Information Studies


MA Archives & Records Management - B

MA in Archives & Records Management

The Archives and Records Management MA provides the skills and knowledge that are needed by new entrants to the profession in the United Kingdom and abroad. Students learn to manage and preserve records created in the present and those inherited from the past for use in the present and future.In 2012-2013 this programme was merged with the MA/Diploma/ Certificate in Records and Archives Management (International) to create a more digitally aware and internationalised curriculum designed for students from the UK and overseas who intend to pursue a career in archives or records management.


The programme focuses on the management of records and archives in a variety of digital and hard copy formats. Students learn to manage, organise, interpret and provide access to a wide range of records and archives, focussing on both the management of records for on-going purposes, and their selection, preservation and accessibility for future uses including historical research.


Archives and records management at UCL is one of the longest-established archive education programmes in the English speaking world. Taught by leading experts in the field, the programme draws on staff's involvement in innovative projects as well as their extensive practical experience of archives and records work. Indeed, although the programme's content and structure have changed greatly over the years, keeping pace with developments in the archives and records disciplines and in information technology, the UCL programme continues to maintain the highest standards in the teaching of archival principles and practice, as laid down by its founder, Sir Hilary Jenkinson.


UCL's teaching and research staff are regular participants in innovative projects such as the InterPARES Trust, a multinational research project investigating recordkeeping in the Cloud, assoicated research on open government and open data; the Community Archives and Identities project, which investigated the importance of community archives and their role in the production of community identity; and other projects which explore collaborative and participatory approaches to cultural and heritage practice. Teaching at UCL draws on the staff's involvement in leading-edge projects such as these, as well as their extensive practical experience of archives and records work, to ensure a quality learning experience for all students.


The programme boasts an impressive range of visiting speakers and frequent opportunities for structured field visits to study archives and records management in a wide variety of working environments and a two week archive work placement, all of which provide unique occasions to network and create professional links with key players in the industry.

London is home to not only a large number of records management services, but also the broadest and finest grouping of historical archives in any city in the English-speaking world.


Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2-5 years
Masters - Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of five core modules (90 credits), two optional module (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Postgraduate Diploma - (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible study 2-5 years) no dissertation.
A Postgraduate Certificate - (60 credits, full-time 15 weeks or flexible study over a period of up to two years) is offered. For further information about the Postgraduate Certificate in ARM please see the Features tab.

Core modules

These modules aim to provide a solid foundation of conceptual knowledge and practical skills. Students' individual interests can be explored in depth through two optional modules.

Options include:


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

Work Placement

All Masters/PG Diploma students do a 2-week placement. For more information see the Features tab.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, computer laboratory practicals and classroom practicals, with a strong emphasis on informal teaching and the acquisition of practical skills. Assessment is through a mixture of essays, reports, and practical assignments such as cataloguing and complex problem solving scenarios.


Work Placement

The work placement gives students taking the MA/Dip in ARM experience of how the techniques they have learned may be applied in practice. Placements last for two weeks, and are undertaken as part of the INSTG060 Curation and Capture core module just after the beginning of Term 3 (May). 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 Jenny Bunn (j.bunn@ucl.ac.uk).


The dissertation is only undertaken by students taking the Masters in Archives and Records Management. The purpose of the dissertation is to develop the ability to work at an advanced intellectual level; to encourage sustained effort; to foster critical and analytical thinking; to provide experience in independent investigation and research to allow the student to pursue in depth a topic of personal professional interest; to develop knowledge and skills relevant to that area of practice; to promote the idea of personal professional development and contribution to the corpus of professional and scholarly literature.


A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, full-time 15 weeks or flexible study over a period of up to two years) is offered. The PG Certificate comprises four taught modules selected by the student in consultation with the Programme Director, and is a shorter programme of study, which is not accredited by the Archives and Records Association and not recognised as a full professional qualification. It is designed for those who wish to gain some basic knowledge of archives or records management, but are not (currently) intending to take it up as a professional career.

The academic and work experience entry requirements are similar to those required of the MA/PG Dip in ARM. if you wish to discuss suitability for entry to this programme, please contact the Programme Director.

Depending on the modules chosen, the Certificate may be completed in approximately a half year of full-time study (late September-late January and/or early January-early June). Applicants to the PG Cert apply in the normal way: you may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps


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. There is a two-week practical placement in late April or early May.


Full-time study for the MA requires a calendar year (September-September), with the summer months being occupied by work on the MA dissertation.

Part-time (2 year study)

Students studying part-time over 2 years, attending on average two days per week, depending on which modules are selected per year/term.


Distance learning courses are not offered at this time at UCL, but modular attendance  is available for the MA/PG Diploma in Archives and Records Management. Modular students have between 2-5 years to complete the programme.

In their first year modular students start off by taking the core module G059 Concepts and Contexts which is a double module. Generally, after that modular students will take another core module such as G060 Curation and Stewardship or G032 Records Management, plus one optional module.

The downloadable timetable below will give you an idea of the order of the programme.

Cert in ARM

Depending on the modules chosen, the Certificate may be completed in approximately a half year of full-time study (late September-late January or early January-early June), or may be taken more gradually over nine months (late September-early June).


The timetable provided serves only as a guide. Final timetables are made available at enrolment.

Download a sample timetable.


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 significant period of paid or voluntary employment in an archive or records service, or in a post with management responsibility for archives or records.

Some applicants take paid work at pre-professional level; others obtain some or all of their experience on a voluntary basis. The Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research (FARMER), of which UCL is a member, has published guidance for applicants seeking work experience in archives and records management.

Suitable posts are often advertised on the archives-nra listserv which anyone can join free of charge. The Archives and Records Association may also be able to put applicants in touch with employers offering suitable short-term vacancies.

The National Archives (TNA) in London offers 2 nationally-available bursaries are designed to address the socio-economic barriers that exist for some who are considering entering into the archives sector.

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

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Deadlines: The application will close on 11 June 2018. No late applications will be considered after that date.

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 usually be processed until they are complete i.e. the necessary documents are all uploaded.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to all candicates who meet the entry requirements and are interested in a career in archives and records management. The MA/Postgraduate Diploma provides a foundation education for graduates who are seeking to enter the profession of archivist/records manager, and is accredited by the Archives and Records Association. The Postgraduate Certificate is a programme with some professional elements, but is not wide-ranging enough for recognition as a professional qualification.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Archives and Records Management at graduate level
  • why you want to study Archives and Records Management at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • what you would like to do professionally and/or academically after your degree

What happens after you apply?

Processing applications Your application will initially be dealt with by the UCL Registry, and then passed to the Department where it will be checked. You will be told that your papers have been received, and are 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. 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, either in person or via Skype and no-one is offered a place without interview. The main block of interviews takes place in mid-February. However, if places are still available afer these interviews, we will continue to invite suitably qualified applicants as and when applications are received.

Interview candidates 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.

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.

Letting you know the outcome The main block of interviewees will be told the outcome of their interviews in March. Anyone interviewed after the main block timetabled for mid-February will be told the outcome of their interview 3-4 weeks after their interview.

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.

You can change to part-time study at any time before the start of the programme.

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.

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

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.


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'.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

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.
  • Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans.
  • 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.

Sir Hilary Jenkinson Scholarship in Archive Studies

One scholarship is available for prospective students on the MA in Archives and Records Management.




There is no separate scholarship application procedure.

Application and Information

There is no separate scholarship application procedure or form. All eligible applicants for the programme will be considered for the award of this scholarship.

Awards will be announced in September.

For further information, email: infostudies-enquiries@ucl.ac.uk

Scottish Students

Scottish applicants may also be eligible for an award from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

International students

UCL does not offer any scholarships to international students on UCL:DIS taught Masters programmes. Many of our international students are successful in obtaining a grant from their home government or from funders such as the British Council. 

All students

UCL has a small number of scholarships (details on the Funding Options for Graduate Students webpages) but again, 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 is fairly readily available in London, and most full-time students can find something that fits in with the course.


The MA and Diploma are accredited by the Archives and Records Association and are widely recognised by employers throughout the UK as entry-level professional qualifications.

Places of employment of recent students include:

  • Exeter University Library
  • HSBC Group Archives
  • Institute of Actuaries
  • Lambeth Palace
  • London Metropolitan Archives
  • National Archives
  • Royal Society of Arts
  • Westminster Palace

Top career destinations for this programme:

  • London Borough of Bexley, Community Archivist, 2012
  • British Academy, Librarian and Archivist, 2012
  • Schroders plc. Records and Archives Assistant, 2014
  • John Lewis Partnership, Assistant Archivist, 2014


The programme delivered by internationally recognised and research active staff prepares students to work in a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional archives and informational management roles in organisations in both the private and public sectors, in the UK and internationally.

Students benefit from the Department of Information Studies' excellent links with employers in the information professions which provide them with 'real life' experience through guest lectures, visits and a two-week work placement. As part of the programme students also receive specific careers advice, including how to construct CVs. In the longer term the programme equips students with the skills and knowledge to have long and successful careers in their chosen field and become leaders in their profession.