Information Studies


 MA in Library and Information Studies

LIS-UCL Leaflet

The Library and Information Studies MA provides the ideal foundation for career progression in library or information work. The programme is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) as a qualification for entry into the profession.

In May 2014 the programme was re-accredited by CILIP  for the maximum 5 years, until May 2019, under the new Professional Knowledge Skills Base scheme which forms the criteria against which all UK Library programmes are assessed.

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 (CILIP) and offers students a wide range of up-to-date learning opportunities while helping to develop strong networks designed to enhance their employability.


This well established programme is accredited by CILIP (to May 2019).


It brings together an outstanding team of researchers, teachers, students, practitioners and information industry leaders to understand, develop and shape the emerging information environment while elucidating and building on the historical developments that have created this environment.


Students benefit from UCL's central London location, close to major libraries and repositories which house many important collections, including the British Library and the Senate House Library of the University of London.

Masters - 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).
PG Diploma - (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible study 2-5 years) is offered, made up of six core modules (90 credits) and two optional modules (30 credits) only.

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

In addition, you choose TWO from the following optional modules:

Information Literacy

Database systems analysis and design

Digital resources in the humanities

Electronic publishing (available only to modular students)

Historical bibliography

Information Governance

Knowledge representation and semantic technologies

Manuscript studies

Academic and Journals Publishing

We normally try to offer most of the options each year, but we cannot guarantee to offer any individual option. If you particularly want to do something please ask about it.

Note: Because part-time students who complete the programme over two years attend on only one day their choice of options is restricted to those available on the part-time days (usually the most popular ones such as Historical Bibliography). Students who can arrange to come on two half days in the relevant term may of course choose other options if they wish.

Work placement

All full-time MA students, and any part time students who wish to, also do a 2-week work placement as part of the Professional Awareness module. For more information, see the 'Features' tab.


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.

Work Placement

The work placement is only open to students taking the MA/PG Dip in LIS G030 the Library and Information Professional module.

The work placement gives students taking the MA/PG Dip in LIS 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 Term 3. We arrange placements individually for each student and do our best to match the placement with their interests and experience.

If you are considering hosting a student, please email Alison Hicks: a.hicks@ucl.ac.uk


The dissertation is only undertaken by students taking the Masters in Library and Information Studies.

The standard timetable starts at the beginning of October each year. Modules are usually taught over one term (term 1: October to December; term 2: January to March), either 10.00 to 13.00 or 14.00 to 17.00. Any exceptions will be clearly notified well in advance.

In term time, classes are held in the morning (10:00-1:00) or afternoon (2:00-5:00). In addition, time should be allowed for private study and for completion of coursework. Classes are normally held on UCL's main site in Gower Street, London WC1; field visits and practical sessions may involve travel to other central London locations.

Distance learning courses are not offered at this time at UCL.

Full-time students

There is a two-week work placement at the start of Term 3. See 'Features' tab for more information.

Part-time (2 year study)

Students studying part-time over 2 years, attend on Tuesdays in the first year of study, and on Monday in the second year of study.

Modular/Flexible study

Modular students' (3-5 years) attendance will depend on which modules are selected per year/term.


These serve only as a guide. Final timetables are made available at enrolment.

Download this year's timetable full-time students, or download this year's timetable for first year part-time students.

What follows is supplementary to UCL's information about Application and Entry, and should not be considered without reference to that first.

Entry requirements

Academic: 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.

Work Experience: A year of full-time employment or its equivalent in a recognised library or information service.

A graduate traineeship is best (see the CILIP website), but other kinds of work, for example, as a library or information assistant, will often be as good. Casual work in a library (such as shelving), or administrative support roles (such as secretarial or financial administration posts) are not usually regarded as appropriate. Ask if you are unsure whether your experience is enough. We like to have a good mix of students from different sectors and with varied experience, so even if your background is not conventional you may still be a good candidate.

English language proficiency: The programme is taught in English. Applications from any country in the world are welcomed, provided the applicant has an acceptable command of the English language. Please view details about UCL’s English language proficiency requirement.

How to apply

Deadline: The initial deadline for applications is 12 January 2018. Applications received by 12 January 2018 will be considered for interview in early 2018 and the majority of the places on the programme will be filled following these interviews. Later applications will be considered until late summer 2018, but at this stage fewer places are likely to be available and places cannot be guaranteed.

Required documentation: Applicants should provide two references, which will normally include an academic reference and a reference from your current employer (i.e. your line manager or similar). A transcript of results from your previous academic institution should also be included. It is usually possible to obtain confirmation of your results, even if you graduated some years ago. Online applications will not be processed until they are complete i.e. the necessary documents are all uploaded.

Who can apply?

The MA is a broad-based programme, and the skills that graduates learn are intended to apply to a wide range of jobs within the field of library and information studies. The general framework of the programme allows plenty of scope for students to follow their particular subject interests.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Library and Information Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Library and Information Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally and/or academically with your degree

What happens after you apply?

Processing applications Online applications will not be processed until they are complete i.e. the necessary documents are all uploaded. Your application will initially be dealt with by the UCL Registry, and then assigned to the Department where it will be checked. You will be told that your application has been received, and is being processed. At this stage you may be asked to provide further information, or to clarify any ambiguities; this doesn't mean that there is a problem with the application. Most candidates will apply for either full-time or part-time study. If you are not sure which you want, please mention this at interview. This is simply a matter of managing numbers, and you don't prejudice your application by applying in this way. Contact with applicants is usually via email, so be sure that your account details are current and correct, and that you check the account regularly. Please feel free to email us with any queries or problems you may have.

Interviews UCL:DIS has a policy of interviewing all suitably qualified applicants, and, except in the case of overseas applicants, no-one is offered a place without interview. Candidates will be invited for interview in the early part of the Spring Term, and depending on numbers can go on right through to May. You will normally be seen by two members of staff, and the interview, which lasts about 30 minutes, is relatively informal. You won't be expected to give a presentation, or anything of that kind. Give yourself enough time to allow for delays, and to find the Department.

Letting you know the outcome Because UCL is a popular university we usually have more applicants than places, and unfortunately even well qualified candidates may be disappointed. We seldom turn anyone down because there is 'something wrong' with the application, but usually simply because there is too large a number of good potential students. We take into account a combination of academic achievement, work experience, and performance at interview, with none of these being more important than the others.

Successful applicants

Successful candidates will be sent further information during the course of the summer, and you should also watch the Departmental website.

UCL offers different types of accommodation to suit different students' requirements: there are halls of residence, student houses and intercollegiate halls. Information about applying for accommodation is available on the website of the UCL student residence office. Students are also free to make their own accommodation arrangements, but are recommended to live within easy travelling distance of UCL. If you are offered a place at DIS, it will be important to arrange accommodation before you arrive in London.

Students often take casual jobs at evenings or weekends to provide a small supplement to their income. Full-time students often undertake casual paid employment at evenings or weekends, but full-time study cannot be combined with a part-time job. Successful candidates will be sent further information during the course of the summer, and you should also watch the Departmental website.

International applicants that are offered a place at UCL:DIS, should familiarise themselves with the information UCL provides to help international students with visas, arriving, living and studying in London.

What follows is supplementary to UCL's information on Fees, Costs and Funding, and should not be considered without reference to that first. To search for details of programme specific tuition fees, follow the relevant links to the tuition fees table and search by 'Programme Title'.

New UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

The UK government has introduced student loans from 2016/17. Full details are available on https://www.gov.uk/funding-for-postgraduate-study. Loan applications, eligibility, queries and decisions will be dealt with directly by the government, not by UCL.

  • All UK Masters degrees awarded by universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are included in the scheme. Courses that are lower than a full master's level, for example postgraduate diplomas or certificates, are NOT covered by the loan.
  • Loans will be available up to a maximum value of £10,000.
  • Postgraduate loans will be available for all full-time and part-time Masters programmes
  • UK Nationals or anyone having settled status in the UK, and having been resident in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year of the course start date are eligible.
  • Students aged under 60 will be eligible for Masters loans.
  • Other EU nationals, and those with refugee status, may also be eligible.
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%. and repayments will not begin until 2019.
  • Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans. Rates will be set at 6% of annual income over 21,000.
  • Students who already have a master's level qualification, or equivalent level qualification, or a higher level qualification, such as a PhD, will not be eligible.

UCL (details on the UCL Scholarships and Funding webpages) but these are likely only to be awarded to students of exceptional academic ability.

Most students are self-financing, relying on savings or career development loans. Part-time work (in libraries and elsewhere) is fairly readily available in London, and most full-time students can find something that fits in with the course.

The Stationers' Foundation Postgraduate Bursary Scheme

The MA LIS is fortunate to be one of the programmes that takes part in this scheme. Details are published on the Stationers' Foundation website annually, and eligible applicants are encouraged to apply by the MA LIS Programme Director.

Association of Jewish Libraries Scholarship

Available to a student enrolled or accepted in a graduate school of library and information science.

Prospective candidates should have knowledge of and interest in Jewish studies, and demonstrate the potential, ability, and intention of pursuing a career in Judaica librarianship.

The Association of Jewish Libraries awards an annual scholarship to a promising student with a history of participating in Judaic studies or libraries, accepted into or attending an accredited graduate school of library and information science. This scholarship is merit-based rather than needs-based.

AJL membership is not required for eligibility.

This programme provides a professional qualification in Librarianship and Information Studies, accredited by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals as a qualification for entry to the professions.

Places of employment of recent students include:

  • Assistant Librarian, House of Lords, 2014
  • Collections Review Assistant (Library), 2014
  • Librarian, Halcyon London International School, 2013
  • Assistant Librarian (Systems and Electronic Information), University of the Arts London, 2013
  • News Reference Specialist, British Library, 2013


As a vocational Masters, the MA LIS 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 or library manager. Some students 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.