Research course

Information Studies

University of Glasgow · College of Arts
PhDMLitt by researchMPhilMRes

Entry requirements

Our regular standard of admission is at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1), although candidates will usually also have completed or be undertaking a Masters qualification.

Research proposal

Candidates are required to provide an outline of the proposed research subject in about 1000 words. This need not be a final thesis proposal but should include:
  • a straightforward, descriptive, and informative title
  • the question that your research will address
  • an account of why this question is important and worth investigating
  • an assessment of how your own research will engage with recent study in the subject
  • a brief account of the methodology and approach you will take
  • a discussion of the primary sources that your research will draw upon, including printed books, manuscripts, archives, libraries, or museums
  • an indicative bibliography of secondary sources that you have already consulted and/or are planning to consult

Your application, including your references and research proposal, will be passed to members of staff whose expertise and research interests most closely match the area of your proposed study.

Months of entry


Course content

Information Studies has a vibrant research culture that investigates a range of topics in the fields of information studies and digital culture, and digital humanities. Rapid technological change, massive volumes of digital information of increasing complexity pose significant challenges to our individual and collective use and curation of information. Fundamental concepts such as identity, memory, authenticity, trust, transparency, accountability, representation, engagement, preservation and access are important aspects of information studies in a digital era. These concerns demand a fresh theoretical approach, a deeper understanding of the nature of information and innovative solutions that connect theory with practice, people with information, and technology with humanity.

Our research focuses on the following areas:

Theoretical approaches to information

Issues of post-modernism, relativism, and information processing in both computational and post-computational frameworks.

Management, Curation and Evaluation of Digital Assets

Information Studies has longstanding and internationally recognised research strengths in digital preservation, curation and data management, with a particular emphasis on collaborative, translational research in national and international digital asset management. Our research considers the complex questions that surround our ICT-enabled audit and compliance cultures, and particularly the relationship with such facilities as automation, the semantic web, social networking and mobile devices, Artificial Intelligence, and the use and re-use of digital content and data.

Archive, Records and Information Management

Information Studies carries out research on archive, records and (personal) information management (RIM), and had established a track record of externally funded research projects in this area. Information Studies at the University of Glasgow has pioneered a risk-based approach to research and learning in this area that distances us from the existing literature, and crucially places ARIM at a strategic level within organisations.

Digital Cultural Heritage and Digital Museology

Information Studies staff have been engaged in a number of innovative projects to create digital access to cultural heritage assets, conducting research on all aspects of the construction and use of knowledge in a digital age. Information Studies research has a particular focus on the design and presentation of interactive and participatory online resources, the use of digital collections for research, teaching, and public engagement, and the use of digital approaches for constructing heritage narratives.

Digital Humanities and Arts

The University of Glasgow is a foundational location for Digital Humanities, with many pioneers in the field based at Glasgow. We welcome applications from prospective students interested in researching the core principles of digital humanities: digital content, tools and methods, and the development of the practice of digital humanities as an important intervention in the research life cycle in the humanities: to carry out ‘traditional’ research more effectively; to create deeper and richer engagement with primary sources; and to configure new and innovative research questions. We especially welcome those studying the theoretical consequences of using digital approaches, and the implications the digital in the arts and humanities.

Many University of Glasgow innovations in digital humanities are documented through the Glasgow Digital Humanities Network.

Topics of particular interest

Information Studies places great emphasis on the relationship of theory and practice in the information society drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives and experience from different parts of the globe. Research students are expected to join the departmental research seminars and contribute to discussion and publications, and make an active contribution to the research environment in the subject area. Staff are always delighted to discuss research proposals and ideas with prospective students. Topics of particular interest within these areas include:

  • Digital media in cultural heritage (ranging from behind the scenes collection information systems to social media and mobile apps for interpretation)
  • Visitor studies and evaluation of information use
  • Digital collections: use, value and impact
  • The transformation of archival practice
  • Digital manuscripts and advanced imaging
  • The use of digital tools and methods in humanities and arts research
  • Citizen science and crowdsourcing
  • Multimedia Tools and Applications (ranging from music analysis to lifelogging)
  • Record keeping, archives, and accountability
  • Gamification in heritage settings and beyond

Information for international students

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 7.0 with no sub-test under 7.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MLitt by research
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MRes
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details