MA PG Certificate PG Diploma
2022 start September 

Library and Information Services Management (Distance Learning)

Information School, Faculty of Social Sciences

Gain understanding, knowledge and practical insights so your career as a library and information professional can flourish. The MA and PG Diploma awards are CILIP accredited.
Information school

Course description

This course 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'll 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. You'll be prepared for a professional role in areas ranging from public service to business.

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CILIP accredited for the MA and PG Diploma awards


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

You’ll need 180 credits to get a masters degree, with 90 credits from core modules, 30 credits from optional modules and a dissertation (including dissertation preparation) worth 60 credits.

Core modules:

Personal and Professional Development Portfolio (distance learning)

This module aims to support students in their personal and professional development and career planning. They will develop skills in reflective practice, and understand how to assess and evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, skills and attributes as they move to the next stage of their careers. They will be able to evaluate the professional environment, and the contributions they make within that professional context. Students will be encouraged to develop personal and professional goals for the future. Topics will include reflective practice, career planning, and professional awareness.

15 credits
Information Organisation

This core module explores the organisational principles to facilitate the effective storage, search and retrieval of information and knowledge to meet users needs and domain requirements. Beginning with the challenges faced by those tasked with organising, the module considers the fundamental concepts, processes and issues that relate to the identification, organisation, maintenance and disposal of information and knowledge within various domains including libraries, museums, archives, computing, business, databases and the Web. A critical, evaluative and theoretical approach is adopted to ensure the modules learning outcomes transfer to students future studies and careers.

15 credits
Information and Knowledge Management (Distance Learning)

This module will examine principles and practices of information and knowledge management in the health sector. It will identify the different types of information and knowledge resources typically found in healthcare organisations and investigate methods used to generate, organise and exploit these assets. Real-world case studies will be used to illustrate and critique contemporary approaches to the design and implementation of information and knowledge audits, policies, strategies, products and services.

15 credits
Leadership, Strategy and Change

This module aims to support students in the development of a range of leadership skills. Students will develop an understanding of different leadership and wider management theories and techniques, and will be able to evaluate their application and usefulness in a library and information services management context, in a variety of organisational settings. Topics will include leadership, strategic management and change management.

15 credits
Information Literacy

The module aims to enable students to understand the concepts of information literacy and information behaviour from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Students will develop their own information literacy and their approach to teaching information literacy, and gain insight into developments internationally. They will learn about changes in the information environment, including the impact of new media. Learning will take place through online discussion and interaction, through viewing and reading learning materials and through assessments which develop students understanding and capabilities.

15 credits
Libraries, Information and Society

This module provides an overview of the role of library and information services (LIS) in contemporary society and introduces students to public policy issues and their implications for the provision of LIS. Students are introduced to current practices and contemporary concerns in academic, national, public and special/workplace libraries and encouraged to develop an awareness of the social, economic, political and cultural environment in which LIS operate. It examines the importance of users in the design and management of LIS, explores ethical issues and aims to develop a critical awareness of the role of LIS in contemporary society.

15 credits
Dissertation (distance learning)

This module enables students to carry out an extended piece of work on an approved information management topic, so that they can explore an area of specialist interest to them in greater depth. Students will be supported through tutorials with a project supervisor, will apply research methods appropriate to their topic, and implement their work-plan to produce an individual project report. Students will already have identified a suitable topic and designed a project plan in the pre-requisite unit Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation.

45 credits

Optional modules - two from:

Academic and Workplace Library, Information and Knowledge Services

This module introduces students to the purposes, functions and practices of a range of academic, research and other specialist library, information and knowledge services in the public and private sectors. It considers the challenges of developing and delivering services in a demanding, fast-moving and complex environment. Lectures are combined with sector-based case studies presented by visiting speakers drawn from diverse backgrounds giving extensive opportunities for interaction with specialist practitioners. Key issues covered include information resource management, open-access publishing and dissemination, research data management, information literacy teaching and specialist information services (in the legal, business and health sectors).

15 credits
Database Design and Data Management

Effective data management is key to any organisation, particularly with the increasing availability of large and heterogeneous datasets (e.g. transactional, multimedia and geo-spatial data). A database is an organised collection of data, typically describing the activities of one or more organisations and a core component of modern information systems. A Database Management System (DBMS) is software designed to assist in maintaining and utilising large collections of data and becoming a necessity for all organisations. This module provides an introduction to the area of databases and database management, relational database design and a flavour of some advanced topics in current database research that deal with different kinds of data often found within an organisational context. Lectures are structured into three main areas: (1) an introduction to databases, (2) the process of designing relational databases, and (3) advanced topics (e.g. data warehouses and non-relational databases). The course includes a series of practical sessions aimed at providing you with the skills required to implement a database in Oracle and extract information using the Structured Query Language (SQL).

15 credits
Information Governance and Ethics

The purpose of this module is to investigate topics related to the handling and governance of digital information and data in organizational and networked contexts. This will include an exploration of a) substantive issues and concerns e.g. accountability, decision-making, freedom, identity, intellectual property, openness, privacy, risk, security, and surveillance; b) the design and use of relevant technologies e.g. Internet, DPI, digital rights, open source, P2P, social media and c) systematic approaches and frameworks used in the regulation, governance and use of information in organizational and networked contexts e.g. copyright/left, data protection, freedom of information etc. Examples from business, government, health, law, and technology illustrate the topics investigated.

15 credits
Public and School Library Services

This module will enable students to understand and critically evaluate key elements of the principles, functions, practice, value and impact of school and public library services. The course will present the roles of these services, and the extent to which they support the educational, recreational, information and social needs of all members of society. There will be an exploration of key issues affecting school, public and prison library services today, and the extent to which they work independently and together to support the educational, recreational and social needs of the users. Recent and ongoing research will underpin the entire unit.

15 credits

Other courses:

Postgraduate Certificate requires a total of 60 credits
Postgraduate Diploma requires a total of 120 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


We have an international reputation for teaching and research in library management and the latest ideas are fed directly into the programmes.

You will be taught via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment and specialised distance-learning software, which delivers lectures, seminars and tutorials online in real-time. If you cannot attend live sessions you will be able to catch up on recordings and take part asynchronously in discussions using online fora.

Teaching for each module lasts 12 weeks with assessment deadlines typically in the middle and at the end of semesters. We recommend that you spend 10 hours a week, per module, for the 12 timetabled weeks and for the weeks leading up to and following teaching. This will include reading, viewing recorded lectures, undertaking coursework and assignment preparation, and participating in online lectures, activities and seminars. You will write your dissertation after teaching ends, in the final year of your course.

Throughout the course you'll have the support of a personal tutor and module coordinators and peer support through student-led discussions and interaction is also encouraged.


Assessments vary depending on the modules you choose but may include essays, briefing papers, reflective reports and portfolios, creation of a database and other relevant assessments.

There is 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 in employment, 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.


  • 2 years part-time by distance learning
  • 3 years part-time by distance learning

Your career

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


The University of Sheffield Information School is ranked number one in the world for library and information management in the QS World University Rankings by subject 2021. These rankings are based upon academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

The school has been at the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years. The subject is characterised by its distinctive, interdisciplinary focus on the interactions between people, information and digital technologies. It has the ultimate goal of enhancing information access, and the management, sharing and use of information, to benefit society.

When you come to study with us you'll be an integral part of our research culture. The school is your home and we pride ourselves on the friendliness and helpfulness of our staff.

We offer an outstanding academic education through a wide range of taught postgraduate degrees which embed the principles of research-led teaching.

When you join any of our degree programmes you'll develop a critical understanding of current issues in library and information management. You'll benefit from being taught by staff who are undertaking leading-edge research and who have many links with industry.

As part of our mission to provide world-quality university education in information, we aim to inspire and help our you pursue your highest ambitions for your academic and professional careers.

Student profiles

The course has exceeded my expectations. The subjects and materials are relevant to my current role and the course has provided an opportunity to improve transferable skills.”

Josephine Bailey
MA Library and Information Services Management student

Entry requirements

Entry requirements are flexible. You’ll need a combination of a good second-class honours degree and around 12 months’ information-related practical work experience.

If you don’t have a degree but your professional experience is extensive, you might be able to take the postgraduate certificate or diploma and upgrade to the MA later.

IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Two-year MA

The fees below apply to the two-year version of this course for 2022 entry.

Three-year MA

The fees below apply to the three-year version of this course for 2022 entry.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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