Lisa Nathan

UBC iSchool’s PhD 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 excellent 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.

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

Requirements for the Ph.D. program are:

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;


  • 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 SLAIS, 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

All full-time students who begin the iSchool PhD 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 PhD. 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 $3200 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.

Information on how to apply to the doctoral program is available on our PhD Applications Procedures page.