Nearly all of our graduates are employed within one year. They work in both private and public sectors with titles including university professor, industry research scientist, systems analyst, chief information officer, curator, library director, web administrator, information consultant, and police administrator.
Usually three to six years, depending on how many credit hours you take per semester and how long you take to complete the dissertation. You need 60 credit hours past the master's degree: 48 course hours plus a minimum of 12 dissertation hours. UNT's time limit for completing the PhD is 8 years.
No, although students may take appropriate distance courses. Our program is primarily residential; we do not offer a distance program at the doctoral level. The faculty have agreed that face-to-face interactions among faculty and students, and among students, are vital to building an intellectual and social scholarly community that fosters a spontaneous exchange of ideas.
The program is quite flexible, however. Typical 3-credit-hour courses meet from 6:30 to 9:20 one night a week to accommodate commuters. The 9 credit hours of required courses are delivered at Discovery Park in Denton. Students choose their other 39 credit hours in individual consultation with their academic advisor. These courses may be offered in onsite, online, or blended formats. Blended courses vary widely in when they meet onsite, from one to several days, evenings, or weekends during the semester.
In short, students must come to campus to complete at least part of the program. We have always had nonresident students in the program. Some have driven or flown long distances to attend classes. Others have obtained leaves of absence from their regular jobs for a year or more and then worked part time for the university or other local employers.
Yes, you can enroll part time except for the doctoral residence requirement. The residence requirement is two consecutive full-time (9-hour) semesters, which applies regardless of geographic residence (i.e., it can include online courses). International students all meet the residence requirement because they must take 9 credit hours every long semester in order to retain their visas. After international students qualify (see below), they can take 3 dissertation hours per semester.
A rough estimate is four hours per week of homework for every course credit hour. Doctoral work requires self-discipline and large chunks of focused time: students must rearrange their lives for several years in order to succeed. Most people do not realize how abstract, abstruse, and intellectually taxing doctoral work is compared to the work for any other degree. The doctoral program is often presented as a journey in which the student progresses from being a consumer of knowledge to a producer of knowledge. Of course, we think the rewards are worth the sacrifices in terms of knowledge, research skills, and career development.
Yes, you can transfer up to 24 credit hours if the courses meet certain criteria. For example, the courses must be from a regionally accredited institution, be graduate level, be fairly recent, not have counted toward a prior degree, carry a grade of A or B, and be approved by your advisor as being appropriate for the PhD.
Yes. You can take doctoral courses while you are enrolled in another graduate program or as a non-degree seeking student. Non-degree students must be admitted by the Graduate School. If you are later admitted to the IIS PhD Program, you can apply up to 12 credit hours toward the IIS degree if the courses are approved by your advisor and do not count toward a different degree. Note that you must obtain permission to enroll in many doctoral courses, and that taking doctoral courses does not guarantee admission to the program.
Absolutely! The series is an open forum intended to bring together doctoral students, faculty, and anyone else who is interested in information science research and wants to meet and mingle with the COI community.
Beginning Fall 2011, there will no longer be an IS PhD Colloquium. Instead a new series will serve to nurture a culture of scholarship and research among all COI doctoral students.
The College of Information is establishing a COI Doctoral Student Colloquium and Lecture Series. This series is intended to serve the needs doctoral students in all of the College’s programs. We believe that there is sufficient cross-disciplinary interest in topics that we could bring in speakers who focus on topics of relevance to all IIS doctoral students as well as students in the two doctoral programs in Learning Technologies (ATPI, ECMP).
No. We welcome applications from individuals with completed master's degrees from many different disciplines. While an LIS MS is an excellent degree, it does not guarantee admission to the PhD program.
In UNT LIS, the MS and PhD are both considered terminal degrees, with the MS focusing on professional education and the PhD focusing on scholarly research.
UNT does not publish minimum entrance exam scores. Admissions are based on a holistic review process that uses multiple criteria related to both academic history and potential for success, including prior GPA, GRE scores, professional experience, writing skills, and recommendations.
You may need to retake the GRE if your scores are (a) unacceptably low or (b) more than five years old. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) keeps scores for five years and will send them to the universities you designate. If your scores are older and you cannot provide the original score report, you must retake the exam.
Please be patient. The admission process entails two separate applications and reviews for U.S. citizens (Graduate Admissions, then Program Admissions) and three separate applications and reviews for international students (International Admissions, then Graduate Admissions, then Program Admissions). Expect this process to take two to four months. Make sure you sent all materials requested to each office that will review your application. The offices tend to hold applications until all parts arrive, such as official transcripts from universities, GRE scores from ETS, and recommendation letters. (See http://tsgs.unt.edu/admission_to_graduate_studies.htm for Graduate School details and deadlines.)
No. The Graduate School decision precedes the departmental program decision.
The University of North Texas has been named of America's 100 Best College Buys®. Current tuition and fees are explained on the UNT website (http://www.unt.edu/aid-tuition.htm). Scholarships, graduate assistantships, and loans can offset these costs.
Yes, but only on a competitive basis when funds are available. The UNT Graduate School offers a few full doctoral scholarships in university-wide competitive programs. The College of Information has fully supported a number of IIS PhD students in the past with externally funded grants. When such grants are awarded, we advertise on the Web and in professional journals with a call for applications.
Yes, many. For example, the Graduate School typically awards a one-year $1,000 Doctoral Academic Achievement Scholarship to all new doctoral students who begin coursework in the fall semester. In the College of Information, the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge and the Library and Information Sciences (LIS) Department award various small scholarships each fall and spring semester. External public and private organizations of all kinds offer scholarships, grants, and loans. We recommend that you apply (and reapply) for as many awards as possible.
Scholarship requirements and deadlines differ widely, so follow application instructions for each individual scholarship. In the LIS Department, one application works for all LIS scholarships, including a general scholarship and several named endowed scholarships. A faculty committee matches students to specific funds. LIS funds are limited and variable. You must reapply regularly.
Assistantships and fellowships are part-time student jobs, with fellowships typically paying higher wages for more responsibility. For instance, where a teaching assistant may answer students' questions and grade exams, a teaching fellow may deliver class lectures and create exams. Positions in teaching, research, library, and office work are advertised through the UNT website, individual departments, and word of mouth. You may work in any UNT department. Duties vary widely, depending on department and supervisor.
Graduate assistants are usually full-time students who work 10 to 20 hours a week under renewable contracts that range from one semester to one academic year (nine months). Wages vary by department and number of credit hours completed. In 2010, wages were raised to make UNT more competitive with other universities. Depending on the number of hours you work per week, you may be eligible for in-state tuition (worth about $2,000 a semester to nonresident students) and health benefits. To find out more about the assistantship experience, we encourage you to talk to faculty employers and current graduate assistants.
Requirements and deadlines differ widely, so follow application instructions for each individual position. In the LIS Department, TA and RA positions are offered by individual faculty members, who make their own hiring decisions. We suggest that you (a) watch for job ads posted by faculty, (b) express your interest to specific faculty members, and (c) reapply at least once a year if you have not been hired. GLAs are hired by the UNT Libraries. Assistantships are hard to find, so we recommend that you also apply to other departments.
The Associate Director of the IIS PhD Program provides academic advising for new students and may continue to do so throughout the program, depending on the wishes of the students and their faculty committee chairs. Committee chairs tend to focus more on development of students' research knowledge and skills in pursuit of the dissertation.
You work with your academic advisor to develop a degree plan tailored to your interests. Your advisor can recommend some courses, but you are expected to find appropriate courses yourself by perusing UNT course offerings and asking faculty and other students for recommendations. Three primary sources of information are the UNT Graduate Catalog (http://www.unt.edu/catalog/grad/index.htm), Schedule of Classes (http://essc.unt.edu/registrar/schedule/socbydept.html), and eCampus (http://www.untecampus.com/).
SLIS 6945 Doctoral Seminar in Information Issues is a required course for all doctoral students. Starting Fall 2011 SLIS 6945 will only be offered in the fall semesters.
The course will be primarily an online course, with an expectation of an onsite meeting at least once during the semester. The contents and activities of the course will be geared to meeting a number of needs that have been identified by current students.
Also starting Fall 2011 there will no longer be an IS PhD Colloquium associated with SLIS 6945. The College of Information is establishing a COI Doctoral Student Colloquium and Lecture Series. This series is intended to serve the needs doctoral students in all of the College’s programs. We believe that there is sufficient cross-disciplinary interest in topics that we could bring in speakers who focus on topics of relevance to all IIS doctoral students as well as students in the two doctoral programs in Learning Technologies (ATPI, ECMP).
No, you do not have to tell anyone, but you do want to be prepared. Check the ADA policy in your course syllabus. We strongly suggest that you register with the UNT Office of Disability Accommodation (ODA; http://www.unt.edu/oda/ or 940-565-4323) and that you inform your instructor if you think there is any chance that you will need accommodation.
You can do both through the online EIS Student Center; go to http://essc.unt.edu/eis/students.htm for instructions. Note that you need advisor approval to register for all SLIS courses. Non-SLIS courses may or may also need advisor or instructor approval from the appropriate department. Early registration helps ensure that you get into the courses you want.
Talk to your advisor before doing this for the first time. To get formal approval, you complete an online Advising Form. Submitting the form generates an email to your advisor. Your advisor emails approval to you and the PhD Office. The PhD Office emails you an advising code and specific instructions for registering for courses using the EIS online system. Remember, Non-LIS courses may require your contacting the department offering the course to get approval.
You may be unable to register for any of several reasons:
The degree plan provides direction for choosing courses and meeting program requirements. You develop it with your advisor beginning in your first year. Your degree plan must be approved by the Graduate School no later than the semester you qualify (or formally end coursework; see below).
You will go through an annual review, based in part on a self-report, that clearly delineates expectations for satisfactory progress. If you receive a rating of unsatisfactory progress, you will work with your advisor(s) to write an improvement plan that covers a period of up to one year. If at the end of the plan period, you again receive a rating of unsatisfactory progress, you will be dismissed from the program.
Unfortunately, life does intervene. If the situation is affecting your progress in your courses or the program, contact your instructors and advisor as soon as possible to discuss options. In extreme circumstances, the Graduate School will grant a formal leave of absence. If you need confidential counseling, UNT may have an office that can help (e.g., Counseling Services, Student Legal Services).
Yes, you may take a semester off, with no justification necessary. Please note the following important conditions, however:
Please notify the PhD Office if you intend not to enroll for a fall or spring semester.
Does the trouble involve a deadline, degree requirement, or grade? Is the deadline or rule officially published by the university, college, department, or program? Is it written into your course syllabus? Remember that it is your responsibility to know these things. To prevent problems, take time now to review critical policies and schedules (e.g., Code of Student Conduct, Academic Integrity Policy, Graduate Catalog, Academic Calendar). Always study your syllabi, because syllabi function as contracts with instructors. In short, understand the rules before you seek help, and then seek help from the appropriate authority.
This is a group of faculty members who formally evaluate your work at the qualifying, dissertation proposal, and dissertation stages. The committee must have at least three members, one of whom serves as chair (or two as co-chairs). Members must represent at least two academic units, one of which is UNT LIS, and have appropriate graduate faculty status. One member can be external to UNT, provided he/she holds a PhD and is approved by the Graduate School. After you pass qualifying, the advisory committee usually retains the same members, but is called the dissertation committee.
You should begin developing your committee in your first or second year of coursework, or at least choose your committee chair (also called major professor) to serve as your key research advisor. Committee members should be familiar with you and your work. When you ask them to serve, be prepared to discuss your dissertation topic in order to help them see how they can contribute their expertise. Your advisory committee must be formed before you qualify. The PhD Office will prepare a committee designation form, obtain signatures from all committee members, and submit the form to the Graduate School.
Yes. It is your right to change the committee structure, but you must fist consult with the faculty member(s) that you would like to remove or add. In addition, the PhD Office will confirm with the changes with the faculty. We will you help you to prepare a change-of-committee form and submit it to the Graduate School.
Qualifying is the milestone in your doctoral program where your committee agrees that you have gained sufficient knowledge, skills, and direction to end coursework and embark on independent research for the dissertation. You will take a written qualifying exam that covers major areas of your coursework, followed by an oral defense in which you answer any questions about the written exam and present your dissertation topic. Students who pass qualifying are admitted to candidacy. Doctoral candidates enroll in dissertation hours while pursuing their dissertation research.
You should be thinking seriously about qualifying by the time you reach 30 hours of coursework. Talk to your academic advisor about your progress in the program. Talk to your committee about your dissertation topic ideas and general knowledge gained from coursework. Request a degree plan audit from the PhD Office to ensure that you meet all requirements.
Organize your coursework papers and files so you can access and review them when you study for the exam. Compile a special set of literature and ideas that relate to your dissertation topic. Draft possible exam questions and an abstract of your dissertation topic. Consider forming a study group.
A defense is an open forum in which the student presents work to his/her committee and visitors. After questions and discussion by the committee and visitors, the committee decides whether to pass the student's work. Every doctoral student has three defenses: qualifying, dissertation proposal, and dissertation. Defense dates and times are announced to the IIS PhD community. You are strongly encouraged to attend as many other students' defenses as possible to observe and learn about the process.
Your committee decides when your work is ready to defend. You and your committee agree on a defense date and time at least two weeks in advance and keep the PhD Office informed. The PhD Office reserves a room, publicizes the event, and prepares paperwork to be signed and submitted to the Graduate School.
This situation occurs often. Go ahead and apply for graduation. If for some reason you do not meet all the deadlines for filing an approved dissertation with the Graduate School, your graduation application will carry over to the next semester without penalty. Detailed graduation information and deadlines are available on the Graduate School website (http://tsgs.unt.edu/graduation_process/index.htm).
Yes. This is not unusual. Employers typically request final official transcripts, but UNT cannot produce these prior to commencement. Do this: (1) Ask the PhD Office to provide verification for your employer that you have completed all degree requirements. (2) Order your final official transcript from the Registrar's Office (http://essc.unt.edu/registrar/transcripts.html) to be mailed directly to your employer as soon as possible.
The hood is a colorful garment worn over the back of the graduation gown by those who have earned post-baccalaureate degrees. Hooding is the highlight of the doctoral commencement ceremony. The graduate's major professor places the hood on the graduate as a way of formally welcoming the graduate to the community of scholars. Hooding honors not only the graduates, but also the faculty members who have committed their wisdom and time to guiding students to success.