Each student will complete at least 39 graduate hours while enrolled in the iSchool doctoral program prior to entering candidacy. A full-time student will ordinarily take two to three years to complete this coursework. To count toward a Ph.D., all coursework must be no more than six years old when the doctoral student is admitted to candidacy. 

The table below shows the minimum required coursework. Students may take, or be required by their committees to take, additional courses.


Number of graduate credit hours

Doctoral core:

INF 391D.10, Survey of Information Studies

INF 391D.11, The Research Enterprise

INF 391D.12 Disciplinary Foundations for Information Studies





Research methods courses


Electives (within and/or beyond the School of Information)


Minimum total prior to entering candidacy


Doctoral Core

Each student, whether full- or part-time, must take “Survey of Information Studies” in the fall of the student’s first academic year in the program and “Disciplinary Foundations for Information Studies” in the spring of that first year.

Students will take “The Research Enterprise” as soon as practical, usually in the fall of their first year.

Research Methods Courses

Each student must take a minimum of nine credit hours of graduate-level research methods courses beyond the doctoral core:

  • One graduate-level course in qualitative methods – three (3) credit hours
  • One graduate level course in quantitative methods – three (3) credit hours
  • One further graduate-level course germane to building skills to undertake research – three (3) credit hours. 

All course choices should be discussed with the student’s chair, consulting other committee members as appropriate, and, prior to enrolling in the course, obtain approval and confirmation of the appropriateness of such courses for fulfilling the research methods requirement. Research methods courses may be offered and taken within or outside of the iSchool, either as formal courses (e.g., Advanced Topics in Research Methods, Methodologies, and Design, 391F) or informal courses (such as Directed Readings, INF 391D.06 or Directed Research, INF 391D.07). The third course (beyond the two courses of qualitative and quantitative methods) might include advanced qualitative or quantitative methods, or coursework in skills necessary to undertake the anticipated dissertation research, including foreign languages, computer programming languages, policy analysis, linguistic analysis, information systems design, or skills in particular areas, such as chemistry or neuroscience.

iSchool Electives

All PhD students must successfully complete at least twelve credit hours of graduate coursework in the School of Information beyond the doctoral core. Each student, with the student’s advisor and other members of the student’s committee, determines course selection based on the student’s research interests, previous coursework, professional experience, and dissertation intentions.

When offered, students are encouraged to take Advanced Topics in Information Studies (INF 391E), which may be repeated when the topics of the offerings vary.

Students are encouraged to consider the following, each of which can be taken individually or in a small group of doctoral students working with a single faculty member:

  • Directed Research (INF 391D.07) in which they work closely with faculty to contribute to original research, either in an apprenticeship mode as part of the faculty member’s research agenda or as a student-driven research project.
  • Directed Readings (INF 391D.06), in which they work closely with faculty to complete an in-depth examination of the primary research and theory literature of the field as a whole in preparation for their qualifying examinations.

Students are encouraged to take:

  • Supervised Teaching in Information Studies (INF 398T), and teaching internships in which they work closely with faculty to develop, design, and support implementation of a course plan
  • Doctoral Writing Seminar (INF 391G) which provides an opportunity for students to improve their academic writing skills through a writing studio environment with instructor and peer critique.

Students should take courses designed primarily for iSchool masters students only when those courses are crucial knowledge for their dissertation.

Electives at UT Outside the iSchool

Each Ph.D. student must complete at least nine (9) graduate credit hours in schools and colleges at UT outside the School of Information. These courses are a great opportunity to recruit an external member for the student’s committee.

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