PhD degree

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About the PhD program

The Faculty of Information provides a rich, research-intensive environment in which to conduct doctoral studies. The program has been recently revised for students entering in 2011/12. 

Program information for students who entered the iSchool PhD program before 2011 is available in a separate section.

The focus of the PhD program is to enable students to achieve the competence required to research and write an original doctoral thesis in Information.

The program of study is developed on an individual basis, since backgrounds and interests of doctoral students vary.  Each student develops her/his own program in conjunction with a faculty advisor. 

The curriculum fosters a common conversation about the information field, and supports the development of individual, even idiosyncratic, research projects.

There are seven fields of information specialization (fields of study) available at the faculty:

  • Critical Information Studies
  • Library & Information Science
  • Archives & Records Management
  • Information Systems, Media, & Design
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Knowledge Management & Information Management
  • Philosophy of Information

PhD students may also apply to one of the eight collaborative programs, in which the iSchool participates.

Students may undertake their doctoral research on a full-time (4 years) or flex-time (6 years) basis.

Two good ways to get a sense of the kinds of research carried out at the iSchool are to:

The Faculty of Information makes every effort to provide attractive funding packages for all full-time doctoral students.
 

Degree requirements    

Students must complete the following courses (6.0 FCE)

Beginning Fall 2016, INF3007Y/3008Y will no longer be required courses.

Other courses appropriate for the student's research may also be required.

Students must then:

  • Pass a qualifying exam
    • See PhD Qualifying Examination Procedure [June 2012, PDF]
    • See PhD Qualifying Examination Procedure [effective September 2016, PDF]
  • Present and defend a thesis research proposal
    • See Procedure for Oral Defense of Doctoral Thesis Proposals [June 2012, PDF]
    • See Procedure for Oral Defense of Doctoral Thesis Proposals [effective September 2016, PDF]
  • Complete a thesis
  • Pass a final oral examination

Full-time PhD program

  • All requirements must be completed within six (6) years from first enrolment in the program
  • Usual program length for full-time doctoral study is 4 years

Flex-time PhD program

  • All requirements must be completed within eight (8) years from first enrolment in the program
  • Usual program length for flex-time doctoral study is 6 years
  • Intended for practicing professionals whose employment is related to their intended field of research interest
  • Differs from full-time study in design and delivery, not in requirements
  • Students must spend at least two (2) full-time terms on campus
  • Students must ensure that they spend adequate time on campus for class attendance, and to fulfill all academic requirements for their degree
     

Time for completion:  Full-time students

PhD students must be regularly registered in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) during each year of their program.

In order to stay on track for satisfactory progress, a student must:

  • Complete the core course requirements by the end of Year 1
  • Complete all 3 (1.5 FCE) required electives prior to the Qualifying Examination
  • Pass the Qualifying Examination during the 2nd session of INF3006, which is a three-session course
  • Successfully defend her/his thesis proposal by the fall session of Year 3*
  • Successfully defend his/her thesis by the end of Year 6 (maximum time limit for full-time students)

* In compliance with the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 3.

Sample timetable illustrating progress to completion for full-time PhD students

BY THE END OF:
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
  • Thesis Proposal Defense [See above for procedure]
  • Committee on standing approval of thesis title and supervisory committee.
  • Candidacy achieved
  • Commencement of thesis
Year 4 Year 6
  • Thesis researched, written, and defended   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Time for completion: Flex-time students   

PhD students must be regularly registered in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) during each year of their program.

In order to stay on track for satisfactory progress, a student must:

  • Complete the core course requirements by the end of Year 2
  • Complete all 3 (1.5 FCE) required electives prior to the Qualifying Examination
  • Pass the Qualifying Examination during the 2nd session of INF3006, which is a three-session course
  • Successfully defend her/his thesis proposal by the fall session of Year 4*
  • Successfully defend his/her thesis by the end of Year 8 (maximum time limit for flex-time students)      

* In compliance with the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 4     .

Sample timetable illustrating progress to completion for flex-time PhD students

BY THE END OF:
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
  • INF3006 (three-session course)
  • Qualifying Examination [see above for procedure]
Year 4
  • Thesis Proposal Defense [See above for procedure]
  • Committee on standing approval of thesis title and supervisory committee.
  • Candidacy achieved   
  • Commencement of thesis
Year 5 – 6
  • Thesis researched, written, and defended         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time on campus

Flex-time students must spend at least two (2) full-time terms on campus, and must ensure that they spend adequate time on campus for class attendance, and to fulfill all academic requirements for their degree.