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MSc / Diploma / Certificate in Information Science

Why study this programme?
The MSc in Information Science prepares students for management roles in the information industries with an emphasis on technology: for example information systems manager, systems librarian, web manager, information architect, knowledge manager, data manager, or indeed any information management role. Our graduates find work all over the world with electronic systems for managing, retrieving, distributing and archiving vast quantities of information.

The programme is suitable for:
   •UK and international students interested in applying and managing technology effectively within information environments
   •Those who wish to develop their computer-related skills with a view to improving their skills and employment opportunities in the library, archives, records and information management areas
   •Those with a more technical background wishing to move into those areas.

The programme includes both practical and theoretical work in which students develop a deeper understanding of not just the technologies themselves but also the implications of applying and managing these technologies in varied information environments. Its high levels of optionality allow students to tailor the programme to fit their individual needs, both in terms of content and study time.

A typical student?
Our students come from a very wide range of backgrounds, and a typical student is very hard to define. Many are already working in libraries, records centres, archives or other information units, and wish to deepen their knowledge of technical issues, undertake professional development, or gain a formal qualification to enhance their career prospects. Others increasingly come from a more computing-oriented background and want to specialise in the information fields and develop their information and management skills. Others may already be experts in niche areas but are looking to gain a broader range of expertise.

As a result we have a very diverse student body, with ages ranging from the early 20s to mid 50s and a good mixture of UK, EU and overseas students. One of the tenets of the programme is that students should learn from each other as well as from the faculty, and benefit greatly from sharing their ideas and experience with each other.

Entry requirements
The standard UCL entrance requirements for postgraduate programmes will normally apply (a second class honours degree from a UK university or equivalent). However, relevant work experience is also taken into account, when the applicant already works in the industry. Candidates should normally be able to demonstrate experience of, or hold an existing qualification in, either an information or computing discipline.

Programme Structure
The MSc Information Science programme may lead to one of three qualifications: an MSc, a Postgraduate Diploma, or a Postgraduate Certificate. Candidates for both the MSc and the Postgraduate Diploma complete eight taught modules, each worth 15 credits. MSc candidates must also complete a dissertation of c.15, 000 words, worth a further 60 credits. A distinction may be awarded for outstanding performance in the MSc. For the Postgraduate Certificate, candidates complete a shorter programme of any four agreed modules.

MSc in Information Science (180 credits)
Full-time: one calendar year (twelve months)
Modular:Two to five calendar years

Postgraduate Diploma in Information Science (120 credits)
Full-time: one academic year (nine months)
Modular: two to five academic years

Postgraduate Certificate in Information Science (60 credits)
Modular: from one term to two years

It is also possible to attend single modules as a short course student for the purposes of continuing professional development.

The MSc and diploma are accredited qualifications for chartered membership of CILIP as long as the Fundamentals of information Science has been taken and passed either as a foundation module or as an optional module.

Programme Content
For the MA and Diploma, students study the following modules:

Foundation module:
Students must undertake at least one of these two foundation modules, depending on their background, and may also take the other instead of one of their optional choices if they wish

Fundamentals of Information Science (required for CILIP accreditation, see below)
An introduction to the principles of information theory, organisation, management and science, intended for students without substantial experience or prior qualifications in information work


Principles of Computing and Information Technology
An introduction to basic concepts in computing and IT both generally and in the context of information work, intended for those without substantial experience in the use of computers.

Compulsory Modules:

Systems Management
Investigates a wide range of topics and issues relating to computer systems management and operation, including project management, systems migration, data security, maintenance, user support, and many other systems management tasks.

Internet Technologies
Covers specifically web-related topic areas such as markup languages, website structuring and design, and dynamic generation and delivery of content, including the use of SQL and web database integration.

Database systems analysis and design
Looks at how common systems analysis and design methodologies are used in the context of developing computer-based information systems, including related areas such as needs analysis and data investigation.

Introduction to programming and scripting
Introduces fundamental principles of procedural computer programming and scripting languages, reinforced by practical work in the context of automated web browser and document manipulation.

Optional modules:
Students select three optional modules: common choices include
   •Server technologies and programming
   •Digital resources in the humanities
   •Legal and social aspects
   •Records management
   •Electronic publishing
   •Encoded Archival Description and Digitisation of Archives
   •Individual approved study

MSc dissertation project
In addition, MSc students will undertake their own research, guided by an expert tutor, into a specific aspect of information technology and its application. This dissertation will form an integral part of the learning experience as well as making a major contribution to the collective research effort of DIS. The best dissertations may form the basis for a publication in a scholarly journal or a presentation at an academic conference. Students with connections to a sponsoring organisation (particularly modular students on day release) often undertake projects of direct relevance and benefit to their sponsoring organisation or place of work.

Application deadline: Normally 1 July in the year of entry, although late applications may be considered up to 1 September.
To apply, please complete an application form, available from

Interviews are usually held between March and July.

Applications for short course attendance will be considered at any time.

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