The European Education Directory

MSc Information and Library Studies

By Dr Peter Reid
Postgraduate Programme Manager


The MSc in Information and Library Studies is a very long-established course with an excellent record of student success. It consists of a range of practically-based modules, designed to ensure that students learn all the skills necessary to pursue a successful career in information and library management work. The course has been rated ‘excellent’ by the Quality Assurance Agency in the United Kingdom and is professionally accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the United Kingdom.
The information industry is expanding rapidly, providing a wide range of opportunities for those equipped with the right mix of managerial, professional and technological knowledge and skills. The course is part of a suite of Masters programmes which includes Information Analysis, Knowledge Management and Electronic Information Management.

This course is suitable for all types of students, regardless of their background and work experience. Successful participants can look forward to good employment prospects because the rapid expansion of the information industry is creating a wide variety of opportunities for those equipped with the managerial, professional and technological knowledge and skills developed on this course. There is consistent demand for librarians and information scientists in public and academic libraries and also in specialised information departments in a range of other types of public and private sector organisations. Opportunities are also arising from developments in networking and multimedia information services in commercial and educational establishments. Modules in the course can be taken on a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) basis.

The course is available on a full or part-time basis on-campus or by distance learning using The Robert Gordon University’s Virtual Campus.

Non-quota funding* from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) available for applicants from the EU for the full-time course

* Full payment of fees, subject to eligibility

What are the benefits for the student?

Students will gain:

  • a professional qualification approved by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK
  • good employment prospects, regardless of background and work experience, after training in one of the most exciting and innovative disciplines
  • the problem-solving and learning skills necessary for employment in this sector
  • transferable skills in current information and communications technologies
  • sound problem-solving skills, applicable to the modern workplace
  • opportunities to participate in the development of the course, through a positive and active programme of collaboration
  • through distance learning, the flexibility of studying from home, at work or while travelling, and at any time of the day or night
  • access to a comprehensive range of online library resources, including e-journals and databases.
Structure and Content

The MSc Information and Library Studies course is provided by the Department of Information Management at the Aberdeen Business School, which is part of The Robert Gordon University. Each of the eight modules in the course is worth 15 credit points and requires approximately 150 hours of study. Studying part-time, two modules are undertaken each semester, which is a period of approximately 15 weeks. The full MSc course can be completed in 36 months, depending on the start date. All assessment is by coursework. The information and library studies market is diverse, and new developments are continually emerging. At the same time, everyone's general knowledge of the area is increasing. We therefore regularly review the course content to ensure that the material is highly current. The modules are as follows:

Information Studies - The aim of this module is to provide the ability to evaluate sources of information and the manner in which information may be mediated in response to the full range of information need, both organisational and individual.

Information Management: Policy, Process and Use - The aim of this module is to provide students with the ability to appraise information management policy and processes, as well as to examine information gathering needs and the characteristics of user communities, and to analyse effective performance, delivery and response in information management.

Technical Services - The aim of this module is to provide students with the ability to use proprietary software packages to create and manipulate information in a variety of formats, and to present the information using both print and online formats.

Resource Management - The aim of this module is to provide students with the ability to evaluate the management of financial and human resources in information management organisations and practice. It also sets out to examine and evaluate their role and importance in effective performance evaluation and decision-making.

Subject Specification - The aim of this module is provide students with the ability to evaluate indexing techniques for information retrieval.

Reference and Enquiry Services - The aim of this module is the examination of the reference and enquiry process. It enables students to examine a realistic information problem, and provide a useful and authoritative solution to that problem, within an understanding of reference service management.

Fieldwork Placement - This module provides the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained from the course and place them in context. A variety of placement options exist for online students, including: analysing their current workplace (if they are employed in information or library work), undertaking a part-time placement, or undertaking a virtual placement.

Research Methods - The aim of this module is to provide students with the ability to identify appropriate strategies and techniques for analysing problems and conducting investigations. It also enables students to evaluate and apply research design and methodologies. The module is assessed by a Research Proposal, which can be used as the foundation for the Masters dissertation if students continue to that stage.

Masters Dissertation - The Masters stage enables students to apply and extend the knowledge and experience gained at the Postgraduate Diploma stage by carrying out an independent investigation of a topic within a relevant field. The Masters stage consists of a dissertation, normally 20,000 words long, that is based on the Research Methods module proposal. Students work independently under tutorial supervision to undertake the research and prepare the dissertation.

What next?

If you have been interested by what you have read and are seriously thinking about admission to the programme you need to have:
  • an honours degree in any discipline
  • proficiency in English – they should be able to produce well-structured work, summarise key points clearly and discuss issues in writing from different points of view (normally an IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL 5.5 is required but this may be waived if applicants have experience of working in English or can demonstrate their proficiency in some other way acceptable to the Course Leader)
  • (for distance learning) access to a personal computer or Apple Mac, with an Internet connection of at least 56k speed, word processing software such as Microsoft Word, a CD drive, audio capability (sound card and speakers or headphones) and a printer. Also, a willingness to spend some time in discussion and working online with others in their tutor group, sharing their experience and learning from them
Which ever mode of delivery is taken, it requires commitment, determination, enthusiasm and the ability to work independently!

Our strength lies in providing high quality vocationally relevant education and research, the success of which is reflected in our outstanding record of graduate employment. For generations, The Robert Gordon University as a whole has produced qualified professionals across a broad spectrum of careers. Aberdeen Business School is one of the leading providers of management and professional education in Scotland, and one of the largest business schools in the United Kingdom. Currently, over 3,000 students are studying a comprehensive range of courses. Strong links with industry, commerce and the public sector ensure that the courses remain practical yet innovative, and offer students the very best learning experiences available.

If you have found this article interesting and would like to know more then please contact Dr Peter Reid on or +44 (0)1224 263927


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