Program Requirements

27 Hour Review
Annual Review
Coursework Completion and Pre-comprehensive Exam Requirements
Comprehensive Exam
Doctoral Dissertation


The doctoral program of study is rooted in a set of core themes and principles of information and library science but customized to the needs and interests of students and research strengths of the faculty.

Exceptionally well-prepared students will take a minimum of 36 hours of formal courses, reading courses, or directed research exclusive of the dissertation. Students who enter with no graduate background can expect to take additional hours of formal courses, reading courses, or directed research exclusive of the dissertation.

 Two required courses for the doctoral degree INLS 881 and 882  (Research Issues and Questions I and II), must be taken in consecutive semesters. These courses present a wide range of research questions and examine multiple methods of investigation used to explore these areas of research.

Doctoral students are also required to take at least six hours of statistics including an introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics, analysis of variance, and computational techniques. The SILS faculty has approved the following course sequences as satisfying the statistics requirement of the doctoral program.

  • BIOS 101, 600 or BIOS 660, 661
  • BUSI 300, 301
  • EDUC 684, 784 
  • POLI 783, 784 
  • PSYC 830, 831
  • SOCI 708, 709
  • STAT 355, 356 

In addition, six credits of INLS 994 (Doctoral Dissertation) are required by the Graduate School.

Strongly Recommended Courses

It is strongly recommended that students include coursework in theory development, advanced research methods and research practica INLS 988 (Research in Information and Library Science).

Other theory or research methods coursework will depend on student interests and dissertation topics. Mastery of relevant methods and theories can be accomplished by graduate level courses or workshops inside and outside the University or by small group or individual tutorials offered by members of the SILS faculty.

Search for Courses

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PHD Student Reviews:

27 Hour Review:

Typically held at the end of the first year, this review is conducted by a committee chaired by the student's adviser and consisting of all faculty who have taught the student. The committee assesses the student's mastery of specific subjects, as well as the ability to identify research opportunities and the means to address the associated research problems. The student is informed of any deficiencies identified by the review along with suggested strategies for improvement. In the case of severe deficiencies a student might be counseled to leave the doctoral program. 
After consulting with their advisor, students must complete the SILS Doctoral Review Form and upload a copy of the completed Doctoral Student 27 Hour Advisor Input Form provided by the student's advisor. 

Annual Review:
At the end of each subsequent academic year, the student prepares a statement of progress and presents it to the adviser and associate dean. The statement should include a list of papers written that year, a summary of coursework completed, a statement of research interest, reflection on progress in the program, and an outline of plans for the coming academic year. Continuation in the program is dependent upon a satisfactory review. 

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Coursework Completion and Pre-comprehensive exam Requirements

Normally, full-time students should complete their coursework within two or two-and-a-half years. It is considered unsatisfactory progress if a full-time student has not completed coursework within three years, with no other signs of progress. Part-time students are expected to progress at a comparable rate, based on their individual circumstances. Before taking the comprehensive exam, students must:

  • Present two papers that were submitted for publication
  • Complete all coursework requirements
  • Develop a literature review of the research area of interest

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Comprehensive Exam 

A comprehensive written exam is administered based upon a systematic review of the literature relevant to the student's area of research interest. The student initiates the examination process by submitting the review to his or her faculty adviser. A faculty examination committee then prepares the written examination. The five prepared questions are then administered over a five day period, to be determined by the student and the student's advisor. A member of the student services staff will help administer the exam. Students get four hours to complete their response to each question. After completing the written exam, the student takes a follow-up oral examination. It is considered unsatisfactory progress if a student has not taken the exam one year after completing coursework with no other signs of progress.

Upon completion of the written and oral examinations the student's advisor must complete parts i and ii of the Doctoral Exam Report form available on the Graduate School's Form Finder.

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Doctoral Dissertation

Successful completion of a doctoral dissertation represents an original contribution to knowledge involving identification and definition of a researchable topic, application of an appropriate research methodology, organization, and analysis of data relevant to the topic under investigation, and a presentation and interpretation of the data that meets the standards of scholarly work.

Registering for Dissertation Credits
Once you have completed your coursework, you may register for INLS 994, Doctoral Dissertation for three (3) credits. With this course number you are considered a full-time student.

Each time you register for this course, you must complete a Proposal for Courses Requiring Instructor Permisson form. It does not need to be detailed, but it should specify your objectives for the semester, deliverables, a schedule of meetings with the instructor (usually your dissertation advisor), and the criteria to be used in evaluating your performance. An example proposal for a student preparing for the comps and an example proposal for a student conducting their dissertation research are provided as models.

Dissertation Proposal
Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student in consultation with the adviser forms a dissertation committee and prepares a dissertation proposal to present to the committee. 

Normally, a student will complete and defend the proposal, or make substantial progress toward that point, within six months after completion of the comprehensive exam. It is considered unsatisfactory progress if a student has not shown substantial progress one year after completing the exam.

The students advisor must complete the Report of Doctoral Committee Composition and Report of Approved Dissertation Project Form available on Graduate School's Form Finder

Dissertation Defense
A final oral examination in defense of the dissertation, which is open to the University community, is also required. This is administered by the student's dissertation committee, which normally includes at least one scholar from outside the program. Upon successful defense of the final dissertation, the student's advisor must complete part III and part IV of the Doctoral Exam Report form available on the Graduate School's Form Finder

Final Submission
Once all final edits have been made and the adviser has approved the final copy of the dissertation the student must submit a final electronic copy to the graduate school by the posted date on the registrar's office calendar. Students must follow all formatting rules set by the graduate school. For more information on how to submit your dissertation electronically, formatting rules, and other dissertation related questions please see the Graduate School's Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission page. 

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