Degree Requirements - Ph.D. Information

The Ph.D. in Information is a main campus program only and consists of 36 credits of major coursework, 9 to 12 credits of minor coursework, and 18 dissertation credits.

First-Year Courses (6 units)

All Ph.D. students begin by taking a two-course sequence during their first year in the program. In addition to exposing you to current research topics and methods within Information Science, the hope is that this sequence will create a cohort among entering Ph.D. students each year.

This course introduces fundamental ideas of the Information Age, focusing on the value, organization, use, and processing of information. The course is organized as a survey of these ideas, with readings from the research literature. Specific topics (e.g., visualization, retrieval) will be covered by guest faculty who research in each of these areas.

This course introduces fundamental methods for both qualitative and quantitative research in information studies. Additionally, the seminar introduces the student to established and emerging areas of scholarly research in Schools of Information to encourage them to identify a personal research agenda. The seminar is organized in two main parts: the first part introduces relevant research methods (quantitative and qualitative), whereas the second part overviews specific research directions currently active in the School of Information. The second part of the seminar will be covered by guest faculty who research in each of the covered areas.

Research Methods (3 units)

You are required to take an additional research methods course that focuses on the methodology that you are likely to use in your own research.

This requirement may be waived if you have acquired sufficient methodological grounding prior to entering the Ph.D. program (in that case, you will be required to take one additional elective to complete the 36 units of major coursework).

Graduate Seminars (6 units)

You are required to take two research seminars in the School of Information in addition of the first-year courses. The research seminars will focus on various specific topics in Information Science. Normally, you will be required to read and discuss research articles on that topic. and also write a research paper or carry out a research project on the topic. 

Typically, one or two seminar courses are offered each year. Course information will be distributed to students prior to registration.

Directed Research (9 units)

You are required to take a total of 9 units of directed research (LIS/INFO 692) where you will apprentice on a School of Information faculty member's research project. Directed research credits should be selected in consultation with your major advisor, cover both quantitative and qualitative methods, and help you prepare for your comprehensive exams and anticipated dissertation research.

Most students work on three separate projects under the supervision of three separate faculty members in order to provide a breadth of knowledge of research methods. The number of credits awarded for working on a particular project may vary depending on the size of the student's contribution to that project.

You may take Directed Research under a faculty member outside of the School of Information only if it is in an area not offered by our faculty. Petitions to work with outside faculty are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies and your major advisor.

Elective Courses (12 units)

You are required to take four elective graduate courses from within the School of Information (INFO/LIS). You should select electives in consultation with a your major advisor. Elective courses outside of the School must be approved by your major advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Dissertation Research (18 units)

After comprehensive exams, you will take a total of 18 units Dissertation Research (LIS/INFO 920). You are required to submit a 1-page proposal approved by your advisor before registering in Dissertation Research. The proposal will form a basis to evaluate your performance in the course and assign grading.

Scholarship Expectations

All doctoral students need to meet the following research seminar and presentation requirements: 

  • attend and participate live in 6 or more research presentations per year
  • give a public research-related presentation yearly after the comprehensive exam
  • make two primary-authored submissions while in the PhD program (papers, posters, demonstrations, or research proposals)

Transfer Units

There are Transfer Credits and Courses Shared Between Degrees.

The iSchool follows the Graduate College policy on this, see . Please check there for specific details.

In outline:- You can transfer in up to 30 units of previous graduate-level coursework from Information Science or a related field— subject to the approval of your Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such coursework should provide important foundational insight into information studies. You must submit a Transfer Credit form in GradPath before the end of your first year of study to have courses evaluated for transfer eligibility.

More Information

Ph.D. Student Handbook 2019-2020

Graduate College Requirements