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School of Information Sciences—Library and Information Science Program

The School of Information Sciences (iSchool) offers a Library of

Information Science (LIS) program, which consists of the Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science degree, as well as certification programs for school library media specialists. Students enrolled in LIS programs, under the mentorship of the program faculty, prepare for careers in the information professions as digital content managers, librarians, archivists, records managers, college and university faculty members, supervisors in diverse information centers, and as information specialists.

The MLIS degree, which requires completion of 36 credits of course work is offered both on campus and through the MLIS: Pitt Online Program, which is a fully online program accredited by the American Library Association that can be completed in six terms of study.

The core curriculum (12 credits) is enriched by advanced courses in management, technology, resources and services for specific patron groups, and organization of information. Upon award of the MLIS degree, graduates are prepared to make contributions to the profession at the local, national, and international levels. On-campus students may target their career goals by enrolling in one of our top-ranked specializations.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science degree prepares students for advanced work in research, teaching, and administration. The program will give students the opportunity to gain skills in teaching or research appropriate for careers at major research universities, teaching institutions, and library systems.

Beyond curricular offerings, educational experiences available to students in the program include colloquiums, practical experience in professional settings, participation in national conferences, and attendance at professional association meetings.

Research Focus

Members of the LIS faculty are active researchers, with records of funding from governmental agencies and private sources. While both master's and doctoral students have opportunities to work with faculty on research projects, doctoral students are most involved in the research process.

Some areas of research interest include (but are not limited to) archives, health resource, children's information, digital libraries, interactive information retrieval, library management, organization of information, cyberscholarship, social information tools, science and technology studies, digital humanities, and school library media center management.

Contact Information

Library and Information Science Program
School of Information Sciences
135 North Bellefield Avenue
412-624-3988
Fax: 412-628-5231
E-mail: lising@is.pitt.edu
www.ischool.pitt.edu/lis

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) Degree

The role of information professionals has changed dramatically as the volume of available information has increased and technology for information search and retrieval has advanced. The ability to manage the growing array of information tools has led to new opportunities for those who want to work in the information field,  which is a discipline that bridges the management of both traditional and emerging information sources. The MLIS program is responsive to the information marketplace and encourages the development of creativity, professionalism, and a proactive attitude to the needs of various clienteles in traditional and digital information service environments.

The program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association. The MLIS Program is ranked tenth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and many of its specializations are also highly ranked.

Admissions

The Library and Information Science Program seeks students with diverse educational and career backgrounds. Applicants for graduate study must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a scholastic average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better. Submission of scores from a standardized predictor test is required for admission to the MLIS program. Applicants with post-bachelor's advanced degrees are exempt from this requirement. Students who have not worked in libraries may elect to do a 3 credit Field Experience.

A maximum of 6 credits earned with a grade of B or better may be transferred toward either the master’s or PhD degree from institutions fully accredited for graduate study, provided that these credits have not been applied to any other degree or certificate, that they are applicable to the students’ program of study, and that they are not older than the statute of limitations for the degree.

International Applicants

There are different documentation requirements for international students. These are explained here.

English Language Proficiency

 

Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English in order to study, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion without being hindered by language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be taken if the applicant's native language is not English. The institution code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927 and the department code is 90.

A minimum score of 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to graduate study in this program. The requirement to take the TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has received a degree from an accredited institution in the United States.

Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores less than 600 (paper) or 100 (Internet-based) will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.

Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students must receive a score of Band 6.5. Students who do not achieve a score of Band 7.0 score or better will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study. Other admission requirements vary depending upon the chosen program.

 

Application Fee

All applicants are required to submit an application fee as determined by the School of Information Science. This fee is non-refundable.

School-based Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available at www.ischool.pitt.edu/admissions/financial-aid.php.

MLIS Degree Requirements

Students seeking the MLIS (both on-campus and MLIS: Pitt Online) must complete the following requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 36 credits of graduate-level course work
  • Complete core courses of the specialization in which the student is enrolled with a grade of "B" or better in each
  • Maintain a B (3.00) average for the required 36 credits of graduate-level course work

Requirements for the MLIS degree must be completed within a period of four calendar years from the student's initial registration.

There are specific course requirements for each of the on-campus specializations, which are listed here.

 

Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science (PhD) Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science degree prepares students for advanced work in research, teaching, and administration. The primary purpose of this 54-creditdegree is to develop an understanding of library and information science beyond the master's degree, with particular emphasis on the conduct of original research, the production of significant and generalizable research findings, and the contribution of such findings to public knowledge.

The advisor selected by the student for the period prior to the dissertation stage of the program is the program advisor; before the dissertation proposal is prepared, the student should select a dissertation advisor. The program advisor and the dissertation advisor may be the same person, but the student has the option to select a different advisor for the dissertation. The advisor must be a member of the graduate faculty in the Library and Information Science Program who is able to spend the time and effort necessary for the advising role, be available for examinations, and with whom a productive and comfortable working relationship can be established.

For complete information on the PhD program, consult Statement of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/lis/degrees/phd.php.

PhD Admission Requirements

The following are requirements for admission to the program:

  • A master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association, a recognized international program, or the equivalent in a closely related field of study.
  • Attainment in graduate work of a minimum grade point average of 3.50 (on a scale where A=4.00). An international student's grade point average will be calculated on the basis of equivalency from universities that use a different scale.
  • Submission of scores from a predictor test, such as the GRE, GMAT, MCAST, LSAT or MAT, taken within the last three years. Institutional/program codes may be found here
  • At least three references from persons in the professional and academic communities.
  • An interview may be required

As evidence of the ability to undertake doctoral work, the student's application must be accompanied by:

  • An essay (not exceeding 1,000 words) indicating, as specifically as possible, the student's academic and professional goals in relation to the Library and Information Science doctoral program and identifying potential areas and/or topics in which the student expects to pursue dissertation research.
  • A complete curriculum vitae that provides an overview of education, work, publication, and other professional activities.
  • At least one example of scholarly research or professional writing in any format (print or electronic). The student should describe fully any published or unpublished research, thesis, contributions to the professional or scholarly literature, and other professional or academic experience relevant to an assessment of capacity to pursue doctoral study successfully.
  • If the candidate has had appropriate professional work experience, a brief description should be provided.

Credentials of prospective students are reviewed by the Admissions and Review Committee and voted upon by the LIS Committee on Doctoral Studies throughout the year. However, students who are applying for financial aid should be aware that they must be admitted and meet financial aid deadlines to ensure consideration for funding. PhD students may begin their studies only in the fall term in order to ensure a coherent program of study.

International Applicants

There are different documentation requirements for international students. These are explained here.

English Language Proficiency

 

Graduate students must possess sufficient knowledge of English in order to study, to understand lectures, and to participate successfully in class discussion without being hindered by language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be taken if the applicant's native language is not English. The institution code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927 and the department code is 90.

A minimum score of 550 (paper-based), or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL is required for admission to graduate study in this program. The requirement to take the TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has received a degree from an accredited institution in the United States.

Prior to registration, students with TOEFL scores less than 600 (paper) or 100 (Internet-based) will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study.

Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students must receive a score of Band 6.5. Students who do not achieve a score of Band 7.0 score or better will be given the on-campus administered English Language Proficiency Test. If remedial courses in English as a second language are recommended as an outcome of the test, the student must complete the remedial course during the first two terms of study. Other admission requirements vary depending upon the chosen program.

Proficiency program: Students may choose to take the International English Language Testing System exam (ELTS) in place of the TOEFL. Students should receive a minimum result of Band 7.0 on the IELTS.

 

 

PhD Degree Requirements

This PhD degree requires a minimum of 54 credits beyond the master's degree with a total credit minimum of 72. A minimum of 36 credits must be taken in advanced course work. The student must receive a letter grade in each course taken in this 36-credit requirement (except for the teaching practicum course). An additional 18 credits are required, which must be applied to dissertation research and writing. However, regardless of the number of credits taken, no more than 18 credits for dissertation research and writing may be applied toward graduation.

The minimum of 36 credits of course work, all of which must be on the graduate level, must be distributed as follows:

  • 3 credits: LIS 3000: Introduction to Doctoral Studies
  • 9 credits: 3000-level doctoral seminars in SIS
  • 3 credits: LIS 3950 Teaching Practicum or FACDEV 2200
  • 6 credits: Courses in research methodology and statistics
  • 6 credits: Courses in cognate field
  • 9 credits: Which may be:
    • 3000-level independent studies or doctoral seminars at the iSchool
    • Additional 3000-level doctoral seminars at the iSchool
    • Additional cognate courses (up to 6 credits)
    • Additional research methodology courses

PhD degrees are conferred only on those students who have completed all courses required for the degree with at least a 3.50 GPA.

Doctoral students are required to devote some portion of their studies to work on other disciplines in order to broaden their perspectives and deepen their understanding of library and information science. To fulfill the cognate requirement, students are required to take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 12 credits in some area of graduate study outside the field of library and information science. These credits may be from more than one department or school.

The research methodology course requirement must be fulfilled prior to taking the preliminary examination. Research methodology courses may include courses in statistical analysis, general research methodology, and specific research methods or research methods used in specific fields of study such as historiography, ethnography, or case and field study.

A three-credit teaching practicum is required for all doctoral students in order to provide the student with teaching experience that may become part of the student’s professional vita. The teaching practicum is usually taken after completion of two terms of study. The student is responsible for identifying an appropriate course related to his or her areas of interest and obtaining the agreement of the instructor of record.

Residence and Registration Requirements

According to University of Pittsburgh policy, students seeking the PhD degree are required to engage in a minimum of one term of full-time doctoral study, which excludes any other employment except as approved by their departments. Doctoral students must register for at least 3 credits in each term until they have achieved candidacy. To maintain active status, all doctoral candidates must be registered for a minimum of 3 credits in each 12-month period (3 credits in one term or 1 credit in each of three terms) from the time of admission to candidacy until receipt of degree.

School-Based Financial Support

Financial aid information is available at www.ischool.pitt.edu/lis/degrees/financial-aid.php.

Preliminary Examination

Upon completion of 24 credit hours of course work, each student submits for review a portfolio comprising the best representation of work completed thus far. The student presents this portfolio orally to the Doctoral Studies Committee (DSC) as a whole, which votes on its acceptability. The Preliminary Examination is based on the breadth and depth of knowledge as addressed through course work, as well as whether the course work taken will support the research plan the student submits and defends to the DSC.

 

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is conducted by a three person committee the— faculty advisor and two faculty members chosen by the student and the faculty advisor. The examination consists of a written take-home exam over two weeks and an oral examination conducted by the student's committee. The take-home exam has two parts: a broad perspective on current issues in the field of library science, information science, or archives, depending on the student's general area, and the area of the student's research specialization.

Language Requirement

Students are required to be proficient in any languages necessary for completion of doctoral work. Depending upon the student’s course of study, proficiencies in modern languages, linguistics, and/or computer languages may be required.

Candidacy and Dissertation

For admission to formal candidacy for the PhD degree, a student must have:

  • Passed the preliminary evaluation
  • Completed a minimum of 36 credits beyond the master's degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher
  • Passed the comprehensive examination
  • Successfully defended the dissertation proposal and received permission from the Dissertation Committee to begin research

Students demonstrate their ability to complete a sound project of original research by presenting and defending the dissertation proposal to their Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee must unanimously approve the dissertation topic and research plan before the student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Public Presentation Requirement

During the course of the PhD program, each student is required to make a public presentation on a research project in which the student is engaged.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for the PhD degree must be completed in not more than six calendar years from the time of first registration. Students may, in extenuating circumstances, submit a formal request for extension of their statute of limitations or for a leave of absence from the program.

PhD Research Areas

Library and Information Science Course Listings

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