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    MA PG Certificate PG Diploma
    2024 start September 


    Information School, Faculty of Social Sciences

    Aimed at resourceful people with excellent communication and organisational skills, this course is ideal for those with ambitions to work in library and information roles across a wide variety of sectors. The MA and PG Diploma awards are CILIP accredited.
    Image of postgraduate Information School student in the Diamond

    Course description

    You'll be introduced to the best current thinking and practice 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.

    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.

    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.

    If you have two or more years' relevant work experience in the information sector and wish to study for a higher degree, you may be interested in our Professional Enhancement programme. This is designed for people already in work who want to further their careers, and allows greater freedom in module choice in recognition of your existing expertise.


    CILIP-accredited for the MA and PG Diploma awards


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    You’ll need 180 credits to get a masters degree, with 75 credits from core modules, 45 credits from optional modules and a dissertation (including dissertation preparation) worth 60 credits.

    Core modules:

    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 galleries, libraries, archives, museums, businesses and online. A critical, evaluative and theoretical approach is adopted to ensure the module's learning outcomes transfer to students' future studies and careers.

    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
    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 understanding of its application to their future lives. They will learn through lectures, practical exercises and activities carried out for the assessed coursework and in formative exercises which are an integral part of the class.

    15 credits
    Management for Library and Information Services

    The module aims to prepare students to manage people and resources effectively in their future place of work , and how to work effectively in a variety of different types of organisations and sectors. Students will develop their management knowledge and skills, working towards a goal of becoming confident and reflective practitioners. They will be introduced to key management issues and theories in the context of library and information services (LIS). Topics include: management and leadership, strategic planning, team working, marketing of library and information services, staff recruitment and appraisal, financial management, management of information systems and technology in LIS, management of library buildings and spaces, business process management, relationship management and service evaluation. In addition the module includes a professional development and employability strand, in which students focus on key employability themes such as developing and showcasing skills, CV building, professional issues and LIS sector awareness. This element also includes recruitment and selection skills development in order to help students prepare for entering the world of employment.

    30 credits
    Research Methods and Dissertation Preparation

    This module assists students in the identification of, and preparation of a dissertation proposal. Students will: familiarise themselves with on-going research in the School; identify and prepare a dissertation proposal; carry out a preliminary literature search in the area of the dissertation research topic; and be introduced to the use of social research methods and statistics for information management.

    15 credits

    This module enables students to carry out an extended piece of work on an Information School approved 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 - one or two from:

    Public, School, and Prison Library Services

    This module will enable students to understand and critically evaluate key elements of the principles, functions, practice, value and impact of school, public, and prison 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. Students will be introduced to key professional skills required to work in these sectors, including reader development, design library spaces and advocating for library services. Recent and ongoing research will underpin the entire unit.

    15 credits
    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 educational, public, charitable, and private sectors. It considers the challenges of delivering and developing services in a demanding, fast-moving and complex environment. Lectures are combined with sector-based case studies presented by visiting speakers drawn from various backgrounds, giving extensive opportunities for interaction with specialist practitioners.

    15 credits

    Optional modules - one or two from:

    Researching Social Media

    The module will examine the key theoretical frameworks and methods used in social media studies. Students will explore the following questions: 1) What can be learnt about society by studying social media? 2) How should researchers construct ethical stances for researching sites such as Facebook and Twitter? 3) What are the traditional and digital research methods and tools that can be applied to conduct research on social media? 4) What are the strengths and weaknesses of these methods?

    15 credits
    Information Governance and Ethics

    This module explores a) the emergence of information and data as an economic resource; b) the governance challenges and ethical issues arising from organisations' systematic capture, processing, and use of information and data for organisational goals, e.g. value, risk, accountability, ownership, privacy etc; c) governance, ethical, legal and other frameworks relevant to the capture, processing and use of information and data within organisational and networked contexts; and d) technologies and techniques used in the governing and governance of information and data. Case examples from a number of domains, e.g. business, government, health, law, and social media illustrate the topics investigated.

    15 credits
    Business Intelligence

    We will cover the principles and practices of gathering and synthesising business intelligence from the external environment, including organisations,  competitive intelligence operations, environmental scanning activities, market intelligence, and strategic intelligence using open source information. A  secondary focus for the module is the role of BI software in organisations to collect and analyse internal information. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which business people use information and of how information is used to support strategic decision-making. Students will learn how to carry out effective searches using both free and fee-based resources, and will study key issues concerning the value, cost and availability of information. The module will concentrate primarily on external information resources but also covers the ways in which information internal to an organisation can be used strategically to enhance competitive advantage. Students will learn through a combination of lectures and practical exercises, and will have opportunities to develop expertise in using business-focused electronic information services.

    15 credits
    Database Design

    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: An introduction to databases, The process of designing relational databases, Advanced topics (e.g. data warehouses and non-relational databases) The course includes a series of online tasks with supporting 'drop in' laboratories 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
    User-Centred Design and Human-Computer Interaction

    Interface design and usability are central to the experience of interacting with computers. The module introduces usability principles and the design process for interactive systems exploring four major themes. Firstly, user psychology and cognitive principles underlying interface design. Secondly, user interface architectures, modes of interaction, metaphors, navigational structures. Thirdly, the user interface design process including task analysis, modelling constructs and prototyping techniques. Fourthly, the evaluation of user interfaces covering concepts of usability, goals and types of evaluation. The module focus is on the underlying principles of HCI and user-centred design approach with practical sessions to demonstrate these principles.

    15 credits
    Archives and Records Management

    This module prepares students for roles within archives and records management, with emphasis on archives.  Students will develop knowledge and awareness of key theories and practices in archives and records management. The module introduces students to some of the principal issues surrounding the provision of archives and records management services and the challenges of meeting user needs within an organisational context. In addition to presenting the fundamental principles the second part of the module focuses on specific topics of interest, such as: community archiving, digital preservation, web archiving and oral history collecting.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    Find out what makes us special at our next online open day on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time
    • 3 years part-time


    The Information School has an international reputation for teaching and research in library management, and the latest ideas are fed directly into the Librarianship MA 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'll engage in independent study, reading and research in support of your coursework.

    Teaching consists of two 15-week semesters. After this you will write your dissertation.


    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.

    Your career

    A postgraduate qualification in library and information management is essential for many roles in the library and information profession. Our Librarianship MA 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.

    Modern library and information services require professionals who can manage large volumes of information in both digital and traditional forms. You'll be equipped with the skills that are needed for the developing role of the library and information professional in organisations today.

    Librarianship MA graduates are employed in libraries and information roles in all sectors in roles such as:

    • Librarian
    • Learning Resource Centre Manager
    • Information Officer
    • Records Manager
    • Knowledge Manager

    Examples of organisations that have employed our graduates include:

    • Various further and higher education institutions in the UK and overseas
    • Public libraries in the UK and internationally
    • Health organisations including various NHS Trusts


    Information School

    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 2023. 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 you pursue your highest ambitions for your academic and professional careers.

    Entry requirements

    Main course

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree.

    Professional Enhancement

    This is a different route to the main course. It's aimed at those who already have relevant work experience. To apply for this route you need either:

    • an undergraduate degree in any subject discipline and at least 2 years' relevant work experience, or
    • an undergraduate degree in any subject together with an acceptable relevant professional qualification and at least 2 years' relevant work experience

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

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


    You can apply now 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.