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  1. Research degrees
Study at City

PhD / MPhil Library and Information Science

City supervises research students in the subject of Library and Information Science.

Research Groups or Centres

Key information

Start date

Research students may commence their studies on 1st October or 
1st February.


Full-time: 2-4 years

Part-time: 3-7 years

Maximum registration periods include any time spent in writing-up mode.



Full-time: £6,000 per year

Part-time: £3,000 per year


Full-time: £15,000 per year

Part-time: £7,500 per year


Library and Information Science (LIS) is the academic discipline that focuses on the communication of recorded information. It is related to, yet distinct from, a number of other disciplines, including: computer science, human-computer interaction (HCI), data science, publishing, digital humanities, media studies, and cultural studies.

City, University of London has been active in LIS related research since 1961, and the Centre for Information Science is an international leader in this area. PhD students are central to our research activity. Our goal is to support talented individuals who wish to develop their research skills, to undertake rigorous and inspirational investigations in pursuit of furthering knowledge and understanding within the discipline, and ultimately, to obtain an MPhil or PhD qualification. Research students are supported in their studies through a structured programme of supervision and training.

All of our research students are expected to maintain and develop a professional, social media presence, and to engage with the processes of open, digital scholarship. Research students are encouraged to participate in, and contribute to, wider departmental activities.

Research Areas

We are interested in working with research students in the following areas of Library & Information Science:

  • Foundations of the information sciences; philosophy of information, the concept of information in different domains
  • Documents and documentation
  • Information literacy
  • Information behaviour
  • Information history
  • Information ethics
  • New technologies as they relate to LIS


Entry requirements

Applicants should have a record of high academic achievement and will generally have attained, as a minimum, a good undergraduate degree (first or upper second class honours) from a UK university, or a recognised equivalent from an overseas institution.

In exceptional cases, we will consider applications from individuals with alternative qualifications, particularly if accompanied by relevant professional experience.

English requirements

Proof of English language proficiency will be required for applicants whose first language is not English. We require a minimum IELTS score of 7.5, with a minimum of 7 for writing.

Find out more about English language proficiency requirements at City.

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.


We offer the following types of award:

  • PhD by Major Thesis
  • MPhil.
  • PhD by Prior Publication

Research students are initially registered for the degree of MPhil. Promotion to PhD registration is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of a review process. This normally takes place towards the end of the first year of registration for full-time candidates and towards the end of the second year for part-time candidates.

The PhD programme concludes with the candidate submitting their research in the form of a PhD thesis and attending a viva voce examination in front of at least two examiners, at least one of whom will be external to City.

Funding options

  • Full-time EU: £6,000 per year
  • Part-time EU: £3,000 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £15,000 per year
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,500 per year

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase limited by the All Items Retail Prices Index. 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).

The writing-up fee for all candidates is £500 per year (maximum 1 year).

PhD by Prior Publication

  • EU Year 1: £7,500
  • EU Year 2: £3,750
  • Non-EU Year 1: £24,000
  • Non-EU Year 2: £12,000

Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and are likely to increase by approximately 3% annually.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.

Find out more about Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

Doctoral studentships

Find out about our fourteen full-time, three-year doctoral studentships for 2019/20 entry.



All research students are appointed a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors. One of these will be designated as the first point of contact with personal responsibility for ensuring that effective supervision is provided.


The supervisory team will discuss training requirements with the candidate when study is commenced. We may recommend that a candidate takes a number of taught modules, taken from the Masters courses in the Department of Library and Information Science, or from courses offered within the institutes of the University of London.

Research Environment

Research students are provided with a desk, PC and bookshelves in a shared office space, as well as to general City facilities. All research students are strongly encouraged to contribute to our research culture and to attend regular research seminars and meetings.

How to apply

We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry in February and October. Please see the requirements section above for eligibility criteria.

Before submitting your application, it is essential that you contact a member of staff in the department you are interested in, to discuss your ideas for research (research proposal). Unfortunately, we will not be able to consider your application without this pre-requisite.

Details of relevant academic staff can be found on our department pages.

You are advised to submit your application at least 10 weeks before your proposed start date in order for us to consider and process your application. Once you have identified a supervisor who will accept to guide through your research, please submit an application online using the link below:

Supporting documents

To apply online, an applicant will need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • Research proposal. The Research Proposal should be a maximum of 3 sides A4. See guidance on writing your research proposal
  • Copies of degree certificates and transcripts – original will be requested before an offer is made;
  • Official work e-mail addresses (not private ones) for two referees (one of which must be an academic);
  • Proof of English language proficiency (if applicable).
  • Evidence of sponsorship (if applicable).