Why Get a PhD in Library Science?

Jun 03, 2019

A PhD in library science is a graduate degree that prepares one for an advanced information-related career that may include teaching, supervision of others, and working with data. Learn more about the specific careers, along with salary and job growth information.

A PhD in library science is a research-driven degree that will often require you to become specialized in a single area of study related to data curation, librarianship, or information systems. Although the PhD in library science has the word library in its name, not everyone who has earned this type of degree works in libraries or academia. This degree can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to become anything from an analyst to an archivist. These types of careers have a positive growth outlook and competitive salaries, as indicated in the table that follows.

PhD in Library Science: Careers and Statistics

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Librarian $59,050 9%
Professor $71,560 9%
Operations Research Analyst $83,390 27%
Archivist $52,240 14%
Computer and Information Systems Manager $142,530 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PhD in Library Science: Different Career Paths


With a PhD in library science, you can enter into or continue your career as a librarian. All librarians do some sort of research, which depends on their field, and they can also help others access information, create and manage databases, interact with the public, and curate different kinds of material and informational collections. A PhD in the field can open opportunities for becoming a library director or manager. In addition, special librarians working in medical, corporate, or law libraries, are often required to hold a doctoral degree.


In order to become a college professor in a library science program, you will typically be required to have a PhD in the field. University professors usually hold the highest degree available in their fields, and for library science it is the PhD, not the master's. Your career as a professor will include teaching, as well as research and writing.


An archivist is someone who oversees the acquiring, appraising, and arranging for collections of information, records, manuscripts, music, maps, sound recordings, and more. Many archivists work in a museum setting; however, there are also jobs available in the private or government sectors that focus on researching or managing collections. If you already have a master's in library science, then the PhD might help you specialize in a specific archival field or to qualify for various advanced positions.

Operations Research Analyst

Another job option for those who earn a PhD in library science is that of operations research analyst, who performs research and prepares reports on their findings. High-level analyst jobs may require an advanced degree, and there are few schools that offer them in this field. It just so happens the analytical and mathematical skills you can develop in your library science PhD program could make you a perfect candidate for the job.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

A PhD in library science not only includes learning research skills but developing skills in technology-based information systems. Although not always required, many of these management positions require graduate degrees. These types of jobs require you to set goals, then creating, implementing, and directing a company's or organization's electronic information systems.

A PhD in library science can help you achieve your career goals by allowing you to refine your skills for advanced positions in research, information systems, school librarianship, and much more. Many of these related careers enjoy competitive salaries and healthy job growth.

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