School of Information Sciences - Library and Information Science Program

Doctor of Philosophy

PhD students may begin their studies only in the Fall Term in order to ensure a coherent program of study.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science program prepares students for careers in research, education, and professional practice. The program will give students the opportunity to gain the skills in teaching or research appropriate for careers at major research universities, teaching institutions, and library systems. The candidate must give evidence of superior scholarship and mastery of a specialized field of knowledge and must demonstrate his/her ability to do significant and relevant research.

Doctoral study in this field is a challenging, life-changing experience. You will learn how to conduct independent research through projects that have the potential to change the way people interact with information and to fundamentally impact how society evolves. This program will go far beyond giving you a set of skills… it will teach you to think in a completely different way. Coursework and research programs address cutting edge issues such as evaluating information in terms of being saved for posterity; information literacy in both developed and underdeveloped countries, closing the digital divide; and how social media impacts behavior and services in the Information Age.

The School of Information Sciences invites applications from students interested in the following areas:

Archives and Information Science
Recruiting 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
Recruiting 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
Seeking doctoral students who wish to investigate the information practices and behaviors of health professionals, patients, caregivers, and consumers.

Social information systems
Recruiting 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
Recruiting doctoral students interested in studying, designing and implementing web-based systems for representing, retrieving, extracting and disseminating  relevant information.

School Librarianship
Seeking doctoral students interested in teaching, research and administrative experience in a top-ranked, competency-based School Library Certification Program for school librarians and school library supervisors.

Alumni of this program have found challenging and successful academic careers at:

Requirements for the PhD degree, a 54-credit program, include a minimum of 36 course and seminar credits beyond the master's degree and 18 dissertation credits.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for the PhD degree must be completed in not more than 6 calendar years from the time of first registration (or 8 calendar years for part-time students).  Students may, in extenuating circumstances, submit a formal request for extension of their statute of limitations or for a leave of absence from the program.  The request must be submitted to the advisor and then presented to the LIS Committee on Doctoral Studies for a decision.

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Learn More!

The iSchool hosts a number of opportunities for you to explore the LIS program. Attend Information Sessions at the iSchool or online, whichever suits your schedule. More >


  • Brandi Belleau
    Recruitment & Admissions
  • Phone: 412-648-3108
    Fax: 412-624-5231
    E-mail: [email protected]

SIS is a member of the ISchools Caucus

Strong Foundation

The blend of theory and application at the iSchool distinguishes its graduates in the job market, giving them a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and practical experience.