Course Catalog

Library and Information Science (PhD)


Through a combination of required and elective courses, independent study, workshops, and guided experiences, the Ph.D. in Library and Information Science prepares students for lifelong activity in research, scholarship, teaching, and service. Students work closely with faculty and academic advisors as they progress through their degree program. Reviews of progress as evidenced by coursework taken, research outputs, teaching and service activities, are conducted annually. The SLIS doctoral program is an outstanding program consisted of students who form a cohesive and collaborative cohort, and who are nurtured from start of their course enrollment through the completion of their dissertation.


Program Attributes

  • The program provides guided preparation in areas of scholarship, teaching, and service.
  • Students emerge from the degree with a record of publications, teaching experience, a professional activity record, and a portfolio.
  • Simmons has excellent bibliographical and technological resources and can draw on a robust local library and information community.
  • There are rich opportunities for synergy between the doctoral and master's students. Collaborative research and group work enrich the learning experience and fosters a stimulating learning environment.
  • SLIS has an established reputation for producing leaders in professional service at local, national, and international levels. Interaction with the SLIS alumni community (and the New England LIS community) enriches the doctoral student experience.

Areas of Study

Doctoral studies can be conducted at various intersections of setting, audience, and activity. Some examples of study areas which build on strengths among SLIS faculty include information, user and data services, social informatics and social justice, archives and preservation, scholarly communication, information literacy frameworks, health information seeking behavior, mis- and dis-information, collaborative learning, usability and user experience research, and more.

Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the Simmons SLIS Ph.D. program:

  • Demonstrates in-depth familiarity with scholarship in the field of library, archival, and information science;
  • Articulates prominent theories in the field of library, archival, and information science;
  • Identifies researchable problems and applies relevant research studies, research designs, and methodologies to tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking;
  • Analyzes and presents information, including research proposals and findings, clearly and accurately in a variety of formats;
  • Conducts qualitative, quantitative or mixed method research studies by engaging in reflective inquiry, performing data collection and analysis, composing research reports, and producing publications and a dissertation;
  • Engages in teaching activities, develops appropriate unit- or course-level student learning outcomes, and plans and implements learning experiences that assist students to achieve those outcomes; and
  • Leads service activities for local, national, or international professional associations and communities.


Admission Requirements

All applicants for admission to the doctoral program must hold a master's degree from an ALA-accredited program in library and information science or a master's degree from a recognized institution in a related area.
Applicants are expected to submit a completed application file that includes the following:
Completed online application
Non-refundable application fee of $65
Comprehensive and updated curriculum vitae
Statement of purpose (1,500-2,000 words)
Writing sample of prior research work is strongly recommended (not to exceed 20 pages)
Official transcript(s) of all academic work
Three professional and/or academic references
Current results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - The Simmons GRE code is 3761, and the Area of Interest code for Library Science is 4701
Current (within the past 2 years) results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if English is not the native language of the applicant
After all admissions materials have been received, exceptional candidates will be selected for interviews with the Committee on Doctoral Studies and/or program faculty and staff. Committee reflections on the interview will be added to the application file. For further information on the interview process please see the application form. Admissions decisions are based on a composite of all documentation in the application file.

Degree requirements

 Students are required to complete 36 credit hours to achieve the Ph.D. degree. Of these 36 credit hours, 15 are devoted to required coursework and three are devoted to the dissertation. The remaining 18 credits are elective courses. Students often take independent study courses for their research projects or research-related courses at the masters' level or at the doctoral level of other disciplines.

Below is a listing of the required courses:

LIS 620History, Concepts, and Research Opportunities


LIS 621Conducting Research


LIS 642Applied Statistics for Library & Information Science



One of the following:

DEDU 652Applied Statistical Analysis II


DEDU 653Qualitative Research


SW 654Qualitative Research Methods



HPED 531Teaching Methods, Course Design, and Assessment


LIS 699Supervised Field Research


Other program information

Doctoral studies can be conducted at various intersections of setting, audience, and activity. Some examples of study areas which build on strengths among our faculty include archives and preservation, reference, metadata, scholarly communication, information retrieval, and visual information systems.