Archives and Records Management MPhil/PhD

Major code: AMMR/AMPR


Recordkeeping is as old as civilisation itself – indeed it has often been seen as a prerequisite for the development and organisation of communities and states. Today, effective records and information management is just as crucial; as technology continues to expand the potential for information creation and knowledge exchange, it’s vital to ensure that the knowledge and skills to manage those processes are available.

Subject Overview

Records and information have to be managed in order to ensure that there is access to them for as long as required – and for a multiplicity of purposes and different kinds of users. Many of these uses lie in the future yet still have to be provided for: records created now may be need for research in a hundred and maybe a thousand years, just as records created a millennium ago are still used – and usable – today.

Records and archives research thus legitimately concerns any area of human activity. It might be described as comprising the investigation into, development of, professional methodologies, models, frameworks and standards, ethics and professional practice, user needs, roles and responsibilities, legal, compliance and governance issues, metadata, data integrity and exchange and preservation management. 

Key Facts

Archives & Records Management Studies sits within the Department of History
History at the University of Liverpool was rated joint 3rd highest in the UK in terms of research activity (RAE 2008). 75% of the research activity was deemed 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent', with a further 20% classed as 'internationally recognised'

Why School of History?

Introduction to Archives and Records Management

The academic study of archives and records management is relatively recent as a research discipline, but just because of the way in which information permeates all areas of activity it is one with exciting interdisciplinary possibilities. At Liverpool we aim to enable you to exploit those possibilities by ensuring that you will have access to, and supervision where appropriate, to expertise not just within the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures but across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences which, along with arts and humanities, encompasses Management, Law and Social Justice . Similarly we welcome applications for potential research projects which partner with science, engineering or health sciences and/or which can be directly linked to the university’s strategic research priorities ; these include Changing Cultures and Security and Conflict Proposals for research projects with an international focus are welcomed; staff have excellent international links both professionally, through involvement with the International Council on Archives, and with the international academic community.

A century of expertise

The University of Liverpool has over a century of expertise in the area of record studies. Postgraduate education and training in archives and records management has been offered here since 1947 and the specialisation built on the work of the School of Local History and Records which was established in 1907. ‘Traditional’ historical research into archival topics is encouraged; while subject-specific staff have particular strengths in this area the research interests of staff in School of Histories, Languages and Cultures overall range from pre-history to the 21st century, with a similar geographical and linguistic breadth.

PhDs completed in 2011-12

‘Developing and applying diplomatic analysis to enhance archival interpretation and research uses of technical drawings’ ‘Hubert Hall (1857-1944): archival endeavour and the promotion of historical enterprise’ ‘The role of written records in peasant tenure and litigation: a study of the manor court rolls of Wakefield (Yorkshire) and Alrewas (Staffordshire) before 1381’ Need inspiration? Look at some of the archive and records-related research projects in which our research staff are involved: The Gascon Rolls Project : making available the primary sources for 150 years of Plantagenet rule in Aquitaine Shaman project: a major European-funded project on maintaining continuous access to digital content Mr Seel’s Garden : investigating changing patterns of urban food production with community participation

Support and Skills Training for PhD Students

We provide a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate research and welcome enquiries from all students interested in studying for a PhD. This is a postgraduate research qualification in which the emphasis is on independent research and study, culminating in a 100,000-word thesis. You will work with two supervisors (normally experts in your chosen field) who will advise and support you through the process of researching and writing the thesis. All postgraduate research students undertake the skills training programme provided by the Graduate School, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Histories, Languages & Cultures and History Department. This programme provides opportunities to acquire all the research skills you need in order to successfully complete your PhD. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the area we recognise that necessary research methodologies may not fit easily within any one traditional disciplinary research framework and we will work with you to ensure that that any methodological issues can be resolved. Students are represented on the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures Postgraduate Committee and there is a dedicated Staff-Student liaison committee to oversee our MA and PhD programmes. ARM research students are encouraged to participate in national and international ARM doctoral networks.

Our Commitment to Postgraduate Students

We are committed to providing our postgraduate students with effective academic, practical and pastoral support. We regularly invite applications for postgraduate studentships and bursaries. Successful doctoral candidates are well placed to take up academic posts in what is a growing international academic discipline.