Information Studies


Extra information and learning outcomes

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. For more information, click here

The learning outcomes of the MA Library and information studies are knowledge and understanding of the following:

    • the value of knowledge, information and records to individuals, organisations, groups and society
    • the wider context in which information professionals operate
    • the processes, institutions, and infrastructure associated with the creation, acquisition, management, organisation, dissemination, access to curation, storage and retrieval of knowledge and information in all media and formats
    • theories relating to the usage and management of individual and aggregated information objects in all media and formats
    • theories and frameworks that may be used to design information, records and archives services and systems that are fit for purpose and sustainable
    • theories and practices relating to the capture, managing and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge
    • information governance and legislative and regulatory compliance, including such aspects as ethics, copyright, risk management and accountability
    • how to identify and meet the (actual and potential) needs of individuals, communities and organisations, in relation to learning
    • reading and reader development, information literacy, and other related lifelong learning requirements
    • relevant technologies underpinning the design of, and in support of, information, records and archives services or systems
    • how to conduct research, evaluation and service audit, and how to appraise the evidence from such studies
    • what may be achieved by different quantitative and qualitative methodologies and techniques, and when a particular methodology or technique is most appropriately used.
Why should I apply for this course? 

The Masters/ PG Diploma in LIS is designed for people who want to work in a wide range of professional library and information roles, both in the UK and beyond. It is ideal for people who are exploring their professional goals after completing a graduate traineeship as well as those who are looking to consolidate their professional experience and transition to a qualified librarian or information professional role. It will also enable you to build the professional networks that will support you throughout your career, both with your peers and with UCL alumni in the London area and beyond. We offer an extensive selection of tracks for students interested in specific careers.

The LIS programme consistently maintains a 100% employment rate six months after graduation. New graduates work in a wide range of settings, including academic libraries, businesses, charities, the public sector, schools and a wide range of special collections residing in unique institutions. Job roles and opportunities include special collections librarian, cataloguer, subject liaison librarian, digitisation specialist, information manager, information governance officer, taxonomist, research data manager or web designer

Our qualifications are additionally recognised by the American Library Association (ALA), The Library Association of Ireland (LAI), and The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). This means that graduates from our programme are qualified to apply for posts requiring professional level qualifications in the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

What will I gain from this course?

The MA and PG Dip in LIS prepare you to make an immediate contribution to the workplace as well as to professional groups and networks. Through the course, we support the development of the key skills that are necessary in any professional role, including providing intellectual, physical and digital access to collections, the management of libraries and information centres, and working with a wide range of diverse patrons and users. We are also committed to supporting your intellectual engagement with core values and understandings of library and information science, including questions related to ethics, privacy and access to information. Both the MA and PG Dip in LIS are broad-based programmes, which means that they apply to a wide range of jobs within the field of library and information studies, including in academic, public, law, health, corporate, school or charity sectors.

Optional modules allow you to follow your own particular subject interests; we also offer an extensive selection of tracks for students interested in specific careers. The range of modules on offer allows you to develop the specialised knowledge and skills that will make you stand out in the job market, as well as to follow your own passions and interests. The unique structure of our department means that you may take optional modules from the other programmes in our department, which include Archives and Records Management, Publishing, Digital Humanities and Information Science.

What topics are covered?

Students have to complete the six core courses, all of which cover topics which are fundamental to the running of any library or information service. We also offer an extensive selection of tracks for students interested in specific careers.

Core modules

Optional modules

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

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.

Work placementAll full-time MA LIS and PG Dip LIS students also do a 2-week full-time work placement as part of the core module, The Library & Information Professional. Placements are arranged by us for each individual student

Dissertation/reportMA students only also undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

How will I learn and be assessed on this course?

The programme is delivered through lectures from academic staff and professional practitioners, seminars, computer laboratory and classroom practicals and workshops. There is a strong emphasis on active learning, including small group discussions and hands-on exercises, as well as the development of practical skills. Classroom teaching is supplemented by visits from experienced professionals and employers as well as behind-the scenes trips to well-known collections. The Department regularly arranges evening talks that are open to all. Students also benefit from carrying out a placement at some of the nation’s most famous libraries, which provides useful practical experience and networking opportunities in a range of sectors.

Assessments vary according to each module but include essays, reports, reflective writing and practical assignments such as digital library design and the creation of indexing tools. The dissertation (12,000 words) provides a unique opportunity to carry out extended research on a topic of your choice, under one-to-one supervision with academic staff.

Who will teach me?

Core Teaching Staff

The Programme Director is Alison Hicks (view YouTube video)

Core Teaching staff include:

A variety of other teaching staff from UCL:DIS and across the profession will also teach on the programme, depending on modules chosen, and the proposed dissertation topic.

What does the timetable look like?

The start of term (last Monday of September) starts with Induction Week, which at UCL:DIS means a few days dedicated to helping students settle into UCL. Teaching starts the following week (the week starting the first Monday of October). 

  • Classes at UCL:DIS are scheduled for Terms 1 and 2 only (term 1: October to December; term 2: January to March).
  • Modules are taught in 3-hour morning or afternoon slots (either 10.00 to 13.00 or 14.00 to 17.00), once a week for the duration of a term.
  • There is no formal teaching attached to the core module, The Library & Information Professional.
  • All full-time MA LIS and PG Dip LIS students also do a 2-week full-time work placement in mid-April as part of the core module, The Library & Information Professional.
  • Part-time and modular students may choose whether to do the work placement.Placements typically take place in the first two weeks of Term 3 (April/May).
  • Students studying part-time over 2 years, attend on Tuesdays in Terms 1 & 2 in the first year of study, and on Monday in Terms 1 & 2 in the second year of study.
  • Modular students' (3-5 years) attendance will depend on which modules are selected per year/term.

Any exceptions will be clearly shown on final timetables.

What support does UCL provide for students?

Each student is allocated a personal tutor from the LIS core teaching team. Your personal tutor will support you through your time at UCL. They will support your learning as well as providing support and encouragement.

The LIS programme enjoys a close relationship with UCL Careers service and events are organised throughout the year. These events are designed to help you build your networks with employers and professional practitioners as well as providing practical support for CV writing, interviewing and job searching. Events are also organised in conjunction with recruitment consultants. Career services are available after graduation.

UCL Library services play a vital role in your education. The Library offers access to a wide range of materials, including journals and databases as well as key texts. The Library and Archives collection is located opposite the department in the Science Library, while the Main Library and the IoE library are a short walk away. Individual and group study space is available in the Student Centre.

Where have people gone on to work after studying at UCL?

Places of employment of recent graduates include…

Ark Burlington Danes Academy, Bacon’s College, Baker Tilly, British Library, BSix, Caple Manor College, Central Bedfordshire Council, CRU Group, Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Eton College, European Parliament, Foyle Special Collections Library, Greenwich School of Management & Business, Halcyon London International School, Holland Park School, House of Commons, House of Lords, Inner Temple, Lincolns Inn, King’s College London, Mercer University, National Library of Singapore, North Bristol NHS Trust, Norton Rose Fulbright, Queen Elizabeth’s School, Ravensbourne College, Royal College of Surgeons, RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons), Royal Institute of British Architects, St James Senior Girls’ School, The Dragon School, Third Life International, Trowers and Hamlins, University College London, University of Oxford, University of Reading, University of the Arts London, Wallace Collection.

How do I apply to the programme?

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. We do consider applications from applicants with a lower classification if accompanied by sufficient library or information service work experience.

Usually four to twelve months of paid or voluntary experience in a library or information service, or with information work. Relevant experience includes a graduate traineeship, work as a library or information assistant, or work with information, for example knowledge or data management and research analyst posts.

How to apply

Please read UCL’s general application guidelines. You can find them by referring to the online prospectus for LIS for a link to UCL’s Applications page.

Specific to applying for the LIS programme, we would like applicants to provide two references, which will normally include an academic reference or a reference from a recent employer.


UCL:DIS has a policy of interviewing all suitably qualified applicants. The interview will last around 25 minutes. It is a fairly informal discussion to discuss your suitability for the programme and to answer any questions you may have. You do not need to give a presentation or anything of that sort.

Please see our video explaining how the application process works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtyC3Gu_BDg.

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 refer to the online LIS prospectus for a link to UCL’s English requirement page.

Student achievement data
  • Retention rate 98% – How many people leave before they complete their studies: 2019 – 1; 2020 - 1; 2021 - 1
  • Average time to degree completion: 2019: average 18 months; 2020: average 16 months; 2021: average 15 months.  (Full time: 1 year, Part time: 2 years, Modular: 2 years – 5 yrs)
  • Percentage of graduates holding positions relevant to the degree within 12 months of degree completion. 100%