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Is the SLIS Doctoral Program right for me?

The Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree awarded to those students who have attained a broad understanding of the content, methods and theories of a field and their relation to the content, methods and theories of other fields of knowledge.

The Ph.D. program at SLIS is designed to prepare students for research and teaching in academia. Accordingly, SLIS has identified the following goals for the Ph.D. program:

  • To promote understanding of the research process and what constitutes scholarly research;
  • To prepare scholars who will identify and conceptualize significant research problems and are qualified to undertake relevant research and contribute new knowledge to the field;
  • To prepare students for professional roles as researchers, teachers, and consultants.

Upon completion of the Ph.D. program, a doctoral student should have demonstrated the ability:

  • To generate original research that meets the scholarly standards of the field;
  • To communicate the findings of this work, both orally and in writing, in a clear and convincing manner to other scholars in LIS and related disciplines.

Approximately how long will the program take to complete?

Students may complete the doctoral program in more or less time depending on their own efforts and resources. The completion of outside minor coursework and fulfillment of the teaching requirement may be spread over any of the years preceding defense of the qualifying paper. Your course schedule should be planned with your advisory committee following the guidelines in the Ph.D. Handbook.

Is there a residency requirement?

The Ph.D. is awarded by the Indiana University Graduate School (UGS). UGS establishes minimum standards for graduate work at Indiana University, and candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must fulfill the requirements stated in the University Graduate School Academic Bulletin , including the residency requirement of "two consecutive semesters during one academic year on the Bloomington or Indianapolis campus."

Can I take the program part-time?

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 15 for admission for the Fall Semester. SLIS Ph.D. students will only be admitted to begin the Fall Semester. The application deadline is also the deadline for SLIS financial aid consideration.

I am an international applicant. Is there an English proficiency exam?

A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score above 600 (on the paper test), 250 (on the computer test), or 100 (on the new Fall 2005 test). This is required for applicants for whom English is not a native language. In addition, university policy provides that all international students be retested on English language abilities upon arrival at Indiana University. IU Institutional Code: 1324, SLIS School Code (overall): 99

All non-native English speakers interested in teaching at some point in their IU career must take the IU Test of English Proficiency for International Associate Instructor Candidates (TEPAIC) in addition to the standard IU English Proficiency Exam. More information about TEPAIC, including test dates and registration procedures, is available on the TEPAIC site.

What kind of financial assistance is available?

The amount of financial aid available for doctoral students through SLIS is limited and varies from year to year. Generally, it is restricted to full-time students and consists of fellowships, scholarships, fee remissions and/or research assistantships. Full-time is defined as enrollment in a minimum of 6 credit hours per term. Academic merit is the primary criterion in awarding financial aid, with economic need a secondary consideration.

Loans are a separate process handled by the IU Office of Student Financial Assistance. Students are encouraged, if possible, to keep loans to a minimum.

Are teaching opportunities available?

As part of your doctoral program, you must complete a teaching requirement before graduation. Options include team teaching with a faculty member, teaching one SLIS course as an adjunct instructor, or guest lecturing in classes to the point where you have accumulated 18 hours of teaching time (i.e., you have taught the equivalent of six 3 credit hour classes on your own). Doctoral students teaching a course are paid the same salary as other adjunct faculty members. A student interested in teaching should contact his committee chair, the chair of the doctoral committee, and the associate dean.

I need funding for my dissertation research. Is grant writing assistance available?

The GradGrants Center, located in the Wells Library, provides Indiana University graduate students with training, one-on-one assistance with proposal writing, and a centralized area to access funding information for fellowships, prizes, awards, independent projects, scholarships, work cooperative programs, and research opportunities.

To talk to a grants consultant, learn how to search for funding, or to schedule a one-on-one proposal consultation, contact the GradGrants Center at 812-855-5281 or email at Their offices are located in the IUB Herman B. Wells Library, Room 1052E.

Is conference funding available?

Students may apply for travel support through SLIS using the
Other Indiana University resources include:

Is a Master's degree required?

No. If you have a bachelor's degree, a lively intellectual curiosity, and a willingness to work hard, you are invited to apply to the SLIS Ph.D. program.

Do I need a Master's degree in information science?

If you are admitted and have a master's degree in a field of study closely related to information science from a recognized international program, or the equivalent, you can be enrolled in the doctoral program and can transfer up to 30 credits of recognized course work. You must submit official transcripts as proof of degree completion.

Will my previous degree (or courses) count toward the Ph.D.?

The Ph.D. requires completion of a minimum of 90 credit hours of coursework at the graduate level. Of the 90 credit hours, 60 must be taken at the Bloomington or Indianapolis campuses of Indiana University. Up to 30 credit hours of previously earned coursework may be transferred from another graduate program in a recognized institution if the courses meet currency requirements and as long as the courses are relevant to your major area of concentration in SLIS

For graduates of SLIS master's programs, 36 credit hours of coursework may be transferred from the MLS program or 42 credits from the MIS program if the courses meet currency requirements.

What is G901?

G901 is a 6 credit hour course, with a fee of $150 (subject to change). This is an inexpensive way for students with graduate assistantships to maintain a "full load." However, enrollment in G901 is limited to six semesters, and it is not offered in summer sessions. If you have used up all your G901's, you will need class permission from your department to enroll in 799. Students who fail to register each semester after passing qualifying examinations must back-enroll for all semesters missed in order to graduate. There is a charge of $275 (subject to change) per semester for back-enrollment.

How can I learn more about the faculty and their research interests?

The SLIS Ph.D. program is distinctive because it emphasizes social science approaches to understanding information and information technologies in human contexts. To explore the program, we recommend that you examine the faculty's research interests. Please contact SLIS faculty members whose publications, projects, or interests intrigue you, and discuss your interest in joining our Ph.D. program. We also encourage you to examine the SLIS research centers.

Who are the SLIS doctoral students?

The SLIS Ph.D. program currently has about 30 students at various levels of study. The doctoral students are actively involved in research and teaching. The Current Doctoral Students page provides links to several of these advanced students' research interest statements and their home pages if available. Information about SLIS Doctoral Alumni is available as well.

Do the doctoral students have a restricted email listserv?

SLIS Ph.D. students have a listserv ( that is restricted to and moderated by doctoral students. New doctoral students will be added to the Ph.D. list by the listserv moderator.

How many pages may I print per semester?

The SLIS Ph.D. student allotment is 2000 pages per semester. Overage charges are at a rate equal to the cost of photocopying on a campus Self Service Copy Machine (Spring 2010 rate is $0.10 per page). Overages shall be billed at the end of the semester in which they are incurred.

This 1500 pages is in addition to the 1000 pages you can print in UITS STC labs (ie. the Undergraduate Library Services Information Commons). SLIS printing will count against your SLIS quota and UITS STC printing will count against your UITS quota. Either allotment can be checked at the STC Printing Services page.

If you are teaching or working for SLIS this semester, please see Mary Kennedy ( for a copy card. Please reserve your student printing quota for your student needs.

How do I reserve digital equipment?

See Digital Equipment Policies, Description, and Instruction Manual (Media & Reserve Services) for information on how to borrow iPods, cameras, voice recorders, laptops, and more!

As a student, may I order business cards?

SLIS doctoral students are eligible for one set of IU business cards paid for by SLIS. These are similar to those carried by faculty members. The cards are helpful to have at conferences to hand out to potential contacts. Contact Mary Kennedy in the SLIS Office with questions.

Will I have office space in SLIS?

SLIS has a shared Ph.D. Lab - study space located in two adjoining rooms. In addition, SLIS has a general Information Commons area with two computer labs that are password protected just for SLIS students. Indiana University has a number of additional labs, including a 24/7 work space upstairs in the Wells Library.