Doctorate of Library Science Degrees

Leaders in information and library science have to be able to identify significant problems concerning the future of an information society. They carry out challenging studies and draw conclusions from them. Leaders communicate the findings to those stakeholders who will act on them.

Doctorate in Library Science

A doctoral program provides customizable, highly flexible, and intensive preparation for those who hope to specialize in managing a specific type of library like a university or law library. A Ph.D. in Library Science empowers students to learn and analyze user information and preserve, organize, and manage materials and information to make them accessible knowledge sources.

Why Consider a Doctorate or PhD in Library Science?

A Ph.D. in Library Science requires degree seekers to become specialized in a data curation, information systems, or librarianship related area of study. The word 'library' in the degree title does not necessarily mean the holder will work in academia or libraries.

A Doctoral degree in Library Science can provide the knowledge and skills needed to become anything from an archivist to an analyst. The careers have competitive salaries and a positive growth outlook. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported those with a doctorate earned $43,472 more annually than all other workers. Earning a doctorate is an excellent means of developing expertise in a field and boost potential earnings.

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Are There Online Doctorate of Library Science Programs?

There are several online Doctorate of Library Science programs, but there are more limited options that compared to a Masters in Library Science.

Illinois School of Information

The Illinois School of Information has a doctorate program that requires 48 credit hours, along with a research presentation, field exam, and dissertation. Students work closely with advisors to create educational experiences outside and within the school.

They help students prepare for future research careers. Besides taking classes and carrying out research projects, students are expected to participate in school-sponsored events, meet with international visitors, and attend talks. Those requirements cannot be completed online. Doctorate programs from other universities have similar requirements. Students who wish to continue online studies beyond the Master's level may consider enrollment in a doctoral program in Archival Administration, Public Librarianship, Information Management, or similar degrees.

There are some doctoral degree programs in library science or related areas available.

Emporia State University

Emporia State offers four Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Management degree programs. Three have concentrations in Informatics, Information Systems, or Instructional Design. Having a Master's degree is not necessarily required to gain admittance into the online doctoral programs, and undergraduate and graduate work in library science are not required. Applicants have to take an exam to qualify for candidacy. Those without a Master's degree may have to complete added graduate-level courses to satisfy the requirements of the doctoral program.

Walden University

Walden University offers a Doctor of Information Technology that is designed to enhance technical expertise while developing leadership skills to guide an organization. Experience and knowledge within IT are synthesized through

  • Leadership simulators that delve into issues relevant to Information Technology
  • Face-to-face residencies that permit networking with other doctoral students and expert faculty members
  • Seminar courses that explore current IT topics such as grid and cloud computing, software engineering, and information security

The Doctorate in Information Technology is offered in two Tracks. Track I is for students with a Master's degree in some technical field. Track II is for those with a Bachelor's degree in a technical field. Entry requirements are a completed online application, official transcripts, and employment history. An enrollment advisor helps candidates gather required materials from the application through the first day of class.

Capella University

Capella offers a Doctor of Information Technology with specializations in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, General Information Technology, or Project Management. The university reshaped online education to put students in control. They can learn on-demand, manage costs, and leverage their experiences to advance on their own terms.

Typical Coursework for this Degree

A doctoral program is structured to aid students in the development of a general understanding of the field of information and library science and expertise in specific research areas. The program usually takes three to five years to complete and consists of the following:

  • Initial coursework
  • An 18-hour review
  • Complete coursework and comprehensive requirements
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Doctoral dissertation broken down into a proposal, dissertation work, and defense

Research principles

A set of core principles and themes are the basis of library and information science but are customized to the interests and needs of students and the faculty’s research strengths. The exceptionally prepared student takes at least 36 hours of directed research aside from the dissertation, reading courses, and formal courses. Students with no graduate background will likely take additional hours of these courses. Appropriate graduate courses are chosen with the help of faculty advice. All courses must be graduate-level courses. There are over 120 courses from which to choose. Listed here is a sampling of what is available.

Top courses

Two Research Issues and Questions courses are required for a doctorate. They are taken in consecutive semesters. The courses present a broad spectrum of research questions. They examine various methods of investigation that are used in exploring those areas of research. A minimum of six hours of statistics that include an introduction to inferential and descriptive statistics, computational techniques, and analysis of variance is required. There are educational, psychology, sociology, and other classes that satisfy the statistics requirement.

Course Description

First Year Smart Cities Seminar

Presents trends and topics in smart and sustainable cities. The role of network resources design and the impact on urban development, design, and urban living are explained.

Retrieving and Analyzing Information

Introduces the application of the processes used in seeking information, the evaluation of retrieved information’s quality, and synthesizing the data into a form that is useful.

Foundation of Information Science

Examines information science evolution that includes ethics policy, organizational communication, behavior and scholarly communication; human interaction and information seeking; search and retrieval, organization and management, and information presentations.

Tools for Information Literacy

Offers concepts and tools for information literacy that include networked information systems, computer applications, and software use and maintenance.

Retrieval and Organizing Systems

Introduces students to foundational core techniques and concepts in information organization, data mining, and information retrieval.

Human Information Behavior

Analyzes organizational problems and how to design information systems to solve those problems.Students apply interface design and database principles to implement information systems.

Information Use for Organizational Effectiveness

A course in the basic concepts of how technology, people, and information interact to influence the effectiveness of organization.

18-Hour Review

The review is usually held at the end of a student’s first year. The committee is chaired by the student’s advisor includes all faculty members who taught the student. The student’s mastery of selected subjects and the ability to identify opportunities for research and the means to address problems associated with research are addressed. Students are told of any identified deficiencies and suggested strategies to improve. If deficiencies are severe, the student may be counseled to depart the program.

Year Reviews
Each subsequent year, students prepare and present a statement of progress to the associate dean and advisor. The statement includes a reflection on progress, a statement of research interest, a summary of completed coursework, and a list of papers written during the year. Continuing in the program depends on a satisfactory review.

Coursework Completion and Pre-Comprehensive Requirements

Full-time students normally complete the coursework between two and two-and-a-half years. A full-time student showing no signs of progress within three years is considered unsatisfactory progress. Part-time students’ progress is based on individual circumstances, but are expected to progress at a rate that is comparable. Before taking the comprehensive exam, candidates must

  • Complete all required coursework
  • Develop a literature review of the interested research area
  • Present two papers submitted for publication

Comprehensive Exam

Near coursework completion, the students develop a statement for the comprehensive examination preparation that includes an overview of research interests; a literature review that specifies areas of theory, methodology, and research that relates to the research interests and questions; and a brief dissertation prospectus. After the examining committee accepts the written comprehensive exam package, an oral exam is conducted. It has the same scope as the exam package.

Doctoral Dissertation

There is a registration process for dissertation hours. It includes filling out advisory surveys, completing a registration form, and signing a learning contract. After the comprehensive exam has been completed successfully, the student and advisor consult to form a dissertation committee and prepare a proposal for presentation to the committee. Typically, a student completes and defends the proposal or makes substantial progress within six months of completing the comprehensive exam. Progress is considered unsatisfactory if there is no substantial progress after a year following the completion of the exam.

The doctoral dissertation is an original contribution of knowledge that involves identifying and defining a research-able topic; applying appropriate research methodology, organization, and data analysis relevant to the investigated topic; and presenting and interpreting the data that meets the scholarly work standards. The dissertation defense is required in the form of a final oral examination that is open to the University’s community. The dissertation committee that administers the exam, typically, includes a minimum of one scholar who is outside the program.

List of the Top Online Doctorate of Library Science Programs

University Degree Program Location

Dominican University

PhD in Library Science Online

Drexel University

PhD in Library Science Online

Florida State University

PhD in Library Science Online

Kent State University

PhD in Library Science Online

Long Island University

PhD in Library Science Online

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

PhD in Library Science Online

San Jose State University

PhD in Library Science Online

Simmons University

PhD in Library Science Online

Texas Woman's University

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Alabama

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Arizona

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Kentucky

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Maryland

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Missouri

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Oklahoma

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Pittsburgh

PhD in Library Science Online

University of South Carolina

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Tennessee

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Washington

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Wisconsin-Madison

PhD in Library Science Online

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

PhD in Library Science Online