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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 12, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Library and Information Science, PhD

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PhD Admissions Requirements

The Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship seeks students with diverse educational and career backgrounds. By nature LIS degrees are multi-disciplinary, and we welcome applicants with bachelor’s degree and/or advanced degree from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Our multi-disciplinary nature is reflected in the wide range of standardized tests that are accepted by our admissions committee, which include the GRE, MAT, MCAT, GMAT, and LSAT

Beyond the criteria and materials previously outlined for application submission, these programs do not require specific coursework for admissions consideration.

PhD Degree Requirements

This PhD degree requires a minimum of 54 credits beyond the master’s degree with a total credit minimum of 72. A minimum of 36 credits must be taken in advanced course work. The student must receive a letter grade in each course taken in this 36-credit requirement (except for the teaching practicum course). An additional 18 credits are required, which must be applied to dissertation research and writing. However, regardless of the number of credits taken, no more than 18 credits for dissertation research and writing may be applied toward graduation.

The minimum of 36 credits of course work, all of which must be on the graduate level, must be distributed as follows:

Additional Requirements

PhD degrees are conferred only on those students who have completed all courses required for the degree with at least a 3.50 GPA.

Doctoral students are required to devote some portion of their studies to work on other disciplines in order to broaden their perspectives and deepen their understanding of library and information science. To fulfill the cognate requirement, students are required to take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 12 credits in some area of graduate study outside the field of library and information science. These credits may be from more than one department or school.

The research methodology course requirement must be fulfilled prior to taking the preliminary examination. Research methodology courses may include courses in statistical analysis, general research methodology, and specific research methods or research methods used in specific fields of study such as historiography, ethnography, or case and field study.

A three-credit teaching practicum is required for all doctoral students in order to provide the student with teaching experience that may become part of the student’s professional vita. The teaching practicum is usually taken after completion of two terms of study. The student is responsible for identifying an appropriate course related to his or her areas of interest and obtaining the agreement of the instructor of record.

Residence and Registration Requirements

According to University of Pittsburgh policy, students seeking the PhD degree are required to engage in a minimum of one term of full-time doctoral study, which excludes any other employment except as approved by their departments. Doctoral students must register for at least 3 credits in each term until they have achieved candidacy. To maintain active status, all doctoral candidates must be registered for a minimum of 3 credits in each 12-month period (3 credits in one term or 1 credit in each of three terms) from the time of admission to candidacy until receipt of degree.

School-Based Financial Support

Financial aid information is available here .

Preliminary Examination

Upon completion of 24 credit hours of course work, each student submits for review a portfolio comprising the best representation of work completed thus far. The student presents this portfolio orally to the Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC) as a whole, which votes on its acceptability. The Preliminary Examination is based on the breadth and depth of knowledge as addressed through course work, as well as whether the course work taken will support the research plan the student submits and defends to the DSC.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is conducted by a three person committee the- faculty advisor and two faculty members chosen by the student and the faculty advisor. The examination consists of a written take-home exam over two weeks and an oral examination conducted by the student’s committee. The take-home exam has two parts: a broad perspective on current issues in the field of library science, information science, or archives, depending on the student’s general area, and the area of the student’s research specialization.

Language Requirement

Students are required to be proficient in any languages necessary for completion of doctoral work. Depending upon the student’s course of study, proficiencies in modern languages, linguistics, and/or computer languages may be required.

Candidacy and Dissertation

For admission to formal candidacy for the PhD degree, a student must have:

  • Passed the preliminary evaluation
  • Completed a minimum of 36 credits beyond the master’s degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher
  • Passed the comprehensive examination
  • Successfully defended the dissertation proposal and received permission from the Dissertation Committee to begin research

Students demonstrate their ability to complete a sound project of original research by presenting and defending the dissertation proposal to their Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee must unanimously approve the dissertation topic and research plan before the student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Public Presentation Requirement

During the course of the PhD program, each student is required to make a public presentation on a research project in which the student is engaged.

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