissertation in Part Two. A variety of assignments in Part One, including reports, essays, presebtations and case studies enable you to relate theoretical knowledge to your own workplace.


More of our Postgraduate Students (74.1%) entered employment at a graduate level than the national average (72.1%), earning more on average than postgraduates in other subject fields. *2010/11

Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability. This Masters will place you in the jobs market as a highly-trained archive administrator with knowledge and skills in archive management and record and information governance. By balancing the theory and practice you will be provided the professional training which is required for entering the professional archive and records management environment. This course will also equip you with a wide range of general work skills such as research, analysis, writing, presentation and management, ensuring your employability is improved across all areas.

Key Skills and Competencies

Study Skills:
You will develop skills in quickly and accurately assimilating and interpreting data – which you will find invaluable in archive administration and future use. You will develop productive strategies for planning and problem-solving that can be applied beyond your chosen area of study, making you a versatile academic as well as a productive professional. You will also enhance your research skills which you will draw on in both your dissertation and future career.
Study in a Practical Context

The University of Aberystwyth boasts library resources which are amongst the best in Europe. The Department’s specialist Thomas Parry Library is one of the leading libraries for Information Studies. As a student, you will have access to this exceptional resource where you can apply your learning in activities which will convert the purely academic theory into the proven know-how of experience.
In addition to this, you will also have access to the University's Hugh Owen Library which houses more than 700,000 volumes and subscribes to more than 3,500 current periodicals. Also, the National Library for Wales next to the campus is one of the UK's five copyright libraries housing more than 6,000,000 volumes.

- Self-Motivation and Discipline:
Studying at a Postgraduate level requires high levels of discipline and self-motivation. You will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff but you will be ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your masters’ degree. This process of independent study at an extremely high level will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

- Transferable Skills:
This Masters programme is designed to equip you with a range of transferable skills that you can apply to a variety of employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines. Whether you pursue a career in an archive administration pathway or not, the prestige of your Masters will open doors into workplaces in every industry.

Find out how to apply here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Archive Administration (2-5 years) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must: have at least three months practical experience of working with archives; AND be employed in an archive service, or be working with archives within an organisation which has substantial archival holdings; AND be employed on a permanent contract (full-time, or possibly part-time), or a short-term contract that can reasonably be supposed to last for the duration of the course (a minimum of 2 years) OR be prepared to undertake voluntary work in an archive repository for the duration of the course; AND have pre-defined Information and Communication Technology skills and access to a computer linked to the Internet.

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