• For Entry: January | May | September
  • Duration: 12 -30 months
  • School: Humanities
  • Study Mode: Part Time+Distance Learning

This course covers the fundamental principles and practice of archive management and provides students with the basic knowledge to work in the archive sector either in the UK or overseas.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

We are the leading international provider of professional educational courses in recordkeeping and related disciplines by online distance learning. Since 2004 over 1000 individuals have undertaken professional education or training with us. The quality and breadth of our provision is unrivalled and the excellence of our courses has been recognised by academic and professional accreditation from the University of Dundee, Records & Information Management Professionals Australasia and the Archives & Records Association, UK & Ireland. CAIS has also been highly commended by the Information & Records Management Society, UK. We have also developed a global interdisciplinary research network focusing on aspects of recordkeeping in the context of memories, identities and communities.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

  • Delivered through My Dundee.
  • Learning materials are provided online with interactive links to resources.
  • Each course has a dedicated tutor to support students during their studies.
  • Students work in small groups and have frequent contact with each other and their tutors.
  • Tutors provide regular support and feedback through each semester.
  • The courses requires at least 15 hours of study time per week.

How you will be assessed

  • You'll be assessed through a mix of tasks and written assessments.

Certificate modules

Modules last for 9 or 15 weeks depending on whether they are 10 or 20 credit modules.

In Archive Services, Access and Preservation, we will be utilising professional UK and International standards and best practice, to study the complex balancing act of making unique archives available to users, whilst ensuring their preservation. We will consider the services users require, explore barriers to access, and discuss how we can facilitate and increase use. We will review the best ways to promote our collections, looking at websites, digitisation, outreach, publicity and educational activities. We will examine immediate and potential threats to the preservation of archives and consider practical ways in which these can be removed. Finally we will consider resource management, how best to manage time, staff and other resources to ensure that our responsibilities to users, archives and managers are met. Throughout the module we will be mixing theory with practice, looking at not just what we do but why we do it and looking at how standards and guidelines can best be applied in practice.

  • Users and access: providing services to users; users and their needs; access restrictions and regulations; legislation
  • Outreach: reaching a wider audience; publicity and promotion; online resources; outreach and inreach strategies;
  • Preservation: identifying risks to archives; responses to ensure protection of archives; storage requirements of different media; preservation policies
  • Management: staff, resource and time management; policies and procedures; measuring performance

Module code


Number of credits

20 SCQF credits (10 ECTS credits) on Level 5, SHE M (SCQF 11)


Pamela McIntyre, Clare Wood, Natalie Smith, Meirian Jump

This module will explore:

  • Introduction to theory and practice: historical development of the record keeping profession; functions and responsibilities of archivists; differences and similarities between records and archives
  • Acquisition and appraisal: policy development; methods of acquisition; accessioning procedures; the theory and practice of appraisal
  • Arrangement and description: provenance; arrangement; descriptive and indexing standards; finding aids; archives, the internet and new technologies

This Archive Management module builds on many of the topics and concepts discussed in The Theory and Context of Recordkeeping but focuses on the archival rather than the broader recordkeeping world. We will be looking at theoretical issues but very much in the context of practice. It is important that you are working or regularly volunteering in an archive, or if you are a records management student, have access to one. You will be drawing on this experience throughout the course, relating what you read to what you have seen in practice and applying what you learn to your working environment. You will also have plenty of opportunity to discuss issues and ideas with your fellow students.

Number of credits

20 SCQF credits (10 ECTS credits) on Level 5, SHE M (SCQF 11)


Craig GauldAlex Du ToitMelinda Haunton

Plus optional module(s) (total of 20 credits)

The requirement to be working or volunteering prior to, and throughout the duration of, the course gives students a distinct advantage in terms of appropriate work experience. The course itself is a mixture of theory and practice, and enables direct application of learning within the workplace. The dissertation gives students the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of direct benefit to employers.

Durham Burt

The course gave me with the opportunity to study for a professional qualification in the field of information management by distance learning whilst also working/volunteering in a relevant professional environment, an entry requirement of the course. This proved invaluable as it allowed me to not only study and apply my learning to day-to-day working practice but also apply practical experience to the learning process.

The course itself offered a broad and excellent range of modules that meant I was able to tailor my studies to reflect areas of professional interest and/or choose those subjects most relevant to my chosen career path. Being written and taught by practitioners and educators, the course gave me the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge from subject experts and equipped me with the skills needed to be a professional record-keeper.

Despite being distance taught, the programme never felt isolating as tutor’s made excellent and inventive use of discussion board forums, collaborative exercises and Skype chats to engender a positive community spirit. In addition, the administrative team were always on hand to answer queries and provide support, again fostering a strong and inclusive learning environment.  

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dundee and the experience of distance learning. I highly recommend the course to anyone looking to pursue a career in the field of archives and information management.

Durham Burt
Archives and Records Management MLitt

Ruth Macdonald

I had been working as an archive assistant for two or three years when I decided I wanted to qualify as an archivist, but I was reluctant to give up the everyday hands-on experience I was getting from working in an archive in order to study full-time. The PGDip by distance learning has allowed me to keep working while studying in my free time. I can't say it hasn't been hard at times, but it has definitely benefitted both my work and my study, as I've been able to apply the things I'm learning to my daily work and put my learning in context through practical experience.

The flexibility of the course has worked well for me. I was able to take a term off when I felt I needed some time to recuperate and digest the things I had learned so far, and I came back feeling refreshed and ready for the remaining modules. I've found the core course very wide-ranging and thorough in its coverage, but I've also enjoyed having the opportunity to specialise by choosing optional modules that interested me. I was able to develop completely new skills through my first optional module, Palaeography and Diplomatic, and choose a second, Public History, that allowed me to expand on and apply the knowledge and skills I'd gained from a previous Masters degree. I've also felt fortunate in having had great support from the tutors who've led my modules.

Ruth Macdonald
Archives and Records Management PGDip

Applications for Certificate programmes and modules via CPD are welcome from all candidates although we may discuss experience and suitability upon application.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.5
Speaking 6.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees (in pounds sterling) are below. Fees do not require to be paid in full at the beginning of study and are paid per module as study progresses, making it feasible for most students, who may or may not, be sponsored by their employers.

Fees for students starting 2019/20
Registration Fee Certificate £95
Individual 20 credit module £970
Individual 10 credit module £485
Certificate (Total cost) £2,910

Fees will be amended periodically.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

For further information on fees, see our Policy for Payment of Fees and Refunds.

Application deadlines:
 May 2019Sep 2019Jan 2020May 2020Sep 2020
MLitt/MSc/Dip 15 March 2019 12 July 2019 8 November 2019 13 March 2020 3 July 2020
PGCert/CPD 22 March 2019 19 July 2019 8 November 2019 20 March 2020 17 July 2020
Family and Local History
19 April 2019 23 August 2019 6 December 2019 17 April 2020 21 August 2020
Semester start date 6 May 2019 9 September 2019 13 January 2020 11 May 2020 7 September 2020

Supporting documents

  • References - Two references in support of your admission (one must be from your current employer detailing relevant experience; the other should be an academic reference). 
  • Referee Form 1  |  Referee Form 2   |   Referee Guidance
  • Photograph
  • CV
  • Copy of Academic Awards and Transcripts
  • Language Certificate (if applicable)

You will also need to

  • provide a personal statement of 500-750 words detailing previous experience and explaining why they want to undertake the course

Download Application Form

All application forms should be emailed to cais@dundee.ac.uk

All applications need to reach CAIS before midnight on the final day. Application forms will not be processed until all parts (including references) are submitted. If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact cais@dundee.ac.uk or +44 (0)1382 385543.

There are three possible outcomes to your application:

  • We make you an unconditional offer of a place on the course 
  • We make you a conditional offer of a place on the course, dependent upon your examination results and/or further work experience 
  • We do not make you an offer of a place on the course

Course Contact

Mrs Nicola Barton
+44 (0)1382 385543