MA Librarianship

Start date: September
Duration: 1 year full-time or 2-3 years part-time
Programme codes: MA: INFT03 (full-time), INFT13 (part-time)
PG Diploma: INFT32 (full-time), INFT33 (part-time)
PG Certificate: INFT34 (full-time), INFT35 (part-time)
Accreditation: MA & Diploma accredited by CILIP.

Cilip

This course is also available as a Professional Enhancement course - see bottom of 'Overview' page.

Overview

Library and information professionals need strong information handling, managerial and interpersonal skills, plus an understanding of the power of technology to transform information services provision. They must also have the imagination, commitment and enthusiasm to play a part in the exciting changes taking place in the fast-developing information world.

Why should I take this course?

The MA Librarianship is aimed at resourceful people with excellent communication and organisational skills, with ambitions to work in a wide range of library and information roles in a variety of sectors including public, academic, health, schools, media, archives, charity, business and law. It brings you into a strong student community which actively encourages participation and extracurricular activities.

If this sounds like you and you have practical experience of working in a library or information-related role, but wish to enhance your skills to further your career, this CILIP-accredited course will be a valuable addition to your CV.

What will I gain?

The course aims to produce rounded practitioners who can contribute value to an organisation immediately, through core professional skills and a grasp of strategic and practical issues. It provides an in-depth understanding of managerial and ethical issues involved in leading and supporting physical and digital library services and developmental initiatives.

It will introduce you to the best current thinking and practice, and equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to enter this fast developing sector. You will learn core competencies in IT, management and information handling, together with a wide range of specialisms.

The skills of librarians and information specialists are essential to identify, control, organise and make accessible the ever-increasing amounts of information available in paper, digital and multimedia formats. This course prepares you for a professional role in areas ranging from public service to business.

What will I learn?

The course focuses on the creation, management and use of information, building core skills such as management of library and information services, and effective information retrieval.

You will also choose core options such as the study of academic and research libraries, as well as more specialist modules such as database design, archive management and digital libraries. In addition to lectures, seminars and practical sessions there will be opportunities to take part in field trips and discussions with practitioners so that you can apply your learning to real-life situations.

You will also be expected to complete a dissertation on a subject of your choice by September, so the second semester includes a research methods and dissertation preparation module to help you with your research over the summer.

How will I be taught and assessed?

The Information School has an international reputation for teaching and research in library management, and the latest ideas are fed directly into the MA Librarianship programme.

A variety of teaching methods are used, combining lectures from academic staff and professional practitioners with seminars, tutorials, small-group work and computer laboratory sessions, as well as visits to library and information services. There is strong emphasis on problem-solving and individual aspects of learning, with the expectation that you will engage in independent study, reading and research in support of your coursework.

Assessments vary depending on the modules you choose but may include essays, in-class tests, briefing papers and literature reviews, and creation of a website or database, or production of a library
design, plus presentations.

There is also a dissertation of 10–15,000 words, which provides the opportunity, under one-to-one supervision, to focus in depth on a topic of your choice. You may choose to carry out your dissertation with an external organisation, for instance if you are a Professional Enhancement student, your project could be directly related to your own work situation. In the past, students who have carried out such dissertations have welcomed the opportunity to tackle 'real-life' problems.

In addition, an important element of the course is the acquisition and development of the transferable skills needed in today’s workplace. These include skills in oral and written communication, developed through doing presentations and report writing as part of assessed work. Organisational and teamworking skills are developed through group work. We seek to develop your management and leadership capabilities on the course too.

Professional Enhancement Course

MA Librarianship (Professional Enhancement)

Start date: September
Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Programme codes: INFT98 (full-time), INFT99 (part-time)

The PE programme is specially designed for you if you have two or more years' relevant work experience in the library and information profession and wish to study for a higher degree to develop your knowledge and skills.

The number of credits you gain varies according to the level of study (Masters, 180; PG Diploma, 120; PG Certificate, 60). You must take all core modules and choose the remainder of your credits from the list of approved modules.
Modules

To obtain an MA you must take modules totaling 180 Credits from the following, including the Core, Dissertation and Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation modules, and up to three Independent Study modules.

Core Modules (Modules that you have to take) Semester Credits
INF6005 Management for Library and Information Services 1 & 2 30
You must also take a minimum of 45 credits and a maximum of 90 credits from the following:
INF6002 Information and Knowledge Management 1 15
INF6003 E-Business and E-Commerce 2 15
INF6012 Designing Usable Websites 1 15
INF6019 Digital Multimedia Libraries 2 15
INF6024 Researching Social Media 2 15
INF6025 Information Governance and Ethics 2 15
INF6031 Public and Youth Library Services 2 15
INF6033 Data and Society 2 15
INF6034 Digital Advocacy 2 15
INF6040 Business Intelligence 2 15
INF6050 Database Design 2 15
INF6060 Information Retrieval: Search Engines and Digital Libraries 1 15
INF6180 Libraries, Information and Society 1 15
INF6200 Academic and Workplace Library, Information and Knowledge Services 2 15
INF6350 Information Literacy 1 15
INF6840 Archives and Records Management 2 15
This may include up to three of the following:
INF6006 Independent Study (S1a) 1 15
INF6007 Independent Study (S1b) 1 15
INF6008 Independent Study (S2a) 2 15
INF6009 Independent Study (S2b) 2 15
You will also take the following:
INF6000 Dissertation Summer 45
INF6340 Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation 2 15

Entry Requirements

To apply for the PE programme you need:

  • at least two years' relevant work experience, and an undergraduate degree in librarianship/information studies/information systems or in any subject area together with an acceptable relevant professional qualification.
  • an undergraduate degree in another subject area, and at least five years' relevant work experience.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Other Professional Enhancement Courses

  • Postgraduate Certificate require a total of 60 Credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma requires a total of 120 Credits

Other Courses

  • Postgraduate Certificate require a total of 60 Credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma requires a total of 120 Credits
  • Professional Enhancement
Modules

The full-time MA in Librarianship is a 12 month programme, running from September to September. Teaching consists of two 12-week semesters, from late September to the following June. You will then write your dissertation and finish in early September.

Students studying part time will complete their course over two or three years.

Please note that all modules are taught between 9.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Modules have a value of credits: 180 credits are required for graduation. 90 of these are compulsory (Core) modules, 30 are elective and 60 credits are allocated to the dissertation.

Core Modules (Modules that you have to take) Semester Credits
INF6005 Management for Library and Information Services 1 & 2 30
INF6060 Information Retrieval: Search Engines and Digital Libraries 1 15
INF6180 Libraries, Information and Society 1 15
You must also take a minimum of 15 credits and a maximum of 30 credits from the following:
INF6031 Public and Youth Library Services 2 15
INF6200 Academic and Workplace Library, Information and Knowledge Services 2 15
You must also take a minimum of 15 credits and a maximum of 30 credits from the following:
INF6006 Independent Study (S1a) 1 15
INF6008 Independent Study (S2a) 2 15
INF6019 Digital Multimedia Libraries 2 15
INF6024 Researching Social Media 2 15
INF6025 Information Governance and Ethics 2 15
INF6033 Data and Society 2 15
INF6034 Digital Advocacy 2 15
INF6040 Business Intelligence 2 15
INF6050 Database Design 2 15
INF6840 Archives and Records Management 2 15
You will also take the following:
INF6000 Dissertation Summer 45
INF6340 Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation 2 15

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Other Courses

  • Postgraduate Certificate require a total of 60 Credits
  • Postgraduate Diploma requires a total of 120 Credits
  • Professional Enhancement
Entry Requirements

Academic background

You are normally expected to have at least a good second-class honours degree, or its equivalent, in any subject discipline.

You would also normally be expected to have some library or other information-related practical work experience. Your experience can be full or part time, paid or voluntary, based in a library or another organisation carrying out an information role. Some applicants have 12 months' work experience or more, but others do not; there is flexibility around this. The key point is that your experience should be substantial enough to allow you to bring it to bear in the course. Please contact us if you have queries about your work experience.

If you are looking to gain work experience following your first degree and prior to applying for the MA Librarianship programme, you may wish to apply for a dedicated graduate training vacancy. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) provides information about graduate traineeships and volunteering on their website.

If you do not have an undergraduate degree but have other qualifications and substantial relevant work experience you may be considered for entry onto the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma programmes.

English Language Entry Requirements

If your first language is not English you need to provide documentary evidence of English Language competence. You must meet the following minimum requirements:

IELTS
Overall score 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Speaking 6.0
Writing 6.0

Details of other qualifications recognised by the University of Sheffield can be found on the English language requirements webpage. You can also compare grades for English language assessments on the English Language Teaching Centre website.

If your application is successful you may need to attend an English Language class in the University before or during the course.

Open Days

If your application is successful we will invite you to attend an Open Day at the School. We hold these several times a year, and will inform you of possible dates when we contact you. Attendance at an open day is optional but will give you the opportunity to see our facilities and to meet the academic staff and current students.

There is currently no closing date for applications for the coming academic year, but we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Careers

Your career prospects

A postgraduate qualification in library and information management is essential for many roles in the library and information profession. Our MA Librarianship programme has been designed for people who want to enter the profession or who are preparing to take the next step up in their careers.

Placements and work experience

There are a number of opportunities made available to students to gain experience of the workplace. These include part-time paid roles reserved for our students at the University of Sheffield Library, internships organised as part of the University internship scheme, and volunteering opportunities in various community-based projects. We support students in gaining places on these various schemes (taking particular care to ensure that student volunteers do not replace paid roles in any organisation), and those that choose to take advantage of them always find them very useful.

What people are saying about careers in librarianship

Modern library and information services require professionals who can manage large volumes of information in both digital and traditional forms. Graduates from the MA Librarianship programme are equipped with the skills that are needed for the developing role of the library and information professional in organisations today.

Who is employing graduates?

Our graduates have gone on to work in a variety of organisations and sectors:

  • Higher and further education libraries, including University of Cambridge, King’s College London, Stanford University, Rotherham College of Arts and Technology
  • Public library authorities, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, London (Westminster)
  • Other public sector organisations, including BBC, government departments such as DCMS, Environment Agency
  • Private sector organisations, including KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Eversheds (solicitors)
  • Charities, including British Red Cross, Stroke Association

What jobs could I do?

Graduates from the MA Librarianship degree follow a range of career paths and after graduating they take up a range of roles including:

  • Librarian
  • Subject Support Librarian
  • Learning Resources Centre Manager
  • Data Librarian
  • Information Officer
  • Information Research Specialist
  • Cataloguer
  • Library Technician
  • Knowledge Manager
  • Research Assistant.
Course Team

The course tutors in the department are all research active, and many have a professional background, so have first-hand experience. We also invite guest lecturers, who are leading thinkers and practitioners in the field, so you will have a chance to talk with professionals about real life problems and solutions, as well as making contacts to build your professional network.

Course Coordinator

“My main teaching interests are in library and information services strategy and management, digital library development, project management, systems implementations in organisations, scholarly communications, publishing, and research data management.

I have 23 years’ practitioner experience working in a variety of roles, from library assistant to Chief Information Officer in a research-led university. I bring this experience to bear in my teaching and research.

I have experience of a wide range of national and international professional activities and am currently external adviser to the University of Nottingham Centre for Research Communications, and a member of the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Academic Content and Communications Advisory Panel and Russell Group Open Data Roadmap Group.”

Stephen Pinfield 2014

Prof Stephen Pinfield

Deputy Coordinator

"Much of my teaching and research relates to public, youth and school libraries and librarianship. Within these three areas I have a particular focus on public libraries, social justice and diversity, and on reading research and the promotion of literature and reading. I have been responsible for developing new modules and new programme materials in each of these areas, for both face to face and distance learning Masters programmes.

It is my view that with a vocational discipline such as Library and Information Science we need to combine the more standard teaching methods with a more ‘outward-facing’ approach, and I have introduced a number of engaged learning initiatives in my teaching. My recent writing on the subject is included in two Engaged Learning Sheffield publications, and in posts on the University of Sheffield Engaged Curriculum blog.

In 2016, I was awarded a Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences Award, for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching."

Briony Birdi 2014

Dr Briony Birdi

FAQ
Will doing a course in Librarianship restrict me to work in libraries only?

Many of our graduates go on to work in various roles libraries in different sectors (academic, public and so on). However, others go on to work in information-related roles in different settings. The MA Librarianship degree is designed to equip you to carry out both library-based roles and also wider information-related roles. Our graduates say that the course increases the opportunities available to them.

How much work experience do I need?

We ask applicants to have some kind of practical work experience. This demonstrates a commitment to the profession and also means that they come to the course with some understanding of roles in the information world. Traditionally, applicants did a 12-month graduate trainee role, and that is still the case for many of our students; but there are an increasingly wide range of other entry paths. Your experience might be full or part-time, paid or voluntary, in a library or other organisation in an information-related role. It does not necessarily need to be as long as 12 months but should be substantial enough in order for you to be able to bring it to bear on the course.