Information Studies MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

We are the only department in the UK with programmes in library and information studies, information science, archives and records management, publishing, and digital humanities. As well as topics within these specific areas, we can offer unparalleled opportunities for cross-domain research, for example in user studies and usability, metadata, the management of electronic resources, information governance, data science and semantic technologies for the humanities.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper-second class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject, or a recognised taught Master’s degree. Overseas qualifications of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution are also accepted.

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

UCL Information Studies is an international centre for knowledge creation and transfer in the fields of librarianship, archives and record management, publishing, information science and digital humanities and the department brings together academics and practitioners in these fields. Our research aims to develop the understanding and insight needed to shape the emerging information environment, while elucidating and building on the historical developments that have created it. We are the country's largest department of Information Studies located within one of the world's top ten universities and our teaching is built upon an international research reputation.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

The school has strong links with organisations such as the National Archives and the British Museum, and is close to the British Library and other major research libraries. Our location in central London makes it easy for collaborative work with other institutions and groups.

UCL Department of Information Studies is a leading centre for research in librarianship, archives and records management, digital humanities, publishing, knowledge organization and knowledge representation, especially in the areas of research evaluation, scholarly communication, user groups especially early years, and learning and professional development. DIS research is organised around four research centres and groups. These facilitate interaction between established researchers, and offer research training and career development opportunities for early stage researchers and research students. Importantly, they provide coherence and a critical mass of researchers in key areas.

The foundation of your career

Our doctoral students go on to do a wide variety of interesting jobs after they graduate from UCL. Many go into senior posts in the information professions, both in the UK and abroad. Doctoral graduates have gone on to be Head, Curation and Preservation Services, MIT Libraries, USA; Chief of Archives at the United Nations; and Head of Research, The National Archives. Others continue their academic career in universities around the world, in departments of library science, information management, archive studies, digital humanities and publishing.


Most of our research students have already worked as information professionals in the public and private sectors or in academia in the UK and worldwide. The successful completion of a research degree enables them to achieve the highest positions in their chosen field.


The department has a strong culture of collaborative research and brings together researchers (whether staff or students) from across UCL as well as other institutions and organisations. Crucial to this are our research groups and centres, which provide a focus for our research activity, including doctoral students, post-docs and staff with specific research interests. Most doctoral students are attached to one (or more) of these groups and will be encouraged to get involved in the research seminars, visiting speakers, annual lectures, visits and other activities which these centres organise regularly. The centres also facilitate online interaction through blogs and twitter feeds.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

At the heart of our research activities lie the following centres and groups hosted by the department:

  • Centre for Digital Humanities
  • Centre for Publishing
  • Centre for Archives and Records Research
  • Forum for information literacy Research
  • Knowledge, Information and Data Science group

Research environment

We are the only department in the United Kingdom with programmes in library and information studies, information science, archives and records management, publishing, and digital humanities. As well as topics within these specific areas, we can offer unparalleled opportunities for cross-domain research, for example in user studies and usability, metadata, the management of electronic resources, and XML (Extensible Markup Language) technologies for the humanities.

You will benefit from conducting research within the UK’s largest library school at one of the world’s top universities and may be supervised by experienced and internationally known researchers.

Year 1 full-time

During your first year, you will attend the DIS Doctoral Studies Research Seminar module (a weekly seminar based programme which continues for 3 terms in year 1).

Typically in the first year of study, you will work with supervisors to develop your research proposal and research questions, undertake an extended literature review, adopt a reference management and citation system, identify the broad research approach, and plan an appropriate research method and data collection plan. By the end of year 1, you should have a clearly articulated research proposal, a research method and data collection plan, an initial bibliography appropriately referenced, read a range of relevant literature, a timetable for the next two to three years, and begun to do some writing.

Year 2 full-time

If progress has been sufficient an upgrade to doctoral student status is made. If you are a full -time student, you should undertake the PhD upgrade after 9 – 18 months of registration. The exact timing will depend on when you are ready to meet the requirements.

You will usually do some kind of primary data collection, sometimes abroad on field study leave, and typically, the second year is spent on the main period of data collection, continuing the literature review, and undertaking the data analysis. You may use automated data analysis systems, such as NVivo, and if you plan to do this, you will need to spend time learning the system and practicing using it, in advance of your main period of data analysis. Whatever data recording and analysis system you use, it needs to be systematically applied and backed up regularly, so that you do not lose any data.

In addition, you will continue to meet your supervisor regularly to reassess your skills development and training needs and maintain the Log progress record.

Year 3 full-time

Having moved to full doctoral registration status, in year 3 you will focus on completing the data collection and literature, and spending most of your time on data analysis and writing.

Completing Research Status (CRS)

The formal minimum length of the MPhil/PhD is three years. If you are not ready to submit your thesis after three years you will be required to apply for ‘Completing Research Status' (CRS). If agreed, t enables you to be registered with UCL for a fourth year of study without payment of any fee.

Part-time study

The Department of Information Studies has a number of doctoral students who study part-time over a minimum of 5 years. You may hold a senior post in the information profession and this option may be most suitable for you.  The milestones are spread over a longer timescale if you are part-time. You may have to take the DIS Doctoral Studies Research Seminar module over your first and second year and will not usually be ready to Upgrade until your second year 2.  You will do your  data collection over several year and will plan to write up and submit in your fifth year.  If you are not ready to submit then, you have have two years of CRS.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £22,900 £11,530

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

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