PhD in Library Science: Programs & Schools

May 20, 2019

Students can choose from a range of universities across the U.S. where they may earn a Ph.D. in library science. Learn about admissions, coursework, exams, and dissertation requirements.

As the field of library science continues to develop, with increasing attention paid to issues of organizing information and digital privacy, the need will grow for well-prepared researchers and teachers in the field. Those who wish to enter into these roles may want to consider earning a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science. Here, you can find information about five doctoral programs, as well as typical admission requirements.

Doctoral Programs in Library Science

Simmons University

Simmons University, in Boston, provides a program leading to a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science. Students are required to complete a total of 36 credit hours to earn the degree. Courses may include applied statistics and conducting research. In addition, gaining teaching experience and completion of a research-based dissertation are part of the requirements. Some current research focus areas include metadata and scholarly communication. Upon graduation from the program, students should have a substantive portfolio of publications and other professional activities.

University of Illinois

The University of Illinois in Champlain offers a Ph.D. in Library and Information Science through the iSchool. After completion of two required core courses, students are expected to design their own program with their interests in mind. In addition to courses, students complete a field exam, research project, and dissertation, ending with 48 coursework hours and 32 hours of work related to the dissertation. Research focus areas include digital libraries, data curation, and information privacy. Students can access university-wide research resources, including the Blue Waters Petascale Supercomputer, grant proposal development support, and university libraries.

Dominican University

For students with a bachelor's degree who do not yet hold a master's degree, the program at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, provides an accelerated program leading to a Master of Library and Information Science and Ph.D. The 54-credit program can be completed in four years of full-time study. Courses may include organization of knowledge and big data. In addition to coursework, candidates are expected to complete a qualifying exam, comprehensive exam, e-portfolio, and dissertation. Dominican publishes a peer-reviewed World Libraries Journal.

University of California - Berkeley

At Berkeley, students can pursue a Ph.D. in Information Management and Systems. Students work with an advisor to develop a course of study. In addition to 24 units of graduate-level courses, students must complete a preliminary research paper, preliminary exam, qualifying exam, and dissertation. Active research centers at Berkeley include the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Other active research areas are information economics and user experience research.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, offers a course of study leading to a Ph.D. in Communication, Information, and Media with a concentration in Library and Information Science. The program is housed in the school of Communication and Information Science. Degree completion requirements include 36 credits of core and elective courses, a qualifying examination, and a dissertation that includes 24 research credits. Specialty research areas include human information behavior and youth. Weekly colloquia programs can provide opportunities for lecture and discussion on a wide range of topics of interest to librarians.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to doctoral programs in library science are sometimes expected to have a master's degree in library science in a program accredited by the American Library Association; however, other programs may accept candidates with a related bachelor's degree. Prospective students should plan to submit a writing sample, resume, statement of purpose, references, and transcripts. GRE results are also typically requested for submission. Some programs may require the submission of a statement of research interests, which identifies potential areas of research and faculty with whom the candidate might work. After review of application materials, an interview may be requested.

Earning a Ph.D. in library science can provide an entry into a range of information science careers. There are quite a few universities across the country where students can choose to earn this degree.

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