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Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science

Much has changed since this program was established over 100 years ago. Despite these changes, our PhD in Library and Information Science degree program has consistently produced research essential to connecting people with the information they need.

Our PhD students are currently researching topics such as: collaborative mapping, physical and web accessibility, web analytics, taxonomy/ontology creation and management, digital humanities, scholarly collaboration on social media, information ethics, social and environmental implications of data centers, and more.

This is a research-driven program where you will work closely with professors, who are experts in their fields. Opportunities for our PhD students include:

  • Archives and Information Science: For doctoral students interested in pursuing academic careers in the archives area, with a focus on digital preservation or curation and archival ethics, accountability, and appraisal issues.
  • Information Behavior: For doctoral students who seek to understand how people plot a course through complex information ecologies including digital environments, and how such ecologies can respond to their ways of thinking, feeling, and valuing. A special emphasis is placed on behaviors of children and youth.
  • Health Information Behavior and Health Education Interventions: For doctoral students who wish to investigate the information practices and behaviors of health professionals, patients, caregivers, and consumers.
  • Social Information Systems: For doctoral students who will investigate issues related to the design and use of social information systems, focusing on the impact of social media on people’s information behavior.
  • Web-based Information Systems: For doctoral students interested in studying, designing, and implementing web-based systems for representing, retrieving, extracting, and disseminating relevant information.
  • School Librarianship: For doctoral students interested in teaching, research, and administrative experience in a top-ranked, competency-based School Library Certification Program designed for school librarians and school library supervisors.

Degree Requirements

This PhD degree requires a minimum of 54 credits beyond the master’s degree, with a total credit minimum of 72. A minimum of 36 credits must be taken in advanced course work. You must receive a letter grade in each course taken in this 36-credit requirement, except for the teaching practicum course.

An additional 18 credits are required which must be applied to dissertation research and writing; however, regardless of the number of credits taken, no more than 18 credits for dissertation research and writing may be applied toward graduation. The grade for these credits will appear as an “S” on your transcript. In order to register for, and successfully complete, dissertation credits, you must show evidence of work toward the dissertation by completing the “Dissertation Credit Tracking Checklist” and updating it at the end of the term.

The minimum of 36 credits of course work, all of which must be on the graduate level, must be distributed as follows:

  • 3 credits: LIS 3000 – INTRODUCTION TO DOCTORAL STUDIES
  • 9 credits: 3000-level doctoral seminars offered by SCI
  • 3 credits: LIS 3950 – TEACHING PRACTICUM or FACDEV 2200 – PRACTICUM ON UNIVERSITY TEACHING
  • 6 credits: Courses in research methodology and statistics
  • 6 credits: Courses in cognate field
  • 9 credits: Courses may be:
    • 3000-level independent studies or doctoral seminars offered by SCI
    • Additional 3000-level doctoral seminars offered by SCI
    • Additional cognate courses (up to 6 credits)
    • Additional research methodology courses

Admissions Information

The Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship seeks students with diverse educational and career backgrounds. By nature LIS degrees are multi-disciplinary, and we welcome applicants with bachelor’s degree and/or advanced degree from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Our multi-disciplinary nature is reflected in the wide range of standardized tests that are accepted by our admissions committee, which include the GRE, MAT, MCAT, GMAT, and LSAT

Supporting Documents for Admission

As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, your application must be accompanied by:

  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, your detailed academic and professional goals in relation to the Library and Information Science doctoral program and discussing in detail potential areas and/or topics in which you expect to pursue dissertation research. You SHOULD identify one or more ICDS faculty members with whom they want to work.
  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, publications, work, and other activities.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format (print or electronic), which should be authored solely by the applicant. You should explain the status of any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue research successfully. If the only suitable writing sample available for submission is a co-authored publication, the applicant must explain the nature and extent of his or her contribution to the work (e.g., percentage of the finished work written by the applicant), and should attach additional evidence as verification (for example, a statement by the primary author or co-author of the work, confirming the parts of the work contributed by the applicant).
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience in libraries, information centers, publishing, the information industry, education, or similarly related areas of professional activity, a brief description should be provided.

Prerequisites

Applicants must have a Master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association, a recognized international program, or the equivalent in a closely related field of study is required and have attained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 (on a scale with an “A” having a value of 4 points per credit). An international student’s GPA will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.

Letters of Recommendation

Identify and seek the recommendations of three individuals (e.g., professors, employers, information professionals) who are in a position to evaluate your academic performance or your potential as an information professional. Two references should be able to address your academic abilities, while the remaining references may discuss your professional experience and accomplishments.

Transcripts

Only scanned copies of official transcripts will be accepted and processed at the application stage.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

All applicants are required to submit a recent score (within five years of the date of application) on the Graduate Record Examination as part of their admission credentials. Scores on all three sections (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) of the General Section should be submitted.

Other Required Documentation

Please include the following with your online application:

  • A complete CV that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities.
  • A Statement of Intent (not to exceed 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student’s academic and professional goals in relation to the Library and Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format, which should be authored solely by the applicant. The student should describe fully any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue research successfully.
    • If the writing sample submitted is a co-authored publication, the applicant must explain the nature and extent of his or her contribution to the work, and should attach additional evidence as verification.
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience in libraries, information centers, publishing, the information industry, education, or similarly related areas of professional activity, a brief description should be provided.

For International Applicants

Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English to participate successfully in graduate study. International applicants must submit either the TOEFL or the IELTS (taken within two years of the date of application). A minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL or a minimum result of Band 7.5 on the IELTS is required.

For more information, visit our Graduate Admissions FAQ.