Doctoral Program

UBC iSchool’s Ph.D. program is a four-year funded program that combines coursework with focused independent study and research. Students have ready access to faculty members and advisors and benefit from unique opportunities at a research-intensive university. The Ph.D. program is designed to provide advanced research education for outstanding students who have already obtained a Master of Archival Studies (MAS) degree or a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) or an equivalent related degree.

 

Application deadlines

January 15 (applications); February 1 (supporting documents)

Start date

September

Program length

4 years

Areas of study

  • human information interaction and design
  • knowledge organization
  • digital archives/ media
  • language processing
  • data and more

Program highlights

  • Advanced education in information and archival studies
  • Focus on scholarship and research, with strong support for interdisciplinary approaches
  • State-of-the-art research and learning facilities at a world-class university

 

Admissions requirements

  • Recent GRE scores
  • Strong academic references
  • Strong research interest statement
  • Faculty sponsorship of applications is not required; however applicants are encouraged to identify potential supervisors based on faculty research areas

Learn more

 

Funding opportunities

All full-time students who begin the iSchool Ph.D. program in September 2018 will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their Ph.D. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.

International students are eligible for the international tuition award of $3,200 per year for four years.

The school strives to support doctoral students in applying for external funding opportunities, which helps fund further years of study.

Doctoral students can also apply for paid positions as teaching assistants in master’s classes, and/or as paid research assistants for professors who have funded research projects.

 

Students entering the doctoral program with an approved master's degree will be required to take four six-credit (2-term) courses. Additional courses may be recommended. In consultation with the student’s advisor, the student may be required to take courses in the iSchool Master of Library Studies program or the Master of Archival Studies program to provide sufficient background for the doctoral courses. Doctoral students will be strongly encouraged to take graduate level courses from other UBC departments in their chosen area of research. These courses are selected in consultation with the student's advisor and are in addition to those required for ARST 621 or LIBR 621.

Year 1
  • LAIS 605 (3) Advanced Seminar in Research Methods;
  • At least one additional 3 credit course on data analysis (at the 500 level or higher). The course must be pre-approved by the student's supervisor;
  • LAIS 607 (3) Doctoral Proseminar;

AND AT LEAST ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • LAIS 608 (3) Academic and Research Practices in Library Archival and Information Studies;
  • LAIS 609 (3-6): Advanced Seminar in Library, Archival and Information Studies Topics

For the above, alternative courses can be approved based on consultation between the student and their supervisor

Year 2
  • LAIS 620 (6) Advanced Study in Major Area;
  • LAIS 621 (6) Advanced Study in Minor Area.

Additional coursework as recommended by the research supervisor and/or doctoral committee

Qualifying examinations (written and oral components) at an appropriate time as judged by the student's doctoral committee, not before the end of the first year, but before the end of the third year

LAIS 699: Dissertation

Upon entering the doctoral program, a student will be assigned an adviser who will work with the student to develop an appropriate set of courses relevant to the student's research plan. All incoming students will take the advanced research methods course, thus facilitating the development of collegiality within the doctoral group and promoting the sharing of research interests. Advance study in the major area will normally be taken with the faculty member most interested in the student's research topic. In many cases this faculty member will become the thesis supervisor at a later stage. The Courses in the minor area may be directed studies courses, courses from other departments at the university, or master's level courses at the iSchool, depending on the research interests of individual students. Additional courses may be required as appropriate.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the student will enter the thesis stage of the program. A thesis supervisor will be appointed by the Doctoral Studies Committee at the request of the student and with the agreement of the faculty member. The thesis supervisor, after discussion with the student and other faculty members, will suggest other members of the thesis committee to be approved by the doctoral studies committee. The student, working with the thesis supervisor and other members of the thesis committee, will prepare a thesis proposal to be presented to the Doctoral Studies Committee for approval. When the thesis proposal has been approved, the student will undertake the research and writing and prepare the thesis in accordance with  the Guidelines of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. When the thesis is completed and successfully defended, the student will be recommended for the Ph.D. degree.

iSchool Doctoral Studies Handbook of Policies and Procedures (Last updated 2015)

UBC's Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies prepared an in-depth report tracking outcomes for more than 3,800 PhD students who graduated between 2005-13. Using a combination of survey and internet searches, information was obtained for 91% of these graduates. This approach, and the ability to link the outcomes to student data, allowed a more comprehensive and richer analysis of student outcomes than most studies of this kind. The data is publicly available on their website, and features outcome comparisons by faculty and subject area.