The interdisciplinary doctoral program with a major in information science responds to the varied and changing needs of an information age. There is increasing recognition of the central role of information in individual, social, economic and cultural affairs, along with recognition of the widespread application and influence of information and communication technologies. Graduates of the program are prepared to contribute to the advancement and evolution of the information society in a variety of roles and settings as administrators, researchers and educators.
The mission of the program is to provide a center of excellence in doctoral education and research. Its primary goals are to
- develop scholars passionate about the role of information in human affairs;
- nurture critical and reflective thinking on fundamental issues and problems related to information;
- promote cross-disciplinary thinking and research; and
- foster an environment of substantive and productive mentoring and apprenticeship.
Students are attracted to the program from a wide range of disciplines and are encouraged to expand their expertise in cutting-edge areas of information science that cross disciplinary boundaries. The multifaceted nature of information science warrants the integration of resources, courses and faculties from a broad range of academic units. Nine units participate in the doctoral program:
- Department of Behavior Analysis, College of Public Affairs and Community Service
- Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
- Department of Criminal Justice, College of Public Affairs and Community Service
- Department of Communication Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
- Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, College of Business
- Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism
- Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information
- Department of Library and Information Sciences, College of Information
- College of Visual Arts and Design
Students may enter the doctoral program in the fall semester. Prospective students must apply and be admitted first to the Toulouse Graduate School and then to the doctoral program (see respective web sites for details). To ensure full processing by all offices, including international admissions and scholarships if appropriate, all application materials are due by November 1 of the year preceding the fall semester of initial enrollment. Applicants must meet all general admission requirements of the Graduate School and requirements of the doctoral program, as follows:
- Completed master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Overall graduate grade point average of 3.4 (4.0 scale).
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores including verbal, quantitative and analytical writing (must be on file at the time the application is reviewed) or successful completion of UNT Graduate Preparation Course (GPC).
- For international students, a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or successful completion of the UNT Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) through level 6.
- Three recommendations from former professors, employers or others who can give evidence of the applicant’s interest in and aptitude for a research career in information science.
- Personal statement (300–500 words) of career objectives, which may include doctoral research areas of interest; research, professional or community experiences that demonstrate motivation, commitment and potential for doctoral work; accomplishments (publications, presentations, awards); communication skills including multilingual proficiency; technology skills; and contribution to diversity of the field.
- Curriculum vitae.
- Sample of formal writing (published paper, major term paper, thesis chapter, etc.).
- Interview with program faculty, which is not required but is encouraged prior to application and may be requested by the admission committee.
An admission committee of interdisciplinary faculty members reviews applications. Admissions are highly competitive, depending on applicant qualifications and the availability of faculty members to mentor doctoral students. Not all qualified applicants can be accepted.
The course work for the program can be completed in two years of full-time study or extended over a longer period. Typically, the dissertation requires an additional year.
A student must earn a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree in organized course work, independent study (maximum 9 hours) and the dissertation. Additional courses above the 60 hours also may be stipulated as needed, such as the research tool requirement.
Courses counted toward the doctorate must be numbered 5000 or above and must be chosen with the approval of a faculty academic advisor. The student formally concludes course work by passing the qualifying examination before fully engaging in dissertation research.
Interdisciplinary core, 3 hours
Methods core, 9 hours
- Research design
- Research statistics
Concentration, 18 hours
Two of the following three areas:
- Information theory and design, 9 hours: Explores ways to structure information and knowledge for a multitude of uses, including the evaluation and study of information systems, related communication processes, and systems application and design.
- Information and behavior, 9 hours: Relates to human information and communication behavior and the systematic response to these behaviors by using information technologies to facilitate communication and learning in a variety of settings.
- Information policy and management, 9 hours: Focuses on organization, cultural and societal behavior with respect to information and the management of information, information policy development and ethical issues, and the organizations and systems that handle information.
Research tool requirement
Students must demonstrate proficiency in research methods or statistics prior to or shortly after beginning doctoral course work. This requirement can be met by successfully completing the courses listed below or an equivalent course, or by passing a proficiency exam. A course accepted for this requirement cannot count toward the 60 hours required for the doctoral degree.
Information organization requirement
Students must demonstrate proficiency in the organization of information prior to or shortly after beginning doctoral course work. This requirement can be met by successfully completing SLIS 5200 or an equivalent course or by passing a proficiency exam. A course accepted for this requirement cannot count toward the 60 hours required for the doctoral degree.
The doctoral program is intended to provide students with a variety of approaches to researching and solving information problems from multiple disciplines. Therefore, no more than 18 graduate credit hours may be taken from any one academic unit in areas of concentrations and electives.
The doctoral committee comprises at least three faculty members who represent at least two academic units, one of which is the Department of Library and Information Sciences. The committee is formed by the student and serves to evaluate the student’s work at the qualifying examination, dissertation proposal, and dissertation stages.
Progress toward the degree
The student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) on all course work on the degree plan. The maximum time allowed for completing the doctoral degree is 10 years. A faculty academic advisor meets with each student at least annually to review the student’s progress in the program. The student is eligible to sit for the qualifying examination when he or she has designated a doctoral committee, met all degree plan requirements except dissertation hours, and cleared any incomplete grades. When a student passes the qualifying examination, he or she is admitted to candidacy. The doctoral candidate must write and successfully defend a dissertation proposal and a completed dissertation in order to complete the degree.