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Information Science  MSc


This course, taught at City since 1967, is especially suitable for those interested in information provision in particular subject domains, such as healthcare, law or business and in the use of technology to handle information within these areas.

The course focuses on information; its origins, organisation, flows and use and its changing nature and impact on society.

Scholarships and bursaries

The School offers a range of generous scholarships and bursaries to applicants for this course:

The course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should hold a lower second class honours degree, the equivalent from an international institution or an equivalent professional qualification. Previous relevant professionalexperience is also considered.


Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £15,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,500 per year

Start Date:

Autumn 2016

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold a lower second class honours degree, the equivalent from an international institution or an equivalent professional qualification. Previous relevant professional
experience is also considered.

Other Suitable Qualifications

INTO Postgraduate preparation Programmes

If you do not qualify for direct entry, our partner INTO City University London offers academic preparation programmes which focus on the skills you need. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Science and Engineering at INTO City University London means guaranteed progression to this degree.

English Requirements

For those students whose first language is not English, one of the following qualifications is also required:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum of 6.0 in all four components)

Please note that due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

INTO English Language Programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City University London offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information.

English for Postgraduate Study

Pre-sessional English

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

Course Content

Information science studies the information communication chain in its entirety, from authorship, through publication and dissemination, organisation, indexing and retrieval to use.

The information chain is examined using the techniques of domain analysis, which underpin both vocational practice and academic research. Our course focuses on the foundations of Library and Information Science, information history, information organisation, information resources, information technologies and architecture, information retrieval and information behaviour.

The course combines knowledge of subject resources with technological solutions for information storage, access and retrieval; elective modules include web applications and data visualisation.

The course involves study of 7 core modules and 1 elective module, plus a dissertation.

Course Structure

Core modules are:

Library & information science foundation

Gives a thorough introduction to the principles and concepts of the information sciences, and shows that these foundations underpin the practice of information science, librarianship, and other information disciplines. Emphasis is places on a historical perspective, and on current and future developments, showing how basic principles can be used to make sense of complicated and changing issues.

Information resources organisation

Gives an understanding of the principles and practice of the organization of information and knowledge. Topics covered include metadata, cataloguing and resource description, classification and taxonomy, subject headings and thesauri, indexing and abstracting, and construction of controlled vocabularies.

Information management & policy

Introduces the principles of the management of information resources of diverse kinds in a variety of environments, and the strategies and policies which make this possible. Emphasis is on the specific issues of the disciplines which manage information and documents: information resource management, knowledge management, records management and archiving, collection management, etc.

Digital information technologies & architecture

Provides the technical background required to store, structure, manage and share information effectively. Topics include: introduction to computing, internet and web, database systems and searching, Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, etc.), semantic web, information architecture

Research, evaluation & communication skills

Provides knowledge and skills which are relevant in the academic environment, in the workplace and for lifelong learning. Topics covered include: nature of research and evaluation; research methods, including surveys, system and service evaluation, system design, and desk research; data analysis; literature analysis; written and oral communication; ethical issues; project management.

Information retrieval

Provides a broad introduction to documentary information retrieval, and to the evaluation of information retrieval systems. Topics covered include information retrieval models, search strategy and tactics, bibliographic retrieval, OPACs, web search, mobile information retrieval, image and sound retrieval, implementation and evaluation of retrieval systems.

Information domains

Provides an understanding of information provision in a variety of domains, including academic subjects, professional disciplines and everyday and leisure topics; gives an insight into subject-specific information work. Topics include information in law, business, healthcare, and the arts, in academic subject areas such as history, mathematics, chemistry and languages, for everyday and general reference.

The elective module is chosen from a range which typically includes:

Libraries & publishing in the information society

Gives a broad understanding of the ways in which the publication of recorded information is changing, and the impact which this will have on publishers, libraries, other information providers and society in general. These issues are related within a framework of forces for changes: technical, economic, social and political.

Information law & policy

The Information law & policy module covers a wide range of legal issues relevant to the information profession – such as intellectual property, data protection & privacy, cybercrime and computer misuse, freedom of information, libel, and the re-use of public sector information.

Independent study

Allows students to undertake individual in-depth study of a topic which is not fully covered by other modules, and which is appropriate for independent literature-based research. Topics are chosen by agreement between student and supervisor. 

Web applications development

Introduces the principles and practice of building dynamic web applications. Topics covered include web applications architecture, markup languages, web servers and protocols, connectivity with database systems, client side processing, integration of components in a functional application

Data visualization

The aims of this module are to teach you how design and create graphics to represent data. It will teach you to allow you to build your own data visualization applications, identify principles of good information visualization design and provide structured guidelines for the data visualization workflow.

Read the full programme specification

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching involves a mix of formal lectures, seminar discussions, practical exercises, and private study, depending on the nature of the material. Face-to-face contact is supported by e-learning materials and social media. Assessment on all components is usually by individual coursework assignment.

Read the full programme specification

FULL-TIME study timetable:PART-TIME study timetable:
Semester 1YEAR 1, Semester 1
Digital Information Technologies and ArchitecturesMonday morningDigital Information Technologies and ArchitecturesMonday morning
Library and Information Science FoundationMonday afternoonLibrary and Information Science FoundationMonday afternoon
Information Management and PolicyFriday morningYEAR 1, Semester 2
Research, Evaluation and Communication SkillsFriday afternoonInformation Retrieval Monday morning

Information Resources and OrganisationMonday afternoon
Semester 2YEAR 2, Semester 1
Information Retrieval Monday morningInformation Management and PolicyFriday morning
Information Resources and OrganisationMonday afternoonResearch, Evaluation and Communication SkillsFriday afternoon
Elective moduleFriday morningYEAR 2, Semester 2
Information DomainsFriday afternoonElective module Friday morning

Information DomainsFriday afternoon

Please note that some electives run on days other than Fridays. This timetable is a guide only and subject to change.

Recommended Reading

You may wish to undertake some preparatory reading.

  • Bawden D and Robinson L (2012). Introduction to Information Science. Facet: London
  • Floridi L (2010). Information: a very short introduction. OUP:Oxford
  • Gleick J (2011). The Information. A history, a theory, a flood. Pantheon: New York
  • Ince D (2011). The Computer: a very short introduction. OUP:Oxford
  • Ruthven I and Kelly D (Eds.) (2011). Interactive Information-seeking Behaviour and Retrieval. Facet: London

Note: module leaders may choose to use different or additional texts to the ones listed above.


  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £15,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,500 per year

Further details about the payment of fees.


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Scholarships and bursaries

The School offers a range of generous scholarships and bursaries to applicants for this course:


Hyams Bursary

A bursary of £3,500 is available for one MSc Information Science student. This bursary is given in memory of Montagu Hyams, a pioneer of scientific publishing and the online industry, and founder of Derwent Publications Ltd., now part of Thomson Reuter. Montagu ('Monty') Hyams was a research chemist who in the early 1950s began a service summarising new inventions. The business he founded grew into a leader in scientific information provision, best known for the database Derwent World Patents Index. A lifelong Londoner (1918-2013), his archive of correspondence and technical papers is also held by City University London.

The bursary will be awarded each year to one applicant for the MSc course in Information Science, and will be used to reduce the candidate’s fees. Preference will be given to applicants with scientific qualifications or experience, particularly in the chemical of pharmaceutical sciences, and/or specific interests in scientific information handling. Preference will also be given to applicants who are self-funding their studies. Home, EU and overseas applicants are equally eligible, as are applicants for full-time and part-time study.

Applications for the bursary should be made at the same time as an application for a place on the course.

The Alex McVitty Memorial Award

The Memorial Award provides financial assistance of £1,500 towards living expenses. One award each year is offered to a full time home or overseas applicant, for either Library Science or Information Science, who wishes to develop a career in law librarianship and can demonstrate financial need.

History of the award

Alex McVitty studied for an MSc in Information Science at City University London in 1997-98. Tragically Alex died in a road accident whilst cycling to her work as a law librarian. As Alex had to fund herself through the course, combining study with part-time library jobs, her family and friends chose to establish a memorial fund to provide an annual award to help a student wishing to pursue a career in law librarianship. The memorial award fund is administered by The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.

Applications for the award should be made at the same time as an application for a place on the course.


Internships are not a part of these courses but students who wish to are usually able to obtain work experience (paid or voluntary) or to work with external organisations in completing assignments or carrying out a dissertation project.

Career Prospects

Information Science graduates have an excellent record of finding suitable jobs and going on to successful careers, most commonly in academic and special libraries, in scientific, healthcare and business information services, and in content and records management. The course is also an excellent preparation for further study and research.

This course will enable you to...

After the successful completion of the course candidates may consider a PhD degree, towards an academic/research career.

Apply for MSc Information Science

We invite all suitable applicants living within a 200-mile radius of London to an open and/or interview session; these are held monthly between March and July. Overseas and more distant applicants are sent a questionnaire, which may be supplemented by a telephone interview or email discussion. Such students are welcome to visit the Department if they are in or near London at some stage. You should submit your application by one of the following two methods:

1. Completing the online form; or

2. Completing a hard copy of the application form and sending this to the address below.

Please ensure you include your supporting documentation with your application. If you are applying online you should note that confidential references are only acceptable as originals sent in signed and sealed envelopes by post to the address below. References attached as supporting documentation to an online application cannot be considered.

International students: it is important you submit your application to us in sufficient time for you to arrange your visa before the start of the course. You will be able to attach electronic copies of your supporting documents. However, you will be required to submit your confidential references in hard copy (in signed and sealed envelopes) to the address below, together with any supporting documents you do not attach when applying online.

To receive an application pack, please contact the programmes office or send your completed paper application form, together with supporting documents, to:

Programmes Office
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City University London
Northampton Square

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7040 0248
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7040 0233