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  1. Postgraduate
  2. 2020
Study at City

MSc Library Science

Entry Year:
With our Library Science MA/MSc you can develop the skills and understanding to initiate, work with and develop modern collection based information services.

Key information

Start date

Autumn 2020

Academic year dates


Full-time: 12 months
Part-time: 24-28 months


Full-time: £10,000

Part-time: £5,000 per year *


Full-time: £20,000

Part-time: £10,000 per year *


Northampton Square

Who is it for?

This course is for students with a first degree or equivalent in any discipline, who would like to work in a library, or similar collection-orientated organisation. It is also suitable for anyone wishing to update their knowledge and skills, in order to progress a career based around collections and services within galleries, libraries, museums and archives.

Library Science is a broad, interdisciplinary subject, the principles and practice of which underpin today’s information society. It appeals to students with an eye for detail, an interest in the organisation, technologies, and communication of information, and in understanding the organisational and wider social impacts of information policy, access and provision.


City’s MSc/MA Library Science aims to provide you with a deep understanding of collection-orientated institutions and services, and their relevance and impact within different layers of society.

The course examines the processes of information organisation, communication, access and provision, in order to understand how these activities can be designed and implemented to work towards individual development, organisational goals, and to support a fair and prosperous society.

The course considers the contemporary questions of library infrastructures and services, from both historical and philosophical perspectives. Our focus is divided equally between theory and its application to practice. You will benefit from a high level of engagement with practitioners, and we are pleased to welcome many leaders in the profession as guest speakers throughout the course.

Content covers fundamental concepts associated with libraries and library services, including: resources, collections, management, governance, publishing and information literacy. There is an emphasis on the use of new and emergent technologies; methods of investigation and analysis; ethical, legal and socio-political implications, and policy formulation.


Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

City’s Library Science course is approved by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). CILIP accredited courses are recognised by the American Library Association (ALA) and The Australian Library and Information Association, which means that our graduates are qualified to apply for posts requiring professional level qualifications in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold a second-class honours degree or the equivalent from an international institution in any discipline, or have LIS related work experience.

Other suitable qualifications

If you do not qualify for direct entry, you may wish to follow a Graduate Diploma pathway to the programme through one of our partners.

INTO City, University of London

Don't meet the entry requirements? INTO City, University of London offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare you for study at City, University of London. You'll learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry. To prepare for this degree course, learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Informatics.

Kaplan International College London

City works in partnership with Kaplan International College (KIC) London to provide preparatory courses for international students. Pre Masters courses at KIC London offer comprehensive support to students wishing to complete their postgraduate study at City. Progression to this degree is guaranteed if you complete the KIC London Pre-Masters course at the required level.

English requirements

For overseas students whose first language is not English, the following qualification is required:

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

English language programmes

Don't meet the English language requirements? INTO City, University of London offers English language programmes to help prepare you for study at university. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to degree courses.

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 six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Thank you for having decided to apply to study a postgraduate course at the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. Please note that the deadline for applications for the 2020/21 academic year is 31st August 2020, however we may close earlier if all places are filled.

Apply now

You will be expected to submit the following:

  • Your degree certificate and transcript of marks from your first degree (if you do not have your final results at the time of making your application, please upload a provisional certificate/interim transcript of marks). A transcript is required in order to have your application processed.
  • If your first language is not English, or you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, please upload a Proof of English Proficiency if you have already obtained it. A list of accepted qualifications can be found here.
  • If you require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Master's programme in the UK, please upload a detailed personal statement outlining why you wish to study this specific course, at City, University of London, as well as explaining how your past studies have prepared you for this course and how it will help you to progress in your career.
  • If you are applying for a Part-time course, or have relevant work experience relating to the degree you are applying for, please upload a copy of your current CV/resume.

Please note: Academic references are not required when you submit your application. However, the admissions tutor may request them at a later date to help make a decision on your application.

Contact information for the Postgraduate Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 0248

Postgraduate Courses Office, A302
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City, University of London
Northampton Square

Top 50
in the 2018 QS World University Library Management Rankings (2018 QS rankings)
of graduates responding to the 2015/16 DLHE survey were in employment or further study six months after completing the course
Library and Information Science has been taught at City for over 50 years
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

If a student leaves City after commencing but before completing their course, City reserves the right to charge the student the tuition/course fee for the full academic year (or full course for capacity limited post-graduate courses - up to a maximum of 2 years fees) in question. The student may be charged the full fee for that year or course as applicable unless the student is able to present justification that exceptional and unforeseeable reasons for their withdrawal exist.

How to pay

City has introduced an instalment payment scheme which is available to certain categories of students, including taught postgraduate students. For students following the normal academic year, the annual fee may be paid in two equal instalments: the first on registering, the second on 31st January. If you wish to pay your fees by instalment you must pay the first instalment at or before registration, by cheque or credit/debit card. You must also supply your bank details or credit card details for payment of your second instalment which will be deducted automatically from your bank or credit card account on 31st January.


Internships are not a part of this course, 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. Details of opportunities are posted on our Moodle forum.

Academic facilities

City has recently undergone a significant level of refurbishment, so that course participants can enjoy state of the art classrooms and facilities.

We work in close connection with our colleagues at City Library, who offer excellent support and advice to our students, in addition to contributing to our courses. Follow @cityunilibrary and @cityunilibresearchers on Twitter.

You will have access to our state-of-the-art mentoring service. #citylis student Saidah Gilbert recently took part in the professional mentoring scheme.

At City, there are many programmes that help and advise students in their chosen discipline. The Professional Mentoring Scheme was one of them.


We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply


Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning methods we use are designed to allow your specialist knowledge and autonomy to develop as you progress through the course.

Teaching at CityLIS takes place on Mondays and Fridays, during each of the two, 10 week teaching terms. Full-time students attend on both days. Part-time students attend on Mondays in year one, and Fridays in year two. Classes may be scheduled anytime between 09.00 and 18.00, although we usually try to work between 10.00 and 17.00.

Taught modules are usually delivered through a series of 30 hours of lectures. Lectures are normally used to:

  • present and exemplify the concepts underpinning a particular subject
  • highlight the most significant aspects of the syllabus
  • indicate additional topics and resources for private study

City’s online learning environment, Moodle, contains resources to support face-to-face lectures, including lecture notes, further reading, web-based media resources and an interactive discussion forum.

In addition to lectures, you will have the opportunity to attend course-related workshops and seminars. You also will have access to a personal tutor, an academic member of staff from whom you can gain learning support throughout your degree.


We expect you to study independently and complete coursework for each module. This will amount to approximately 120 hours of study per module, in addition to class attendance. Each of the modules run by CityLIS is assessed through coursework, where you will need to answer a variety of assignments to show that you are able to apply your theoretical learning to practical situations. Elective modules may be assessed by examination.

On successful completion of the course’s eight taught modules, you will undertake your dissertation. This is an original piece of research conducted with academic supervision, but largely independently. The dissertation allows you to demonstrate your ability to think and work independently, to be aware of and to comprehend current issues within the discipline and practice, to initiate ways of investigating and solving current problems or questions, and to deliver results, solutions and recommendations on time.

The individual project is a substantial task. It is your opportunity to develop a research-related topic under the supervision of an academic member of staff. This is where you can apply what you have learnt to a real-world problem or to develop further, contemporary conceptual theory in library science.

Communication and networking are an integral part of our Library Science masters course, and in preparation for professional practice, you will be expected to engage with blogs, Twitter and other relevant communications media as part of your studies. Face-to-face participation in student and new professional forums including research seminars, workshops and conferences is actively promoted. You will be encouraged to present your work (assignments, dissertation) to the wider LIS community for discussion and development.


The MA/MSc in Library Science is offered as a one year full-time course, or two year part-time course. On successful completion of the course, you can choose between the award of MA or of MSc. This is usually based on the arts or science content of the work undertaken for the degree, and/or your career aspirations. The course structure and modules are the same for either award. The difference occurs in the focus of the assignments and the dissertation.

You can expect to study for approximately 40 hours per week full-time, and 20 hours per week part-time. The actual time required will vary according to the individual, and with existing experience and prior study.

The course comprises seven core modules and one elective module. These taught modules run during the first and second terms, whilst the third, summer term is reserved for the dissertation. While we aim to run all of our advertised electives, we reserve the right to cancel an elective should this be necessary. For example, if very few students choose it. Some electives are offered by other departments, who may need to restrict access to very popular electives (though this has not happened in recent years). Please note that as some electives run on different days, students who can only attend on one day per week may be restricted in their choice of elective module.

Each of the modules counts for 15 credits, and requires approximately 150 hours work, of which 30 hours are face-to-face instruction (this may be lectures, seminars, group work, discussion or practical work), and 120 hours are self-directed study.

On successful completion of eight taught modules, students can progress to the dissertation. The dissertation is worth 60 credits, and takes around 400 hours. This is an original piece of research conducted with academic supervision, but largely independently.

The MA/MSc in Library Science covers:

  • library history
  • social-cultural impact of libraries and library services
  • information resources
  • collection management
  • cataloguing and classification
  • metadata
  • information law and ethics
  • digital libraries
  • information technologies
  • information literacy
  • libraries and publishing
  • research methods
  • library and information services for children and young adults

Core modules

Library and Information Science Foundation (15 credits)

A thorough introduction to the principles and concepts of the information sciences. Topics include the story of documents, philosophy of information, information literacy, critical literacy, infometrics, information behaviour and information society

Data Information Technologies and Applications (15 credits)

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

Information Organisation (15 credits)

Gives an understanding of the principles and practice of the organisation 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.

Digital Libraries (15 credits)

Introduces and exemplifies the principles of digital libraries, in terms of architecture , functions and services, selection, design (UX), search and discovery, digitisation and collection management, archives and preservation, access, standards, and socio-political implications.

Information Management and Policy (15 credits)

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.

Research Methods and Communication (15 credits)

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 and presentation, literature analysis, written and oral communication, ethical issues and project management.

Libraries and Publishing (15 credits)

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.

Elective modules

You can choose one module from the following.

Information Resources and Documentation (15 credits)

Provides an understanding of information provision in a variety of domains, including academic subjects, professional disciplines and every day 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 every day and general reference and for novel areas such as fashion, fandom, and creativity.

Information and Data, Law and Ethics (15 credits)

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

Independent Study Or Practice (15 credits)

Allows you 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 (15 credits)

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

Child and Adolescent Literature, Literacy, and Library Services (15 credits)

The module examines theoretical, ideological and practical issues surrounding child and adolescent library and information services, enabling critical engagement in order to support you to deliver high quality information services for children and adolescents.

Open Practices and Digital Literacies (in Higher Education) (15 credits)

Provides a working knowledge of the current impact that digital technologies have in higher education specifically in relation to staff and student digital literacies and open practices.  This module gives an opportunity to reflect critically on the issues raised by the increasing implementation of technology in HE both globally and locally and to explore what open practice means in the context of work.

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

  • Camilla Paffey
    Student profile
    A desire for a more specialist career. An undergraduate degree is all well and good, but postgraduate study really opens up your options and gives you the opportunity to chase a specialist career..
    Library Science MSc
After you graduate

Career prospects

MSc/MA Library Science graduates have an excellent record of finding suitable jobs and going on to successful careers, most commonly in public, academic or school libraries, consultancies, special/heritage libraries, information services and publishing. The Library Science postgraduate course is also an excellent preparation for further study and research. You can learn more about further study and research in the LIS field by visiting the Department of Library and Information Science page and our CityLIS blog.

85.7% of graduates in employment or further study six months after completing the course

Contact details

Programmes Office (room A302)

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