PhD Program Overview

This doctoral program is for students who wish to advance knowledge and increase our understanding of the world through research, scholarship, and teaching. Doctoral students join the iSchool as apprentice researchers and graduate as independent scholars with great research careers, typically as tenure-stream faculty members at major research universities.

The program provides students with research experience, familiarity with appropriate information studies theories and methods, and participation in an active research community. Students attain this level of research competence through close partnership with our expert faculty who mentor and challenge them. Our curriculum offers flexibility to tailor coursework for individual need, with the intention of preparing all students to produce high-quality, original, and relevant research aligned to our mission as a school: Our Vision & Values 

Completion Timeline

iSchool faculty very strongly recommend full-time study in the doctoral program. Our doctoral program is designed to be completed within five years of full-time study, but for some students it may take four or six years. While every doctoral student’s program is unique, students will complete the program at approximately this pace in full-time study: 

  • Coursework: 1.5 - 2.5 years
  • Qualifying Procedure: 0.5 year
  • Dissertation Proposal: 0.5 year
  • Dissertation Completion: 0.5 - 1.5 years

​Program Requirements

Students must successfully complete multiple elements of the iSchool doctoral program. The requirements listed below are minima; the student's committees may require more work, especially with regard to classes, research methods, experiences, and participation in the iSchool’s research life (e.g., Research Colloquium presentations and doctoral research presentations) as well as the field’s research life (e.g., presentations at national conferences). 

  • Formation of an initial committee, qualifying committee, and dissertation committee
  • Thirty-nine hours of coursework (usually completed in two years)
  • Preparation of a plan of study
  • Annual review of each student’s progress prior to candidacy
  • Authoring of a qualifying research paper
  • Completion of a qualifying written examination
  • Completion of the qualifying oral examination based on the written examination
  • At least two submissions of research to peer-reviewed journals or proceedings
  • Admission to candidacy
  • Completion and defense of a dissertation proposal
  • Completion and defense of a dissertation

For more detailed information about the doctoral program requirements and guidelines, please view the PhD Program Handbook:

PhD Program Handbook