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MA Information and Library Studies

Course Description

Aberystwyth University’s MA/Diploma in Information and Library Studies will equip you with the highly desirable skills employers need to manage their most valuable assets in our global ‘information economy’. You will be able to identify, organise, retrieve and make accessible information across paper, electronic and multimedia formats. This MA or Diploma will equip you to fulfil the essential role that companies and professional bodies need to compete effectively in a fast-moving national and international business environment.

The MA and Diploma are accredited by both CILIP and the Institute of Information Scientists making it one of the best courses for professional practice.

The Department of Information Studies at Aberystwyth has an impressive track record. In the department’s forty years of teaching, we have produced some of the UK's, and indeed the world's, leading librarians and information professionals. Our alumni include two national librarians (Scotland and former Wales), the first black national librarian in South Africa, and the Director of the Bureau for Library and Information Services at the United Nations.

This course features an extensive list of optional modules which allow you to direct your studies into areas which particularly fascinate you.

You can tailor your learning towards a wide range of career paths, such as children and schools work (with the Focus on the Child: Children's Literature and Schools Libraries and Learning Resources modules) and business services (including the modules on Business Information Services, and Management Information Systems).

This highly practical course is built around a variety of reports, essays, presentations, and case studies which will enable you to relate theoretical knowledge to the workplace. These challenges will also encourage you to improve your ICT, personal management and interpersonal skills, making you into a well-rounded, competent and highly employable individual.


The Master's degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Institute of Information Scientists. Graduates will have a qualification which is recognised for admission to the Register of Chartered Librarians (subject to the Institute's chartership regulations).

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/information-and-library-studies-masters/

Suitable for

This degree will suit you:

- If you wish to obtain a Master’s degree or Diploma from one of the UK’s leading departments;
- If you wish to gain the knowledge and skills for professional work within Information and Library fields;
- If you wish to work in various types of information and library services or gain transferable skills for the pursuit of related careers such as media management and book publishing;
- If you wish to continue your studies to a more advanced level through undertaking further postgraduate level research.

Course detail

Aberystwyth University’s MA/Diploma in Information and Library Studies was one of the very first qualifications in this important area and is still one of the market’s most well regarded. It will introduce you to the challenges and best practice methods that determine the flow of information within and between organisations and their users. You will study how issues such as censorship, multiculturalism and intellectual freedom affect this movement. You will also study how technology impacts the delivery of information and library services in a range of important societal contexts, such as health, education and business arenas. By studying the principles and practical applications of these and many other subject areas, you will acquire skills that are highly desirable to all employers who rely on the flow of information including private companies, government bodies and public organisations.

The course is a full-time programme, taught over one year, and is divided into two parts over three semesters. In part one, you will study a number of crucial core modules whilst directing your own study by choosing specialist modules, together worth a total of 120 credits. In part two, you will apply your learning in the individual dissertation worth an additional 60 credits. If you do not wish to complete the individual dissertation then you can obtain the Diploma.

In the dissertation project, you will explore an approved topic in a dissertation totalling 15,000 words. You will engage with the central concepts, methods and techniques of the main streams of information and library research, and in doing so aim to contribute to the national understanding of data handling and information flow. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the dissertation, the MA in Information and Library Studies is awarded. The descriptions relating to this dissertation and all the study modules can be found on the Modules tab.

In addition to the teaching input from this leading department, you will be exposed to guest speakers and visits to services local to the University. You will participate in a four-day study tour to London in which you will have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of libraries and information organisations in both public and private sectors, and to meet the professional staff involved.

Upon graduation from the MA/Diploma in Information and Library Studies, you will have demonstrated the academic excellence, personal rigor and interpersonal adaptability required by recruiting corporate bodies, government agencies and research institutes alike. As someone with a wealth of up-to-date theoretical knowledge and practical experience, you will be on the cutting edge of the subject. In a competitive jobs market, your particular skills set, proven through highly relevant business, education and health applications, will make you highly desirable to employers from a range of industries.

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.


Contact time is approximately 10 hours a week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


The taught part of the course (Part 1) is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises, case studies, course work and formal examinations. Successful completion allows the award of a Diploma. The subsequent successful submission of your research dissertation (Part 2) leads to the award of an MA.


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 aspect of the Aberystwyth University’s Master’s in Information and Library Studies programme is designed to enhance your employability. Successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so by building your CV; but more significant is the hugely enhanced array of knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate.

As a graduate, you will possess a wealth of subject-specific expertise, such as a thorough understanding of how ethical, legal, and social factors affect the flow of information; information literacy and the effect of 'information deprivation'; and the ongoing challenges of organising, storing, and retrieving information. You will also be confident in the use of system and their tools which you will use to order, store and retrieve information. These skills, which are fundamental to the subject, are applicable across a diverse array of workplaces. Likewise, the study skills, research methods and interpersonal awareness that you will learn within the context of study can be applied in any place of work where people and systems meet. In such situations, you will be at a tremendous advantage over your competitors.

As information is increasingly recognised as a core resource for organisations of all kinds, the range of posts to which our graduates progress widens all the time. In addition to the traditional library and information service sector, our graduates also go on to work as Information Officers, Information Managers, Information Systems Officers, Information Analysts and Computer Systems Officers. The most prestigious of our alumni include two national librarians (Scotland and former Wales), the newly appointed first black national librarian in South Africa, and the Director of the Bureau for Library and Information Services at the United Nations. In addition, companies which acknowledge the value of information also benefit from our graduates’ information skills when applied to the areas of management, sales, production or marketing. Your personal adaptability, coupled with the critical information and library skills, will make you a strong candidate for any post where excellence in organisations and systems management is prized.

Study in a Practical Context

The content of this MA/Diploma is weighted in favour of mastering the practical applications of Information and Library Studies. 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. In addition to the University's computing facilities, you will also have access to the Department's own extensive computer workstation rooms, all housed in a purpose built Department on the attractive Llanbadarn campus.

Skills in Management of Systems and Stakeholders

The MA/Diploma is designed to give you a broad knowledge of a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of research interests, particularly in your Master’s dissertation. A significant proportion of postgraduate jobs demand management abilities; this course aims to support your progression into professional employment beyond by including such training.

You will become well versed in contemporary management theory and practice of relevance to the management of the relationship between information and organisations. You will learn to analyse and control how information is transmitted to users, including access to information and measurement of use. The monitoring an analysis of data is crucial to the success of business organisations and initiatives. Mastering it will enable you to manage within a changing and turbulent environment and provide you with an understanding of the inter-relationship of the organization with its customers and stakeholders.

As business relies on meeting needs, this training will be a significant advantage to you when you enter the jobs market.

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

Visit the MA Information and Library Studies page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A a good honours degree (in any discipline) at undergraduate level plus a minimum of 6 weeks experience in an information resource environment. Candidates with equivalent experience and qualifications will be considered.

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