PhD in Information Science

Degree Requirements

To be awarded a Ph.D. in Information Science from the UW Information School, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 18 graded credits in courses at the 500 level and above
  • 60 credits taken prior to general exam
  • 27 dissertation credits (INSC 800)
  • 90 total credits, 60 of which must be from UW

In addition to meeting the minimum course and credit requirements outlined above, you must also successfully:

  • Pass a preliminary review in the quarter following the completion of 20 quarter hours of study as well as pass 2nd year review
  • Pass a general examination after achieving 60 credits and completing required coursework by the end of the second quarter third year of study to attain formal candidacy for the Ph.D. program (Candidate’s Certificate)
  • Successfully defend a dissertation proposal before a supervisory committee by the end of the second quarter of the fourth year of study
  • Successfully defend a dissertation before a supervisory committee (Final Examination) by the end of the fifth year of study or before 10 years from the date of admission have passed
  • Satisfy the UW Graduate School doctoral degree requirements

Expected Time for Program Completion

Full-Time Study

The iSchool strongly recommends full-time study for the PhD in Information Science. Estimated time to degree completion is 5 to 6 years.

The standard program for full-time study is two years for the coursework and practica component followed by a general exam to determine candidacy. You will then normally complete another two to four years of full-time study. These two to four years generally involve six months to one year of preparation for the defense of the dissertation proposal followed by the completion and defense of the dissertation.

Part-Time Study

Some Ph.D. students cannot afford full-time study and would prefer to study for their doctorate part-time. The iSchool acknowledges this preference but also recognizes how important it is to establish and foster the collegiality, intellectual community and relationships that are essential to active participation in a research culture. This reality necessitates that candidates enroll as full-time students for the first year of study. If you then choose to complete your PhD part-time, completion of the degree will normally take longer than the time estimated above for full-time study.