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Degrees / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science program prepares students for advanced work in research, teaching, and administration. The primary purpose of the PhD program is to develop an understanding of library and information science beyond the Master's degree, with particular emphasis on the conduct of original research, the production of significant and generalizable research findings, and the contribution of such findings to public knowledge.


The following are requirements for admission to the PhD/LIS Program

  • A master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association, a recognized international program, or the equivalent in a closely related field of study. Students must submit official transcripts as evidence.
  • Attainment in graduate work of a minimum quality point average of 3.50 (on a scale with A having a value of four points per credit). An international student's quality point average will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
  • Submission of scores from a predictor test such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test, taken within the last five years.
  • At least three references from persons in the professional and academic communities. The Committee on Doctoral Studies may, on occasion, require additional references.
  • Submission of an application fee of $50.

As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, the student's application must be accompanied by:

  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student's academic and professional goals in relation to the Department of Library and Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.
  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format (print or electronic). The student should describe fully any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of his or her capacity to pursue doctoral study successfully.
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience in libraries, information centers, publishing, the information industry, education, or similarly related areas of professional activity, a brief description should be provided.

A telephone interview may constitute part of the admissions process at the request of the Admissions and Review Committee or of the applicant.

Applications from all individuals, regardless of citizenship, who have a degree from a non/U.S. institution must be reviewed by the University Office of International Services (OIS) prior to their review by the Admissions and Review Committee of the DLIS Committee on Doctoral Studies.

International students must submit evidence of competence in the English language. The status of English in the country of origin may constitute such evidence. A minimum score of 575 on the paper-based TOEFL (or equivalent score of 231 on the computer-base TOEFL) is required for international students. In addition, University policy requires that all international students be retested on English language abilities upon arrival at the University of Pittsburgh.

Credentials of prospective students are reviewed by the Admissions and Review Committee and voted upon by the DLIS Committee on Doctoral Studies throughout the year. However, students who are applying for financial aid should be aware that they must be admitted and meet financial aid deadlines to ensure consideration for funding.

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

Students whose complete credentials are not available for full admission may register as special students until the completed credentials are received, provided all other requirements have been satisfied.

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. Doctoral students must give evidence of superior scholarship, mastery of a specialized field, and the ability to do significant research in library and information science.


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For more information about the Library and Information Science Program,
please call 412.624.9420 or e-mail Debbie Day

School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh,
135 North Bellefield Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Tel: 412.624.3988 | Fax: 412.624.5231 
For information about Admissions & Financial Aid, please contact
Shabana Reza at 800.672.9435

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